Oh how cold it is. We have snow and frost and rain and sleet by turns……

 

IMG_20150426_000217/01/1917                                                                                         HMB

My Dearest Mother

Oh how cold it is. We have snow and frost and rain and sleet by turns and damp fog squeezed in between. I hope Heals have sent our stuff off: we are dying to have it.

We have got our stove (paraffin) now we call it “stuffy” as it stinks somewhat. However it warms our little dog kennel nicely. I don’t suffer from the cold except for chilblains, but those are very tiresome: my left foot is absolutely blobby with the beastly things and, as you know, I never have chilblains at home. However electrical treatment is excellent for them and so I am now giving   myself a dose of electricity every day.

Tim has been seedy off and on: the flu has played Hades with her liver and it is taking a long time and very careful diet to get her right. My leave is due in a few weeks, but I shall apply for it a bit later and try to get leave for the end of March or the beginning of April. It will be decent weather then and I shall be able to go about a bit and prune the roses!!

We are forcing bulbs with fair success in the sechoir. The sechoir be it known is a big hut full of stoves and drying linen. In it under the windows I have a shelf which the hospital carpenter put up for me. It is about a yard wide and three or four yards long. So it is almost like a greenhouse and we find it awfully useful.

I hope M and the child haven’t been falling about any more. Poor thing she seems to be having a rotten time just now with her movings.

I was intensely tickled at your description of Vear. And he used to be such a cautious person about his health too!!

Do what you like with my investments: I have got £10 to send you home: £5 from your and Father Christmas money and Uncle Charlie’s cheque. I gather from Father that he is going to transfer my bigger stuff into the new loan. Can’t some of the smaller investments go too? or is that not feasible?

I went up to No2 on Saturday, the day I got Father’s communication to call on Colonel Grant-Thorold (Harry I suppose) and found he had left for England on Thursday: so I expect he is going on well.

I must stop now or this will miss the post.

Best love to you both

Your loving Dorothy.

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The weather is absolutely poisonous……

D Higgins 1915 IWM09/01/1917                   HMB

My Dearest Mother

Thank you very much for your letters, papers and the sweet little calendar. I should have written before but that Tim has been seedy again. The flu has left her with a bad liver and she is awfully easily tired and gets giddy and sick so often and has to diet carefully. It is rotten for her poor girl.

The weather is absolutely poisonous it pours all day, either rain or snow and is beastly cold too. We have got Matron’s permission to have an oil stove in our room and we shall go and choose it tomorrow if Tim is well enough. I had a letter from Uncle Charlie with a cheque for £5 in it: wasn’t it kind of him. I shall send it back with £6 of your and Father’s money and you’d better get it put into War Stock of some kind if you will please – isn’t there a new loan coming out?

I had a ripping book from Nurse which caused us intense amusement. I gather Ford Sandall is at home: I had a Christmas card from him which came from Sutton.

I must end this brief epistle as it is post-time.

More soon

Best love to you both

From your loving Dorothy

I got the Indian Photo all right.

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Best love and the best of luck for 1917 to you both…….

D Higgins 1915 IWM27/12/1916      HMB

My dearest Mother

I have already written to thank you for your Christmas present but this is a kind of general letter to wish you both a happier New Year.

I had a card from Ford Sandall at Sutton-on-Sea so I expect he is going on all right.

There seem to have been many deaths at Alford for which our brilliant medico seems to be much responsible. I wonder he has not been ruled out of the profession or “called up”!!

Did you have your day with M? Father tells me she is to move to Seaforth. Thank you very much for the Psalm It was quite witty. I have been so busy and I haven’t known where to look. Tim was quite ill with flu till 2 days before Christmas. It took the form of a chill on the liver and for five days she had practically nothing but hot barley water.When she got over the sickness she had to be dieted very carefully for a day or two.

I was preparing the men’s Christmas party and our own party on Boxing night and doing Tim’s work and my own work and I was nearly dead. However she made a rapid recovery and was able to make a lot of our scenery.

Granny seems to have had a nasty cold poor old thing. Is she all right now? Your Christmas letter arrived duly on Christmas morning. I longed to be with you, Christmas seems so strange out here always. Of course Granny is not to give me a present I quite understand.

This will have to be finished now it is post time. I will write again soon and tell you about our Boxing night plays.

Best love and the best of luck for 1917 to you both.

Your very loving Dorothy.

I haven’t forgotten or lost the warrant: I’ll try and get it off this afternoon.

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I hope you enjoyed the Tothill shoot, I itched to be there………….

dorothyhigginsfor-web-27/12/1916              HMB

My dearest Father

I sent you and Mother a very hurried scrappy letter for Christmas, but this is a better effort, now I have a little breathing space. Thank you ever so much for your lovely and most magnificent Christmas present. I shall send most of it back to be put into War Loan Stock.

I hope “he” enjoyed his Christmas with Lib. I was intensely amused to hear that he was to be shown off to the neighbours!! I hope he was good and didn’t stalk Lib and Teddy’s chickens.

It was very sad that the turkey missed fire. Miss Moberg turned up without it, she was very sad at not having received it, but these things will happen especially in wartime. Luckily a benevolent Govt provided us with one. We have just got a new lieut. Who manages our mess and he has a very high opinion of the nurses and does us awfully well. He is an excellent manager and we are much more comfortable in his hands than with the old one who didn’t like us much and thought anything would do. However he’s gone and the new and agreeable one reigns in is stead and gave us a turkey for Christmas day.

What I am awfully sorry about is your being landed with the beggar. I hope he won’t be an awful nuisance to you. Miss M says she left orders that he was to be sent to you. I hope you enjoyed the Tothill shoot. I itched to be there: I do so long for my country pursuits.

I hope Granny is better: it was bad luck her having a cold at Christmas time.

On re-reading your last letter from the club I gather that the turkey is lost but I’m afraid I can’t read every word!! Do let me know if it does not turn up and I will ask Miss Moberg to write for news of it. Of course it wasn’t your fault: I’m only sorry to have given you so much trouble for nothing. We had a very busy day on Christmas day: several of us were awfully busy getting things ready for our plays last night and preparing for the men’s Christmas party.

I must stop now as I want to write to Mother too.

With very many thanks and best love

From your loving daughter Dorothy

P.S. Please will you deduct £1.0.3. from my allowance and send it to Bessie: she did some Christmas shopping for me.

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We are full of preparations for Christmas. We shall try to make things as jolly as possible for the men……

D Higgins 1915 IWM12/12/1916

My dearest Father

I think it is time I wrote to you. How are you getting on, have you had any shooting lately? I suppose Walter will shoot Tothill once or twice.

Can you raise a big turkey for Christmas? I have promised to be responsible for one for Christmas. There are about 24 of us so it will have to be a hefty fellow. It must go to this address:

Miss Moberg, 45 Princes Square, Hyde Park, London W. She is leaving London on the 19th I have written and told her that it is coming. Will it be a bird of Mrs Lowe’s raising ?

I hope that this is not an awful nuisance for you and that you’ll be able to get it off on time, if not there will be 24 very hungry and disappointed people on Christmas day. This is only a scribble to catch the post. Will write a proper letter later.

Best Love                   From your loving Dorothy.

12/12/1916

My dearest Mother

Thank you very much indeed for the books, jujutes, hooks warrant and badge. I’m afraid I have been a nuisance and an expensive nuisance too just lately. It was the fat book I wanted but you were quite right; I had made a muddle. I’ll send back the warrant next time I go down to Rouen. I don’t want the money out here: it had better accumulate at home.

17/12/1916

This letter will never get finished: Tim has been in bed for three days with influenza and is very sorry for herself. I am looking after her when I am not on duty which keeps me awfully busy. She feels fearfully sea-sick all the time poor girl which is so awfully rotten for her. There seems to be a lot to do, straightening her bed, making tea and such like, filling bottles and washing her absolutely fills up my spare moments. It is awfully bad luck as she has just been moved to the electricity department about a week ago and was enjoying life tremendously. I am going to get Matron to write a certificate of 12 months work and shall send it to Mr Walker: Mrs Baron ought to see to it but I shall send it direct to him as she is so slack. As for my Christmas present: I think a fiver is too much: I want to get an oil stove for our room which will cost about a £1. There is quite a nice brand of stove one can get out here. Also I am getting some new curtains for our room so may I have £2 out here please and if you really want to give me any more keep the rest and pay Father a little more of my War Loan: I still owe him about £6 I think.

I hope your cough and cold are quite cured now.

I wonder if Elsie will come home next year. Of course the Mediterranean seems to get worse rather than better.

I think it would be awfully nice for you to spend Christmas in London: I’m sure you must need a change and it would be nice for Father to be within hail of his only remaining sister too.

Will you send me a Stores weekly provision list some time, I’m rather keen to compare English and French prices. I do so hope Vear’s knee is not being allowed to go stiff. Father wrote and said of course the wound must heal before they can do anything. I’m sorry to sound superior but that is just what they mustn’t do: it must be massaged and worked and given all necessary treatment as soon as possible: many of our men are treated with open wounds: in fact no one stops treatment for a wound unless he is in excessive pain or very recently operated on, or having some special drug which requires to be left on the wound for several days.

The screws were much too small. Was my drawing bad? The diameter of the opening should be about that of a florin. A dozen will be plenty but there is no particular quantity. Thank you very much for the Clay’s fertiliser, Miss Loveday has bought it. I hope May’s case will come: the last one she sent has never turned up.

Matron has recently been home on leave and we may still have our papers seen to by Mr Beard at Southampton so that is all right.

I was awfully amused at your account of the Missioner and his appeals!!

The new Govt. makes one reflect a good deal. Anyway I think it is full of new blood and ginger: let us hope it will justify its existence. The new French push is splendid everyone here is awfully bucked about it. We want something to cheer us up anyhow. I hope Father’s throat and cough are better. We are full of preparations for Christmas. We shall try to make things as jolly as possible for the men. It is not so easy to plan for 1000 odd as for 210 as it was last year.

We are doing a little show of our own on Boxing Day. Tim and I and other nurses are doing two little plays in our mess for the others and the doctors. One of them is “Between the Soup and the Savoury” that hardy perennial. I am again doing the cook’s part.

The weather is absolutely beastly, to-day is thick raw fog, bitingly cold and most of the other days in the week it has rained.

There is now news much to tell you. Tell Father that I think the turkey is quite enough Christmas present for me.

I shall dry up now as I must go and look after my invalid.

I shall write again before Christmas.

Best love to you both

From your loving Dorothy.

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Would you buy a shilling tin of Clay’s Fertiliser for plants ……….

IMG_20150426_000230/11/1916

My dearest Mother

I am up to the eyes in work: material to prepare for reports and end of the month etc. is the very devil.

The weather is horrible: it doesn’t freeze but it is bitterly cold and raw and bites into the marrow of ones bones. Fortunately we have a big stove in the mess and some little ones in our sleeping hut but in spite of them we scuttle quickly into our beds at night and throw on our garments in the morning very hastily. Going to make your bed and tidy your room after breakfast is the limit. However I’m very fit and full of beans and not really minding at all. The garden is feeling very miserable: things have a tendency to damp off in this beastly cold weather!

You have never told me how bad Vear’s knee is, or how he is getting on. I cannot think what happened to my letters: I wrote as soon as I got to France and another letter a few days afterwards: it is awfully sickening, but though I have had all your letters, one every Sunday from you both and sundry mid-week letters from Father they take any kind of time from 4 to 8 days to come. Of course the posts have been very irregular as have the channel crossings so I expect that is partly it, but I don’t know why letters should get lost all the same. Perhaps they went into the Censor’s letter basket!!

However I got Father’s money it is ample: thank him very much indeed please, surely I acknowledged the hat-pin and gloves: perhaps in one of the missing letters. Thank you very much indeed for sending them after me – The Strand too is a great joy! We simply devour papers and magazines and books when we have a few moments.

I have been very gay lately: I went down to dinner with Miss Hunter (the canteen girl who was on the boat) perhaps I told you this. Then Tim and I went down to play bridge at her digs we got late leave from Sister (Matron being home on leave!!) and I didn’t break off till 10.30 and walked up the hill through driving snow to Bonsecours getting in at 11.30, to the tick which was the time to which we’d been given leave: we were so warm and glowing after a sharp walk up hill so that was rather a jolly evening. Then we stood her a dinner in town and since that Tim had a friend coming through and we had tea with him one day and dinner another.

Then we’ve been one or twice in herds to the cinema just to cheer ourselves on a beastly wet day of which there are more than enough.

Roy is as well as it is because he was a poor miserable boy never likely to be fit for anything. Where is Guy now?

Poor Tom Alder: I’m afraid Jane will be awfully cut up when the end comes, and Madge too.

I must say I noticed that Molly had changed a good deal to the observing eye. Not outwardly, because she looked well and fit, and the three years different existence does not seem to have tried her as much as I had expected; as I feared she was altered in character; her artistic and literary traits seem very much to have been knocked out of her; it was only to be expected but it is a pity all the same as it was a great part of her charm.

I’m glad she wrote you as she did after she left.

“Bossy” ought to be strung up to Haman’s gallows. Why hasn’t he been called up by the way?

1/12/1916

Your letter of the 26th just arrived. I’m glad the N.W. is in such a satisfactory state. I didn’t know the Saltbys were satellites of Dr B. what fools they must be. I like the photos: the Sandalls are out of focus which is a pity. The two on the doorstep are quite good and the one in the nursery is not so bad but Peter would wriggle. Please send duplicates to Molly, I expect she would like to see them but don’t send her the films or I shall never see them again. It would be nice for her to see the Scotts again. I wish Tommy’s leave and mine had coincided we are most unlucky about that. I was so anxious to see him.

I was very amused about Ward !! He is a cracked old pot.

I am glad the hockey club is still keeping its head above water.

How is the hospital going at home? Do remind Mrs Baron every time you see her about my County badge. She is so slack about it! The weather is better to-day, sunny and no fog, but a sharp frost. You might look in my book shelves and find a book on Mendelism (not the thin one by BC Punnett but a smaller thicker one) and send it out to me. I’m very sleepy so shan’t write much more. Would you buy a shilling tin of Clay’s Fertiliser for plants and send it to Miss Loveday, 22 Chemston Gardens, Kensington W. mark it “For Miss Higgins” and then she, I know, is to bring it out to me.

We have had a nurse ill with Pneumonia: she was an oldish woman, not a lady, and half trained, but she was a nice old thing and we shall be sorry to lose her as she will have to go home. It is too dangerous to run a second risk.

I really must dry up now

With best love to you both and many thanks to Father for his more than ample relief.

Your loving Dorothy

Please send 2lbs of blackcurrant jujutes from Geo. Green and let me know the price per oz. as I am going to let some other people have some too. I also want some brass screw in hooks.

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He was dreadfully common and didn’t take my fancy as a medico at all…….

Dorothy Higgins London 11 July 1914 Alexandra Day IWM

July 1914 Miss Higgins selling roses for Aexandra Day in London.

15/11/1916      Bonsecours

My dearest Mother

I didn’t get my usual letter off on Sunday, as I was free in the morning and had a rose bed to trench and manure. In the afternoon I was guardi ( that meant I was looking after other people’s wards and was constantly running backwards and forwards giving medicines, Dakin treatment (a chlorine preparation injected 2 hourly into the wounds) etc. I meant to write to you in between but couldn’t find a moment.

To-day is La Fete du Roi (Abert’s Birthday) and so the men have a holiday. I have been very busy all morning collecting data and material for Dr Stouffs bi-annual report and that is some job I can tell you (being the trusted servant of one’s master has its drawbacks sometimes). This afternoon I have been planting rose trees with Tim in the bed I dug on Sunday: it makes the garden look awfully swishy!! Then we planted some belated bulbs: it is sickening how we’ve been delayed with our bulbs owing to the ground having been soaked! Yesterday the frost came and to-day it is awfully cold too!

My work grows apace: we are going to do x-ray treatment as well as x-ray photos now: it will be intensely interesting but very delicate work. There is always something new cropping up: new discoveries are being made every day and it behoves us to experiment with as many as we can.

A few days ago we had an American Doctor round and as he couldn’t speak French and he arrived at a moment when Dr Stouffs was very busy, he was handed over to me. Well I think he plied me with questions for nearly an hour: he was not a great believer in electrotherapy but as he had only seen it used for diseases and lesions of the central nervous system (brain and spinal chord) where it does not show at its best he was not an unbiased observer. He was dreadfully common and didn’t take my fancy as a medico at all.

Do tell me about Vear, his stay in France has indeed been short. I hope his knee is not a very bad business. I wish we could have him here to treat.

Tim and I are going out to play bridge with Miss Hunter tomorrow night.

I must dry up now: has Molly left you yet? I hope Father has sent me some money: my imprisonment at Southampton has quite cleaned me out.

Best love to you both

From your loving Dorothy.

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Behold my fifth day’s imprisonment down here……….

IMG_20150426_0002Sunday 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.

01/11/1916 10am

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.

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It was very amusing to hear his stories, especially about “Tanks”…..

D Higgins 1915 IWM14/10/1916

My dearest Mother

Excuse scribble but my fountain pen is in England being repaired and overhauled and as I am writing in bed I’m using Tim’s fountain pen which is a poor affair for me.

I suppose Molly is with you any day now. Your last letter dated October 1st only arrived on Oct 8th and I haven’t had a letter since: it may come today or tomorrow. I got a package of papers yesterday. Poor Captain Stanhope what a loss for Lincolnshire. I saw his death in the Times, but I didn’t know of her tragedy till I saw the Lincs. Standard.

I think I told you that Nick brought the bulbs, gum-boots and pinks quite safely. Most of the bulbs are in the ground. We have had 5 days running without rain here, almost a miracle. So we have been digging and forking and planting bulbs for all we are worth. I think we have worked every day for a fortnight in the garden. We work there nearly every day always, but we have been making a special effort lately. There isn’t anything much flowering now: our Michaelmas daisies of which we had a good many are most of them over – the Campanula Pyramidalis is still flowering!! We have got 2 baby frames made of packing cases, sawed diagonally in half, and with lids put on to them (glass of course) and a third little one. We put manure and soil in them and are raising seeds and cuttings for next year – the pinks haven’t rooted yet but they look quite happy.

I was much amused to see the Woodiwiss Bruce affair in the Times and then again in the Sunday pictorial. How could he!!? Especially as he must have seen all the other mumstruck girls. Bessie Alders Ruffers seem to have been getting married in handfuls. The bird was still in London when I heard from her last. She was going to Limoges to join Miss Grimston (her doctor friend): it is a “Wounded Allies Committee” hospital I think.

John Reed turned upon Sunday for tea. He was down in Rouen for 24 hours on business and just had time to run up and see me – it was very amusing to hear his stories, especially about “Tanks”.

We have got a new boy to wait on us a mere child. He speaks English very well, but with an appalling accent. I asked him where he had been in England and he told me he had been at Kettering with his parents who were still there farming. He said he’d been several times to Rushton ‘All and knew it well: it was a pretty plice! His name is Denis Schormans (pronounced Skormans) so I daresay Father knows people who would know his people – I hear you had a letter from Short: she has just comeback. She is quite a decent sort really but an arrant gusher! As I expect you would notice.

I have received a catalogue from the L.G.C. but want you to recommend me which quality of stocking you generally get. Also will you be sure and take the money for my blouse (Harrods) and the lengths of serge, out of my October allowance. There is something else I think but I don’t know what – however I expect you know, as I told you all about it when I was leaving.

The man who is sitting behind the Dowsing thing has got it over his hip and knee joint and the left leg is hanging outside.

Your flowers sound too heavenly: I wish we still had so much. I sent back the thing for the G.P.G. I haven’t had a chance to send back the certificate yet, but I haven’t forgotten it. It must be registered and I have been meaning to send it back in a big envelope with the Humphrey’s photo and Molly’s and Indian Letters, but I haven’t had a moment to go down to the APG myself and the Belgian postman is such a fool, I daren’t trust him. I expect I shall be going down in a day or two and will send it then.

15/10/1916

Tim and I are in the midst of an adventure. It is our Sunday off. Yesterday we were allowed off duty an hour earlier and we sallied down to Rouen to catch the 4.15pm train to Duclair, which is a pretty little town or village on the Seine some way below Rouen, a place in peace time much beloved of artist folk and at all times very convenient for Jumièges, a beautiful Norman abbey about 4 miles away which was our goal.

We got to the station all right but at 4.15 a military train went through and somehow or other, much to our fury, our train was 35 minutes late and when we got to Barentin (the junction on the main line where one changes for the little single line which only goes to Duclair and Caudetec a few miles further on) the rotten little train had gone and there wasn’t another one till 5.25am this morning. Well we didn’t like to be beaten, so cross and hungry we repaired to the Railway Hotel, and having inspected it decided to pass the night there. So we got a room and dined in a funny little room which they called the restaurant full of pampass grass and woolly mats and enlargements of photos (I’m now in the State railway and their lines and rolling stock do not conduce to steady calligraphy. In fact I can’t bear it and shall finish later)

Being now home again I shall continue-

We spent a weary and fidgety night waking up every ten minutes although we quite trusted the woman as she had a lot of people to wake and it appears that this happens “assez souvent”. The devil take state owned railways say I, they are always the utter limit. However we rose wearily at 4.45am and after a very minute “little breakfast” caught our train in the half light of dawn mid a very depressing drizzle. Half an hour brought us to Duclair about 6.15am and we besieged the only decent hotel in the place (quite a nice one on the quay) where we ought to have spent the night. It was locked but we rang the bell and boot boys and the like came to the door and let us in and found a maid who presently served us a heavenly breakfast of omelette and then sardines with coffee, butter and hot new rolls. Then after a few minutes rest we set out for Jumièges.

The road is pretty, running between forests one goes for about 2 ½ miles on the main road to Le Havre and then turns sharp down a road to the left for about 1 ½ miles which brings one to the village and abbey. I must now explain that the river goes as follows [small map drawn]. The dotted line is our route. We got to Jumièges and a very nice old man showed us round. He evidently loved the abbey and didn’t gabble off meaningless dates at us. I discussed architecture and Anglo French history with him recklessly in French. The abbey is glorious, mostly pure Norman. I can’t tell you about it now, but I’ll tell you about it and send you some postcards next time I write.

We walked back to Duclair by the forest, a bee line from Jumièges to Duclair and very pretty. We had showers fitfully but ovely sunny periods in between the showers and rainbows galore. We had tea at Duclair and came back here directly after.

Thanks awfully for the cuttings and the sweet William seed.

The buildings are small houses and a big convent I think. I don’t remember the picture and haven’t it by me at the moment. The Zepps do seem to have been gay round you.

I must stop now

Best love to you and M too if she is there.

Your loving Dorothy

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Our advance and offensive is splendid but the sacrifice is terrible ………..

IMG_20150426_000228/09/1916 HMB

My Dearest Mother

I am ashamed to have left you so long without news but I have been dreadfully busy. My faithful assistant Nick (Miss Nicholson) is on leave and I have been dealing with my work and training two other nurses their job. One came up to be with me while Nick was away and one of the ward nurses comes in two afternoons a week to learn the work as it is so necessary in case any of us are ill that someone should know something. My job is considered one of the most important and I think I may say without undue swank that the medical chief and my boss are both pleased with me and the way I do my job. Think of me next Sunday writing my report statistics and generally juggling with figures. I hate the end of the month, it is an awful grind.

Thank you so much for the bi-weekly papers: they really are great joy and I do appreciate them so much. I am glad the Marshall girl’s sister turned up alright: is it the rather dressy superior one that was at Bee’s hospital?

I suppose you had to call in on old Jake’s successor in your official capacity. Is he a gentleman or a bounder and what kind of GP?

What a sudden affair having Molly as soon. I wish I could be home when she comes. Poor girl she has paid dearly for her own way. Please be as gentle with her as you can, I expect she isn’t very happy. Poor little beggars it isn’t their fault that Robin is their father, anyway I think they are nice kids, and don’t hurt her by being unkind about her babies which are of course everything to her. I don’t think she’ll be such a fool as to go after the boys: I shouldn’t worry on that score. I don’t think you must call him a brute for volunteering: look at the casualty lists and think of what we must have to fill their places. Our advance and offensive is splendid but the sacrifice is terrible and just staggers one- Poor Molly and poor you and Father: he whole affair is very trying I wish I could be home to help. Be as gentle as you can with her: I think she has suffered pretty heavily for what she did and you are very frightening you know dear. You seem much harder and less sympathetic than you are, because you are shy and afraid to let go of your reserve. I was afraid of you once, before you let me have a peep or two behind the scenes, but I’m all right now, and I know what a dear sweet thing you are.

Now to switch on to clothes. The chessboard tulle and poinsettia hats may go. Not the black lace summer one with the crimson rose I want it and also the black velvet tammy: I am so fond of it. The other summer ones may go bar panamas and liberty’s. Don’t send the plain crimson straw with the black ribbon it might be useful. The heliotrope serge coat may go but not the skirt. I don’t remember the old dark blue but it may go. Keep the hockey skirt please. The Aunt Lizzie coat may go but not the skirt. Not Molly’s old dark grey, it may be useful – Not white serge skirt – light blue satin evening dress may go. I am afraid I am a hoarder but it is difficult to decide without trying on and seeing.

You must forgive such a servant but I am writing in bed and it is much easier in pencil. I am afraid Jack Nichols wants a bit more work to keep him out of mischief, is his leg all right?

Father tells me Captain Shaw is home. He is very lucky about leave.

I am so sorry my bulb order was so much. Please cut out the Camassias if they haven’t already been sent off and a doz. M. Lillies will do. Anyway I shall bring them all back with me some day. You sent me a doz. Fritillaria Aurora and I didn’t ask for them so you musn’t add that to my score.

I’m afraid you are having a fearfully busy time alone, I wish I could help you.

The Zepp business was a good egg wasn’t it. We were so awfully bucked.

We are terrifically busy with the garden. We have got a bed between our sleeping hut and the mess; it is planted with daffodils from Tim’s home then oversown with alyssum from mine and a border of forgetmenots.  We are very busy thinning these. Then the first garden under the windows of our sleeping hut looks quite gay still with Michaelmas daisies, heleniums, and harpalium rigidum and in another bed we have a patch of annual larkspurs, a late sowing that are doing very well.

 

I must stop now or I shall miss the post.

Best love dearest people

From your loving Dorothy.

Will send and return letters in a day or two.

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