25 July 1917
My dear Father
Since my last letter to you I have written to Judy and (I think) to Ethel also, so you will have had news of me through them. Today I have plenty of time for writing for I am having a day off duty. I was up the line last night on duty that kept me waiting about for six hours; and as we have been going extraordinarily close to the front line lately we naturally had a rough time. One can often get up and away without any shelling when there is no waiting; but a long wait close up leaves no hope of avoiding it. Altogether it was a most breathless time: however we dodged up and down the track with great skill finding quiet patches (temporarily quiet that is) as they occurred and managed to escape without casualties to horses or my own men though several other men who happened to be with me were hit.
I got back just in time to be late for breakfast and then thoroughly enjoyed a good sleep. And now I am doing a thorough shirk for the rest of the day, taking the opportunity of writing several letters.
Arthur’s leave is, of course, long finished. How did you find that he looked? I wonder if he will succeed in getting a mobile Lab Job. He seems rather fed up with routine Base work so I hope he will get some change which will vary the monotony of it.
I expect the School is ending its term this week isn’t it? You will be glad to see a bit more of May. But you expect she will have a good deal of “publicity work” (the word “advertising” seems to be out of date) during the holidays.
You seem to have the prospect of a good all round fruit crop. The fruit trees I have seen about here recently are pretty well loaded. Especially some walnut trees that I passed the other day: the fruit hung like grapes on them. I take it that small fruits have been plentiful too, for we are getting regular issues of strawberry, currant and raspberry jam – very nice after the long course of plum and not much else.
News from Russia is about as rotten as can be. Kerensky is appointed, I see, to a Directorate much like that of Buonaparte after French Revolution. If he can succeed in repressing disorder – and repression is the only course now – we shall probably see a Republic with a very autocratic President set up in Russia. I dare say that would be the healthiest form of government for them for some generations to come.
Any news from Boo lately?
Love to all from