Sunday, 23rd December (1917)

I have just lost 2 f. in a bet with the Villain as to whether a recently-shot animal on the roadside was a mule or a horse.  We took a stroll down the road to settle the point and found a party of Tommies burying the flayed and hideous remains.  They had appropriated most of the rump steak and when we arrived were diving gruesomely into its viscera, lugging out huge chunks of liver – “aay choom we’re t’ ‘ave a Xmas dinner after awl”.  It took the bun.

6.30 p.m. On Picquet.  Fritz has been making things rather merry with bombs, the air through moonlight being too hazy for our guns to pick him up, so he is able to fly low.  The chief inconvenience is having to put our lights out when the whistle blows.

You will notice that I always start each instalment of this commentary as if it were nothing but a private letter to you; that’s done partly to discourage the censorious one, who mayhap says to himself, “who am I to come between a man and his lawful spouse”.*  My hair is, you will be displeased to hear, egregiously long and spring-poetic.

[* Note – These introductions have been edited out in the account presented here.  As Lincoln mentioned in his ‘Forward’ to the typescript, “In its original form, this diary, typed direct from my letters to my first wife, was twice its present length.  In the forty five intervening years I have deleted much personal and trivial matter, hoping that in its present form it may prove of general interest.”]

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