30 December, ’16.
My very dearest Lal, —
I always thought Friday was my lucky day; but I guess I made a mistake and it is Saturday; because, in addition to have an easy day, I got two letters and a parcel.
Tonight our little shack is decidedly cosy. Bill is lying on the floor on my blankets, reading a magazine he swiped: the stove is red hot; we have had a big feed of hot “mulligan” topped off with what we both think honestly is the very best cake we have ever tasted. We have good cigarettes, and I have a new pipe. Later on, we will have some hot Oxo and some more cake, and the weather and Fritz can go hang till tomorrow. The parcel was the Xmas one. It was lovely, the packing the most thoughtful I have ever seen. Everything has a use out here. The tin is what we wanted to keep our jam and cheese wrapped in; the stickers make a nice wall decoration; string — we always need string. So you can see that all of it comes in for something. You don’t know what a “parcel” means — you couldn’t. It’s the nice feeling you have when they come, apart from the eats which seem almost a necessity, and the other things which are of the utmost use.
I see you say some one told you that any parcels going to the hospitals would be kept there and disposed of by the boys in the care-free way they have. That is only half right. They wouldn’t down there; but they would up at the Battalion, and really it is only right. The fellow may be dead, or in Blighty or some place where he won’t need it. Some one, some place, is no doubt shaving with my Gillett’s blades, and some one else has my other presents — but, Que voulez vous? The only thing to do is to register small stuff, and sew everything else up most carefully. Too much attention cannot be given to packing. No one would think of redirecting a broken package. What would be the use?
I was ever so pleased that you wrote in such a cheerful strain. I know it isn’t all put on. And you want always to bear in mind that an awful lot of the stuff you hear about the trenches is a great deal exaggerated. It isn’t as bad as all that, and anyway a Battalion isn’t “in” all the time, you know. Some of the boys will even be “out” for a whole month. Those boys, that you get in conversation back there, try to give you all the horrors and none of the fun of it.