22 March, ’16.
France, 12.30 at night.
My dearest Lal:
You say in your last letter, you feel blue. I often feel so blue for you and our Billie. But, dearie, hold on. This thing can’t last, and we shall win, of course — so, — stick it, same as me.
The convoy ambulances buzz, out of the window, all the time. Oh, Lal, who would have thought such things could have been in our life, so short a time ago! And yet — as you say — how fine to take a part, however humble! And even I, surrounded by object lessons, don’t begin to comprehend how things are up the line. I think I know what things are like pretty well; but all the time I don’t. I don’t know a thing about the suffering, the monotony. The fighting is nothing; it’s the continual working, the grind, grind, grind, and always the casualties, — always them. When I feel sleepy and inclined to kick, I think of these boys here in their beds, and the others on trains or ambulances or lying waiting in the mud, and then of you. . . .
It’s cold tonight, there’s a tile or two out of my kitchen roof, and no matter how I keep the wee American stove Whoop-up (from coal which I have beside it in an American Can concern’s box), it’s shivery. I have also forty-seven men’s dishes to wash before dawn, hot water to get, my own dinner to cook, lots of little things to look after for the bed patients — and the general look-out to keep. . . .