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Date: August 1st 1943

No 178

1 August 43

Dear Jean:

Your airletter of the 18th reached me in exactly 10 days, which is pretty good, and I'm going to take a chance on this, to see if it takes any more time than airgraph. Understand they have a special air mail service now via North Atlantic, so until that is stopped on account of winter weather, these airletters may be the best, and they are so much easier to read, as well as having a bit more space. Quite often I reach the bottom of the airgraphs all too soon, but don't have enough left over to make a second sheet worth while.

It was nice to hear about Mary's birthday, and that the little book of Egyptian stories got there just in time. When Mary grows up, and realizes that her Pop sent her nothing but books from overseas, am afraid she will think he didn't have much imagination. But they are bout the nicest thing left in the stores, especially if you have time to shop for them. Also they seem to keep up the quality of childrens editions better than the austerity editions for grown ups. Some of the latter are horrible, coarse yellow paper, no margins, tiny print, and ugly cheap bindings. Nevertheless, I have read some fine books among such, like people, "its whats in em what counts".

If Mary keeps growing so fast, they will have to stop the war, or else by the time I get back, she will be taller than her old man, and I'm doubtful if I could ever assert the proper parental control over her then. How wonderful it will be to have a little pal. To even things up, we ought to have a little boy, so that in family arguments, the sides will be even. The pictures out to be along soon.

Am afraid if the Cowichan sweaters cost so much, we can not afford to buy them wholesale. Should be able to remember the name of the Lady at "The Canoe", a little filling station-store place at Koksilah, on the Island Highway, just before you get to Duncan Maybe Frank Swannell, or Mac would know. Anyway, one of the Forestry chaps might be driving up past there on business, and could find out for you. Doug Macdougal would remember I'm sure. I got my sweater there, and it only cost $5.00, and is the best one I've seen. Got yours there too didn't' we? We have our party to give Major Hardy-Syms his tomorrow night.

Managed to get over to the paymasters last week to send you £25, and it should get to you in time for your own birthday. I want you to take plenty out of it to get your present from your Boy Friend. I want you to get something you've been wanting a lot and will be waiting to hear what you decided on. Think that is better than trying to find something here. I get so lonely for you, during the day I'm pretty busy, and its not so bad, but often wake up during the night, and wish you were there with me to love and feel. It is a yearning that can't be satisfied until we are together again.

Haven't been able to locate Jack Benton yet, but hope to do so before long. I will write her now, as you suggest, wasn't very sure whether to write or not till I got your ideas about it.

The weather has been good this last week, and have been able to get out in the evenings, which have been long and warm, for a bike ride. There is a canal not far away, and the tow-path which runs along side it for miles is OK for the bike, and nice, because it is completely away from road traffic, and the canal is just like a small river. You see lots of interesting things along it too, typical old Englishmen sitting among the nettles with a fishing rod and line, I never see them pull out any fish, but they all seem to be very hopeful, and contented. Then every quarter of a mile or so there are cute little old fashioned locks and on some of them, the lock keeper's house, where invariably there are flowers, and a nice neat vegetable garden. Then there are 'swimmin holes' here and there, crowded with happy people, young and older. Then there is the odd old-fashioned mill, always something fascinating about an old water mill, and one or two along this canal are beautifully ugly. Then too, it is a favourite place for lovers to stroll or cycle or row in the evening, and this makes me think of my own sweetheart waiting for me back home. England, this part anyway, looks very lovely just now, some of the grain is cut and stoked, a heavy crop this year too, windrows very close together, and all the fields waiting to be cut are a beautiful golden, bordered by lovely English trees along the hedges, and roads, and the quaint little farmsteads nestled down in the folds of terrain. I think this would be the best time of the year for you and Mary to come to see England.
Well, its midnight, and bedtime. They had a dance at the mess last night, and I'M glad its over, not very keen on midsummer dances. Ecila couldn't come, she is working hard and finds the army dances a bit too much.

Heaps of love to both of you,


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