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Date: December 10th 1917

Pte. F.E. Wilkinson
9 Cadn. Fld. Amb.


Dear Lois,-

I am taking the opportunity , now we are in rest for a while, of replying to your long interesting letter of Sept. 5. Thank you very much indeed. I am very glad to hear you have progressed so well and I am sure that the future you have before you, so full of bright prospect, you will take every advantage of. I must admire the taste and care with which you printed my Christmas cards. They show great promise of further development in the direction of art.

Thank you very much indeed for them.

I am sorry to say that the girls of your age out here do not have the same educational advantages as you & your friends have. I all these small villages and towns, unless a girl shows exceptional ability, she has no chance of developing what she has learned at school but is taken away at the age of 14 and put to work on a farm or in a coalmine. At either occupation she soon forgets all she has learned, and becomes a mere drudge. There is no doubt that this state of affairs has been brought on by the war, and that as soon as it is over, the girls of France and Belgium will have a better chance of intellectual progress.

The peasant class live very simple hardworking lives. To us, of course, it would seem very monotomous and tame, for our daily occupations are infinitely more numerous and varied. The ys to have very little recreation, indeed, many have none. You should see the excitement that prevails when a cinema show - generally run through the Y.M.C.A. - appears in a village! There are no vacant seats, believe me, and all those, not occupied by the soldiers, are filled with civilians, who are quite content to see the same set of pictures two or three times.

I often wonder what they think of some of the pictures we show, and whether they form their opinion of those few hours left behind, by seeing them. Rather an odd means, it is not?

The French boys, - well, boys are boys, all the world over.

They are just as wild, and playful, and careless, as Canadian boys. Those who are still too young to be occupied in some constant employment - about 12 years is the limit during war times - tear around in gangs and are as destructive & and as curious as our own young brothers at home. They wouldn't be natural if they did not, would they? A French boy cannot keep his hands off anything he sees, - if he is not watched.

But as soon as he goes to work, he becomes & assumes all the airs of a man. This is very bad for him. I believe in remaining young as long as possible, and not trying to appear grown up until absolutely necessary. It pays in the long run.

I was very pleased to read such a lot of news about Albert School. I always like to hear of places I have visited & shall look forward to hearing more.

Now I must close.

My very best wishes for a right merry Christmas and a prosperous & happy New Year.

Very sincerely yours

Fredk. E. Wilkinson

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