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Letter, June 18, 1918

[Letter on color stationery of the American Y.M.C.A. Received July 15, 1918.

June 18 1918

My dear little Friend -

I rec. the letter today you sent to my southern camp that got there after I left. was very interesting to me as it is the last real news from you - for I went thru my home town too blooming fast to get hardly a word of conversation with you.

I wished for more time, you may be sure of that. and Ive written more letters now to you than any other person in the States. I don't know tho how many you will rec, all of them I hope.

I am having some pretty hard hikes now and have seen hundreds of sq. miles of France as we are not in one place all the time.

And beautiful country, girl - I never knew such beautiful scenes existed in real life. or at least that I should have the privelege of seeing them. And I know you well enough to know you would enjoy them as much as myself if not more.

I havent words or any other means of describing what a country this is - only I know I haven't had or ever will have any regrets of coming over and doing what I can to save it - and I believe every American over here feels the same way about it. At present I guess I am very safe. Or at least I never think of it in any other way. Fact is I'm very busy for there is a heap to do and no time or desire to think of anything but of the things to do. So I guess I wont worry even when we get to the trenches.

Well Cecil I am glad to know you got the kind of work you wanted and can do it - I sure hope you still have it and can keep it. For I can imagine how much easier it is to work at things you like than at any thing else.

I think Mr. Emery must be a very good employer if he does as you say and gives you a feed like you mentioned - jove that would be a feast compared to army rations.

I'm not getting fat altho I feel as fine as can be. This evening my feet are so sore from hiking I can hardly hobble around. Will be better in a day or so.

Have seen more cathedreals - some great pieces of art and so ancient. And old dutch wind mills with the 4 big wing fans on it and water power mills with the big wheel out side. you would think you were back in ancient history some place, to see some of the sights around places Ive been. I can speak a very little French now - learning it from the grammar while slower I find to be much better and all the people are so willing to help you with the pronounciation which is so much different from the English; you have to hear the French say it before you can begin to get it right. Their grammar is some what different too from our mother tongue.

The French people treat you like a brother if not better. They seem to like the "Americains" from what they say and judging by actions [obliterated] amis: [obliterated]

You said you were glad I liked your picture. I sure did mean all I said about it too and you can depend on it. And after seeing you I can truthfuly say the picture does not flatter you at all. I doubt if it does you justice for you have sure made the greatest change for length of time (1 year) I have ever seen in any one. I know Ive made quite a change my self in the last year - I don't know if you had time to notice much or not but I do know I have not made as great a change as you and not nearly so much to my credit. while we got to see each other as we both wished - yet we did not get to talk at all - which is very different from what I wished. I am surprised tho to hear you are not keeping company with any one. And what makes you doubt if you ever will - you sure dont mean to be an old maid do you? You never seemed to have an aversion to my coming to see you - or was that just because you considered me just a good pal of yours? I'll say I envy the young lad that will ever have the privelege, for I believe you will change your mind some time. You must be a heap different from a any of the other girls around home and I am really not at all sorry to hear it. Shows you still have your good common sense, does it not? I hope you keep it till I get home at least. (not saying just how long that will be)

Well I send this c/o Emerys. I know two very good reasons for you sugjesting this. Either one of the two is good enough and for all I know you may have both. What ever it may be tho - I would just as well do it for I don't care where it goes just so you get it all KO. You try and have a good time for both of us if you can - for I am terribly handicapped at present and havent know what real pleasure is for a long time now. (not since I saw you all on my way here). I must close now. I do hope to hear from you soon and another little photo if you have one would be accepted with much pleasure - Your Old Pal & best friend

Paul Hendrickson [text obliterated by censor, W. J. Smith]

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June 1918