6 July, 1956 (Part 2)
After returning the bicycles, we decided to take a train for Nice. Back in the Cannes railroad station, with which I have become very familiar, I decided what the covered waiting platform reminded me of—one of the Exhibition buildings at the 1898 World’s Fair.
The "train" we took was more like a subway, with streamlined red-&-yellow cars. The driver, or conductor, or whatever he’s called, sits in a raised bump on the roof in the center of each car.
While in Nice, we looked around various clothing stores & antique shops. Tom has some friends living in Williamsburg, Virginia—the reconstructed colonial town—who asked him to try & locate an 18th century mirror.
Browsing through a newspaper, we found that one of the theartres was playing two Russian films—one of them an animated cartoon—that had won the grand prize at the recent Cannes Film Festival. The theatre didn’t open until 9 p.m., & the last train to Cannes left at 10:30. We decided to wait, see the cartoon at least, & make it back to the station in time for the train. While waiting for the theatre to open, we walked around some more. Each of us bought a small box of fresh raspberries from a small shop, & walked along the street in front of the Ruhl Hotel (one of the world’s most exclusive) eating raspberries.
The cartoon, "L’Antilope d’Or" ("The Golden Antelope") was a very pleasant surprise. The movement of the characters was smooth, the colors were soft & pleasing, & the backgrounds & characters very well drawn. The story takes place in India & deals with a young boy who hides an antelope fleeing from the Raja’s hunters. The antelope, by striking the ground with its rear hooves, makes gold coins. The Raja learns of the Antelope’s powers, & that the boy has befriended it. He brings the boy before him & demands a certain payment of gold for some trumped-up offense. The boy seeks out the Antelope by coming to the rescue of various animals, who in turn aid him in finding the Antelope. Of course, the boy is being followed by an unscrupulous character in the employ of the Raja At last the boy finds the Antelope, in a silver cloud. The Antelope gives the boy the money & a flute, telling him to play it whenever he needs her, & she will come to him. The stooge tells the Raja, who takes the money the boy has brought & steals the pipe, summoning the Antelope. She appears & is seized by the palace guards. The Raja commands her to make gold, & she begins leaping about the court, a shower of gold coins falling wherever her feet strike the floor. The guards soon go into a frenzy, running after her & falling all over themselves, trying to get more gold. The boy calls her & she leaps up the stairs, striking the steps again & again with her hooves, until a cascade of gold rushes down the steps & knocks the Raja off his feet, burying him. The gold then changes to stone, & the Raja is buried alive. The guards, seeing the gold they’ve gathered turning to stone, walk away in disgust. The boy & the Golden Antelope go quietly up the stairs & out into the night….
No doubt many could & would find the whole story a sinister communist plot, with the Raja representing Greedy Capitalism, the boy Russia, Everybody’s Pal, & the animals the nations of the world. But I prefer to think of it as the story of a boy, an evil villain, & an Antelope of Gold….
Tomorrow I have Shore Patrol, which I am looking forward to with no great glee. They haven’t paid me for the last time, yet.
Oh, did I tell you I got a letter from the garage where my car is stored? Already I owe them $83. Oh, well—it’s only money….
The other day they were selling 1956 Fords & Chevrolets on the Hangar deck for $1500; delivery when we get home. Had I $1500 or father’s excellent advice, I might have gotten one. They were also selling Wedgwood China, some of it beautiful (for $141 you could get a $450 set). I wanted to get some very badly, but again didn’t have the money.
Again, the hint about stamps—the envelope to this letter is probably plastered with six one-centers. If you haven’t sent any by the time you get this, don’t bother, because I won’t be writing. Either that, or will wait until 20 cents worth has collected, then ship them off.
Well, the mail situation has been pretty bad all the way around—I’ve only gotten 3 letters from you in the 6 days.
Something is going around the ship—we don’t know what, but it’s causing diarrhea & stomach cramps. At first we thought it was the food, but officers, chiefs, & enlisted men all have it & they eat in different messes. No doubt it’s the water. Nothing is quite the same when you’re thirsty as running to the fountain for a nice, cool drink of salt water. They’re doing that too often to be even vaguely amusing anymore. When someone turns the wrong valve, salt water flows through fresh water mains & contaminates the whole ship.
Well, more Sunday.