My dear Kathleen
I got your letter about my birthday, just after in fact. Yes, I wish I could feel confident I'll spend the next in England, but I feel that's very unlikely unless wonderful things happen this year. Still the omens as a whole are vastly better than 12 months ago, and if only this Verdun attack is successfully held we can all feel cheerful.
I'm very sorry to hear that Cyril’s hoped-for leave is off - I'd have been very glad to know the wedding was to take place. Father writes as though Mesopotamia was the certain destination, if so leave will be off for a long time. I can imagine it will be a very much broadened Boo that we may hope to see some day - and from all accounts physically as well as mentally, and he wasn't small when he left home.
How are you and Jack managing about the house, can you take on short-term lets at present? Our tenants want to let at a month's notice now, apparently the Colonel is likely to go abroad soon. They have been satisfactory people, and i hope they'll be able to stay on longer, in another year our lease will be up.
Mary and Baby have got safely to Dowlais and I think they'll "lodge" there for a couple of months. As long as it suits both sides concerned, and with arrangements made that Mary’s people aren't out of pocket in anyway there's a good deal to be said for it as a temporary measure, and it's certainly practical economy.
I think the change of air is doing Mary good, Badsey always proved a bit relaxing for her. I so enjoy looking at my little picture gallery of photos. Baby looks rather solemn, and I can quite imagine she has "wondering" eyes as Father describes.
I can tell that Dr Leslie is a bit anxious about Mother's heart, and I fancy she herself is apt to worry during the spring months ever since that illness of 1912. Doubtless too the war worries her more perhaps than she knows.
I don't know after all if you will see me before Cyril. Leave here has been stopped, for how long no one knows and I try to hope it's only a short stoppage. I shall get very tired of Rouen, and yet it's a good plan not to fuss about change of billet. I think I have got about all I'm likely to get out of the typhoid work, and would like more varied jobs. However, few men stay much more than six months at any one post out here and perhaps I'll get a change when I'm not expecting it.
I didn't get any letters from George when on leave. I feel, between ourselves, that the family as a whole extends rather a qualified approval of his engagement, but after all a fellow working in a Government office and then serving in the ranks is not specially likely to make match regarded as brilliant from the world's point of view. As long as she has character and intellect I expect it will turn out quite well: less difference in age, especially for George, would be an advantage: I hope she has a will of her own! One thing, very petty, doesn't please me, and that's the name Rosie, I can't help picturing a pink and white helpless Dickens "female"! But I know the name is misleading, and I don't take that fancy seriously. I expect George will have no chance of leave for a long while now: however he did well to get so long.
I had such a nice letter from Aunt Fanny a few weeks ago. I'm wondering if Fred is still at Verdun as he was some time back. I wonder if Harry Robinson is abroad or at home now, have you heard?
I suppose the summer months are the most likely ones for headships to turn up. Of course owing to the war I suppose people who otherwise contemplated retirement will tend to stay on, but I very much hope you'll get you r chance during the year.
Please thank Jack for his letter, I must write a bit later on, but my letters are mostly questions and comments on letters received.
With love, your affectionate brother