75 Bismarck St. Leicester
December 09, 1916
I feel ashamed at not having got a line off to you earlier in the week; but somehow there hasn't seemed time for anything. I wrote as you know from Patrington last Saturday. Well, in the afternoon the order came through from the war office detailing myself and ten other officers for overseas on short notice; so we were provided with warrants etc. and ordered to proceed on leave immediately, which I did. Got back here Sunday morning, and am still waiting for orders, and taking the days as they come.
Sunday afternoon we motored to Foxton locks along the beautiful London road. Monday afternoon Louie and I walked across the fields to Kirby Wuxlowe, had tea there, and walked back by moonlight. Tuesday we went shopping and had tea in town. Wednesday we went by train to Thurnby and walked to Houghton-on-the-Hill, had tea at cousin Annie's and walked back to the Humberstove[?] train terminous. Thursday was a miserable foggy day and I stayed in and got off a lot of photos etc. "The Language of Shapes" arrived and occupied me for various periods during the day. I am delighted with it as you may imagine, and penned an appreciation to the Follows immediately. Blackmore and the barrel is a fine stroke. The Trotter sketches are all good; but I don't like those of Marjorie quite as well as my profile - as portraits I mean. Father's is beautiful, quite the best of the three I think; and Alf and Louie agree with me.
Friday morning I went to the bank and on the way bumped into Ralph Freeman with the result that I had supper with the Family. Ralph is home on leave, rather expecting like myself, to be ordered overseas any day. He is quite the swank with his top-boots and spurs; but not too proud to associate with an infantryman. We had a pleasant evening as you might expect. Mrs. Freeman is very gracious, and little Joyce is a dream. Yesterday afternoon we have a lovely motor-run out through Wigston and around by Braunston, and enjoyed one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen - not much red, everywhere flaming gold. The sun sets, of course, a few minutes after three, so we have to get in early to avoid lighting up.
I've had a feats of letters this week - one from each of you. I let Louie see most of my letters - she loves to. Alf is particularly fond of Frances's. They are both so interested in all of you. And that reminds me: Louie has Marjorie's photo, and, of course, mine; but only snaps of the others. She would love to have all of you; and I can assure you you won't be tucked away in the garret. Both she and Alf are greatly taken with "The Language of Shapes." If you could scrape up another I know they would appreciate it.
I am getting lots of good things for Christmas. Boxes have already come from Bloor St., The Class of 1915, and the Faculty and Students of McMaster. I shall leave most of the things here to be sent along by installments. The socks from the church are quite all right. Those from the class were too small so I am sending them to Jack. My supply of socks is really very good - have had another pair from Jessie Danchet and also Dorothy H. I may be glad of another pair or to during the winter though.
Am glad to know that Rex is finding congenial and interesting society in Toronto to lend variety to his arduous days at the Library; that Marjorie is getting on at the Business College and attracting a following as usual, and that Frances is adding lustre to the family arms by her Heliconian and other pursuits.
Commiserate Isobel for me on Brian's casualty. You don't say where in England he is. I meant to speak of it before; but if you know of any of our friends being wounded you had better enquire where they are. There are always many Canadians in the Leicester hospitals and convalescent home at Desford; and I believe steps are being taken to make this a centre for convalescent Canadian officers. As I may have said, Louie is one of the most regular - when I'm not here - of the hospital visitors, and she would be delighted at any time to give special attention to any of our friends.
Since I have had more time here I have straightened up a number of my belongings; and am sending you a various assortment of odds and ends, including my films.
Since lunch we have been over to Newbold to see Aunt Sarah. She sends her love to all.
My apologies are due to Frances for forgetting her birthday again until too late to reach her except by cable, which is too expensive and would probably half scare you all to death into the bargain. I wish her many happy happy returns of the 17th. and a happy Christmas to you all. I shall be with you in the spirit wherever I am in the flesh.
Love to all,
P.S. Monday morning: An order has just come for me to report to the embarkation officer at Folkestone on Wednesday morning; so it looks like an au revoir to England for the present, and new fields to conquer.