Neil – Mother: 18 Dec 1917

From 49123
Pvt N. H. Smith
Dear Mother,
I received letters from you all yesterday, the first letters I have received, I think, for over seven weeks.  We are still in quite a safe place here and likely to be for a week at any rate.  I cannot understand how it was that they received two batches of mail at Curran St, and at Jervois Rd without your receiving any from us.  Both Norman and I write fairly frequently – I dont think an interval of ten days has ever passed since we landed without one of us writing and each of us  has averaged at least one a fortnight.  We arrived here too late to see Norman Matheson, (son of Norman Matheson, brother of Neil’s mother, so a cousin of Neil’s) – he had gone up the line.  So had Charlie Musker, and, I think, Alec.  Jolly glad to hear Gorrie failed.  This is no place for anyone who has not lungs like a bull.  I am writing to him separately.  Leslie, Eric tells me,  is taking his going into camp very philosophically  and is almost keen about it.  You would think an M.A. would have more sense.  Your letters to us are not censored, though ours to you of course, now are.  We have not yet received the third cake though we are looking forward to it eagerly.  We think of very little now except our stomachs and blankets and N.Z.  We have received so far two lots each of cake and butter all of which was A1 except one cake that had a slightly gassed heart and was about B3.  We have been going into a French town near here very frequently of late.  I am able to make myself perfectly well understood of the natives though I have difficulty at times in following them.  I’m sick of tent life (13 in a small bell tent), sick of the climate, but the tucker’s good and I’ve four blankets so I oughtn’t to growl.