13th Convalescent Depot, France
As you will see form the heading I have been transported since writing last. On Wednesday last I left hospital and proceeded to a sort of convalescent’s cleaning station about five miles away. Here the M.O. marked me for con camp and in consequence on Friday night I came down by train to my present domicile – ‘as it were’.
For its purpose the camp is ideally situated in every way and I expect to enjoy the next three or four weeks very much. It is situated within half an hour’s walk of Trouville (I think there is no harm in mentioning the name) which as you probably know is one of the best known watering places on the north coast. The town lies at the mouth of a beautiful broad valley right on the sea front and the depot is up on the left bank about a mile back from the water. The air is especially fine, the scenery lovely and just at present we are having mild, spring like weather. You can get a pass to go into town about once a week or not quite as often. I haven’t been in yet, being rather short of cash; but one doesn’t have to go out of camp to find plenty to do in the evenings. There is a fair library- poor except in fiction- and several institutes where concerts and lectures are always going on. In addition literary and scientific societies have been organized as well as classes in modern languages. I was fortunate enough to arrive here just when No 1 camp concert party was needing a pianist so I applied for the job and got it. This means that I am excused from parades and will spend my limbering my fingers once more – quite a snap isn’t it?
When you write keep addressing your letters to the 15th M.G. coy as I shall probably be back there before I get an answer to this. No letters have reached me yet but the night before I left hospital a Christmas box (yours) mysteriously found its way down the line (some cake! And I especially enjoyed the figs. And by the way I distributed the cookies among the patients in the ward-some of them with high temperatures-and they all survived and flourished mightily) so letters ought to be following soon. Just think I haven’t heard from any of you for over a month and my last letter was dated November 10 – before I left England.
Don’t worry about me mother as I am in the best of health and good spirits. I can’t say anything very cheerful about the war or the world situation. I have been trying to think of some bright aspect but it is impossible and to attempt to say something would only sound empty and insincere. Even to contemplate the progress of the war fills me with despair and important fury. I have been wondering what people in Canada – especially the more intelligent press- have to say about the way things are going. Could you manage to send me a copy of the University Monthly occasionally? I haven’t much use for the President’s speeches but the personals and the casualty list are naturally of very great interest. The death of Frank Sanders has impressed me more than that of any other of my friends. I very much wish that you had all known him. He was one of the best young men I ever knew and at the same time absolutely free from priggishness. He had a quiet personal charm about him that made you like him immediately and as you got to know him better his fine character and exceptional talent compelled respect and admiration. Frank was indeed a Christian gentleman of the rarest type. As long as the Catholic church can produce men of his stamp it must be for a certain type of mind a living and helpful institution. What makes his death seem the sadder is the fact that he had, I am sure, no taste for soldiering and hated the whole damnable business. He held a commission in the Dunham Light Infantry when he was killed.
Very very much love to everybody. Have lots I’d like to say but can’t under the circumstances.