1 January 1915

                                                                                                         42 WELL WALK,

                                                                                                                  HAMPSTEAD.

Jan.1st.1915.

My dear William,

Forgive my abominable behaviour in not answering your pleasant letters before. I have fallen into a routine of slight occupations, which means never to leave me free for the decencies of life. Massage, exercises, military reading, repose, visitors, what not. But I treasure your invitation to come and stay with you: a thing I should like to do of all things — but I do not see it as practicable just now. K. sets an exaggerated value on my company, and I am laying my plans for a continuation of the campaign. The fact that I was acting as a combatant when wounded makes it likely that I may get a commission as a combatant officer, and I am awaiting a reply to my application to the War Office. In any case I am still in the Corps of Interpreters and must soon go before a Medical Board for examination. So I shall go back in one quality or the other.

[…]

I can still less leave Kittie, because she has been far from well for a long time, and has been through an anxious and wearing time, exerting her beyond her powers. We have had Belgian refugees in the house since the middle of October — three at first, two now — hearty young men, who ought to be in the army, but I can’t tell them so. My love to Alice, who also wrote and asked me to come — and to the children, if they remember me.

My brother Frank drills with the United Arts Corps, and my young brother Fred (a child of 40) is on Salisbury Plain as a private in the Canadians. He’s on leave in London for a day or two, restored to his sorrowing family after 15 years absence in Ottawa — a strange thing, this war, to bring families together.

I look forward to a more peaceful time to enjoy my visit to you; though by then I doubt if I shall have any money to pay for the ticket. Never mind, I’ll walk.

Yours ever

George Calderon.

This letter is quoted by kind permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University, where it is conserved as MS Eng 1148 (218).

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About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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