A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 20 October 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 20 October 1917


Brigade Headquarters.



My own darling,


Tonight I really must get a line off to you. What a lot I have to thank you for.  Letters – lovely letters and a box of the most delicious walnuts.  Thank you ever so much, dear.


I have been atrociously busy. I am in the unenviable position of having to try and act as Battery Commander and Adjutant.  Both the Major and the Adjutant are away on leave and I only I am left a remnant in Israel! Or rather the land of bondage.


Since I last wrote I have been up at the Gun line and then running like a frightened hare between Battery and Brigade Headquarters – oh!  I have had a lovely time – even shelling can’t distract me now!


No, dearest, I had not realised that we had been engaged six months. It seems much longer owing to this continued and damnable war – only the leaves have gone quickly.  You will soon realise that I have no head at all for dates and periods.  I can never remember a number.  I am full of shortcomings, as no doubt you are beginning to realise.


Please forgive spelling mistakes – I can’t spell tonight. If Hilly gets much ‘higher’ he will begin to – smell – won’t he?  No I don’t think His Lordship of Willesden at all interesting.


I have looked through your correspondence and I can’t find a letter of Sept 25th.  did it contain anything special you wanted to know?


You do seem to be having a good time. I wish I could be with you too.


At the moment the Boche is shelling us – the moan of the shells is really like what I imagine lost souls would make and the burst like the splash and shake of their arrival in – a splash similar to the one the Kaiser would make – and the buzz of the bits like the annoyance expressed by the occupants at being disturbed by a greater fiend than they. How imaginative I am tonight.


Don’t dream again like that one you described in your letter of Oct 14th or rather I should say don’t get so much that disagrees with you.  You ought to become a Mrs H.G. Wells!


I am so sorry ‘Idols’ disagreed with Mrs Cross. I hope she is better now in every way.


Yes! I do remember the night at Eastbourne when you had your own way – the only occasion indeed!  There are heaps of other ways of getting what you want.  I thought you very spiteful at the time – there now!


You may chuckle. I never do anything so vulgar!!


Has Mrs Cross got over her presentiments yet? And who was the man?  I am so sorry you were disappointed.


Thank Mr Paice and the Jacksons for me for their tender enquiries and say how I reciprocate them (is that right, oh! paragon of etiquette?) Let me P’s initials & address


Your book by sapper I read and enjoyed and it was stolen by the major and taken by him on leave – the wretch. I am very angry – oh by the bye did I thank you for it.  I have so much to thank you for that I forget half of them.


I have a book by Augustine Birrell, called “Self Selected Essays” which I want to read sometime. I remember meeting his cousin O. Locker Lampson at Salisbury once.  I don’t care for the author much – he is a Haldane type.


How is England?  Are you all provided with tin hats and dug-outs yet?  I wish we had some of the latter here.


The beastly telephone has been going all the time I have been writing – hence the jumble. There is a bit of movement tonight in transport and I have been afraid of my chickens getting damaged – however they are alright now.  “All is safely gathered in”

– only one officer made his way across country in the dark with no light and fell into an enormous shell hole full of water.


I must close now and send a line to mother – or she will be getting annoyed with her naughty boy.


With love to you all

(By the bye you did not enclose “the note – such a “nice one” which I presume was from Mrs Cross – I am very angry with you. It is what I have been wanting!)

& with all my best love to you

& many kisses

Ever your



The Col has just come in in his pyjamas & asked me what I was doing – I said writing private letters – & he smiled a smile and went out.