Thank you so much for your nice letter of September 18, 1917, received this evening. As I have just finished work I thought I would answer it before turning in. Perhaps I shall not get another opportunity for another few days. I was so glad to get your letter, as I look for them every Canadian mail. If I do not get one, I feel out in the cold when all the rest of the boys get their letters from Canada. So you think I look thinner in that photo, eh. I don't wonder at that. The place where it was taken was a bit behind the line hence the nice trees. The difference in the uniforms of my friend and myself is this. He is a new man just out from England with the Canadian issue. You see, all the old men out here wear the Imperial issue as they are much easier, more room in them, and also because they do not issue Canadian uniforms in France. But of course we use our own badges.
So Syd has been gassed again and is back in Blighty. Well good luck to him, but gas is tough. I should very much like to have a letter from Ted Houldsworth some time. I am glad you asked him to write me. Yes Alice, I was very sincere about our 1917 plans. I am quite sure that I would have had as nice a home as Greenwood or anybody else of our crowd. But as it is, they beat me to it. But since I have been here, I don't think that the time has been altogether wasted. I have done my bit as the saying goes and I have also learned some valuable lessons. But as you say, Alice, the war must end some day and then us fellows who have been out of luck, may have a chance to fall back into our places. That is, of course, if the girls will take us. Do you think they will, little friend?
Now Alice, you ask me to answer your question about what your part was in our little trouble. I will tell you, but I take it that you promise not to be offended at what I am going to write. Please put your mind back to the summer of 1915. I refer to your birthday and I know I did not send you a present. At the time I wrote you and told you why. In reply to that letter you sent me a most unkind answer, at which I was very much surprised and hurt. It was a most unreasonable call down for anybody to get under the same circumstances. I may tell you Alice, I felt like two cents and as sore as if I had been kicked all over the town. Well I answered your letter in words equal to the way I felt about it and you never replied to my letter. That was, as I afterwards learned, because my letter never reached you. Shortly after that I went to France feeling rather disgusted about it. Then there was a long time in which each of us was waiting for the other to write. I guess you, like me, were getting rather fed up about it. But your part of the trouble was that letter you wrote about the present and then not answering the one of mine you did not get. I kept that letter of yours a long time intending to let you read it over some time. But I lost it somewhere. It was really too bad Alice.
Enough of that.
So you think you will take Ted's advice when the right man comes along, eh. Will you invite me Alice when the time comes for the wedding? I should very much like to be at my little chum's wedding in spite of the fact that I have been a naughty boy. You will say perhaps the right man will never ask you. Do you suppose my dear girl that all men are blind? I guess Alice I'll have to serve out here a while longer before I get two months leave, but it may come before the war ends. If not, I will come to see you then without fail. My gun crew are all Montreal boys except one who is from Toronto. Some bunch. One of the boys is from Griffin Town and we have some fun, believe me. It is very cold tonight Alice and wet. A good night to sit beside the fire and tell stories. I guess we must leave the stories to some other time. Will you listen or shall I listen to you? Well Alice, I guess this is all for now, so I will close. Give my regards to Ma and Pa and Lily. Love to yourself.
Your very sincere friend