A.A. Laporte Payne letter 22 December 1916
December 22nd 1916
It is a good thing for me when you are angry for I got the most delightful letter as a result. Thank you so much for it. Don’t forget to be cross with everyone very often. I like it. Often I feel like that myself. I do at present and I am afraid I shew it too much. My reasons I do not know though. I am much too ambitious and when things don’t go right I get very irritable. It is then that I write these gloomy letters to you for relief. You must be bored with them. How I wish I could be with you to realise more than I do that there is one thing alone that more outweighs everything else. You know what that is. Someone-the-one-to-love more & more unselfishly if I can in this unsympathetic existence.
Thank you so much for the photo of yourself. My wish was gratified, but it is of course not a good one of you. How could it be in any case? No picture can be like the original and certainly no photo ever flattered you.
I am so sorry to hear of Mrs. Cross’ loss and that she finds the weather trying. I hope Christmas will find her in more cheerful spirits. Poor Tubbie. I am sorry about her hand. It is most unfortunate. I must remonstrate with you again. Brains indeed? Learning isn’t brains. Thank heaven. Any fool can appear learned if he (or she) reads a lot. Some people benefit more by 5 minutes reading than others do in 5 years and as for you not having brains – that’s all rot (to be very rude again). There are only two requisites for the ‘good life’ as it has been called ‘heart’ and ‘health’. Learnedness per se is snobbishness. The only other thing that perhaps helps is independence – to be able to tell others if you want to – to go to the devil. How I do sermonise. Please forgive. You are always right except when you talk rot about yourself. If you do it again I shall begin to think you are fishing – so there, my lady.
The weather has been very bad here lately. It has been blowing and raining hard. I hope you have been having better. Colonial troops from warmer climates don’t like it at all –and neither do we from England for that matter. We miss big fires and easy chairs and afternoon teas etc as well as the company we want so much and can’t get out here.
The air is full of peace now. It will be the height of folly and wickedness if we listen to the Hun now. No one wishes it all to be over more than I do but I could not stick that.
How are you keeping? I hope well and not upset by Christmas festivities – for I suppose Xmas will be over by the time you get this. I expect I shall spend Christmas night in the trenches as it is my turn for that duty. However it might be worse. It might be the Somme.
We have a lot of time doing nothing – though one cannot read or write – as for instance when observing or in charge of the battery – but I have something – or rather someone to think about which keeps me more cheerful than I could possibly be otherwise. So you see you have not lived in vain!
One of others is playing the “Happy Day” on the gramophone. “Oh! For a night in Bohemia” but Finchley is not quite Bohemia is it? However I shall never run down Finchley again. It is better than the muddy plains of Flanders. If Victoria as someone said is the Gate of Heaven, Finchley must be Heaven for me.
I must close now. This letter is I am afraid very cold but I can’t write the thousand and one things I want to say.
Au revoir, dearest