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Macgregor to Christina

My dear Christina,

I was looking for your letter the whole of yesterday, but it did not come till this morning at 8.35 a.m., and I am sorry to say it is not near as nice as I expected. Some parts is niceish, but others is rotten. What for do you ask me if I have spotted many pretty girls here, when you know I would not be for taking the troubble of spoting any girl in the world but you, and besides they are all terrible ugly here. Yesterday I seen 2 that made me feel sick. Willie said they was on for being picked up, and he give a wink at one of them, and she put out her tongue at him, but no more happened. They was quite young girls, though hiddeous, but Willie did not seem to mind their faces [’mugs’ scored out].

Willie is greatly changed since the last few weeks. You would scarcely know him, he is that fond of exercises. He is near as strong as me. They are telling him he will be a corporal before his aunt, and he gets huffy. He spoke too much about his aunt at the beginning, cursing and swearing like, and now he can’t get away from it, poor sole. It is a pity she does not send him some small presents now and then. He is awful jealous of the chaps that get things from home; you can tell it by his face and the bad language he uses about the billet and the Zeppelins for 2 hours after. So just for fun, when I was writing to Uncle Purdie, I said please send the next parcel addressed to Pte. Wm. Thomson. Willie got it last night. He never let on he was pleased, but he was. He was freer nor I expected him to be with the groceries, but he eat a tin of salmon all by his lone, and in the middle of the night, at 3.15 a.m., he was took horrid bad, and 7 of the chaps made him take their private meddicines, and he could not turn out for physical exercise in the morning, but is now much better, and has made a good tea, and is eating 1 lb. cokernut lozenges at this very minute.

I have no more news. But, dear Christina, I am not well pleased with your letter at all. I am quite disconsoled about it. It makes me feel like wet cold feet that has no hopes of ever getting dry and cosy again. When I seen yourself last Friday night I was not feared for anything, for you was that kind and soft-hearted, and you laughed that gentle and pretty, and your words did sound sweet even when they was chaffing-like. But now I am fearing something has gone wrong. Are you offended? I did not mean to do so. Have you got tired of me? I would think yes at once, if you was the common sort of girl, but you are the honest sort that would tell me straight, and not with hints in a letter. So if you are not offended, I think you must have catched a cold in your head, or got something wrong with your inside. Colds in the head is very permanent [? prevalent] in the billet for the present, and the chaps with them are ready to bite your nose off if you say a word to them.

Dear, dear Christina, please tell me what is the matter. I will not sleep well till I hear from you. The stew for dinner to-day was better than the stew yesterday, but I could not take my usual. I am fed up with anxiousness. Kindly write by return. Why do you never put any X X X in your letters? Do you want me to stop putting them in mine?

Your aff. intended,
M. Robinson.

P.S. It is not to be the Dardanelles, but we are likely going to Flanders next week. Excuse writing and spelling as usual. X X X Please write at once.

Christina to Macgregor


Your esteemed favour duly to hand and contents noted. I deeply regret that my last communication did not meet with your unmitigated approval, but oh, dear wee Mac, I could not write a lovey-dovey letter to save my only neck. In my youth, when penny novels were my sole mental support, I used to see myself pouring forth screeds of beauteous remarks to an adoring swine 6 1/2 ft. high x 2 3/4 ft. broad. But now it can’t be done. Still, I am sorry if my letter hurt you. It was never meant to do that, lad. You must learn to take my chaff and other folks’ unseriously. Honest, if I had been really thinking of you along with other girls, I would not have mentioned it. I’m not that sort of girl, and I’m not the sort that gets cold in the head, either, thanking you all the same for kind enquiries. But I’m by no means faultless. I get what the novelists call flippant when I am feeling most solemn. I was a bit down-hearted when I wrote last, for your letter had said ‘Dardanelles.’ Now you say ‘Flanders,’ which is no better, but I am not going to cry this time. Surely they won’t send you away so soon, dear.

Glad to hear Willie is greatly changed, and I hope he will keep on changing, though I could never admire a man that ate a whole tin of salmon in once. I’m sure the two girls were not so dreadfully plain as you report. Had they got their hair up? Girls don’t usually put out their tongues at young men after their hair is up, so I presume they were very young. It was like you to ask your uncle to send Willie the parcel.

Miss Tod is not so brisk just now. The doctor says she must either drink less tea or become a chronic dyspeptomaniac. She prefers the latter. Poor old thing, her joys are few and simple! Trade is not so bad. A new line in poetical patriotical postcards is going well. The poetry is the worst yet.

I am sending you some cigarettes with my uncle’s best wishes and a pair of socks with mine. Perhaps you have enough socks from home already. If so, give them to W. T., and ask him from me to practise blushing. He can begin by winking at himself in a mirror thrice daily.

When are you going to get leave again? Miss Tod says I can get away at 6, any night I want to. No; I don’t want you to stop putting those marks in your letters. If you can find one in this letter, you may take it, and I hope it will make you half as happy as I want you to be. Good-night.