A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 4 July 1917
July 4th 1917
Ever so very many thanks for your delightfully long letters and the photographs. You are a darling to spend so much time writing to me such a lot when you are so busy. The photos are jolly good of you – you look very brown. I wish I were with you to kiss you all day long instead of allowing you to work so hard on a beastly farm. I can’t say that your companions in the photo are extraordinarily beautiful but I am sure they must be very estimable girls to be working on a farm. Maude & the girl at the horses head seem to like shewing yards of leg which is of course pardonable when they are worth shewing or at work on a farm.
I am very glad you forgave me for “preaching” to you but I never thought you would take anything of that spiritualism stuff seriously of course.
Are you having any better weather now – I hope so. To-day it is pouring with rain – a very bad day for the King who is visiting the line here.
We are still out of the line, but quite close enough for the long range guns and aeroplane bombs to remind us that the war is still going. Don’t you break your neck, young lady, swaying about among the tree tops. I think it quite improper for you to do such things too. I should not mind if I were there to look after you and I am sure you must look very nice doing your work – swaying implies gracefulness doesn’t it? You will have to learn how to punt – nothing looks nicer than a girl who knows how to punt well – don’t you think so?
How did Maude enjoy her week end at home? I hear that Reg & Pearse were the cause of her sudden journey home – mostly the latter I suppose. I am sorry the message could not have been “elder” instead of “younger”; but it is impossible for me to get away just at present. I am going to try and get away at the end of August or beginning of September; but of course I shall have to take it when ever I can get it. Nothing is certain nowadays. Even when you start you may be called back even from the boat. The doctor got his warrant the other day and wired for his wife to get rooms at the seaside and then it was cancelled. He has got away now though, lucky fellow. But he deserves it. He has not had leave since January and “it” had a very bad time in the show at Messines.
How is “Tim”? Give her my love when you see or write to her. Did you get away that weekend?
The Corps Horse Show went off very well. There were two or three large tents put up and the field roped off for the show and a big display of flags made the place look well. We erected a big stand for the judges and we had a band. The tea was good. We had strawberries & cream, cherries, peaches, sandwiches, cakes, teas, whiskeys & sodas & beer. My team of blacks was representing the brigade, but we alas did not get anything. One Brigade got everything: they were an old regular brigade who had been out here since the start of the war. They had some lovely horses.
We expect to be moving shortly now and that is all the news I suppose I can give you. Is Mrs Cross alright? Give her my best love – and Mr Cross too.
Isn’t it wicked to spend my time here when I could be with you on the river or at the sea. Reg is a lucky fellow to get home covered with honour & glory and he talks about getting married too – well! Some fellows have all the luck don’t they – except that they haven’t got you.
The Colonel in a very bad temper. He has nothing to do now we are out of the line – and he sleeps, eats and wanders about in a miserable condition.
You can send my letters to “A” Battery now as I am at present in command of that battery. The Major is away sick but of course may return at any time. You can address me as captain too if you like. They have actually made me that.
I have had a jolly good time at H.Q. and I am sorry to leave but I don’t want to refuse promotion again. I was posted to C Battery sometime ago but I did not want to go there. If I don’t like it with A, I shall ask to return to H.Q. again. The only thing is that if I stay at A Battery I shall be at the Wagon Lines in the next push and I shall not be in the line and I can’t miss seeing another show.
The Colonel has been good enough to send my name in for something. Heaven only knows why – but they have only given me a “mention in despatches”. I must wait longer I suppose to get your initials after my mane. I can’t be lucky in love and in war.
I must close now. There is a lot to be done with a six gun battery to look after.
Much love darling
And many kisses – I am still dreaming of you