27 Nov 1918: Graudenz

Wednesday. Nov 27.     Much news to relate.  Last Sunday night Ardagh brought in three French officers.  After a few minutes he took them off, and we rushed round and got dinner ready for 12, 8 of us, Ardagh and the three.  Comic business stewing up the contents of six large tins of M&V. in a great washing bowl over our stove.  Dinner a great success, carried on with fluent conversation with Ardagh & Gerson, painsworthy spasms on my part, interjections on the part of Miller, attempts at dirty stories on the part of Balby, and entente smiles and gestures from Towne and Baer.  The Frenchman next to me was an awfully decent fellow name De Courville.  Won his heart after dinner by a present of tobacco.

On Monday it was arranged that 30 French officers should come and see the last variety performance of our concert troupe.  Due to a misunderstanding the Kommandant left without leaving instructions.  Consequently the French were not allowed to enter.  A large number of us charged out with British Warms (for now we are allowed out without giving parole cards any time we like) and returned without them, and presently the French entered disguised, much too late to have dinner however.  We had a sort of ‘Passover’ meal in our room, and got to the show only to find that 200 officers were to leave for Blighty in 2 hours time, and that the show was off.  Had a further spread in our room and a glorious washing up match afterwards.  Found out that De Courville is a Count, and a son of the Old French aristocracy.  Jolly decent fellow, gave me his address in the country and in Paris, and asked me to wire him any time I was in France.

On Tuesday Gerson and I lunched with the French officers in their camp.  Strolled into the town, went into a Cabaret – not bad, went to the Cinema, appallingly bad, collected divers souvenirs &c.  Returned to our Camp for dinner, getting the French in by borrowing British warms for them.  Went out again – Gerson and I disguised as French men (not allowed to be out ourselves after nine).  Went to a Café Chantant, not bad.  Returned about 12.45 am.  The French several times sang their heartfelt, if somewhat disgusting, rondel:
Pour les Boches – merde!
Le Boche dans la merde –
Il surnage!!

On Tuesday night we saw Major Hazard, rather tight and rather child-like, down to the station, a good time after the party went, but before the train left.  Everyone disgustingly cheerful.
Harrington appallingly drunk.
Wonder when we’ll go.  Sent a p.c. home by Duce to say we shall be home in a fortnight.