Letter from Anne Morgan, 9 June 1919

Anne Morgan's War: Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917–1924
September 3 through November 21, 2010

Letter from Anne Morgan to her mother, Frances Tracy Morgan
Blérancourt, 9 June 1919

Dearest Mother,

Here we are at Bois Joly, such a dear little inn, not far from Dreux, and a marvelous place to take a holiday. Yesterday was a bit hectic, for we had the First Communion at Boullay-Thierry, and it meant a long day. Juliet, Carrie, Junius and Laurie all came down, and I think thoroughly enjoyed it too. They went on to Chartres to spend the night and the holiday today, but both Anne [Dike] and I had a longing to get somewhere in the country where we could sleep indefinitely, and really rest.

The condition of things over here is worse than it has been at any time for the last five years, the Bolsheviks are doing the most impossible things in the way of propaganda, and of course behind it all are the Boche agents, they say there are only about fifty agitators that are stirring up the whole mud, but every one is more than uneasy, and the endless delays over the peace signatures have made it all so much easier for them to act. What is so sickening about it all is that it is not the men that have been fighting all these five years, and who have born all the agony so long, but all the industrials that have been working in the munitions plants in the interior, earning more than they ever thought of owning that all getting into line. Of course the C. G. T. [Confédération Générale du Travail] was always considered the reddest of the red, and now they are all more than alarmed over the situation. It all seems so more than sickening when one thinks of the splendid patriotism just a year ago, when the entire country faced the ghastly situation of the great German advance with an ideal that dominated egotism, and now these groups are formulating resolutions of protest against too severe terms for the Boche. The strikes in every case are political more than industrial, with the eight-hour law passed, and with wages going up and up, the cost of living is getting worse and worse, but, alas there is the same terrible lack of real leaders that one is feel[ing] everywhere in the world, and it is hard to see the outcome of it all for this desperately wounded country.

Meanwhile our wonderful farmers are still dominated by the same courage and determination, and it is them that one must look for the future.

Our fête yesterday was really a beautiful thing, we had about twenty-five of our children in the chapel which is more than lovely, the whole choir more like an Italian church in its coloring.

The whole body of the church was full of the parents who were so moved and so happy over it all. The day was divine so we had lunch for all the children and their families under the trees in one of the great allées, at least a hundred and fifty people in all. All of us and the staff as well as the guests had ours later in the children's refectory. The Bangs were both there and he made such a charming little speech in honor of Anne [Dike] whose birthday it was. After lunch the children had a little performance for her themselves which was more than charming, and the whole day was a delight only of course we were all more than dead afterwards.

How one wishes it was possible to counteract this building up of misunderstandings between America and France, it is so vital for the future of the world that they and England should stand shoulder to shoulder, and all this superficial criticism on both sides seems such a disastrous thing. Perhaps that is the most satisfactory part of all our work, that up in our part of the world there is not a family that will not pass on the feeling of deep sympathy and understanding to their children, and we have been able to get that feeling across to thousands of American homes all over the country.

It seems impossible to make people understand the real situation over here by letters. I suppose it is the scale of it all that they fail to feel. In the background of their minds seem to lurk the memories of our big disasters, and they try to imagine those infinitely larger and greater, but they seem to always forget that in this case the entire country has lost its youth.

We are continually asked from our home office to give definite plans and figures, but how is that possible when even now seven months after the Armistice every government plan is changing from day to day and it is only this last week that the government has been giving out publicly the figures that show that no matter what indemnity Germany promises to pay eventually, France will have to carry the indebtedness for at least a generation and the world must come to her aid by giving her credit if all that she has to give the world is to be saved.

All this time, Dearest, I have not thanked you for your letter of this week, dated May 16, it was a joy to have the details of your birthday and to know how well things are going with you.

My own plans are still vague and will stay so till this passport question is settled, for we must get some more workers over to replace those that are leaving, before either Anne [Dike] or I can leave. Of course what we want is to go over ourselves together, as it would make the work ahead much easier if it is possible, if not Anne will go first and I will join her for some of the time, and she will leave me behind over there to finish the job at that end, and later I will come over to help again at this end. You see with a constantly changing personelle it is not only the breaking in of new workers that is difficult, but there is no one that is ready to carry on all the work as a whole, so it comes down to only Anne or me every time. I think that Juliet can explain this better than I can write it.

Goodbye, and no end of love to all the family, and above all to you and Blythie

Always yours devotedly,