April 28th 1917
Dear Mother & Dad.-
It is just four weeks since I have left Victoria and although the time has gone very fast it seems months since I saw you.
I often wonder if you thought I left in a hurry that morning If I did it wasn't because I didn't feel it, but when you started crying, ma, I had to leave or you would have had me going too. I sure felt bad about it.
We have been on two route marches around here and expect to go on another this afternoon I would like to take some snap shots of some of these old fashioned places, and [?] you, but I believe its against orders to take pictures here now. Anyway it might make you both want to make a trip over here and see some of the old places you used to know We passed a little old stone church the other day just as the chimes were going it sure [?] fine and reminded me of what you folks have told me about the chimes here. I intend to go to that church the first sunday we get out of quarantine. The country around here is very pretty, yesterday we passed along a road on top of a ridge, on both sides was a pretty valley we could see for miles around. We see quite a lot of skylarks (also hear them) they go straight up singing all the time there are others birds here we don't see at home. These old lanes amuse me, [?] of being on a level with the ground on each side. They are mostly sunk a way down, for 2 to 20 ft deep with bushes or hedges on both sides, they are very pretty as I imagined they would be. I've heard so much about England from you people I knew about what to expect. The weather here is funny. in the morning its mighty cold like the middle of winter, towards noon the sun comes out and in the afternoon its hot as summer The evenings are slightly cool.
Last night we went to a swell concert given by the Y.M.C.A over in the regular camp in a bug hut. We all enjoyed it much a girl sang [?] good-bye as well or better than I've ever heard it, she sang 3 other songs besides, she had a swell clean sweet voice, another girl played the violin great, she played the Humereske fine, that's the time we have on the phonograph, she played about 3 other tunes well. Another girl gave a humorous imitation of a boy going to tea and seeing ghosts. Another girl sang humorous and popular songs, she had taking way with her, alright. A corporal stationed here gave an exhibition of [?] of hand work with cards, he had anybody beat I've seen on the stage, besides that he was mighty comical and original. Two of the girls gave a short one scene sketch and was fine. The whole performance war first class. While we were waiting for the concert to start the whole bunch of about 500, sang popular songs for about Â¾ of an hour. One of the boys sure knew how to play the piano too. Before the concert we had a moral lecture by one of the doctors which was very instructive. He gave us some good advice.
This morning we had a short church service, sang 2 hymns, a sermon by the chapels which was good and prayers. Although as you know I'm not very religious I enjoyed it this morning more than id I went to a church at home.
We had a swell dinner today of stewed rabbit, mashed spuds, beets, war bread, and powdered rice pudding, and lots of it too some days we don't get hardly enough while at other times we have plenty. It is always well cooked though. We always have some hot soup, cocoa, or tea with a piece of bread pr cookie at 8 at night. Sometimes we have stew. Believe me it does down good too. The Ymca, have arranged something for nearly every [?] this week, they are doing great work. Tonight there is an address by a minister from Winnipeg, Tomorrow or Wednesday another concert, Tuesday a lecture on education and something every other night. I've forgotten [?] but I intend to take them all in. The Ymca runs the canteen here also, I don't know what we would do without it. It's a large tent with a [?] and benches with ink, pens and paper for writing, in one corner they sell stuff. Everything is mighty clean, Oranges 3 Â½ pence, each, apples 2 d, banana 4 d, walnuts 3 [?] [?], so you see fruit is almost out of the question. We can also buy things like sardines, canned salmon, marmalade, [?] soap, etc. They also sell buns at 1 Â½ d each. We can't buy any chocolates at all here, I wish you would send some, you can buy that solid chocolate at 50 [?] a lb at [?] on Fort st, [?] [?] & [?], a Neilson's 25 [?] packages which hold Â½ lb, or Baker's 5 [?] chocolate bars are cheap they weigh 1/8 lbs each. I guess you can by them at store, I got some at Wille's Bakery way down the end of Johnson st but any kind of chocolate or nut bars are [?]. Please send some lump sugar and peanuts when you feel like it, peanuts are bags for a shilling here. You can mail some of those old magazines once in a while some of those all story magazine. Readinf mother is scarce here
I have just written to Uncle Walter to tell him that I will be up to see them in my leave, I don't know yet when I will get it. I also wrote to Tom I hope it gets there by his birthday, I also wrote 4 days ago, By the way, when is Ruth's Birthday I have forgotten. I couldn't send Tom anything at all as we can't get out yet to buy anything.
Don't bother about sending any gum as we can but it for 5 [?] here. Anything you buy I want you to take the cost out of the assigned money. I suppose you haven't heard anything from Ottawa about the separation [?]? I don't think these is any chance for that though.
How is everything in old Vict I haven't had any news for a month now, I hope I will soon start to get letters I must write to Bob [?] he promised to send me the colonist, he works down there. I don't want you ma or dad either to worry about me, just imagine I'm having a good time and not in any danger I want you both to look just as I left you when I get back, if you start worrying you won't be the same, so cut it out.
Give my regards to my enquiring friends.
Don't forget to write as soon as possible. Love to you both