Jan 16. 1919
My Dear Mother.
I am starting out to write you what I hope will be an interesting letter for Ive just returned last night from my twelve days leave most of which I spent in Scotland and which I think will be my last trip there for some time to come.
To begin with it was with good luck only I managed the twelve days. I was really not entitled to it seeing I was admitted to hospital while on leave. My old railway ticket which I had not yet surrendered was in order so was saved paying railway fare and taking it all around had a very nice leave indeed.
The scotch people as a whole are far superior to the English. Especially what Ive run up against in the army and my stays in England at different times. I do not think Im prejudiced at all for that seems to be the opinion of most of the Canadians.
There was about 8” to a foot of snow when I left here on Jan 4. The train was late in starting, the cars from the hospital to the station could hardly run. If they had a snow storm here imagine how it would tie things up. About a hundred miles farther north the snow ended with no sign of it in Glasgow or Ardrossan.
When I arrived at Glasgow I went straight to the Dalziels. Unfortunately Joe had left the day before to return to his camp which was a disappointment. I was glad to see them all again. Both Uncle and Aunt and Nan and Jean were all well except that Jean is still rather delicate. I have often spoken to you of what a fine house they have. It is certainly well fitted and everything is so fine, clean and well kept. Of course they have a maid and only two to untidy it, instead of six at home and no maid.
On Monday evening uncle John took us all to the show to see the pantomime Red Riding Hood. We had a box but it was rather difficult to see it all. Anyway young Jean enjoyed it. She sat on my lap and I held her out so she could see. Oh yes and we had a carriage there and back. The chocolates in the parcels they had been saving for me did good duty that night and I remembered my duty well enough to buy Aunt Agnes a dozen carnations before the show.
They were all anxious to know how you were keeping and how glad you would be now the war is over and the worry and care of it finished.
Nan and I went to the Savoy, a Picture House in Glasgow with a decent tea room attached. This tea Room business and picture House seems to be all the ‘go’ there. Everybody seems to get down town in the afternoon just to drink tea and eat biscuits or go to the movies. Talk about your one grand rush for pleasure. Im sure its that business that makes more than half of Uncle’s.
Aunt Agnes gave me a present for each one of you. William and I a handkerchief and a bag or something similar for each of the girls. Im carrying them in my suit case and will bring them home for you.
From there I went to Hamilton to see the Weirs and spent two nights there. They are greatly saddened over hogan although the two girls stand the trial much better than the parents. Aunt Annie was in bed (a bad cold) but nothing serious. I also saw Willire[?] Weir there too. Addie (one of the twins) and I went into Glasgow the day following to see the Weirs at Mount Florida.
Luckily they were all in and we spent the afternoon and evening until about 8 oclock when we left to go back to Hamilton. They are all well [?]. I also saw Cousin Robert and his wife and 5 yr old boy. They live only 5 minutes walk away. He is teaching school there. Uncle John is becoming rather blind but otherwise appears in good health. They are quite a family all grown up. Maggie gave me a handkerchief for Agnes which is also in the suit case.
Well the time was altogether too short for I still had to go down to Ardrossan. I went on Friday and stayed the night. Aunt Maggie was very entertaining , and say, I know a few small towns in Ontario where gossip has reached a standard apparently hitherto unparalleled but Androssan can beat anything. Aunt Maggie can tell you about the neighbors one and all the full length of the street, how much milk they get from the milkman which neighbors dog she likes the best to chum with Barky (her dog) about the women next door and her high living because they had mice which had disappeared since they had moved. About the weddings and the funerals. She showed a lovely interest in what kind of girl I should marry. First of all I told her I wanted nothing to do with women, but no, so then I told her I had a girl in Canada and when she got real quizzical I told her I was coming back to Scotland in another 5 years to get a wife.
She told me of the neighbors dog that came around each morning to call on Barky about 10 o’clock and also for a snack or a wee bite to eat. I have never laughed so heartily for many a day as I did that evening.
She thinks she is lonely there and would like to go to Glasgow to live but Im sure she would be ever so much lonlier there in Glasgow.
Grandpa is rather deaf. I dont know whether it is due to the continual sound waves emanating from Aunt Maggie or not but when one is brought up to believe that troubles are sent to try us, one wonders.
He was up and down to the station but went to meet the early train and I went down on the one arriving about noon. He stayed up the rest of the day, the first day he had been up for some time. Corrie had been staying with them for a weekend. She has a family of two fine youngsters, a boys and a girl real fine kids indeed. John Cormack (her husband) is a real kind of a guy, not the average kind you meet in this country at all.
From Ardrossan we went back to Glasgow on Saturday evening and on Sunday came away to go to London and see Orvil.
Spent a couple of days in London and also had time to run down to Lydd and see Joe Dalziel and have dinner with him.
You can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw Orvil wearing a DSO and a Bar to it. You have often heard me say how hard he has worked for recognition and how difficult it appeared to attain it in the Ambulance Corps. His chance came in September and October about a month’s difference between the DSO and the Bar. His Mother will certainly be delighted Im sure.
Today I went out to say Goodbye to Aunt Susan. I think I will be discharged from Hospital soon.
Aunt Susan is now up and about the house quite regularly so I think a little longer and she will be her old self again.
She was telling me she had your letter dated Dec 30. Yours to me came this morning. She does not think she will go to Canada, in fact she is quite emphatic about it.
I think Nan Dalziel would enjoy the trip. She is quite friendly with her boy cousin Willie [?] from Vancouver. Her father says she might come out in a couple of years from now but he wants one of my sisters to come across and take her back. However we will speak more of that in two years time. She is quite a nice looking girl and is spending her time at Art School, painting and sculturing. I feel rather out of place when she starts and asks me questions about it. You know how much of an Artist I am.
I hear it is official I am allowed a grant of £8 worth of clothes to proceed home first class. Have you been looking up a suit for me I know I use to have a blue and a salt and pepper one and also an overcoat. Or has this apparel now become obsolete and discarded. I do hope you can pick out a decent navy blue for me at Ed Macks if these others are gone for I am hoping once I get home never to put khaki on again not even for a fancy dress ball. You dont know what it means to me to get out of this Army. There is nothing I hate so much as the Army and I am quite sure I will never hate anything else so much.
I am going to close now but will write you again soon. I will telegraph or cable you before I leave. It might be in two weeks time or a month yet. Im not sure.
I hope the weather is not keeping too cold for you.
With kindest love to you all
Your loving son