April 23rd 1919
About a week ago I wrote to you and on the following day received your letter of Mar. 10th. So will attempt a reply “toute de suite”.
Was certainly glad to get a letter from home, at that time especially because we were anxiously awaiting for the day on which we should say goodbye to Belgium; Good Friday was the fateful day and at about 9.30 a.m. we boarded motor trucks, amidst the farewell expressions of the inhabitants and departed for Wavre, the rail head. Our journey of forty hours in box cars was without any extraordinary incident, was able to sleep well on the straw which was provided and as there were only 25 men in a car it was fairly comfortable compared to our trip up there when fifty men were packed into the small railway wagons.
During the day we occupied observation seats on the top of the cars, the weather being bright it was quite enjoyable, dodging wires and bridges.
Easter morning arrived in Le Havre, the port from which we shall sail in about a week.
‘Am glad, to learn that you have been enjoying the winter by dancing etc, for the previous three years have been rather quiet for you staying with the children so much. I prefer the fox-trot when I have a good partner, in fact that it the only dance in which I know any system and have taught many Belgian girls and a few of our boys.
Would like to have seen Bob Schram when he was over, I shall probably visit Detroit in the near future for Isabelle has given me an invitation and I should enjoy spend a few days there. She is a delightful, jolly girl judging from her letters. Do not think even Bob could love Scotland more than I do for I am anticipating another happy leave there in a few weeks. No, it is not the Edinburgh lass that is attracting me thither oh, she is nice but I shall only spend one day with her.
Belle will be disappointed if she expects that I shall be more than the same friend she has always known, there is one girl only whom I have ever considered seriously and she is very popular so would not be surprised to learn of her engagement. No you don’t know her but you may have that privilege some time.
Judging from some remarks in letters received, apparently everyone had planned for my marriage to a certain girl but the girl and I, the two most vitally concerned.
The name of the song – “Rainbows” sounds good; have not heard it yet.
Mary is quite right to get her clothes fixed up to travel with me for no one loves a clean little girl better than I, but say (fussy old man that I am) I did not like the two children at the house where I was billeted because they were never clean.
‘Am anxious for Mary to love me very much for as soon as she is old enough I shall have someone to go with me on holidays as you use to do. Since you were married most of my holidays have been lonely travels because, only exceptional boys are congenial companions to travel with, hence when going about alone, I very often make friends with decent looking girls, just to have someone with whom to talk.
Yesterday while visiting the city for the second time and while strolling along one of the piers met a French girl with a very large dog and having acquired a surplus nerve, I asked her if she spoke English and fortunately she could so we chatted away for a while. Did not ask to meet her again but by the power of suggestion, think she will stroll with me on the pier again. She was dressed just medium, is rather young and apparently quiet decent.
Afterward accompanied a soldier of the 87th B’n who is with us on what he called “a bit of fun”, having had considerable experience decided to see how entertaining this place was to which he was going, so we had a couple of drink in one of the cabaret sort of place, there were four or five fairly pretty girls who supplied the amusement by sitting on someone knee and kissing each and everyone, one girl probably thought she could dance or that her silk stocking were very attractive well she was a graceful as that bird they call an elephant and to me was repulsive rather than magnetic.
Of course you know I am not one of the rookies who have never seen this gay side of life, do not often tell you of them for they do not appeal to me, it is only a matter of having seen how these joints are carried on.
Last Wednesday evening said goodbye to Héléne of Brussels and she had a couple of very pretty pincushions made for mother and you but as it was too late to mail them had to put them in my pack and now I fear they are not worth sending, for they are broken and crushed. She is working on a pretty table center piece with a Van Dyck head on it and she insists that she will send it to Mother when completed. These friends of mine seem to become so fascinated with one member of the family that they wish to make the acquaintance of the rest; never-the-less she was a nice, good girl which is more than could be said of the majority of girls in that city.
It is a grand evening so shall eat early and go to the seashore. Hope to see you all soon until then, the best of affection that writing can express.
“B” Coy 54th Can. B’n