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Date: May 9th 1916
Dear Ones All

London, S.W. 9th May/16.

Dear Ones All,

Mother’s letter of April 19th reached me yesterday and May’s letter of the 22nd arrived this morning, both with their usual budgets of welcome news. It wasn’t all welcome news though, for I was mighty sorry to hear about the trouble father has been having with his feet. I do hope it is better by this time for I know how the Pater will chafe under the enforced inaction and then the pain too is no joke. I was so surprised and pleased to hear that Will had bought the Heughan’s house- that is the one at the comer next to Myles’ place, isn’t it? He seems to have gotten it cheap enough, and it should be much more satisfactory than the other one. Oh, how I do wish I could be back in Walkerton to-night, just to have a long talk with you all about everything! I’m afraid I write very grouchy letters, but its only because I am so wretchedly lonely here, and because I do dislike England and the English so much. Its rotten to see all the other chaps going across the Channel one by one. They are nearly all gone now and are right in the thick of it and I am left behind alone to hold down a little office job in London.

You know how it is with us in Canada, the hospitality one is sure to meet with everywhere. Over here one has to hold a certificate, properly signed, sealed and witnessed, stating that you are a gentleman before any one whom you would really care to know will even be civil to you. It is even worse of course for Canadians, for both Canadians and Anzacs are regarded here as barbarians, and therefore scarcely to be admitted into polite society. It isn’t done don’t you know!" I am not speaking now of the young pups of English subalterns for they are unbearable beyond words but of the older soldiers, the ones whom in time one gets to like. I have met heaps of them, officers who have seen years of service, splendid soldiers they are, and men of education and refinement, but I have been in England almost five months and I have never yet been invited to an English home. I have been introduced to just one English lady, and that was only because the chap who was with her couldn’t possibly get out of it. All the Canadians I know have been treated in the same kindly, generous, open-hearted way, and they all share the same opinion of this grateful and appreciative country! No, my liver isn’t out of order and I haven’t any more than my usual grouch when I get started on this subject.

I had a fine time by scandalizing everybody on top of a buss this morning by talking to a couple of "Tommies" They were Canadians from Toronto and were just out of the trenches with their kits on their backs and their rifles slung over their shoulders. They saw the name "Wilton Road" on a street comer and one of them said "What wouldn’t I give for a sight of old Wilton Avenue again!" The good old Canadian accent was too good to resist so I turned around and said “ Yes, take a Yonge car at Union Station and get off at the first stop above Queen" We were all friends in a minute and I rejoiced to see how I lost "caste" with a couple of English officers sitting near me, by condescending to speak with a couple of privates. They don’t understand Colonials over here, and for the most part don’t even attempt to.

I have only told you about half and I sometimes wonder what effect it would have on recruiting in Canada if everybody knew the whole truth about it. Probably it wouldn’t make much difference for our boys are made of too good stuff to be held back by the knowledge of the cold welcome ahead of them- but it is nice to have one’s little personal sacrifices appreciated, isn’t it? The natural result of course, is that the Colonials stick together and the English do the same and both manage to get along quite well. In my own case I am a Canadian in an English regiment and am therefore " in" with neither one lot nor the other, and that is what makes it so beastly uncomfortable.

Molly’s Aunt, Mrs. Champion, is sending me the Toronto Saturday Night and it sure is good to get all the home news every week, to learn what Sam Hughes is doing, hear all about the base-ball news, and see what is on at the Toronto theatres.

Poor old General Salmond lost his wife to-day and is very much broken up over it. The whole staff is too, for we are all perfectly devoted to him. It was quite characteristic of the man to not leave his work all day long (It was last night that his wife died) though he was apparently "all in" He is the most efficient man I have ever worked with and every inch a soldier and a leader. His grip on the details of his work is amazing and he knows the jobs of every one of his staff better than they do themselves.

I am so glad to hear that Cousin Belle is better and has been able to be brought home. Give her my warmest love. And Pater you must take care of yourself until those feet are all better. Don’t you think you might enjoy the novelty of neglecting your work for awhile.

With heaps of love to each one of you my dear ones,

Yours as always,

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