A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 16 October 1917.
16 ? October 1917
Twenty minutes ago I returned to my shanty, where I am living alone again. – Since I wrote to you last I have left Headquarters and have been away down south to the town or rather what was a town, and I have just returned; to find a lovely pile of correspondence – two dear letters from you and some delightful sweets – and the book. Thank you so much dearest – but you must stop you are sending much too much in the way of letters and parcels – you know you spoil me dreadfully.
I have an idea that to-day must be the 16th. I am not sure, and I have no one to ask. Everybody was in bed when I got back. I had dinner in a place beginning with a D and then came back in a car with 2 R.N.A.S. fellows. Some of those fellows can drive – especially after a good dinner.
It is blowing hard and raining again. I should like to know how many days in the year it rained.
A noise has worried me at times here. It is very faint and far away, but seems to get into my head. At first I did not know whether it was only in my head or not. It sounds like rubbing a wet finger on a tumbler only much shorter in length. It is a bell buoy some distance away. Eureka! But it is very monotonous.
Did not ‘No Man’s Land’ come out in some magazine. I have been looking through its pages and I am sure I have read ‘The Man Traps’ and ‘Morphia’ somewhere else. Did you read it all? It is extraordinarily clever I think. Thank you for allowing me to keep the ‘Student in Arms’ for a time. I want to lend it to one or two fellows. You had better buy yourself a new copy and put it on my book bill. I hope you are keeping an account of the books you are sending me, because if you don’t I shall feel bound to send them back in good condition which I cannot always guarantee.
Why are you so afraid of my laughing at you? Why should you think that I looked annoyed at something or another. I can’t think what puts all these things into your head. It must be my fault for I must have given you a very wrong impression. I am very sorry and I must try and mend my ways. Perhaps I shall learn in time.
What a long bike ride you had with Evelyn. I wish I could have been there too. You must be having much better weather than we are to get a bike ride nowadays.
Mrs Cross does not seem to be at all well lately – what with headaches and neuralgia – please give her my love & tell her she must get better forthwith. I am very sorry for her.
You are keeping quite fit and well – all spots gone – I hope. How is Mr Cross? – still carrying on at the station.
I remember hearing Jane Harrison – Fellow of Newnham, lecture at Cambridge and I have read some of her articles – she had a fight once with Gordon Selwyn – fellow of Corpus and now Warden of Radley – a literary fight I mean – and the blows were in pamphlet form. Don’t believe all you read in Jane Harrison by a long way.
In your next letter you might give me Manning’s initials (the Rector of High Barnet) if you don’t mind.
Maude does not seem to want to return home again. It looks as if she never would get away.
If I could rely on you to send me the bill and if it were not troubling you too much I should ask you to send me out the Times Literary Supplement and the Bookman (monthly I think). If you do please let me know how much it is with the copies or else I shall return them unread. If you should see any good articles in the Nineteenth Century, the Hibbert Journal, or the Quest when you are looking at a bookstall I should be glad of any such. See how I rely on you and how much I am worrying you! As the winter comes on and the evenings are long and dreary I must have something to read, and novels usually are too much for me.
Have you another photo of yourself – the one I like best – to keep for me when I return – your photos are getting so dirty here but they will do for active service – everything gets filthy in no time.
I read the Political Article in Blackwoods this month and thought it was very good. Do you read the magazine every month?
I must dry up now or I shall be asking you to do something else and you will be so annoyed with me.
So glad to hear that Betsy is not being choked with smoke any more.
Much love to you my darling,
& many kisses