Hopital Anglo Belge, Rue St Lo
My Dearest Mother
Thank you so much for your long and interesting letter. The weather has been foul, dark, damp, drizzly and muggy : kind of gives one the hump and makes one feel like a piece of chewed string.
Tim has had a bad throat and a cold too and I have been looking after her very carefully as her throat is her weak spot, she is better now.
Thank you very much for the blotting paper and envelopes and also for your efforts to collect things for the hospital: your result sounds simply splendid: all the things you mention are extremely useful.
Am I to write to Gertrude at once, or shall I wait until the parcel arrives ? I am so glad Colonel Sandall has got a decoration: he most thoroughly deserves it. Poor old Jack. How dull it must be for him at home, and how rotten to have to trail about in a “petit voiture” (as our men call them) when he has always been such an athlete and so energetic. Do tell me more about his case : did they simply ligature the artery at Lincoln, or did they operate for the clot as well?
Captain Hadfield certainly is a wonder. I had a delightful letter from little Mary which I must answer when I can find a few minutes. It is awfully decent of her to have sent a contribution to your collection.
I don’t understand the cryptic sentence in Emma’s letter a bit, so I’m no better off than you. She seems to be talking through her hat!
I have not received Nurse’s chocs yet: it was awfully kind of her to do so. I hope she and Mrs CHH got my little hankies.
I’ve written to May. Poor Phlypo has just left us for a similar hospital in Le Havre: he had one of the worst false joints I’ve ever seen: they simply could not straighten his fore-arm, even when they anaesthetised him and put him in plaster. Then he had erysipelas very badly and was dreadfully ill.
Mrs Baron can go and bite herself: I could very soon find means to evade her if she started being so foolish.
Please thank Father for the £12.10.0 which has arrived safely.
We had two of our fellow VADs to dinner on Saturday night and had quite a merry revel.
Yesterday Tim and I went to see opera “La Boheme” ( or hear it I suppose one should say). It was done by the Opera Comique of Paris. Mimi was awfully good, a small voice but very sweet and she acted very well, quite young and pretty and not a bit fat! The men were horrible and it was produced in French: it would have been much nicer in Italian but it was ripping all the same.
We have got a most singular brain case in the hospital just now: he is dying poor little chap. He came to us a long while ago, with a small wound where he had been trephined. It has always been a sinus running down into his brain but about a month ago he got much worse and has now had three abcesses. The Trephined hole is now very large (as big as the palm of one’s hand) and mostly grown up with flesh and skin and then there is the wound about the size of a crown piece. Recently, owing to the cerebral inflammation, the brain has bulged out under the skin so that the flesh and skin over the trephination aperture stands up like an inverted tea-cup. The wound above that has bulged out again into proud flesh .The sinus is in the middle of the lump of proud flesh and is as deep as ones first finger. I saw it dressed on Friday. He was quite unconscious and was squinting and was expected to die any minute, but is conscious again today though he is mostly kept under morphine.
Of course if he had recovered he would have been a miserable paralysed wreck, so things are much happier as they are – he doesn’t suffer much.
We had a deputation of 5 or 6 English doctors to-day to inspect us. They came from various London Hospitals and had been put up to coming by King Manoel and really came to see our installation of mechanotherapy and generally gather wrinkles. They could all talk French, but one of them asked me a good many questions in English and confessed his relief at being able to converse again in English.
I must dry up now
Best love to you and father
Your loving Dorothy
Please be sure and tell me when the cameras arrive, and the baskets.