A.A. Laporte Payne letter 8 January 1917
January 8th 19167.
Ever so many thanks for your delightful letter which I was most glad to get. It is a very precious one for me as it was written on New Year’s Eve and you really let yourself go a bit for once. You can’t imagine what a difference such a letter makes to me I am now longing for your next letter – I wonder what it will be like this time.
I am sorry you don’t like ‘where love is’. It is a very true book through a bit exaggerated. What a lot of reading you have been doing lately! Do you know what I should like very much. I should like a book you read which you have marked and scribbled thoughts in –one which you don’t want to keep or one I could return to you. It would be most interesting to me. What a lot I am always asking you to do! My advice to you is don’t do it. It is not easy to read and mark a book as if for yourself when someone else is going to read it afterwards.
As the time goes on I realise more & more how much I long to see you and talk to you & kiss you again – if it is possible for my longings to increase more than they are at present. Oh! I am fed up with this war; it is worse than being in prison. It does not look as if it would ever end. But there what would peace bring for me? Don’t forget that. I might be able to see you more often or perhaps not – and in either case I might for some reason be more miserable than ever. Further an absent creature in Khaki like myself may be alright when away or in small doses at long intervals, back from that, to you, mysterious place – the front, which is not exactly a school of refinement. But after all why should I always look for the worst and not take what the gods have graciously given me at any rate for the present.
You will be surprised to hear that there has been another change for me. I have left the battery. A man who has been Staff Captain has been posted to the battery over my head as of course he is much senior. Then the Colonel posted in orders that I had been appointed Brigade Signalling Officer and I am now on headquarters – my address in future will be 175th Brigade R.F.A. Headquarters. Orders have to be obeyed I suppose – so here I am. I get out of all O.P. and trench work and live in a gorgeous chateau with a large bedroom and an office to myself, which perhaps compensate in one way while there is no real fighting going on; but I hope to be back in the line for the next ‘bit’.
The Colonel has been most decent to me so far – but he has a hell of a temper. When he gets nasty I shall not take any notice of him.
There seem to be a lot of changes in the Brigade. Out of the whole lot which came out here – only one battery commander and four subalterns remain.
We are still very busy here as no doubt you can realise by the papers, so I won’t enlarge. All I care about now is to hear from you –and to think about you – and to live for the next time I can see you – and tell you all I want to tell you. Are you keeping well? No colds or anything? I am glad to hear you are getting some riding. I had a long walk this afternoon with the Doctor as I had to go somewhere on business. It did me a lot of good.
With all my love, darling