23 July, ‘16. (Sunday afternoon)
My ownest Lallie, —
. . . . Yesterday afternoon I was moving what we horribly call stiffs into the ambulances which take them to the morgue downtown — where they are buried in a cemetery here, French on one side of the road, English on the other — men with white crosses, officers brown — men three in a grave, officers one. Each coffin is numbered in case relatives wish to claim the body after the war. I detest the job; it seems to me most pitiful: these poor things pinned in a white sheet with a label round their neck, with name and particulars on. A while ago this was a man — a man whom somebody who does not even know he is dead is thinking of, talking of. It always makes me think what awful fools we are to detest one another, and to do nasty things and to say nasty things, when we shall all so soon be just like that. I believe it would be a good thing if, when we contemplate meanness, we could be shown a dead body. It seems so silly — such “bad business” — not to get all the good out of life, when the thing is so short and particularly when we know for a positive fact that we shall all soon be just a lump of lifeless stuff of no account any more. Isn’t it funny we don’t realize death more? Gee, but you and I have jolly few things to kick at! I thought that ever so strong, when I was tucking the Union Jack around those fellows.
I don’t think I was meant to be a soldier.