June 30- 1917
Dearest Julius, Mary and Osmond:
It is Saturday evening and having just come into my room I wish to write you a few lines before I go to bed. Two weeks ago I moved from the place where I was living and now have a room in the small house of a nice French family here in Neuilly, just outside the gates of Paris and not far from the Am. Ambulance Hospital where I used to be last summer. It is very agreable [sic] here for the family is very nice, and we have a nice little garden where we sit and talk when it is warm. As this family talks no English I recieve [sic] good practice in conversational French.
Before I go any further permit me to thank you for the package I recieved [sic] from you yesterday. Not having heard from you regarding the pkge. it was a very agreable [sic] surprise. The shoes fit me fine and the collars, shirts & neckties are fine, as also are the V.D.S. which it is next to impossible to find here. The only tax or expense I had to pay at this end was less than ninety cents, which I think very cheap. If I bought the oxfords here I could not get the same thing for less than about seventy five or ninety francs. Some English oxfords IN once looked at were priced 110 francs and 100 francs. Leather is exceptionally high here. You can’t imagine what a happy feeling the reception of the pkge. gave me. After coming back from the front my other shoes were a little small for me, so these came as a big good fortune.
The last remittance I have recieved [sic] from you was the one sent about May 1st to the amount of $20 from a St. Paul bank, signed by Bill Smith. Henceforth you will not need to send me any more money, I trust, because about fifteen days ago, after a talk with the head cashier, my salary was raised to two hundred and fifty francs per month. This will be, I think, sufficient to get along on in a reasonable manner, notwithstanding the extremely high cost of living. In this little talk, the cashier told me that my work had been very satisfactory and that if I stayed with the institution I would undoubtedly get along well. I told him, that, on account of the war, I would stay as long as my conscience would permit me. Later on, I may try to get a commission in the army in some auxiliary branch of the service, such as interpreters corps or liaison service, but for the present I will undoubtedly stay by my work.
The news just came out in the evening papers that a large number of American troops are in France for fighting. It seems that they have been here about a week but it has been kept very quiet. Their coming causes great joy in the hearts of the French people. When Ge. Pershing and his staff arrived about three weeks ago I had a very good view of the procession of automobiles as it came along one of the principle streets. Many prominent French people were with them, perhaps the most noted, at least in my estimation being Gen. Joffre. I was about four feet from him when his car passed me. Most of the American officers have opened checking accounts with us, which causes a lot of extra work, but it is very interesting meeting the men.
Recently a very fine Y.M.C.A. has been opened up for the soldiers, sailors and ambulance men and aviators. I know some of the young men at the head of it, and it is backed by some very prominent and substantial Americans. To-morrow, Sunday, afternoon, I am going to do a little guide work with some of the soldiers to show them, from automobiles, interesting things of Paris.
I forgot to mention that when Pershing and his cortègè [sic] came thru [sic] the streets they were loudly proclaimed with yells of “Vive l’Amerique” and “Vive Gen. Pershing,” and thousands of young Paris girls showered the cars with roses and beautiful flowers. It was a very fine and inspiring sight.
Imagine that things at home now are taking on quite a military atmosphere and I shall be very interested in hearing about the local actions.
This evening I was visiting a young American I knew in the Am. Ambulance, who is now married to a nice French girl of good family and having a fine apartment, they seem to get along very well. It was the same chap I ran across on the train, when going to Nice for my permission last winter.
It is just twelve oclock, so I will leave this letter and finish it to-morrow perhaps.
Monday evening- Your god letter of June 11 arrived this morning and note what you say regarding affidavit. There are no notarized public here in France but I will try to get over to the Am. Consular’s office, or make some other arrangement. As yet I have not recieved [sic] the $50- but imagine it will arrive in due course of time. I will deposit that to my account in the bank and I will now be able to get along without any further aid from you I think. Now that I am known, in case I was hard pressed, I could draw on you. I hope Mary is in much better health now and also that Osmond is well.
With very best love to all, Your brother, Luther.
P.S. I referred N.W. Nat Life Ins. Co. to you for pay’t of my premium this year on $1000.
July 3rd. Will mail this now and affidavit will follow as soon as I can get over to Cons. office.
Title: Letter 19, Luther Nelson to Sister Selma & Folks
Date: 1917 April 14
Collection: RG1/051, Luther Nelson Collection, 1916-1918
Repository: Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
Creator: Nelson, Luther
Publisher: Digitized by AFS staff in 2016.
Rights Statement: This item cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs. In the event that this letter becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required.
Digital ID: 1_051_19