little flag for Billy
Flowers for you & Shirley
Violets - daisy etc
May 14 / 17
My Dear Betty:
Well my dear I am expecting to leave for France any time now, & I have never felt the same measure of satisfaction since I joined that I do now - now that I know, that at last I am going to take my chance with the boys & do the bit, for which I enlisted. I am instructing Bella to send a cable for me (if she can) & if you receive on, I wish you would send her a money order for five dollars to pay for same we are not allowed to send cables from here & as I am crossing sooner than I anticipated I am a little short of cash. I spent my last Sunday in Old England (that is the last for a while) - & it will stand out as being the most enjoyable & delightful during my stay in England it will certainly stand out as a most delightful memory. I received an invitation to spend the afternoon & evening at the house of Mrs Russell "Moorings" a most delightful place, & I think the most beautiful English home I have ever seen standing in large beautiful grounds - with gardens which are a very "Garden of Eden". I received the invitation through Lady Trillemarche & she was there also. Mrs Russell is an invalid - a widow & I should judge about 64 yrs old - but such a sweet old lady - highly cultured & a saintly character. I spent a real delightful time - There was a Mrs Morris staying there also, a young woman, her husband is a Major in the Artillery at the front, she was very nice & she had two lovely little girls the eldest 7 ½ years & the other 4 ½, I told them about Shirley & Billy, & didn't they hug & kiss me for them, & didn't I enjoy it - & wasn't my thoughts with you dear ones. Oh, their names are Joy & Margeret. (I am going to add to this letter as I have opportunity as long as I am here)
(Evening) We are going I believe on Wednesday morning & I think the route will be from Folkstone to Bolougne, then through Paris (we shall have to change stations at Paris, so shall get a march across the gay city) on to La-Havre, or course this in only a surmise, they are always changing the route. Did I tell you that I had met one Mr Moody's (Selkirk) sons (Harry) & we have had a nice visit together, he took my picture & then we were taken together so likely in due time you will receive a snap or two. I am enclosing a little booklet written by Mrs Russel - she is doing a splendid work for the soldiers - though spending most of her time on her back.
One thing dear Betty - If I am spared to return to England - I shall have a welcome & a standing invitation to some of our most beautiful English homes situate amid the most delightful part of England, it is certainly a privilege & a great opportunity to meet & converse with people like these - who are aquainted with, & intimate with, some of the great men & women of the day, those who are making history, it is indeed an education in itself, I shall be able to keep you entertained for a while when I get back - Oh! I want to remind you Betty dear before I forget - whatever the future may bring don't loan any money to any of your people or to anyone for that matter, & if you need advice at any time go to Mr R J Kennedy, I know I hardly need to mention this, but I am so very anxious for you & the kiddies, & I do not want you to need for anything, I am, or have volunteered to revert to the ranks in order to get across, but do not know yet whether they will revert me - in any case, it will make no difference with your separation allowance, & your assigned pay will still remain the same, though I shall only get 8 dollars per month instead of 20 dollars, but I guess I can manage, I just got a card from Rose saying that Fred is home on leave until the last of May, poor boy I guess he's pretty glad to get home & I am sorry that I shall be unable to see him however we'll look forward to seeing them after the war.
I guess I'll close this letter to night in order to catch the mail & if I get a chance before I go I'll send another few lines. I shall be thinking of you sweetheart & the kiddies more than ever (if that were possible) & I know you'll be thinking of & praying for Daddy. I wish I could see my little girlie trotting off to school - but I must try & imagine what she looks like, perhaps I'll be home in time to see Billy start off; it looks as though the war is going to drift on another year, after all; well we can only do our part, & may God give us all strength & courage & fortitude to - "Act well our parts."
I wish you would send me Mr Davie's address [?] I have lost it. Remember me to the Gunns & any other enquiring friends, "Good night" my dear ones, God have you in His own keeping. In fancy I am hugging & kissing you all, My fondest love is your, & Shirley's & Arthurs's, God bless you dear