No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess dear: When I tell you that four of us have been playing bridge for a couple of hours this afternoon, you will understand that we have not had a very busy day. I can stand this state of affairs… especially during this showery weather. We had a hell of a thunderstorm last evening. The lightning flashes and roar of the thunder reminded me very much of the front line… a rather unpleasant thought! Today has been a little better… with only one or two light showers, but the sky has remained glowering and rather depressing. Still, I don’t suppose we can expect anything else just now. It is seasonable weather, even though it is retarding our progress out here.
How are conditions at home, Jess? According to the radio, there has been frost in England. I don’t think there has been any over here although the evenings are quite cold and damp. Today is only Wednesday and yet I have received your letter written on Monday: these rapid deliveries are rather amazing… I hope you are now receiving my letters as quickly. I only wish my letters of late had been more interesting. I have become a lousy correspondent and feel guilty. But my life has been rather uninteresting since my leave… and I seem to have difficulty in finding subject matter for letters. When I think of the amount of interesting matter I receive from you, it makes me feel ashamed: after all, I have so much more to write about than you, dear. I am living in a different world… of chaos…destruction: of different people… of activity… and yet my mind has become so lazy that I cannot concentrate on telling you about it. Perhaps if there were no censorship I could do better: I am always censorship conscious… even though my letters have at times been written with a careless disregard of the censor.
I have been trying to read lately… but have not been very successful. I managed a ‘wild wester’… and a murder: I had no stomach (metaphorically speaking!) for anything heavier. This is all symptomatic: I must be suffering from mental inertia or stagnation or something. I could be cured easily enough… but the cure happens to be you my dear… so… So what? I will have to shake myself and see if I can discover an ‘ersatz’ cure… and what a hope!!
From your letter, I gather that you are being harassed by the boys… (Jess’s two young brothers) and perhaps by John in particular. Do you think he is lazy, Jess? I sometimes wonder:- but we have to remember his affliction and make allowances, I s’pose. I think John’s worst handicap is that he appears to be a ‘chip off the old block’… his father. His habit of sitting around aimlessly: his lack of interest in the usual boys’ hobbies… and his timidity:- these are all characteristics of your father, don’t you think? But – you tell me that he is reading a fair amount, and that is a good sign, even though he is poaching your book. It is easy for me to imagine John sprawling in an easy chair, reading… and it is equally easy for me to understand why you become infuriated. But are you sure it is jealousy, my dear? Has he not been spoiled by your mother? Doesn’t she usually do her own pot-washing, coal heaving, lighting fires etc. Is it not possible that John has never been really encouraged to regard himself as of any use in the house… and that your mother, by her example, has led him to regard all domestic work as a woman’s province? He needs shaking up Jess. You can do it diplomatically. It would be nice – especially for John – if he could be taught a few lessons in courtesy and ‘gentlemanly’ behaviour.
But am I lecturing? or boring you to death? Let’s change the subject – after this final word… someday you will be able to sit back in an easy chair whilst the coal heaving etc. is done for you… And it is possible that that day won’t be far distant: I am living for nothing else… And what a privilege it will be to help you… to work with you… for you. Ah Jess… you are worthy of so much. I dream such a lot about bringing a little more joy and pleasure into your life: of relieving you of some of your worries and irritants… of helping you to rear our little son. There lies happiness… especially for me… because I am always happy in the presence of My Jess.
Good night, my love…