A.A. Laporte Payne letter 14 December 1916.
Dec 14th 1916
Another day must not be allowed to go by without a line from me, although you know that no moment of my existence is without its thought for you however busy I may be. At the present time I am attached to another battery as its battery commander is away, but I expect to return to my own unit tomorrow.
Your letter of the 9th has just arrived. Thank you so much for it. I was longing for one to arrive. You must have been writing it when I was thinking particularly of you. I think I told you in my last note what I was doing on that night. I am very sorry to hear Mrs. Cross is so unwell again. I do hope she is better now, and you too. What have you been doing to make your lips crack? It sounds very suspicious. I am all sympathy but you see I don’t know what it is like to have a cracked lip! However be more careful in future. Further, madam, don’t you think it time to mend you ways? Lunching out again with another fellow! However being an offender myself I can’t preach – I have faint recollections of dragging you out – and I certainly must not be a ‘dog in the manger’ of the worst possible type.
What an appalling person I must have been to be so rude to you so often. I wonder you put up with it at all. Surely I could never have called you ‘thick headed’. I wonder what remark I made about your cracked lips that time.
Yesterday one of the best fellows I know – Cheadle by name with a Trench Mortar Battery – called in to see me on his way up to the front line. He seemed very cheery about his job. Then I went up to the O.P. and a short time afterwards an orderly came for me and said that an officer who was badly wounded wanted to see me in the Dressing Station. I went there and found the poor boy on a stretcher badly knocked about. I do hope he pulls through alright. It is awful. All the best fellows seem to go. I don’t know why I tell you these horrors but it created such an impression on my mind and I must tell someone and who better than you. You see we don’t notice these things much – the dead you take no notice of and the wounded generally are so quickly cleared away that those who remain don’t come in contact with the results of a war unless actually called to the dressing station. He is the third officer who has been with me in the battery. The other two were killed. They were without exception the best fellows we ever had in the Brigade.
I have told Maude to give you two photos. I hope you don’t mind. You can have either or both, I told her that ‘the Crosses had asked for one’ – which was inaccurate and unkind – but still I am like that. Please forgive. If you won’t, tell Maude you didn’t and don’t want one.
It does not seem at all like Christmas out here. I hope it is better in London. England seems to be bucking up a bit. It’s about time.
With all my love, darling, and forgive my fooling in this and previous letters.