David to May Holzminden Letter No 30 September 15th 1918
Yesterday was a great day with me, in as far as I received four letters from you all together. Of course at the time I like receiving them in batches but afterwards I would much rather they came singley, as I know there must be a blank when I shall get nothing. It was good of you to stay with Mum and to do all that you did while Polly was away. Mum mentions you in nearly all her letters, saying how much she likes having you with her. In one she says “Dear May came for the weekend and we had a nice time together (we always do), she is a great comfort to me and helps me in many ways.” Thanks too for not encouraging her in the idea of not going to Watford to nurse Aunt Annie. So you have been introduced to another of the family curios. I mean Aunt Maria. I had almost forgotten her existence, as she only turns up at rare intervals. Please thank Muriel for making the chocolate. My mouth waters already and will continue to do so and it arrives and has been eaten and then of course will follow the regret for a good thing gone for ever. Thanks for sending on that letter of February 6th “Not in Holland”. Just as though anybody ever accused me of being there. And that reminds me – your news of the exchange going forward sounds too good to be true. Let me know any further news you see or hear.
A letter to one of the fellows said that we are to have stripes for every year that we remain prisoners. With service stripes, wound stripes, prisoner stripes and a few more they will doubtless invent our arms will look like zebras legs. In my letter of August 15th I asked you to send me two books through the Board of Education, and later I sent a post card on which I asked you to add Mitchells Advanced Building Construction, the latest edition, published by Batsford. I wonder if you got that card in time.
I quite agree with the GM that you should not be allowed to work until seven or eight in the evening. There’s no reason at all why your department should be understaffed in order to make up deficiencies elsewhere, and I am very glad that Lutt was bullyragged. If I were at home I would bullyrag you as well but as it is, I can’t, but I think you are doing far too much. So there’s for you.
It may possibly be somewhat of a surprise to you, but I have become a Sunday school teacher, thereby at least attaining the height of my ambition. Please tell Maud. This came about in this way. The other day I was buttonholed by two of the tame Architects in the camp (one of whom is taking a class in Building Construction) who said, “We wish you would take a class in Quantities, we should like to come to it and the men in the Building Construction class are anxious as well.” So having put it that way, what could I do. The only times that a class could be arranged for was on Sunday afternoons and Wednesdays. So now behold me on my hind legs, holding forth on “How it should be done” to men (some of them) much older than myself and with about three times my experience, (though I says it as didn’t oughter) and without having made a very big fool of myself so far. In giving these lessons I realize that this sort of thing requires some practice, as one is very apt to get off the point that one is talking about. You start explaining a thing and someone asks a question and in answering it you get right away from what you were talking about first. Then again you get so many degrees of knowledge with the different men. Some know absolutely nothing about things while others do, so that at times you have to go very minutely into very elementary things or otherwise you would be talking over the heads of some of them. And I have also found that these same Architects, like many others, are very well up from the artistic point of view of building, but from the practical constructive portion, there are many things which they don’t know. Still it is most excellent experience for when I come to teach you, as difficulties crop up which I probably shouldn’t notice in the ordinary way and which I shall be able to explain to you. That reminds me, I have just learnt, or rather am learning, (one of these same Architects is teaching me) perspective drawing, which I have never done before, so now, if you suddenly get a gorgeous art study of the house you’ll know what’s happened.
With regard to your suggestion as to parquet flooring in the Hall, – I don’t think we can have it, as it is much too expensive and tiles always seem so cold. I think however I can get quite a good effect with an ordinary wood floor. We’ll have the grand piano if, (I say if), we can afford it and the rugs and cushions by all means – lots of them. Can’t you send some more snapshots of yourself. I was looking at some another man had today, and it set me longing.