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Date: December 12th 1915
Mother and Father
John William Law

Belgium 11 PM Dec 12 . 1915 My Dear Mother and Father:- Your letters of Nov 27-15 received day before yesterday. I was glad to hear from you and Agnes and wished I could write as frequently as you have done. However Mother I will try and write more regularly than I have been doing. I am back from the firing line, a few hundred yards now in what is called the reserve or the ridout, it is quieter here and not so much guard to do which gives one more time. In the front line it is two hours on and four off guard and with the cooking cleaning the gun and myself occasionally it really leaves very little time to do anything but what is absolutely necessary. This last trip in I was played out completely and went to see the doctor to-day. After examining me carefully he said I was not sick and as I was feeling a lot better I came back on duty again. It was just an attack of what is called out here "Belgium" tired out, pain in the stomach or a bad headache perhaps. The continual rain and mud together with the strain you are under at times plays a man out for a short while but a rest soon puts him on his feet again. I am not complaining at all. I can stand it as well as any of the rest and will. I see you are having snow at home. Oh what a pleasure to see it instead of the rain and sleet. The weather here seldom freezes, but one day in the trench everything froze up, and it was a pleasure to be in that day to feel the solid ground under your feet once more, but the next day melted and the mud from then on has been knee deep. Why did not you go to Berlin along with William and Father. You should take in those little trips as it does you good. You know a change is as good as a rest. I can vouch for that now, and that is what you used to tell me. So the public school and the church are sending parcels. Well now isnot that just too good to be true. Indeed I don't know what is to be done with all the parcels, simply have a regular Christmas here. I wonder will they have a truce like they did last year. Seeing I cant be with you I am looking forward to spending Christmas in the trench in the hope that there is a truce. At times the Germans are very quiet, sometimes hardly a rifle shot, and at other times, when a different battalion are in things are livelier. I like it then as it gives us an excuse to shut them up with the machine gun. There is no satisfaction in firing at them when they wont fire back. Our artillery, at this particular point gives them lots to worry about. At times they get shelled unmercifully and our trench seems to be in such a position that it is difficult for them to hit us without hitting their own trench. We send over ten and even more shells to their one and at times I pity them but when I think of their mean and despicable methods of warfare I can only think as they started they must face the music. Eudora was asking did I get the summer sausage she sent from Berlin. I meant to tell her before that I did but I have forgotten each time. If our trench had been much closer to the Germans I would have thrown it over to them as they would have enjoyed it more than I. We tried to cut it up with an entrenching tool but without success. A tin of [?] chicken or something similar would have been more palatable. I hear she likes her new work in the gas house and she is always writing letters to me and never posting them. I'll give her a good scolding when I get back. Has she any new dresses or frocks lately. I don't think the child gets enough to wear as each letter contains a long description of only one new dress. Marion I suppose plys the needle too for her. My she does not know how well off she is does she? Mother. If she had been living when you were a girl she would have to do with hand me downs or heirlooms so to speak but no doubt she tells you times are changed etc etc. William off to Berlin to a church conference. Was Emma home for thanksgiving or Christmas or why the outlay of $3.25 fare new gloves, tie and [?] and perhaps a coat and suit. I might be writing with a green pencil but there is none in my eye. I was glad to get Agnes' letter of Nov 22 written from the old Hos. It is too bad she could not come over here as a Nurse. I think she could get more training here in a week than she'll get in a year at the General. So Agnes is up at 2:30 am writing to me. How I appreciate it. Here I am a candle on a box of a thousand rounds of ammunition, the gun two feet away, a little coke fire that took all day to get going at my feet, two comrades at my back snoring and sleeping their heads off, with their stomachs full of Quaker Oats and Oxo made on the above mentioned coke stove, in a half hour I'll wake one of them tell him to get on guard and take my place, while I crawl under his blanket. I know he's lowsy and all that, but I guess I am too so whats the odds to-morrow might well be out of this place and as it is rather "cushy" meaning comfortable, as the English tommies say, as comfort out here goes, he will probably write a letter to his lady love, as he wont get a chance for a while again. I had a letter from Aunt Annie. I am not sure about Ralph in India but I think that was the story they told me. The twins are doing fine. Red Cross workers working at refreshment booths for weary and broken down soldiers playing at concerts and pageants. (proceeds to the Red Cross Fund etc) but I don't hear from them now because I did not answer their letters. I did not have time but if I get leave I'll call on them again. Aunt Susan wrote me to night, asking why I did not write her. Andrew her boy is back on a week's furlough. I am glad for her sake he has come through it all right. He is in the Army Service Corps now, as safe as a house, but he did his share in the front line. Joe Dalziel I think will enlist soon. They are all well with the exception of Jean who has been poorly lately. I sent Jean one of my Canada Maple Leaf Badges by an officer who was returning to England the other day. One can pick up old French rifles and ammunition in our trench and also Frenchmen every few yards but it is impossible to get them out of the country as relics. Grandpa is feeling better and is able to go out a little on fine days so Aunt Agnes tells me. Aunt Maggie worries about him continually. Orvil is well when I last saw him. Saw Mack this afternoon. I wish Eudora would make up a parcel of a few players cigarettes, a pair of socks, some candy, raisins nuts etc and some other delicacy and send it to him. I don't see him much now. In fact I'm separated from him completely. I used to share my parcels with him always but I cant now, not a big parcel necessarily, a box of matches two or three candles and things like that are always useful a few biscuits or a tin of Maclarens cheese. Do you think butter would keep fresh ¼ lb say. It is not the great big parcels that are appreciated as much as the smalls ones with a little of every thing that go best. I am enclosing a Belgian Christmas card which I bought at a village where Orvil is. The next trip out I will try and purchase a little silk handkerchief of no earthly use except as a souvenir or token of this stricken country. Will close now with Best Wishes to you all for a very Merry Christmas and a Bright and Happy New Year. Your loving son. John P.S. Mack's address is the same as mine, don't bother about the number.

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