Dec 29 1918
My Dear May,
The Wesbyan Hut isn’t graced by the presence of the loyal lodge tonight as the anchor man – porky –is on leave and the rest are down at some lecture or other. It’s quite convenient for I want to write a few letters. My 8 days terminated at Reveille today and I landed in at noon. But to begin where I left off in my letter from Aberdeen.
I enjoyed the trip to Scotland a great deal because I wanted to see those two towns but I was disappointed in the first hour in Inverness. It is too much of a port to suit me so, on finding that I could probably find Mr Munro that night by going to Aberdeen, I caught the 4PM train for that town. The train was late so, by the time we, two American sailors & myself, got lodging it was too late to do anything – about 11 o’clock.
Xmas Day is no occasion of festivities at all in Scotland and the consequence was that, had I not seen a bunch of people going to church I might have forgotten the date. Most of the smaller stores were open but I found out the address of Mr. MacIntosh (of MacI and Mackay Drapers) and hied me thither. But he knew nothing of the subject in question and directed me to a much bigger firm – Esselmont and MacIntosh. They were closed so as it was dinner time I postponed the rest until next day and went about to see the town a bit but being alone didn’t see much. Next day a Manager in the bigger firm told me that a Mr. M – probably the right one, had gone to Glasgow some time ago and they didn’t know his address. I can’t say that I did my level best to find the people but, having come to a dead end twice, and having only a short time left I let it slide and caught the CPM Train for King’s Cross.
The upward journey had been by the Midlands route and at night but the return was by the East Coast via Dundee, The Tay Bridge (which gave away 36 years ago Xmas and let a trainload of soldiers and sailors go down: (no one was saved) The big bridge of the Firth of Forth (from which we could see the lights of the Grand Fleet – like a city) and Edinburgh which since Armistice Day has abolished the gloomy war lighting restrictions. It looked a gay city with all its lights reflected over the Forth and when we pulled into Waverley station (which, by the way, is the largest in the world) I very nearly picked up my haversack and let the train go. And I would have had Dave not promised to meet me in London on Friday night.
We reached London at 9 am Friday and my program was to look for Mr. MacIntosh immediately but who should hail along on the same train but Scotty Yeats of the 73rd & 42nd sigs. We used to be pretty good pals so my program went west. We spent the morning getting him ready to return to France and the afternoon in strolling along the embankment and telling the tale.
Dave kept his word at the Beaver Hut Strand at 6 PM so after a hurried dinner we got tickets for St. Martine to see the “Officers Mess”. It was funny but there was no music. Saturday morning after doing some phoning (* winging for an extension) we went to the abbey for a couple of hours. We didn’t see it all by any means, for there’s plenty there to supply months of continuous study, but I was satisfied and Dave will have a chance later to see it.
At 2 P.M. we went to the Temple to watch for the President and Mr. Lloyd-George. But they took too long so I went up to Aldwich for some music which I ordered for you. Thomasine Bullman picked some of her favourites too and, although we may not have got all the best for we tried to remember what Ewan sent, the collection is part of the best popular London Music and Thom is sending the score of “Chu Chiu Chow” when they get it in stock as well as one or two others.
Meeting Dave at 5:30 at the Strand Palace we proceeded to celebrate the happy day for three of the World-famed (Mr Lloyd-George got in by a majority of 250 seats: and it was the birthday of me and my friend – Woodrow) ahem!!
The celebration consisted of a dinner and a show – “The Man fro Toronto” at the “Duke of York’s”
This a.m. at 6 (ugh! The thought of it!!) I left Dave in bed at the Charing Cross and took the train at Waterloo for here. On arriving I was told that my extension was granted but hadn’t been replied.
That sounds rather a long detail of an 8 days’ leave but I’ll apologize for it in person pretty soon. Needless to say, Dave financed the trip for I hadn’t much ready of my own. In fact both Dave and Ewan have exceeded all that could be expected of them in making my year in England a very pleasant one and I hope it will not be long until I’m in a position to return their kindness.
Thomasine, in case you don’t know of her is a girl I met in February and is very much like Lillian Stewart both in disposition and size. And she’s pretty and lively. She and her sister Mary are ideal company for dinner and a show and I considered myself mighty lucky to have such girls for friends in such a town as London. They’re both to be married soon and are going to Canada. Some Canadian officers are lucky.
Ewan has not reported lately but he may be holding on to surprise us by landing suddenly in town.
Dave looks splendid. I went to his ward and watched him go around his patients. He’s a nifty little “loot”.
There’s a draft leaving this week for Rhyl and I may be on it. Here’s luck to the chance.
That’s all tonight, little girl. I’ve nothing more to say. I hope some Canadian mail comes for me soon as it’s about due.
Love to all and I hope you are all as happy as dogs with double tails this Xmas time. Does it put any joy? Or fear? Into your mind to think that the b-h-oys will be home during the coming year.
Bob may be home by Mar 1st.
Your loving bro