O what a nine days we’re going to have together—the most wonderful that were ever spent. I dream of them, tell myself tales about them, live them over many times in imagination before they are realised. Sometimes I’m going to have no end of sleep, sometimes I’m going to keep awake every second, sometimes I’m going to sit quietly by a fire, and sometimes I’m going to taxi all the time. I can’t fit your faces into the picture—it seems too unbelievable that we are to be together once again. To-day I’ve been staging our meeting—if you arrive first, and then if I arrive before you, and lastly if we both hit London on the same day. You mustn’t expect me to be a sane person. You’re three rippers to do this—and I hope you’ll have an easy journey. The only ghost is the last day, when the leave train pulls out of Charing Cross. But we’ll do that smiling, too; C’est la guerre.
Yours always and ever, CON.
January 6th, 1917.
MY DEAR ONES:
I have just seen a brother officer aboard the ex-London bus en route for Blighty. How I wished I could have stepped on board that ex-London perambulator to-night! “Pickerdilly Cirkuss, ’Ighbury, ’Ighgate, Welsh ’Arp—all the wye.” O my, what a time I’ll have when I meet you! I shall feel as though if anything happens to me after my return you’ll be able to understand so much more bravely. These blinkered letters, with only writing and no touch of live hands, convey so little. When we’ve had a good time together and sat round the fire and talked interminably you’ll be able to read so much more between the lines of my future letters. To-morrow you ought to land in England, and to-morrow night you should sleep in London. I am trying to swop my leave with another man, otherwise it won’t come till the 15th. I am looking forward every hour to those miraculous nine days which we are to have together. You can’t imagine with your vividest imagination the contrast between nine days with you in London and my days where I am now. A battalion went by yesterday, marching into action, and its band was playing I’ve a Sneakin’ Feelin’ in My Heart That I Want to Settle Down. We all have that sneaking feeling from time to time. I tell myself wonderful stories in the early dark mornings and become the architect of the most wonderful futures.
I’m coming to join you just as soon as I know how—at the worst I’ll be in London on the 16th of this month.
The following letters were written after Coningsby had met his family in London.
January 24th, 1917.
MY DEAR ONES:
I have had a chance to write you sooner than I expected, as I stopped the night where I disembarked, and am catching my train to-day.