26th June 1916
Still in the middle of a constant artillery barrage – and Dollie is eager to hear Arthur’s thoughts on who their bridesmaids should be (he thinks sister Daisy too old!!); the fish has arrived but Arthur describes it thus “ I’m afraid it had just turned the corner – what day did you post it, dear?”; not all fellow officers admire his bombproof waistcoat; some trouble in the offing at HQ as Dollie’s brother Edouard is put forward for promotion to Major and opinion is hotly divided; Arthur and his Company are due to move up tomorrow – for the moment all they can do is wait, play Patience and read penny dreadfulls.
Arthur to Dollie
France, Mon. 5.30pm
Thanks a heap for your dear letter of Friday that I got this afternoon. Dear little girl, God bless you. I really scarce know what to say about your bridesmaids. I feel pretty sure Daisy will not accept – the difference in your ages is a bit big, isn’t it, dear? … I suppose Ludovic [Noel] knows our plans, by the grace of God? Has he written back about it…
The fish arrived last night, little one, you are a thoughtful little soul – thanks awfully. I’m afraid it had just turned the corner – what day did you post it, dear? Parcels take rather long to come now that we are more or less “up”. You are a dear to have taken all that trouble for me. I do appreciate it.
The last twenty-four hours have been pretty noisy again. Our guns are going for all they are worth. This morning I got up at 7.30: & went down to HQ with Evie [Noel] at a quarter to nine. The CO & Sammy were very full of buck: very envious of the “bomb-proof” waistcoat! Johnnie Sutcliffe & Ainsworth weren’t too happy. I rather think yesterday’s performance gave them the “wind up” – in other words, a fright.
The CO spoke about R. He said that he had applied for Edouard [Noel] to be made major over R’s head. The Division had asked for a full report setting out his reasons. He did so & both the Divisional General & the Brigadier made some very hot comments; the former even that R. should send in his resignation! This, darling, I think had better be in confidence until something happens, don’t you? but its pretty stiff.
Davis came along to see us this afternoon. We probably move in to-morrow. Davison is going back to the 1st Line (Transport) pro tem. There is little else of news: I play a lot of patience … and sleep all I can.
I’ve just read a most awful “penny dreadful” that Thomas bought at D-, called “Lures of London” laid on very thick, murder & crime on every page. How is “happy Hampstead” – for me it spells happiness because it means “you”….