30th April 1916 Rouen
My Dearest Mother
Thank goodness those devils didn’t get you. But 200yds is much to near to be pleasant. How I wish I’d been at home: I’d have given anything to see all this to-do. It is too absolutely thrilling. What on earth did 2 Zepps think they were going to do with poor little Alford. However they were badly had as far as their dirty work went.
The plants came all right last night with the returning VAD so we shall be busy this week, planting all your treasures. Thank you most awfully for all the trouble you have taken and choosing, packing and dispatching them.
I don’t know if the censor will allow me to answer your question about the Russians but their route is common knowledge over here. I’ll tell you in a way a hope that he will be gracious and leave it to gratify your curiosity: they went to the Trans Siberian Railway to Vladivostok and then they came by sea. It seems a very long way round but is the safest I suppose.
Kut-el-amara is a bad business but I suppose we must be cheerful and patient and hope that the Russians will descend on the __________ “Infidels Turks, Herectics, Jews and all kinds of Musick” as John used to say.
I have had a very hard week: I am now treating or superintending the treatment of 100 men a day and we have got two nurses isolated in a French hospice with hun measles: two have been on leave, ( one of whom came back last night thank goodness) one left in the middle of the week as she had a tendency to tuberculosis and Rouen with it’s moist steamy atmosphere and airlessness is one of the worst possible places for such people.
Another one, a common little Canadian-suburban mixture has got married to a Belgian Lawyer, and has left rather in disgrace, and so we have been working on about half the usual personnel. However four new people are to come out to-night, or tomorrow, so I hope we shall be alright again. I have been doing half an hours dispensing and preparing for the day’s work every morning from 7.30 to 8, back again at my electrical work from 8.15 to 12, and again from 1 – 4.30 or 5, except for two days a week when I have free time from 2-6 and work from 6-8.30 with a break for dinner. Then with our short-handedness I’ve been doing half an hour or an hours duty in the wards from 8-9 or so, to relieve other tired folk so you may see I haven’t had much spare time.
What I have I’ve used to tear up in a tram to Bonsecours and grub with pick and spade making a long border by our sleeping hut. I enclose you the six photos you asked for.
I hope the Irish will be strafed: a nasty blow for the Home Rulers.
Rather amusing about the Barrons or rather the Downs! However one lives and learns: certainly I do: I’m getting an aged and responsible individual here. Tim and I live a very quiet life in our free time: it is lucky she is such a keen gardener too, as we are straining every nerve to make our garden in the new hospital a real success.
I must dry up: I’ve been doing new lists for May and drawing up reports of April’s work: a fiendish job I can tell you. I’ll send you a copy when it is finished.
Best love to you both, dear things,
Your loving Dorothy.