David to May HOLZMINDEN September 22nd 1917
I got your 3rd letter (Aug. 20th) on the 15th and mighty glad I was to get it. The people at home have evidently told you a lot of rubbish, you can write as often as you like and as much as you like. I am glad Campbell wrote to you and I am also glad you saw my post card.
In my letter on July 14th I gave you some sort of description of what happened to me. I had been out with two sergeants and was just getting back into a dugout when a shell burst behind me and assisted me in forcibly. The three of us landed considerably tangled. After we had sorted ourselves out, I found that I was bleeding from one or two places on the left side of my head and neck and also that I was deaf. Later I got knocked over, but not hit, by another shell, but this shook me up considerably. I managed to reach the dugout I was making for, but I don’t remember much after, until a few minutes before the place was surrounded and we had to give ourselves up.
Two days after, whilst having a bath, I found my clothes stuck to my shoulder and the back of my knee and a fellow pointed out 2 or 3 more small places on my back, none of which I had felt before. I seem to have been filled up with bits, like a rabbit full of shot. Two days after a piece of wood was taken out of the top of my ear and another piece of something out of my neck. I don’t know whether I was hit by the bits of shell or by the bits of stuff that it threw around. Anyway it was nothing very much.
With regard to my ear (its the left one) I am glad to say that today the doctor said the discharge had stopped. He and an English doctor here have examined it and both said that the drum was pretty thoroughly smashed and that I shall be deaf that side always. This is the 6th doctor who has said this, but I know better – they are all wrong and it will get alright in time. Luckily enough, although the bit of wood went right through the lobe of my ear, it has healed up and left no noticeable mark.
Would you mind sending me Macaulay’s History of England and Essays, Lambs Essays of Elia, and Froude’s Historical Essays, all from the “Everyman Library”. These may have to be sent by the publisher. Will you also please send lists of the “Everyman” and “Wayfarers” libraries. This being a new camp there is no library yet and so books are very scarce and I am looking forward to your sending those technical books I asked for.
My French too has suffered another check, as there are to be no Frenchmen here. However we are now allowed out for walks, on giving our parole, and I have been out twice for two hours each time. Its simply glorious to get out like this and go for a country walk and the country around about is very good, not unlike the Sussex Downs but rather more wooded. The camp is in the middle of a sort of basin surrounded with hills at a distance of 2 or 3 miles.
I got Mum’s first letter today (I have had two before) and also a letter from Ethel dated August 15th and sent through Berne. I am enclosing one to her which I wish you would forward.
Whilst at Karlsruhe I found that one of my teeth was going so that as there was a dentist available I had it stopped and then he found that 3 others wanted doing so we spent quite a pleasant time together and finally my plate cracked in the old place again and he took an impression and put that right. Its a splendid way of passing the time. I have had one or two good times with the doctor here too. He gets me to swallow some water, (after syringing my ear) at the same time holding my nose and puffing air up one nostrel. It feels as though my head is being turned into a balloon and is just ready to be pricked and busted, but I think this won’t have to be done again. This letter seems to be full of doctors and diseases, I had better shut up.
I hope Mrs. Muggridge is better. In your last letter you said she was not very bright. Do write as often as you can – you don’t know how I look forward to your letters and what a long time it seems between each one. You see I have to imagine things more than ever now and your letters help tremendously. I have saved a few that I got in France although they have been taken away several times, but each time I have managed to get them back. They are getting rather worn now.
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