Scroll through the gallery below, each captioned from her letters, to enjoy Cécile's sketches and enclosed mementoes she sent for her friend Ruth to enjoy.
Brown are your eyes I believe? Mine are dark green blue near the eyeball and green and yellow all around. Like this.. Maman says they are not so green that the picture. She says they are more blue and gray. I don’t know! If you want to think my eyes, imagine a round made of gray-blue-green-yellow. Lulu’s eyes are same as mine.
I write English sentences, just like I speak French. Some of my school fellows say always, “English is too difficult!” As I am very fond of English conversations and reading, I was the first in English and my teacher was interest with me. If I can speak rather well, it is because I have learned alone too and sometime with my brother. During the war sometimes was no school so I would practice English at home. I speak English for three years. I send you my first lesson of English. You can see how I was well up. On the 1st of October my lessons of steno-dactylo [shorthand and typing] begin again.
I like very much to walk along the banks of the Seine; this nice green water resembles the water of the Ocean. Last Tuesday, we went, Ninette and me along the banks, we bought some old books at an old bookseller who stay on the quays.. I have bought a little book of English. Oh! It is not a nice story of adventures, but only a book of reading, for children; but I like it, since I understand nearly all the contents.Don’t you laugh too much when you read my letters? For I see they are droll, when I translate them, word by word, in French. No, it is not easy to explain what I think in a language which I don’t speak well. Tell me all the words you know in French. “Vive la France”…”Bonjour”…and after; is it all? To thank you for your French words and because I understand English children book I make paper dolls of a sweet boy and girl.
Flower sketch on letter: My dear little thing, Oh! Ruth, look at the floor; don’t you see a mouse? Bright be for you The 1st of April! Here, in France, the 1st of April is a very pleasant day. You tell a person; “Ma’am, you’ve lost your purse!” the person looks at her pocket and then you shout “Poisson d’ April” which means, “Fish of April!”
The birthday of the Armistice will be soon, in November. I remember how I have shouted. On the grands boulevards there was thousand and thousands of people crying, running, dancing, singing, pushing [selling], guns taken on the front. I have seen an English nurse on the top of a gas lamp in a street, singing the Marseillaise and the God Save The King. Round her there was 500 or more perhaps singing with her. Farther in the Avenue de l’ Opera an American soldiers was making noise with the motor of their motor cars. What a jazz band!!!
Here is the new fashion to dress the hair. Yesterday I dressed my hair like that. Do you like it? And another fashion is like this: A woman here has her hair dressed like this and she is awful to see. She is thin and tall, and with a same monument on her head she is a good caricature! Well my dear little Ruffis, I have to close here. Believe me to be your loving little, Cécile
Cécile's monogram on a letter: Lulu wrote you last week and tells you that I am ill. Now I am a bit better, I get up each afternoon and stay on a long chair. I received your serial letters and I thank you for being such a good chum for me. I do not know about my cure. I am not sure I go to Switzerland. I do know, I cannot stay in Paris where air is so bad and must go where the air is pure.
Do you like my caricature of girl of Quimper, you pronounce kem-pair? In Brittany there are many native costumes. I draw you the one from my town Quimper, the small tranquil town where the Odet and Steir rivers come together. I would like you to see it one day I know you will like it. We would have crepes and cider at my auntie’s house on the Odet river. My auntie has pretty faience pottery to serve which is made in Quimper. The costume of Quimper is very pretty and is usually a gift to a girl when she marries. My maman’s is very nice. The shoes are call sabots and the bonnets are called coiffes. The Quimper headdress is smaller than in other parts of Brittany where they are great “monuments” on a woman’s head. I like the embroidered aprons they are nice too. Men wear felt hats with ribbons and embroidered waistcoats. The costume is worn for pardons, when good Catholics seek forgiveness of their sins and for fetes.
. I know a sort of game something like wee-jee or maybe you understand it. It is a large sheet of paper where you write the alphabet, the numbers and yes + no. In the midst of the sheet you put a box, long of a foot, wide of a half foot. In the midst of a side of the box you make a hole and you pass a match shoes top you have cut. Put your right hands on the box and tell another person to put his left hand. The little fingers must be touching each other. Ask a question. Think of it and don’t push the box. You must be scrupulous and patient! Don’t forget, patient and scrupulous! And people say the box will advance and the match will indicate the letter or the letters, if you desire to words or sentences, numbers, yes and no. Try to make that game. It is so funny!When Gothas and Berthas were bombarding our city, we were not numerous at school and we enjoyed ourselves very much with that game. One day, Ninette and I tried to get an answer, but the box stayed at the same place after an half hour waiting. I forget to tell; “don’t put your hands heavily on the box.”
Why is the world so large??? I wonder! I am sad when I think you are so far from me. Oh! If I could enter the envelope I shall go and see you. But the envelope is too small. If you are thinner than I, come in your next letter. I can only send in my envelope a kiss, but a large, large, large, large kiss for you darling. My better wishes of health for you and your family.
So to thank you for your friendship I send you a pretty flower, which grows on the Alps. Do you know the flower, Edelweiss? It smells very good. I kiss the Edelweiss, kiss it too, and like that, we shall kiss the both; do you understand?
"I send you a view of a great shop of Paris, the “Louvre” lighted up for the day of peace, no, the night of peace. Do you see the entrance of the Metro, that is an underground railway, the tube of London, and the metro and Nord-sud of Paris that is what I will use when I begin work."
Since yesterday I begin work. I have leaved school, but I shall go on my lessons of steno and of English. My typewriter is called Smith Premier. It is made in U.S. The house were I work stands on a great boulevard in the heart of the city, called boulevard Monmartre and frequents by the people of high life. I sent you a view of Boulevard Montmartre. I stay ¾ an hour to work on the metro, and I change train in a great station. Do you think you will be glad to see Paris? It is very interesting to visit it, but to take the metro, the tram or the bus is so difficult. In the metro you are so compressed you can’t move your little finger. We are so numerous in the city! I send you ticket and map of Nord-sud.
Eleven o’clock are tinkling at Fontenay, I am writing you on my balcony; the sky is gray and the trees are bare. Some days ago we got a nice weather, it was the Saint Catherine Day and we enjoyed ourselves. I was dressed like a Spanish girl. My complexion was yellow and it was difficult to clean my skin after that painting. The doctor could not recognize me at first and he says, “Who is she?” My knight was Julienne who was dressed like a boy of Africa. We danced very much and made a walk in the park, at night my white shoes were dirty and I was tired. We sang and drank Champagne. Marcelle who was dressed with soldier’s clothes gave us cigars, but I could not smoke it.
I have received your first letter just now. The address was a little not correct; the letter went from Colo to Paris, then back to Colo, then back to Paris! See the envelope with many post marks I enclose with. It is so long to come from Colorado till Paris. Why they do not make a daily service of aeroplanes; I don’t despair to see that one day. Thank you for the pretty letter and post-cards, I like very much the man painted on the leather and the ferns, too.