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The winter which ended 1914 was bitter, foul, thoroughly dispiriting, and it didn’t improve into 1915. The French-American academic Robert Pellissier spent some time in the Vosges as part of a contingent attacking Steinbach (that is, coming down already disadvantaged from the frozen Vosges mountains to the German-held, well-supported areas on the plain).

Having just read his letters*, I was taken by the irony of the text of this postcard in my collection, which was sent to a M. Nouvelloy in Paris.

4th March, 1915

Monsieur (he writes)

Very happy for your card. I always hope that you three are in good health. I’m sending you the main entrance to my bedroom.

Best wishes to you. And soon I hope to shake your hand.




My translation, my postcard.

*Robert Pellissier, Letters from a Chasseur à Pied, print on demand; republished with annotations and illustrations as A Good Idea of Hell, ed Joshua Brown, Texas A& M University Press, 2003