21 Feb 1915
My dear Betty
On this, the Ancient Tarkout’s birthday, I find it auspicious to reply to your letter so lately received. Concerning the fact that it arrived; that it was not lost in the post, there is some matter for wonder. What boots it that my sister should be learned in literature, in history, in physiological or hygienic lore: what avails it that her hand should be deft to wake sweet sounds from the strings of the lute and cymbal (quite correct - the cymbal has no strings - but don’t be cautious: there is no reason why it should not have ‘em). What skills it that even Sister Susie could tell her nothing that is unknown to her of the mysteries of sewing seam or gusset; of turning heel or finishing toe. Though you should know all mysteries and all knowledge and have not an elementary knowledge of geography, you become like unto the tinkling cymbal mentioned above. Watford, Essex!!! Back to your schoolroom! Examine your primers! Seek diligently until you find where Watford really is. And then never again presume to consider yourself educated. Tut, tut!
See what a good brother I am: this box encloses several military treasures. Take care that no foreign spy gets hold of them. The cartridge is one that missed fire. I extracted the bullet and took out the cordite, so it is quite safe. The badge is a transport driver’s badge such as I wear. The strap is the chin-strap from a field-service cap. The black buttons are the standard pattern buttons worn on the tunic of men of rifle battalions: the brass ones are the standard pattern button of battalions of infantry of the line. Very likely your chum has most of these things; but I think the transport badge will probably captivate her, as an unusual possession.
Yes, you were unlucky not to see Tark, but it was rather impossible to fit everything into so short a time. I am getting four days’ leave at the end of this week. I shall go home for part and spend the rest in London. I think we shall be off before long. We have been told to get everything ready and we are being granted special leave in batches.
I am busied now with many affairs.
Your affectionate brother