Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne undated
I thank you very much for your letter, which I very much appreciate, in view of the amount of work you must have to get through; and I am very small in the scale of importance. I hope Mr Stedman is now all right again.
I am sorry to say that as regards work I have not fallen on my feet. Our work has to be done in rushes, and added to this conditions are strange to me. All days are alike, and one can never leave the office until 10 pm, although we get plenty of time off for exercise. However, I am getting on better now. What I shall be put too eventually, of course, I do not know.
With regard to religion, since I have been in France I have become a bit of a heathen, but I must make an effort to get to Church.
An official list to work with has just been completed. I understand the Chaplain is highly connected. One of the fellows in our Dept of work is thinking of becoming a R.C. he is attached to a well known *** IIII ****, and had done some platform speaking. He is a Welshman, and of course a ritualist. He is a very nice and a very clever fellow. Some of the R.C. churches here are fine old buildings, and the ceremonial arrangements do not seem out of place, although, of course, I do not agree with then.
I have heard the Y.M.C.A. and the Salvation Army etc. Huts criticized unmercifully by some as money-making concerns etc. fellows in the army are given to exaggeration, but the fact remains that something for nothing is the only sign of usefulness in the eyes of many. Present Salvation is well laughed at.
Many of the fellows I have come across have evangelical convictions, which keep them, and also others in order, although they think it best to keep to Army ways, and so they swear, and make fun of the sexual question etc.
The married folk I have come across are, as a rule, clean in their talk, although there are many exceptions.
Impurity is very bad in the Army. I think myself that the Govt should not allow non-commissioned officers to talk loosely on sexual questions during the performance of their duty. Some never speak without introducing the subject in some jocular form or other.
I, personally, am very thankful for the true religious convictions that are to be found in many, not withstanding their outward demeanour.
With best wishes
I remain, Yours sincerely