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Wills, Letters & Legends

                    Well here it is good old St. Valentines Day and I am somewhere in India on the slowest train that I believe ever ran.  We left the Port Saturday night and after 42 hours of riding we have gone about 500 miles.
                This country is a very beautiful farming country, mostly level or slightly rolling with rich black soil and sufficient water.
                The people are another story.  There are supposed to be 400 million of them and from what we have seen, 398 million of them are very black and very dirty.  They are small in stature and mostly very skinny.  A large number of them do not seem to have any homes, nor does it seem to worry them.  They sleep any and everywhere in any and all positions.  They speak a jargon of dialects that we cannot understand and two out of each four seem to be beggars, while the other two are trying to sell you things you wouldn't have.
                 I went shopping in the Port town we landed in to try & find something for you both, but could not find anything I wanted for you.  Will try again at the place we are now headed for and may have better luck as it is a larger city.
                 Tell Tim that this train we are riding would really open his eyes.  It runs about 1 or 2 hours then stops for 1 or 2 hours, while the attendants pull & rebuild the fires, fill the water tank and fill the coal box, all by hand.  They hook a ladder on to the side of the Engine Tender and carry coal up in baskets until they have the box full, then we take off again.
                At meal times we have to stop at some station, all get out and eat by the roadside and then reload and on our way.  This usually takes about 2 hours.
               The coaches are all split up in compartments and there is no way to go from one car or one compartment to another once the train is moving.  These compartments hold from 4 to 40 people.  We are lucky there are only six in our place and we have running water and a toilet, whereas some of them do not.
               Peg, I just looked out of the window and saw something that reminded me of some people I know.  A flock of wild Baboons running across the field, there were I would estimate about 25 of them and all rather large.  We can also see plenty of Water Buffalo as we go by and while in the Port we went to the zoo and saw most of the animals from this country.  We saw some Royal Bengal Tigers, that were really beautiful, also some black Leopards, Boa Constrictors, King Cobras, Lions, Elephants and numerous others. It is all very interesting and I wish you were here to see it with me.
               If this writing appears jerky you will have to blame this train, it is also rough & dirty.  It is also raining, which makes it a little disagreeable, although it is quite warm.  This you know is the middle of the winter here just as at home, but the temperature is about the same as we have in June & July.
               The fruit seems to be plentiful especially oranges & bananas.  We are buying oranges for about 40 cents per dozen & bananas for less than 10 cents per doz.  Meals are also very reasonable and in selected places are quite good.  There seems to be no rationing here whatsoever and so you can buy all you want of most anything you can find.  We had a delicious full course steak dinner on Friday night for about 75 cents, and it was really good.
               There is no Beer here nor Whisky.  The natives drink native Brandy and the Europeans drink Gin and lime juice, which is a very nice drink, but much too high for us, it costs about 90 cents for a Tom Collins, which they call a John Collins, so consequently there is very little drinking done.
               The Automobiles here are mostly American and not too plentiful, although you can always get a Taxi or if you want to ride in native style you can get a Garry, which is an open carriage pulled by a small horse and it will hold 4.
               As soon as it is posible I will send you pictures showing all the interesting sights of this part of the world and whatever descriptive literature I think you would enjoy.
               Our mail has not caught up with us as yet and we are all wondering if you have been getting the letters we have mailed from time to time as we have come along.
               Now write whenever you can and I will write as often as possible.  Give to Love to all

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