Dear Mother -:
Things at last seem to be breaking in the right direction. I heard at last from my artillery examination and have been recommended for a 2nd lieutenancy in that branch of the service. As yet I have not actually received the commission but it is as sure as anything in that line ever is and all there is to do now is to wait for orders. The section, too is in the process of being taken over so it has all happened just about the right time. We will be here just a few more days and then when the men who have taken our places arrive , we will be set adrift. I rather hope I am not ordered to active service directly as I am quite fed up on the war in general and would like to go to Cannes for a little rest and quiet, Cousin Josephine having given me a standing invitation of the most attractive sort imaginable.
Since I wrote you last saying how wonderful the weather was it hasn’t stopped raining for a minute and we are living and working in a perfect sea of mud and have no chance to get dry or warm unless you go to bed which isn’t all that it might be as the tents are rather fragile and the only other accommodations are under ground.We have too, for the last few days been working rather hard so you can imagine our state, just walking, shivering cakes of mud.
I don’t quite understand the fall season here. It is colder than it is at home and as yet none of the trees have turned but are still green and fresh looking.
It certainly seems funny – everyone at home getting married or engaged and things. When I do get back there won’t be an unattached soul that I know. I feel it coming: I shall be the official Paul Clark of our crowd. (Paul Clark was, at the time, a still unmarried Auburn contemporary of the parents of Paul Hills. –Ed)
If you want to read a good book about the war and one which in my mind is the truest to the life of the French soldier get a thing called Le Feu (titled Under Fire in translation)
by Henri Barbusse. It is the book of the year here in France and one which everyone has read and talks about simply because of its wonderful reality.
I forgot in my last letter to put in the citation I told you about but I will put it in here for certain.
There isn’t a great deal more to tell you now so I will call a halt.
With love, Paul