Dearest Blue Eyes
These letters were written by Major Henry James Drew Smythe, M.C., in January 1919 to his wife, Enid.
At this time, he was with the International Commission for the Repatriation of Prisoners in Bavaria and she was at the Hotel Crystal, Boulogne, serving as a V.A.D. They had been married in November 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War 1 and saw each other only on infrequent leave opportunities.
This is the portrait of a relationship as much as an observation, with anecdotes, contained within a complete personal report of a few weeks of his work and travels in Germany and Austria less than two months after the Armistice that ended The Great War.
Note: The spellings of towns, areas and vocabulary are as they appear in the original letters. Students or researchers should make their own geographical or linguistic verifications.
Nothing very special has happened today my sweet one. We had an interview this morning with the railway people and found out from them that two hospital trains were coming on the 12th. - one to Wurgburg and one to Ingoldstat - so the Colonel is going to Wurgburg and I shall go with Schlagantweit to Ingoldstat and we shall meet again in Munich after our work is finished. By these two trains we hope to get everyone away but two cases who are too ill to be sent by train.
The rest of the morning was spent drafting a report to the British Repatriation Committee in Berlin and this afternoon and evening we are keeping indoors as there is a big political demonstration on today and we do not want to invite assault.
Tomorrow out ration lorry goes off and so this letter will have to go then my sweet soul and then it will bring back letters for me from my Pinkie, I hope.
The two letters which I had from you last week were written on the 21st and the 24th December my cupid. I don't know if you wrote any in between that but if you did I expect that they will come by this week's post.
I am awfully sorry my Baby that Singleton has gone and I do hope that they will not move Bishop as well or my poor little girlie will be without her two best friends there won't she? Never mind, my brave little heart, I hope that it will not be for very long and that you will soon be in England, you sweet, sweet little angel.
Yes, my precious angel you will have done quite your share, especially now that the war is over; if you come to England with me in February we will certainly get a doctor's certificate to say that you cannot go back, so just carry on little love and I will carry you off to England just as soon as ever I can.
My Baby, the passbook is really quite presentable isn't it? I had no idea that there would be so much in it and it ought to be £150 by now with all the December pay and allowances in. I was wondering my sweet one whether it would not be better to open a banking account with the National Provincial Bank or some bank like that and have the money transferred to it instead of leaving it at Holts where any officious government might get hold of it, and also for other things, my angel. What do you think? Dearest little soul, of course pay yourself back for your trunk. I know that money goes so fast, bless your sweet little face. You just have as much as you want. Don't ever stint yourself my lovely one. Just as long as there is money there, you have it my cupid for I know how good you are with it dear heart of mine. I will send for the passbook when I return my angel heart and will see about allowances etc. I am a constant correspondent of the Paymaster I. E. F. and he knows by now that I stick to him until everything is paid up even though it takes a year as those November 1917 allowances did.
So Ian is in hospital once more is he, poor old thing? And Haig visited Bellevue. I should have asked to have seen him. I suppose that he is alright now again. I certainly hope so.
Lace making is your latest is it my precious Blue Eyes? You are a splendid little angel. You should see me mending the fingertips of some old gloves today my lambkin. I nearly died with the exertion and I was truly perspiring all over when I had finished. The mental effort is really appalling, poor little me.
Dearest little angel of mine, I think that it had better be Dublin after demobilisation. I cannot enter into any negotiations regarding that Brighton practice until I have seen it and enquired well into it; so I think that we had better make up our minds for Dublin. It's a six months course for their Diploma and it is not worth going there without getting that so I shall aim at that, my Baby. I am so glad that you know someone who lives there for it will be so much nicer for you, won't it my precious one? And I am just ever so glad that you do not mind going there.
I am so sorry that you and Bishop had to have your dinners in your rooms and that you had no one coming to the party. I wish I could have come and made you a happy little girlie, my dearest Baby and danced with you and taken you out to dinner and cuddled you all up to bits and made it a very, very happy Christmas for you. But I hope that this year's Christmas will see us together in our own home and that will make up for all these Christmases of separation won't it my precious little angel Blue Eyes?
Goodbye my Blue Eyes, until next week. Just all, every bit of my love for you ...