My dear Ethel:-
You will remember my saying I would look up the proofs of pictures Gordon had last summer, and I am more than glad to say I have been successful. They look much better finished and I am sending you, under separate cover per this mail, two copies of each sitting, one finished in grey and one in brown. Choose which you like best and return the other one. I had no idea which finish you might like best.
This is copy of note which I sent Steve re the pictures. Have not yet heard from her, as I expect they will only arrive there this AM.
Hope she likes them.
Dear Old Thing and Mother & Dad & Stell
Just think of how low have come the proud when I am absolutely reduced to writing you on paper or letters received. It is simply awful here. We cannot get a single pad of any kind shape or form. The French people have even robbed the school children to get us writing paper. I have just been out taking a last look see everything seems very quiet and peaceful after the excitement of the last few days. Up till then there seemed to be prospects of neutral love, amiability, good conduct etc etc etc but I arranged for pay and things broke loose with a roar. Three hours after my gang of ex convicts and conscripts were like a tribe of drunk Indians. It has taken war since to bring them around to a realization of their conduct but it has been done at last. Any old time they think they can put it over on yours truly [?] they can try it on. And yet they could hardly be very much blamed - there does not appear to be any doubt of it - the stuff they thot was beer must have been doped for one glass seemed to put them on their ears and send them wild.
Last night I got just twenty letters and a cable and as it was over two weeks since the last mail you may bet I was glad to get it. There was only one letter from Ethel in the whole bunch and not one from the rest of you. Ethels letter was dated April 21st so you can see how long it has taken to come - just 46 days. Oh its a lovely war. Please don't talk to me again about writing. I have answered every letter I have had from any of you and written you very frequently between times. None of your parcels containing cashmere sox etc have yet come to land but I expect they are holding them down at the wing for me.
We have been in this area now for almost a month all by ourselves. Everyone seems to have forgotten us but we still draw our rations and hold our billets and get our pay so we should worry. For two months now I have not been near the line but have been within easy sound of the guns. The stories we hear are of course wonderful - the fighting just now away South seems to be particularly heavy but so far as we can congratulate Canada , as I have not heard of any canucks in it.
Dad said something in his letter of Stell taking a suite but did not say where. Do tell some news once in a while.
Give my regards to Doc Williams when you see him next. Tell him the only time we see him is around meal times. He would certainly never do in the Army. He would likely tell some new general some of his house truths and get his feelins hurt. Then the fight started.
Glad to hear of cousin Crawford's success. Give her my best wishes. I was also glad to hear of Haddo Bests splendid progress.
Last night I got a letter from Wes. The first since I left England. He mentioned a letter from Ethel and she mentioned writing him. He certainly has been a great little lead swinger.
The boots you sent me are worn out on the soles already & will have to be mended tomorrow. Next pair have them spiked & nailed instead of sewn.
Love to all.