The new handles on the drawer look awfully nutty – everyone is very covetous of our digs.

Dorothy Feb 1916 Rouen14/8/1916 Bonsecours

My Dearest Mother

I hope it isn’t a very long time since I wrote. I have written to Mrs Walcott some time ago.

I don’t remember if I told you much about the journey. The Flemings behaved quite decently: they could speak French and so I spoke to them once or twice and enlightened them on various subjects. The child was quite good but they would give it drinks out of a suspicious black bottle with the result that somewhere about Basingstoke it was violently sick, and on the floor at that, even before I had time to say “par la fenetre”. However they spread newspapers very carefully on the floor afterwards and mercifully it was their end of the apartment and not mine!! They were quite good about windows, both theirs and mine were wide open.

The new toy is a roaring success: the Commandant doctor got quite excited over it. You will no doubt have had a letter in very careful English from him (Dr de Marneffe) thanking you for your gift.

I got everything quite safely to its destination. The camp bed is heavenly and is the admiration of everyone, especially with its pretty bedspread, and so is the rug. I have bought a cane chair with a joint present given to Tim and me for our room,by Mrs Anwyl last Christmas. It is quite a nice plain one with an adjustable back, and a shelf affair that slips out from underneath and makes it a chaise longue. The cushion reposes proudly in the midst of it and the new handles on the drawer look awfully nutty – everyone is very covetous of our digs.

I hope my parcel will come from Mrs Mackenzie soon; I want it most awfully.

Tim is full of most righteous wrath about the clock; she left it at Harrods. However she is going there to claim it and bring it out with her. I daresay the child who served us wasn’t a very smart lad!! Your letter written on Aug 1st took 8 days to come!! The boats have not been running at all regularly in fact I only just got over in time – the submarines have been awfully busy in the channel!! Dirty brutes I wish they’d net a few.

How very sad about George Botham. Do you know any further particulars about it now? I have never seen his name in the lists but owing to the irregularity of the mails my Times is not in very good working order yet.

I am awfully sorry about Mr and Mrs Tennant. I have never met him but from all accounts they are such a charming and devoted couple, and it is such a horrible death.

The weather here is very hot but to-day has been cooler with showers of rain, for which I have been very grateful as the garden wanted it badly. I am busy digging a new bed for the rose trees. It is two yards square, only a little job one would think, but the ground is like iron as it is Virgin soil.

On Sunday I had a day off and, as I was alone, I set off on a walking tour. I left at 9:15 and walked by the long road to Pont de L’Arche, a fine old town higher up the Seine. I arrived there about 2:15 and ate a hearty lunch- then I set off back again by the short road and got back to the hospital at 7:30 having covered 45 kilometres which is roughly 27 miles!! Not bad was it. The staff at the hospital wouldn’t believe me at first – I got a bit foot sore towards the end as the roads were covered with gritty dust which would get into my shoes, but I enjoyed myself no end, and drank gallons of cider on the road in various small cafes. I am a bit stiff today but nothing to speak of. If you look on the map you will find Pont de l’Arhce in Eure, the department to the South West of Seine-inferieure. I don’t think there is much else to tell you: I am very fit and well and very busy.

The garden is lovely: I wish you could see it. I cut quite a lot of sweet peas on Saturday and the Shirley poppies are a sight, so is my Campanula Pyramidalis which is at least 7 feet high. I have a lovely double primrose coloured hollyhock too.

I must stop now

With best love to you all

Your loving Dorothy

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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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