Private Address: 1 Avenue Hérold, Le Raincy, Seine-et-Oise
26 Rue du Mont Thabor
1st June 1915
My dear Eugénie
Many thanks for your letter of the 23rd last conveying me your good wishes for my birthday. I was really disappointed that I could not run down to Badsey whilst in London, but it was not possible. I had counted on a business journey to Oxford which would have enabled me of taking the journey free of expense. Unfortunately, the gentleman I had to see there was on a mission to France, Holland and Belgium in connexion with the war. He came back before I left England, but had to go off again, so my trip to Oxford was “dans le lac” and I could not afford the expense on my own account.
Unfortunately we have not got rid of our apartment in Paris, the war intervening the very day we moved from it, the renting of it has become most problematical. I fear we shall remain with it on our shoulders until the end of the lease (January 1916), for I feel sure that no one will rent it at the present time at the price the landlord now asked. He will undoubtedly have to draw in his horns so soon as he has done with us. For the time being, he does not care two straws, as he knows we are there to pay his rent.
We are very pleased with our apartment in Le Raincy. It is larger than the one in Paris as regards the size of the rooms, and very cheerful, being light the whole way round. Le Raincy is quite a nice place and the environs are very pretty. I like going about on my bicycle, but do not dare go far out just now as on the eastern side it is forbidden to circulate without special permits from the Authorities, and I don’t want to be stopped by the gendarmes and have my bicycle taken from me.
Things here are more than quiet and I do not suppose they will look up before the war is finished. I do not see how they can, for every kind of business is short of hands and it is hard to get anything done.
I saw Fred before he went to Nancy and again on his return from there. I find he is looking very well, although he is naturally considerably bothered with the present state of things.
We were very pleased to see Ethel and Jack when we were in London. At that time I still hoped I might get down to Badsey.
I see that Arthur is at No 9 General Hospital near Rouen. I thought at one time he was sent on to Nantes. Which regiment is George in? And what is the name of Cyril’s regiment? I have no doubt you feel anxious about the latter two. Arthur, of course, you feel quieter about, as he is a long way from the firing line.
We were terribly shocked at Charlie Butler’s sudden death. He was such a nice boy, and always a great favourite of ours. It was indeed a great loss to Fan as he was always there to advise her. The shock must have been considerable to you.
Fred Butler, as I understand, is in the “navitaillement” so that he is less exposed than if he were in the trenches. I do hope nothing will happen to him.
They seem very pleased here that the Italians have joined in with the Allies as they imagine that it means the war ending sooner. Whether it will have that effect time alone will show. The more serious people here do not seem to anticipate the end before the end of the year “an plus tôt”, others, who know not what they speak about, talk about the summer or autumn. As far as I can see, I should say that everything indicates a good many months to come before we see the end of it.
Provisions are running up rapidly here.
I saw Gus last April, I found them both in bed. I fear that Gus is getting rather weak, but unfortunately being unable to see him alone, could get to know nothing, as she does all the speaking and you can’t get anything sensible from her. Fred has asked me to try and find out if there exists any sort of place in the country where they can be properly looked after. I fear she will always be the stumbling block for anything of that kind.
We are well, thank you, I hope that you yourself are now getting stronger. How is Julius and the other members of the family? I hope well.
Fannie joins me in love to you and all and trusting that those of them who are gone to the war may be kept in safety.
I remain, my dear Eugénie
Your affectionate brother