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Letter, September 18, 1918

[Letter on plain stationery. Received October 22, 1918]

Sept 18 - 1918

My dear little Friend

Well I am still alive and quite comfortable considering. I would not tell you where in France I now am even if I could. For I am quite sure you would worry the least bit even tho there is no need of such even from me. It has not been long since I was out in nomansland, picked up a piece of skull & a jaw bone with some teeth in it. Saw numerous other articles of interest. I am many many miles from where I was when writing the last letter, and as you dont know where I was then of course you can learn nothing from that statement. Just mentioned it so I could tell you that since writing you Ive seen some more beautiful parts of France. One place I was for several days was the most beautiful scenery, on one hill you could see 4 villages, one was a regular city and the valley just run all around this one hill, any direction you looked you first saw the valley - then the hills and & more hills on beyond. In these valleys and close to the river the little village would be almost hidden from sight by the green trees. Ive set for hours on this point, in the warm sun and observed the country far and near thru my glasses. The white roads winding up the green hills and following the river looked like white ribbons winding away.

The climb up to this point was long and very steep in a few places for it was a few hundred feet up. Jove I wished more than once you could have been with me up there for I know you would have enjoyed the scene as much if not more than I. I saw too an old castle, one prisoner carved his name & date in one of the old cells, date was 1139, sure looked the part too, the place must be years older than that tho. Solid stone walls, turrits on top of it, and a dungeon that made the cold chills run up your back when you looked down in it. I met some nice French girls there. I am with a fellow quite a bit that is pretty fluent with the language, and was able to get along real nice - tho Ill admit I did not talk as I would if I had the chance to spend the same length of time with you.

Well Cecil I am sure making use of your paper as I am right now where I cannot get any myself - And no telling when I will be either. I see tho you expect more in return than you give. for you write me 4 pages and send me 6 to fill for you in return, now that is not at all fair. So if you do such a thing again remember it must be an even trade. Of course a picture will account for an extra sheet. Ill write you 3 sheets full for 2 sheets & a picture from you. It doesnt make any diff if the pictures are not the best of you. A picture is a picture to a man in the trenches. Tonite I am by my little stove, with a small table & candle down where shells mever come - quite cozy. If you should take a look in you might say it a miserable looking hole, but not so. its quite comfortable. I would like to send you some souveneir but no chance now. probly can some time tho.

My work never takes me up in the front line trenches. Only time I get to see up there is when I go as I did a while back, go up and take a look to see what it is like. This was quite a noted place so I took a look for curosity. And was not at all dissapointed, was even surprised. Certainly would like to tell you my experience.

The lad witting here writing with me starts scratching, stops writing, takes of shirt & under shirt & goes searching for cooties. These lice, mice & rats give you plenty employment, to say nothing of the Bosche. I have some bread hanging on a wire above my head; that's one thing a mouse or rat cant do - walk a wire out as far from the wall as I have the bread hanging.

Did I understand you right, about being back at Emery's? Realy I hope you are.

I have some clothes to mend yet this evening and will quit writing a while.

I must write to mother soon. I have no idea when this letter will reach you, so dont be surprised if it is some long time over due. Oh - did not tell you I saw some of Paris did I. Did not get to stay long enough tho. Well little Pal write as often as you feel like. I sure appreciate all I get from you. you best pal,

Paul B Hendrickson Hdq co. 129 Inf.

A.E.F. via New York

P.S. Thanks for the clipping and the papers I have not rec. as yet. Thanks for them even if I never get them.

Sept. 21. Well little girl - I am way south in France now. Traveled 3 days & nites, so you know I went quite a ways. Is a beautiful place I am at.

On the way we went thru a large city and had to change trains there. Was there 4 hrs. I saw an Old Cathedreal there Built in the 11th Century. A catholic took me thru and showed me the seat the Arc Bishop used and all thru it.

The city is a very historical one. Also was lucky enough to visit a masonic hall there. This has been a wonderful week for me tho. Not under shell fire, and a regular mess hall & barracks to sleep in. a real rest. Fine people here - as there are not so many solders here - just students. you sure can have a fine time.

But am leaving today - Ive met fellows here from many Divisions - sure has been fine in just that way.

Am hoping to see Paris again on the way back.

[Sept] 22 my hope has come true. Im here and enjoying the wonderful sights of the most wonderful city in the world. Sure is different than anything Ive seen yet.

Ive seen some very interesting things and hope to see more before leaving.

This is sure a treat to me. Sunday in Paris. makes me almost forget there is a war, but in a few days it will be grim reality for me again. But sure am thankful for this little chance of seeing some of the wonderful sights of this Old World. Well I will close and get a bite to eat and continue my sight seeing.

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September 1918