January 10, 1917
Yesterday, for the first time I was actually in the front line trenches, about a hundred yards from the Bosch. He was obligingly very quiet. I am not with my own company, having been loaned to another for a few days; but I expect we shall be changing over in the few days, so I shall probably be staying here for a time. It's not a bad place considering the time it has been exposed to shell-fire. Of course the Germans don't shell it all the time. There are too many places just about like it along the front; and they haven't shells to waste. We had rather an amusing experience getting here. I was out with a fatigue-party on Monday, got back at 4.00 and found the order waiting for me, and my kit already gone. So I had tea, and about 6.00 started out with my servant Bayley, who had been here before and thought he knew they way. My bump of locality told me that we were going wrong; and I suggested that our movements seemed rather circular, but he thought he was all right. We asked directions; but in this land of twists and turnings, and in the dark and rain we found them rather difficult to follow. We should have been here in 45 minutes. At the end of two hours we found ourselves in a village about 10 minutes walk from the place we started from. Here, however, we found someone who directed us with more than customary intelligence and in half and hour we ere at our billet - just in time for dinner.
When I got back from the course on Sunday I found a great accumulation of mail, including all your letters from Dec. 8 to 17. I was sorry to learn of the incursions of La Grippe into the family circle; but as the later word told of her expulsion, I didn't allow myself too much emotion.
Marj was quite right in guessing that I anticipated a rise out of my prairie allusion; tho' I had almost forgotten it in the kaleidoscopic events of the last month.
Rather an aside - in answer to Mother's question, Louie's home is heated like most English houses by fire-places, one in the drawing-room, one in the dining-room. The hot-water is heated by the dining-room fire.
Your Christmas parcel has been sent on from Leicester; but has not yet reached me. I suppose the parcel post has not yet got rid of the holiday glut.
Oceans of love to all.