My dear Father
It is rather a cold morning so I am spending it writing letters, yours claims an early place on the list. I am leaving here on Saturday 27th, so should arrive in Rouen by Sunday evening. I feel in excellent form now and ready to leave though not yet tired of the stay here. Mary's last letters have spoken of Baby having a nasty chill keeping her to the house for some days, but the last letter said she was improving, and I hope today I'll get further news. The recent cold spell, shown here by snow on the mountains, and brisk air at sea level, has probably been very raw and unpleasant at home.
I had a fine day yesterday, driving by motor to Nice by the Grande Corniche road. This is a finely engineered road rising to about 1500 feet along the range of mountains between Menton and Nice. It is a Roman road, improved by Napoleon for war purposes. There are several forts nearby, whether ancient or active I don't know. At one point the view extends well inland towards the Central Alpes, while the southern view of the coast is fine all the way.
I went with Jay, a young Major in the Machine Gun Corps. I find he is the son of an Eastbourne Vicar, of the parish in which Aunt Lizzie lives. He's a nice fellow, a regular, so stands to do well by getting rapid promotion. We had several hours in Nice, and drove back by the lower Corniche after dark.
A few days back we had a good rip to La Tustric by mountain railway from Monte Carlo, it lies on the Grande Corniche road and has an interesting Roman owner built by Augustus to celebrate his conquest of the Alps, later made into a fortress, and blown up about 1700, but not very efficiently.
Have they got any German prisoners at work now in the Evesham district? I'm glad the military authorities have shown no weakening in their demand for rural men of military age. It's the only way that farmers etc will be made to use women's labour on the land more generally.
The first round in the recent peace talk diplomatic exchanges seems to be in our favour and even Wilson's latest lecture tends to admit that. Like so many other folk, he's obsessed with words, eg his suggestion of an extended "Monroe Doctrine" to cover Europe. What was the Treaty of 1832 respecting Belgium but a "Monroe Doctrine" for Belgium? But it failed when tested. I think it would be better to put a time limit to every treaty. No statesman can be expected to foresee more than fifty years. Many have much shorter vision.
I see a lot of talk about possible State purchase of the liquor trade. If it be true that there is a shortage of grain for food purposes, the only fair way to meet the shortage will be to reduce the amount used for brewing and distillery, for the good value of beer and grains obtained from a ton of barley is less than the food value of the barley utilised directly as food. And if it is necessary for cut-down, the amount used in brewing it will be difficult to do so equably to all firms concerned. In view of the increasing burdens and restrictions placed upon brewing, I should think a good many would welcome purchase if a fair price could be agreed upon.
Personally I think there would be great political and social advantage in state ownership in the long run, and waves of extreme teetotal enthusiasm or prohibition would then beat less upon individual pockets. I wonder what your views are on the subject.
I must write other letters now.
With love to all.
Your affectionate son