Neufchateau, France 11/9/1917

Same place in France.

 

Dear Em.

 

Still here, and we won’t kick much if here we stay, while we are in France, anyway. Of coarse some of the boys are still living in barns where they are not allowed to have a stove, and it comes kind of hard on them. But pay day is due very soon now, and those that have not already got better quarters, will probably get them by making it (money) talk to the natives here. Any man that hires a room will get about half of the expense from the French Government. That is, the Government will allow so much for said rooms, and the man will have to pay the rest. Im not effected at all by this, for Im in as comfortable a place (as Ive said before) as there is here.

 

The Y.M.C.A. gave us another sack of Bull Durham apiece today, which came in very handy. You will appreciate how much this was neaded when I say that we’ve not received a nickel since Aug 31, but expect two months pay any day now.

 

We were each issued a cake of face soap yesterday and although it was only a very small cake, it came in handy and will be used to very good advandage. Tomorrow is Saturday morning inspection, and in order to get in condition to get by this inspection, there will be very little of this cake left. One of the fellows bought a cake of washing soap the other day, and paid 1 franc 40 centimes for a cake as big as a cake of life bouy. In U.S. money this is $.28.  It takes 5 centimes to make a cent 20 cents to make a franc. Where we use dollars and cents, they use francs and centimes here. Although Im not getting onto the lingo very fast, Ive got the currency down pat. The rate of coinage is very much like ours, and is very much more simpler than English. Here goes for another page.

 

Here is the real news. Ive got a new nick name now. It is Major. Im drum major of the band now, and I got my first tast of this job tonight at retreat. You see it has always been the custom for the top sergeant of Hdq. Co. to be the drum major. In the new table of organization, where the companies were increased so much, it was thought that there would be a drum major to act as nothing but such. The Band Leader has been holding down this job since Smiley (the old top sergeant) was transfered from the company, but today an order came down for the band leader to be releaved of this job, and yours truly take it up. Can you picture me (thats it Pa laugh away) out in front of the regiment, swinging the old stick.

 

As I said above, tonight was my first attempt, and by all accounts I got away with it very well. Ive got a brand new baton, and I got out my best uniform, clean pair of leggings and put on a stearn soldierly expression! Well any way I went through with it, and enjoyed it very much. After retreat and To The Colors has blown, the band parades around the village brightening up things, I tell you. Out in front is Sam. Nuf Ced.

 

This drum majoring is in excess of my other duties as top sergeant of the largest company in the regiment, but Ive got a splendid bunch of sergeants with me (and by that I mean they are with me) and they help me out in every thing there is to do.

 

Im getting along fine Em, feeling as well as ever. Its raining again (I mean yet) but we’ve got the old fire place nice and bright with a fire that is throwing a splendid heat making the wind sound all the better, (that we are in out of it). Well bunch so much for today, try and write tomorrow.

 

(Sam)

 

P.S. Have you seen or heard from Henry latly? Id ought to be hearing from you soon. How does that piano sound. I wonder what is going on out in the world. What does Pa think of this drum major job I bet he is enjoying it. Ive been about every thing in this mans army but a commissioned officer but I never dreamt of ever, marching out in front and leading a band. You know how much I like music too. I hardly feel my heels touch the ground. I can’t seem to get out of the habit of using up every bit of paper. Does the wind rock house #297 B.H. this winter. Id like to be there to feel that rock. The wind is singing outside now.

 

© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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