A.A. Laporte Payne letter 27 Nov. 1916
The entirely unexpected has happened and I have received another delightful letter from you. Thank you so much for it – how feeble a mere ‘thank you’ sounds; but I have never meant it more. My joy at receiving it was not altogether unmixed with other feelings for it made my disappointment all the more. I will tell you about it.
You say in your letter that you would like to see me again and ask when I expect leave again. My name had been sent in by the Colonel for a Battery Commander’s Course at Shoeburyness and I was hoping to go to England and you again (one afternoon with you alone). The thought had made me quite crazy. For three days I dreamt about it and planned all sorts of things and then that damned brute the General stopped it. I could do murder with great delight. What a lot I could have explained and I should have seen you once again under very different conditions. Then to receive your letter! I must have been thinking about getting home to you again at the time you were writing to me. But perhaps after all it is the best for you that I could not get away – and I must grin and bear it. You say I can do as I like; but I can’t because I love you.
You ask me for a photo – and could I ever refuse you anything? You may have as many as you like; but you ought to surround yourself beautiful things and not with gargoyles, unless you own to the philosophy of the beauty & the beast!
At last I have someone I can write to as I want and say what I really think. I am going to write all sorts of nonsense that is very precious to me, because I know that no one else will ever I know and because I love you. To others I must be the same – politely sarcastic and cold as usual but not to you when we are alone. You are the first I ever loved. I have never been serious before.
I may have played the fool but that only helps me to realise how much you are to me.
I wonder what you are doing now. It is 6.30 pm Sunday night. How many 6.30 pms Sunday nights I have waited for you to go to your seat at Christchurch. You little knew how angry I was when you did not come in. those good antediluvian days – and now – C’est la guerre!
I did not mean to say that it is for your sake as well as my own that I hesitate to write to you as I feel. Cut out the ‘as well as my own’.
Yes! I shall certainly get tired of hearing so often from you – especially when you put such ‘silly things’!
You do put silly things when you write like that.
I am cold & homesick to no night; but not so miserable as I might be. Are you thinking of me to night, darling?
The Captain wants to know what the matter is. First I am up in the clouds & then in the dumps. Shall I tell him? I don’t think so. I could not tell anyone else.
If I get the blues I read in your letters – the really nice ones! They are getting so dirty.
I am still burning insense to you my ritual consists in smoking your cigarettes in front of your photo. I wonder how many different persons you are. You say I don’t know the real you. But there are lots of ‘yous’ and each one is better than the other. Some silly yet sensible man said something about variability being one of the virtues of a woman. It avoids the crude requirements of polygamy. So long as you have one good woman you are sure to have a spiritual harem. What rot I am talking – but then you see I am in love.
I should like to have an album of snaps of you in all the different moods and ways of you. Quite impossible!
One day I am going to make you furiously angry – but only when I can make it up in person and not with pen & ink poorly.
Only one thing I am afraid of and that is whether you are certain or not. You must be quite mad to fall in love with me. Aren’t you in love with love and not with me whom you know so little? Here’s a motto for you – Nihil praeferendum honistati.
I must not write so many letters to you as you really cannot have so many arriving by post with my name on the outside – you are quite right (as always) in putting Esqr.
It is a glorious day to day, but much colder. I am alone at the battery. I should love a walk with you. I am going to the trenches this afternoon with a signaller – what a substitute!
This morning I have been wandering around like a ‘mischievous elf’ I have started a ‘stock pot’ for the battery. I don’t know in the least how it is done; but I told the cook to put in everything from bones to brown paper.
I must close now. I hope you are well & Mrs Cross & everybody.
With all my love