How strangely far away I am from you—all the experiences so unshared and different. Long before this reaches you I shall have been in action several times. This time three years ago my streak of luck came to me and I was prancing round New York. To-day I am much more genuinely happy in mind, for I feel, as I never felt when I was only writing, that I am doing something difficult which has no element of self in it. If I come back, life will be a much less restless affair.
This letter! I can imagine it being delivered and the shout from whoever takes it and the comments. I make the contrast in my mind—this little lean-to spread of canvas about four feet high, the horse-lines, guns, sentries going up and down—and then the dear home and the well-loved faces.
be at all nervous.
September 12th, Tuesday.
You will already have received my first letters giving you my address over here. The wagon has just come up to our position, but it has brought me only one letter since I’ve been across. I’m sitting in my dug-out with shells passing over my head with the sound of ripping linen. I’ve already had the novel experience of firing a battery, and to-morrow I go up to the first line trenches.
It’s extraordinary how commonplace war becomes to a man who is thrust among others who consider it commonplace. Not fifty yards away from me a dead German lies rotting and uncovered—I daresay he was buried once and then blown out by a shell.
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Your letters came two hours ago—the first to reach me here—and I have done little else but read and re-read them. How they bring the old ways of life back with their love and longing! Dear mother’s tie will be worn to-morrow, and it will be ripping to feel that it was made by her hands. Your cross has not arrived yet, dear. Your mittens will be jolly for the winter. I’ve heard nothing from the boys yet.
To-day I took a trip into No-Man’s Land—when the war is ended I’ll be able to tell you all about it. I think the picture is photographed upon my memory forever. There’s so much you would like to hear and so little I’m allowed to tell. Ask G.M.’C. if he was at Princeton with a man named Price—an instructor there.