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An Afternoon In Paris


The Indian Magazine
Volume 1, No. 12 — July 1, 1919

I lay sprawled out on my bunk in a Paris hospital last November, in a position much easier than standing at attention, or at ease either.

I had a regular honest-to-goodness bed, with springs, white sheets and clean blankets and—pillows! I had 17 of 'em—big, fat, fluffy ones, and long, slim ones, and little round ones, and rubber ones, and a little square one for my foot. And every time I thought of the lump that used to come in my back out there on the ground, I'd hit the nurse up for another one. I had 'em under me and over me and around me and sandwiched in between my legs. Oh, I surely made up for those six months on the ground all right.

I repeat, it was better than standing at ease—but I've been doing it now for over four weeks and it was beginning to pall on me. I'd got to where I couldn't find a soft spot in a pillow anymore, and anyway, even if the nurse was a queen, I had to share her with 60 other patients.

Well, I was trying to read, and wishing I was back in the line with the outfit, when in blows a flock of sure-enough American girls—visitors. Gee, they sure did look good, and I immediately changed my mind about going back to the lines.

Some big double-fisted old dame was herding 'em around, but they soon began to scatter out in the ward, sitting on the edge of the bunks, smoothing out the pillows and chewing the fat. Of course there weren't enough to go around. And I guess the reason the old party picked on me (and the jeune filles shied at me) was they thought I was bashful or rude—lying on my face that way.

Well, the old lady opens up with: "Where were you wounded, my boy?" "Champagne, ma'am." "Yes, but where at?" "Blanc Mont, ma'am." "I know, but where were you wounded?" "In the rear, ma'am." "But Blanc Mont isn't in the rear. Where were you wounded, anyway—in the leg?"

Can you beat it? Regular third degree. Well, I am bashful. And I told her I was pretty badly cut up "Oh, you've been operated on?" I admitted it. "Oh you poor boy! Aren't operations just dreadful? I had my tonsils removed just before I came over. But tell me, why don't you sit up? That's such an uncomfortable position."

I looked out the window at that cold drizzling rain—and envied my pals up there who were out in it. "Well, ma'am, I never refused a lady nothing yet, but I made a resolution not to sit down until the Boche is licked, and I couldn't break it, not even by order of General Pershing."

— "Mike," Fifth Marines.
 
 
 
 
 
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