Letter from Roy Bruce to Maud Bruce (identifier: 135740)

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My dearest Maud:
Your letter of 26. May has
arrived, praise the pigs. You will see they take
some time to get here these days.
I am anxious to get your next
which will probably give the result of your exam. Am
sorry you were disappointed with the paper, but you
will find that an exam paper never does ask the
questions one really knows the answer to, and then
one always feels agrieved [sic: aggrieved], and looks upon it as a
personal affront.
Glad to hear you are enjoying
your holiday, probably by the time you get this you
will be having another.
You have not yet enclosed any
of Helen's tests, I should much like to see some.
Glad you liked my photographs, I
I am told it is a very good likeness. Probably I was
stouter then, at that time I was living on the fat of
the land at G.H.Q., in any case I have filled out a
lot the last four years.
Very sorry indeed to hear about Muir,
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why did they give up the farm? Surely the
country is better for him than the town?
Had a very nice letter from Mrs Hay the
other day, some of her remarks are most amusing.
She is almost the only one left who troubles to
write to me.
Very pleased to hear Chillie has an M.C.
no doubt he deserved it. I understand that Nicholls'
D.S.O. was the occasion for much ribald laughter, but
as I was not there I cannot judge. So far as
I am concerned you need not expect to see my
name figuring in those lists. I have expressed
opinions about the promiscuous distribution of these
things more than once. I know of a case of a man
who has lived in one of the best hotels in Alexandria
since 1914. He is employed as an M.L.O. i.e. Military
landing officer. He superintended the arrival of ships
with troops. He was a subaltern in a cavalry regt
sent there because considered unsuitable for the field.
He is now a captain and wears the M.C. and Croix de
guerre, another man was awarded the Italian silver
medal for bravery - he sat in an office and deciphered
telegrams. - I see the O.B.E. is now awarded in
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the field. It is called here The Order of the Bad
Egg! It is only those who do not know who covet
those things nowadays, those who do understand
prefer a bare breast.
Glad to hear Erling Zeisler [sic: Ziesler] is getting on, there
was always good stuff in him. Suppose he is Staff
Captain with one of the N.Z. Brigades. - It should
suit him being on the 'Q' side.
Sorry to hear you think I am not
treating you fairly. I suppose you realise that
until I am able to refund the money you had
from Scott, you have made it quite impossible
for me to return to N.Z., even supposing I could
get leave. Money doesn't grow on bushes here anymore
than it does elsewhere. If this war hasn't taught
you that your needs must be suited to your income
I don't suppose anything will. I hate writing
to you like this, especially as from this end one
never knows what is going to happen from day to day,
I don't know how you are going to straighten out
your tangle. I don't propose to pay Scott, and it is
obvious I cannot return until he is paid. You
seem to be beginning to think I am out here for
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amusement and am living a life of ease and
luxury. Don't you think you might try to help a
little. Let us look at it from another point of view.
Let us assume the war ends tomorrow and the army
is disbanded. I am not a regular soldier and I
return to civil life. On my return after 4 years I
find what. My house inhabited by strangers, my
daughter at a boarding school, my wife in lodgings with
a millstone of debt round her. It is not a pleasant
picture is it, but I am afraid it is a true one. Be
quite fair now, is it reasonable that I should return
to that. Put yourself in my place and try and think
it out.
I have many worries of my own, but
because I don't put them on paper it doesn't follow
they don't exist. This is not at all an easy life here,
and I want every bit of brain and energy I possess to
keep going - afterwards I want some rest and a
little peace, but I cannot see much likelihood of it
in N.Z. at present. My dear, I am afraid you are
like most of your sex and see things only from one
view point viz your own, also you are somewhat
selfish. I used not to think this last. There
I am not going to say any more now, I want you
to think things over quietly. I am sure you will
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see that "Not treating you fairly", hardly applies
to me.
Here's a story:
An officer was had an operation on his hip. When
he recovered consciousness he asked the V.A.D. whether
it was a girl or a boy!
She fled.
This is true.
Have not been very fit lately, got sandfly
fever again, temperature 104, went to bed for 3 days,
they talked of hospital but I flatly refused to go and
am better now. Also I scratched my ankle & it
went septic, and I can't get a boot on and most
things are flat stale and unprofitable. Luckily
things are quiet just now and Abdul is not
obstreperous.
We had a fortnight out of the line
last month, first time for 6 months, it was
almost like a holiday, although we were busy
adapting Indian Battalions to new conditions.
Sorry you think my letters are so
matter of fact, am afraid this is not a very
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romantic life.
This may amuse you. A Jewish Battalion
has been raised out here and they have adopted
for their motto "For (e) skin and country" also
"No advance without security", but I like the
former best don't you?
The French news is good, but it is only
a phase in the war. The war will eventually
be won in the air, when we can control the air
entirely then will we see everything they do &
they will see nothing we do, then we win -
Think that out.
No more now, I hear there is a
cake for tea & it is tea time.
Much love to you both
Roy.