Sunday 29/10/1916 RMSS Hantonia
My dearest Mother
I am so sick of this damned old boat!! I landed on it about 9pm Friday night and have been here in one pokey little dock ever since. Rumours are legion as to when we shall go but no one knows anything but the Captain and he, like Brer Rabbit, “lays low and says nuffin”. However he has to take his orders from the Navy.
I do so hope we shall get off tonight. It is so near the end of the month which is always such a busy time for me – however it is no use me cursing as we shan’t be allowed to go until the Naval people are satisfied that it is safe.
I know quite a lot of people on board. There is a Miss Hunter from the coffee shop (Lady Mabelle Egerton’s Canteen at Rouen) who I knew slightly before and I am in a cabin with two Red Cross folk who are quite decent. Life is very monotonous. We do nothing but sleep, eat and sit in deck chairs reading or writing. Oh I forgot to mention two delightful Americans who travelled from Waterloo with me. Their name is Smith, he is a history lecturer. She lectures too. They are coming to France at the request of the American Service address in Paris to collect data for lectures in the States to raise money for the Allies.
Behold my fifth day’s imprisonment down here. We really thought we were going last night but they detained us at the last moment to our intense disappointment.
They say we are pretty sure to go tonight, but we have almost given up hope. The weather is awful, thunder and fierce sends of rain and a daily howling gale. We are allowed off now and I can get a military pass as I’m in uniform which allows me to come and go as I wish, while the civilian passengers have to leave the ship at a stated hour and return at a stated hour. The other 2 V.A.D.s my stable companions have them too also the canteen girl, Miss Hunter, who is extremely nice. She and I play bridge with the two nice Americans in their cabin, nearly every evening.
I went out to lunch with Merideth yesterday: she is a member of our staff home on sick leave: I had no idea that she lived in these parts, but I met her in the street on Monday. To-day I lunched with the Americans, and so did the rest of us. A report has come in that we are to go. Lord help us how sick I shall be!! Don’t get excited if you don’t have a wire as we may be stopped again at the last minute. It is still pouring with rain. I have just returned from the real cinema with the others: I went yesterday to another one: they simply swarm here.
I must dry up now. With any luck my next letter will be from the other side of the channel.
Best love to you all
Your loving Dorothy.