March 27th 1916
My Dear Mother,
It is so very encouraging to get the letters every week and to know that you are all so well. When the mail is delayed as it has been lately, one can always look forward to the big mail when it does come thru. Today the box arrived and in good condition. Em's candies are dandy and are in excellent shape. The soap is much appreciated as it is hard to get decent soap over here. Last week my man scoured the town and came back empty-handed. There is lots of cheap stuff but I have rather tender skin, and it has come off more than once with the "home product", so the good soap is more than welcome. And when we get on the move and strike some churches the new Testament will be very useful. However it is a good thing to have even here.
I have [sic] going to have some good coffee festivals in the near future. The enclose sample is very excellent. I also received a parcel of eats from W'p'g today so it will be Xmas again at Abbeville. I will try to get Roy White over and have a blow-out.
We have had wretched weather again. Last week we had about 3 inches of snow. Just before that it had been lovely weather and we were going around with our caps off. Yesterday and today it has been raining again and is more like Flanders. However it is blowing very hard now and will likely blow up some good weather. There is one thing about a gale, such as we are having now, they cannot put over any gas. We can go to bed and sleep in comfort. Last two nights I have lost a little sleep thru our own bombardment. Our big guns start at about 4:30 a.m. and after that sleep is out of the question. They certainly make a terrible noise. We are about 300 yards from them so we get off easy. Some of the boys who are billeted right beside them get it much worse. It breaks their windows and knocks the tiles off the roof. It has knocked some tiling off our roof, but no windows broken to date. We take good care to draw the shutters when it starts to fire. As long as they are pointing East, I should [not?] worry.
I was glad to hear from Father last week that things are picking up a little. Every little bit helps. Will Agar has more sense, in buying pianos, than I gave him credit for. I see by the 'Rep' that he and his friend have returned West. I suppose the lady was brought home on approval, as it were. Well I hope she made a hit, for her own sake, as it would be rather a waste of time if she didn't. Father did not mention whether Trick had paid my insurance. I presume he did, he should have anyway.
Have been quite busy last week. Garfat is away on his leave. He has 9 days and is in London. I suppose he will come back and put me in the idea of going over too. I wish I knew where our people in Ireland were, or whether there are still any of them about. I could slide over and see them just as well as not. All I remember is County Monahan, and Bella Bella which Aunt Margaret used to talk about. Perhaps Bella Bella is in China and I may be thinking about foreign missions. However if I do take leave, which should come in about 3 weeks, I shall go over to Dublin for a day or two. But the leave itself is quite uncertain because if we pull off anything our leave will all be canceled.
(Some time ago you asked me about Garfat. Well there isn't much to say about him. We have lived together for over ten months, and he is a very good fellow. He was married just before the war so I suppose he has troubles of his own. I think I will be able to get along O.K. without him after the war. He started out with an idea in [the] back of his head that he would like to run things a little, including me, but he has long since given that idea up. So you see we get along very well together.)
I am quite anxious to hear the account of the wedding. The bride was given away by her father and looked charming in a ----- well I'll let Em finish it.
Also the big route march. Prohibition seems to be quite popular in Canada just now. If they ever expect to get it thru now is the time. Over here they don't really need it, that is so far as the soldiers go. Its just a matter of getting drunk on duty and getting shot the day after. So that it is not indulged in to any great extent.
I will be anxious to know how Alf is getting along at London. I don't think he should hurry away too soon, as there is lots of time. I will write him again very soon. No one doubts [h]is eagerness to go to the front and while he would much rather go at once, yet there are other things to be considered. There is lots of work to be done in Canada in regard to recruiting and organization, and he has a good deal of ability in both of the above. It is just a question if he would not be more useful at present time in helping to get others to join and training them afterwards. I notice by the 'Rep' that quite a number have joined from town & the surrounding country, but I am sure there are lots more to get in. The war isn't going to be over this year, so he does not need to make a rush for it.
Well Mother it is long past my bed time and as I may be wakened quite early in the morning, I will hit the pillow right away. Kind regards to Miss Smith and the Giles'. Lots of love for Father, Em, Alf and for my good brave Mother.
[Appended to the above letter]
Rubber cash sent today by mail Parcel Post. This letter came yesterday [?] Read & return to me [?] send it to George in [?]