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Date: May 23rd 1917


Dear Father:-

Tomorrow will be Victoria Day, a day vivid in the memory of every Canadian of this and the last generation, but we little thought of it till yesterday someone drew attention to it. We are now in the line and will be for a few days only, then go out for several days. I think I mentioned in some of my letters that we were living in German dug-outs in territory occupied by them since almost the beginning of the war. We were looking over one which my company is to have for Company Headquarters (I am acting Company Commander just now), yesterday. I had heard that it was quite an elaborate sub-structure, and it was a revelation in the manner and material of which it was built. The ceiling has a wonderful panel effect, the centre of the panels being blue and the beams forming the panels a natural varnished wood colour. There was a piano in it, and in the winding stairs outside an iron fence sort of thing. It must be about thirty or forty foot below ground so that it is proof against all shells I should think, even the big 15 inch naval shells.

It must have been built for some high officer and they evidently did not intend to be driven out of this district or they would not have built such elaborate dug-outs.

By the way, leave has really opened up and my dream of a trip may be realized. I have kept your and mother's letters, and if it is at all possible I will go to Scotland and will make an effort to call on the Hays at least, and some of the others if I have time at my disposal. The weather here for a month has been splendid for growing. Heat and moisture. The trees are in almost full leaf and the grass is quite long. It seems a great pity to see so many hundreds of acres of land untilled just in rear of the line and more land that will require inestimable toil before it will be fit for cultivation again on account of the debris of war and the holes from shells and craters from mine eruptions. It seems strange that Germany would not realize that she is up against odds which she can never overcome, and that she would not decide to make the best of a bad lot and arrange for peace.

I am looking for a letter telling me that you have moved safely into the new house, and that you like it very much. I understand that it is a new house and I think that is a good feature. Moving into houses that have been occupied by people one knows nothing about always seemed repugnant to me.

If you are having any such weather at home as we are having here your garden will be in good condition.

I have been thinking some of going to Paris when on leave, but suppose the wiser course would be to go to Scotland.

Love and best wishes to all at home and abroad.

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