December 18th, 1916.
My Dearest M.:
I always feel when I write a joint letter to the family that I'm cheating each one of you, but it's so very difficult to get time to write as often as I'd like. It's a week to Christmas and I picture the beginnings of the preparations. I can look back and remember so many such preparations, especially when we were kiddies in London. What good times one has in a life! I've been sitting with my groom by the fire to-night while he dried my clothes. I've mentioned him to you before as having lived in Nelson, and worked at the Silver King mine. We both grew ecstatic over British Columbia.
I am hoping all the time that the boys may be in England at the time I get my leave—I hardly dare hope that any of you will be there. But it would be grand if you could manage it—I long very much to see you all again. I can just imagine my first month home again. I shan't let any of you work. I shall be the incurable boy. I've spent the best part of to-day out in No Man's Land, within seventy yards of the Huns. Quite an experience, I assure you, and one that I wouldn't have missed for worlds. I'll have heaps to write into novels one day—the vividest kind of local colour. Just at present I have nothing to read but the Christmas number of the Strand. It makes me remember the time when we children raced for the latest development of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and so many occasions when I had one of "those sniffy colds" and sat by the Highbury fire with a book. Good days, those!
I'm just off to bed now, and will finish this to-morrow. Bed is my greatest luxury nowadays.
The book and chocolate just came, and a bunch of New York papers. All were most welcome. I was longing for something to read. To-morrow I have to go forward to observe. Two of our officers are on leave, so it makes the rest of us work pretty hard. What do you think of the Kaiser's absurd peace proposals? The man must be mad.
The best of love,