Somewhere in Belgium
Fri. March 31st 1916
My dearest Mother
I am more than thankful to receive the money, which I got with your letter today for which many, many thanks. I must have been extra doleful in the letter in which I asked for it. But although I'm delighted to get the cash for it will ease matters wonderfully for me yet I'm perfectly jolly still. Certainly doleful moments do come along and often want some conquering, but they don't last long and I'm soon smiling again. Oh! It's been lovely weather these last two days and it's been a real treat.
"Shine a little bit of Heaven". I received a parcel today from Norwich - soap, soups and chocolate but I don't want you to stop sending yours again on this account as you did before, because I'm taking the soups to the trenches for use there when I go in a few days and I should like your next to come before that. I also received Father's interesting and literary letter for which I heartily thank him but have so many to answer that I feel I can save a letter by not answering it personally and I don't think he wants it so answered. Nevertheless my appreciation is just as great.
I read his letter under rather strange circumstances for it was while a quaint old fat Flemish gent was cutting my hair in his quaint picturesque front parlour. His house is one of the very few left in a village quite close to here of a horribly long name. The rest of the village is a complete ruin and very typical of German frightfulness. The church is a horrible sight - only the walls and central interior pillars still standing, together with just two walls of the tower, the other two being a heap of bricks and mortar piled up in the doorway and in the graveyard at the side completely burying many of the tombstones. The houses of the village, many of quite fashionable appearance, are also in a similar state but it isn't so much the ruin and heaps of rubbish that strikes one as the complete silence that reigns so horribly over it all. Especially is this manifest in its uncannyness as one steps on the cobbled narrow street echoes and re-echoes, from the walls outside and inside the broken and battered homes and shops.
"The Deserted House"
Life and thoughts have gone away side by side
Leaving doors and windows wide
Bareless tenants they
All within is dark as night
In the windows is no light
And no murmur at the door
So frequent on it's hinge before.
I am now in bed and being very tired am quitting this for the time being and going to sleep. Goodnight.
Sat. Lovely day, hot and brilliant. Have just been to the baths and feel extra fresh and "thin". Now bye-bye. Ever yours lovingly - Jack