My darling Louis,
I have just received in the post today your beautiful letters and sketch - how I had to laugh, how I always do smile, at the playful way in which you have always portrayed yourself! My darling, I cannot say it enough - I am so proud of you; of you and your delicate hands, through which you capture the world, in lines and colours, for us mere mortals, and show us a snippet of life as seen through your eyes.
I laughed (out loud!) at the image of the soldier being sick over the ship's railing - poor chap! Or was it you...?
Your words and images of the French countryside - oh how you tantalize my heart and soul! I can see him now, the little ginger puss-cat with his open mouth, mewling for a morsel, as you wander by, through the farmyard, in search of a perch from which to paint and reflect... The smell of the farm fresh countryside is rich in my nostrils; snuffling pigs and waddling ducks, and green, green grass - acres of it. Did you write me of this or am I feasting upon my own visual imaginings?!
To be in France with you this very moment, seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting as you do... Well, I can hardly bear the thought of another two months without you!! So you see, it really is much more fun for me to put myself there with you, if only in my mind.
I expect I would wear a simple frock and sensible shoes, and hand in hand we would stroll through the little village together, and you would teach me "toutes le francais" that you have acquired, and I would squeeze your hand tightly as we ambled along.
We would probably stroll to a local boulangerie and feast on fresh bread and cheese, and, after getting to know the locals just a little each day, we would retreat together to a sunny spot with a lovely view of the hills and the trees and the light stretching before us. The light! French light must be quite different to Australian light, I expect.
I might even take out my mandolin and play for you a little tune I've been tinkering with.
Yes, only tinkering.. I've had my hands a little full of late. But mostly it is my mind that is full - with thoughts of you, dearest one.
But I will not have you worrying about me, for I am safe and strong here at home and you are only to cherish your precious self right now, so that when you return to this soil we shall make firm plans to return to France together, when the chaos has subsided and these dreams can become a new reality.
So. Back to my happy visualising! In my mind's eye you have just finished your large baguette filled with cheese and ham of some delicious French description. We have sipped wine together, side by side in the dappled light of a friendly tree, and with a large and contented sigh you will lay your head in my lap and declare yourself "stuffed!" (but in French, of course.)
And I will smile the full and contented smile of a cheshire cat, but without any ulterior motive than to love you as much as I do in this moment, as if the oceans that exist between us were mere mirages, glistening, but on the cusp of vanishing, just as soon as our cheeks meet again side by side.