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The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, August 18, 1918, Section 5 Magazine Section, Image 44

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030431/1918-08-18/ed-1/seq-44/

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Yachting With Our Invalided Soldiers
Comedies and Tragedies Revealed on a Day's Outing Up the Sound With One Hun
dred Fighting Men Convalescent at Hospital Number One in the Bronx
r . . TT . i-t- r a tdiD ic 4ho UIIO?ONI (VI hp YACHT SURF fiAJcf
on -the yacht surf
. . . . - . . , F-r-f- a IT- J- C-TAOT iM TR H IJf-' TAB HUUSUN
tun tc jui-a w ...;...,....- t-uck-. ,,. Race hospitai -to -the P ER m
yyIU DKVWUn I i iil.hi j i uin . . - w " , . . , , , -
T T was barely 9 o'clock, but the heels of
Uie Fourth Estate dug Hit asphalt
like dough. Over the rails and cinders at
the foot of West Seventy-ninth street the
wet air rippled and danced. Seen through
it, the harlequin freighters at anchor were
monsters of delirium, so that a boy con
valescent from a fever must have groaned
in the thought of a relapse. But the white
yacht, the Surf, was' real.
The boys, a hundred of thern,.were put
down on the pier by automobiles of the
Motor Corps of America. The Major
commanding the corps checked them off
and the uniformed girt drivers, managing
somehow to look fresh in spite of worsteds
and leather leggins, helped those whose
hurts required it up the gangplank. On
board, in a cooler uniform, a canteen unit
of the Mayor's committee of women was
ready, with Dr. Harriss, to make the
guests at home.
The guests looked their parts. They
night have been straight from France. As
a matter of fact, they were merely down
for Hie day from "'Number One," hospital
cases from the cantonments, including
hopeful specimens of the physically im
perfect raw rookie whom Uncle Sam's grilles, either, but good solid structures of
yells from his neighbors, who had done
New York before, and biokc what social
a was defying the heat.
There was a Tommy on board, on his
long way around to th? front after ser
vice in China. Gall s'ones had inter
rupted him, but he said the American sur
geons did one well. He would have said
his host and hostesses did one likewise
a bit of all right, in fact. Such was the
uproarious opinion of his Yankee brothers
in arms and momentary tribulation
Good cigarettes, wafted by sweet smiles
(a ripping lot those cantien girls, Mr.
Atkins would have put it.), went the
rounds about every ten minutes; flowing
bowls flowed lemonade all day long; at
tea time tea appeared, piping hot, and it
was surprising how many besides Mr. At
kins preferred it to lemonade. With it
came a pound cak' and a nut cake tliat
man Hoover had had no say alxmt, and
trays of such fruits as only sick and
wounded soldiers see these days.
No Tea Fight Trifles, These.
Luncheon began, with beef tea and went
on to ice cream, bv wav of chicken salad
and sandwiches none of vour tea tight
surgeons tinker a bit and turn out sounder
than new.
These last would go over some day, a-
would most of the others. A few would
have to be honorably discharged, and they
were the ones who stayed sober sided and
wistful the holiday through.
Looked Lilje Movie Battle Heroes.
Hut the hundred would have pleased a
movie director filming casualties. Hand
aged heads (after mastoid operations)
represented shrapnel ; hobblers with canes
did duty for Blighty wounds m the leg;
there were three or four lint bound hands
and arms, and several boys abstained
from dancing ami even from the games
around the tables, preferring to rest
quietly against a cushion in a steamer
"Got a tube in m back." explained one
of them. "Did have half a dozen," he
added proudly, "and one was ten inches
"Good Lord, what hit jouf"
"Empya-mia." He made it rhyme with
idea. The Fourth Estate had forgotten
what it was.
"In civilian life." said the convalescent,
with lofty condescension, "I think v" call
it congestion of the lungs."
The Surf dropped downstream to tne
Battery, ascended the East Hivcr, always
daintily picking her way among those
nightmares of camouflage at anchor, put
the broiling city behind her ia Hell Gate
and made tor a few favored leagues of the
otherwise dead and glassy Sound, which
had the only cooling breeze there w;is.
The piers and the rocks of .Manhattan's
East IJivr front were all scrambled and
spidered over with small bovs, who had got
light down to first principles for swim
ming, and a private from Iowa, seeing the
town he had read about, wanted to know
if that was not the Bowcrv. Which drew
ham or cheese that a fellow could set his
teeth in.
Victrolas were kept busy fore and :ft.
A talented corporal had a ukalele which
provoked a little close harmony from time
to time. The mild and sedate game of
dominoes took a boom when pretty can
teen workers introduced ii ; and checker
were pressed into service along with card-"
for another game, stag exclusively, which
involved tactical operations called open
ing, seeing and staving.
Some of the boys itched to dance. All
were bashful. But it was fun to watch
the technic of a couple of young scape
graces who sidled, ever -o accidentally,
into conversation with the prettiest girls
and brought up. ever so casually, the
topic they had in mind. Dancing started
in the course of nature by spontaneous
One invalid buck private was the b:g
gest buck Indian alive; three his sie
could hold a sector against the Frussiaii
guard. Another was of the race and
hue of that terrible Corporal Johnson,
who is sporting the Croix de Guerre
somewhere in France, having wiped up
No Man's Iind with a Hun patrol. Yap
hank Bennie's friend. Private Abie Ein
stein, was there in high good humor,
which was not marred a bit when a for
mer reporter from Norfolk invalided, he
said, because "my heart's too small"- -stood
up and spoke a comic piece about
Itosenthal going to war. Others were
needlessly cmhanasseiL' on Abie's behalf.
A shockheaded doughlnn obliged with
a song alxnit I. T. Barnum, sung or
lather declaimed so much in the George
M. Cohan stvle that the Fourth Estate
bore up on learning later that he had
worked for George in civilian life. The
Doctor sang a solo. The Doctor, so far
as the guests could see, was everywhere
at once and the guests never knew, thariks
to courtesy, how patiently he and the
yacht's officers were watching, watching
the canvas of the awnings, on the chance
of a live cigarette stub carelessly thrown
The medical shepherd of the flock was
a captain of the Keserve Corps, distin
guished by white hair and the fine rosy
face of a Roman prelate. He sat it out
with the jacket of his uniform duly but
toned to the throat, and the Fourth Es
tate privately wondered how much further
ThU Man's Army will have to pi in
This Man's War before the cut of the hot
. weather jacket will be mercifully changed.
It was noticeable that the talkative pre
ferred talking their former civilian shop
to their present one. Khaki is a grab bag;
you never know what the nest buck pri
vate will turn out to have been. In one
cafe, for instance, he turned out to have
been a vampire maker, a conspirator in
the rise of Theda Bara!
A quiet, washed out little felloe wore
his eyes half way back through his head
and when he spoke you had to bend close
to hear. There was iu need of his telling
that he had been sick as a dog. But his
explanation was startling. A woman,
probably a German agent, had doned him
with a cigarette.
He lielieved it. ti.
"Yes, sir; I and m partner was on a
-r't car up iit Springfield, V she got on.
V she offered us cigarettes. My partner
didn't smoke his. I lit mine when we g.il
off, 'n' kii'led light over. Come down
with pneumonia. Bretty near died. My
partner he put his eigarctle iu the stove,
along with a good one. The good one
burned. The one she give him wouldn't.
That proved it. didn't itf That one
wouldn't burn."
He told it over and over, the sunken
eyes lighting. He has had pneumonia,
College Bojr Manneflims Ruled.
One youth's history no uniform could
mask; the college boy, of u familiar sort,
by eery word and move of him. He
danced extra well, in that way. And the
betting is overwhelmingly good that he
wa raw new to camp when taken sick.
"I'leasant people," he observed to the
Fourth Estate, as one man of the world
to another. "Just what are they, here in
Xew York -the aristocracy or the middle
The day was too hot for Midden mental
shocks. The Fourth Estate took the
count arid came up groggy. It sparred
for wind.
"Who are the Xew York aristocracy ?"
Class Feeling in Khaki persisted.
"At present, men in uniform." replied
the Fourth Esta'e. C. F. in K. smiled
"New Yoik's too co.-mopolitau," he
said, "for me."
This placed him. "You're from Mas
sachusetts?" He nodded.
"Don't you er don't you find the
army rather er c o s m o p o 1 i t a n in
spots f (
"Oh, jos," said Sopliomore Class Feel
ing. "Everything and everybody in it.
But thej- all seem to get on prettv well .
together." .
We were dj'ing to ask him how he, in
particular got on with" his drill sergeant,
but refrained. He was a good boj-, with
a good clear eye; lie will- back--to
camp, and further acquaintance with his
drill sergeant will accomplish wonders in
him. Besides, he was from hospital, '
and the never-sufliriently-to-be-mentionod
heat was hot. Cooler than shore, '
though. Cooler than a hospital ward, for
instance. And it was good to see the -weakest,
the most willed of the cases re
v ived and replenished with ginger and in
terest in life by the kindly breeze. 1
A young sergeant with blue eves and a
nice, wide grin that would serve him as
passport anywhere seemed a little dis
posed, unnaturallj- for his tj-pe, to flock
by himself. The grin wnj onlj- in evi
dence at long interval; it appeared when
he was acknowledging attentions, but
quickly vanished. Yes, he danced some
times he liked to dance. But he didn't
think he would begin just yet. Iet some
of the others start it.
Two Fingers Lo;t Front Left Hand.
This was unaccountable at first. He ap
peared to be sound and active enough
when he did move about at all. Then he
held up hs left hand, from which the two
smallest lingers were gone; the middle
linger resemblid a broken ram's horn as
much as anything. Even that shouldn't
have resulted in such depression.
Gradually, rather shyly, his storj- came
out of him.
When the automobile had knocked him
under the street car he had been on the
eve of getting his commission, had com
pleted the aviator's trainimr. anil was Hy
ing his plane with the best. The commis
sion was promised; he as good as had it;
he'd bought his uniform.
Seven sound fingers and an eighth
prettv- good one are enough for flying.
Not enough, however, for repairing vour
plane when brought down, by engine trou
ble b.'side which, Cncle Sam requires
ten in the regulations. The ollicers hail i
been nke about it, he said. Thev- had
offered to help him to a place in the non- .
combatant branches of the service. But
as far as righting the Hun was concerned
this young sergeant was through in ad
vance. It wasn't the lost digits he regretted. "If
I had to lose 'em. of course, I'd rather
have lost 'em properlv. over there.'' It
was the commission he had earned, and
most of all the chance to go and fight; on
that his whole heart had ben set.
At present he had the option, non-combatant
service or honorable discharge
forthwith. He didn't want the honorable
discharge, he could not understand the
spirit of an envious neighbor in the ward,
(Continued on Following Page.)

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