July 19th 1916
My dearest Stan
I was delighted to receive your second letter, which has arrived before I had time to answer the first.
I am in the school hall of an old country town of northern France, which has been turned into a YMCA for our convenience.
Glad you had such a daisy time down at Seven Oaks with Percy that Sunday. What did Mr. Best have to say to you as he scrubbed the mess tables? I guess you thought it very funny to see him at that, instead of writing on a blackboard. Eh!
You say you heard big guns firing and thought they were those over here Eh! Well, I don't know what guns they are but certainly aren't those of the Western Front for even in our billet near the line we hear very little of them and back here where we are now we don't hear them at all (Thank goodness) so how can you in Kent hear them. It beats me!!
My! Wouldn't I just love to go to Wycombe with you on August holiday (But the holiday is cancelled. Is your outing cancelled too?) and see that "Magic Key" under the trees. Gee, it will be grand.
Now I heard a good joke today and it really did happen recently in the trenches, in one of our Battalions. The Chaplain of this identical battalion was going on his usual Sunday morning round talking to the boys, when he came to an Irishman. "Well Pat!" he said, "Have you seen Fritz this morning". No! Yer reverence, says Pat with his head well below the top of the parapet "And I'm darn sure he hasn't seen me".
This is a glorious part of France now that the crops are in full growth; the landscape everywhere is a series of different shades of green. Last night, after writing to Mother I took a little walk through the cornfields, and hop gardens beyond our billet and I came on to the top of some rising ground from where I had a lovely view to the west. The sun was setting beautifully behind distant elms, throwing beams of light across the intervening fields of waving corn, oats and nodding bearded barley and down the avenues, between the hops. I stood for a long time there awestruck with the beauty, until the sun had set, leaving a lovely twilight in which I strolled back to camp and bed.
I must stop now, as I must write to someone else.
So with best love.
Ever your loving Brother
Hope Allen is O.K. Will write him a line when I get time.