March 23, 1915
Can it be possible that it is two months since I wrote to you? I could not realize it when I got your reproachful letter this morning. But I looked in my letter-book, and found that it was true.
The truth is—I have nothing to write about. The winter and its discomforts do not inspire me any more than the news from the front does, and no need to tell you that does not make one talkative.
It has been a damp and nasty and changeable winter—one of the most horrid I ever experienced. There has been almost no snow. Almost never has the ground frozen, and not only is there mud, mud everywhere, but freshets also. Today the Marne lies more like an open sea than a river across the fields in the valley. One can imagine what it is like out there in the trenches.
We have occasional lovely sunny days, when it is warmer out-of-doors than in—and when those days came, I dug a bit in the dirt, planted tulips and sweet peas.
Sometimes I have managed to get fuel, and when that happened, I was ever so cosy in the house. Usually, when the weather was at its worst, I had none, and was as nicely uncomfortable as my worst enemy could ask.
As a rule my days have been divided into two parts. In the forenoon I have hovered about the gate watching for the newspaper. In the afternoon I have re-chewed the news in the vain endeavor to extract something encouraging between the lines,—and failed. Up to date I have not found anything tangible to account for such hope as continues to “spring eternal” in all our breasts. It springs, however, the powers be thanked. At present it is as big an asset as France has.
A Zeppelin got to Paris last night. We are sorry, but we’ll forget it as soon as the women and children are buried. We are sorry, but it is not important.
Things are a bit livened up here. Day before yesterday a regiment of dragoons arrived. They are billeted for three months. They are men from the midi, and, alas! none too popular at this moment. Still, they have been well received, and their presence does liven up the place. This morning, before I was up, I heard the horses trotting by for their morning exercise, and got out of bed to watch them going along the hill. After the deadly tiresome waiting silence that has reigned here all winter, it made the hillside look like another place.
Add to that the fact that the field work has begun, and that, when the sun shines, I can go out on the lawn and watch the ploughs turning up the ground, and see the winter grain making green patches everywhere—and I do not need to tell you that, with the spring, my thoughts will take a livelier turn. The country is beginning to look beautiful. I took my drive along the valley of the Grande Morin in the afternoon yesterday. The wide plains of the valley are being ploughed, and the big horses dragging ploughs across the wide fields did look lovely—just like a Millet or a Daubigny canvas.