Now when sending the cigarettes out, don’t try to think of the special brand that Harold or Percival used when he was home. Likely enough his name has changed, and instead of being Percy or Harold he is now Pigeye or Sour-belly; and his taste in the weed has changed too. He won’t be so keen on his own particular brand of Turkish. Just send him the common or garden Virginia sort at five cents the package. That is the kind that gives most comfort to the outworn Tommy or Sammy.
Don’t think that you can send too many. I have had five hundred sent to me in a week many times and have none left at the end. There are always men who do not get any parcels, and they have to be looked out for. Out there all things are common property, and the soldier shares his last with his less fortunate comrade. Subscribe when you get the chance to any and all smoke funds.
Don’t listen to the pestilential fuddy-duds who do not approve of tobacco, particularly the fussy-old-maids. Personally, when I hear any of these conscientious objectors to My Lady Nicotine air their opinions, I wish that they could be placed in the trenches for a while. They would soon change their minds about rum issues and tobacco, and I’ll wager they would be first in the line when the issues came around.
One thing that many people forget to put in the soldier’s parcel, or don’t see the point of, is talcum powder. Razors get dull very quickly, and the face gets sore. The powder is almost a necessity when one is shaving in luke-warm tea and laundry soap, with a safety razor blade that wasn’t sharp in the first place. In the summer on the march men sweat and accumulate all the dirt there is in the world. There are forty hitherto unsuspected places on the body that chafe under the weight of equipment. Talc helps. In the matter of sore feet, it is a life saver.
Soap,—don’t forget that. Always some good, pure, plain white soap, like Ivory or Castile; and a small bath towel now and then. There is so little chance to wash towels that they soon get unusable.
In the way of wearing apparel, socks are always good. But, girlie, make ’em right. That last pair sent me nearly cost me a court martial by my getting my feet into trench-foot condition. If you can’t leave out the seams, wear them yourself for a while, and see how you like it.
Sleeveless sweaters are good and easy to make, I am told. They don’t last long at the best, so should not be elaborate. Any garment worn close to the body gets cooty in a few weeks and has to be ditched. However, keep right on with the knitting, with the exception of the socks. If you’re not an expert on those, better buy them. You may in that way retain the affection of your sweetheart over there.
Knitted helmets are a great comfort. I had one that was fine not only to wear under the tin hat but to sleep in. I am not keen on wristlets or gloves. Better buy the gloves you send in the shops. So that’s the knitted stuff,—helmets, sweaters, and mufflers and, for the expert, socks.