Chilidor Camp Wilts, England
Sunday April 1/17
I don’t know what on earth could have been Browning’s idea in wanting to be in England [?] April was there. This is an unusually unpleasant day wet, sticky snowflakes flying and slush underfoot. It is still cold too, surely this can’t be a typically English spring.
Well at length we are in sight of France for the last leave has begun. The first batch went off Friday, Dorland among them. I am hoping to get away the end of this week, though it’s possible I may not get leave at all on account of being away at New Year’s. Say D.I. is the most miserably mean [?] [?] ever excited, and though I am fully entitled to leave as I have not had a free warrant[?] coming to England, he may not allow it. Hoping, however, that I shall be in Scotland the end of the week. I am going to write to Cousin Kate, to Miss Moffat (Walker I mean!) Really I have been very fortunate in being in England and in being able to get [?] in much and yet at times I don’t seem to realize it. I get so depressed – not that I mind the hardship in the social [?] at all – but because I feel so absolutely unfitted in every way for a soldier’s life- physically and tempermentally; and I feel as though all the time I am becoming more and more unfitted for my life’s work. With those who are several years younger and less mature in mind in authority over me, I actually feel like a child, as though I had been robbed of my manhood and the right to do what I please and to say what I believe to be true. There is no doubt that unless one lacks sensibility and has unlimited self-confidence the life of a private soldier is spirit crushing, it destroys one’s confidence to do anything for himself or to accept responsibility of any kind.
I have, and have had for some time a very severe cold and perhaps that is what has made me feel so gloomy lately. What an [?] affair in the human personality is and how all states of mind seem to depend so largely on a physiological condition. Those very rare days when I feel fit, nothing seems too hard to tackle. Give me anything and I am equal to it. Life’s adventures and misfortunes are a challenge to be joyfully met and encountered. But the army hasn’t built me up as I had hoped to would. My [?] health is not as good as it was before I joined, and I have no fighting spirit left at all. I should like to sleep for a century.
Haven’t heard from Bill since I wrote last. I suppose the old boy is still glugging away. It’s time we went over to help him. I am going to stop here because we have a long line ahead of us to morrow and I am dead tired,
With ever so much love to you all,