Excuse the writing on both sides, but this is the finest paper I could get, so it has to be done.
126 Robert St.
Fri. Jan. 14, 1915 .
I'm a real Scotsman now (outwardly at least) for Bobier & I were taken in today, and believe me! it has certainly been an interesting experience. I suppose you know Harry is not with us. I'm certainly sorry that such is the case but then I think under the circumstances it is better.
We pulled into Toronto at 5 P.M. Tuesday and went right up to 25 Howland and when we got there we found that Harry had just received a message from home saying his mother was very sick and he must go home at once. He suspected what was up and wanted to join before leaving, but Harold & I persuaded him to home first and then if he was determined to enlist he could come back. As he had supposed it was just a ruse. His folks had found out some way or other and they finally talked him out of it. We got a letter yesterday saying that he would not be back to Toronto again, so Lawrence & I went down to the armories last night. Just as we got there, we met a Highland officer. I saluted him & told him we wanted to join the 134th & he said "Good. Come right along with me, will you?" He was a lieutenant and he took us to the orderly room and asked us where we were from etc. Suddenly he looked up at me (I might say "down") & said "Say, how tall are you? We can't take anyone under 5' - 5"." I told him I couldn't quite do it, but I showed him a letter which I had received while in Ridgetown from Col. Donald saying that if a man was specially well built, he would stretch a point in his favour. I also told him I had come 175 miles just to join the Highlanders. "Well," he said "You certainly deserve some consideration, under the circumstances and you're well built all right. Stand up here and let me see how tall you are in your shoes. He took my measure and I just went 5' 4ï¿½" from the floor to the top of my head. But he let my hair stand up (you know I wear a pompadour) and it just stood high enough to touch the scale at 5' - 5". Well he though that would do if I could pass examination by the doctor. You may be sure I was mighty glad to hear it for I had given up all hope.
But the worst blow came this morning when I went down to be examined. When I entered the room, another officer stepped up & said, "Say, how tall are you" I answered quite confidently "Five feet 5"," thinking he would let it go at that, but instead he said "Step over here till we see." He wouldn't allow for my hair and with my low heeled shoes on I just touched 5' 3ï¿½" "See that?" he said, "I'm sorry but we can't take you - you're too short." My heart dropped right down to my boots and I thought it was all up, but I produced the letter again (It's might lucky I brought it for I didn't expect I would ever use it). As I happened, that little piece of paper with Duncan Donald's name at the bottom of it saved the day again. The officer took me in to see the commander. The latter is certainly a fine fellow and he joked about the matter for a while, but finally he said that he'd put a pair of high heeled shoes on me and let it go, being that I was so anxious to join his battalion. He said he would add my height to my friend's and divide it by 2 and make up for any deficiency in that way. In my bare feet I stand 5' - 2ï¿½" and I'll likely be the smallest "man" in the whole battalion. I had no trouble in being attested by the doctor although my eyes are not perfect. We will not wear the kilt for two months yet and the only distinction between a Highlander & a regular Canadian private is in the cut of the coat and the cap. A Highlander wears a glengarry in place of the cap. I was rather disappointed to hear that we are not to wear kilts now but the sergeant said we would put them on in the spring & wear them all summer. I guess we will be here for some time.
We have managed to secure a room from Mrs. Loftus (that's where Harry and Harold get their meals) and you can send any correspondence to her address, for you see we won't take up quarters till the battalion is up to strength. The government pays for our board & we will likely be here for a few weeks.
Well, we have to report to go on parade tonight at 7.45 so I can't spend any more time on this at present, much as I would like to. I'd have written sooner but I didn't want to write till I was sure of being accepted and we were delayed a couple of days on account of Harry. ï¿½ Write soon.
Pte. G. Leslie Scherer
126 Robert St.