A.A. Laporte Payne letter 26 Nov 1916
Nov 26 1916
Thank you so very very much for your lovely long letter which has made me quite happy again, and was more than I expected or deserved. It arrived last night while I was in the trenches for my two days tour of duty and my servant had strict instructions to bring your letter down to me if it arrived. Your letters are all I have to live for now.
The photo came as well. It is now in front of me as I write. How I wish you were here in person.
But will you ever forgive me for my last horrid letter to you? Of course I was not angry with you – how could I be? – but I was disappointed at not receiving the other sort. After so anxiously waiting for your letter – cursing delays – I said what I felt.
It was anger with myself more than anything. Now I am all remorse.
Don’t take any notice of my childish note, please darling. At least I was honest in that I wrote what I felt at the time – an unreasoning anger with circumstances of my own making you see, if I did not care so much that I should not have minded. You see how selfish I am. I want you all so much that I get so irritable – especially out here.
There are two sides of me. Generally, I hope, I love you so much that I could and would give you up if I saw that it would be best for you that I did so. And I believe now that I ought. That is why I have acted as I did for so long but I could not go away entirely and then I was weak enough to give way and please myself.
Haven’t you known how hard it has been & how near I have been to what I did that memorable Saturday evening, many times before? You see when I am away I say I will love you as I ought to do – entirely unselfishly, but when I see you I generally almost give way & say “I don’t care” but all the time I do, I do.
The thought of leaving you after that week was too much for me and now my longing for you is too much for me.
Muriel can’t you see how much better it would be for you if I loved you in the first way. All real love must be sacrifice, and I can’t, I can’t, but someday I suppose I shall have to.
You make me smile when you write of yourself as a ‘rotter’ and an ‘ordinary person’. I have met a few people before & after I met you (I haven’t forgotten that day – I wonder if you remember it – I must tell you all about it one day) – and I know – so don’t fill up your letters with that sort of thing again.
Fancy me, who have played the fool for so long and scoffed at love, being in love! But, heaven knows why you are too. I am the happiest being on earth and yet at the same time the most miserable.
Why do you love me, Muriel? I never tried to make you. All I dared to do was to see you sometimes and I always thought I was such a dull person at Banchfield and that you were taking pity on me.
I must hurry up as I shall not be in time for the post orderly and I want this to go this evening.
One thing is worrying me & that is about H.G. Did you refuse him in July? And why? He is a much better man than I am Muriel but even he is & never can be good enough for you. What annoys me is his audacity in asking you and then I think of my own presumption – and then refuse to think at all.
Thank you so very much for having your photo taken again & for me too.
Also the small photo of a place that will be always sacred for me. Thank you too for the box of cigarettes. I am smoking them now. Oh! for the summer, the garden the moon and you & I. well, if I never get that it will have been worth living for and, who knows, perhaps the other thing too. I remember when I first came out my thoughts were of you and the old home & ever since you & they have made all this worth while.
I must close now or I shall be late. I will write again tonight.
All my love my darling