My dear Mother:-
This is not very clean writing paper but while I'm waiting around and not doing very much I'll just write you a few lines. It is just midnight and it will soon be my turn to go on gas piquet.
It is quiet out tonight and I think one of the runners who is snoring rather loudly in a bunk behind me is creating more disturbance than the enemy. Just a brief picture of the "home". This, the first of three rooms in our dugout - Battery Headquarters is about fifteen feet long by five feet wide and by a stairway which is just high enough to bump your head comfortably as you go in and out, leads to the trench. At one end of the room is a table on which are located the cooking utensils and beside which hang sacks containing such sundry articles as Candles, hard-tac[k], bread, and such war commodities. Further along the wall may be seen one of the fellow's equipment with its bayonet and entrenchment handle, a steel helmet- or tin lizzie or tin derby of trench parlance and then a small box respirator, one of soldier's best friends. I, myself, am seated at the writing desk - a rather rickety table - adorned with an old 'Hamilton Spectator' as a cloth and lighted by a candle with a bully-beef tin to serve as a candle-stick. Scattered around the table may be seen such sundry articles as playing cards, cigarette tins, maps, cloth for gun-cleaning etc. Is it not a wonderful picture? When I come home I shall most certainly live in the cellar.
It is a lovely night out and with the stars shining brightly- a nice keen tingle and freshness in the air one can almost cease to think of war but all too soon a whizz-bang or H.E. brings the full reality back. I got back from the ration dump shortly after ten o'clock and since then have had supper and read one of the Saturday Nights which either you or Nellie sent me. I got a parcel from Nellie on Monday night and then last night one of the Regina teachers sent me another and I can assure you they both looked pretty good here in the line. My feet have been bothering me lately but this afternoon I went down to the Dressing Station, had them bandaged and then put on a nice clean pair of socks which came in Miss MacDowell's parcel. Now they feel much better.
I didn't do much today. I slept all forenoon and then Storrey and I cooked dinner which consisted of steak and fried potatoes, bread & cream cheese, honey and tea. We feed well enough, don't you think? The meat was cooked with a candle for here in the line no fires - unless with an oil-stove - are permitted in the day-time. To use the candle we take a beef tin - punch a few holes in the side - put in it a few pieces of sand-bag and some candle and you would be surprised how much heat is generated. Our mess tin cover serves as a frying pan.
Our great friends here are rats - which flourish in the trenches - mice which abound in the dug-out, even now I hear a score or more parading on the table among the dishes and the lice family stick closer than friends. At most any time of the day you can, without going very far from your dug-out, see one of the fellows with his undershirt off making a casual investigation and I can say that there is a real glint of self-satisfaction in his eye as he apprehends one or more of the unwelcome intruders.
Well, Mother , I think I'll just slip inside and sleep for an hour for my eyes are getting rather heavy. Best love. Write soon