13th Convalescent Depot, B.E.7, France
Wednesday March 6, 1918
The end of the week brought in two letters from Marion two cards from Mother and a letter from Father. (Or rather, all except one of Marion’s letters arrived yesterday) Last night we gave a very successful concert in the Casino down town and as we were rehearsing all day and also on the day before I didn’t get a change to write. Your letters were dated Jan 21-25. They were all addressed to the Reinforcement Depot yet you had heard of my first trip in the line so I concluded that I must have forgotten to give you my company address: 15th Canadian M.G. Corp B.E.7 France. I may transfer to the 3rd (The one Dorland is in) but in any case address letters to the 15th till you hear further from me. Marion told me about your ‘literary’ circles. How perfectly delightful they must be! I haven’t had much time for reading lately but have been taking small doses of Matthew Arnold who is one of my favorite writers. J.S. Mill, Matthew Arnold and Walter Peter I think attract me most of the Victorian prose writers. But that is neither here nor there. I was interested in hearing about Ronald, Arthur Hill and the others who used to be frequently at 90 Darkwood. You haven’t mentioned Ross Elliot lately. I have been wondering if he has been called up or exempted. It seems to me that I should prefer to see him exempted rather than Arthur H. Some people form opinions so easily and hold them so lightly that they rather give me a pain. However perhaps I am wrong. Certainly I am not in a position to judge. But speaking of exemptions the tribunals appear to work in a most stupid and arbitrary fashion. Jean Brall was telling me that Bill Rowntree an old school friend of mine who played [?] to my Pyramus in the “M.N.D” has been refused exemption although his father is an invalid and Bill has the whole management of their farm on his shoulders; yet Frank McConnell you tell me has been exempted. Surely he can’t be ‘indispensable’. Then there was that perfectly absurd case in Winnipeg where somebody objected to being conscripted as a private apparently because his father was a “millionaire.” What on earth has that do with the matter? There would be far more reason for his exemption if his dad was a pauper. And after all the promises the government made that men who had brother’s already serving would be exempted and that the law would apply equally to rich and poor I notice from the accounts of the tribunal proceedings in the papers which you send me that often even the last of a large family of brothers is taken and that that the rich are invariably shown more favor than those in poorer circumstances.
Well the allied Governments and the inspired Northcliffe Press continue to strengthen our German friends in the belief that their own government can’t possibly be much worse than the governments of the nations which are ‘fighting militarism.’ Having successfully strengthened the power of the war party in Germany they have reaped their reward in the complete collapse of Russia. ‘The Daily Mail’ calls itself ‘the soldier’s friend.’ It is certainly helping him to keep his job. As an M.P. - a Colonel by the way- said in the House a few weeks ago, it makes the soldier’s task impossible by telling the Germans that we shall never have any mercy on them. Extraordinary what a nice mess things are in and how every wind that blows keeps spreading it on all sides.
This afternoon we had three or four prisoners in the hut doing a little repair work. They were quiet mannered kindly looking fellows and were greatly pleased when David, who speaks German very well, entered into conversation with them. We were practicing at the time and they seemed to enjoy the music very much. To day we started to get up a bran new progression for a concert at the Y some night next week and towards the end of the week we are going to produce a thrilling melodrama called “Silver Gold” which has already been given with tremendous success. (This was before I came here.) David I think assisted by a Canadian Sergeant who used to belong the party was responsible for it. The British Tommies like it because it is just the kind of thing they see in the “movies”. The characters of course speak with an “American Accent” which I find rather amusing.
I’m going to close now so I can get the letter away by the next mail. Have had a letter from Haddow which I have answered, but haven’t yet received a reply. Weather fearfully snowy and we but dry till today which was fare.
Ever so much love,