Swindon Isolation Hospital, Swindon, Wilts, England
July 27, 1916
I got your letter from Rosedal dated July 11th yesterday afternoon, along with one from Ronald Myle consisting of exactly 122 words! It took up three pages of note paper and was written in large, flowing copy book hand with about two words to a line. I thought at first that it must be an invitation. As you can plainly see I am getting hard up for note paper. I used up all my pads several days ago. Then I asked Nurse Collins, who is quite a friend of mine, for some and I used it writing to young Margaret Keith and Agnes Shapter. So, as I can’t very well get hold of any more at this moment and I want to write, I am writing this letter of Haddow’s. Outside yourself, Marion, and Father, he is the most faithful correspondent I have. A letter from him arrived this morning and you better get someone to decipher this for you as I am afraid you will find it rather hard on your eyes.
You must take care of your blinkers, mother, and not write to many letters. The one I received yesterday was extremely interesting. Who in thunder is Dora Smith? I have been trying to place her and can’t remember the name at all. While I am speaking of your letter I’ll just make a very comments. In the first place, you’re right about Bill. He’s the finest fellow I know. You ought to be proud of having a son like him. You can count on it he is homesick sometimes, but he doesn’t say a word about it. And he’s been having a hard time lately too, building roads from 7 A.M. till 5 in the afternoon. Secondly stay up at Rosedale as long as you can. You will be better than you would be in Toronto and as long as you’re getting the Globe you can keep in touch with the war news. Don’t expect anything but the best from now on. I’ll tell you what I think is going to happen on the western front. The British will keep on widening the breech they have made in the German lines until they can send masses of men right through – and they have millions in France ready for this. Then they will be able to cut off the German communications and perhaps capture a whole army corps. In the third place you don’t want to take anything I say very seriously. You see I am one of those persons who have to find expression for the various moods through with they pass. If I were gifted with the beautiful poetic expression I should be a poet, but as I am not, my feelings are vented in highly aggregated prose. Now that was all sentimental nonsense about my getting married. In my present state of mind I have reverted to old idea that a carefree, irresponsibly bachelor life is the only one for me. I probably however, in a day or two shall change my mind again.
It is three weeks today since I landed here so I imagine my time must be about up. The doctor will be in to see me in about half an hour I expect, so I shall be able to tell you what’s going to happen. I am to get a few days leave I think. Really it seems that I am destined to be fortunate. It’s a shame that Bill hasn’t had his six days yet. If I should get another six days I shall go up to Scotland, but of course that’s impossible. Two or threes the best I can hope for so it will be up to good old Lunnon again with perhaps a side trip to Cambridge. Mrs. and Miss Farmer are staying at a hotel in London now and Harold wants me to call on them when I go up and then Miss Des Brissey asked me to come and see her so I think I shall do a little visiting in the evenings instead of going to the theatre and then save some money. I am determined to get to Scotland some time if I can possibly make it and I shall need six or seven [pounds] for that.
Harold Linsbay has gone to France. Earle with whom I haven’t kept in touch lately has got a sergeant in the A.A.Y. I believe, whatever that may be. I got a card from Harold Farmer at the camp this morning and he told me that thirty wheels had arrived for our use and more were coming so I guess they meant to me getting down to business in earnest. In the casualty list a few days ago I noticed the name of Capt. A. Haddow. R. A. Medical corps so I suppose that is Dr. Alec Haddow of Birmingham. He was wounded.
This letter is frightfully disjointed but as for the last three weeks I have been hunt out from the world , there isn’t very much news I can give you. In the epistle I wrote to Agnes I told him about having lunch with the King at Buckingham Palace and various other little anecdotes about my trip to London which I could hardly work off on you and Aunt Mat. You say that Aunt Mat is looking first rate. I can quite believe it as I saw a picture of her eating at a picnic and her face looked to be about the size of the full moon. It is too late now to countermand the order I sent for music, but please don’t send any more as it is impossible for one to keep it, living in a crowded tent, and we no longer have a piano. I had Dorland buy me a couple of books in Swindon but now that I have read them I think I shall have to bequeath them to the hospital as I can’t carry them around with my very well.
Well it is 4 P.M. and tea time. The Doctor didn’t come near me this morning so that means that I shall not be going out of here till Monday likely. One of the nurses told me that the Doc. is pretty good to the soldiers and lets them stay here about as long as they want to, so I’m not going to raise a frightful now to get out in a hurry, though I am getting restless and anxious to see some Canadian faces and hear a Canadian accent again. Just now I captured a mosquito. Nurse Collins told me that she didn’t think there were any in England though she had heard of them; but I heard a wailing bugs noise yesterday evening that I was pretty sure was the noise of the bug all right and just now I found this fellow climbing up the wall. By the way mother, you referred to Swindon as a little town. It has at least 10 000 people I think so it can hardly be styled little. Nurse Collins is going home to Bridgemouth [?] for three weeks holidays tomorrow so I’ll give her this letter to post. As it hasn’t been fumigated it may be full of germs but I guess they’ll have all disappeared by the time it reaches you. Much love to yourself and to Aunt Nat. Remember me to all the Rosedale folks.
Your affectionate son,
(P.S. Nurse Collins says the mosquito is a gnat!)