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Date: July 8th 1916

[Canadian Engineers Crest] OFFICER'S MESS


Dear Father,

Did not write last week, as I thought that Alf with all his old time enthusiasm would be quite sufficient. He no doubt handled the editorials in a very able manner.

I had heard from various sources that the 67th Batt[allion] had arrived in camp. I made enquiries and had received several different versions. However that night when I went home the gentleman accompanied by a chum was there. I was both pleased and surprised to see him. As you say he is very unwise to the ways of the world. When he told me about his trip and since he had landed I did feel sorry for the kid. He is so unused to roughing it and his principles of trusting one and all are so strong my heart ached for the poor kid but I made up my mind that I was not going to mollycoddle him, and he will have to learn thru experience just like the rest. However, I did take his gold from him, and gave it to Mr Reade who put it in the bank. Then Mrs Reade let him have a bath, which I expect was needed. Then he had a good meal and I had a talk with him. I shall see that he has all the money that he needs, and try to impress him with the necessity of bathing etc.

Since then he has had two or three meals at the Reades and he is improving all the time. I mean that he is looking better. I expect that the trip over was rather rough on the kid. He says he hopes to go back an officer.

His camp by the way is just a few hundred yards from my office. He has been over a couple of times but they are kept pretty busy. I could go over and see him but there is no use as I couldn't find him and they are out on parade in day-time. He was in on Sunday and got the letters, yours and also one from Em, from Fairhaven. He also got the Peterboro one a few days before. He is very pleased to get letters of course.

The day after I saw him or rather that evening, we went down and sent off a cable which I hope you received in good time. Between the three of us (Camp post included) I think this little outing will be the making of the boy. He is getting some little knocks here which will not do him any harm. And the discipline is just what is needed. I am glad to see that he is taking it very well. He has lost several small articles but nothing of value. When he gets on to the way to replace things "borrowed" by others he will be better equipped.

I was not in when he called last time. He needed money so Mrs Reade gave him what he wanted. They are very fine people indeed. They seem to take a great interest in him, of course they have the old idea about officers and men mixing or rather not mixing, but that does not interfere with our plans. They would do anything for Alf if I were out at the time, more perhaps than if I were in.

You do not need to worry in the least re Alf. If there is anything wrong with him, such as hives or any skin troubles, such as there often is owing to the quantity of meat eaten by the men, he will be well looked after. I understand he has or is about to transfer to [the] signal section of his battery, on advice of Mr Reade & self so he will be quite alright. Later on if a commission is desirable or wanted it can probably be arranged although I would say nothing to Alf about that part of the matter.

I am feeling fine myself. Busy as ever and taking lots of exercise. I am glad you are getting along so well with the insurance. I would apply for 1 or 2 thousand myself only I know they would not accept me just now. However they might later on. I am sure the garden is showing signs of early morning applications and I would like to be home to eat some of the products, there is not the slightest bit of use trying to figure out when we will be home, is there, but we will certainly look in when it is all over.

It's indeed very sad about poor Mrs Jefferys. I wish you could have attended the funeral, but as Mother was there before it is not so bad.

I hope Mother is feeling herself again. She will take it easy I hope. The summer will soon be over, won't it? I am glad Emily is having a good time in Muskoka. She needs a good change. Hope she will come home feeling better. I wish you two could take a nice holiday someplace, even if just at home. Must close now, with lots of love for the family & kindest regards to Miss Smith.


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