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Nov. 12, ’44

Dear Folks,

It was fine to hear of healthy progress at home and also of the latest outdoor fashions there, even if in the process of being shed—not that such news items are hard news at this time, but that this is the first opportunity to comment on same and enclose some news also.

Yes, the commonest elements or rather the most widespread forms of them, N + O2, O2 +H2O and below H2O + NaCl, i.e., sky, clouds and salt water were about all we saw for some time after leaving terra firma (wonderful stuff). True there were flying fishes, beautiful creatures indeed, the usual albatross following behind us and an occasional petrel. There are so many kinds of petrels and so few strikingly marked that one gets discouraged trying to identify them, especially as they seldom come close. There was, too, a lonely muddy turnstone, far, far off course I’m afraid. Then along came a frigate bird and presently a flock of what looked like gannets, but which the good book (Alexander’s “Birds of the Ocean”) proved were red-footed boobies. Oh and then this morning merry notes coming through the screen, however, one didn’t know what to call him, and the same applied to several other strangely feathered individuals, each more exotic looking than the last. There was an old friend too, a cardinal, gone native, the lush vegetation apparently to his liking.

The boys did do well in the Philippines, didn’t they, and in three different places at once! Ships sunk certainly are more satisfactory than “sunk or damaged,” I agree.

Maurice Walsh does write delightfully, doesn’t he? Read “The Spanish Lady” recently and have “The Key Above the Door,” which, however, I didn’t dare start before “Oliver Wiswell,” neglected too long. The latter is not only a mighty good tale (so far), but extremely interesting to one who must have his share of Tory ancestors.



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