No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
British Army Exhibition
British Army Staff
My Darling: I went to the Louvre art gallery today, but must admit that I didn’t find it very exciting – chiefly because I only saw a part of the statuary section. I am much more interested in pictures, but hadn’t time (or energy!) to see any more today.
Have you been to the Louvre, Jess? Perhaps you haven’t so you will have to believe me when I say the place is huge – far too vast to see everything in a few hours. In fact, I believe you could spend weeks in the numerous galleries without really seeing everything. An official description tells us that it is the largest and most beautiful palace in the world, covering 600,000 square feet – “3 times larger than the Vatican in Rome”. I’ll bet that’s a permanent headache for the Pope! Well… it might be the largest palace – in fact I think this must be true because I can’t conceive of anyone being daft enough to try and build anything more enormous. But size is no indication of beauty, and whilst there must be many fine features about the architectural mass, I found it very ‘heavy’ and rather forbidding. There is a ‘cold’ atmosphere about the place somehow. It is too big and scattered to be gazed at en masse, and cannot be appreciated as a single work of architectural beauty. Incidentally, I think my letter of yesterday included a ‘Louvre’ picture – but the building shown is only a part of the whole: about one sixth I should think.
I saw a lot of ancient statuary today, both Greek and Egyptian. Unfortunately, all the descriptions are printed in French, and my knowledge of the language does not run to Greek and Egyptian – a la Froggies! I saw the famous Venus de Milo – and wouldn’t give it houseroom, as you can perhaps guess. I have an eye for really beautiful women: I married one. But – and this is interesting – the original Venus – whoever she was – had a little toe on her right foot which tended to curl beneath its neighbour: I know, because I saw it – and it reminded me of somebody I know! I must pay another visit soon to see the paintings: I believe there are many beautiful ones – apart from the Mona!
Another letter today, my dear. You refer to the prospect of my being relieved – and I think your reasoning is pretty sound: that’s how it is in the army. And you were right too about “the major having an officer crony” – only, fortunately for me, the crony in question actually came here with me, and has since re-joined his unit. There were six of us in the original party, whereas only five were required as crew. And the sixth number was simply a passenger – and you know who that was. I have taken good care not to inform anyone in the unit about conditions here: I have wanted to remain ‘forgotten’ as far as possible. The one letter I have written, to Dicky Hall, hardly mentioned the exhibition: it was mostly a request for news of my old crew.
I “dropped a gooley” this evening. I felt worn out after my afternoon in the Louvre, and decided to go to a cinema where there was a picture I wanted to see. There was no queue, and I walked straight in (to my surprise)and got a good seat. And then, when the main picture started a little later – well – was I disgusted! Instead of the picture I expected, it was one of those absurd Tarzan pictures – another of the darned things! For two pins I would have walked out… but my two pins were temporarily worn out – and the seat was jolly comfortable, so I stayed put, and tried to make sense out of the incredible nonsense on the screen. Luckily, there was a chimpanzee in the picture, and he helped to relieve the tedium.
That’s all for today, darling: I’m going to bed now – to dream about- about my Venus.
Goodnight, my love