Rocroi     Dec. 16. [1917]

Dear Family,

It amuses me to think of the number of places
that have been my home of late. I am here for
about a week with Katherine Bigelow, the other
chauffeur, and we are working very hard with our
two cars doing evacuation work for the civilians. You
never saw such a dearth of means of transportation --
no train within sixty miles and very few camions
because the army has moved north and there is
very little traffic. The poor people are desperate trying
to get back to their homes -- they all seem to have
been deplaced by the Germans and of course they
are anxious to get back as soon as they can.
Then there are those who are hurrying to see members
of their family from whom they have been separated
during the war, and then there are also the
poor soldiers who are sent away on their permissions
but have no way of getting to the interior -- Result,
naturally, many poor foot passengers on the roads.

Miss Causse, the member of our unit, who is in
charge here, is most awfully good, very conscientious
& Energetic. She has helped a lot in getting the
people straightened out & now she is using us to
get one certain group of people back to their
village which is about 45 miles from here. She is
sensible in not trying to handle the whole problem
and she picks out certain definite things which
she considers within the scope of possibility, then
she goes right at it & accomplishes wonders. I don't
see how this town will Exist without her for
Every question Either of public or private interest
seems to be brought to her to settle. To-day we
had a man & his wife from Brussels lunch with us, quite
swells I imagine because he knew Hoover & Brand
Whitlock, talked good English, & was well enough
acquainted with history to joke with me about the
Mayflower & Plymouth Rock when he heard I came
from Boston -- You might as well be in the wilds as in
this country as far as food in concerned, because

Except for your regular allowance which is Small Enough
it is impossible to get. These people were naturally
delighted to fall upon us, & they ate our corned beef &
cabbage hash as if it were a filet of steak and fried
potatoes. Miss Causse had a plum pudding left over
because on Thanksgiving day she had forgotten to
celebrate, so we regaled them with that & some bad
brandy which was minus alcohol & therefore refused to
burn properly, so that I think they really thought
we were a clever lot to know so well how to take
care of ourselves.

Thursday I went 150 kilometres, Friday 80, Saturday
180 and yesterday 150, so To-day I have spent working
on the car. I never have had such a terrible time because
as the people and Especially the children have nothing to do
they all stand around and watch -- that is bearable
because they get bored & you have usually a breathing
space but this P.M. Miss Causse was distributing clothes.
The mob was black & it was as bad as going to a
Harvard-Yale football game to move from one grease cup
to another. Every time my back was turned a bad

little boy would toot the horn which resulted in my
dashing around the back of the car, scolding &
losing my temper. If I Ever have to work under
such conditions again I have decided that I will let
the car run dry.

I suppose you got the cable about my Croix
de Guerre -- it is all tommy rot, & we all feel silly
about taking them. Agnes & Betty Blakeman got
them for the same thing as I, working under
fire in March (not true). Susan Ryerson Patterson,
Mimi Scott, and Mrs. Parrish also got them,
so you can see that I am far from being alone
in my glory. Mrs. Daly wanted very much to
have her unit decorated and the medicin chef
wanted to show his appreciation of us. Now that
the war is over there is a regular business of
appreciative Croix de Guerre going on because it
is such a simple way of pleasing people. We
had a dinner the night we received them --
there was nothing formal about it, and the

medicin chef did not Even have the courage to
kiss us on both cheeks; the doctors sitting on Either
side of me did it instead so I felt as if it
had been presented in the proverbial French
manner.

I am much too sleepy to write any more
to-night. We start at 7 o'clock To-morrow for Rheims --
as luck will have it we have some families who want
to go there so you may be sure that we jump at
the Excuse.

Much love from,
Nora

26.7 cm x 20.5 cm

From the Eleanor Saltonstall papers