I am quite drunk with so much air and do nothing but yawn, it is a great joy our monthly day off.

D Higgins 1915 IWM9th April 1916

My Dearest Mother

Thank you so much for your brief letter re cables. I’m delighted to hear they have agreed to be prudent and postpone their home-coming from India. It is a great load off all our minds.

It is my Sunday off and Tim’s too: we have been down river by an early boat it was rather funny : we left the flat at 9.50 as I thought which was heaps of time for the 10.15 boat only 10minutes walk away. When I got halfway there I looked at my watch and saw it was still 9.50 so we looked at the town clock and saw it was 10.13. We leaped on a passing tram and begged the driver to buck up which he did, being a sport and we got opposite the boat and jumped off, running to the floating stage for all we were worth. We ran down on the stage and there was an old man shutting a low iron barrier: I said “attention s’il vous plait” but he didn’t hear or care, so we just scrambled over it and on the boat by the skin of our teeth, much to the amusement of the mob.

It has been a glorious sunny day: we went side by side with a hospital ship for about a mile and then she gathered pace and escaped from us as we made a stop. We went to La Bouille about 1 ¼ hours run from Rouen and climbed up a winding road up the chalk cliff and into the Forêt de la Londe which lies on the heights overlooking the river. We walked in a longish way and got some way from a path and sat on a sunny slope of pine trees: it was quite hot in the sun and the pines and the earth smelt heavenly and the air was just glorious, so different from this stuffy smelly old town! We ate our lunch and then lay down and really  talked and bathed ourselves in the sun. We walked down a steep footpath back to La Bouille and got some tea there, and arrived at Rouen at about 5.30. I am quite drunk with so much air and do nothing but yawn. It is a great joy our monthly day off.

Will you please thank Father very much for my allowance which was duly acknowledged by the bank yesterday. I hope you liked the last photo I sent of myself: if you want more copies I can send you some.

I am fit and very well, but full of work: my patients and treatments grow apace- Bonsecours is getting on splendidly and we hope to be up there by the end of May. It is quite a city: such a wonderful looking place and all built by the Belgian army engineers. Of course the huts come in sections and are put together up there. It will be ripping up there as we are so fearfully cramped for room down here.

It will be a great saving in my lodgings too but I shall be very sad to leave our quay where I’ve seen so many interesting disembarquations.

I’ve got such a heavenly vase of anemone fulgens in the room: just a blaze of scarlet I bought them in the market, and they are a perfect joy. There are such lots of iris susan here, but they are too expensive to buy.

I’ returning the letters: I hope I haven’t kept them too long. Thank you so much for the buttons.

I must stop now: I’m so sleepy.

Best love to you both

Your loving Dorothy

Could you arrange that WH Smith or someone should send me out the Times here every day: they can do it I know as some of our people have it. They are 30c here and come awfully irregularly.

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Mrs T

Beyond the day job, and the garden, I love to delve into local and family history. While pursuing one project other snippets frequently distract me, resulting in the eclectic mix of tales from the past found here.

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