November 3rd, 1943
Dear Mom and Dad,
Many thanks for your last letter, but there is one thing you misunderstood in my last one. That picture of Mary which I sent to you is yours. I want you to have it, not just keep it for me. It is yours to do what you like with. So now that that is cleared up, I can quite agree with you that she is a very lovely girl. I suppose it must be rather difficult for you to form any opinion about her, seeing that you have only had one letter from her and have never seen or met her...and I don't know that I can describe her satisfactorily to you. She is certainly not the most beautiful girl I know - as far as her face and figure go, but there is something about her face that makes her outstandingly beautiful amongst any group of girls. I think it is her eyes and her mouth. She has a very beautiful mouth as you can see, and her eyes are grey and full of fun. I guess it is her character that shines through her eyes and lightens her whole face, so that it seems transfigured. She has a wonderful conception of living and a wonderful spirit of helpfulness about her! She loves people - not from a detached point of view as I do, but as a person amongst and part of them. That is why it does me so much good to be with her, because I am tempted to live too much within myself. It's not that I am selfish - I don't think, but that I do not always look upon other people as persons. She does, and brings me to do the same. As well as this she is healthy, full of spirit, the soul of fun, very intelligent, a good talker, a good walker, loves sports and is very cultured, speaks five languages - 3 fluently. So the wonder to me is that I never fell head-over-heels in love with her, as I usually do with every good-looking girl I meet. I fall in and out of love so quickly, it's breath-taking sometimes, but with Mary, it was very gradual and I never really knew for 2 years after I first met her that I loved her. I suppose the knowledge that I was coming home and wouldn't see her every week or so made me first realize that not only would I miss her, but that I would also feel as though I had lost a piece of myself. I do feel that way now - all the time, and it is becoming very hard to bear.
I hope you don't mind me telling you all this, but I just thought you might like to know and it is certainly not a thing that I would want to hide from either of you, seeing that it concerns you not a little. So I hope you know a little more about Mary now than you did before, yet I'm afraid Shakespeare's pen couldn't describe her so I'd be satisfied - so surely, I can't expect mine to.
I am very sorry to hear that you had that painful experience at the Red Cross, Mother. When I was home, I meant to ask you not to do it because I honestly did not think you could do it safely, but I could see that you considered it your duty and that you would do it anyway - in spite of what I said, so I didn't say anything. I hope you won't try to do it again though, because I honestly don't think you should.
I wonder if you would do something for me, please. Next time you are in town, look around and try to get me some "Observer" badges. What I want is the old type with the "O" and wing attached. The new ones have a B on an H in the centre. I don't want them and there are no more "Observer" badges being issued down here, none in the stores. So if you can find some, I'd be very grateful if you would send me at least 4 of them, and more if you can get them. Get them as soon as you can because other boys here will want them as well. Get them as soon as you can also because we may graduate earlier than expected. Also, see if you can buy a flashlight - please. If you can get penlite bulbs with the nipple attached and batteries, I could use them as I have a case. I am doing a lot of night exercises now and am finding it very difficult because there is very little light in our planes. A flashlight is nearly an essential!
Well, I must close and get this in the mail. I find I have raved quite a lot at the beginning of this letter but I don't honestly think you can blame me.
By the way, Mary said in her last letter that Mrs. Sayers was not too well. She had a bad fall lately and on top of that, has not been her usual self for over a year. I must write and find out.
Love to all as always,