Sunday May 26, 1918.
My dear Gertrude,
My time has come at last. The order for a draft did not come out until yesterday afternoon - everyone thought when Friday passed that there was a clear weekend at least. Orr, the young Scotch lawyer, who is in my room, had put off weekend leave for the past two weeks, fearing a draft but at last decided to take it this week. He was telegraphed for yesterday - so would only have a few hours at home at rather big cost.
We had to parade at 9.30 this morning for medical inspection & I got through alright. To-morrow we will probably go to Aldershot to get our Overseas equipment at ordnance, which will put a big hole in our banking accounts, Tuesday we fire a revolver course, and Wednesday go through gas to test our new anti-gas gear. So we won't get away on leave before Wednesday night.
I have two more letters from you - the intermediate one, due, of April 24th and one of May 1st. They always seem more up today if one receives them in the same month that they are written.
Helen & Joan would be pleased that you were able to get to them for their "cakes". Helen is evidently much better now to be able to go about so much, even though she has to be wheeled sometimes. Beamsville should do them a lot of good.
I am pleased that Frank was to go to Doctor Clark's whilst the family is away - he would be well looked after - & they are the kind of people who are congenial to him.
Don't trouble at all about the dress suit. I didn't expect it to fetch much, but as all old clothes here are fetching high prices I thought it might as well go, if you happened to have anyone round. They fetch the big prices largely because of the value of good material for remarking up in the mills I believe, but that will hardly affect the price in Canada.
You seem to have been running a sort of hospital at home for awhile. Hope Spencer was soon able to be "marked out" convalescent.
You mention our treasure of a servant - that was at "Fairseat". We have not been so lucky here, a young Australian, a careless sort of 'beggar, but he has left us this week & we seem to have a good man in his place. However the other in going has run off with my outfit of brushes & various polishes, & a new bag Mother made recently to hold them. However its all part of the war.
I never heard anything about the compulsory return to Canada of soldier's families. I know they have been persuading them to, saying if they wait till' the end of the war they may not get over for a year or more. The few who are over would not make any difference as far as rations go, I don't suppose they number in all nearly 50,000 & that would be about 1 in 900 of the ordinary population. Possibly half the number would be nearer the mark. I have no doubt however that they are very strict about letting civilians over this way, but I think with adequate reasons it will not be impossible to get permission. We will still have to wait a little before we can see how things are likely to go.
You seem to have been able to give the Storrs quite a sumptuous tea when they invaded you so suddenly en route to Beamsville - the plenty of bread & butter & milk part of it reminds me of two things. We have had white bread in mess all week - it looked really funny to see it for the first time - so staringly white & washed out beside our usual dark brown or gray variety. Rumour says it is an odd batch of white Canadian flour the A.S.C. here discovered. Of course the army gets any "finds" like that.
If I had thought sooner I could have suggested one or two things for birthday presents, will make a note of any needs that would be able to be filled as Christmas presents & let you know in time.
By the way I have been going to ask you for sometimes, when you are next downtown - would you get me two copies of our Canadian Hymn Book - you can get them for 5c or less in paper covers. I don't want any better copy (I have a musical edition at home) as I want them to cut up to take special hymns out of.
I am enclosing Mother's letter. I ought, of course, to be home in time to see Berk for one day at anyrate & Father will evidently be home for another week or more. I am glad that Mother was able to finish her week at Harrogate & I hope she will be able to take another later.
Had a rather strenuous but very enjoyable day yesterday. Started off with three hours Battery Gun Drill in the morning - rather more than we usually do in the way of heavy work on a Saturday. Then in the afternoon three of us set off for Camberley, some 31/2 miles away. It is within a mile of Sandhurst, or rather vice versa, for it is the town & station for Sandhurst. A small very clean little town & very pretty indeed. Trees & foliage everywhere, lovely gardens, & delightful houses. Bagshot, the Duke of Connaughts home is also quite near.
In peace time the Staff College is at Camberley where Senior Officers learn to become future Generals, but is closed now, as they learn such things in a more practical way. We went over partly to see the town, partly for the walk & partly to get our hair cut. We found a good place, both for that & to get the usual skeleton tea, with fruit salad instead of an egg however.
We walked back to mess for supper & had a very pleasant hour on the Canal from 8 to 9. We had a punt out, no canoes being obtainable but none of us trusting ourselves at punting. We took paddles & paddled it instead.
By the way I find I never went on to the second of the "two things" & that was milk. I only discovered yesterday that if you go into a dairy & ask for a glass of milk they ask you if you have a Doctor's order for it, if not you can't get any. Last summer it was difficult but if they had it they always sold it to you. I know at home they have been rationed since January 1st not legally but an arrangement amongst the dairies - they get about a pint a day for three of them I think. Of course cream is not allowed to be sold, it goes to the Government for munition purposes & very little if any cheese is allowed to be made. What is sold is all imported.
On the whole I think everyone gets guite sufficient food - & generally people are more healthy for not been able to get too much. In time the want of variety I suppose may rather tend to affect some people. We tend to get less variety than the civil population but decidedly more in quantity & overseas of course food is very plentiful. Hope all goes well. Give my good wishes to all at [?].
My best love to yourself.