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Binkley’s Ambulance Service badge.

In May Binkley continued his classes at the university, and his social life revolved more and more around the Alliod family and their social circle. He speaks most about his art class; he started sketching outside of class. Years later he wrote to a friend:

After the armistice I was given a leave of absence to attend the University of Lyons, where I went to the School of Beaux Arts and learned to draw the infant Hercules being held by Bacchus. I did not make enough progress to get into the classes that were drawing from life.1

It appears he (and probably Dale Van Every) had moved into the Alliods’ house and were no longer living in barracks. He noted the release of the draft peace terms on May 7. Various friends from his ambulance unit turned up in Lyon, and at the end of the month he left for a weekend in Avignon with Capt. Berl.

His opera attendance continued, and he took in more plays.

  • Madame Butterfly
  • La Tosca
  • Les noces de Jeannette (Massé)
  • Samson de Delilah (Saint-Saëns)
  • an American movie
  • Rigoletto
  • William Tell
  • l’Aiglon (play)
  • Il Trovatore
  • Herodiade (Massenet)
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (play)
  • l’Africaine (Meyerbeer)
  • Comédie Française: Esope and Le Baiser de Phèdre (plays)

Twelve live performances, bringing his total for the year to 37.

  1. Doc. 11493: RCB to Robert H. Slover (1937-01-16; JCMR Papers, box 27: WPA, Archives Projects, General.)↩︎

Diary: May, 1919

  • Confined to barracks, but we spend time at Alliods. Mlle Marthe plays piano, & I read some of Aiglon. see small parade near Red Cross.


    L’Aiglon was a play by Edmond Rostand, presenting the life of Napoleon II. Sarah Bernhardt played the title role in its premiere in 1900.

  • Go to classes again. Marigol reorganizes his classes. Meet a jolly old colonel, friend of the family, at Alliods. And go to Madame Butterfly at night.

  • Spend the evening chez the Alliods, playing games. Receive letters from Albertine and Berthe.

  • Tea chez M. Aynard. Spend a morning with in the A.R.M. office waiting for a chance to swear out affadavits for the D.S.C.s. Gen Butler comes in and talks about the Metz campaign. Plain clothes men come in with man caught with steel [?]. Go to La Tosca at night. Van makes great senses [?] at Jackeys

  • Marg & I are only ones in art class -- Pay day -- but not for me. Classes are failing somewhat with lessening interest of students. Evening in political discussion with Alliods. Mlle Marthe is sore at Van Every.

  • Van Every receives orders to report for commission. Van & Marthe patch up their quarrel. Goes to dance with great success and receives invitation for Sunday.

  • I cut school -- Van gets music for Alliods. Dinner with them French soldier -- abbe calls.

  • At Art class. Peace terms out. Go over book with Brown & discuss literature. Object to title Errand of Mercy. Read Aiglon. Strange letter from Renee


    The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were delivered to the German delegation in Paris the day before. “Errand of Mercy” is perhaps the 1913 book The Errand of Mercy: A History of Ambulance Work Upon the Battlefield, by M. Mostyn Bird.

  • Van sews on his bars. . . . I go broke and spend my 50 centimes of souvenir money.

  • Go to a meeting of the Foyer des Etudiants in rue Paulin. See le Noces de Jeannette & Sampson & Delilah at the Grand Theatre

  • Go to Mt Cindre with the Alliods in the morning. Eat a fine dinner there – return to Guilliam Tell, merge into another dinner, and there with Dan Evans, & then see an American movie. -- Toast to creature comforts

  • Decide [?] & go to Bayonne with Sevlackie -- Lesson at University du Gourguillon -- Write Merv -- Go to Samps

  • Van Dan & I have a dinner at Guilliame Tell's -- are not soused -- go to Sam although the Alliods accuse us of it.

  • Go out for a walk in the Park with Van at night -- beautiful moon & romantic thoughts. Promenade with Alliods in afternoon

  • Rigoletto in the evening -- dinner with Van & Dan Marg. Chaney surprises me with "Il faisait chaud a rue St Jean hier at une heure et demi. Deever gives me 300 f.

  • Van Every leaves meeting at university at 1:00 oclock explains new rules -- gumshoe men from Chaumont. Lee P.

  • I borrow books at Library. Go to Foyer des Etudiants where president is interpellated by bellicose members on Foyer policies. See William Tell pretty well put on.

  • Fat Hoffman on visit from Dijon, tells of his expected discharge. I visit Suzanne Geiss at St Clou & play with kiddies & look at photos \dessines/. Go to l'Aiglon at night -- dinner at Guilliam Tell's


    Hallock E. Hoffman, a member of SSU 578. Sometimes also called “Phat” or “Phwat”.

  • Read 1st act of Cyrano -- Spend evening chez Alliods --

  • Go to student body meeting -- Small is well bawled out by Bronson. I get my commutation check -- also a blame from the Universite de Gourguillon. See La Trouvere with friends who "frissonnent" Play trick on Mlle Dumaux by changing pictures. She's mad.

  • Cash checks for room commutation & pay Alliods -- Buy music of Humoreske but find its wrong Humoreske. Meet funny old Socialist duck who invented League of Nations two years ahead of Wilson. (projet Trau[?]) Give the old man a gut[?]. Play two games of chess with him.


    “Room commutation” presumably indicates that Binkley was living with the Alliods and not in barracks, and therefore received compensation from the Army for his rent. I don’t know what he means by “projet Tran” (which could be “projet Trau” or something similar).

  • Letter from Van. Drink beer with Spike Jones -- See Herodiade. Am met outside art school by family I met at Opera -- Write to Berthe \Fischer/ & Renee Decout

  • Finish reading Cyrano de Bergerac, and see the play in evening. Old hen puts herself between me and her chickens in theater. Colonel calls during lesson in English at University de Gourguillon.

  • Finish Heracles & Infant -- like it -- Meet Walt Bruns and Overton in Red Cross -- Late No session at University de Gourguillon. Get bath in afternoon -- rush to Foyer des Etudiants but get there late and am afraid to enter -- Go to l'Africaine at night -- walk home with M. Alliod. Girl I have often seen and family were at Opera. Get coat pressed & shoes fixed. In Art class two trouble makers are mise à la porte after some dramatic stunts pulled off by Drumeaux.

  • Letter and postcards arrive from Elizabeth. Go to concours de croquet at Parc -- visit Suzanne Geiss again and play with Ki-ki and Lu-lu. Go with M. Alliod to his café, meet some more of his circle. See people enter - and leave - the municipal hospital -- Old woman is laid on bench outside door -- see her sleeping later on the sidewalk. Watch cats fight at night. Crowd talks about assanation [sic] of Carnot.


    Marie François Sadi Carnot, President of France, assassinated at Lyon in 1894.

  • Buy little sketch book -- read article on de Bouille at Library, and make three sketches. Brown tells about his French girl, and I take him down and introduce him to Marthe and Jeannette. Go to Comedie Francaise -- Esope & Le Baiser. Stand in line with young artist, exponent of Art Moderne. He gets into argument with old artist. Sit beside co-ed, but don't talk much. Collection taken for poor children and poulot "comes through" with dough.


    De Bouille: Presumably François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé (1739-1800), French general.

  • A little late to Art Class & find door locked and crowd waiting to enter -- we wait in garden till 9:30. Meet M. Chaney, Marg's father who invites me to supper tomorrow. Lecture by Kleinclausz on American Civil War etc. Dinner chez Alliods with Maurice and some of the vintage of 1906 on the table.

  • Get up at 6:00. Early to Art Class - Act as interpreter for new student -- Meet a Baroness at Alliods. Get candy from Aunt Lizzie Go with Marthe & Jeannette to music shop, Humoreske does not appear -- Focillon gives assignment to Mlle Mannhoff. I visit notaries office with M. Cheney, and then eat supper with family -- Old man is jolly old top, and so is grand dad. Mlle Marthe sews new chevrons and new cock on my coat while I'm not looking.


    Henri Focillon (1881-1943), director of the Musée des Beaux Arts and professor of art history. “New cock”: presumably the rooster badge of the Ambulance Service, perhaps the one Binkley kept in his photo album.

  • Write letters in morning -- Go to races with Alliods, leaving at 1:00 -- last race is steeple chase run by one horse. Jockey thrown hard. Return to find Capt. Berl chez Alliods. And we talk till 11:15 and then some. Alliods give Capt. room -- Citations come in from 77th Div Headquarters.


    Some other commendations are found in Binkley’s photo album, but not those of the 77th Division.

  • Run down and chase up Capt. Page. Go to Museum with Capt. Berl -- lunch at Bill Tells -- Supper at Cafe de la Regence with Page, Porter & Berl. Plan trip to Avignon.

  • Leave early for Avignon 8:36 -- Rhone valley beautiful. Marthe gives us list of points of interest. See popes palace. Berl is impressed by vista of roofs - We see garden and bridge. check off everything on list, and then decide to go for swim - Cross Rhone in ferry. & wander over island -- fishing traps are ingenious. Provencal accent is funny -- Finally take very short swim. Go to Villneuve for supper, but discover that there are no restaurants in the town. eat at little roadside place -- 7.50 for two of us. Go to Tarascon, say good bye to Berl & sleep at Foyer des Soldat at Nimes


    Marthe Alliod’s list of the sights of Avignon is in Binkley’s photo album.