A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 7 May 1917.
May 7th 1917
My own darling,
Your letter of the 3rd has just arrived by this evening’s mail and you do not seem to have received my letter which was intended for your birthday – you are a dear forgiving little girl to write me such a nice letter without scolding me; but weren’t you just a tiny bit (perhaps more) angry with me for being so wicked as to miss the day.
I do wish you had not to spend a solitary evening. How I do grudge all this lost time. I don’t spend solitary evenings at all now. For the past four nights we have spent most of the time in the cellar – the Colonel, 4 officers signallers etc. The Boche has been making a horrible nuisance of himself and has occupied his nights and ours shelling our roads and billets. The net result is that neither side get any rest and as my wires get badly cut by shell fire it usually means that the linesmen and myself are tramping the country side mending them.
The days have been glorious, but the weather has just turned and it has started to rain. It looks very bad tonight.
My days have been spent almost anywhere within a radius of 30 miles. The mare is getting rather weary. I am afraid I am a bit of a brute. She is a much more comfortable ride than any other horse on the Headquarters Staff and so she gets a lot of work – poor old thing.
You seem to be tremendously busy too. It is much better to have too much to do than too little as it makes the time go so quickly.
I was very amused to hear about Mr Paice but am very sorry to hear of the cold he got as a consequence of his adventure.
Darling if in ‘those’ days I thought you cared a ‘twopenny dam’ do you think I should have written snubby letters; though certainly I never dreamt that they were snubby at all – I was always frightened of saying too much or being too bold and so getting choked off.
What a nuisance it is that they are stopping corn for the horses. I did not know of it until you mentioned it in your letter. You won’t get much more riding now I suppose.
We are on the move again and tomorrow will see us clear of this place I hope. Everything is very uncertain at present. We are in the midst of packing again – we are getting quite expert at the game now. You will soon be thinking of making a move and become a farm labourer. I think it is very good of you to do it – but you must not get too tired, young lady. How is Mrs Cross enjoying her holiday with Mrs Lowe? She ought to have a good rest.
Finchley is the same as ever no doubt. Is there any tennis yet? I suppose you have not had any. I was asked to go and play with a French family who have a place behind the lines and a hard court but I could not go. Imagine playing tennis within the sound of guns.
Well, darling, how does it feel like to be engaged? I suppose you feel horribly tied and bound. It makes no difference to me because I was just as much in love with you before as I am now after – if you can understand what I mean.
You have never been on the continent have you? I wonder if I shall be able one day to take you off all on our own through west Europe – we might leave Germany & Austria out – say Paris & a few other places & Italy. Wouldn’t it be glorious. I must not think of such things or I shall go silly.
Please forgive this paper. I have run out of writing paper for the time being – until I can get into a town to buy some more.
In my last letter I returned your programme. I hope you received it alright.
I must close now or you will be getting tired of my scrawl.
With all my love darling
And heaps of kisses