I am writing this letter just after dinner so I can get it post it straight away so I apologise in advance if I am brief. It is twilight and a spectacular sunset is taking place behind a ruin of a church. I have been lucky in the placement of JC' Company to a beautiful place near St. Quentin. It has spectacular contrasting views. with the trenches and churned up mud. and stunning trees and scenery cut through it. Its strange atmosphere here. The trenches are so quiet. as if you could walk over top and start playing football. but you know there are hundreds if not thousands of rifles aimed on the edge of our trench. The atmosphere inside the trench though is mostly jovial. sometimes serious and it usually depends on how Stanhope's feeling. He is working really hard. and is getting very tired and stressed.
He hasn ’t had a leave for a very long time. and should have one soon. He is preparing for a predicted attack from the Germans. and is really involved in his work. They say some men are going on raid to the Boche trenches tomorrow. but I don't think that I Will be involved. How is sunny Sussex? I hope my plants are doing well in this weather. don’t forget to water them Mice a day. I want to see a flowering Eden when I get back! I heard a tip from one of the men that a touch of Vinegar in the pots does the plant a world of good as it makes the soil more acidic, How are my boys doing? Have they been behaving while I’ve been away? I hope their still playing rugby for the school. Tell them that daddy is always thinking of them and that he will be home soon.
On the matter of the boys. I hope you have discussed with them the possibility of me not coming back. If the situation occurs. tell them I've gone to a wonderful place. which they will need to work hard to get during their lives. Tell them that I had a wonderful life in which I was blessed with a beautiful wife. who bore me two wonderful sons. A new officer has joined [6’ company; a strapping young lad called James Raleigh. He is a friend of Stanhope's and I think that had a large pan With him coming to the company. He went to Stanhope's school. and hero-worships him quite a lot. I think that he has noticed a large change in Dennis. partly due to the stress. and partly due to the whisky. Its an awful shame that he has to turn to the drink. but it's the only thing that keeps him together.
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There have been a few occasions when this has gone a bit out of hand and he has found he shouting at people over little things. One of the men has felt really unwell with neuralgia. and is coming to the point where he thinks he will have to go home. Stanhope thinks he is skiving and is persistent that stay here. I don't suppose that you send me some information about neuralgia? If you could then I could lind out what the symptoms are etc. On the subject of illness. please could you send some anti-lice shampoo? I think that Trotter has lice. and I don’t want to catch it.
Thank you very much for the Alice in Wonderland book. It is just what I need for getting away from it all. and to dive into a whole new world away from this mess. Our chef. Mason, has really benefited from those dishcloths you sent him. We have really noticed a difference in the taste of the food. Mason wasn't born to be a cook. but he really does try hard. Tomorrow we are havrng a slaprup meal. There has been a delivery of cigars and champagne. I think on the menu is roast chicken. How Mason cope With that, I don't know. The time is getting on, and I want to post this letter tonight. Leave is in 2 weeks, so I will see you then. Write a reply to me quick!
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