My dear Mother
I have been wondering during the last few days whether I should hear from somebody, but as I haven’t I suppose it must be my turn to write: I feel rather vague about the date of my last letter, though it doesn’t seem long since I wrote it. I must have done so before my second dose of inoculation, anyhow. That occurred about a week ago and was not nearly so bad as the first; just a seedy feeling for a couple of days and an arm out of action for rather longer. Thank Heaven I have now done with artificial diseases!
We had rather an interesting alarm and move-off at midnight a few days ago. The order came from the Divisional Office, and so real was it in all details and so secret had the design been kept that not even the Brigade Staff Officers had the slightest idea whether we were really moving off or not. We got the alarm at 11.45 and the whole Brigade had reported at Kings Langley Station, the rendezvous, by 2.15 – not bad work. The Transport Section came in for special commendation from the Colonel. I had a regular night out on that occasion. On the way home my wagon was requisitioned by the Adjutant to drive round on a special journey with him, and after return from that I went off on another long journey with cooking posts that had been brought from the billets to Headquarters but which were now wanted again at the billets to prepare breakfast. Then on returning I found all the other wagons had gone out to distribute supplies, so I had to go and fetch the post. Altogether I had my fair on the road from 1.30 to 8.45 with only a few short halts for loading, and they did almost all the distance at the trot and came in fresh as paint. They are a lovely little pair: not very heavy horses, standing 15 hands. Tar Baby is a black mare who will die of voluntary overwork unless continually prevented. The African Lion, also a mare – brown – hates work except when going uphill, when she loves it. However, when properly driven, she will work well the whole time. I believe if you harnessed hem to a hillside and used the whip seriously, that they would succeed in pulling the hill along; they would certainly kill themselves rather than stop trying. The only fly in the ointment is my spare driver. He looks after the horses very well, and is very fond of them but he doesn’t drive well. When he has them in hand the African Lion jogs along chuckling to herself and not doing an ounce of work (except when she comes to a hill) while pretending to pull most industriously: and the poor little Tar Baby is all the time reducing herself to a state of hopeless sweat in order to keep the pot a-boiling.
There does not now seem to be the slightest chance of our being “sent foreign” yet awhile. I hear they are considering moving us into other billets nearer Watford, more suitable for winter quarters. I should be very sorry to go, as we are very comfortable here.
Have you had any recent news of Arthur’s?
Love to all from
Your affectionate son