It is a great thing to have one’s friend attached to a hospital whose quarters are in one of the swagger hotels of Paris!!  

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Hotel Astoria Paris WW1© Charles Lansiaux / BHVP / Roger-Viollet

11/5/1917

My dearest Mother

Please forgive my remissness in writing: I have been to Paris!

I dare say you may have seen in the papers that there has been a conference  (inter allie) on re-education and reestablishment of the disabled soldier. Well as we are largely concerned in the physical re-education we have been very busy. I think I told you there was going to be this affair when I was home. The médecinchef here had an official job of collecting reports on physiotherapy. Well I was just crazy to go [with]: the médecin-general, the médecinchef, Dr Stouffs and Dr Hendrix (artificial legs) and Miss Loveday and one of her medical gymnasts.

I asked Matron and she said yes if the médecinchef would let me, and if a new Belge we were expecting daily turned up. Well I asked Dr de Marneffe and he said yes, if Dr Stouffs would let me. Dr Stouffs said he’d be delighted if I could be replaced in the electricity (I have been working short ever since I came back, two nurses and an orderly instead of three nurses)  as I couldn’t leave Nick alone in the electro. However the Belge turned up and an awful specimen at that. But it released me for the congress. The médecinchef and co. had to go on Monday night as the show bullied off on Tuesday morning and didn’t finish till Saturday evening. I found that Wednesday and Thursday morning were to be the most interesting so Matron gave me leave and I immediately wrote off to Mrs Pollard to ask her if she could put me up. I had a wire the next day saying she’d be delighted. As Tim said there is nothing like falling on one’s feet: making the acquaintance of a woman in Paris and then wanting a pied-à-terre at Paris about a month afterwards. So on Tuesday night I set off by the evening express to Paris: as luck would have it I met a man I knew on the train; a Colonel Gascoigne in the Canadian forces and we travelled together and dined together on the train which was much more amusing. He saw me to the Astoria too which was pleasant for me. I was taken to Mrs Pollard’s suite by the night guard. On the 6th floor where all the chiefs of the staff live there are ripping little suites of rooms and Mrs Pollard has one. I had one too, a vestibule, sitting room, bedroom and bathroom and a big balcony overlooking the Champs Elysees with a glorious view of the SacréCœur and the  Butte de Montmartre. I had a tub and turned in at once. It is a great thing to have one’s friend attached to a hospital whose quarters are in one of the swagger hotels of Paris!!

Next morning I was at the congress betimes and met all the hospital people. The proceedings were at times instructive and always amusing. The French doctors quarrelled fearfully among themselves. There were lots of interesting photographs and exhibits of all kinds and orthopaedic apparatus. I spent all Wednesday there and Thursday morning. I went out to lunch with Colonel Gascoigne at  Latrues (?) on Wednesday: it is one of the palaces in Paris, I think ? Anyway I had a top-hole lunch there. I met Dr McClure at the congress: he is Captain Anwyl’s doctor and knew Mrs Pollard very well. Sir Berkeley Moynihan was also there and Dr Fortesque Fox (whirlpool baths) and Surgeon-general Russell and Sir A Griffith-Boscawen. There were some other people from England but I didn’t know who. Then there were Italians, Serbs, Portuguese, Romanians, French and Belgian. It was so funny to hear all the diferent Nationalities speaking French.

On the Wednesday night Mrs Pollard took me to the theatre: a very amusing and somewhat racy French farce – I went for a stroll by myself between tea and dinner and saw a little of life.

On Thursday Dr Stouffs and Dr McClure came to lunch at the Astoria and we saw all over the place afterwards.

I must dry up now: will finish my narration in a day or two.

The bike saddle has arrived: also Father’s money. Many thanks.

Best love

Your loving daughter Dorothy.

About Mrs T

Beyond the day job, the housework and the garden I love to delve into local and family history. I also love to get involved in local projects. Recent research for Alford Manor House has combined the two and led to obsession.
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