at Seward House
Oct 1st 1914
My dear Sweetheart,
I was very glad to get a few lines from you this morning. Your letter took longer to get here than you anticipated. You seem to have settled down a bit by your second day which I call quite quick work for it must have all been very strange. By “rotten”, do you mean you were feeling ill, or just merely fed up with life in general? Whichever it was, I am sorry, dear, but am convinced you’ll like it all, in time, when you get to know some of the other men. It is a pity you have not as congenial a companion in your tent, but I daresay when you get to know him, although he may not be quite your sort, yet he doubtless has some good points and you will probably rub along all right. It is uncomfortable to be so crowded in your mess quarters but it must be awfully difficult to know what to do with so many extra battalions at such short notice.
I heard from Uncle Harry yesterday. He enclosed 3 letters of Cecil’s for me to read, to Mother, Bar and to him. Cecil says he has already worn out his boots and socks, so we are sending him 3 pairs made in the village for him to distribute, and will send more later. His uniform fits him badly and is most uncomfortable. On the way to the fighting line the men slept in barns principally, on the bare boards, they have no blankets as their kit was left in England. (I presume it will follow them later.) He writes cheerfully but one can read between the lines that he is being tried to his utmost strength.
Later - In the corner of the window sill, the side which does not open is my workbasket and knitting. In the armchair reposes my humble self. By the way this chair is ideally comfortable. On the chest of drawers nearest the window I would not allow Ethel to put a cover as some blue china I have looks so well on the dark wood. A photo of Bar also stands there.
On top of the writing desk on the other chest of drawers stands Mother’s photo and on the left of it one of Uncle Ben in the pretty gilt frame the girls gave me for my birthday. On the right is another one of you and in between are my books of devotion and the Bible you gave me, Matthew Arnold’s Poems and R. Stevenson’s, held together in your little book rest.
This room feels very homey and nice and helps me to feel rested. I have sweet thoughts of you and wish unutterably dear things.
When I wrote to Uncle Harry the other day I told him I could not go to the expense of going home as I had a big dentist's bill of £3.15 hanging over my head. He does not seem keen that I should go to London as it all means money but he very kindly encloses a cheque for £3.15 to pay the dentist. I despatched it straight away, feeling a load roll off my mind as I did so. It is rather humiliating to be living so much on other people, on the other hand I am not in a position to refuse kind offers of help.
Miss Pollard is a dear old lady. It will be so nice for the little Mother having her here for a bit.
I had some tennis this morning with Miss Holmes. We each won a set. I feel much better if I get out in the mornings like this. I am much better dear and hope to be quite right in a few days.
Well – dear Love. I must go and make myself pleasant to the world in general although I’d much rather be scribbling to you. The others say I keep them ‘alive’ but it is an effort sometimes to be cheerful when one feels a bit blue oneself. I simply cannot think long about poor Cecil – it makes me feel ‘rotten’ to use your own expression. News continues favourable which is hopeful.
Mary writes that she is trying to let her flat again, her present tenants are returning to America. The agents think she will have no difficulty in letting it again.
A number of Belgian refugees came in the same train as Miss Pollard, they are being housed in one house in Bengeworth, near the Openshaws, and there is a big red, yellow and black flag over the house. I shall see if I may go and see them one of these days and chat to them, if any of them speak French.
We heard today that Dr. MacNickoll has gone on Active Service.
Well – Goodnight – Sweetheart. I hope by now your camp kit has reached you and that things generally are shaping more to your comfort.
With much love my darling boy.
Ever your own
When I was dusting the book shelves in this room this morning, something in white tissue paper fell out of your Bible. I put it back again, knowing what was on the paper. It is sweet of you to keep it in your Bible.
I have just read this letter through – it sounds most dull and uninteresting and does not express a quarter of what I feel or would like to say. This room is full of memories of you – they don’t sadden me – in a sense they make exquisitely happy but the longing for you yourself becomes almost unbearable. I wish you could be in as good quarters it must be so cold in tents now.
Keep up your spirits dear Heart, the end must come some day and then we shall look back and thank God we did our duty.
Goodnight my own Love.