One of my draft has been killed and five wounded at Kut. Our casualties there are 21 out of 180. I shall look forward to seeing my men again: I hope about the second Sunday after Epiphany. We shall then march with a force equal to the King of France’s on his celebrated and abortive expedition of ascent. Our destination is a profound secret, but you may give Nissit three guesses and make her write me her answers on a Valentine.
Christmas passed off quietly and cheerfully. T.A. is so profoundly insensible of incongruities that he saw nothing to worry him in the legend A MERRY CHRISTMAS and the latest casualty list on the same wall of the R.A.T.A. room: and he sang “Peace on earth and mercy mild” and “Confound their politics” with equal gusto. And his temper is infectious while you’re with him.
The most perplexing Reuter’s come through from the Balkans.
* * * * *
Christmas Day, 1915.
I hope you got my last letter safely. I enclosed it in my home one to be forwarded.
There is little news from this theatre, and what there is we mayn’t write, for the most part.
My Coy. is being bombarded at Kut still. They have had 21 casualties out of 180. One of my draft is killed and five wounded and here everyone is parroting about a Merry Christmas. Truly the military man is a pachyderm.
This is likely to be the last you will hear of me for some time, though I hope to be able to dob out a post-card here and there, perhaps letters now and then. In a word, we’re moving next week and are not likely to see billets again till we lodge with the descendants, either of the Caliphs or of Abraham’s early neighbours.
My leg is so far recovered that I take it as almost certain I shall march too when we go. I am testing it to make sure first. Yesterday it did six miles without damage, though the gait remains Hephaestian.
The weather is still cold, and fine and dry. The sunsets are glorious.
* * * * *
December 26, 1915.
Christmas and submarines have made the mails very late and we have again been nearly a fortnight without any.
We have got our orders to move and so I look forward to a fairly prolonged period of trekking, during which it will hardly be possible to do more than write odd postcards and occasional short letters; but I will write when I can. We start in two or three days time.