And I'm sure, as here I stand,
That he shines through every land,
That he sings in every place
Where we're thinking of his face.
--- Siegfried Sassoon, A Letter Home
My dear Jim,
I have time to send you a few lines to thank you for the marvellous parcel of gloves and handkerchiefs and chocolate, as well as the drawings and long letter. I am very grateful, and please rest assured that the gifts will be very useful. It is Christmas weather to be sure and I had holes in my old gloves and the new ones came just in time for the cold. I did not expect such luxuries for I know times are hard in London and I thank you again for not forgetting your friend in the trenches.
It was a rum job entrenching, and there is a good deal of snow on the ground. But I am cosy now with a wood fire and plentiful straw. The fighting has been quite heavy and though I have a headache from a gassing some days ago I am getting along all right but I can tell you that France holds no charms for me at present. I will be glad for a day or two of leave when I can get it. I have asked for home leave but shan't hold my breath.
To-day is bitterly cold but the lads are in fine spirits. Some are singing, and feasting upon what foods they have managed to ration for Christmas. For my part, I am keeping watch and leaving them to their modest revels and keep Christmas in my own way by re-reading your letters. They have brought me great comfort and cheer during this cold winter and indeed the whole of my time here.
There is much more I would like to say, but I am not so fine a writer as you. Remember me to your family and bid them compliments of the season, and do write to me as often as you are able, there's a good chap. You say my letters bring you tremendous joy but you cannot imagine how deeply I treasure yours.
Happy Christmas dear friend and write me soon.
Your friend Jamie