My Dearest Father
I was so delighted to get your long letter and Mother’s of the 27th. I have been to church this morning as I do not give sun-cure or hot air baths on Sunday. We went for a stroll (3 of us) on the quays after church and met a Tommy from the first Lincolns. He nearly cried with joy when I stopped and spoke to him and told him I came from Lincolnshire too and he read my shoulder badge. We had quite a pow-wow and he told me where all the various battalions were and how they were getting on. He himself had been wounded through the back of his ankle, but was still medically unfit. He came from “the city” he told me with pride, so I told him I often went there, especially to play hockey. The 5th are near La Bassee Canal. He said “it is a treat to speak to an English lady : there isn’t many about Rouong”. He was an awfully niceman and I was awfully bucked to meet a compatriot, so to speak. He wrung my hand fervently at parting and said it was real nice of me to have noticed him.
Yesterday I went out for a motor in between tea and supper.A new man has just been attached to the hospital, I don’t know how long for. He is a Belgian Baron of some sort, quite a gentleman. He has been in England a good deal and speaks a kind of broken English, and is quite English looking, and has decent manners. He has been attached because of his car I think. It is a huge Peugeot about 40 horses in power, and holds 7 people: an open touring car, a regular beauty. It goes 60 miles an hour without turning a hair. So he took 6 of us out for a run through La Foret Verte, an enormous state forest north of Rouen. It is absolutely lovely, nearly all beech trees and a few pines. There are heaps of roads through it and one can really go for miles through it. I believe it would take nearly a day to walk through it in its thickest part. The country round is practically one vast apple orchard. We always have cider to drink here, as well as boiled water. The cider is quite nice, but very very weak: not a bit like English cider. You’d have to drink gallons in order to get screwed!!
The wild cherries were a sight in the forest and we stopped at one place and picked bluebells and primroses.
I must stop now as I want to write to Mother as well. I hope He is behaving himself nicely. How is the farm going on? I went to the Credit Lyonnais and it being a very hot day, I specified that they should bring me a man who spoke English, as bank terms confuse me so much in English, I didn’t feel equal to struggling with them in French. I found that all was in order and I put in some of the money I had left from your £10 and they gave me a cheque book and pass book, and I signed my name at least ten times. The man would call me (H)eejins, so I had to gently suggest to him that the ‘g’ was hard and not soft!
My best love
From your loving Dorothy.