May 6th / 17
My Dear Betty:-
Am fortunate enough to be spending a week end in London & am enjoying a short spell of civilization as you will perceive by above address. I came in on Friday night & am returning to night Sunday. It is certainly a treat to get away from the monotony of camp life for a few hours & oh the luxury of a bed with linen sheets & a bath etc-etc, the worst of it is the going back again - however I have had a very enjoyable time & am seeing a few more of the interesting sights etc of old London.
I am sending three packages of cards addressed to the kiddies & yourself for the collection. I visited St Paul's Cathedral again Saturday morning on my previous visit - I had not been able to visit the crypt where the tombs etc are, so I took this opportunity to do so - the monuments are in the cathedral itself, but the tombs containing the actual bodies are directly under the monument of each & in the crypt - There is no monument to "Nelson" up above, but his body reposes in a massive granite block below - you will see what it is like on postcard, & then of course there is the colossal monument errected to his memory etc in "Trafalgar Square" pictures of which I think I have sent. There is also the tomb of "Wellington" directly under his monument Nelson & Wellington though in life they were never very friendly - now repose almost side by side in death. there are also the tombs of Lord Robert Lord Garnet Wolsey - side by side, while on each side of Nelson there lies his first & second officers in command. There were the graves of Sir Charles Napier - Sir Christopher Wren the Architect & Builder of the Cathedral itself Rembrandnt the great painter & a host of other of our Nation's great Warriors - Sailors - Statesmen - Poets & Writers. I wonder if I shall ever have the pleasure of showing you arround these places? I so wish that I could, for as I view these historic & sacred spots my thoughts are full of you, & the pleasure & inspiration of it all is lessened because you are not with me. However we will live in hope. In the afternoon I went to the famous old "Adelphi" theatre & saw a musical comedy entitled "High Jinks" it was very good.
And in the evening I went to the still more renowned "Shaftsbury Theatre" where "Harry Lauder" was taking the leading part in a musical comedy entitled "Three Cheers" it was really splendid you will have read of him losing his only son a few months ago, (killed in France) he was playing in this piece when the news came to him - in the play he takes the character of a private soldier first, & then he comes on as a sergeant just returned from France, & sings a song about "When the Boys come home" how every mother will kiss her lad, & every girl her boy - "When the war is over & the victory won" you know it was kind of sad to hear & see him in his matchless way singing that song, & to know that his own laddie & only child, arround whom he had built his very life was lying in France "dead on the field of honor"
You could see the tears shining in his eyes, & detect a swallowing of a sob in the throat - in spite of the brave - winning smile on the fine rugged face. He was splendid & I shall never forget him.
After leaving the "Adelphi" in the afternoon I paid a hurried visit to the "National Art Gallery" but am hoping to visit it again this afternoon & have a little more time, & I will also try & get a catalogue of the paintings, & that will give you a more faithfully & accurate description than I could begin to do, I forgot to tell you that in the Crypt of St Paul's there is also the "Funeral Car" of the "Iron Duke" a colossal piece of work made out of captured bronze guns & weighing 18 tons. After having witnessed & enjoyed some of the delights of London - I saw something of its darkest - saddest & most shameful side = too awful to conceive of = but an awful, awful reality. After leaving the "Shaftesbury" about 11 P.M - walking past "Leicster Square" & down "Picadilly" on my my way back to my hotel in the Strand - just a distance of not more than 300 yds, I suppose without exaggerating I was accosted by women a couple of times - girls from 15 years old only, to women of 30 & 40 I would be safe in saying I think that fully 75% of the females on the streets in the locality I have mentioned & at that time, were prostitutes, oh it was indeed awful = but I mustn't write any further about that.
This morning I rose (very reluctantly) at 8-30, had a bath & shave - breakfast & then went to service in the "Abbey" & stayed to "Holy Communion" Am enclosing a programme of the service. Am now going to mail this letter on my way to the "National Art Gallery" Trafalgar Square. Shall also mail picture cards & hope you receive them safely. I would like you to send me a list of all the cards (lots) that I have sent up to date, I'll know then if you are receiving them all. I received another parcel from the Emerson Home [?] just before I left. Trust you are all keeping well dear. My best best love to yourself & my darling kiddies. God bless & keep you