For a 2nd day we have a letter from Dollie to Arthur as well as that from Arthur to Dollie.
11th December 1916
A snapshot of Dollie’s married life – while still living at home with Mother. Her brothers seem to be taking a keen interest in her finances [The Noel’s run a successful Provisions merchants]. The visit to friend Sandes, recuperating in hospital, is brought forward so Dollie hopes to see Maggie and the new baby tomorrow, now that she will be occupied at the hospital this afternoon. Dollie wants to apply for a passport to travel to Paris – if Arthur can arrange leave – but is rather fearful of all that the enterprise might entail.
Dollie to Arthur
45 Compayne Gdns, Monday , 1.5pm
…Your dear letters of Tues: & Thurs: arrived quite safely this morning. I was so pleased to get them, thanks ever so much. I am so glad you are quite fit, also Alfred, give him my love when you see him next…
Yes, Edouard’s interest in our finance was rather funny, wasn’t it? Especially as he takes no notice whatever of anything else that concerns us. The Mater gave him the right answer, I was very bucked she did.
As I have told you already, I liked “Daddy-Long-Legs” very much indeed. I think it is very pathetic, I cried in parts…This morning during brekker, Auguste [Noel] rang up to ask if I would go down & meet him & go to the Bank to open my account. It was rather inconvenient on a Monday, but still I went. We arranged to meet at Covent Garden Bank. I was rather terrified on account of the walk the other end, but luckily when I got out of the Tube I saw Auguste waiting there for me, it was a relief. I have got a paying in book, & a cheque book of 25. I signed myself E.V. Agius. The dividends, only two, came to just over £13. Some more are due on Jan 1st & also my quarter money from the business. I shall save all I can, & don’t you think when I get £50, it would be a good idea to invest it in the business, tell me.
I got in about 12.15 & then did some washing I had to do. I intended ironing this afternoon, & slacking, but the doctor rang up from Edward VIIs to say Sandes would be very pleased if I would go to see him this afternoon, so I couldn’t say less than that & would go. So I shall have to leave fairly early, as I was rather late getting there on Saturday. I don’t quite know what to take him. I shall probably take some magazines & cigarettes. I imagine he got someone to ring up, because his mother is probably not well enough to go today, it must be pretty dull for him there alone.
The weather is pretty rotten, muddy, & raw cold, but I suppose it might be worse… Maggie’s nurse has just rung me up to ask if I would go over to see her this afternoon. Of course I had to say I couldn’t but have arranged to go tomorrow. It appears Maggie is going on splendidly, & the baby is big & well. She had a quick & good time, so she has been awfully lucky.
I still haven’t been down for my passport, but I don’t like going alone. I am going to ask Daisy to come with me on Wednesday. It says in the papers that they are going to be very strict about travelling at Xmas time & only very urgent cases will be allowed. So if you get leave I doubt I shall be able to get to Paris. I suppose it’s out of the question for you to get leave for London. I wish you could. The post has been, but nothing from you. Perhaps I will get Friday’s letter tonight…
11th December 1916
Arthur is backwards and forwards to HQ; on Wednesday the Corps Commander will be inspecting the men. Meanwhile Arthur lives only to hear that he has been granted a months leave for Christmas – now only two weeks away. He describes the view from their Mess: “There was a wonderful moon last night, just past the full. Opposite our Mess is the lock basin; and beyond it towering up into the sky the old windmill – a great brick mill about 80-100 feet high. The picture it made in the moonlight was beautiful; and the light was extraordinarily bright, & yet at the same time almost soft – the whole silver & blue”.
Arthur to Dollie
Monday aft: 2.5pm
… I was very pleased to get your letter of Friday last: it came to-day just before lunch… I am also hoping for some news of Sandes. Where do his people live? Poor chap, he must be awfully dull. How often is Elsie able to see him?
We are going to be inspected by the Corps Commander on Wednesday. To-day I’ve been on parade from 9.15 till about half-past 12. This afternoon I am going along to the Divisional Baths on the chance of getting a bath (which I need!)
The weather to-day began by being perfectly glorious, though it has rather clouded over now. There was a wonderful moon last night, just past the full. Opposite our Mess is the lock basin; and beyond it towering up into the sky the old windmill – a great brick mill about 80-100 feet high. The picture it made in the moonlight was beautiful; and the light was extraordinarily bright, & yet at the same time almost soft – the whole silver & blue.
Last night after tea I went round to HQ. Alfred was looking very fit. Rochford came in, he had been to Corp HQ – to draw money; he was rather “the worse for wear”. I came back here to Mess. To-night I am going to Mess at HQ.
No further news in yet about my leave. I do hope it will come through all right. I am awfully excited about it & just longing to hear that I’ve got it… To-day fortnight is Christmas Day, isn’t it. I wonder if I shall be with you again. With luck, yes. I do hope my luck is in. The prospect of it is too glorious for words…