Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Deslys, Gaby, 1881-1920

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, November 29, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Nice, France

November 29, 1918

Dear Bess:

What think you, I am at Nice! I have been to Paris and to Marseilles and I hate to think that I have to go back to slavery again at the end of seven days. I put in for a leave and got surprised by getting it. It was necessary to go to Paris in order to get here but time spent on the road doesn't count on the leave so I spent twenty-four hours in Paris and twenty- four hours at Marseilles. I saw a lot of places in that twenty-four hours in Paris. I dined at Maxim's, went to the Folies Bergeres, saw Notre Dame, Napoleon's Tomb, the Madeleine, and could have seen King George V but didn't. I rode around in a taxi all afternoon from one end of the Champ Ellesee (I can't spell French, or English either for that matter) to the other, down the Rue Rivoli, across the famous Alexander III Bridge over the Seine, saw the Palace of the Luxembourg, Luxor, Tuilleries, Boulevard de l'Opera, and a lot of side streets besides. It was a very full twenty-four hours. None of the galleries were open so I didn't see any art treasures. Napoleon's Tomb was all covered up with sandbags and so were some of the statues on the Arc de Triomphe.

At Marseilles I saw Gaby, and she threw me a bunch of violets. They weren't intended for me personally, but I happened to be on the line of fire when she threw them and I got them. She is prettier than ever and some dancer. She has a fine chateau at Marseilles, so I was told, and owns the theater she was playing in. Marseilles is some town. It has Paris beaten for crowds now.

I am stopping at the Hotel de la Mediterranee, a dandy place overlooking the sea. I have a room about the size of a town lot with furniture enough in it for us to go to housekeeping on. All it lacks is a range.

The view from my window is simply magnificent. There isn't a painting in existence that could do it justice. There is no blue like the Mediterranean blue and when it is backed by hills and a promontory with a lighthouse on it and a few little sailing ships it makes you think of Von Weber's Polacca Brilliante, which I am told was composed here.

I am getting very heavy (fat I should say). I'm afraid you won't love me when you see me with cheeks all pushed out and a double chin. My uniform fits me like the skin on a sausage and I weigh 174 pounds. When I came out of the Argonne drive I weighed about 135 but plenty of sleep and a good allowance of bacon and beans have had their effect. I hate to think what I'll be like after seven days of chicken and dumplings and "Hunt Sautern" down here. There is only one thing that could make the place real heaven and that would be to have you here, but I suppose every place must have its drawbacks and I am going to try and overcome that one the next time I pay a visit here. Of course I'll need your entire cooperation to achieve it. Be sure and keep writing and I hope to see you at no very distant date. I love you.

Always, Harry


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