Tuesday May 21, 1918
My dear Gertrude,
I fully intended to make Sundays letter your birthday letter - but as I did not I hope this will arrive in time. I had remembered as I was writing last midweek but thought that was a little too soon - but I wrote to Muriel then asking her to send a little parcel off to you at once. I had bought it in March before coming here, as I did not know if I would be home again. Poppy had chosen a similar one for Edgar's last present to her. I did not know whether to have any initials or monogram put on it, but Poppy said she preferred hers plain, & on the whole it seemed better so to me. The girls said they were sure you would have a chain to wear it one, I could not recall you ever wearing one - however Poppy wore hers on a plain ribbon & it looks very well to me, and you may like it that way too. I can give you the chain later. The photo I ordered from the photographer when I was on weekend leave, a reduction of course of the last portrait. Muriel says it has been done well, but I did not see it.
I wonder if you will be in Pearson Avenue or have got away to Port Elgin or elsewhere for your holiday by then. At any rate I hope you will have a happy time for the 11th and that everything may be going so well in every way - that you may have good hope of many happy returns of the day.
Our perfect weather continues - very hot indeed - & the sun in a clear sky.
Rather disappointed to-day. Applied for a weekend leave to see Berk & can't get it. If it was a matter of putting more work on others by going I would not mind but we are in such numbers here that they don't know what to do with us. However it goes by rule - as everything does in the army, & only 10% are allowed off each week end & if they give it me, it would have to be at the expense of one of those entitled to it. Of course I can't very well ask for that. Ian has asked to have leave & go home for Saturday, in the hope that we might all be together for the day. Of course if Berk has to report at Winchester again, I may be able to see him in London, but he is more likely to go to the Machine Gun DepÃ´t at Grantham.
Last Sunday morning I walked to the little Church at Fumley Green for morning service. Found it more "High" Church than I anticipated, it is difficult to judge a church by an evening service, unless the sermon is on some point of doctrine. Thought I had got there early, it was only 10.45, but the service was just beginning - & morning prayer without a sermon was all of by 11.15. Then they had an interval & Choral Communion began. I remained until after the sermon & collection & then came away. Quite a hearty service & fairly plain in spite of being called "choral". Plenty of hymns. A lovely walk there & back the foliage & flowers are perfect these days. You know the rest of the days doings. I did not turn out to Church in the evening.
On Monday we had a hard mornings work, battery gun drill on a gravel parade ground for 3 hours, in the blazing sun, but we had the afternoon off. I had developed quite a headache, woke up with part of it, through having slept with the window closed, the error of a Scotchman who was up late playing cards. I lay down after lunch till tea time & then after a cup of tea felt quite normal again. Had a quiet time till supper and at 7.30 started off down the Canal with two others to get a boat or canoe. Failed at Fumley & walked on to North Camp but no luck there. It was a pleasant walk although warm & we
envied all the people on the water.
Yesterday the General of the Aldershot Command paid his monthly visit of inspection so we had rather a strenuous day. Spent the morning throwing two big guns into holes & hauling them out again, fortunately there were plenty of pines about so we got a certain amount of shelter. In the afternoon we indulged in some heliographing - between two hill tops two miles apart.
To-day is as tropical as ever. We have had a fairly strenuous day. Raising an old 5 ton gun off the ground this morning, & gas drill this afternoon. The latter including a continuous half hour with the respirator on, & they are warm things these days.
There has seemed likelihood of an overseas draft for this coming Friday, and I was counting somewhat on the allowing me home in time to see Berk - one usually gets on draft leave 3 days after the draft is in orders. But it is pretty authoritative to-day that there is not one & from all appearances there will not be one from here for some time, that is some weeks.
The next phase of the German offensive is very late in developing. There is a feeling that it is to come this week. In many ways there sooner it begins the better, except in as far as each week ought to see many more Americans in the field.
Guest night again, but we have another officer as president to-night, so we are not likely to be so late at the table as last night.
I had better close. I have just noticed that in turn for weekend leave again may possibly occur for that including June 8th & 11th. I hope it May.
Best wishes again for the letter day & let us hope we wont have to be wishing by letter next year.
With all my love.