Original Letter

            France, 7th Jany. 1917

My Dear:–

Its only ten o’clock matin but I’ve a minute and I am going to use it in the very best way. It’s a Monday but I wakened laughing and have been laughing ever since. Turk wakened me – with my breakfast – and his tongue was loosened by a large shot or shots of rum just absorbed. He was telling me of his old Platoon in Bramshott. Of course he never drilled but he lived with them in the hut. And with the exception of Turk, a harder lot of ruffians never foregathered. Strangely enough they are nearly all alive and to the fore yet. There was always some hellry afoot in that hut – said Turk – of course, if there was money, they were all drunk every night and there were arguments. One night (this is verbatim) Chris Olsen came in and stepped on the face of Paddy O’Brien! And yet Turkey denies that there is a vestige of Irish blood in him – even in the face of a sentence like that. Every night it was a picnic always some grief and always somebody “visitin’ mason” (Paddy O’Brien’s method of saying ‘Orderly Room’. Harvey – one of Turk’s pet particular friends  got 66 days for laying two men out who came to pinch him for raising a disturbance – this was in England. The same Harvey is still with us although he has had two ‘Blighties’ and is doing wonderful work as a scout. The wonder of it all is that it didn’t spoil Turkey. There is no question of it he was carefully brought up and has perfect manners, is clean minded, and unselfish. Being thrown in with that lot should have ruined him entirely. Of course he drinks like a little soak but his language is cleaner than anyone I know he never tells a dirty story and I have never yet heard him say an unkind thing to or about any one. He is irreligious and has not “gone to his duty” for three years and is therefore excommunicated and it worries him not at all.

It has turned wet again, our sleighing has gone and its good and muddy. I haven’t been far afield this morning – it isn’t very attractive and I haven’t the time.

The days of this tour seem to drag taken collectively – a thing I haven’t noticed in previous tours (out since Mons) and of course it is because at the end of it I am looking forward to going to you. It blinds me, Dear, the thought of seeing you soon. I am a little afraid too: for I know that I shall be very selfish and exacting and want your absolute undivided attention every second. I wonder if you realize the hunger I experience, Dear, every minute I just hunger for you. You have all of me, Dear, and I would not have it otherwise. The only change I could wish is that I were capable of loving twice as much, not so that I would have some extra for my kith and kin but for you, Sweetheart, for you deserve all the love in the world – and even that is a stingy little bit for you.

There was no letter last night and in spite of the fact that I had three the night before I had the unparalleled audacity to expect one. I thought maybe the one for the 31st would come. However I went to bed and read every letter since December 6th – I had a haversack full ­ and destroyed them up to Christmas. And I had a literary evening an evening with the Booklovers as Mac used to say. But it is a heartbreaking job destroying your letters and I carry around always just as many as I can. Never were such love letters, never was such a lover as did write them.

I have had lunch and had my hair cut and have done lots of things since I started writing this. So the day goes lots of little things when any thing really worth writing about does happen – why then one is not allowed to write about it. And it’s just as well.

Now one of these days Baby I am coming to see you – I like to talk about it, you see – first thing I know, why I’ll be believing it myself. Already I am thinking that fourteen days is a mighty short time – this too, at least two weeks before there is a chance of anything developing.

Dearest, I am going to leave you now. there is a world of stuff to be done and I must at it. Do you know that I love you to-day. Because if you are not absolutely sure, I shall tell you that I just love you enormously and am starving for a little attention, for a kiss for the sound of your voice – starving for you. Angel, I adore you.

            Your own Ross