Saturday June 1st
Darling. Not very much to write but tomorrow a holiday & I hope to write a proper letter then. Today’s the day I actually thought I was going to start on my leave. I shan’t feel a bit safe about it untill [sic] I’m really on the train on the 14th. There was a rumour going round yesterday that all service leaves were cancelled untill [sic]July 15th but like most army rumours it was wrong.
The Duke came to the Camp this afternoon. I didn’t see him. Hordes of people turned up like when Connaught came to Vernon but we didn’t have a review or anything. There was to have been a lot of flying but of course it turned out the windiest day we’ve had since I’ve been here.
This is the pugwuggiest place I was ever in. I drip the entire time altho I don’t believe its really hot. There’s a hot moist air all the time even at night. You would hate it. I seem to keep very fit & eat an extraordinary amount of ice cream.
The enclosed may interest you. It rather bears out what I was saying the other day.
Heaps of love, dear
Sunday June 2nd.
Darling, I don’t know why I’m starting to write to you as I haven’t an idea in my head. Its Sunday & I stayed in bed till 10.30 as I’ve got my horses out in a field so they don’t want any attention. There’s nothing much to do at this place when there’s no work going on. I’m probably going out for a walk with Morley later on but even that isn’t desperately exciting.
Later. I gave this up as a bad job this afternoon & walked up to the Camp in the hopes of getting a letter as I haven’t had one since Thursday, but there was nothing doing. I suppose I’ll get 2 at once tomorrow. I supped with Morley & we strolled around for a while & then I went to church & after that I was very rash & got talking to a couple of girls. Ha! Ha! that will make you sit up, won’t it?
What really happened was that I took my courage in both hands & went up to the Rectory. The parson & his wife stand n the church door after the service & ask any soldier who comes out to come up tp the rectory for a cup of tea & being very bored I walked up there with the parson & found his wife & 2 typical church going spinsters & 3 other soldiers sitting on the porch. We sat there for about ½ an hour & then went in & they gave us tea & bread&butter [sic] & cake (nary a cigarette) & we had more futile conversation. By this time I was quite sure I’d done the wrong thing. The parson was born & raised in Ontario & couldn’t talk about anything but church matters, his wife was just the same & the 2 spinsters were so typical of their class they might have come out of a novel. There are usually 2 or 3 in every village in England. You now know exactly what they were like. They are the 2 girls I referred to earlier on to make you sit up. Anyway worse was to follow. We repaired to the parlour & sang hymns. It was a hot pugwug night & I sat & sweated & wanted to smoke. Never no more!! Beamsville society must get along without me as there doesn’t seem to be any way of getting to know anybody except through the church. I would rather like to have found a presentable house to go to once in a while but I don’t think there are any decent English people in this part of the world, not in Beamsville anyway. Tomorrow’s a half holiday for the King’s birthday & I’m going off to Hamilton with a pal of mine to spend the afternoon & go to a show in the evening.
With best love
P. S. I hope I don’t dream about those two girls.
P. P. S. I was having a lovely dream about you when I woke up this morning. I tried so hard to go back to sleep again & go on with it but of course I couldn’t. Can you guess?
June 4th 1918.
Darling, Quite a rotten day yesterday the first I’ve had to write about for quite a long while. in the morning one of my horses had an attack of colic & I had quite a bit of bother over that. It seemed all right when I started out but in the middle of the morning it fell down suddenly & began to look pretty sick so I thought I [should] go home. The wretched horse kept trying to fall down all the way home & as the road had been newly tarred I took joly [sic] good care it didn’t. I phoned up a vet who of course was out so I went to a livery stable & got a dose fixed up there & the fellow came back with me to help pour it down as its rather hard for one man alone to dose a horse. By the time we got back of course the horse was down in his stall & seemed pretty bad, but after we’d got him up & dosed him he speedily recovered. The vet came along afterwards & gave him some more dope & now he’s alright again. I thought as my team couldn’t work I probably shouldn’t have to myself but they hired a team for me so I had to go out as usual. I got quite a bit of running around altogether. In the evening I came over rotten myself. Aches & pains all over, my head didn’t seem to belong to me atall [sic] & I was either very hot or very cold. I went to bed in all my clothes without any supper & sweated & sweated till 2 AM when I got up & undressed & woke up very much better that morning, still rather achy but not so mussy in the head. I went to a doctor at dinner time as I thought I probably wanted a good dose of summat. He looked at my tongue & told me I most certainly did want a dose. I think I must have felt just like Tony did after a prolonged diet of too rich soup. I have been living chiefly of [sic] eggs & ice cream & the accumulated effects hit me last night. There seem so many meatless days that there doesn’t seem to be much to buy except eggs & of course ice creams are the one bright spot in this damned climate. Anyway I’m going to cut down on both. He gave me some little pellets to take every hour & some form of salts to take fasting just before going to bed & on getting up. I have taken lots of little pellets without effect but he says the salts work in conjunction with the pellets so I’m dreading what may happen after I’ve had the salts. I have been getting rapidly better all day and now i. e. 8.30 PM I don’t ache atall [sic].
Altogether yesterday was a rotten day.
Two letters from you today both full of enthusiasm at the prospect of my return. I’m afraid I raised up hopes I couldn’t fulfill but I was so ‘cited at the prospect that I couldn’t keep it to myself. The 2nd pass I put in which they told me I shouldn’t get would have landed me at home tomorrow & yet here I am still & I don’t hardly dare to look forward to getting away on the 14th altho’ my pass is all properly signed by the officer for that date. There’s been a hitch in the proceedings & the warrants haven’t come. A warrant is a thing that pays your train journey both ways. Owing to the absence of the warrants those who should have gone last week haven’t got away yet & that may put me back too, even if the warrants do come—as we go in turn.
Thats the worst of the Army, you can’t look forward to anything for sure. A lot of them last week were all dressed ready to start & called at the office for their warrant & were told they couldn’t go till the next day as the warrant hadn’t come. They haven’t come yet so the wretched men are still here. As this may happen to me I try my best not to think much about my leave but just take it when I get it. “Hope deferred” etc so don’t hope. I don’t think I’m going to wear my uniform very much if I can help it. I think a canvas shirt & some flannels & a pair of tennis shoes if can find some will be a welcome change.
Bestest love, ducky
June 5th 1918.
Darling, Here are some more pictures. Like all my photos they are out of focus. I think I must have got a bad lens with this camera. Two of them are views from my sleeping apartment, one is the front of my stable showing my windows upstairs that I took the views from. One is a hangar with a plane being pulled out or pushed in & the other is a Squadron office. I took the latter as I want you to observe the dinky little rustic fences round it. Inside them are grass plots with flower beds & one has a young rockery round it with ferns planted. There are any number of these offices & kindred buildings about each with a dinky little fence round it & a patch of lawn & flower beds. It has kept a lot of soldiers busy ever since we came here & really looks quite nice but isn’t it a hell of a way to win the war. Its that sort of thing that makes me wonder why I don’t apply for a discharge & spend a pleasant fall lying on the beach at the little ‘ouse camping. If only they had had me gardening all summer I’d have been so sore I would have got out. It is rather scandalous, isn’t it? I can’t really persuade myself that I’m justified in getting out because they do these silly things so I suppose I’ll have to stay with it.
I asked my serjeant today if he thought that my leave would be postponed owing to the other fellows not getting away on time & he said he thought it probably would. He’s going to do the best he can for me but that won’t amount to much. So thats, that! The only consolation I can find is that if they put it off long enough I’ll be able to camp with you without mosquitoes, & altho’ I can imagine nothing nicer than a few (5 or 6) days in August about the beginning of the month while its good & hot I’m not going to wait till then without kicking up a considerable shindy first.
I shall be tickled all to death to find you’ve come to Vernon in the car to meet me. I expect you’ll have to sit behind going home while I drive or I may put the car over the side while trying to kiss you at a critical corner. Of course it would be absurd for you to drive for if I didn’t haven’t [sic] to keep my hands on the steering wheel I’d be hugging you all the time & we’d surely be in the ditch. Happy thoughts—lets stop!!
I’m writing this in bed & it [sic] time I put the lights out.
I’ll be much older tomorrow morning. [Robin was born on June 6, 1882.]
Very bestest love
May 9th /18 [sic – should be June 9]
We are all so excited we don’t know what to do! Your wire came yesterday afternoon just as we were looking at the eclipse through bits of smoked glass. [The eclipse of June 8, 1918 was at its maximum at Kelowna at about 4:00 p. m.] While I was answering the phone of course Tony rubbed the smoke all over his face! I ran once round the house shouting to the kids and then phoned up Bobo to tell her the news. I had been lying down because I felt so flabby and was thinking of phoning for anothe bottle of tonic but after that I felt as skittish as a 2 yr old! The last 2 days have been very heavy and thundery [?] it is nearly 80º now on the verandah and it is getting on for 9 o’clock.
I have already written a letter of instructions for you to Beamsville and another to Sycamous but in case you miss them I will repeat. We intend to motor up unless the roads should be too wet, it keeps trying to rain and cant so it might choose to deluge all Tuesday and spoil things. We propose to leave here at 10 a. m. and should be onthe platform to meet you if however we are not you had better fly at once to the Kalamalka and ask for a message as, if I am delayed on the way I will phone them to tell you if I am coming on or if you are to get a car and rescue me. Or if it is a very wet day I will phone them to say we are coming on the boat in which case we might have to stay on the boat as a motor stage runs instead of the train and I might not be able to get seats with all the kids.
Probably we shall be quite a party to meet you as Tommy goes to the coast Tuesday or Wednesday and will probably choose the latter now as he wants to see you. Renfrew is going to drive him up and Margaret Bobo and Ethel are going too. If the go
Wed they are going to let me know and start the same time as I do so as to render first aid if necessary.
I had the car overhauled last time when I thought you were coming it was lucky I did for some more bearings were all worn out. I shall take it in tomorrow to get the side break [sic] fixed, it won’t hold the car on a hill now. The other day I stalled the engine going up-up-ome and could not take my foot off to get out to crank it. Luckily Mrs. Simeon was there and did it.
Mary and I have been on the bust today. We went to Church at the Mission this morning to see the Bishop christen Sheila Esther Agnes Elliot Walker (poor child). Then we lunched at the Meadows and went to the garden party at the Walkers. Mrs Powell came over for the day with Tommy and her Baby and looked after the boys, she said they were all very good. They don’t mind my leaving them a bit now.
I am drivelling on while my hair dries. Just fancy I shall be able to really tell you things on Wednesday!! Miss Lees comes on Thursday so we will be able to get out o’ nights! Heaps of people want to see you of course but I am trying to condense things as much as possible the time is so short I shall want most of it myself.
It seems to be resolving itself into a picnic on the Meadows lake shore on Sunday to which everyone will be asked. I wanted it at our shack but Mrs. Thomson seemed a little hurt at that. The Lysons want us to go to supper on Sat. but I would not promise till you came back.
I know I shall want you every minute just myself and grudge even the kids! Oh my darling I am counting hte hours it is wonderful to think of you coming nearer all the time.
All my love till Wed
Envelope addressed as follows:
3rd A. M. R. H. Stubbs
C. P. R. Hotel