Hopital Anglo Belge
My Dearest Mother
I was just going to start a letter to you last night, when Madame came in to ask me to interpret for a lodger of hers up above as he couldn’t speak a word of French nor she any English- so I went he is a lieut ASC elderly and quiet and there was so much pow-wowing and explaining to do that I was quite exhausted when I came home and went to bed.
The parcels have just arrived the things are really lovely. I wrote to Gertrude on Sunday and will write to Mrs Tennant & MMM in a day or two.
There was great fluttering in the dove-cot yesterday we were to be inspected by the Ministre de la Service de Sante at 9:30. We waited patiently till 10 then he sent a telegram to say that he had missed his train. I suspect it was a ministerial miss ! We always have troubles like this with inspections – they never by any chance come at the time or day stated and always keep us waiting. We have had the great inspection this morning: all passed off without an “itch” as the man once said. The great man who was a little fat thing with a decoration in his button hole, a fussy little man much bearded and pince-nezed declared that he had caught a cold in one of the wards because there were “courants d’air” in it. That means in English reckoning that there was rather less phug in it than most of the rooms!!
They are awfully stuffy people and I have awful struggles with them to get my room, where I work, decently aired. One of my officer patients refused to have his electric bath, because I said it was necessary to have one small square window open one day – so I reported him to the commandant (chief doctor) who upheld me and gave him a slating. The Commandant is an open air man and not stuffy like most of them. The parcels were perfectly well packed and in good condition except one, where the paper wrapping had been torn and the postal authorities had put fresh wrapping on it.
Yesterday we got our pay Frs 3/ and so we went on the boost and saw Réjane in “Madame Sans-Gêne” it was awfully good and very amusing. I was awfully amused at your letter about the rumours: Alford certainly is a very amusing place.
I got your letter to-day with the enclosures: I’ll send them back as soon as I’ve read them. The photos of Mick are awfully sweet: what a quaint little chap he looks in his bunny suit. I think I told you that I had a Christmas card from the Indian family. Colonel Moore came in to-day but I didnt see him for long: it is very cold to-day and has been for two or three days: he says it is awfully cold travelling : he is a TCQ you know. I’m so glad my superflous kit arrived safely.-
Poor Sir Robert Filmer : his loss is a considerable one to our part of the world.
I hope the Zepps didnt get anywhere near you, the night before last.
Thank you ever so much for all the beautiful blotting paper and envelopes and block. They will be most awfully useful- Matron went to England last Friday for a fortnight’s holiday. Our poor little man Noorts died about a week ago: he had a magnificent funeral: we went to the first part in one of the big chapels in the Cathedral and walked there from the hospital in solemn procession. Some of them ( the VADs) went on to the cemetery with the officers or all the men who could walk, but Tim and I didnt want to, so we came back. We joined in the soldiers subscription for a wreath and the men bought it : a hideous affair, a kind of wreath about four feet across with huge artificial yellow roses and much lead work across it with the man’s name and stating that it had been given by the staff and inmates of the hospital and so forth, and much Belgian ribbon thereon – Truly a “sore-eye” as Molly used to say – However I’ve no doubt the poor little man would have thought it most gloriously lovely had he seen it.
By the by I’ve paid Denny’s bill but am enclosing you two others which I should be grateful if you’d settle. It is such a job getting postal orders etc. here.
What a long time it seems since I had my leave and how much I enjoyed being at home with you and Father. I’m afraid it will be some time before I get leave again as there are six or seven people before us. Fancy it is over 9 months since we came here.
Please thank Mrs Baron for her paper: I was hoping she’d send me one. I’m very glad they’ve brought out a Red Cross mackintosh: they are very necessary things here.
I must stop now
With my best love to you both
Your loving Dorothy
Your baskets are put in hand.