March 14, 1917
No mail yet, so I don't know what you have been doing for a month back - nothing that you shouldn't have I'm sure.
I am having a fine holiday at the Rest Station. They don't worry us at all - the idea apparently is to let us forget the war as much as possible - at least to forget our part in it. So we read and eat and go for walks into the country and otherwise amuse ourselves according to our tastes and inclinations. Burges and I have dropped naturally into the habit of taking our walks together and have developed a very pleasant intimacy. Being Baptists, our ways of thinking have certain similarities. We agree fundamentally on most subjects while there is enough divergence of opinion to make discussion interesting. For the most part, of course, we find food for conversation in the life about us - the contrast in type of the French, the English and the Portuguese; the horses and the people of the canals, and the dogs which are to be seen on every barge (the tow-paths are our favorite walks); the ever present symbols of the church; the methods and comparative results of agriculture, etc. I have almost decided that I would like to be a bargeman - in the summertime, and when it isn't raining. On the whole, however, I believe a private income and a house-boat would be even better.
Yesterday we visited the cemetery. I think I may have mentioned how I have been struck by the amazing lack of good taste one sees here the moment one touches the religious side of life - the tawdriness of the wayside shrines and the churchyard decorations. This was magnified yesterday in the cemetery here, which is really beautiful - well laid out, well-kept, and with a very high standard of chaste art in the tombstones and monuments. And then they spoil it. Imagine a beautiful slab of black marble, polished like a mirror, the embodiment of classic dignity and simplicity, decorated with a monstrosity of purple and jet beads on a wire wreath, the whole thing about three feet in diameter and letters across it - probably in pink, intimating that it is a tribute to "Votre Grandmere cherie". It makes one want to weep. I suppose they think such things are pleasing in the sight of God. What a conception of the Diety!
I have got the use of my legs again very rapidly, and am able to enjoy a walk of a couple of hours. Of course we take things leisurely. The weather is quite spring-like which makes it very pleasant.
Unbounded love to all of you,