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Lake County Past: Jan. 26

Jan. 24, 1918

Boys enjoying it over there-like it

The following letter has been received by Chas. W. Olson from Carlson R. McQuown, a former Dakota, Missabe and Iron Range operator who was employed in the dock office last summer and enlisted last fall in the arm signal corp with the American Expeditionary force, somewhere in France:

Dec. 19, 1917

Dear friend Chas. and Ivan:

Been some time since I have had letters from you and I have been moving around so much in the last four months that I have not written, but am located now where it is possible to receive letters quite promptly.

France sure is a strange country, but the old U.S.A. is still good enough for me if I ever get back again. Been here for some time, I mean in the country, and seen some strange old castles, ruins and villages galore.

The French money causes me a lot of trouble. I reach in my pocket and pull out a roll big enough to choke an ox and buy a cup of chocolate and a square meal and it is nearly all gone. They have a piece of money called a centime, it is worth about one fifth of a curb and is big enough to knock a man down with. If a fellow has 10 cents in his pocket, he walks bow-legged. We all get paid in French money and they have 10 cent bills, 50 cent bills and 1 or 5 franc bills, and so on up. 50 francs or better gives a man enough paper to paper a fair-sized wall.

The people are very friendly, though I am brushing up on my French and when I get back won't hardly know how to "Parle Anglaise" again. Everything over here is "Oui," pronounced, "wee," and means "yes." So it's "wee wee" here and "wee wee" there.

Towns all have lots of cafes and girl waiters. Beefsteak, French-fried potatoes, eggs, chocolate and a bottle of wine for 55 cents in most places. You order it as follows: "Sil vait plait Fomex mai ime Befstek et Pomme de Terre frit et oeux Oeufs et chocolat et Boutell le vint" — it sounds like "Sil-vou-pla-Donna mwa bifstek a pom ou Terr frit a l'orf chocolate at Boutell le vint."

Weather has been rather cold lately. Some snow. I would like to tell you a lot of interesting things taking place but the censor would step on it, so I will close with a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Say hello to Abe and Brock and best wishes to Mr. Elliott, Mr. Laner Bill and the rest.

Your friend, MAC