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World War, 1939-1945; Letter writing; United States. Army
Envelope addressed: Mrs. R. L. Davis 1619 Boston Muskogee, Oklahoma Agent R. Davis 13 CID APO 170 c/o PM, N.Y. An additional handwritten note reads "Prague". Enclosed letter: Davis describes Berg's interest in the young woman, Rosie, whom he takes out despite his relationship with Kitty. He notes that Berg did not seem to suspect that there was a possibility of Kitty catching him. He goes on to say that Kitty indeed did just this, though, walking into the restaurant where they (Rosie, Berg and Davis) were eating. He describes making a couple of attempts at diversion, and struggles to not laugh aloud as Kitty took a seat beside Berg. Rosie and Kitty begin exchanging words in Czech, questioning both Berg and Davis in English in between. In the end, Berg ditches Rosie for Kitty, to Davis' amusement. On the 29th, Davis writes from the Lucerna Night Club in Prague. He describes the building's architecture and a band composed of Czech Brigade soldiers who are performing. Davis writes that they are pretty good, but not as good as Vlach's band in the Fenix. He remarks that the singer- an Indian RAF boy who has stayed in Prague after his discharge -has a very poor voice. A Czech major and his wife enter the club as Davis writes, and Davis describes the man as having the most "curious gait I have ever seen in any uncrippled person, let alone a soldier". He mentions that the way the major walks makes him dizzy and that the major only appears mildly interested in being in the club.
Agent R D Davis
13 CID APO 170
% PM Prague
U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE A.P.O.
Mrs. R. L. Davis
1619 BOSTON Muskogee, Oklahoma
^(Berg is such a pleasant) fellow, what he could never resist full of spontaneous generosities and offers, what he invariably choosing the course of least resistance and once a girl has leeched on to him, she’s on for the day. He doesn’t have the necessary hardness to resist to suggest ^graceful a termination to the an afternoon. Today he informed me despondently that he has asked Rosie to dinner and “I don’t know what the hell I’ll do with her after that. ^Just walk around a little I go and then take her home.” Berg’s prospects of “walking them around a little” were never sturdy enough to resist the girl’s proposals to go to a nite club. Once there, a bill of 400-500 kronner was inevitable. About the possibility of Kitty calling him he gave no thought, apparently having discussed it as impossible at the time of my half-serious warning.
Well to ^hasten this episode, as the three of us, Rosie, Sol and I, were having dinner in Sroubek, Kitty caught him. Flat. Just like that. She walked in on us at the .
It was with certain inevitability that Kitty came into the dining room, came up to our table, and clasping her hands over my eyes, said, “Hello, brother,” in that God knows what kind of an accent of hers. After the first shock of the touch I knew what was happening. And the very anticipation of it made repressing my laughs doubly hard. Heroically I kept a straingh face, got up and offered Kitty my seat next to Sol. Sol was now the crucified figure between two. His seating himself next to Rosie in the first place, combined with my distance from her, did not exactly lend credence to my immediately by feebly proffered comment that “Rosie and I were just having dinner with Sol.” I am afraid that all attempts at diversionary tactics and conver-sation were feeble; almost inane, and tending to trail off into in-audibility. I seemed to get panic-stricken in the middle of a each sentence, with the thought that if I finished such a ridiculous remark in the normal tone I would break out laughing. Sol sat there, his noble face a masterpiece of anxiety and constrained nonchalance,. What was going to happen was going to happen; nothing could have deflected it from its natural ^awful consummation. Sol’s comments, tho’ nobly conceived, suffered in common with mine from a lack of naturalness and conviction; every time he opened his mouth it was like a character from a slapstick. Sol had a role to play, and play it he did, nobly, like a knight on horseback charging artillery.
His only faint hope of success lay in the chance that Rosie would play along with the deception. She didn’t. The suppressed and lurking tenseness broke into liveliness ^life when Rosie began humming and singing “I wish I knew, someone like you to love me,,,” (Which was a singing line of Sol’s cavalierly sung into various ladies’ ears as a sort of sideline to ^NIGHT-CLUB conversation.) A storm of conversation in Czech broke loose between the two girls. Sol moaned aloud, “Here we go again.” Following each little feminine comparing of notes in the mother tongue ^we Sol would be battered with questioned. I got the first one. Since Rosie had obviously just told her ^Kitty that she was Sol’s date for the evening, Kitty asked me ^sweetly in English, “And is Rosie with you this evening?” To which Rosie answered before I could affirm. “Oh no, I’m with Johnny. I go with Johnny, not with Bob. Bob’s just my younger brother.”
“Oh, here we go again,” said Sol. with a hopelessness that was at ^(least realistic.)
The calling of the girls sister by was an incredible parlor plea-santry of Sol’s, which had a very natural ^corralary result that I would be addressed as the “younger brother”. “Johnny’s” brother and sister act catalized another conversation in Czech. And then the inquisition turned to Sol. It was a fantiastic table talk over the nervously sipped mocca; the delighted waiters and hotel patrons snickered in our direc-tion or smirked as they lingeringly strolled past our table. For once the waiters served each corse with a punctuality worthy of operating table assistants; As poor Sol’s insides came out, the plates were laid on. Feminine innuendoes of sugariness, sarcasm, injury and outraged vanity translated themselves into monstrous ^and Czechified English.
A proper denoument to so finely wrought a scene could have only been planned in advance. Since the actuality ^(even tho’ inevitable) was not planned, it ended lamely. About the only possible thing for it to do, because a truly dramatic ending would have been disastrous, a pressure before which both Sol’s bruised spirit eqanimity and my denial of laughter would have been swept away. As we walked out of the hotel, both girls stopped at the exit and, with at the same time, with ^and menacing tentativeness, said, “Well?” To which Sol grabbed Kitty by the hand and with-^out a word or backward glance, strode ^thru’ the swinging doors. Rosie, with an equal movement in the opposite direction similar to ^(comparable to that of) an algebraic problem, with indignantly dignified posturing disappeared into the Sroubek Kavarna(1). I learned against a pillar and laughed to myself. Supreme comedy is so rare.
Next morning Sol told me he had painfully set the affair on its feet by a jeep trip to the observatory.
29 June 1946
I am writing this, at 1000 p.m. at a table in the LUCERNA night club. The Lucerna Bar, as it is called, is one of the better night spots of Prague. It is situated at a half-block interval from Wenzel Square.
To enter, one descends stairs leading down from an interior group of shops. The club itself is surprisingly elegant, being as a matter of fact as nice looking as any in Prague except the Boccaccio. Brilliantly illuminated with lighting which can be to semi-darkness on various colors. The place is fairly stacked with light; lights on each columns; lights on the wall; lights cleverly and really tastefully arranged in a colored floral pattern behind the orchestra, lights from the ceiling. There are about 40 tables with cushioned chairs. The orchestra is a 10 piece which, I am admiringly informed, consists of soldiers of the Czech Brigade, who “played an awful much” in England. At any rate, tho’ not as good as Vlach’s band in the FENIX, they are pretty good. For a vocalist they have a young Indian. Rosie has told me that she knows him, that he is a discharged RAF boy who is “staying on” in Prague. He has a very poor voice. When I remarked on this to Rosie one night, she replied, with female logic, that he was very cute and “good;” She drowned toned the word out with an intonation proper to the fact that a “good” man in Prague is an incredible phenomenon. He looks quite young boyish, is quite worrisome, and sings ^in deed-pan English, with an expression as if he perpetually wondered just why all the people were so interested in seeing ^hearing him sing. Per dance session the band plays about 6 or 7 numbers; the types of dance alternate in an invariable schedule; smooth American music; Czech Polks and Waltzes; and American jazz. The dance floor, which is always packed, is about 20 feet square.
A Czech Major just entered with his wife. He has absolutely the curious gate I have ever seen in any uncrippled soldier ^person, let alone soldier. He seems to swing from two axis ^pwats ; he swings from the left to the right, his ^gold Major’s stars describing their peculiar like a to a billion year double-star system in the galactics; he sways backwards and forward, as if the first movement, complicated were not enough. To describe his walk as would he understatement. It positively makes you dizzy. He seems to be only mildly interested in ^(being in) the LUCERNA .