Selected Transcripts of Letters from Rutgers Servicemen, K-Se

Earl Reed Silvers
1917
France ie remarkably colorful at this present springtirue. The skylark iraliM one In the morning. Blooming lilac hedges, surround him. Fertile fields lie beyond. But the more or less distant boom of guns, and the homing flight of flocks of airplanes tell one that farther beyond is -red war, red but glorious; or rather, glorious because red. I have had, and am having, most varied experiences here. 1 have seen a little of both fronts and been through shell*fir© and gas. I have hiked scores of
more » ... hiked scores of kilo* motors with tired comrades of tired soldiers; ridden in first-class carriages and also those marked "Homines 40, Cheveaux 8"; slept ia sumptuous rooms of chateaux and in the straw of barns; and it has all had its glorious side* Cne*s respect, a&airation and love for the average American soldier has, in this atmosphere, to grosn and grow every day. The average soldier is really wonderfulin patience, in endurance, in enthuaiism, in optimism, in heroism, -in everything that is fine. And the longer you know him the more youappreciate him. iv«a hie religion has a quality that ie eui generis, hast Sunday X attended mass in the village church here* Hie service was moet impressive. The priest was the oldest celebrant 1 have ever seen -eight-seven years old -but of wonderful voice. But even more impressive was the great crowd of American officers and men who devoutly thronged the building. 35nought for this time* I am tired after a day's hard work, and must say "good-night." France, June 26. 1 am kept Besperately busy, from eight in the morning until nine at night, every day in the week, without ever an hour off* If anyone had told mo seven months ago that X could keep up the pace for six solid months, X would have denied the possibility. But I have done so, and feel none the woroe for it. I had the pleasure of spending several weeks recently in the company of Mr. Irvin Cobb. Ha was a continuous circus. Of course, you know that he ie France, May 18# 1918, far from handsome and no one knows it better than he does* Ctoe day tiro little Frenchggirla ran out on the road as we passed and kissed him* Cobb at ones reeoiranended them for the Croix do Guerre. At one village, our landlady, one morning after Mr. Cobb had left the table, said to me • "Ah! M* Cobb sa figure set bonne camoufleureei" And it is, really! Wgat I have thanked my Baker for, over here, more than anything else, is a sense of humor* It has certainly heen "saving" • any number of times* I had the pleasure el dining to-day with a recently deocrated colonel of artillery -a very remarkable man* He was decorated for having saved the day during a recent bailie* Xsvill tell you the story* It seemed that it was almost imperative for our men to retreat* All the other officers counselled such a course, except this particular colonel* "Gentlemen," he said, "how long have we before our position must be given up?" "Three minutes," they answered him* "Then," said he, "in those three minutes 1 will show you how I can shave and wash my face in a teaepoonful of cold water*" And he did, and by his ap parent sang froid caused them to forget all about their idea of retreating.
doi:10.7282/t3gx4ffg fatcat:n7hauaknkzgsdnzsdqkambomwu