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Date: December 31st 1915

3rd. Battalion, Toronto Regt.
Canadian Corps.
December 31st. 1915.

My dearest Fern:-

First of all I must chide thee dearest! - What the devil do you mean by making perfectly absurd and obviously impossible requests. How in the name of all that is turbulent and war-like can I possible “arrange to send you some snaps when I write” and how in the name of all that is sane and sensible can you make such a request, when you know as well as I do, that to have a camera or a snap in one’s possession out here means court-martial and instant death. This is a war I'm engaged in, young woman, not a photographic reconnaissance! The snaps I sent you some time ago were some which Eleanor sent on to me when they were finished, and were taken the week before we left England, not out here. The only persons who are permitted to take snaps cut here are the official photographers and then only at the discretion of high authority. If possible I shall have some photos taken in London if I get there and let you see to what extent my fatal beauty has faded under the alleged hardships of war.

Another incomprehensible idea which you seem to have gotten into that small round dome of yours, which is supposed to contain the authorized quantity of grey matter, is that we might be going back to England for Christmas. Good Lord, we have a hard enough time getting our seven days at the end of the regulation three months, without anticipating any such jaunts as that. I believe I did say something about going back for Xmas, but I used the word in its literal sense, meaning, according to Webster direction in reverse of the previous line of movement. In short, to go back, means to go on foot with the aid of the authorized number of limbers, waggons and pack animals, as laid down in the Field Service Pocket Book, to a place a more or less considerable distance behind the front and there to pitch one's valise and rest in the official interpretation of the term, for a more or less indefinite period - Get me! The word ’’Back” as so technically used, carries no suggestion of steamboats, railway trains or London taxis, but rather conjures up a vista of endless muddy pave roads with a farm house and a comfortable straw bed in the dim distance, with cows in the stable and real milk on one’s porridge in the morning.

Dear me, dear me, you must grasp these fundamental military conceptions. Such naice ignorance as you display of the lingo and customs of the profession is intolerable in the fiancee of a soldier of His Majesty! Hell, I fancy that is enough scolding to keep you in order for a week or so, ma cherie, so will on to the narrative.

Well, dearest, as you know we went in on Christmas Eve (much to our disappointment) as we had hoped to be back for the day. However, the weather was mild and clear so the troops were fairly comfortable. Dugald, George and I had a lot of stuff taken up and gave the men an extra of nuts, dates and so on, with a night-cap of rum punch which was received with great appreciation by all. You should have seen me stumbling along in the mud and darkness, with my trusty batman trailing a few paces in the rear carefully toting along a brimming dixie of the liquid all smothered in sand bags to keep the heat in and vainly trying to keep a footing on the slippery bathmats in my smooth solid rubber boots. Many and thrilling were the escapes of that good brown liquor, but after about an hour's struggle, we managed to fix up both platoons under my care with a brimming bowlful each and splashed back again full of self satisfaction and philanthropic self-appreciation. Dear lads, they grumble at times and kick over

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