31 Oct 1877
My dear Eugénie,
I suppose the date fixed for your marriage is not now very far off, but we have not heard much of you all for some time, so we do not know for sure if it will be before the end of this year. The last news from home was a letter from Father who I find seem to have decided to give up Paris & return to England. You will be glad of this determination as you will not feel you are leaving him alone. We enjoyed our holiday in the mountains. It did us all good, the children especially. Arthur was quite […]before we left, but picked up his strength wonderfully after a few days. They drank so much milk & enjoyed the spring water which flowed from the hills in every direction. Hubert is so big and strong. He is not quite two, yet he runs about and plays about like a boy of five. His last idea is to open the yard gate, be off by himself in the street for a walk. We have caught him more than once running out so. I send you a photograph of him taken the other day. The pose is very unusual as the man just caught him when he was surprised, but the likeness is good. It is a pity it is so difficult to get a good photograph here.
Since the middle of Sept I have been in Bucharest & have been back only the last two days & and may have to leave again any day. The journey is now so tiring & disagreeable. The confusion on the line is very great & the trains far too many for such a line. It is getting knocked to pieces & is no longer fit for express trains. The trains are full of Romanian officers & Russian Jew contractors. Romania is full of a sort of Russian [?] from the quantity of Russians about.
The accounts of the correspondents in the papers are partly [?] , no one can say too much about the dirt of the Russian army, their camps. The common soldiers are [?] of such & remind me always of gipsies. The Romanian soldiers have fought very well & have lost fearfully. It has not been possible to provide properly for all the wounded. The worst of their army are the staff officers who do not appear to put themselves in much danger as none have followed of a higher grade than Major. Bucharest was never so full, the hotels are crammed. The officers were up from [?] & when they can to have some good food & to rest. Here we are getting a good many sick & wounded & now the line is [?] from here to Buzau. We shall be one of the depot towns to receive the wounded so that they may go straight back to Russia from here. We shall probably have a good many soldiers here in the winter.
I soon shall have some [?]. What is Tom doing & Gus & how is Joe? I have heard nothing of them for some time. It is almost impossible from the shops here to get supplies. The things come to the frontier & then remain for months before it is possible to send them over. The pressure on the line is so great & all the roads too are taken for the army. Whatever comes of the war Romania loses frightfully by it in many ways. Do you ever see Robert Gardiner? What does he do with himself in Paris. They so often write bad accounts of his brother from St. Leonards. I hope you will have time to write to us before your marriage. Give our love to all at home.
Yr affectionate brother
Fred J. Mourilyan