3.45 P.M/April 27/16
Just east of AmhurstN.S.
We have just left Amhurst and expect to be in Halifax by nine or there tonight. It has been given out that we are to sleep on the train tonight and embark tomorrow morning. In order to get everything in I think I had better put events down in chronological order.
I posted yesterday’s letter some place between Trois Saunons and Rivier du Coup – I don’t remember where- and shortly afterwards we had tea. We have certainly had splendid grub on the train. Last night we had tomato soup boiled potatoes, roast pork bread and jam. I haven’t opened my main lunch box yet, exept just to look in it – but I am going to this evening as I feel that I should like some olives, celery etc. Well we arrived at Riviere (we are just going through [?]) about half past seven I think it was. I managed to give a man a telegram saying that I would arrive in Camepelltore about 2 A.M. He seemed very glad to do the favor for me and said that he would send it right off. We stayed at Riviere quite a long while and some of the fellows got out on the platform by the steps while others stood in the vestibule and the rest looked out the windows. Dorland and I carried on a conversation with a couple of Frenchmen for awhile and they were [?] on four English Canadian girls –misses I think- who of course were fairly bessieged by all the fellows. A lot got their names and addresses but how on earth they are going to get time to write to people they don’t know beats me. I think that the girls were probably [?] anxious to give their names –so that they could get letters from soldiers [?]ttor too mean were to give them. After leaving R. I spoke to Serjeant about getting out at C. He spoke to Mr. Bell and the latter gave me permission.
We set our watchman before going to bed and turned in bout half past ten. I was feeling really excited about getting into God’s country and only had a couple of hours sleep. About two I woke around looked out the window but couldn’t make out where we were. An hour or so later I looked out the window and from the general cant[?] of the country thought that we must be in the neighborhood of Lake Matepelin at length sure enough I recognized it, but it was just the trail end and a few minutes later I could dimly make out the river. I dozed a little till we arrived at Matepelin. It was beginning to get light by this time and I saw the mut[?] of the water. Then a little way down the Rest. Valley I saw the sun rising over Sugarloaf. It wasen’t a very rust slap bang sunrise but just two or three red streaks in the sky. I wakened Dorland and we looked out the window till the train arrived at Campbelltos. Dorland thought the scenery was just great and was quite enthusiastic. At the station I jumped out as the train came to a stop and there were Aunt Lena & Grandma on the station platform. It was nearly half past five and I was thinking that they must have been waiting there about three hours but fortunately they hadn’t got the telegram. Of course I should have realized that it would go to Dalhousie. They had come up the previous morning and thought that we [?] the station. The [?] had told them that the five of eleven troop trains would arrive about five and they had been waiting only an hour or a little less. One of the men at the station told me that our train would be waiting for an hour so we went into the station and sat down and talked. Aunt Lena had two large show boxes and a box of fudge with which to present me. Grandpa wasn’t very well A. L. said and had had a good deal of indigestion. Aunt Lena gave me Mill Des Bressin address in London. I forget what else we talked about – it was something quite inconsequential – except that Grandma admired my legs and A.L. my moustache. While we were talking the [?]time Express pulled in between our train and the station. We had only been there about twenty minues and, of course, I thought that the [?] our train pulling out. I dashed out of the station without saying goodbye. Dorland was standing in the steps “we’re not leaving are we” I said. “We certainly are” he answered. I looked back and say Aunt Lena dashing madly down the platform with all the boxes. I took a chance and ran back. The train was going at a good rate when I got back to the cars but Dorland took the boxes and I jumped on all right. It was a close shave though and I had to leave without saying good bye to Grandma.
The day was dull and cold and I never saw the country look so dismal. The top of Treca[?] was covered with clouds and the rivers were full of mud. I saw the Finch [?] hotel, the lighthouse and the Bon Annie rocks. In spite of the fact that the country didn’t appear to advantage Dorland admired, and I pointed out to him Ed River, Charls etc. The other north shore rivers looked just as good. We passed a great many before getting to Bathurst and the next time I stop off at Dalhousie I am going to try to get down to some of them. Of course being swollen by rain there were several good looking canals that wouldn’t amount to much in the summer I suppose. I thought Bathurst was a very pretty village but I don’t think it has anything like the situation of Dal. It would be much nicer I think if it were right out on the shore instead of at the trail of that long narrow bay. After leaving Bath I watched the dismal looking wild country till we got to Newcastle. I wasn’t feeling particularly well, having not had a decent sleep for a good many nights and though I didn’t have a headache, I had caught a horrible cold in the night and had a queer woolly taste in my mouth. I don’t know whether it was because I was as badly stuffed or not but I couldn’t (just passed, [?]) smell the smell around Dalbousie! I imagine it was partly due to the coldness of the atmosphere. I was hoping to se Ras, Ferg & Mrs Bate at Newcastle Sta. but was dissapointed. After seeing the Mirimachi and the [?] plat I had a sleep for about an hour and a half and woke up at a little joint call Staresout. The smooth [?] pail of N. B. certainly is a ghostly, forsaken, backwoods country. I was glad to here that we were going to get off at Moncton and have a short route [?]. Sure enough when we pulled into the station there was this silver band to welcome us and march at the head of the column. I was (I’ll have to stop here and finish after tea-here’s the news) never so surprised in my life at any town as at Moncton. I had always imagined it as a brisk, up to date, bustling town. Instead of that I thought it the shabbiest, filthies most sordid looking town I had ever struck. Compared with Moncton, Balin Dal. looks as though it had been washed with Sapuko and scrubbed with Old Dutch Cleanser. The whole town looked as if it needed to be whitewashed and then have a bomb dropped on it to waken the people up. In addition there wasn’t a decent looking girl in the place. Southern New B. is certainly a very backward looking country. I suppose it is better over in the west but from Moncton to Sackville it is an awful place. The River at Moncton – The Petit Codriac – I suppose, is a filthy mud banked canal. No wonder they have the provincial Pen at Dorchester, and I hope I never have to go to Sackville to get a job. As soon as you get into N.S. the towns look a little smarter, there is more cleared land and better looking forest.
Just as we were finishing tea we went through the beautiful WentworthValley. (We are coming into Truns now.) – no I made a mistake into not either, but we must be getting near it) Have just found out that we are still eighteen miles from Truns and over seventy five from Halifax. After passing this the Wentwure we [?] to a charming little lake with summer cottages, and nearly all frozen over. (Not the cottages but the lake.) I am feeling much better to night but a little excited. He have just got orders that me must have everything packed up tonight except our blankets so we will be ready to get out at a few moments notice. When we get to Halifax we shall be under British Army Law with a heavy ground on the train to prevent my fellows from getting out. I suppose you won’t get word from me again till we reach England (but then you will get a pile. I am sending a card from Dalhousie.
Much love to you all. It is in the evening that I think most of home. I will certainly be glad when we are heading west again.