Original Letter

            France, 23rd Feby, 1918

My Own Dearest:–

I got up this morning and “went sick”. Ye kindlye M.O. was pleased to state, after a rigid, if brief examination which lasted at least a split second that I was getting better. My cheek is still very much swollen but I feel distinctly better the more so as my bandage has been taken off. I got so fed answering foolish questions that I couldn’t dare stick my head out of doors for a while. I told some of them that a horse stepped on my foot and some that I had bitten myself, but eventually I got so gol darned sore that I couldn’t say anything – just grind my teeth and mutter. But to-day with my bandage off and a general feeling of being better that I am compelled, when any one asks me what the trouble is, to stop and go into it very fully with him. NolanLeicester’s friend – was in a  few minutes ago enquiring about some old friends. He is on a course quite near here. He did not know just where [h]is Battalion was but I may run across Leicester before long.

I have chased Turkey and Miller out for an airing and am enjoying the peace and quiet. There is only the Signaller here with me. He is reading “Pigs is Pigs” and laughing uproariously. I shall send it to-day without fail.

I have started to reorganize – cut out cigarettes – cut down on the pipe, drinking hot water instead of tea – of course I never see salt, pepper or mustard – so perhaps I am continent. But what does all this avail when my thoughts will not behave? For instance if I thought more of my bed here and less of a certain bed of ferns! What chance has introspection against recollection when one has so many thrilling things to recall? Scarcely any, I think, none up to date with me. In the meantime I am going ahead reforming. “When the devil was sick” well – maybe its that but I don’t think that I was that sick.

The night we came out Miller and I hiked together. He told me all about his sensations in our attack last April. He said that everybody he saw looked very ugly and angry and wondered if he looked the same. While he never expected to come back he was not conscious of fear but that he sent up his S.O.S. (i.e. made a little prayer. He claims that if a wave could go over without anyone being hit that there would be no killing when they got there but that the sight of your own friends going down loosens something in a man which changes him completely. Miller, normally, is gentle quiet and sympathetic and yet his pals who were with him said that he was quite mad. Well, let them me I like to fight in an armchair in Canada or in a fern patch but – Yes, I think best of all I like the ferns.

All this time – ever since I came back  I have been feeling punk and I know that I have never told you how much I love you and how much I enjoyed myself when I was with you. You must know, Sweetheart that I adore you and that every minute with you was Heaven and more. It was glorious and I had not dreamed that it would be so wonderful. At the same time I expect our good month together after the war to surpass everything. There never was any one so nice as you, Dearest, and there never will be. I love every minute ever spent with you. You are the sweetest girl in the world and I am the luckiest man in the world – and I didn’t need Charley Holmes to tell me that either. I worship you, Mary with every bit of love I am capable of. Will the next five and a half months ever pass? If every fortnight is as long as the last it is going to be quite three years. Remember me to everyone. With all my love Sweetheart

            Your own