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Date: October 1st 1916

"A field in England"
Oct 1, ‘16

Dear Edna:

Here I am sitting out under a great oak tree near Shoreham on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Won't you come? Another chap is with me. I think I told about him. He is a graduate of Macdonald College, and was lying alongside of me in Hospital.

This in all probability is my last Sunday at Shoreham and I am sorry for I like it very much here and the physical training we are getting is doing me good. I hate to think of going to Shorncliffe. I think I shall try to get back to France soon if I have to polish brass and do all the foolishness I put up with before.

I am really very much ashamed of myself for neglecting to write as regularly as I should have done and your letters show that you have been expecting mail that has not come. I felt while at Epsom so glad to be up again, and the scenery was so beautiful that I did not write very much to anyone. I just wanted to lie around, I was so lazy. But I have enjoyed your cheerful letters very much indeed and I am more than ever an ardent admirer of your patience and toleration in view of my conduct.

I have three of your letters to answer today, and I can hardly bear to start after your kindness and my lack of regularity in replying. First I must thank you for the snapshots. I recognize the View of St. Martin's Plain and that house seems familiar to me but I cannot tell for certain just where it is situated. I like the pictures of yourself, very much. You seem quite healthy after the summer on the farm, and I do wish I could accept your invitation to go for a ride. Just to be back in Canada again would mean more to me than you can realize. With the added inducement of a ride in the Ford in such pleasant company it would be almost perfection.

Oh, I promised to make a confession in this letter didn't I, little girl. Well, just wait a minute until I get those three letters of yours answered because I am afraid after I have told the full truth you might not read any more, so I shall make sure of that much any way.

Your note explaining about the value of the cake, or rather the wrong value of it came the day after I wrote to thank you for it. I can safely say, Edna, that the monetary value is never as great as its real worth to those of us who are fortunate to receive it. It brings back memories of home and H.E.'s, such pleasant ones that it is impossible to explain them.

Did I tell you that I liked peanut brittle? I must have done for you seem to know my favourite kind of homemade candy. I have in my mind a picture of the occasion I received a box of candy from you when I was at St. Martin's Plain. I was just thinking of it the other day and it occurred to me that out of about 30 boys who were in the hut at the time and who tasted your candy, about a third of them are now dead, and with the exception of about 2 or 3, all the others have been wounded. It sounds from the way I have just written that, that your candy was responsible for it but you understand, don't you?

It is very bad, that at this particular time the wheat crop should be such a failure as it appears to be. I am sorry to hear that the rust has been so bad in your district. On our own farms we have been pretty badly hit too, both by rust and hail. One of the farms that was hailed out last year - I was staying there at the time, near the Qu'Appelle valley - was hailed out again this year so it seems to be doomed doesn't it? I had a letter from my brother a few days ago in which he says that the average will not be more than 10 bushels of a very inferior grade. But such is life!

Oh, yes, your dreams! What are you coming to? Are you going to be a Fortune Teller? It is really interesting to know that this old broken down soldier has had a share in your thoughts at least sufficient to cause you to include him in your dreams occasionally. But when you start dreaming that I have started for Canada for a few weeks' leave, I begin to lose faith in dreams, for no such luck as that. It is funny though, what one does imagine in his sleep, isn't it. I don't dream very much, but then I do I am generally dodging whiz-bangs and trench mortars.

When I opened that long letter of yours of Aug 28th and saw how you had been so kind as to put in those clippings one about Prof. Churchill leaving and the other about Dr. Shipley coming and then this carnation with its beautiful perfume, besides 14 pages of news, my heart was full of gratitude for the friendship of the little girl who has made army life more bearable than it could have been otherwise.

That was certainly some storm you had and you were lucky to get back home before it came on.

I would have enjoyed helping you put up that hay! You are certainly a "handy man" round the farm.

You mentioned that Bill Shearer had been made captain, or at least you thought it was he. I have not heard anything from my sister Cora to that effect, but perhaps she has forgotten to tell me.

Yes, Edna, it is October again, almost a year since I enlisted. In some ways it seems longer, so much has been my experience during that year. I remember quite well, expecting, or at least hoping, to see you when I was as close to Ninga, as Gainsboro is, but the telephone girl evidently did not want us to meet.

Now for my confession. Shall I get down on my knees? But I am really serious.

You remember, Edna, that I wrote you from France a letter explaining that my intention was only that of friendship and I was afraid from a remark or two you had made that you had misunderstood me, but I found that both of us had understood each other. When I consider that all this time you have been corresponding with me, you have been broad minded enough to do so for friendship's sake when both of us knew that your interests were centred elsewhere, I have felt ever since that I should have gone further in my explanation and told you the whole truth for it was unfair that you should be kept without the knowledge that I possessed. Now you can guess, that while I have been corresponding with you, my affections have been centred upon another girl, and I was so afraid of losing those letters that I have enjoyed so much that I did not tell you when I should have done. I might say that the other girl has known, as Leslie has known, that you and I have been corresponding, but I think we can say that our correspondence has been honorable and for friendship's sake only.

Will you forgive me for not telling you before? I hope I may still enjoy many more of your letters for you appeal to me as a girl of the highest type of true young womanhood.

I think I can close by using that expression that we have both used repeatedly, which is quite safe. I mean,

As ever,