July 2, 1915
My Dear Mother:-
I suppose you will be wondering why I have not written sooner but I can only offer the excuse that I have been so busy travelling the last week or so and having such a real good time with every moment taken up that it was impossible to find more time than to address one or two postcards.
Now Mother there is so much to tell you that in order to see that nothing is missed I will start from the very first day of my leave which was six days but before going farther I will give you a list of the people (relatives) as I called on them in order. Uncle John Dalziel in Glasgow, Grandfather and Aunt Maggie in Ardrossan, Uncle Robert Weir in Hamilton, Uncle John Weir at Bellfield Schoolhouse and Aunt Susan at Manchester. It was necessary for me to go the longest distance from camp first and come back, else if I had gone to Manchester first I would have been able to go no further. It is all red tape but one has to conform to the regulations to save yourself inconvenience.
Orville and I went together and made the arrangement that we would go on Friday June 25 in the afternoon and the 5:29 train to London. Orvil has moved away from here now, about three miles and we got on at different stations and did not see each other till we got to London. That shows you just how much we can rely on each others' word. If we had made the meeting place in Glasgow it would have been just the same. I don't think we have ever made an engagement of any kind that has not been kept.
However we arrived in London about 8 pm. And went and had dinner at the Strand Palace Hotel which is one of the best. The strawberries are about the size of tomatoes they are so big after dinner we went to Daly's Theatre, as our train to Glasgow did not pull out until 12 midnight. The show was very good. "Betty" was the name of it and nothing was now too good for us so we took a seat in the dress circle which is like the orchestra in Toronto. The privates over here get 1 (shilling) 2 (pence) per day against our 4 (shillings) 6 (pence) per day and when a Canadian private comes along up goes the prices double of what the British Tommy is charged. This is the reason why the Canadian is received with open arms and ingratiating smiles especially in London and around here at camp.
Next morning "Saturday" we were in Glagow, a journey of nine hours, Orvil went first while I was forced to go third. I managed to get a few hours sleep, and by the way the night before we left camp we camped out in the open about 4 miles from here and got very little sleep, I tell you this now to let you know the cause of something that happened later. Orvill got no sleep whatever. The compartment was filled with Scotch Tommies who were home from the seat of war, as Marion says, on furlough, and they had very interesting experiences which they told me of. They were tired out however and drunk, they had been on the firing line or near for the past ten months, their uniforms looked it, one had been wounded twice, once in the neck and once in the face, with shrapnel.
When we got to Glasgow after having breakfast down town we called at 108 Sherling Road where is the Head Office of John Dalziel and Co. Ltd. They have thirteen stores in Glasgow and do a good business. Cousin Joe is in the office with his father. He is 21 years old and a real good sport. In fact you would go far to meet a nicer boy. Well we were invited for dinner that Saturday at noon or 1 oclock and stayed there until Monday morning. Joe is a member of a swimming club at Dennistown and on Saturday afternoon we went there and had a turkish bath and a good swim, after that we went down town for dinner and then to another theatre, very much like Shea's in Toronto, but better talent. A friend of Joe's came with us, John Barras, a boy about 19 or 20, whose brother 21 years is a captain in the British Army and away at the front now. It was about 1 AM when we got to bed that night and up Sunday about 7 AM. I am purposely telling you when we got to bed as you will see later. On Sunday Joe arranged a trip to Loch Lomond. They have a care, a nice one too, but this was laid up on Saturday without tires, however to entertain us they purchased new tires to take us out on Sunday. The car was not ready until the afternoon so we spent the morning going around Glasgow. The Glasgow University in the west end situated in very pretty grounds. The Botanical Gardens and their home. Well now comes the trip to Lock Lomond, a distance of about 36 to 40 miles through the prettiest scenery. It is a combination of the Gorge route at Niagara of course without the rapids, and of the scenery in Muskoka. The hills are very much higher however, so high that the clouds hovered around the peaks. You remember that Bovril advertisement at the corner of College and Yonge. The colours in that seemed to me exaggerating them but as a matter of fact it was much better to see the real thing and prettier then times over. The roads all the way up are as smooth as our asphalt roads at home and quite frequently we attained a speed of 40 to 50 miles an hour. If the roads were straight we would have hit it up much faster, but they wind in and out, around hills, up and down grades and over bridges and canals, one place, about 5 miles long was a continual rise and fall in about every 600 to 1000 yards, like a figure ‘8' at the island. Joe is a good driver, lot of excitement, for more than once we thought we would never make some of the turns in the road we came to. I am sorry I cannot describe Loch Lomond to advantage, my only regret was that you could not be with us to enjoy it too, of course we would have to have gone slower, but I am glad you are enjoying your motor rides at home with the Knox,s Cooks, and Kennelly's. Just a few hundred yards to the west is Lock Long, which is Salt Water whereas Loch Lomond is fresh water. We drove up, as I said 36 miles, and cut across west which bring us to the top of Loch Long. Loch Long is almost as pretty as Lomond but not quite. There we had supper which Aunt Agnes had made up for us., we had a puncture on the way up which was repaired while we ate. Well about six pm we started away to Cardross where Cousin Corie, who is married as you know, with a baby 7 months old lives. Cardross is on the Clyde on the north shore, a very pretty place looking right onto the river. [?] is 23 years old now, I got a snap of her and her husband but it was after supper and about 9 oclock and I am doubtful if it will turn out good. We left Cardross about 9:30 or 9:45 it was still light and about 17 miles from Glasgow. It was late when we got home and Orvil went to bed after having dinner while I stayed up and talked to Aunt Agnes and Uncle John until 2 A.M. They were enquiring after everything and everybody at home and related their experiences when they once stayed at home and of the night she was to speak at the University when it burned up. Of course I heard it all before from you but they are now at the age when they enjoy recounting the experiences of 25 and 30 years ago.
Little Jean 4 years old is a cute little kid who kissed us both and cried when we were going away. I left a number of snap shots which I had with me, of our ice boat, the war canoe and a few others which they were interested in.
On Monday we arranged to go to Ardrossan and Uncle John maped out a course for us to take down the Clyde by steamer stop at Rothesay and then across the river and down the coast to Ardrossan arriving there about 5:30 in the afternoon and starting from Glasgow at 10:40 in the morning. We got started alright and were greatly interested in the ship building which goes on. We saw Torpedo Destroyers in the building sometimes a dozen at a time in the biggest yards and three and four in smaller ones. We also saw a new type of monitor which draws about 5 to 6 feet of water and is almost submerged. Two 15" guns mounted and protected by a huge flange or compartment around the sides of the ship, which when filled with water sinks the ship almost level with the sea. It is rumoured the Admiralty have placed orders for 200 of these and expect to take them up the Rhine. We also saw the ships of the Queen Elizabeth's class. There are 5 ships in this class all sailing to-day. They are all called "The Queen Elizabeth" or by the Admiralty the "Unarmed Class". This of course is done to keep the true strenghth of the Navy from the enemy but I should think, with their spy system, they know it, as it is common knowledge or rumor, I should say, around Glasgow. The Submarine yards are under guard all the time and in passing them in the tram car, passengers are compelled to descend from the top car to the car below so strict are they. Two German Subs have been caught in the Firth of Clyde and it is rumored that eleven have been caught in the nets at the Firth of Forth where [?] port of the British Fleet is. Well we enjoyed our trip down the Clyde and as I said we were to change at Rothesay, the boat arrived there at 2 pm and when the boat arrived there we were both fast asleep down in the cabin. The boat pulled away again with the two sleeping beauties still in slumberland and were not awakened until 3 o'clock by the purser enquiring for our tickets. Our connections were so shot to pieces, we had to go the rest of the way with the steamer about 60 miles through the Kyles of Bute, scenery like Lock Lomond and did not arrive in Glagow until 8:30 at night. Then we took the train to Ardrossan and got there about 10:30. Aunt Maggie and Grandpa and Nan Dalziel waited up for us expecting us every moment since 5 o'clock. They were so glad to see us that it made no difference. Grandpa could hardly talk he was so excited. Aunt Maggie was the same. I was sorry now we were so late but we could not help it we were so tired, an average of about 3 to 4 hours sleep for the last four days.
I am going to stop here as it is getting late. I have a few more letters to write, small ones, to Scotland but will write some more in a few days, starting from where we left Ardrossan. Your affectionate
P.S. Read Agnes, Marions, Eudoras Marys and William's letters but trust those to you will be accepted as answers as there is nothing more I could possibly say to any of you although I hope they will not leave it to you to answer for you never tell me enough.