13th November 1916
Arthur and Company are due to be relieved tomorrow, and he hopes that they won’t be billeted in the same pitch dark, cold huts they left a few days ago. The fine weather and the autumnal air bring on a reverie – thinking back to a more civilised time of walks in the park together, and delaying parting until the very last minute. News from brother Alfred – away at Army School – including the return of two letters addressed to Arthur from “Miss Noel”.
Arthur to Dollie
I was so awfully happy to hear from you again last night. I’ve been rather dull: the effect of my cold, I suppose. Your letters come as rays of sunshine, straight from the sun of my life… I haven’t seen a paper for ages – not since the Saturday that I left Rouen coming back – what happened to the “Arabic”. I presume she was sunk – was it in the Channel?
Did you meet Rosa all right, dear? Baker Street was a name for us to conjure with once, wasn’t it. The heaps of times we’ve met and either turned into the Park for our walk home or, rather more rarely, gone down to Richoux for tea. I used to love those walks home – especially as autumn drew on, and we’d hurry a bit so as not to find the gates closed. There’d be a snap in the air that would make one’s cheeks tingle … The old sun would be wrapping his blankets of clouds about him as he lay down to sleep and gradually the street lamps would begin to glimmer through the trees. How I used to hate having to leave you, dear; even if sometimes I could postpone the parting by coming home to tea at 45. The time flew all too quickly: & we would look at the clock and say “Good Heavens its nearly 7” & off I’d have to bolt. But now thank God, we belong to each other before the world, as we always have done really, & we can be together…
We are being relieved to-morrow. I wish they’d find billets for us somewhere instead of those ever-to-be-abominated huts – that are pitch dark & bitterly cold. Perhaps by now, however, they will have improved them a bit. The last 24 hours has been quiet again, dear. We are very busy – there are always heaps of odd jobs to do, shoals of orders & correspondence that requires attending to. Thank heaven, the weather keeps fine. Let us hope it will last us out. I live all day for the evening for with it comes rations, & with rations the mail. You are the breath of my life, my darling little wife, sweetest of all wives.
I had a note from Alfred last night …with two letters from “Miss Noel”. They were two that failed to catch me before I came home to you, dated the 16th & the 17th of October. You were busy in those days making plans for the Wedding on “Monday or Tuesday”. I was so glad that we were able to have it on a Saturday. (I am rather afraid that my pen is going to run dry)…