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Date: September 30th 1916


Sept 30th. 16

Dearest Arfa:

There are the usual [?] end crowd of Canadian officers around and I only wish Arfie was one of them. I haven't seen anyone I know so far. The band of the Garde Republicans are around making friends everywhere. I think their reception and entertainment is taking the form of a sort of unofficial jubilation over the recent successes on the Somme. Flags are flying and crowds collect whenever they go and "Vive La France" and "Vive l'Angleterre" is shouted on the slightest provocation. There is good comradeship in the air. Many funny stories are told of people trying to talk to them. They start bravely with "Parlez-vous Français" or "Anglais" and then they are stuck and end up with smiling at one another and shaking hands with great fervour. I should love to hear your French! Shall I send you "Early steps to French!" [?] sounds helpful. I think I shall have to study French over here to keep up with you. Nancy told me to-day that it is pretty definite they are to go next Thursday so there is a great flutter and getting ready. I haven't seen their uniforms but they went to [?] very best tailor and had them made as smart as they dared. Women do like to look nice don't they dear? But somehow the men seem to like it. The Grand Hotel on Trafalgar Square has been commandeered by the Government next. The whole of it and people who have made it their home for twenty years or more have to get out. I am so proud of all my knowledge of London now. I shall be taking you about when you come back - but I still wonder how you remembered it so well after being away for years. I have to contemplate buses a long time before I venture to take one but I am getting on fairly familiar terms with them. The biggest difficulty is to stop them either to get off or on. Robin swears at the same thing.

Love and more love from your little pal
Alice Leighton