My dear Father
I was very pleased to get your long letter yesterday, and to hear that Mother is going on nicely. I am starting my letter-writing a bit earlier tonight, I’ve been very late the last few weeks and must reform. Fortunately my work doesn’t have to start very early in the morning. Last night there was quite a gale and many tents came down, I thought mine would be among them, but it survived. However it was too rough for much sleep.
I expect you are all on the lookout for further news of Cyril, it will be a very happy thing if he can get back and get married. I hope he may get a longer leave than they grant from France. I shall put in for leave as soon as I’m eligible and shall be very ready for it: work has been very heavy and exacting of late.
No doubt when the date and place of the wedding are arranged you’ll let me know as soon as possible, I expect Cyril will be home before I am, but I feel there’s just a chance my leave might coincide with his. Here as a rule we don’t know about leave for certain until a few hours before starting. The Army is very chary of making promises ahead.
The copy of Cyril’s letter was very interesting, he has had quite the wider experience of us in this war, and I’ve no doubt it has had much effect on his outlook. I’m very glad to hear of his Captaincy, with him the difference in pay is substantial.
There are some signs that more general economy will be seen in 1916 than the previous year, but it is almost the last lesson to be learned in England, largely I think because economy is so commonly regarded as meanness.
I can foresee that the next difficulty will be the question of starving, I gather that the present system is making hay of the Derby scheme.
I must try and get some Bonds soon, but the early part of the year is rather a drain on me. Insurance, and several special expenses for the Manor House flat make inroads. I hope our servants will carry on a bit longer – in another year the lease will be up. I expect you are bound to foresee less business prosperity this year – however to have felt the strain so little to date is helpful. I gather a town where you once lived was a victim of the raid, we had the alarm on Saturday, but learn that the Zep turned back some way from here.
Mary tells me she has had good advice from Leslie, and I know she will follow it out. Probably warmer and dryer days will be welcome to all of you.
We have a young Worcester doctor just joined us, Spalding and another from Leamington district, so the Midlands are well represented at Meerut.
I suppose George’s leave is nearly up: I am wondering if other influences may lead him after all to look for a commission, with a long war ahead I’m sure he ought to think about it, and if, as is the case, he’s physically fit to be a sergeant, he won’t be less fit to be a lieutenant. Besides, although there are many schoolboys joining the commissioned ranks, there remains a steady flow of older men and promotion for the more suitable people is now not guided solely by seniority, a CO can recommend promotion of one of his officers over the heads of others without, as used to be necessary, having to give his reasons for omitting some names. I’ve very little doubt that if George became a 2nd lieutenant now he’d get his captaincy within 12 months. However, he knows the ropes, and his own business.
Baby must be growing very fast, it speaks well for the home cows doesn’t it; you’ll have to give them the DSO.
With my love to all and especially to Mother.
From your affectionate son
Arthur F Sladden