“Somewhere else”, 3 July, ’17.
How I am to get this mailed, I dunno’; but mailed it is going to be. Yesterday we moved as arranged, and after a somewhat hard march. It would have been easy, had we not run into a road closed for troops “owing to being under enemy observation” and had to go some miles round. There are crops back there, every last inch square growing something, and it is not permitted to go shell-torn in the usual way. In the centre is the remains of a huge château, one of the biggest I’ve seen. A whole Batt’n can — does — billet in the stables and grooms’ quarters. . . .
Last night, I talked to a fellow who had been up there. This fellow said we were all in holes, not connected at all, in the suburbs of the “big burg”; that it was impossible to keep men there more than twenty-four hours, as they couldn’t get supplies in to ’em. That all was going well, we were advancing; but it was hand to hand stuff, and bucking machine guns, and Heinie was standing good.
How the devil am I going to get my wounded out? . . .
Well, tonight we’ll hear again the sound which no one has ever described correctly, but which reminds me of a train coming towards you, as much as anything; and then, as we advance closer up, a thousand woodpeckers will seem to be digging steel beaks into iron. Both are bad, but I think I prefer the machine guns; they give you such nice aseptic “Blightys.”
I have no “hunches” again this trip. Young F. says he thinks a man who is going to be killed gets a hunch. I dunno’. We shall see.
I am better equipped, this trip, with bandages and supplies than I have ever been, and I am glad, as I think I shall need ’em. Also I am comforted to know I have young F. as my “understudy.” The rest is, as you’ve said once, “on the knees of the gods.” . . .
Well — dearest — au revoir. It isn’t good bye, even for more than a day. I’ll write something up there, they can’t do much scrapping in the daytime, I expect.
Keep as cheery these next months as you know how — and you do know how if you try. . . .
Kiss Billie — for me — many times.