France, Sept 24, 1917

My dearest Emma;-

I received your letter of Sept 20 this morning and as you will perceive it took only 4 days to come, a record to date. I also had one from Miss Reid to-day. It was very nice of her to write to one and I shall reply in a few days. She thinks I am a very lucky man, in which opinion I heartily concur.

You had a lot to say about all the nice men you have been meeting lately. At present location I am quite defencless but shall have my revenge writing to you some time about all the lovely girls I am meeting. In the meantime I surely am perfectly satisfied, as you say, to be the one “Elected”. I suppose our engagement will not be a success, as an engagement, unless we have at least one row and make up again. However at present I cannot think of anything we could legitimately quarrel over. You will have to try to think up something. Otherwise our love affair will lack interest and romance. I shall warn you at the start to forget all that “Strong good, brainey” stuff. Otherwise you are in for a terrible disillusionment.

We are having quite an easy time and the weather is simply delightful. I had intended writing to you and Margaret yesterday afternoon but we had callers at the mess and I did not get started. In the evening Capt. Bob Pearson and I went out for dinner with the mess of another Alberta battalion. Capt Bob is naturally pleased at being head of the Alberta Election poll, and so are we all over here. I feel very sorry that Col. Hewgill was not elected and am ungallant enough to wish that almost anybody other that the lady had been elected, always excepting of course Lt. Col. MacKinnery and Lt. Col. A. E. Myatt. Miss MacAdams was quite palpably the candidate of the Alberta government and I am strongly of the opinion that the interests nearer her heart will be, not those of the soldiers, but those of A. L. Sifton. In every way I think her a most unsuitable representative but the fool soldiers that gave her the odd vote must put up with the consequences.

I am much worried over the absence of letters from Margaret. As I told you I had word that her unit was bombed and it is now over two weeks since she has writte to me.

Yours very affectionately

Harold W McGill

P.S. Please excuse these utterly impossible envelopes. They are the best I could by in the canteen. HWMcG.

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Sept. 14, 1917

My dearly beloved;-

Your letter of Sept. 8 is to hand and I was much pleased with it. I trust that you will be able to get your leave alright. What did you mean by “Putting in a transfer”? Do you mean changing over with some girl who does not wish to come to France?

We have been having somewhat broken weather here lately. It rained quite smartly this morning but the sun is shining this afternoon. After another month we shall be starting in on one more winter of rain and mud everlasting. It makes me flinch to think of it.

I see by the papers we have to day that the government in Canada intends to go right ahead with the enforcement of compulsory military service. This is necessary and I only hope that the powers that be keep right on with their good work. We shall need all those new recruits for reinforcements in the campaigns next summer if not before that time. I should like to have the work of going around the various pool rooms in Calgary gathering in the conscripts. Quite a few men in Canada are getting married to escape the draft; their wives must surely be proud of them.

Now, my dear girl, you will begin soon to think that I was talking merely in a “Pickwickian sense” when I mentioned a certain ring. However I have not altogether forgotten the matter and am having some difficulty making a choice from a catalogue. What style do you prefer? There are nice designs set with single stones, with triple and with clusters. I do not wish to have anything sent that might not please you. So if you would only give me some idea of the style you like please! Margaret reminded me that the “Other ring” was also quite necessary.

We had quite a spirited discussion in the mess last night on the question of “Marriage”. It all arose out of the new regulations lately issued concerning the marriage of men of the over seas force. Of course I chipped in with my opinion, and my views were considered as coming from a confirmed old batchelor. I argued that couples that were engaged at the beginning of the war should either have got married at once or broken off the contract. Otherwise it is not fair to the girl. If she cancels her engagement she will probably take a fancy to some one else who has remained at home, and who will be in a much better position to keep up a home than a man who has sacrificed his business by going to the war, even if he is not killed or maimed. I think most of those taking part in the discussion were inclined to favor my view. A man cannot expect a girl to wait for him through a war that has lasted and will last for years. Besides absence does not make the heart grow fonder, except in my case which of course is the exception.

What could have been in my letter I wonder to make you blush to a crisp as you stated? We must look on the practical side of the situation and immediately after our marriage shall have to constitute ourselves into a committee of way & means to consider what can be done concerning the H. C. of L. I tell you, you’re taking a great big chance with me; I belong to a different club altogether to John Jacob Astor and J. P. Morgan. One reason for my wishing to remain in France at the front is that I can save a little of my pay while I am over here, a thing impossible to accomplish in England they tell me. Love you know, while a splendid thing in itself, is liable to flourish more luxuriantly if there is a dollar or two in the family treasury.

Have you heard anything over there about the result of the Alberta Soldiers’ election? Those in charge of the ballot counting are taking such a long time over their work that I am afraid they are busy cooking the results i.e. switching enough ballots to make the desired result. I am told that the Sifton government was helping the lady candidate in every possible way and meant to see her elected. I am afraid of crooked work. Captain Pearson was in for lunch to day. I still have hopes of seeing Colonel Hewgill and him elected.

By the way in that “marriage” discussion I maintained that there should be no great disparity of ages in wedded couples. Otherwise they would each see life from a different angle, would not fancy the same amusements, etc. with the result misunderstandings and family squabbles.

Always your lover

Harold W McGill