From 644539- Pte. W. J. Wood Virginia Water Camp C.F.C.
To Mrs. W. J. Wood, Midland, Ont. Canada, Sept 16th, 1917
My Dear Little Wife – I see by my record of last letter to you that it is ten days ago, but it has been a busy ten days. I have no letter of yours to answer either, which is really the reason I have overlooked the passing of time. even my watch refuses to measure the hours; so as I write, I watch it going again in a bath of gasoline, which I am hoping will help it to “carry on” a little longer. It owes me nothing, however, since I have had it ever since I worked that three weeks in Orillia for L. G. Carmichael. I bought it at Jupp’s for $1.00.
I have been helping with the threshing of the oat stacks on the farm of De Solis which this camp is working. It took two days, All available men were called upon so as not to interfere with the mill crew. Then last Tuesday I went to Windsor Castle, where along with about sixty wounded “Tommies” and their nurses and officers. I saluted the King in the castle. Saw all the grand tapestiries, pictures, trophies of war, and armour and weapons of war then had tea in the basement where Mrs. (gen.) Carey waited upon me specially, herself. Then in the great library which was open only to me. I saw etchings by the greatest landscapes etcher of all the ages_ Seymour Hayden; and the beauty of it was they were views of Egham along the river, which I had the pleasure of seeing itself as I came home. The day was perfect as to weather and altogether a great day to me.
The Librarian – Mr. Barrie told me there was 150,000 volumes in the library and it looked the part. I did not get around to seeing any of the drawings of the old masters I went specially to see being better pleased to see Hayden’s work than theirs but Mr. Barrie said I should drop them a card when I could come again to see the others. So I might do that yet. Beginning with the name, Barrie I was reminded of home and midland and on Windsor’s main street of Severn and other days of joy where my darling girl loomed large: on a grocers sign I read G. Ireland. So go where we may our thoughts ever stray to scenes where we loved and where the beloved lives. There to go when open’s the way.
I suppose my etchings will be back to you from the city by this time, so you will have them handy for the Midland Fair. I’m sorry I have neglected to send any watercolors along so that a prize or two might be won.
Outside of a couple of drawings in an Album I spoke of or rather wrote about, before I have done little lately being busy on matts, cutting and lining. I have a lot to do yet.
The elderberries hang ripe on the trees, brambleberries everywhere and the fruit on the laurel is like big black cherries that taste something like a choke cherrie only rather flat. They look lovely though. The pits, I am told contain prussic acid. I think, as it is cool today, I will take a walk out to pick a [?] of brambleberries.
With the exception of the little extras I have mentioned, everything goes along serenely day by day, leaving one longing for something to happen to put an end to this waiting and let us away home to independent action and happiness which I feel would be min as it was before…… My watch has run an hour in the gasoline; I will take it out now and hang it up to drain and dry out with covers off. Dinner! Interrupted me. This is Monday the 17th. The clocks, here have been set back an hour last night, so that we got up at with daylight at 5:30 this morning. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk down to the Thames river beyond Chertsey going over St Ann’s Hill on the way, picking a few berries on the way to eat. The hedges ar black on top in places with them but to high to reach without a ladder. At the river I saw the London Excursion boats turning about to return to the city. They were crowded, it was such a fine day. What a pleasant ramble it would have been with you with me for company, as it was I was lonesome, except the little while I walked and talked with a wounded Tommy from a local hospital in Chertsey.
He had been shot through the hip in the battle near Lens, had lain in a shell hole all day until darkness made it safe from him to crawl back to his own lines. He had lain war the German trench and he thinks they must have noticed him, though he lay as still as possible: every little while a bullet would graze him almost as he lay as low as possible. He had been married about two years when the war broke out. He has been at the front since the beginning and in that time his first born a boy has died while a daughter was born to him shortly after the war broke out. His wife has been to see him at Chertsey since his arrival from Hospital in France a couple of weeks ago. He walked with me past his hospital and up St Ann’s Hill where a road wound back to the Hospital while the opposite way led to Virginia Water. I had put up a lunch at noon and eat it when I got to camp after dark. No mail yesterday! I hope to see some this morning. I must close now for post at eight A.M. I took my sketch book hoping to make a little card to enclose but the ten mile walk took all the available time, I long to be homeward bound more and more as the days go by. Your own Loving Hubby
Pte. W. J. Wood
P.S. the mail is not in yet so I do not know if I will have any from you today