11th November 1916
The weather is fine and the front line is (almost) quiet, but still no letters or news from home, and Arthur’s thoughts constantly drift back to their recent wedding day: “Its such a contrast – there we were, clean & spick and span: to-day I’ve been ploughing through mud & water to my knees through these old trenches, my hair all ruffled & a two-days growth on my chin”.
Arthur to Dollie
Saturday aft. 4.45
… Again no letters. I just hate it all: for I do want to hear from you so badly. To-day is Saturday. I have been thinking all day of that happy, happy Saturday 3 weeks ago. It is now just about a quarter to five: we were driving through the Park: I had told the chauffeur to slow down a bit because we were early. We were radiantly happy, piled about with new trunks & dressing cases – you darling – rice all over the floor. Wasn’t it ripping.
Its such a contrast – there we were, clean & spick and span: to-day I’ve been ploughing through mud & water to my knees through these old trenches, my hair all ruffled & a two-days growth on my chin. But it’s the feeling inside that counts, the great warm glow of our love, that makes our hearts beat faster & the whole world seem a glimmer of gold with glory & the happiness of it all…
The last 24 hours have passed very quietly, almost without incident, indeed. The weather, thank Heaven, has kept fine (indeed the pocket barometer records 30.48 inches – about as high as I’ve seen it – you see I do use the barometer sometimes. Do you remember we had it while having tea at 45 & neither the Mater not Sister Adeodat could recall its name?) We work pretty hard – the line is long and there is much to do even to keep the place in a state of repair. Darby gave me a look-up this afternoon. He is in charge of our section of machine gunners. I don’t know whether you’ve heard of him, dear: he is a very decent sort of fellow very Norfolk. He came to us just about a twelvemonth ago.
I just hate being cut off from your news like this, little lover; I am all impatience and longing for what the next hour may bring. Rations should be up by then, & with them, the mail. I told you how that Davis came in for a talk before we came “in” didn’t I dear? It transpires that he is to be a “happy father”: so that his wife has gone to Paris to be with her folk. He says that he anticipated the end of the war before now! Poor chap, he must be off his head with anxiety.
I wonder what you are doing now, dear – 5.20 – (we were just leaving Victoria!) Write and tell me all that you do with yourself all day. How are the letters of thanks for the presents going? I wish you’d let me help you if I could…