A.A. Laporte Payne letter 23 Nov 1916

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 23 Nov 1916



Nov 23rd 1916



It was perfectly horrid of you to write such a letter as I have just received. I was furious.  After waiting anxiously for a week to hear from you – cussing the delayed mails and other things – I got that.  Thank you so much for it of course.  It was nice and long, and I know I ought to be very grateful to you for writing at all and giving me such an “interesting” and newsy letter, but next time don’t forget to begin with “Dear Sir” and enclose a “Hendon & Finchley News” or whatever the thing calls itself.

But seriously, Muriel, couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) you have forgiven me that letter if you did not approve of it. You seem to acquiesce because you think I want to receive such letters.  Don’t you understand me yet?  I suppose I am much too mad for that – and I am very mad to-day.  I can see you were angry with me – unhappy me! – My best intentions and efforts seem to go wrong.


You will never be able to condemn me for sarcasm again. You were splendid – much too clever for me.  Your letter was a masterpiece, calculated to do one of two things – either to hint that I was to follow your example in future, and write copy book or you wanted to rebuke my answering you by writing as I did.


I know I am being frightfully rude and I am appalled at what I have written but I am going to send it because I know I am absolutely in the wrong and you are quite right, and you will see what a selfish creature I am still. I cannot be responsible for my actions when like this and you must forgive me my bad temper which has already reviled on my own head as I have been left alone tonight.  One is in the trenches on duty and two have gone out to dine because they said I was un-bearable.


Further there has just started a furious strafe. One of our new windows has just gone with the concussion.  A bullet went through another and also the door of my bedroom which is most annoying.  One telephone wire has been cut and the wretched linesman has been sent out by hardhearted me to patrol the line.  We have not opened fire yet but am expecting a message from the trenches at any moment.

Meanwhile I am enjoying all this as it is in accord with my mood.

It has prevented me from throwing the furniture about and breaking a few more windows and also acts as an accompaniment to my writing.


This is the rudest thing I have written or said to you and I am conceited enough to hope that you won’t be offended. You will see that I did not write “you were perfectly horrid” but “it was” whatever “it is”.


“With best wishes”!


“Yours very sincerely!



P.S. Remember that you ought to continue making copy books or cease to publish.