19th November 1916
Arthur continues the letter he began yesterday, before he was rudely interrupted by an order to report to HQ. He was just about to remind Dollie that at time of writing (a month ago) they had just steamed out of Victoria on their honeymoon. A surprise wedding present from Uncle Edgar [Agius]. Arthur is planning to send home a curious selection of summer clothing and various belongings, including: “…my small automatic Webley & Scott & a pouch with some ammunition (they are quite safe)”! He also asks Dollie what she would like for Christmas but is not confident he can procure anything suitable from the trenches: “I scan the advertisement pages of the papers we get, but there is nothing very brilliant. So if there’s anything, dear, you’d rather like, please tell me”.
Arthur to Dollie
… I began this yesterday, as you see – but was then interrupted by HQ & didn’t get away till late and turned in. I was rather fed up for at the moment that I began to write – just a month ago – we steamed out of Victoria on our first honeymoon. Shall I ever forget how perfectly sweet you were – and our happiness – the tea-baskets & the pounds of rice in our boxes – all trivial details (the latter of course) set round the great jewel of the fact that we were married – at last – and alone together…
Since yesterday afternoon, I have been blessed with 3 dear letters of the 14th, 15th & 16th . Thanks ever so much for them, my darling wifie: they mean all the world to me, for they come from YOU, my heart’s desire. I am glad to hear you are feeling more yourself … it must have been especially hard darling, as the Mater felt depressed. I think I can realise in a measure how overwhelmingly lonely life must be … God bless you. I love the story of your being mistaken for a princess. They were nearer the mark than they realised – for you are a princess, aren’t you, dear, in all but name.
I was rather surprised to hear about Uncle Edgar; do you know his address, little one. I should like to thank him for it. By the way, dear, I’m sending a few of my summer things home to you to-day; my light breeches …my two tussore shirts & 7 collars & a tie … two books, my small automatic Webley & Scott & a pouch with some ammunition (they are quite safe) & the fittings of my mess tin. I don’t suppose they’ll arrive for 3 or 4 weeks.
The cold weather broke yesterday – the wind has swung from East to West again, and with it has come the rain once more. Yesterday we had various parades & inspections. I had tea & dinner at HQ: Maitland doesn’t return until to-night. Rochford isn’t very fit. To-day I went to Mass at 9 – & really I’ve been fairly busy ever since – new issue of gas helmets and new organisations to work out and test. We are still out D.V.
Darling, is there anything in particular you would like for Christmas. I scan the advertisement pages of the papers we get, but there is nothing very brilliant. So if there’s anything, dear, you’d rather like, please tell me…