Monday Eve. 12 Aug. 1918
Scene - An orchard Church in background
Somewhere in France
Letter No 102.
To my dear father,
Once again the curtain that hides our doings from one another is drawn aside and finds me with Stuart in an old orchard in a little village a few miles behind the lines. And to make this simile more complete, the band is hard by playing a selection from one of Gilbert & Sullivan's Operas. From my point of view the outlook is rather obscured. Glancing at my watch I find it's 7pm and I expect you are just leaving the office. Mother is probably in the garden doing some "fancy work" - darning the "darned" socks! - and of course Cookey's gallivanting about as usual. The boys are perhaps in the Park - or perhaps Stanley has just come home from the shop after another day's work. It is a typical midsummer evening and the fine weather makes all the "boys" lively.
I walked to this village last night behind a limber , as I was "OC" LGs and was responsible for their safe arrival. Seven platoon is billeted in an old empty estaminet and altho' there is none too much room yet it is a very comfortable place. I am quite unable to explain why but now that I am with Stuart again it seems as if a load was lifted from my mind and I feel as light hearted again. Usually we are known as a couple of inseparables, for we are always together. Somehow or other our wishes always seem to coincide. We both like to seek quiet and will walk quite a long way to find a suitable spot. We don't usually get much time to ourselves and its a great relief, we find, to write or read. Then we have such arguments; Stuart is rather old for his age and holds very mature ideas, so I find it rather good fun to discuss problems of all sorts with him. Some chaps only seem to find amusement in playing cards for small stakes and so long as it goes no further they can scarcely be begrudged this pleasure when there is so little to interest or amuse a fellow in his leisure. It does not appeal to me in the least and even if it did, I should not for examples sake. If one is going to keep quite straight and right up to scratch in matters of moral and principle, they must stick rigidly to their ideals. This, you can guess, is no very easy matter, but I think that after a time a good habit is as easy to keep as a bad one. Of course I am liable to create an unpleasant atmosphere unless I am tactful. One soon learns to be one of the "boys" without necessarily copying all their little peculiarities. The proverb "When in Rome, do as Rome does" is taken for granted by the majority in the army; but it is a mistake to do so. I often call to mind the splendid examples of Harold Q, Lister and Luie Soutter, Hubert and others and what better encouragement could I desire than to try and follow them.
I have digressed here considerably and must return to my narrative. Reveille must have been late this morning for I was not awaked until five to nine. Being a Mess Orderly I had to get breakfast and after the meal clean the dishes. I will be glad when I say goodbye to "Dixie Land". Apart from this fatigue, I have had little to do all day. There is a small YMCA tent here and I went there to write a letter this morning.
I have not seen this village properly, but hope to have a look round after supper this evening.
The post today brought me your splendid letter (dated 7th inst), one from Auntie Edith and one from Mirrie. Thank you ever so much. But it is time to get the supper so I must reply to them later - especially yours.
All love and affection from