Rome Nov. 17/17
I guess it must be nearly three weeks since I wrote my last letter to you for as luck would have it my letter writing has been interfered with again. You know I expected to do great things along that line when I got clear of the line (and the censors) but my hopes were rudely shattered three days after we arrived here. We struck Rome on the morning of Friday Oct 26. There were forty in our party altogether and we put up at the Bristol Hotel which is the finest in the city, for of course we did things up in style - had to make a good impression on the natives you know. Well Fri. afternoon I was walking down one of the main streets with a friend by the name of Dale (and by the way they've got some real classy streets here - just as busy, modern, and up-to-date as those of any city in the States or Canada). Well I was walking down one of these streets with Dale when a middle aged lady came running across from the other side & stopped us. She was Scotch and had spotted my kilt. We explained to her that we were Canadians, not Scotsmen, but that made no difference - I belonged to a Highland battalion so I must come and have a cup of tea with her the next evening & of course bring my friend along. Dale you see is 3rd batt. & doesn't wear a kilt. Well, the upshot was that we went to her house Sat. evening & had a real nice time. She has a son about 25 years old and had a couple of ladies too, so altogether it was quite a jolly party.
The day itself (Saturday) was spent in exploring the ruins of the ancient Forum and the Palace of the emperors on the Palatine Hill. It was very interesting indeed. Saw the tomb of Romulus, all the different temples (what's left of them) the two triumphal arches that are still standing the pictures of which are in the old Latin Grammar and a whole lot of other things "too numerous to mention."
Sunday the bunch went to the catacombs but I wasn't feeling extra well so I went to the British soldiers club & wrote some post cards & started a letter to you but didn't get it finished. In the evening we had a big dinner at the hotel to which a number of guests were invited among them being some noted Italian government officials (Excuse the use of both sides of the paper but the thickness of the parchment renders the use of both sides necessary), two Italian newspaper reporters, a Canadian newspaper war correspondent, some Canadian government representatives from Ottawa and two or three other Italian personages. We were given a hearty welcome to Rome, etc. etc.
Monday I went with one of the boys to see St. Peters Cathedral, Hadrian's Tomb and the Colosseum. This took us nearly all day and before we got back to the hotel we were caught in a heavy rainstorm. Result was that I caught cold and felt so dumpish after supper that I couldn't attend the party given by the ladies of the Club in our honor. Next morning I felt worse, had a fever & rotten headache so I stayed in bed all day. Tuesday morning I felt worse than ever & Canon Scott had the stretcher bearer who was one of our party take my temperature. It registered 104 so the Canon bustled me off to the hospital before noon. I've been laid up here with pneumonia ever since so that accounts for my long stay in the city & also for my failure to get any letters written. Of course it's just my luck. In the line I couldn't get sick under any circumstances but as soon as I go on leave I'm laid up. However I'm not altogether sorry for I'm getting the very best treatment here and if I hadn't taken sick I would have been back in the trenches two weeks ago. I was pretty sick for three or four days but after that the fever left me and I began to pick up. Have been out of bed four days now & although a little weak and certainly thinner I feel just about as good as ever. I expect to leave for the Belgian front in a week or so.
Two things I missed on account of my illness though which I would have liked to have been in. One was an audience with the Pope at the Vatican, the other was a group picture taken among the ruins of the colosseum. The picture turned out pretty well and I'm awfully sorry I'm not in it. It would be a dandy souvenir of the trip.
Well I think I've told you everything of any importance regarding my sojourn here so I'll say "so long" until next time. I might mention the fact that I'm not alone here - there are two others of our party in hospital with me - One has typhoid & the other tonsillitis. Their company is quite welcome for I can't talk to the nurses - they're all Italian. Hope you are enjoying yourself.