22nd September 1916
Arthur is in a reflective mood as he writes, imagining walking through Hampstead with Dollie by his side in the misty autumn air of evening. He is relishing his new position – in charge of the Battalion – and hopes with God’s help “I shall come out all right. Edouard [Noel] is still at his job. He comes in now & then, fussing around. He is an ‘awful’ “old gentleman” with his worries & his ankles”.
Arthur to Dollie
… We’re still out D.V. and the weather has been much finer to-day. But there is still heaps of mud, and an autumn tinge in the air that makes one long to be out of it. I just want to be home with you, and we’d take the dogs and go up over the Heath to watch the old sun go to bed, as we’ve so often done in the past; please Heaven, it will not be so long before we do it again. Then we would turn down and hasten home through the darkening streets. The lamps would just be beginning to twinkle & the pavement to ring beneath our feet; and there’d be a mist in the air that would make us catch our breath & hurry quicker … So home to light & warmth and more kisses.
My darling, we are happy together. Let us pray and put our trust in God that He may see fit in His Infinite Love, to give us years and years of happiness together. I sit and dream of you all day and through the waking hours of the night, darling, my beloved. You are mine and I am yours thank God. About me lies the desolation of the battlefields of July, but I am not here really, I am home with you, never to be separated.
There is not very much of news for me to tell you, dear. I’m afraid I’m suffering a wee bit from swelled head, for to be trusted with the command of a battalion in the battle of the Somme at the age of 23 is some honour, especially in this war, where people are “stellenbosched” at the slightest notice. But the responsibility is great, there are few of the old ones left & Minshull my Adjutant is young, though he’s an awful hard worker. With God’s help I shall come out all right. Edouard is still at his job, he comes in now & then, fussing around. He is an ‘awful’ “old gentleman” with his worries & his ankles.
The posts are [a] bit varied, but I’ve had fairly late news of you, dearest, up to Sunday last. I can never thank you enough for your dear letters nor explain to you one half of what they mean to me…