Febr'y 23rd 1916
Its quite awhile since I addressed an envelope to you, but I guess you hear from me as often as any one else. This letter is two or three days late, but better late than never, I suppose. Things have been rather upset this week so I did not write on my usual day. However, everything is all O.K. again now.The papers come quite regularly. I enjoy reading them very much, especially the 'Post'. One gets more real war news from the Canadian papers, than from the English. Then too we often do not see a paper for a week at a time.
We are having some regular Canadian winter weather now. Yesterday it snowed nearly all day and ever since it has been quite cold. It is a regular treat to have snow instead of so much rain and mud. This country looks fine under snow. Everything white, and so many lovely big trees and hills all around, Yesterday I walked over to B---- and I felt so good that I walked all the way back. It is a little over three miles, so that was pretty good exercise for me.
You asked me where I was located. Well, of course that is something I cannot tell very well. But I don't think I would be helping the Germans out much if I said that I can walk to Ypres in an hour & twenty minutes at rate of four miles an hour. So you see I am close enough to see a little of the fun. I was pretty badly scared last week when I heard I was going to be transferred to the base, but that I think is knocked on the head for the time being at least. However I am touching wood. Things are fairly lively here just now. Always something doing. Air raids are quite the thing these days. We have also a couple of Zeps over to visit us. They are the boys. Five thousand feet up in the air they would wake the dead. But they are practically harmless and we don't worry much about them.
You will be glad to hear that I have taken to going to mass. Sunday mornings at 7 o'clock I am Johnny on the spot. I enjoy going to the R.C. mass as it is the nearest approach to church we have. The other denominations have services, but they come at a time when I am at my busiest. However, sometimes I manage to sneak in half an hour, and I always enjoy it very much. Church here is a luxury especially in the busy times.
I was so glad to see that Toronto had done so well re the Patriotic fund. It is wonderful what can be done when the people really mean business. Even the English are waking up now, so that I think are [sic] prospects for making a cleaning up in the near future are better than ever. If we can hold our own in the East we can handle the West O.K.
Had quite a busy day today. Started out early this morning with my horse and orderly and went up and worked all day at the trenches. We have what they call an Advanced dressing station just at the entrance to trenches and we take turns with it. One gets a fairly good idea of what's going on there. All day long it is just like a huge thunderstorm only without the rain. It is fine to think that we now have the artillery and the ammunition and can beat the brutes at their own game.
I believe Uncle Bill & Aunt Louisa are soon to celebrate some anniversary. I don't know the exact date but I dropped them a line a day or two ago. I hope I hit it within a month. G. F. told me the date some time ago but I have forgotten it.
Am quite surprised to hear of Eva Armstrong['s] sudden dï¿½but. She is certainly doing things up in a hurry now that she has started. Well I suppose that is the best way.
Yes I am still in with the priest. In more ways than one. He and I are as thick as peas in a pod. He comes to me with most of his troubles.
Yesterday he came to me with a bogus coin 2 francs (40 cts) and to get the old beggar out I had to give him a good one in exchange for his bad one. So you see how much he thinks of me. Cheer up, such is war. And it isn't the first two francs he has beat me out of either.
I am so glad I had my throat spell and have got it over with. I never felt better in my life than I do right now, touching wood of course. Oh, did Mother get her linen alright? And please let me know if they soaked you any duty on it and if so how much. I never thought of it until after I had sent it & then one of the boys suggested there might be something like that. So please let me know the amount.
Well, the outing has made me very sleepy so I am off to my blankets. I very often have a drink of Mother's cocoa just before I go to bed and it is fine. Too tired tonight to make it though. I will be asleep before the water boils.
Lots of love for all the family and a big share for yourself.
P. S. Please forward to Alf
W. H. G.