Anne³ must be a grade A housekeeper by this time. Hope mother you are letting her do all the work. That is the proper way to train a daughter. About the husband question wait till the war is over. All the real men are employed in Belgium or on the way there at present.
Some time ago I received a letter and picture of Jane's baby; he is certainly a husky looking infant. I have mislaid their address in Chicago. Tell Annie to send it to me.
I wrote Bill* a long letter the other day. Great to know he has changed his mind about enlisting. Two of your sons are quite enough on this job. I had a parcel one day last week from the Liverpool Street people** - a pair of socks were enclosed for Don knitted by Maude^. I will have to question that lady about cradle snatching. Don't laugh!
The Hamilton's of Glascow [sic] are writing to Don regularly. He will spend his leave there. That is if he is fortunate enough to get leave. Who got elected Mayor of Stratford? What happened (with) the Local Option campaign^^? Tell Ann to wake up and write me a long letter telling me all the news.
So far I have been very fortunate regarding sickness. Never been one day out of business but I don't want to brag. My turn may come soon enough. I have become a confirmed tobacco smoker since joining the army. It used to be that I could do without tobacco at times but now I am a constant user. We have more tobacco than we can smoke. The government are certainly treating us well in the matter of supplies.
Because of the way the Germans use poisonous gas we have to keep watching the direction of the wind all the time. When on duty you are like the skipper on board ship. The Huns tried it once here about a month ago but we were ready and our fire simply knocked them cold. They did not leave their own trenches.
I have an hour or two to spare and can write a few letters! I am afraid you are not a very regular correspondent. But one thing I know for sure is that if you wrote every time you think of Don¹ and I you would hamper the mails. Don is right in the pink. His rank as lance corporal has been confirmed (and) with some more experience and a short course of instruction I hope to see him get another promotion. But rest assured of this, he has to earn it or he won't get it because he happens to be my brother. But one thing is in Don's favour; he is very popular with the men.
Major E. is sick in hospital with rheumatism² and I am in charge. This is the 2nd time he has been away from the company. Charlie Lale a great friend of mine died in the ambulance on the way to 15 hospital last night. He was hit by what is known as German Sausage last night when on duty in front line. The shock more than his wounds finished him. Shell exploded about a foot from him. The amount of explosive material in them is so great that it simply shatters the nerves and this in turn affected his heart. Such are the chances of war and we have to take whatever comes our way. It is raining today. In this country it rains when it snows at home. It might have been better here but we are all in good health and able to "Carry On".