Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Gates, Marvin H., 1876-1972

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, December 3, 1918. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

December 3, 1918

Dear Bess:

I am having a very enjoyable vacation, as I told you in a letter day before yesterday. The whole bunch of us went to Monte Carlo day before yesterday and stayed all night. They won't let soldiers into the casino, nor will they allow anyone who lives or works in any of the towns along the Riviera to play. It is a gaudy, gorgeous place, just what you'd expect in a place whose sole income is from fleecing tourists and making them gamblers. The fleecing isn't done at the casino but at the hotels and cafes. The gambling is on the square but the probable error has been so closely figured that the house wins in the long run. They let us go in and see the great gambling rooms before ten o'clock in the morning and they are surely furnished in a style you'd expect to find in a place of that kind. There are velvet hangings, beautiful paintings, and mahogany chairs and tables, a beautiful mahogany bar in a drinking saloon which has Brussels carpet a foot thick on the floor and leather chairs to sit in. No French theater is complete without a fine bar and a beautiful room to drink in. Everyone, men, women, and children, are frequenters and every show gives thirty- minute intermissions between each act so the audience can go out and quench its thirst, which it does en masse. I'll bet that this country drinks enough wine to float the British navy every month. They use water only to wash in and if a man wants water to drink with his meals, they think he needs a doctor or something.

There is a grand hotel in Monte Carlo called Hotel [illegible] Paris, there is a Café de Paris and a museum. The museum is architecturally beautiful and really looks as if it had walked in from Greece or from somewhere that buildings are made beautiful instead of gaudy. It is the Mussee Oceanographic. It is very beautiful and very interesting inside too. Every kind of sea animal and fish in the world is represented either by a stuffed one, a skeleton, or a live one. There is a stuffed Polar bear and the skeleton of a whale and a live octopus so you see that most everything is present. It was started by Prince Albert I of Monaco. I suppose he wanted at least one Prince of Monaco to be famous for some thing worth while and he is I guess.

Major Gates and I bought an interest in an automobile and drove to the Italian border and back to Nice by way of the Grand Cornice which I am informed is one of the famous drives of the world. It was built by the Little Corporal to facilitate his march to Italy. It is the most beautiful ride I ever had even if I did lose my interest in the machine when the ride was over. I am sending you some watercolor post cards of views around here. The cards a beautiful but they don't half do justice to the original.

I have to go back to slavery day after tomorrow and I'd almost rather be shot. Most of us are endeavoring to get the flu so we can stay here. The trouble is that the flu or any other sickness doesn't work here.

I am hoping for a bushel of letters when I get back. Be sure and keep sending them. How I wish you were here.

Yours always, Harry

Harry S. Truman Capt Bty D 129 FA American E.F.

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