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Date: December 14th 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

14 December, ’16.

My dearest Lal: —

I have had a jolly interesting letter from you. I wish I could write the way you do — I mean in a chatty way; but I can’t. I seem always to be strung up to an unnatural kind of pitch, never have a mind at complete ease, and the consequence is my letters all seem to me to be forced and not a bit like I want them to be. But I know how you always want something regularly to tell you I am well, so I will send as many of those cards — the boys have named them “whizz bangs” for some reason — I mean, of course, the post cards. They are not exactly interesting; but they will show you that I am still up and going strong. Today, I have been reading about the German peace proposals. My impression is it is very clever of them; but, of course, we shall “carry on” just the same. I think that every horror that has so far been enacted in the war will be outdone in 1917, and that the German common people will not stand another winter, and so it will end. But not, in my opinion, with an out-and-out knockout either way, or with any huge gains of territory by us.

Things are still exceedingly quiet on this front, which I am directly behind; in fact, you could hardly tell there was a war on. . . .

By the way, has it ever struck you what a force, politically, the returned soldiers will be after the war? Lord Northcliffe has drawn attention to the fact that, after the Civil War in America, the men who had fought, controlled the country for fifty years. I suppose those cocksure politicians would smile, if you told them; but I prophesy that the boys out here will run things, when they return. You see if I am not right. You will see they will hang together as one man. It will be the greatest “frat” in the country. . . .

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