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W-MCP6-1.457b TO THOMAS B.MCQUESTEN from his friend Dr. Norman Leslie
Sep 2 1915
From: #2 Canadian General Hospital [likely France]

Cher Thomas,

Je suis tres fache avec vous. Je--But heavens enuf [sic] I will be eating frogs and snails next. What I mean to say is this. You owe me a letter and all this [hurt?] attitude to my family is only the thin white wash of a sepulchre. The last letter written came from me. So 'forget it' I don't want to beg for letters but yours are so spicy, and contain those soupcons of news not gotten from my Christian family. Also their delightful illegibility helps to while away many a weary hour.1 Also I am again languishing on a bed of sickness. Last time it was my throat, now it is a posteriori2. I saw your grim face rise before me, and I hear you hurl back the advice, "take more exercise, don't get so fat." The wheel turns slowly, but still it turns. However I am getting all right again tho' it is very painful isn't it. Not a word of this to mother Jean, and the others. I don't care if Jim knows. It is an amusing affliction.

I was in Paris for 2 days most delightful they wow [sic]. What a lovely city it is tho' very quiet now. It is bad enough but not so obviously bad as London; the demi monde are of course everywhere, but somehow they don't make themselves so obvious as in London and are not so flagrantly stamped. I saw a good deal of the place tho' most of the important places are closed. However the Invalides was open and I saw the tomb of Napoleon and the very fine collection of armor which raised my romantic thoughts etc etc. In parenthesis Major Goldsmith (a fine liver) and I found a very good eating place, one of the best there known for its cuisine, but not for its show.

Here we are very comfortably situated on a cliff overlooking the channel 300 ft. above sea level. When it rains it does so, when it blows it does so, and can do both together without favor or fear. The tents quake, but so far have stood up. However the weather for the last few weeks has been beautiful. It won't be so later.

This letter is composed of nothing, tho' I could write my views on the conducting of this war and the pulls that are being worked, but I suppose I should not, it isn't safe perhaps.

Tell me about our friends the Cons. I would like you to know what I think of them.

Remember me to your family and write.

Norman V. Leslie

1 As a child, Tom had very neat handwriting, which did not continue into his adulthood. His handwriting is indeed very difficult to decipher.

2 "A posteriori" is a Latin phrase for "from the latter" and is used to indicate inductive reasoning. Dr. Leslie is here making a pun on "posterior," which is apparently the part of himself with which he has difficulty.

Following is a list of some of the letters (in the archive) from Dr. Norman Leslie to his friend Thomas Baker McQuesten about his war service in WWI from 1914 to 1918. The letters begin on the ship going over to England and continue through his service there and as surgeon in France in the trenches, which he describes graphically. For the full chronological list see:
Box 14-018
Box 14-040

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.