5 September, ’17.
My dearie Lal: —
I’ve just come in from one of our strenuous route marches — 45 minutes, it lasts, and consists of a stroll to the nearest Park, a rest, and then a stroll home. Yesterday was a glorious warm autumn day. In the morning, the boy I came in with borrowed from some one he knew here the large sum of ten shillings, five of which he gave to me — and as we are allowed out from ten to twelve, as well as from two to seven, we decided to take the motor ’bus into town. In the afternoon we went with a bunch of Australians to a roller rink — I didn’t skate — I don’t feel up to it yet, anyway — and later went to the main Y.M. a very large building and had tea — getting in about six in the evening. We played tennis — some of the sisters came to play, and also we had our pictures took on the lawn. Later, supper; salad, bread and butter, and cocoa, a bit of a read at my book, then bed at nine. Can you wonder that when I wake in my little bed, with the nice linen sheets, and get into lovely clean underwear, I feel altogether happy in the thoughts of another ripping day ahead. . . .
If only I could get mail from the Battn.; but there is nothing as yet. Surely, they can’t all be Casualties. There are rumours that we have been taken away from Lens. Though we have suffered particular Hell there, I don’t suppose a man but will be sore if that happens. We have done all the dirty work, even Vimy was part of it, as he shelled us from there — and it is up to us to take the town; it is our right. Though I guess it’s easy for me to talk — here. That’s no doubt how the Generals and Brigadiers talk, who do their fighting on the plans from safety. Maybe, if I was up there, I wouldn’t care who took the place as long as I was out. It wasn’t fighting up there, it was just plain murder. You walked on dead bodies to keep out of the mud.
What a war! We take half a dozen shell holes on the West and lose one hundred miles in the East. Last night there was another air raid. They got clean away, and inflicted heavy casualties, I see. Can you blame Germany for doping it out that she is winning?
Peace — I think — is further away than it was last year! If America doesn’t do something startling next year — and I doubt if she will have had time — I see yet another year of war without peace at the end of it.