December 16, 1918. To Mabel. “Last week was another gay one socially—I was out every night which is too much for a working man….”

Transcribed letter [handwritten]:

Hq, District of Paris

A.P.O. 702 A.E.F.

Dec. 16th

Dear Mabel:-

Your long letter of Nov.20th reached me last Saturday and enjoyed it as usual. Sorry to hear John has been sick and mighty glad he came out of it all right.

The big excitement here was, of course, the arrival of Wilson on Saturday last. Had a pretty good look at him from my office window which looks out on the Arch de Triomphe. All Paris was out to see him, occupying windows, trees, roofs, and every other possible view point along the line of march and he surely had an enthusiastic reception. Thought of you all at home and how much you would have liked to have been here. I little thought in August 1914 that such an event would ever come to pass and still less that I would be in Paris to see it. My Commanding General was formerly his Aide de Camp and is therefore much in attendance on him now that he is here.

Last week was another gay one socially—I was out every night which is too much for a working man and this week, I’m taking it much more quietly. Last week went to two private dances and one larger one, out to dinner twice and played bridge around at the Embassy one evening. The larger dance was given by the “French Homes,” an association of French ladies gotten up for the particular purpose of entertaining American officers and they expect to give a number of others during the winter. Will enclose my invitation card for it if I don’t forget it [enclosed]. A number of prominent people were there among whom one that would have interested John was Nungesser[1] the second French “Ace.” Also an interesting Scotch girl I met had been in Russia all last winter with a British Red Cross formation.

As to how long I’ll be here that is, of course, very uncertain. The tendency is to replace Reserve with Regular Army officers where possible but, inasmuch as our work is highly specialized, it seems quite likely that I’ll be here until next summer or fall, it being almost impossible to find Regular officers with as much experience as I’ve had on this work during the past year. The Assistant Chief of my Service was in my office this afternoon and it was his opinion that I’d do well to spend Xmas of next year in South Carolina. That being the case, hope it will be possible for you and Mother to come over but guess the passport restrictions will be pretty stiff for some months yet. Also the price of living and of travelling here at this time is very high. Paris right now is absolutely full of people, the hotel accommodations being somewhat short because a number of hotels are occupied by ours and the other Allied Armies and peace Commissions. The Colonel of my Service and another Lt. Colonel came up from Tours on Saturday and my interpreter tried sixteen hotels before he found a couple of beds for them.

The weather here has been unusually mild so far but suppose it will soon be turning cold. Played golf yesterday afternoon and it was almost a spring afternoon.

Was talking today to a Major who served under Frank Harrell and thought very highly of him. He is now a Colonel and in command of the 16th Infantry of the 1st Division, now in Germany.

Lots of love to all,

Carl

O.K.

Thomas C. Montgomery

Capt. A.S.C., U.S.A.

 

[1] Charles Nungesser had 43 victories, making him the third ranking French “Ace” after René Fonck (75) and Jules Guynemer (53). Guynemer’s plane was missing over Belgium in 1917 which left Nungesser as the number two living French Ace. Nungesser disappeared in 1927 attempting a nonstop transatlantic fight from Paris to New York two weeks before Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris.

December 8, 1918. “There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George, last week King Albert, next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference.”

Sunday, December 8, 1918 to Mother.

Monty excuses his lapse in correspondence with this: “have been busy all day every day and out every evening this week. Now, since the armistice, there is something of a social nature every night; all of which is very pleasant but a little hard on a working man.”

“…Monroe Layton dropped in…. He was awfully glad to see somebody from home—said he was quite ready to go back any time and was hoping his regiment would be one of the early ones.

“Had a letter from Kate this week of Nov. 12th, my first home letter written since the armistice, and Kate seemed to believe it was a fake. Suppose she has changed her mind by now.

“There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George[1], last week King Albert[2], next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference. Our Headquarters has been charged with all of the army part of the preparation for the peace crowd and we’ve had of late a feverish not to say hectic time as a result. I’ve been as busy as a cat on a marble floor trying to find sufficient place for all the new people we have to look out for and, with all the other Allied Governments doing the same thing and the city crowded anyhow, it has been some job.

“Played bridge at the Embassy one night this week and had a chance to talk to Mr. Sharpe[3] for some little time. He remembered Mr. Ellerbe very well and also Mrs. Ellerbe and Edna. Had been there on thanksgiving afternoon at a reception for American Officers which was finished by an hour of very pleasant dancing. I’ve found the whole family there very pleasant but one is still a bit awed going in by the grandeur of the footmen, etc. This coming week I’ve already been asked to three dances which think will be quite enough for one week when one is busy during the day. However, one good thing about them is that they start and quit at a decent hour instead of trying to dance all night as we used to have the habit at home. Sorry John couldn’t have been here for some of this for know he would have enjoyed it thoroughly.

“Guess this letter will reach you just about Xmas in which case best wishes and lots of love to everybody,

 

[1] George V, King of England (reign, 1910-1936)

[2] Albert I, King of Belgium (reign, 1908-1934)

[3] William G. Sharp, Ambassador to France, 1914-1919.

 

Transcribed letter:

Hq; District of Paris

A.P.O. 702 A.E.F.

Dec. 8th, 1918

Dear Mother:-

Am ashamed to say I didn’t get off any letter to you last Sunday buy have been busy all day every day and out every evening this week. Now, since the armistice, there is something of a social nature every night; all of which is very pleasant but a little hard on a working man.

Was pleasantly surprised on Thursday Afternoon of this week when Horton Blew into my office on his way to Nice on leave. He stayed over until last night and we had quite a visit over what had happened since we last saw each other. Then also one day this week Monroe Layton dropped in to see me. It seems that he has been in Paris since July but didn’t know I was here until his mother wrote him where I was. He was awfully glad to see somebody from home—said he was quite ready to go back any time and was hoping his regiment would be one of the early ones.

Had a letter from Kate this week of Nov; 12th, my first home letter written since the armistice, and Kate seemed to believe it was a fake. Suppose she has changed her mind by now.

There is continual excitement here these days—week before last it was King George , last week King Albert , next week Wilson, then the King of Italy and afterwards the Peace Conference. Our Headquarters has been charged with all the Army part of the preparation for the peace crowd and we’ve had of late a feverish not to say hectic time as a result. I’ve been as busy as a cat on a marble floor trying to find sufficient place for all the new people we have to look out for and, with all the other Allied Governments doing the same thing and the city crowded anyhow, it has been some job.

Played bridge at the Embassy one night this week and had a chance to talk to Mr. Sharpe for some little time. He remembered Mr. Ellerbe very well and also Mrs. Ellerbe and Edna. Had been there on thanksgiving afternoon at a reception for American Officers which was finished by an hour of very pleasant dancing. I’ve found the whole family there very pleasant but one is still a bit awed going in by the grandeur of the footmen, etc. This coming week I’ve already been asked to three dances which think will be quite enough for one week when one is busy during the day. However, one good thing about them is that they start and quit at a decent hour instead of trying to dance all night as we used to have the habit at home. Sorry John couldn’t have been here for some of this for know he would have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Guess this letter will reach you just about Xmas in which case best wishes and lots of love to everybody,

Carl

Thomas C Montgomery [signed] Capt, A.S.C.