A new flat in Rouen

12/06/1915

Mr Dearest Mother

Thank you very much for your long letters and Father’s too: I received them both on the on the 8th and enjoyed them immensely. We are now directly under the Anglo-French hospitals committee , and indirectly through the AFWC under the patronage and approval of the BRCS.

We have got a new matron here: a very nice woman called Mrs Wycliffe-Thompson. She is of course a proper trained nurse, (retired) and has one of the SA war medals. She is an awfully decent sort: she takes an interest in all of us, and insists that everyone shall have so much free time a day and looks after us generally. She also comes in and sees our work, and asks us how things are going on and so forth, and above all she is generally to be found in the hospital, not motoring about, like the last lady.

Never mind about the fencing jacket: I dare say it would have been rather tight too, & anyway I haven’t touched a foil for over a week: my rheumatism has not quite gone yet.

I have not done any bathing yet and I don’t suppose I will do much: if I do it will only be with the Doctors, two of whom are expert swimmers and I promise to be careful.

Keep all the photos for me please: anyway I’m sure you’ll like to show them to people. I don’t think I want any thin clothes except my tussore tennis skirt and one of my white ones (the drill one, not the linen) and one of my short white petticoats.  Also some of my white tennis stockings: the ones with the coloured clocks: I can get shoes here. I went out to tea with some English people here last Sunday: one of our people took me up: I had an awfully jolly time and met a lot of English officers. Of course ordinarily I go out to tea etc. in uniform for preference but they have a badminton court, and I shall probably go up there and play. They lend racquets so one only wants clothes. Also I may get a chance of tennis later.

I often get practice in ordinary nursing when my own work is slack and I do relief in the wards. I assure you what with that and constantly seeing things done, and the amount of shop we talk, I am more than remembering my general nursing knowledge.

I’m sorry to hear that Mrs Sandall is seedy: poor little woman. I expect she finds life very wearing, especially now Col. Jessop has been killed: poor man, he was a very genial bird: I met him at the point to point once, when we went with the Sandalls. I’m told he was adored by his battalion. I have never seen his death in the casualty lists.

How are you getting on with maids: it is sickening for you. I should have thought there would have been lots of girls about, as so many people have reduced their households.

Poor cat! Roberts really is a devil: of course it was my fault for not finishing him myself before I left: I did part of him but couldn’t finish. Of course no new hair can grow till the matted lumps are cut away.

I am delighted to hear that there are no slugs.

It seems to me that you are in more danger at home than I am here and if I want Zeppelin raids I must come back. Why on earth can’t they say in the papers where it happened:  everyone knows. Do tell me more particulars next time you write.

I think Rouen is a very rheumatic place: anyway it is a nuisance. The source of trouble is my wrist and it is all over my arm from shoulder to finger-tips on bad days, and only just a little in my wrist on my good days. It is getting better now, but writing is one of the things that hurts it most.

Are the pansies in the green bowl in flower yet and if so what colour? Iris Germania will certainly have to be rechristened.

The country here is lovlier and lovelier everywhere I go. We motored to Caudebec en Caux the other day. It is a village on the river between here and Le Havre. The road in the Rouen-Havre road which goes fairly direct, and the river winds, so we kept touching the river and then it sheared off from us again. Part of the run was through a pine forest which smelt delicious. By the by we have changed our quarters. We did not like the Normandy it was a very airless stuffy little hotel, although not noisy itself it was in a noisy street. Also the proprietary family were not very attentive to us as we only slept there and didn’t have meals and were ot very profitable. So we set about flat hunting and heard of one on the Quai du Havre, which on examination, proved a ripping place on the 4th floor: one side looking on to the river, and the other right over Rouen to the hills at the back. There is a vestibule, 3 bedrooms , a kitchen, also another little place where one can have a gas ring and heat water, with an adjacent water tap. It is beautifully clean and airy. One of the bedrooms is a very big room with two windows which open on to a balcony overlooking the quay. It is really a drawing room and is furnished accordingly but there is a huge screen which hides the bed in a corner, and behind the piano cunningly hidden is the washstand. The piano is quite decent: I played and sang some of my little French songs to a select audience of two the other night. There was a pile of music in the room and before I had explored very far, I found “Medje” which pleased me mightily. I think I’d like you to send me out one or two favourites. “ The Little Silver Ring”; “Si Mes vers avaient des ailes”; “Now sleeps the Crimson Petal”; “ Le Portrait” and my book of 20 Grieg Songs. You can’t imagine how topping it is to see and feel a piano again. I shall miss my sympathetic accompanist however, most horribly. Although I have a very jolly life out here I miss you both very much, and my home too.

I must stop now : my wrist aches abominably.

Best Love to you both : I’ll answer Father’s letter in a day or two .

Ever your Loving Dorothy

There are some stamps in the bottom of the envelope.D Higgins 1915 IWM

About Mrs T

Beyond the day job, the housework and the garden I love to delve into local and family history. I also love to get involved in local projects. Recent research for Alford Manor House has combined the two and led to obsession.
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