Series 1 Oliver McNaughton

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have a much better another time for now I understand some of the eccentricities of gay Paree.

Sometime, when I am in the humor I'll write a few things I know about Paris. I am not in the humor, to-night, and, besides there is a large crowd of us in a small space and you can imagine that everything in general is not very conducive to writing descriptions. I could write (Jack has just interrupted me) with zeal, a description of my environments, direct and indirect or rather near and within a certain radius.

I might say, however, that Paris is a beautiful city, and considering its age I was astounded at wide sheets and boulevards & I suppose. I had a preconcieved idea of Paris after seeing London

Last edit over 2 years ago by LoriF
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[Letterheaded CANADA Y.M.C.A]

3.

I did not give enough prominence in my mind to the naturally artistic nature of the French people. Louis XIV laid the foundations of much of the present beauty of Paris. Versailles, palaces and grounds, situated at the South West outskirts of the city, were built by Louis XIV as Royal Palaces. They are wonderful, as also are the grounds. The statuary theme, as in other parts of the city is being sandbagged as a protection against bombs. The best paintings have been removed and are being removed for the same reason. The museums of Paris are all closed and many other places of interest. It was only by special permit, gained through Y.M.C.A that we Khaki clad were allowed to see through the buildings of Versailles. Of course, we soldiers would have

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been entirely lost and stranded in a big, strange, foreign city were it not for the Y.M.C.A, British soldiers & sailors [unintelligible] American Y.M.C.A etc. They look after us as long as we wish them to, and during my stay in Paris I never got better meals than I did at these institutions, and they were cheaper.

Paris like London believes in keeping is theatres going if only for the soldiers on leave, and to keep the people from getting morose and pessimistic. I saw the finest revues I ever saw (art again) and in fact the finest in the world. I did not take in drama for I do not understand the language.

It is surprising how many people (civilians) one meets in Paris who speak English. Some are English who live in Paris and have been for years, others who are there for war purposes Y.M.C.A [unintelligible]

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[Letterheaded CANADA YMCA]

and others are French who have been in England or America. Le Page and I were chafing [crossed out word] each [crossed out word] other on a subway car one day thinking no one in the [crossed out word] crowded car would 'compres' (understand), when we noticed a French soldier standing close to us enjoying something, hugely, and soon he joined the conversation in English. Le Page (corpl Le Page, D.C.M) being a French Canadian speaks French fluently, and therefore he was a good companion in Paris. I stopped one morning to look at a bunch of horses being led up the street when a man in civies asked me in good English if I thought those horses looked disabled, too disabled for army purposes. We talked about the horses a while and then began to find

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out who was who. He was a Belgian who lived for four years in Chatham, Ont. and who was called to Belgium to join his regiment as soon as war broke out. His right arm was shattered by an explosive bullet. He has been discharged but put it up to the Belgian government to see that he got transportation to Canada, and to Chatham, Ontario.

I received your letters of Febr 3,10,&17th, and Allan's of Feb 10th, also a couple from Jessie. There was a large pile of letters awaiting me on my return to my unit. I got the parcel of tobacco O.K with the Jelly, enclosed, - a real treat. Thanks very much. The parcel, alongwith Allan's letter came to me ina dugout not very far from Fritz.

How did Sam Gunning come out of the pneumonia attack? Mabel had him dead, you contradicted it. I had to laugh at Bertha putting it over mother in the Red Cross concert. You people sure turned out the goodest. How are Father & mother? I was glad to hear you had had a thaw. It's warm enough on the Western Front, thanks to Fritzy. Lovingly Oliver

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Last edit about 2 years ago by MaryV
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