October 18, 1915.
I’m so glad the saris are what you wanted. If you pay L5 into my a/c at Childs, it will be simplest.
Everyone—except I suppose the victims—seems to have regarded the Zeppelin raid as a first-class entertainment. I think they do us vastly more good than harm, but it would be a satisfaction to bag one.
So poor Charles Lister was killed after all. He is a tremendous loss. And ——, who could have been spared much better, has been under fire in Gallipoli for months without being touched.
I agree with Charlie’s sentiments. What is so desperately trying about the Army system is that mere efflux of time puts a man who may be, and generally is, grossly stupid, in command of much more intelligent people, whose lives are at his bungling mercy. If Napoleon, who won his Italian campaign at 27, had been in the British Army he wouldn’t have become a Major till 1811. It is an insane system which no business would dream of adopting. Yet it wouldn’t do to abolish it, or you destroy the careers of 4/5 of your Officers. The reform I should like would be to make every third promotion in any regiment compulsorily regardless of seniority.
I am having a few lessons in Arabic now, but it is a much more difficult language than Hindustani, and the only available “Munshi” is the regimental interpreter who can’t read and speaks very broken English, and the only available book deals with classical Egyptian and Syrian Arabic, which are to the Arabic of to-day as Latin, French and Italian are to Spanish. So my acquirements are likely to be limited.
There is absolutely no news here. Reinforcements are said to be coming but have not arrived. The next show should come off about November 10th.
* * * * *
October 11, 1915.
I have just seen in the Times that Charles Lister died of his wounds. It really is heart-breaking. All the men one had so fondly hoped would make the world a little better to live in seem to be taken away. And Charles was a spirit which no country can afford to lose. I feel so sorry for you too: he must have been very dear to you personally. How the world will hate war when it can pause to think about it.
I had quite a cheerful letter from Foss this mail. I wonder he wasn’t more damaged, as the bullet seems to have passed through some very important parts of him. I am rather dreading the lists which are bound to follow on our much-vaunted advance of three weeks ago. As for the Dardanelles, it is an awful tragedy. And now with Bulgaria against us and Greece obstructed by her King, success is farther off than ever.
No, Luly is not with me: I was the only officer with the draft. As for impressions of our surroundings they are definite but not always communicable.