France 15th Oct 1918
Yesterday I mailed my first letter home for over two weeks - one to Father. The same day I received a letter from Nellie in Grassie. Today's Canadian mail brought me letters from Mother and Irene. As we are not so busy as usual for a few days, I must try to catch up with my correspondence. I am sorry I must refrain from telling you just where we are now, but from the general outlook one could easily forget that it had, only a few days ago, been a battlefield - I sit on a railway embankment with a pretty village to right and left and a valley in front with a canal running along it. Horses are browsing in the meadow at my feet and back of the canal the tall, slender ash trees are mostly turned yellow. Life here during the past two or three days has been a picnic for the gunners. We have shelters in the soft earth of the embankment, left by the terror-stricken Hun not long ago. Everyday a party of boys sets out to gather vegetables of
all sorts which abound in the fields and gardens. Our meals are wonderful and would be considered excellent anywhere. I little dreamed that we should ever literally feast upon the 'spoils of war'. About a week ago I received several bundles of periodicals from you, such as -Posts, Atlantic Monthlies, Literary Digests, etc. We were very pleased to have this splendid reading matter. Irene wonders how, in the heat of battle, I can be dis-interested enough to observe the situation as a whole and call it a 'grand spectacle'. It is very seldom indeed that the artillery man is able to observe much more than his own end of the fight. As a matter of fact I have not, since August 8th, seen the equal of that dazzling array.
We have been in much fiercer battles since that one though. A walk-away is one thing and a stubbornly-opposed drive something entirely different.
I can not help referring in all my letters now to my prospect of going away on leave in a few weeks.
Having been without leave for over two years, you can easily understand my interest in the subject. You will expect very glowing letters then in about six weeks from now. I fear I shall be unable to explore all of France but I shall do my very best. I have not yet received the razors, tobacco, etc. sent by Father but they will no doubt be here any day. To tell the truth, razors have not been bothering me nor my face any too much of late. I lived two weeks not long ago without more than one good wash and my face look surprisingly clean at that. I had a
Shower-bath a week ago but the time allowed - 3 minutes - was altogether too short for a thorough job so I had to go out dirty. Continental peoples are not, I observe, quite so particular about personal cleanliness as the Americans and English. The French people derive great amusement from watching the toilets of the British soldiers. There is altogether too much scrubbing, shaving and brushing of teeth, according to their ideas. Such men must be sissies or have something wrong with them. Of course the British soldier was never really popular
among the French. A Canadian or American always gets much better treatment - I always say because they can go deeper into pocket. I should not be surprized if the next few months saw great changes in World Politics. Yesterday's news re an Armistice was interesting enough but the whole future seems very uncertain and the possibilities various. Perhaps great changes will have occurred ere this reaches you. I see I have commenced my last sheet of paper, so must
govern myself accordingly. Yesterday some of the boys amused themselves fishing in the canal. They used Mills bombs for tackle. It kills the fish all right. It will soon be supper time again. I wish poor Irene could join us at one of our sumptuous
meals. Sad to say, all cannot come over to France and fmd out what high living is.
My letters will doubtless soon be headed "Somewhere in Germany". We get nearer every time I write.
With much love,