To Sergt. Major Oxtaby
Bloemfontain, March 21st.
"The box which you mention has not arrived, and while writing on this subject, I may say I cannot find words to express the gratitude which we all feel at being so kindly remembered. I trust you will kindly make known our high appreciation of such thoughtfulness on the part of the respective donors. The tobacco will be particularly acceptable, as we are now using Boer tobacco, which is bad as smoking Canadian chewing. The soap will also be very useful, although we may have some difficulty in recognizing each other for a while after using it. I suppose, however, we shall get accustomed to it gradually. I am glad to note by your letter, that the Band is doing all right, and also the statement regarding the mess funds. We were all pleased to hear of the recovery of Sergt. Friend and to know that everyone else is well. We are still living gipsy like in the open air. It is not so bad when the weather is fine, but in wet weather, it is awful, for when it does rain it comes down in earnest. We are getting half rations of biscuit and half bread. Dan made a pudding last night out of the dough and with Sherritt, the three of us dined on "Noble's pudding." I shall strongly recommend Dan for the position of cook at the next Segts [sic] camp. Everything is very quiet round here just now. Boers are very scarce articles in the presence of so many absent minded beggars, everybody is as loyal as possible. I tell you they are a cunning lot and need watching. I saw the room in Kimberley where Labram, the inventor of the Long Cecil was killed. I do not think we shall be able to bring many relics home, as we have no place to carry anything. However, we will see how things go, and will do the best we can. I am afraid that I cannot write any more that would be new to you but will drop you a few lines, when I receive the parcel. Thanking you for your kind letter, which conveyed the good wishes of so many friends, including your mother and trusting you will accept our hearty thanks and remember us kindly to all the boys.