Original Letter

            France, 11th Jany 1918

My Dearest:

I am now in my good little chambre in ye old tyme cellar. Turk in the chicken wire bed on my immediate left is sleeping the untroubled sleep that comes only to a man who has been up all night punctuating his labour with liberal scoffs of issue rum. Before he went to sleep he picked up a book that somebody left “Deeds that won the Empire”. He looked at the name and with great disdain threw it into a corner “Read that? why hell! I’m doing ’em every day”? It was a fine muddy dark trip in last night and we had a soul stirring voyage. The mud is some thing fierce and finally we decided to go overland. I was ahead and three or four of the others boosted and shoved me up. I had a trusty broom handle for a staff and the plot was that when I got up I was to pull the rest up. I got the first one up about half way when that damn broom handle slipped out of my hand and my friend went down backwards into that mud with an awful splash! Fortunately he was a stoic and a philosopher and took it very well. When we got in Turkey was so muddy that I didn’t know him and I was as bad as he was. This morning everything is dry and I am scraped and clean again.

We had a good bait too last night. Miller sent up some stuff from the Transport and we made a Tommy cooker. Campbell’s soup, pork and beans biscuits and pineapples all airtight. Its little wonder that we like this place.

But in one respect this place fell down badly and that was – I didn’t get a letter! The mail got in just after we did and I had high hopes but – its a conspiracy I think. But there is always another night, isn’t there? I would worry anyway, but when you are going anywhere I worry especially and in your last letter – the second – you were about to parti for Bernay. The number of times I picture you in a train wreck or falling off the train or some similar tragedy is incredible.

My heart goes out to the men here whose friends are all in Canada. Mail from Canada is about the most uncertain thing I know of. Imagine having to wait four or five weeks for a letter from you! Well I expect that I just couldn’t do it, that’s all. I’d be stark mad in half that time. Even two days makes me wave my arms and mutter.

As the days of our stay here draw to a close I find myself getting absolutely unable to hold myself. I just want to quit waiting and dodge right away now. If things run to schedule I shall be there with you in less than two weeks! Here an application for leave in France must go through a lot of hands and it takes five or six days to get it through. So mine is going about four days before we go out so that I shall get away pronto. The shortest way is the quickest but I should like to go to Paris – to do my shopping. Help! All this is detail the big thing is that I do expect to be with you very soon. If I am not I shall be so disappointed that I’ll fall on my knife and dull it.

I love you a lot Sweetheart of mine, an awful lot, and believe me, you are going to hear about it when I get to you. You may well be afraid, dear. With all my love

            Your own

                        Ross

P.T.O

 

P.S.

I’m enclosing the menu for our lunch to-day. I boiled a mess tin of water and dumped in friend cube plus an Oxo cube, stirred it up and Turk and I made a lunch off it. And it was good. Turk decided that the Oxo cube just gave it the right flavour. However when we got to the bottom there sat friend Oxo cube as good as new so I don’t think that it had much influence on it. But all those directions are – is – bolls. Ross     

And our casserole wasn’t so very bien essuyée either.

Photographs

Bernay: