My dear Mother,
Very many thanks for your letter to-day. Also for an Autocar & for a letter from Odd. I have spent the day in buying oil stoves for the men to use in the trenches.
I first had to find the Cashier & of course found that when I had got to his office, he was out for the day with the [illegible] at a place a mile back on the road I had come & then my gee shed a shoe & then I had a 5. mile ride into Poperinghe to get the stoves & I hadn’t the vaguest idea what the French for stove is. Luckily I met an interpreter who told me & then I went into every shop in the town to buy them, but there were none till at last I found some. Obviously made in Germany though labelled very big made in Sweden. Still they are worth having whether made by the Hun or no. & then I hadn’t got enough money to pay for them so the trusting lady let me go away owing her 5 fr. or more which I suppose I shall have to pay, tho.
Heaven knows she has made a 300% profit already.
I daresay you have seen that they have sent some men from the fleet to look round. I believe that the sailormen were getting rather bored at the way our people get leave & go back to rest while they are always at sea. so they sent some out to see what it was like. They put some of them first of all for 48 hours in the trenches by Boesinghe at the W. corner of the salient which is a waiting spot, & when they had finished there, they offered to show them the upper end of the salient & Wipers. & they asked at once must they go. So they said they must & they went & after a little of Hooge they are completely cured.
This is probably all a yarn, as I see some of them were at Hulluch in the S. but I can quite imagine that a dose of Hooge would cure anyone of anything.
My candle is going out & I’ve not got another, so I must stop.
Love from Jack.