My Dear Alice,
Your most welcome letter of November 4, 1917, received tonight. Thank you very much for it. You see, I am being good and writing soon at the same time as you advised. All the crew got mail tonight. As a result all are in good humor. I am going to answer your letter word for word if I can Alice. So here goes.
First Alice, whenever you feel like writing to me again, sit right down and write. Pardon my expression, but to h--- with society rules in future, if you don't mind. Let me tell you Alice, that there are no letters that come to me more welcome than yours. Do you believe that? Perhaps you won't, but never the less it is a fact. I had a letter from Syd a few days ago. He is now at Seaford in Sussex for physical jerks. By the way he writes, I guess he will come back some day. I have not heard from Ted Houldsworth yet but I guess he will some day when he thinks about it. I guess it would be lonely for a girl just married to live at her house when her husband went away. I think Greenwood's wife did the right thing. But I guess he was thinking of the home so newly made. He should have thought of that before, don't you think? That wife and home idea is O.K., but they have their drawbacks on both sides. I don't suppose there is any time when a girl is apt to get lonely more than just after being married. When I said I have learnt some lessons, I mean in a general way Alice. Experience has taught me many things. I think I am a little wiser now than before I enlisted. I can see some mistakes I have made. One of them concerns you, but we will come to that later. I am glad that I came over here with one of the first bunches Alice, because as you say, I would not have been happy at home and men were needed here.
So speaking for the girls as a while, you cannot say whether they will take the boys back again or not. Well I suppose a great deal depends on the boys. Some may have improved and some may not. Of course there are that select bunch like G. Greening who have got married, but of course Alice, you must remember that they have still a lifetime ahead of them in which some may regret what they have done. I am sure that there are a number like George who will. There must be a large number of girls and fellows who have been parted by this scrap. I think some of them will patch up their troubles don't you think? I think so. Please let us mend ours. I had forgiven you Alice for that sting of 1915 and time was healing the wound in my memory. It was almost forgotten when you asked what the trouble was. Now you remind me. Up to the time I was wounded, we were on good terms, and then when I was in hospital, I could not write for some time very well. I was in bed for a while and for a long time could only use one arm. As you know, I really don't quite remember what happened. Perhaps I said something did I? If I did, I am very sorry and let me ask you to forgive me this time, will you? May I ask you who were the people talking when you wrote that letter? If you don't feel like telling me, it does not matter. In any case, I should not say anything, but just out of curiosity, I would like to know.
That is all I can say of the 1916 trouble Alice. Some trifle I guess, but I cannot remember what it was. Why do you say you hope I am at your wedding if you ever have one? That almost sounds as if you are doubtful about getting married. You know little girl, some of us will have to marry or in a few years I am afraid we shall be a sorry nation. That is according to the view of experts. Of course, I don't know, as I do not understand these things. I thought it was an understood thing Alice between you and I that you would be at my wedding. But like you, so far as I can see, there is nobody who is likely to go into partnership with me. So I am afraid you and I will have to keep each other company in our old age. What do you think of that? Some idea. As you know, I am rather difficult to please, sometimes especially in the girl line. I was well pleased once and then I made that mistake I mentioned earlier in this letter. I made the mistake of judging the best friend I have ever had to harshly. I was very angry at the time and you know I used to get angry sometimes. I have been very sorry for my anger since then. So let us bury our troubles in a deep hole Alice and never dig them up again. Will you? I am making you a souvenir for a peace offering. When it is finished I will send it to you. It is of no value except as a souvenir and it is one I have made myself. It may be a while before you get it, as it is not nearly ready yet. I will let you know when to expect it. I hope to see Harold and Syd soon because if all goes well, I will be going on leave in a few weeks. I wonder if the first Contingent men will get leave to Canada? It would be great if they do. So you think while I am telling you some of my stories you will be knitting do you? I suppose you will also sit one end of the room and me at the other, eh. Some smile now if you could only see it. I guess I would get my ears boxed. Oh my, it is a terrible war. You ask how I am. Well Alice, I never felt better in my life. Now that is saying something. I have not seen Pat for a long time. The last I saw of him he had what we call a bomb proof job. I guess he is still O.K. Well I guess this is all for now so I will close. Please write soon Alice and let me know what you think about that burying job. Give me kindest regards to all at home and the same to yourself.
Yours as ever,