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Date: December 10th 1915
Dear Ones All

 Saint John, N.B. Dec, 10, 1915.

Dear Ones All,

Well here I am at last, and I certainly have covered many miles and done many doings since I left you all on Monday morning.

It was a great privilege having Will with me on Monday and Tuesday even though I had so many things to attend to in Toronto that 1 did not see such a very great deal of him. He and Charlie Lalor were at the Union Station to see me leave in a cloud of dust. Mrs. Gorham met me on Monday and we had lunch together and then a matinee at Sheae’s. In the evening Will and I went to the theatre again. Mrs. Gorham, insists that I shall consider that fur-lined coat a gift and not a loan and says she will be mortally offended if I send it back. It makes me feel uncomfortable to accept such a valuable thing from her and I don’t know just what to do about it. Bowlby and Stewart were on hand on Tuesday and presented me with $200. which is apparently a compromise between the amount of my September salary at my old rate of $125. per month and what it would amount to at the increased figure together with accrued increases from May 1st. I am well satisfied with it, however, and now have a very comfortably heavy money belt to take with me.

Had lunch on Tuesday with the Fred Shaw’s and saw Fred and Emma and Mamie and Harold- the other two boys were out somewhere. Evidently Clifford does not feel that he could be of much use at the front, and from what I know of him I shouldn’t wonder if he is right. That is not a kind thing to say and I should not like to to reach Aunt Ida’s ears, but nevertheless it is true.

Mrs. Van Nostrand knitted me a pair of fingerless gloves, a Balaclava cap and another woolen cap that pulls down over your ears. She certainly has always been very kind to me, on Neil’s account I suppose.

Father’s, Mother’s and May’s letters with numerous forwarded letters reached me at Toronto and Montreal. The official letter from Ottawa, Father, was the formal notification that my commission as a lieutenant in the C.E.F. dated from Nov. 16th. There is also another letter in the possession of all the other boys- a document signed by the Duke of Connaught notifying us of our having been granted a second lieutenant’s commission in the Royal Flying Corps dating from Dec. 7th. I presume that mine was sent to Walkerton and shall look for it on the steamer.

Montreal for some reason is quite different from Toronto in that men in khaki are about as scarce as Irishmen in a synagogue. There seems to be scarcely a soldier in the whole city and it seems strange after being in Toronto where one has to salute almost every six steps.

The little Aunts gave me the warmest kind of welcome and had everything arranged so that I could see all the relatives. We did it all after lunch too and they accompanied me to every single one of those places. I think the poor little souls must have been completely worn out by the time it was all over. Two of the calls we were able to avoid as Warren and Jessie were good enough to come around and see me right after lunch, and in the evening Henderson and Emily called. The little Aunts gave me a most useful and hansome little wrist compass. I can plainly see where I’ll look like a debutante, with my left wrist decorated with a gold watch and my compass coyly peeping out under my right coat sleeve.

Only one of "the bunch" was on the train from Toronto to Montreal but we were a full dozen strong when we boarded the I.C.R. at Bonaventure Station yesterday morning, including the C.O. who is chaperoning our little party .Major O’Reilly of Hamilton. He is a Mason which makes it very nice for one or two of us, and he is furthermore a doctor which is nothing short of providential, as we all shall probably realize when we get out on the roaring main. He has made 34 trips across himself so should be able to help us in more ways than one.

I don’t think Government railways are anything to get up at night and write home about. The Intercolonial has no club car to enable you to sit down and smoke in comfort and no lights in the berths at all-needless to say May’s little flash-light stood me in good stead- and the porters and conductors are both blase and incompetent. However, in spite of all that the time passed very quickly, as we had lots of things to do to while away the hours, and yours truly had no chance to find things moving slowly as he had been taking calomel and things.

As we went through Quebec we saw French Canada as I have never seen it before, and some of the sights were most interesting. I got a snap-shot of the Citadel at Quebec city which I hope will turn out well. Some of the scenery on the St. Lawrence as we passed down the south bank, was magnificent indeed.

Cousin Hattie Scarff had written Elsa that I would be here and she met me at the station and took me up to her house for lunch. She has a fine husband, and a dear little girl of eighteen months. After lunch I came down to this hotel where I had had my baggage sent, and changed my uniform for muffi. Father you may take great pride unto yourself inasmuch as neither my overcoat nor my grey suit required to be pressed although they had been packed for five days.

We are to sleep in the hotel to-night and embark in the morning, probably sailing at about 1.00 p.m. tomorrow ( Saturday)

Believe me, Dear People, you are nearer and dearer to me now, each one of you, than you have ever been before, and that is saying a good deal. The different letters that have reached me each has brought a new longing for home and all that it means; and a different sort of pang at being separated from you all by so many miles and for what appears to be such a long, long time. No son or brother was ever sent away from home under happier auspices than I was, and I don’t want you to think I do not appreciate your unselfishness and your courage in sending me off without any memories of any efforts on the part of any of you to keep me from doing what is obviously the right thing to do. I am going away cheer- fully and happily only because you have been self-sacrificing and I want you to be sure, dear Pater and Mother that I shall never, never forget that scene in our little sitting room the night before I left you, when a amidst all those familiar surroundings you knelt and commended me to God in the sweetest prayer I have ever heard.

Good-bye Dear Ones All,
Always lovingly,

Original Scans

Original Scans