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Date: February 10th 1916

4th Universities Co.
St. Martin's Plain

Feb. 10, ‘16.

Dear Edna: —

Did you ever get two letters from the same person in the same day? Well I did yesterday and they were both from the most welcome source I could imagine. Wait till I tell you. I was on guard all day yesterday and last night, and while I was walking back and forth, one of the boys brought me two letters, one of them from you. Now you know it is strictly against the rules to read a letter while on duty but I said, "I cannot wait for two hours to read this" so I opened yours and began to read. I was so interested that I did not notice two officers waiting at the other end of the beat for me. When I did see them, I sloped arms and walked up to face the music. I saluted and the Captain smiled and said, "I hope she is well". I assured him that you were in very good health. "All right, finish your letter but don't tell anybody I told you to". Perhaps he had been in a similar position sometime, so I went on enjoying your cherry chatter.

Then when I was going on again at night Steve, who happened to be on the same guard, brought me two more letters, and again I hurried to open yours first and was surprised to find it had been written a week previous to the one I got earlier in the day. I had not expected such luck as this and I could have - well I don't know exactly - but I would probably have been tempted to explode one of those German bombs that Esther keeps in cold storage.

It seems to me that I have a lot to reply to now so please excuse me if this letter gets too long. First let me say that you may keep up your record of a letter a week just as long as ever you like. By suggesting a 10 day interval I was only daring to place that as the maximum time you might keep me waiting without endangering my power to resist worry. But even then I have a guilty feeling that I am asking too much of you.

I had to laugh to myself several times as you described your experiences as cook and hostess. I think I can fully sympathize with your nervousness in your fear of making a mistake, when it reminds me of my own sensations when I have had to speak in public sometimes. But yet how little it matters, when everything always comes out alright anyway doesn't it? I know you made a splendid success of your week. I was going to say that I wish I had been there. So I do, but I should add that army life is not conducive to improving a fellow's knowledge of decorum and etiquette, so by this time I have probably become hopeless. Perhaps you will be teaching in the College when I go back and I shall take a course under your supervision.

Yes, the mud goes on forever! But it is a little colder now. There has been frost the last two nights. I know it for I have been sleeping on a pile of straw in an old tumble down hut made of poles with a few pieces of canvas over it. No door in it and lots of places no canvas but we had a good fire in a tin pail which helped some. I took a picture of the place yesterday and if it turns out well I will send it to you. There were 14 of us on guard there and we did our own cooking over this fire. For breakfast this morning we had bacon, fried potatoes, toast and tea. Not so bad is it? Of course we did not serve it exactly "a la M.A.C." But under the circumstances it was very satisfactory.

I am sorry to say we had to abandon the "M.A.C. Reunion" as we had planned it. We found it impossible to get all the boys together the same night. They are in so many different battalions and the orders of one never coincide with those of another so we have to be content with impromptu reunions whenever we have a chance. Did I tell you that Bill Harkness was here? That makes 5 of our graduating class here now.

Oh, you 50 degrees below! How far away it seems! But yet it is true. You have my warmest sympathy, but I doubt if it is warm enough to raise the temperature much. You poor little girls having to get out and over to the main building by 7 a.m. Didn't bed seem a comfortable place about that time?

I still faintly(?) remember sampling the good things in the West kitchen last year and finishing up on rice pudding. May I have the pleasure this year again?

You certainly have had some stirring times this year. With Executives resigning, boys being expelled or almost so, waitresses striking and various other things it must have been very interesting. I really think I shall have to go back and speak to Miss McKee myself.

I haven't written anything for the Gazette yet - oh I beg your pardon, the "Managerie" - no, the "Managri". Is that right? But I must write something, though to save my life I can't think of anything that would be interesting.

You wish you could help me carry my pack? Well if you were here I would be perfectly willing to carry you in the pack as well, you are so small - "small in stature" you know. I wouldn't want you to be any bigger though, or you might have to walk.

You spoke of temperance voting day on March 10th. I certainly hope the drink curse is cleaned out of Manitoba forever. That, more than anything else is what I would want to see done away with. Never has it been impressed upon me so strongly as since coming over here. Here, the public houses are open every day in the week Sundays included and drunken soldiers are about as common as sober ones on the streets at night. Even the women stagger around and their language is no better than their appearance.

A gloom was cast over our Company last week when one of our boys was killed by being run over with a ‘bus'. Drink again was the chief cause. I knew him very well as he was in the same hut with me and slept next to me. He was a very fine fellow, except when he got drunk, and he has often told me how he has tried to quit it, but always gave way, when he though he had conquered it.

You will think I am in a despondent mood if I keep on so I had better change the tune.

That "Leap Year" idea was very good. I am sure it was funny when you forgot whom you had asked. He must have felt very highly honored to be so quickly forgotten. You say "Of course it was those girls who had brothers or cousins, etc." - Why certainly but I am sure there were many brothers and cousins discovered suddenly. You said you did not mind telling me whom you asked, but then you thought you would tantalize me by not telling me, didn't you? Oh, you're a foxy one! But I know your judgement is good enough to pick out the best boy in the school, and I hope you always have as your partners the finest fellows in the College for your deserve nothing less.

I had to laugh when you told me of Freddie Newcombe's serious proposal. He certainly believes in making things safe - for himself - doesn't he? It would have been very interesting to hear you give him your reply. A little competition from his classmates won't hurt him I guess.

Jim Brown is still in the hospital. Steve is waiting for me now to go over and see him so I must hurry. Poor Old Brown! He has had a rather rough time of it lately. The strenuous exertion and the damp weather do not agree with him evidently.

So you got 95 on that poetry! Now I want you to send it to me for you know I am very fond of poetry. You won't refuse to let me see it will you? I want to, really.

I am going to call on a Major tonight. He is from Grenfell and I have known him all my life. Since he has become Major and I am only a common private I shall have to be careful won't I?

I must close for this time. I hope you may surprise me like you did yesterday by a few letters sometime soon.

Don't work too hard. By the way - I saw a F.P. with the M.A.C. Exam results in. You did very well. There were lots more C's.

As ever,