My dear Cecily,
Many thanks for your last & for a Tatler. Also for two reprints of Kiplings Articles which I was very glad to have. We are still where we was & show no signs of movement. We had a little excitement yesterday as our mess corporal went mad & chased the signalling subaltern through a barbed wire fence, with heavy loss. It won’t do the S.S. any harm, as he is a bit of obnoxious & I was quite cheered to see him to-day with his face tied up in bandages. The mess corporal, who is really the most harmless of beings & is only a mess corporal, because he has shown signs of nerve strain before, has now returned to hospital, from which he writes gaily that he soon hopes to be back again but not if I know it. He would probably poison us. The trouble is that I can’t get a substitute & though we have a chef & a butler both highly suitable they are both otherwise employed, the chef being a sergeant bomber, so I won’t be allowed to collar him. I have sent in a substitute to St.Omer to-day to do our weeks shopping armed with 120 francs, Lord only knows what he will bring back. Our last mess corporal, who is by trade an actor & recites dismal monologues at the Battalion Concerts, was a bit of a cook in his way & the least solid of our patisserie was sketched by his deft fingers. The substitute is obviously a stone mason by trade, so I expect that our digestions will suffer.
Smith, Transport Smith, has just come back from Hazebrouck where he learnt that the 24th Division have refused to take over a line of trenches & have been sent back to England, so now you know where I am though I had no idea of it myself.
We have just got a new officer, one of the many subalterns, to whom they have nothing at home to give to keep them quiet. We are overstrength as it is, but I don’t mind as he has come after I have had my leave so wont have to come in before my next one.
Love to all