A mail did come in yesterday evening just after I had finished writing to you, & I got a letter from you dated March 21st, in which you had just got my letter saying we were coming out here. Very many thanks for your letter, I think somehow there must be one missing, as you mention Jim having lost only his fountain pen, & that you are sending me an account of it all. I suppose you mean the Tyndareus business, but you refer to it as if you had mentioned it to me in a previous letter, & that’s what made me think there must be another somewhere.
Many thanks for promising to send along a few papers, etc, they will be most welcome, but they are so expensive at home now; so please don’t worry about it too much; one wants really a weekly budget of news & some criticisms on things generally by people who know things, for which purposes the Times & the Saturday Review are excellent. Pictures of “Society” walking down Picadilly with broad & ugly grins, or of the latest revues may be amusing, but they are certainly not necessary, & possibly these hard days such papers as Tatlers & Sketches are an extravagance.
However – Yes, Desmond Gabb is just up the line here, A.D.C (I’m told) to our general. His regt is in the same brigade as we are, so we are bound to meet sooner or later. I’m almost sure I wrote & thanked Bee Dudman for “at the Front” but I will send her another letter to make sure. I think it wd be a good thing if Miss Meade when writing to her brother happened to mention that I am out here with the 39th; I don’t want anything in particular, but he might remember the name if he saw it again so to speak.
Yes I wonder if the “back to the Land” of those three will come off; jolly good thing for them if it does, especially Dryden who must be so heartily sick of the bank; I trust she did’nt “contract” measles. Nell writes & says her sister Gladys has it, so I do hope she did’nt get them too; everyone seems to be getting it.
The concert last night was quite good & I quite enjoyed it. The wind has dropped this morning thank goodness & it is nice & cool; it’s a mercy to get away from that impossible dust for a bit. I heard from the C.O yesterday & he tells me he is being invalided to India, which means he will be away 2 or 3 months I suppose at least, so I shall be in command for some time with any luck, unless, as I say they put anyone else in.
Best love to all
ever yr loving son
A search for Measles 1917 produces more results from the medical literature than from social history or contemporary accounts. It seems there was an epidemic in the US Army Recruitment camps, but the Berryman letters indicate that it had spread to the Royal Navy (see Paul’s letters of April 1917) and British civilians (Nell’s sister, Gladys).
Measles is often now seen as an innocent, even comic, childhood illness (look! spots!) but it is dangerous to the immuno-compromised (children too young to be vaccinated, cancer patients, recipients of donated tissue, people with immune-system disorders) because it compromises their ability to fend off other infections like pneumonia which may then be fatal. Reading of Paul’s friends and Nell’s family remiinds us that community-immunity prevents the spread of infectious diseases and protects the vulnerable.