A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 1 June 1917.
June 1st 1917.
My own darling,
Though busy I am still thinking of you. You will forgive a short scribbled note I know. I am sitting in the map room – it is a broken room in a much shelled farmhouse. The wall paper is made up of innumerable and varied maps and aeroplane and other photographs. The windows are made of tracing paper – my seat is an ammunition box and the table is a looted one. We don’t get time for sleep in great quantities now and we are busy at nights unfortunately. The Boche is misbehaving himself horribly.
We have had lovely weather, but I am afraid it is about to change alas! It will interfere with your work too won’t it? How are you liking it now? I hope Maude is not proving a very boring companion and that she is behaving herself nicely. I need not enquire about you.
We are still laying lines, digging dug-outs, and issuing orders & instructions and I have got into such a muddled condition that I have just tried to light my pen at the candle and write with a cigarette.
I have not seen my mare for days, but I hope she is alright. She hates the noise of the guns, so she is not kept at the gun line, besides it is not safe here, we are too close up.
We ran in two civilians as spies to-day – the only civilians I have seen for a few days – but I don’t think they are as bad as that although they are natives of this part of the world.
Have you guessed where I am yet? I have not worn a coat for a long time. My get-up is – shirt, breeches and an old pair of boots & leggings. I have been wounded – in a silly way – I cut my finger with a pair of wire-cutters.
We are trying to keep the Colonel in a good temper – but he breaks away occasionally. Times here are most trying certainly but – People don’t say ‘fate’ , or ‘kismet’ or anything like that now they simply say “C’est la guerre”, and let it go at that unless they are the unfortunate possessors of lives.
This is a rotten letter, darling. Do I make love letters in person or on paper – if I am worse when present I must be very bad indeed.
Give my love to Maude. Hoping you are both well.
With all my love dearest