My dear Gertrude.
Only Tuesday but to-morrow is my last day at home & I will probably have quite a lot to do.
To-day has been quite fine - clear & sunny & the snow beginning to go - I have got out at last - yesterday we had more snow & it was quite impossible for me to do so. The temperature near here has been down to within a few degrees of zero - very bad for the farmers. I actually got up at 9.30 this morning & went out two hours later & walked down town to get my hair cut - A lady haircutter of course. the only man in the place who has been rejected twice, is just having to form up at last.
I noticed that the women street cleaners where having a hard time with the snow. They are most of them of husky build but of course snow is very heavy stuff. I decided I had better not go out again today so I did not go out with Mother & Muriel this afternoon & whilst they were out I had a visitor - Morris Thompson's sister - she had met the others on her way. I had curiously just had a letter from Morris by this morning post - from Egypt where he is in charge of a guard at the Turkish prisoners camp. She had brought a letter along for me to read describing an excursion of his to the pyramids. It is quite a celebrated letter as the girls & mother have both had it read to them & Muriel has listened to it twice. Mrs Thompson is very elderly & for her the universe centres practically on Morris at any rate the terrestrial portion of it. Am writing this a little under difficulties as Violet Beetham - a friend of Poppy's is in & there is a lot of talking mainly servants, a fearful problem these war days for those who still indulge in them. The majority have long ago gone in for munition making where they can form patriotism to greater freedom & big wages. It was Violet's daughter Joan ( 2 years old) who came in one day last week (I don't think I told you this on Sunday) & on being asked if she knew mw - said in an interrogative kind of way Daddy- Daddy?- the khaki of course. her father having "joined up" a year ago - & how being in Training for a Commision - they sent him to near Cork in Ireland, of all places to get at - especially these days.
Have just been writing to Berk, to get him out of my debt before I leave.
Mother has just gone to call on the Morris' Muriel & I are to have early tea alone - as she is - that is Mother is meeting Poppy at Church for service & we are going to have a mid-evening supper at 7.30 when they get in. Having had a letter from Gordon Bennett this morning I am reminded of something I don't think I have retailed before. When Gordon came here last August just after I enlisted he was at a picnic to Sprotborough in which the Morris joined including Jack Morris & the latter took a great fancy to Gordon. One day this winter whilst he was ill in bed he suddenly said to his mother "Mother - Bennett & I wear brogues" she had forgotten Gordon & said to him - who is Bennett? He answered "Why you know - Mr Beck's Father - at the picnic" I suppose Gordon's white hair & clerical attire was the cause of his elevation to be Father's father.
Tea is ready - only a tray tea.
Whilst we were at it a parcel arrived from you. Have just opened it - cakes & chocolate. The latter & some of the former may prove very useful tomorrow - to re-inforce me whilst I am hanging about - waiting to be interviewed. I have had such frequent feedings at home - that I may perhaps feel a little empty at times between meals at first. Thanks very much - I hope the letter asking you not to trouble with more for the present will arrive before another is ready to be sent off.
We heard from Rob Stin morning but no further news of Ian. I have another theory, that he has been sent back to blight y & is hoping to get home leave & so is keeping quiet with a view to springing a surprise on them here. Rob mentions that in the course of his billeting he had to see the mayor of a village the other day & as is very often the case, it was the schoolmistress. Having arrived early school was on, so he went into the schoolroom to see her. As soon as he entered the whole school rose & said together in English "Good morning".
Wilson's speech is in the papers today. Quite satisfactory. I wonder how unanimous Congress will be in supporting him. I see that Herr Ballin the Kaiser's friend & the head of Germany's most powerful shipping companies says peace is certain for July 1st. I think it is fairly certain that something important is to happen soon - for my part I fancy it will be a great offensive of the fleet - Zepps - & every available soldier they can put into the field - all at once with no reserves kept in case of failure. The two months since February 1st must have shown them how little chance there is of an early victory by submarine warfare alone.
I wonder how much more of my future movements I will know by this time tomorrow. Possibly no more. Hope I am not stranded in Pontefract for any lengthy time.
Must close - with much love