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Date: June 29th 1917
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

29 June, ’17.

My dearest Lal: —

Well, the inspection came off as appointed. We were lucky in having it come early. Every one had prayed earnestly for rain; but apparently in vain, as the weather was lovely. I can forgive our Colonel for getting so particular and anxious beforehand; he evidently knew his man. I suppose the proper word to describe it would be thorough. We had other names for it, though. He examined odd links on the chains of the transport harness; dived underneath one of the water carts to fetch out a rifle in a case, a rifle which is never used (he found it clean); swooped on an odd man here and there and gave his rifle the going over as if he was buying a priceless diamond, strolled innocently past a platoon and gave the order “Gas!” (which means they had to get their helmets out and on in a given number of seconds). Oh! he was thorough, alright.

When it was our turn, he wanted to know how many casualties we’d had among our number in the big show on the 9th April; said the number was too many; wanted to know just what was in our medical bags, and many other things. Finally, to every one’s utter relief, he beat it, to inflict himself on another Batt’n in the Bgd. We hear he was pleased. So were we — when he went. And, just to spite him, we haven’t polished a button for a whole twenty-four hours. He knew his job, though; you must hand him that.

Ever since, it’s rained like the devil. Last night, I was thinking how impossible it is for an outsider to realize the meaning of life as it really is in the line. Those new trenches must be full of water, the life must be horrible in the extreme; yet we, who are just now under a roof, hardly think of it. Only a few — a very few — days separate us from it; yet you never hear a word mentioned on the subject. If we who know don’t bother to think, how can you expect people at home to realize, who have never seen or ever suffered like discomforts? It’s a thought worth pondering over.

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