Dorothy’s War – a visit from Miss Kitchener – ” Cant imagine what she came for “

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Rouen

05/09/1915

My Dearest Mother

Thank you so much for your ripping long letter and the Indian ones: I will return them “tantot” as we say here. I do enjoy your letters and Father’s too: I look out for them eagerly.

I think you must have forgotten to enclose any cuttings as I couldn’t find any in the letter. I longed to know what “Tormy” was up to. The HMB ( Lovat’s Scouts etc.) have gone to the Dardanelles, or are on their way up there, so Miss Brodie tells me. The weather here has been perfectly hellish: rain all day and every day, and beastly cold.

I hope poor old ET is better. Please give her my salaams next time you see her.

Poor Ivan Perry: isn’t he in the 8th D of Wellingtons ? I’m so sorry it is a wound in the cheeks as there is such danger of facial paralysis: the face is honeycombed with nerves . I very much doubt a raid on the coast around you: Zeppelins, but troops no, I think! I always feel rather worried when I see a Zepp raid on the E Coast, till I hear from you.

How nice it would be if you and Father could come over here. The only trouble is the papers: even for us , getting to and from England is the very devil, and for ordinary civvies, much worse. I hope you may get a cook soon, it seems an awful task.

Poor Mrs Garrard has lost her husband. Lieut S.T.Garrard 14th tt. 8th Rifle Brigade. Isn’t it dreadful for her poor little Bird ( what we always call her) He was killed in the trenches and buried in the cemetery by the prison at Ypres ( I think I told you that it was always Ypres never Yprés :  the Flamands pronounce it Leperr: they always roll their r’s but much more gutturally than the French). The Bird hopes to stay on here and work: she has no children, and her people are in Australia so she would be very lonely and miserable in England. He had only been out here 3 weeks about.

George is up in NO 2 hospital with quinsy. I had a pathetic note from him and Tim and I went up to see him on Tuesday: we found him in bed with a very swollen, ulcerated throat and hardly able to speak: the next time we went up the quinsy had burst and he was a little better. He may be unpopular with his men but cold feet he certainly has not got: he is nearly crying with rage at being kept back to the line.

I can quite imagine what you say about Ford. I have never thought him a suitable person. Tommy is quite different. Is Clarence Rennell better? I hope so please give him my kind remembrances ( or whatever you call it) next time you see him.

You will be amused to learn that I’m developing a memory! Everyone gives me messages for the doctors and I only once forgot one. ( Touch wood !)

Certainly Lady Milnes-Gaskell deserves to be strafed : she is a little inconsequent about her plants.

Did my little red rock delphinium ever show up. It was low down on the right of the steps: about opposite where that yellow orange linum that you sent me bits of grows.

I have got some harts tongue ferns at Grival the other day and potted them with the aid of my favourite flower woman in the flower market, and we have them on our balcony, also some geranium plants which were in Tim’s ward and have finished flowering: we hope to take some cuttings and raise them.

I’m so glad the gypsophila fl.pl. is doing well: how is my little one? Did the eremurus do anything? If not could it be moved out this autumn, a little farther forward ? Did the Sidalceas do well ? and how are the sweet briar cuttings under the nursery window ? Don’t let Fuller whip off their heads : 6 months hence will be early enough. And roses hardly want any pruning in the Autumn: it is the March April pruning which should be the severe one.

We had Miss Kitchener ( Lord Kitchener’s unmarried sister to visit the hospital) on Friday. Can’t imagine what she came for. Only heard in the morning, so I had to bustle round and get everything tidy in my department.

Mine is a difficult room to keep in order with two doctors always working there and other popping in and out at intervals. They laugh at my fetish for tidiness, but I’m training them by degrees. They are getting quite good at hanging their coats on pegs instaed of throwing them down anyhow and putting their cigarette ash and ends on trays instead of on the floor. I wonder if this tidiness will last with me! I’m sure you’ll say that it sounds very unlike me!!

Please give Mrs Humphreys my love and apologise for my not writing : it is not the will but the time that is lacking.

I meant to comment in Father’s letter on his information that Billy Humphreys had entered the office. I am very glad, as he is a good steady boy, if a trifle stolid and it is always pleasing to keep it in the family.

I must stop now

Best love

From your loving Dorothy

I’m quite fit again now.

I met young Coney (Furniture’s Son)two days ago, he had come down for a few days rest. I mean the dark haired one who played the piano. He seemed pleased to have a chat.

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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