No. 2 Military Hosp.
Everything is going fine- I feel good enough today to hike 10 miles and some. My little walk around the grounds this morning in the fresh air was great stuff- it put lots of pep in to me. This afternoons hike will also help matters and I will feel like a king. I saw the doctor in charge yesterday- he said that I was coming along fine and assured me that I would suffer no permanent defects thru the wound. I was not expecting to have any trouble but his assurance makes one doubly sure. So we should worry.
You ought to have seen me "lick up" two big plates of milk rice pudding this moon. Say- it went good. This afternoon at 5 oclock there is to be a concert in Ward 2 which I am going to attend. If it is like the usual run of concerts given here it will be tres bon. This place certainly is a nice place to be sick in. Everybody is very nice to you and can't do enough to make your way pleasant. Nurses are certainly great inventions.
I have had no news since last writing you from our relatives here, but expect letters daily. Also no letters from France. My first letter there must have gone astray- however the 2nd letter will probably have better luck. Of course travel is slow in France and my first letter may have made connections all right. I am carrying on in hope and will expect a huge batch of mail when it does arrive. No news from Lee or any of the other boys- I am expecting that by the French mail.
Did I mention to you in my last letter that Uncle Bill is still in Scotland. I gota letter from him several days ago in which he hopes he may be able to see me before he gets a ship again. Here is hoping. He must be some fine old timer and I would certainly like to see him. Gordon in Egypt and George in France were O.K.
The weather here is continues fine- not at al what I expected of the English climate. For which let us be truly thankful. I hope that it continues so for some months as good weather makes things far more enjoyable.
I'll carry on now with the history of my visit to Nice. When I finished last time I was just descending from the Chateau Rock onto the real harbor of Nice. Continuing down the road which descended steeply I soon arrived on the quay. A lot of small boys were sitting on the edge of it dangling their bare legs over the edge and fishing. I couldn't resist the temptation to join them- the sight took me back to the days in Glencoe when I used to go down to the pier, barefooted, with my fishing tackle, dangle my legs over the edge of the pier in the warm sun- and sometimes catch a fish- a small one. The same thing held good there- there were numerous fishers- all enthusiastic- but I saw very few fish caught and they were never more than 3 inches long. However- it did me good to sit in the sun and smile at the lads- and imagine that I was a little younger that I really was for awhile. I also thought of a frantic, misequito bitten mother, on a cycle, searching for her wandering brood. Remember that?
After sticking around for awhile I decided I had better move so I wandered around the quay, smiling at all the quaint new things that I saw, until I arrived at a fleet of small sailboats tugging at their anchor in a sheltered nook. Say, they looked good, rising up and down on the slight swell. I would have liked to be at their helm out on the open sea- however I learned latter that pleasure boats were not permitted to go outside the harbor- probably on account of submarines.
Continuing on my way I came to a group of about 15 French Sailors who were evidently having a splendid time. When I came close to them several of them came toward me and spoke to me and shook hands "Bon Jour monsieur"- "comment allez vous?- "vous etes Canadian?"- "Ah, tres bon camerade and so on. I stopped to speak to them in fact I had to- there was no going on- where upon one of them produced a large earthen jug of wine and poured out a glass for me. There was nothing else to do but drink it it was the "entente cordial" and we were "bon camerades". As soon as I was finished with the first glass, another was poured out for me- I tried to refuse it but no- drink it I must.
The third time they offered however I called a halt, I decided that I would risk a rupture of diplomatic relations and finally persuaded them that I had enough. I staid around for awhile having a very laughable time with them, they certainly were a friendly lot of souls and then continued on my way. Turning an angle of the quay I spotted a public bath house, with a sort of spring board arrangement in front of it. This looked very good to me as I hadn't had a real swim since I left Southampton so I hustled over, hired a bathing suit etc. and was soon into the briny. Say, that water was glorious. I splashed around in it for an hour or so and the water felt better every moment. It was just exactly the right temperature- beautifully clear- and very bouyant. I could float on it without any effort and swimming was a thing of joy forever. I turned and twisted, rolled and wallowed and swam every variety of stroke that I knew and felt like shouting for pure joy. Say- it was great- from then on I figured on going swimming at least twice a day.
The swim finished, I dressed, and started for the town, as I was becoming very hungry. After a good supper, flanked by a large bottle of Lemonade, I decided to continue my explorations as per the guide book. My path now led me out into the outskirts of the town on the north side, along the foot on Mt. Boron. Soon I came out into a portion of the town which was very pretty, but which lacked the conveniences of Nice. The houses were small, in large fenced yards containing gardens, the streets unpaved, and with no sidewalks and small streams of water ran down there sides. The people were very friendly and I recieved many a nod and smile as I passed along.
At one point a young girl and her brother were busily engaged in doing the family washing in the stream which ran by the roadside. I stopped to watch them and we soon struck up a conversation- which as usual dwelt heavily on the funny side of things. My French is very poor but still somehow or other one can always make out. They used plenty of soap on their clothes- the water was cold- and then rubbed them vigorously on a flat rough rock until clean. Rather a primitive washboard to be sure but it never-the-less did the trick.
From here I continued on until I struck a main road which led toward town. At the corner were congregated a 10 or 15 young lads. They spotted me as I came up and immediately the canadian become the centre of attraction. I was getting used to it by now so did not mind. Soon one of the young lads started in to show me how he could walk on his hand- then all the rest followed suit. Say it was funny to see 15 lads, bare legs waving in the air. Marching down the roadway on their hands. I nearly split my sides laughing. Some of the lads were only about 6 years old- but they could "march sur le main" as good as any of them. The next stunt was turning cartwheels- all hands joined in this too, and the result was great. People in the neighboring houses came out to see what all the fun was about and staid to laugh and admire. When they had got tired of this sport I started toward town as it was getting near dark, and found that two of the lads were determined to act as my body guard. I did not mind, as they made pleasant company- so we went on together chattering in pigeon French until we arrived at where I had to take the street car for my hotel. There we bid a long farewell. I tried to give them some money but they would not accept it- however I persuaded them to accept two old red crosses from an old tunic as souvenirs. They were very glad to get these. It was funny to see them instruct me as to how to get on the car, but my ticket and where to sit. Good Lads.
The ride to the hotel was accomplished without event- the street cars are similar to our Victoria Cars but are divided into first and second class. The fares were very cheap. Women after take the places of men as conductors and motormen. On arriving at the hotel I found that my two partners had moved- leaving a note for me telling me where they had gone. The place they had gone to was cheaper than this hotel and there were lots of Canadians staying there. I figured I had better move- too- but as it was late put it off for the morrow and rolled in for a snooze.
I think I will end this chapter here and give you the description of my trip to Mt. Chauve in the next letter.
Hope that all is going well with the family- and that Christmas and New Year will be very joyous days. Regards to all our friends
Your loving son
Did you get the colored photos of Nice all right? Also the box of post card views I sent you?