March 09, 1917
I left hospital (Casualty Clearing Station) yesterday, and came by train to the Corps Rest Station for officers; where I shall probably be for the next fortnight, getting ready to return to the line. We are here about 30 kilometers or so behind the trenches in a nice little town, and in a house which belongs to some countess or baroness, or other of that ilk. It has been rented by the authorities and made into a very comfortable home for officers who for one cause or another need a couple of weeks rest, without being in want of the attention of the hospital. Of course, we are still regarded as patients, - the place is run by the R.A.M.C. and an orderly comes around every morning to take temperatures before we get up.
Otherwise it might be a very comfortable club. We have to attend meals and be in bed by eleven. Between times we follow our own sweet will. To-day as it is bleak and cold without, and as I am still a bit wobbly on my pins - especially after the journey of yesterday - I am spending most of the day in an easy chair by the fire in the library. To-morrow, I shall have a look about the town.
I had a rather interesting little experience with a French officer who shared my compartment on the train yesterday. He spoke English fairly well, though as he explained he only knew the ordinary words. Seeing my kit he asked if I were going on leave. I explained, and then went on to say that I was too far away to actually go home anyway. I saw a light come into his eyes. He was too far away, also. His own people were in the France that is beyond the barrier. He said it very quietly; but for just an instant I felt what it would be like to have one's own country in the hands of the Bosch. No wonder the French fight!
The library is a pleasant room - papered in dull, red library-paper with fumed-oak doors and trimmings. At least, it looks like fumed oak, but I observe that as in most of the French mansions in this region at least, the splendor is but imitation. We dine in a huge white-enameled room with massive antique side-boards. I sleep in a great bed-room facing the street - 12 foot ceiling and windows almost as high. There is another bed - at present unoccupied.
Already I've found a friend of the family, so to speak, an R.A.M.C. lieutenant, who used to live in Brockville. He's a Scotchman named Burges, and a Baptist - was converted at Brockville under W.W.Weeks, and was a member there under Mr. Sycamore. He didn't know of you, as he left before your return; but he knew of Dr. Farmer. In the course of conversation it developed further that he was at that time connected with the Quarrier Sheltering Home, and that he knew the Birts who visited them quite frequently. Altogether we found quite a solid basis for acquaintanceship. He returned to Scotland some years ago to study medicine and has settled there.
Well, my dear ones, I must stop, as the time for collection of letters has arrived. I have had no mail myself for ten days, but I expect it will catch up in a day or so now.
Love unbounded to all.