May 16, 1917
My dear Gertrude
A wet day at last but I am rather glad - my right foot was rather bad yesterday & I lay down after the 3 oclock parade & rested it. The easy corridor parades today will be a further help. It rained heavily in the night but stopped for sufficient time to allow us to march over the common for our 6.30 & 7-0 parade this morning. It was rained steadily since & will be appreciated in the country.
No letter from you so far this week but one from Mother yesterday. Berk went home last Wednesday & is to pass through London en route to Winchester where the London Scottish Reserve Battalion is on Saturday. Leave is so bad to get here that I am not sure of being able to meet him but hope to do so for an hour or two.
Your letter of April 24 came by the 3 oclock post with a wristlet enclosed (for which thanks) & your Uncle's letter. He will not find any difficulty joining the army here & from what I hear he will be able to do so in Canada alright. You will have seen in the papers last week that they are calling all fit men between 41 & 50 to volunteer here - that of course means compulsion sooner or later. There are plenty of that age in already but they have had to enlist under fictitious ages.
I am glad you have read "The First Hundred Thousand". It is a book your Uncle Frank would like. I don't remember what remark I started out to make about the Author - unless it was that he was advertised to lecture in Massey Hall in one of the "Globes" you sent, or that he was lecturing at Grantham to the Machine Gunners when Rob was there. My neglect in not finishing my remark at the time is one of the results of my very usual & extremely bad practise of not reading my letters through after writing them.
Never got this finished yesterday - Went down to tea & then out for a hot bath, then to the Reference Library to cool off & read some Artillery Mathematics, then a light supper at a Soldiers Home & back to barracks too near lights out to think about writing. To-day I have had a long day on duty as Post Orderly - got off at 7.45 & have to parade at 9.30 for Fire [?] to take the place of another man.
I have been here 5 weeks to-day. I hope it is near the end, would not like to put in another five but we have a Corporal arrived this week whose case is more unfortunate than mine. He returned from France last November, had his leave, was called to his training unit, completed a four months course then when the examinations were to come off took measles. He was in hospital & then home for 11 days & is now returned here, till he is called up again. To go through another complete course.
I hope to get a pass from 2 pm tomorrow to meet Berk - as he leaves Waterloo at 5.55 we will only have about two hours together. Still that is something. He would have come by an earlier train if I could have got off sooner. Mother tells me that Cousin Ian has turned up at last in a hospital in London with rheumatism. It looks as if we have had our share of hospital as a family. Edgar is writing to her, had said he was still hopeful of the war being over in a few months.
I have also had a letter from Ian but he got to his usual "Well I must close" without saying very much.
On Tuesday evening I went with Urquhart & Patterson, the two Egypt Cadets who I have been going also with a lot to the Theatre Royal to see a real melodrama. The Theatre is about on a par with what the Majestic used to be in Toronto before it descended to vaudeville & pictures, that is it present old time melodramas to the humbler classes of the community. They are awful villains & villainy but virtue is always triumphant & is very heartily applauded. Whenever it breaks through the clouds of evil & the sentimental passages are equally well received. The enjoyment comes as much (to we sophisticated people of course) from the audience as from the stage. The Theatre here run what is termed twice nightly - the first show at 6.50 & 8.50 just right for "lights out". We had all the glory of front balcony seats for 9/ each including the war tax, & a 41/2 supper after at Lyons so it was not a very expensive evening's enjoyment. I was almost forgetting the name of the play, most important in melodrama. "The Girl Who Didn't Care".
A dull day today but fine. Being on duty I only had the before breakfast parade to go through.
Hope all is going well. Kind regards to your Father & Mother.
Best Love to you.