Scott County Indiana History

April 10, 1918 Supplement

A Letter From France by a Scott County Girl

J. Ainsly Blair, one of our good Lexington township friends, has kindly permitted us to publish a letter from

his daughter, Bertha Mahan, who is now a Red Cross nurse in France. It was written to her brother, Arthur Blair.

Somewhere in France, February 10, 1918

Dear Arthur: Your letter received last week and was so welcome. Letters over here are like banana’s, “they come in bunches.” About every three or four weeks I get about ten letters at one time, and I read and re-read them until another bunch arrives. When the mail truck comes we are in a state of high expectancy until the mail is distributed. Then those who are fortunate enough to receive letters may be seen sitting on door-steps, leaning against posts, and sometimes standing right in the middle of the street, so wholly absorbed intheir letter that they are “dead” to time, place and company; while those who do not hear from home and friends carry a long face and heavy heart.

The last time I wrote I was in Paris, and I was just as glad to get back. The other two girls had orders else-where for duty, so I had a lonely all day journey, but arrived safe to find the Unit had moved another build-ing.

Of course you read all about the air raid in Paris. That happened the night before I left so I was an eye wit-ness, in fact I had to seek a place of safety. When we returned to the hotel from work, about six p.m., it was so foggy the street cars could hardly run, so I remarked to the girls it would be an ideal night for an air raid, and they nearly mobbed me for mentioning such a thing; but about 11:30 p.m. when we had got nicely asleep the sirens sounded (and such and earthly sound too). I was the first to awaken and called the other two girls and we went out on the balcony, being on the fifth floor we had a good view of the sky, which was literally dotted with aeroplanes. It was very easy to tell the enemy from our own. At this point we were or-
dered downstairs at once without taking time to dress, and as we were in total darkness I proceeded to knock the legs from all the chairs and tables with my bare toes before I found my coat and bedroom slippers. But at last with our underclothing under our arm we descended the stairs where they ordered us to the cel-lar, but we refused to go. So huddled together on the first floor until our curiosity got the best of us and we three slipped back up to our room and out on the balcony again, and I never will forget the scene, as the fighting had then started. We could see the flashes of fire between the aeroplanes, also from the powerful anti-air craft guns placed on the high buildings, and the roar was terrific. It was a wonderful and en-thrilling sight, but we had been missed and was again ordered downstairs where we sat and chilled until about 1:30 a.m. when I slipped off again.


No Longer “Made In Germany”

Clinical thermometers have, in the past, been a feature of Germany’s trade; and so, when the German pris-oners in France were sorted out last year, they were asked if any of them were thermometer-makers, and if so would they care to work at their trade. A large number stepped out; and now nearly all the thermome-ters for use in France are made by these German prisoners. Their workshop is one of the old dismantled forts near Paris, and apparently they were most happy in their work. Possibly this is in part due to the fact that they are teaching their art to a number of French women. Joseph S. Ames, in the Atlantic.