February 5, 1916
If by striking while the iron is hot I could forge you an adequate image of the surprise and wonder and delight that possessed me when I opened my long-awaited Christmas box an hour ago! The vaguemestre had it carried to my salle d’isolement (fortunately empty pro.tem.) and so I could gloat alone and undisturbed while my children were digesting their breakfast. What a fairy-box and how delightfully packed! – so well, in fact, that it made me think of poor Gracieuse in the forest when he tried to put back the contents of the magic coffer! The bell rang in the midst of my investigations: of course it would have been a heinous crime to leave any package lying about, and I had all the difficulty in the world to get them back where they came from. Such riches!…
How did you know the slippers I bought at the Galerus Lafayette were a constant thorn in my flesh? They are ugly and don’t keep me a bit warm. Yours are simply royal, and when I put my toes into them at night I shall forget the chilblains that are annoying enough from time to time, and imagine I have a fire and a carpet and all the other superfluities that you civilians indulge in. I didn’t have any gloves, or at least any that counted, for my white woollen ones are soiled and holey, and it is difficult to find any more. Now, instead of hiding my hands in the pockets of my cape, I shall wear them outside to show the gauntlets!
What a pity French deceptions about propriety forbid my accepting an invitation of the captain of the St John’s Ambulance (stationed here temporarily) to motor to Rheims! They would add such distinction to the expedition! Apropos, what do you think of that? He’s a charming captain and his cars have brought us many wounded. I nursed one of his chauffeurs who had a sharp attack, and out of gratitude, I suppose, he asked me to come to tea in the chateau where they lodged. I explained to him that we weren’t in either of our countries, and that it would never do in the world. Moreover, I never had the time to go anywhere. Later, however- it was during those days when I had almost nothing to do except clean shelves and get ready “to receive” – he asked me to go motoring toward the front through the devastated district. That appealed powerfully – not surprising, is it, when you think I hadn’t had two hours off duty since the 24th of last September? I asked the Medecin-Chef if I might go. He was evidently very sorry to refuse me, but he explained that there had been so many “histories” connected with officers and nurses that it would never do for the honour of the army, etc, etc. Ye gods and little fishes – what it is not to be Anglo- Saxon!
But peppermints and biscuits and marshmallows are more interesting. The first have been gleefully sampled, and we shall have a marshmallow roast this evening for the children….
The handkerchief case is a superlative bit of daintiness. My blesses scented its vague delicious perfume when I was unpacking, and were very curious. So I gave each one a sniff and a glimpse, and they decided they had never seen anything so pretty, and that I ought to wear that perfume all the time. The electric lamp is the last thing in practical luxury. When one thinks of “the lady with the lamp” however, one is almost ashamed to have such an elegant indulgence.
You see this is an important day, and America has decidedly scored. Such wonderful things couldn’t come from anywhere else.
No copyright found- see below.
Volume: Vol. 98, Ser. 5, Vol. 32, Pt. 2
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Phillips & Hunt
Call number: 31833017365757
Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive
Book contributor: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Notes: No copyright page found. This is a digital copy of a photocopied book
Full catalog record: MARCXML