Persia, November 15, 1918 Dear Helen, Your last letter reached me here in the desert, where you may be sure, letters have an extraordinary value. I was just about ready to go on leave when I was ordered to come on a camel-purchasing stunt with another officer, so I packed up and trekked five days along the coast to the east and settled down in a lovely garden just across the river from a sleepy old town. The other officer happens to be an old friend of mine at the Base, so we have a fairly good time together. I am really quite happy, and scarcely ever think of leave, for this is almost as good. I have learned to be contented anywhere - adaptability of a kind that comes from a certain amount of war-time experience. This is really tame for wartime, but then it will soon be over, we hope, so what is the use of trying for a change? I wish you could see me now at my camp table, with a big lantern beneath a perfect, moonlit Persian sky, and in the midst of a large garden of palm and orange trees. Captain Lutter has retired beneath his mosquito net. About fifteen yards away are our camels (close to save sentries). They are sniffling, gurgling and snorting as usual, with now and then the uproar which a few shouts from their attendants soon silence. The town dogs are holding forth, trying to outdo the jackals which swarm about, first in one place and then in another, with their varied howls. There are other minor noises such as the creaking bats in the trees, as well as mosquitoes. Then there is the nearest sentry whose big boots shuffle along the gravel walk as he walks about, in addition to ordinary duties, busying himself with throwing stones at stray cats which, moving incautiously about the outdoor kitchen, rattle the tinware. I find it too warm to go to bed early. There is scarcely a breath stirring, and I have just returned after a week along the desert seashore, where there was always a cool wind. I went with a caravan to meet a boat with our rations and had a rather monotonous time. It has made me happy here, with all these really pleasant surroundings. I believe I told you about my last attack of malaria. It has not returned, but I certainly suffer from all its after-effects these days, the chief of which is a very low pulse. Malaria is a sort of matter of course with me now, and as such, is not so very bad. After a day in the sun yesterday I felt just as though I had fever, but my temperature was normal. They say it never leaves one, but if it does not return oftener than once a year, I need not worry. Sunday, 17th. I have just returned from a sightseeing trip to the ruins of the first city of Hormuz. Hormuz was the home of Sinbad the Sailor, but which one I do not know. The other city was on the island of that name, fifty miles from where I was today. The Portuguese moved from the mainland to the island for defensive purposes in the fifteenth century. Both are now alike - heaps of decomposing sandstone now almost level with the ground. I saw only the desert, the levelled ruins, and the harbour with the waves breaking over its long bar. Such a harbour it is - seven fathoms of water reached two miles inland almost in the shape of an equilateral triangle and practically land-locked. The tidal area covers much more, including over half of the ruins. I took my compass and ruler and drew a map in my notebook after riding over the site. I could distinguish a mosque, port, bazaar and residential areas and two small forts on the inland extreme corners of the town. It has no fresh water, but there is an ample supply from the river eight miles away. This has not only an interest for me historically, but commercially, for there are thousands of square miles to the north, for which this is the natural port, awaiting irrigation and a railway. An American engineer with several million dollars would make out of two hundred miles of river basin and fifty miles of coast line one of the world's finest gardens. Lutter and myself have been in touch with all the possibilities of this part of Persia. But as the Orient moves at a medieval rate, it may be many years before this development takes place. A kasid [?] arrived today and brought me a letter from Edna and a note from my O.C. I do a fair amount of Persian these days as I have my own teacher all the time. He speaks English and has coached officers for the past thirty years along the Gulf. I think you made a wise choice by returning to teaching, but it must be cold in Sudbury. Yours sincerely, Austin.