I got all my things back safely and am at present sitting in the camp bed which is top hole…..


My Dearest Mother

I am safely back with all my parcels and treasures and best of all a memory of a happy leave spent with kind and loving parents. It was stiflingly hot coming over – there were no berths so I slept on the floor of the ladies’ saloon with rugs and pillows and it wasn’t bad. The girl in the Red Cross uniform (French) sat next to me a brekker and asked a few nervous questions. She was a Canadian going out to work with other English people in a French soldiers’ canteen, and to do that she was wearing a French Red Cross uniform. Funny trick I call it. I found she was green at the game, it being her first cross channel trip so I had to drag her through. We got into Havre at 11: it was awfully misty near in, but we got off the boat fairly quickly. Thanks to a kind smart Red Cross man, we got through the passport office very quickly, and there was a motor ambulance waiting for us to take us and our baggage to the other station, which is a mile away. However having rescued all my smaller treasures, I had to wait for ages for the things from the hold, for having been put in first they came out last!! However we got away about 12:30. There were five Red Cross people and YMCA and so forth. We got to the station just in time to see the slow train for Rouen sailing out, so we stored our luggage, and the Canadian and I set out to send telegrams and lunch. I sent you a wire and one to Matron asking for the ambulance to meet me. Then we had a good lunch, and finally wandered back to the station in the blazing heat and sat there reading until 4, when we went and sat in our train. I got into Rouen about 6:35 and I was met by Nicolson (my assistant) and the ambulance. I got all my things back safely and am at present sitting in the camp bed which is top hole. The heat is terrific here and we have 400 men in my dept!! That means about 350 a day!!

I must dry up now as its time to get up.

Best love to you both

Your loving Dorothy

Tim has been written for to come back: isn’t it ripping.

3/8/1916                                                                                                                         Bonsecours

My Dearest Mother

This is really a continuation of this morning’s letter. I got to Rouen quite safely and was met by the ambulance and Nicholson. I got all my things here quite safely. The camp bed is a dream; I had a lovely night in it. I put it up yesterday and had a large staff of assistants and advisors to help me. I shall make Tim bring out a camp bed too and we shall have heaps of room then. The rugs and cushion are simply topping. I don’t know if I thanked you properly for all the lovely things you gave me – anyway thank you ever so much now.

I find the garden perfectly lovely. Gypsophila, Clarkia, Nasturtiums, Shirley poppies, Iceland poppies, phloxes and roses form the chief of our gay show. The Sweet peas will soon be out: everything has grown splendidly while I’ve been away. The plants I brought out suffered a little from the fact that they were wrapped in cabbage leaves which had rotted. The Aubretia cuttings were quite dead. Could you send me the name of the Sweet Williams as I want to write for some seed.

The work has increased even while I have been away. Fifty new patients during the fortnight that I was on leave and only about 10 left.

We had a funny old English Colonel Doctor came to see all our special installations yesterday. I think he was something to do with the BRCS but he is starting a hospital on the lines of ours somewhere in Wales: he is Welsh I think though I couldn’t catch his name. Well he couldn’t speak a word of French so I had to take him all round and interpret for him. I didn’t think he was at all a good man to send as he didn’t seem to know his subject at all and asked me a lot of silly questions.

We had a great tennis match last night, Sweden v England. Two of the medical gymnasts played for Sweden (the best two players) and Williams (the dark girl) and I played for England. We beat them in two straight sets much to our astonishment. To-night we are going to play Belgium, Dr Borremans and Miss Fresez. He is rotten, but she is good but bad style she plays a lot of little screws, and plays each shot to win, you know the kind of person. However I hope we may lick them. Nick and I spent an hour and a half doing statistics for the month of July last night. It was a terrific job but it is done now thank heavens. I’ll send you a copy. Dr Stouffs and the Medecin Chef are delighted with the new toy: you will receive a letter from Dr de Marneffe (medecin chef) in very careful English I expect. He asked for an address to write to, and I said that you had collected most of the money, and so I thought he had better write to you. It works awfully well.

The weather is terrifically hot just now.

I must dry up now

Best love to you both

Your loving Dorothy.

Don’t forget a label for Mrs Mackenzie

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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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