The toubib (doctor) says I shall be on my feet in three or four days. Don’t see many Boches just now, but that won’t last. I read in a newspaper that I had been mobbed in a friendly manner in Paris. I must be ubiquitous without knowing it. Modern science brings about marvels, modern journalism also.
Raymond has two strings
(officer’s stripes) and the cross of the
Legion. Please congratulate him.
Good night, father.
P.S. I, who get seasick over nothing at all, have just been out to sea for the first time. The water was very rough, especially for a little motor-boat, but I smiled serenely through it all. Wasn’t I proud!...
In fact, some newspaper had announced that Guynemer would carry the aviation flag in the Parade of the Fourteenth of July in Paris, and this was enough to persuade the crowd that some other airman was Guynemer. Indeed, there had been talk of sending him to Paris on that solemn occasion, but he had declined. He loved glory, but hated show, and he had followed his squadron to Flanders, where he had taken to his bed.
The foregoing letter bears Guynemer’s mark unmistakably. The son of rich parents rejoicing over having a room to himself, after having renounced all comfort from the very first day of his enlistment, and willing to begin as garcon d’aerodrome; the joke about the German airplane sunk so deep in the wet ground that it would have to be dug out, and the surprise of the pilot; the delight over Raymond’s promotion; the amusing allusion to sea-sickness by the man who had no equal in air navigation, are all characteristic details.
Sheik Jabias thus sums up his impressions after visiting the Cid in his camp:
Vous dominiez tout,
grand, sans chef, sans joug, sans digue,
Absolu, lance au poing, panache, au front....
And that Cid had never fought up in the air.
IV. GUYNEMER IN HIS FATHER’S HOUSE
To quote him once more, Sheik Jabias, after being dazzled by the Cid in his camp, is supposed to see him in his father’s castle at Bivar, doing more humble work.
...Que s’est-il donc passe? Quel est cet equipage? J’arrive, et je vous trouve en veste, comme un page, Dehors, bras nus, nu-tete, et si petit garcon Que vous avez en main l’auge et le cavecon, Et faisant ce qu’il sied aux ecuyers de faire, —Cheick, dit le Cid, je suis maintenant chez mon pere.
Those who never saw Guynemer at his father’s at Compiegne cannot know him well. Of course, even in camp he was the best of comrades, full of his work, but always ready to enjoy somebody else’s success, and speaking about his own as if it were billiards or bridge. His renown had not intoxicated