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Date: December 25th 1917


Christmas Day - 1917

Dear Gertrude

Seven oclock, so you will only have finished dinner. We are sitting around the Drawing Room fire we had a quiet & rather lazy day. Mainly talking, I have not even done any reading. Am writing this on my knee on the sofa drawn up to the fire - the pad, one of my Christmas presents,

Our snow left us on Sunday night - today has been very bright & sunny with a cold wind from the North East which may bring up more snow.

On Sunday I went out with the girls at lunch time but did not go - called in on Mr Morris instead. Found Jack & Betty up - & also the new baby [?] (I don't know how it is spelt). Mrs Morris too looking very well. Had a good talk till 9.30 although I had promised to be home for our 8 oclock supper. Mrs Morris insisted on my having it there.

On Monday had various trips down town. In the afternoon Muriel, Kathleen & I met Poppy who managed to get away from the office early & has 3 clear days off, which is very good. There was a big difference in the town owing to the Food Queues having been prohibited at last, & all the rationed supplies distributed evenly among all the provision shops.

Kathleen treated us to tea at Parkinson's & amongst other things I got your ring. The man has engraved the initials near enough to be recognizable as my initials - especially my "T" like J.J's.

After tea Muriel & I went out to leave a letter at Aunt Fanny's & to book for Thursday evening at the theatre - Poppy & Kathleen wanting to go so I am making it my present for the three girls. We dropped in to see Mrs Robinson's - found her looking very poorly. She has had 3 heart attacks lately - & the stress of the Christmas season has naturally not helped her - although business did not seem brisk then. She was in a small room behind the shop which she turns into a show room at Christmas for cards & calendars etc - a dinging room in normal times that I have often "fed" long ago. Heard the latest about all her boys - only one at home for Christmas. Guy - who was gassed in the summer in France & is at home with a friend from Brandon (Manitoba). An officer in the R.F.C. He was out at the pictures but has just been to see us for a few minutes - with Kennedy - his friend. Birdie & her little girl are also here & are to come up tomorrow.

We had a quiet Christmas Eve - no holly to hang - just a little for the fireplace - quite a few carol singers round - that is boys of the penny collecting variety, not real singers.

Got up at nine this morning & all of us to Church except for Poppy who stayed to cook the Turkey. [?] stayed to Communion afterwards. Another very imaginative sermon. Fancy our sentinels out on the hills of Judea last night & no single reference to it or any of the happenings in the Holy Land in the Christmas Day sermon this year.

Our currentless pudding (not raisinless) was very good & we certainly were no martyrs at the Christmas Feast in spite of a few shortcomings.

Since tea (just a handed round cup in here) Poppy has got down the tray of her box (bottom draw) chiefly to show Miss Cook. She has made a nice lot of worked things table sets etc but not the quantity you have. She wanted to get table cloths etc some time ago but Mother was very much against it - I don't quite know why.

No sign of any Canadian mail yet & I hear that the Watson's have no word from Toronto later than my last from you which is dated Nov. 14th. It was suggested at the table the other day that you were on your way over & would walk in at any moment. I would not mind there being the least possibility of such a solution. I've been thinking for some time that we are perhaps more likely to meet again on this side of the Atlantic than on yours - but I don't think it will be till the end of the war. There is talk of fairly generous seperation allowance being paid in the near future to Imperial Officers, which would make housekeeping possible & if so, we might be able to take advantage of it at least between the end of hostilities & mobilisation. That time however does not seem immediate at present.

I wonder where Berk is to-day & what he is doing. We all hope he is out at rest for the time. Lau will no doubt have had a very gay time.

I am sending the ring seperately will try & register it if possible.

I am enclosing a card of the Grammar School - the steps & terrace used to be a great place for snowball fights - those coming late got the top. The main hall occupying the upper floor of the building shown - is a very fine one with a massive hammer- beam roof - designed by Sir Robert Scott, a noted Gothic Architect.

Supper called - 8.30 - so must close. Hope the New Year has produced some heartening news before you get this.

With all good wishes & best love.

Yours Jack

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