Saturday, 22 March 2008

Letter 11 - February 19, (1919)

S.S. Kashgar, Mediterranean Sea (leaving the Taranto Harbor)

Dear Family,-

Yesterday afternoon our own American Consul at Rome and our American Naval Attachee wired to the British Naval Base at Taranto that we were coming and that thy should hold a boat for us. It was leaving the next day and that it would be held until our arrival. I had already engaged sleepers at Taranto so at seven-thirty we left Rome. Our Pulman sleepers may be comfortable but they are nothing compared to the luxurioussness of these used in Europe.

At about one o’clock today our train arrived. At the station we were greeted by some British and some Italian Naval officers who directed some sailors to take our baggage while they conducted us to a military auto and then via a speedy little launch to the ship. Soon after we got aboard the steamer started.

It is a large boat, far larger than I thought ran in the Mediterranean. One of the officers tells me, however, that there are a number of just such boats which have temporarily turned over to the British in order that they may rapidly send home their demobilized troops. We were under the impression that this boat went to Alexandria, for we had hoped to go to Cairo before getting to Palestine, but we find that we are en route to Port Said; so that it is doubtful whether we will go out of our way just to see Cairo.

Just before leaving Rome we located several English papers containing the full text of the document drawn up at the Peace Conference. If it succeeds, if some precedent is established at an early time before the high resolves of the several “high contracting parties” are forgotten, then a very lasting peace is apparently assured. And we may be proud of being a fellow-countryman of Wilson, the acknowledged leader at the gathering.

Yesterday I located a YMCA house at Rome and bought a supply of tobacco, chocolate and matches. Tho a limited amount only is permitted to one person I argued that in Palestine there was no “Y” etc and finally was granted permission to buy all I cared to take along.

The climate is wonderful here. The air is warm, the sky is richly blue, the people are lazy, the children are dirty, the houses are filthy—but everybody seems happy. There abounds an atmosphere of extreme contentment.

Lots of love and kisses,


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