Nov. 13 [1917]

[Stationary preprinted with name and address of hotel:] Hôtel des Saints-Pères
65, Rue Des Saints-Pères
Téléphone SAXE 02-34

Dear Family,

I have done a good deal since I
got to Paris but I can not yet
tell you a great deal about my work
because Miss Curtis does not believe
in starting people in too quickly. Her
hours are from 9-12 and 2-6 so
that once I get started I foresee very
little time to myself. She is
Associate Chief of the Bureau of
Refugees & Civil Affairs and she has
complete charge of the refugee
problem in Paris and its suburbs,
and her immediate work is
divided into three parts--the

I investigation of existing charities
which call upon the Red Cross for
financial help, the Establishment of
a milk centre & dispensary and the
housing of the refugees. I help on the latter & am to be allotted a district of my own. Apparently
Paris is extremely overcrowded both
on account of the refugees from
Belgium & France & because of the
munition factories which employ
thousands of employees; the Red Cross
is trying to locate Empty buildings
& make arrangements with the
proprietors so that families can
move in; the initial expense is
paid by the Red Cross but the
families have to pay rent just as
in a regular tenement. The trouble is
of course that all the best
buildings have been taken for hospitals or homes. For instance this
morning I went around with Mlle
de Paris (Muriel knows her) one of the
workers, and we came upon a home
for Belgian children which we went
all over; it was a good deal like an
orphan asylum kept by "Sisters" although
as a matter of fact many of these
350 girls ranging from 4 to 14 years have
parents alive but situated near the
front where it is dangerous. They were
a healthy, rosy cheeked looking lot
& were delighted to see us and thus
break the monotony of their lessons.

I lunched with Sophie Norris and
a French lady, friend of Mlle Moos'.
I think my French improving but it
is still far from good. Sophie & I
went to visit the Blind Reconstruction

Hospital but we were too late to go
over it. I left some of the watches
& we are going back; in the mean
while the director is going to pick
out which men are most suited
to have them and I am to present
them myself which will be nice. I am
reserving the rest of the watches for Miss
Holt's "Phare" and am trying to get
in Touch with Rosanna Thorndike to go
out there with her

When I first got here I thought there
were very few wounded but Each day I
notice more and more, the most Evident
are those minus a leg; they walk
around on stumps & go very fast; a
great many soldiers walk with canes.
All the men look tired and very
serious; it is queer to be in Paris & to
see no laughing faces or to hear no

foolish little quarrels on street
corners; Every one goes about his business
& you feel that life is much too
hard to stop and laugh. I pity the
women who have to work outside, for
instance they are Employed for
cleaning streets, running trains,
carrying baggage, in offices, and they
do practically Every kind of work that
you can think of. It makes things
particularly hard for them because
there is only one auto bus line
running & practically no private
motors, therefore the trains & the underground are crowded & the
women conductors have a difficult
task in keeping back the passengers.

I hate my uniform so that I
have ordered a new one on the
same lines but which is much warmer
& which I hope will fit me and
have a little more chic. You see
quite a number of girls in uniform
but I think for the most part
that they are criticized because
they are either sloppy like mine or
too military. The Y.M.C.A. have a
very handsome uniform. I saw

Constance Cunningham in hers &
have never seen her look so well;
she was in Paris on a few days
leave, & I went for a short auto
ride with her and an American
officer whom she had met at her
station. Every one here says there is
tremendous need of canteen workers
either with the Y.M.C.A. or Red Cross
so that if you hear of any available
strong women with a knowledge of
French pass on the good word to
them. The surgical dressings workers are on the job 7 hours a day & I
believe that they have night shifts
as well; as far as I can make out
they do special complicated work or
Else make a reserve set of dressings
in case there is a delay in shipments
from America. What I can't
understand is the lack of connection
between all the offices over here with
their headquarters in America; from
Talking with people one finds that
the needs here are quite different
from what is understood in
America, that the conditions are not at all as we picture them
at home. For instance you can buy
Every thing you want in the stores;
things may be more Expensive than
before but I don't believe prices are
worse than in U.S. They are careful
of sugar & the war bread is coarse
& dark, but one can get what
is called "health bread" made of
graham flour which is very good.
I think they have given up meatless
days because for some reason they
were not a success. The labor situation is the same as at home only worse.
Everyone can get a job and the
wages are high; they say the stores
have never had such good seasons
because the nouveau riche are
spending recklessly. The aristocracy of
course are threadbare and if you
want really to be in fashion you
should wear a three year old suit. Of
course those families which have no
breadwinners also suffer Tremendously
because the cost of living is so
high. I don't know much about
the true state of affairs but I imagine there are altogether too
many problems, industrial, Economic,
Military & political to make anyone
who does know feel happy.

My residence at this hotel is
temporary. Hilda is with me until
she gets a room with the other
Shurtleff girls on the Place Denfert-
Rochereau; that is too far away
for me and I am making
arrangements to live nearer the
Place de la Concorde, either in a
pension or in a hotel with some
other girls.

Time to go to bed now--there is
plenty to say so I will write again
soon. I hope Pa does not still
think I ought to be at home
because if he could hear how
they snatch up the workers over
here I am sure he would feel
differently. The stories about idle
girls must have been about some
either too young ones or restless ones
who would not stick to their jobs.

Much love to all