A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 2 May 1917
May 2nd 1917
The Boche is making a horrid noise, it is very hot, there is a lot to be done, everybody is out and things generally annoy me, so I am writing to you to soothe my weary nerves. Thank you so much for your letter and programme of your concert – and what a large one too! – what about the shortage of paper?! I was glad to see it and I will return it in a day or so when I have had some time to read it. Really I must treat you with more respect, lady mine, (if of course I do not treat you with enough already) – “The examination which all new applicants have to pass has been made sufficiently severe to ensure the admission of only competent players!!”
How are you feeling after rising to such dizzy heights and after your strenuous exertions on the concert platform. I have been spending a lot of time on platforms – gun-platforms – of a horribly rubbly nature, and made of broken bricks – and generally choosing and making battery positions. I spent the whole morning at it – and the Boche saw our working parties and was rude enough to put over some shrapnel – happily no one was hurt and it was hot in the sun. I had delirium and raved about rivers & punts & ices, & flannels – and girls in white & all that sort of thing – what a contrast, dust, railways, guns, oil, smell, shell-holes, khaki, etc and shady rivers etc and you! Isn’t it enough to send any one silly let alone me.
I am so sorry you are being worried with all those congratulatory letters – never mind – you must find it very hard to pretend that you are to be congratulated – poor little girl – the word which looks like a blot is meant to be HARD. The only letters you don’t seem to get are ones from me. I am sorry Mr Cross could say “I hope you have now heard from your traveller”. Well in apportioning blame give the Boche some for bringing me to France.
You are quite right paper kisses are not so satisfying as real ones. However much I may like them you will have a rest now.
I hope the weather will keep like this. It is glorious and I manage to be out a good part of the day – and I try and rush the office work in order to do what I have to do out in the day light.
We are in a most interesting and famous part of the line and I am very glad we are here. I am getting quite burnt, and my appetite is enormous. I have never felt so well. The mare is looking fine and she sends you her love. The Colonel is casting covetous eyes on her, and also on my groom. I shall never forgive him if he asks for them for I can’t refuse.
We managed to get some salad made to day which was very good. There is an extra officer in the mess now – he is the camouflage officer – do you know what that means/ I suppose you do.
You can always be “my little devil” if you want to be. I think you are a little bit of a one – at least I hope so – I hate namby-pamby ones.
I trust you are being a good little girl though in my absence. I am being horribly good out here – partly of course because I can’t be anything else – of course I say naughty things at times but that must be forgiven me under the plea of extenuating circumstances.
I hope you are not unhappy now – you were the tiniest little bit when I was at home I know the cause but I hope the cause has now quite vanished.
I am a member of a Field General Court Martial tomorrow ten miles away, so my day will probably be fully occupied.
I hope you are all keeping well.
With all my love darling,
And many kisses.
P.S. I hope you received my tardy birthday letter and the one I wrote on May 1