I made two efforts to get a permission to go to Voulangis. It is only five miles away. I wrote to the commander of the 5th Army Corps twice. I got no answer. Then I was told that I could not hope to reach him with a personal letter—that I must communicate with him through the civil authorities. I made a desperate effort. I decided to dare the regulations and appeal to the commander of the gendarmes at Esbly.
There I had a queer interview—at first very discreet and very misleading, so far as they were concerned. In the end, however, I had the pleasure of seeing my two letters to Monsieur le General attached to a long sheet of paper, full of writing,—my dossier, they called it. They did not deign to tell me why my letters, sent to the army headquarters, had been filed at the gendarmerie. I suppose that was none of my business. Nor did they let me see what was written on the long sheet to which the letters were attached. Finally, they did stoop to tell me that a gendarme had been to the mairie regarding my case, and that if I would present myself at Quincy the next morning, I would find a petition covering my demand awaiting my signature. It will be too late to serve the purpose for which it was asked, but I’ll take it for Paris, if I can get it.
For lack of other company I invited Khaki to breakfast with me today. He didn’t promise formally to come—but he was there. By devoting myself to him he behaved very well indeed, and did not disturb the table decorations. Luckily, they were not good to eat. He sat in a chair beside me, and now and then I had to pardon him for putting his elbow on the table. I did that the more graciously as I was surprised that he did not sit on it. He had his own fork, and except that, now and then, he got impatient and reached out a white paw to take a bit of chicken from my fork just before it reached my mouth, he committed no grave breach of table manners. He did refuse to keep his bib on, and he ate more than I did, and enjoyed the meal better. In fact, I should not have enjoyed it at all but for him. He had a gorgeous time.
I did not invite Garibaldi. He did not know anything about it. He is too young to enjoy a “function.” He played in the garden during the meal, happy and content to have a huge breakfast of bread and gravy; he is a bread eater—thoroughly French.
I even went so far as to dress for Khaki, and put a Christmas rose in my hair. Alas! It was all wasted on him.
This is all the news I have to send you, and I cannot even send a hopeful message for 1916. The end looks farther off for me than it did at the beginning of the year. It seems to me that the world is only now beginning to realize what it is up against.
January 23, 1916
Well, I have really been to Paris, and it was so difficult that I ask myself why I troubled.