"A very happy Xmas."
(I received 15 dollars from Bella)
My Dear Betty:-
Am spending another week-end at Mrs Russell's it is certainly a splendid thing to have such a home as this away from home, & it means quite a little to me in my present condition to have such a quiet & beautiful place as this is to come to for a day or two.
The dampness etc here is having quite an effect upon my wounds, the left leg especially, I received your letters No 21 & 22 in which you tell of your efforts to bring me back & also enclosing copies of Dr's MacRae & McLean's certificates, they have been very kind as as also Rev Mr Mathews & of course I am hoping that you will be successful.
I am putting forth an effort this side & I think that this week about Wednesday or Thursday will tell whether I am to be sent back to Canada or no - if I am successful then I shall likely be leaving Bramshott next Sunday Dec 2nd for Bruxton there to wait my turn for a boat. I am still not counting too much on the success of my own effort here - but if I fail in mine, I shall still hope that yours may be successful, however our chances seem to be very good, & it is quite possible that, though I shall not get home for Xmas, yet I may be there to celebrate your 21st birthday.
My its too good to think of & I cannot allow myself to count too much on such a prospect, just to fancy myself in the little kitchen sitting down to a tea with your dear self & Shirley & Billy - with real wheaten bread & farm butter to eat - with perhaps ham & eggs & preserves, it makes my mouth water & intensifies my longing, let us hope & pray that our longings may be realized. If the next few days decided that I am to return to Canada I may be well on my way eve this reaches you, or at least on the point of starting out on "the long -long trail" One thing you want to arrange dear, that is, not to have anyone there at home but our own selves - though I shall want to meet others especially those who have been so kind to you yet for the first day or so we shall want to be alone
I am so glad to hear of Shirley doing so well at school & needless to say am looking forward so much to hearing & seeing her perform for my especial benefit & Billy too - I suppose he will almost have forgotten what his Daddy is like? I am looking forward too, to putting you next door neighbours in their proper place especially him the cowardly skunk I won't mince matters with him if I get half an opportunity.
If I do come home in the near future I think that you & the kiddies had better stay at home to keep the home fires burning, & I will wire you as soon as I land at Halifax & then let you know later on when to expect me etc, & when I am nearing Wp'g I will send a wire from one of the stations, telling you the time I shall be pulling in, & then believe me it won't take me long to get to 853 Nassau. But there I must no build my hopes to high.
I hope that ere this reaches you Ruby's picnic is well over & that she is doing well& that it is not twins. I'll soon fix the rats & mice should I get home, you'd better try & get a cat in the meanwhile. Did I tell you in my last letter that Roberts (he who helped to carry me out) had been killed? also I heard that Spick had been killed, but have not seen anything official yet.
The 1st C.M.R's lost an awful lot of men in the taking of Paschandale Ridge & to them belongs the credit & honour of saving the day, but they paid the price.
I think dear Betty that I have received all your letters 22 was the last, & hope that before long there will be no further need of writing. Hope also that you receive the parcels which I have send - have send one of old letters two parcels of books - one containing Mistletoe - one containing a German soldier's water bottle & last Friday I sent one containing English Holly which I had picked myself. Oh, did Billy get the cards in time for his birthday? I hope he did I am worried about him, especially when the doctors speak of an operation. My dear-dear love to you all & hugs & kisses, with hopes that God may bring me back to you soon & in safety. God bless & keep you, ever prays