30 March 1917
My dear Father
Your letter of the 26th has just arrived, supplementing the postcard that you sent with the news of Boo being wounded again. I hope further news will come soon, and that it will be good. It is, at any rate, so far reassuring that he is just bad enough to take him to India and give him a good long spell of sick furlough so that he can operate his plan of having Mela meet him there and getting married. I am very pleased that he has got his majority. There are plenty of young Majors and Lieut-Colonels now, but I don’t think there can be many younger than he is. But the rank of a commissioned officer is a strangely variable thing now: men come out from England with a crown up and a few days afterwards you see them with two pips only or sometimes one, even. While Captains continually become Lieutenants and Lieutenants Captains – some officers repeating the process several times. I see that Winnie has been given the task of trying to devise a more stable method in promoting officers. But I doubt if much can be done.
So you have sent the last of The Times broadsheets. I don’t know whether they have had a big sale; very likely not. But they have had at all events one grateful reader. A good deal of very crude magazine literature filters out here through the medium of YMCAs and the Post Office forwarding scheme – terribly poor stuff, most of it. One appreciates getting one’s teeth into something more satisfying, even if it is only an excerpt.
Life continues very ordered and uneventful here. It must be vastly different further South. This March has been so wet and stormy as to set active operations at a discount. Nevertheless the strong winds have dried more than the rain has wetted. A week of fine weather at any time might dry the whole countryside thoroughly. In the meantime it is pleasant to read German comments on the War. They are plausible to a degree that would be admirable if anything German were admirable. If our practical education in the matter of the advantages of retirement had not been so thorough we might reasonably think that we were losing the war! I forgot what were our precise terms for “retirement in accordance to plan” and” voluntary elasticity”; whatever the terms, the processes were all the same – not at all gratifying.
I suppose Kathleen will soon be home. I had a good long letter from her a little while ago. And Jack, too, has been very good lately; I have heard quite a lot from him. Rosie writes very cheerfully and gets on thoroughly well with everybody at Machin & Kingsley’s. The firm is pinched considerably by the restrictions on paper imports, for the biggest part of their trade is in paper. But Rosie doesn’t think they will go ‘broke’ yet, in spite of the dismal prognostications of the senior partner.
I must go to bed.
Love to all from