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Date: April 5th 1916

April 5th. 1916.

My dearest Girl:-

This is just going to be a very short letter. It is now about a quarter past eleven, so I must not stay up much longer or I shall lose my colour and get rings under my eyes. I simply had to write to Eleanor Mackenzie to-night, as her unanswered letter has been haunting me for a month or more. Every time I looked into my haversack, bingo right in the eyes that blue paper rose up and hit me. So tonight I managed to reply and tear it up.

As I didn’t feel particularly in the mood for literary scintillating it took me quite a while to clear it off. Eleanor is quite a brick, one of "Natures Pals" in fact. Asked after you and said she hoped if she could ever be of any assistance to me on my tortuous road to matrimony, I would let her know.

"Daddy Long Legs" arrived safely and is quite good, very human indeed. Anything bright and good you can pick up for me dearest in the way of reading, please send it along. The hours do get monotonous and interminable in the cellar of a house which you can hardly leave in day time for fear some smart guy on the hill yonder may have an eye on you through his telescope, and decide you need a little noise a merriment. One’s soul craves food even more than one’s stomach, which is usually more or less overcrowded with an assortment of eggs, lumps of cow, fragments of potato, milk chocolate, preserved pears and Army rum.

Mother sent me a fine little thing by Owen Wister "The Pentacost of Calamity" alight, but very well written. The New York Times is always acceptable. It is about the best popular symposium of American life and thought from week to week I know of.

My Lewis Guns haven’t arrived yet, so they have decided that I must have a job in the meantime. Extraordinary idea from my point of view; however, they have decided that I’m the guy to put the odd germ into the Germans, and I am unanimously elected Chief of the Snipers and Scouts, or as they are more familiarly know, the Stripers and Snouts. You see the people who were in this new layout of ours before us were against the war. Fed up with it, and spent most of their time gazing at the moon, consequently Fritz got into bad habits of wandering around at nights, which is something that the Canadians never have and never will tolerate - anybody who lives opposite us has to observe the regulation hours for lights out, so my job is to sprinkle the front lawn with insect powder and the odd bomb just to discourage these owlish habits.

Well, old girl, I must toddle along. I hope your next letter will be a long one. You are a dear about writing, but of course I’m never satisfied.

The enclosure is a letter I got from a dear simple soul, a doctor’s wife in England. Her son was in my platoon and was shot dead one night, nearly broke my heart, for he was one of the best in the game. I wrote his mother; of course she replied asking for more information which I sent her and this is her second letter. I thought you might like to have it - a very human memento of the great war.

Heaps of love my darling. God bless you and bring you to my arms again my lady-love.

Yours by the mid-night gun,

Original Scans

Original Scans