My dear Gertrude,
A short note as under not too favourable conditions for writing. Came up forward in a hurry, as I told you, on Saturday last & then only expected to be up for two days. However here I am still on Thursday - or rather yesterday I moved up to a still more forward position, which itself is only temporary, as we are making another new one. We are & have been fore sometime as busy moving as fighting & it makes it very hard on the men. Then leave really seems to be getting into swing again & we have at least one officer & ten men away all the time in that way.
Have had no further letters this week - unless one from Muriel came sinceI wrote on Sunday - although yesterday I did get a belated one from Poppy that had been forwarded to Hardelot for me & only just found its way back.
Poppy's letter I will pass on - including the remarks about Pauline for what they are worth ... I am afraid Pauline is a little like her Mother in some ways - they are a family of mixture good qualities & others. It looks as if it would be as well to leave Pauline alone - especially as she is so difficult to approach in any case. I am sorry for her own sake & as it will make it more difficult for you to keep in touch a little with Mrs Syd.
Syd, Mure tells me, landed at Liverpool a week ago Monday but that is no guarantee that he will be sent over here, although I should think he would do his best to get put on the C.E.F.
Had to break off as we had a battle spring on us at an hour's notice. My part to go forward & observe our fire temporarily - however it lasted less than 3 hours & I got back to a belated lunch at 4 oclock which I have just finished.
I was just noticing that our cook had two local brown glazed crocks, which he was using to contain water. They are of rather a good shape, with a contracted neck & two handles on the shoulders. This is a very poor attempted to suggest it - from memory. Their use is peculiar - at least I have never heard of a similar procedure in England. During the summer fresh vegetables are boiled or baked perhaps is better & the juice that is given off is run into these jars, & they are stored in the basement and as I understand it, this juice is used for soup making in the winter.
A lovely day to day after some very wet weather - the latter not only unpleasant for moving about, but soon makes existence underground rather unwholesome.
Mure tells me that my "banns" were called on Sunday at the Parish Church - at least a John Beck's were given out & Miss Schofield declares the ladies name began with Gertrude.
We have just received a portable gramophone for the mess - which we ordered sometime ago. it has been there all week but I have not heard it yet. The first day it came I hear everybody stayed up till three in the morning, going thro the Records.
Have finished "The House of Quiet" & am rereading it. Liked it very much - & found I had scarcely read any of it before. Did not notice you had marked any passages - till I neared the finish. You had put such fine lines. If I have some Censure for my weekend letter I will try & give you one or two of my opinions on some parts of the book - but neither leisure nor sufficiently congenial surroundings here & the leisure we have is a hand & mouth one. At present we are expecting an aeroplane to call us up at any time to observe for us whilst we destroy an enemy battery.
I have got hold of a Canadian tale by Gilbert Parker - but rather a poor affair. Light & easy reading its only commendation.
Well I must close. Hope all is going well. Suppose the Exhibition will open on Saturday & be all over before this reaches the St Lawrence.
With best love