S. S. Sardinian, Nov. 9, '99.
Dear Sir, - I am not going to pretend to write a long letter, but having heard that we are going to call at Cape De Verde I thought I would drop you a line. I wish to thank you for your telegram expressing good wishes for the Brantford boys. I was unable to reply as it was not handed me until the ship had started. The vessel is certainly well-named for this occasion for we are all packed good and tight. The boys all seem to be taking it good naturedly which I think is the wisest plan. The steward has been arrested for stealing eatables (which were donated by different cities) and selling them at about five times their regular value to the men. I paid 20 cents for about fifty wax matches and was then informed that the use of wax matches was forbidden. Lime juice is eagerly bought at 10 and 15 cents a glass. The razor supplied by Turnbull & Howard is responsible for the removal of my whiskers. It is rather a coincidence then that out of the 1,000 men I was the only one possessing a beard. There is one satisfaction in it and that is that I won't be shot through the whiskers. There is all kinds of excitement on board getting things into shape for our arrival. The weather up to date has been good, the heat is getting more intense each day. I have not got the band started up to date as the instruments cannot be found and must be mixed up with other stores. I found one case containing fifteen instruments but they bear such evidence of campaign work that they are almost useless. We are getting anxious to know how the war is progressing, as of course we have heard nothing since we left, but everyone is eager to get there and get to the front. The days are passing very quickly owing to the numerous duties that have to be performed. We have had 3 smoking concerts on board and I expect there will be one nearly every night after this. There is some exceptionally good talent on board and it's no trouble to get up a concert. It will take about a dozen attempts to get this finished as there's first an interruption and then another until it seems almost impossible to think. If we get settled in either camp or barracks for any length of time I will write you more fully, otherwise you must not look for more than a few lines. We had a death on board on Friday, the 3rd, a young man from Ottawa; he was buried at 4:30 the same day. I met with an accident on Saturday, the 4th, which might have been very serious. A packing case, full of books, weighing probably 300 weight, fell on the back of my leg, bruising it from the knee to the ankle, but it is just about all right again. We have had one pretty rough day and several lifeboats were dislodged, one being pretty badly smashed; it fell on the deck, but fortunately no one was hurt. I am afraid to keep this letter open any longer as they may call for the mail to be in at any time, so I will close with kind regards from all the boys.
Bandmaster Royal Canadian Regiment
P.S., Nov. 13 - Having passed Cape Verde Islands yesterday I shall not be able to mail this until we arrive at our destination which at present is unknown. There was a large number of vessels in the harbor, including a British cruiser, either the Terible [?] or Powerful. Will hand this to passing steamer if opportunity occur[?].