France, Aug. 2, 1917

Dear Sweetheart;-

Your letter of July 26 came two days ago. The weather for the past 3 days has been most miserable raining almost steadily and very depressing. However your letter cheered me up wonderfully, for it made me think that after all you do believe in my honesty of purpose and that you were not altogether sincere yourself in some of the things you said in your other letters.

Yes, Dear, I knew that you had lost your mother & father. I remember or at least I think I remember of your father dying shortly after I went to Calgary and before I knew you very well. I think I know why you are so fond of your younger sisters and I am sure they all must look to you for love & guidance.

You mention the morning our battalion left Calgary. I remember the morning very well and how forlorn and miserable I felt down at the station. Everybody else had friends down to see them off but there none of mine there i.e. no one who had come especially to see me, and I felt that nobody cared a damn whether I went or stayed. Did you really care for me enough at that time to feel very sorry that I was going away? My love for you will have only one bad effect on me from a military point of view. I am afraid of becoming a coward, for I do so want to live to try to make you happy and also of course for the perfectly selfish reason that I wish you to make me happy, as you have already done. I do not blame you in the slightest for being troubled with doubts. Usually when a man asks a woman for the privilege of making her everlastingly happy what he really wants is for her to make him happy and worship him as a tin god. What would I not give now for a couple of hours nice quiet talk with you with nobody near to bother us? Are there not such a great many things that we could and should talk over and discuss. How did you ever come to accept me? You know I do not dance nor have I any of the social graces. I have about as much tact as a baby giraffe and when it comes to music, that tamer of savage breasts, I am simply non est. I cannot play any instrument and I have never even tried to learn. I feel my lack of musical perception as one of my great failings. One might better be born color blind. However I am very fond of music and am pleased that you can play for you will be able to give me many pleasant hours in the years to come (Selfishness again you see). I am afraid I am one of those that Shakspeare spoke of being fit for treasons strategems and spoils. You must take me in hand early and see what you can do for me.

Many thanks for your promise of the photo. I should love to have it. That is a lovely one I have and I have kept it a treasure ever since I received it in England 2 years ago. If you are the plainest of your family I shall look forward with great pleasure to meeting the other members. You have a lovely face & expression and take a splendid photograph.

I do not know what advice to give you about coming to France if you are called but I am inclined to advise you to come. Should you get with No 1 Canadian General Hospital I might be able to run down and see you once in a while. Do not go to No 2 at Le Trefort if you can help it for it is away off the beaten track both from Le Havre & Boulogne. It would be nice for you to have the medal that will be given for service in France. It is hard to say when I shall be able to get leave but after the active campaigning season is over, probably in October, I shall ask for a month and I want you to be prepared to marry me then. I have not thought of what your best course had better be from then until the end of the war. I intend to stick it on this side until the end for I do not wish to forfeit at least part of your love and respect by quitting and seeking a bomb proof. After we are married I can make better provision for your future should anything happen to me.

I hope you do not mind my burning your letters. I should love to keep them but on active service there are difficulties in the way. Please excuse my stinginess in note paper. This is some you sent me. I have plenty in the horse lines but did not bring much in with me. You will also please overlook the blot on the first page.

Do you ever hear from Calgary? I think I told you that I had a letter from Mrs. Clarke but since you came over here my Calgary news budget is rather skimp. Dr Follett sent me a tin of tobacco which I received yesterday. I shall try to find you some souvenirs if you really care for any.

Good bye for present I shall try to write you a real loving letter when we get out of the line. With best of love.

Yours ever

Harold W McGill

P.S. They tell me the censors are opening a big percentage of letters now. Have I your permission to announce the glad tidings to my people? No one else. HWMcG.

France, Oct. 27, 1916

Dear Miss Griffis;-

Your letter of Sept. 10 reached me a day or two after I last wrote you, about the beginning of October. You would think that a frightfully blue letter of mine; I felt ashamed of it after I sent it off. We all felt more or less depressed just then for although we had taken the Boche trenches we had to pay the price. I could not forget my fine little stretcher bearer sergeant who did not live long enough to know that he had won the Military Medal. Soon after I wrote, some of our old officers who had been wounded earlier in the year returned to the unit and their presence served to make the battalion more like its old self again.

Shortly after I wrote you I got 8 days special leave which I spent in England. It took me two days traveling to reach London and I was four days on my way back. I passed through Rouen and Havre both going and returning. Both are fine cities especially Rouen. Normandy is the prettiest part of France I have been in. I had a whole day in Havre on my way back and called to see Miss McFarlane at No 2 British General Hospital there. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to see my sister who is still at No 2 Canadian General situated in Le Trefort. She wrote me the other day and is keeping quite well.

The severe strain of the past two months took more out of me than I had thought and I did not go in for a very uproarious time when in London. In fact some days I did not leave the hotel. I was at only two shows. I went with Dr Pirie one night. Capt Geo. Johnson is in London and I met him on two occasions. Also saw Major Ings, and Capt Dunlop, M.O. of the 137th Bn. Dr. J.E. Palmer is doing intern work at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. I went out and stayed over one night with him. He is kept quite busy. He expects to return to Canada before long.

We are holding a very quiet part of the line just at present and I have an opportunity to get caught up a little with my belated correspondence. It is like a Sunday School picnic here compared with our experiences of last month.

Many thanks for the sweet peas which I still have in my possession. The horse you inquired about is not the one that refused the fudge. I had to leave him in quarantine when we left Calgary and never saw him again. The one I have now is very quiet and will not start when even a 9.2” howitzer is fired right beside her nose.

Excuse this short letter and write again soon.

Sincerely yours

Harold W McGill