CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/164
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date27 December 1916
Extent5 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, engrossing a postcard from Blake to Uncle concerning Crozier's ordination (as an example of Blake's arrogance); Uncle later discovered that Blake was hoping to use his visit to Rome to celebrate Uncle's jubilee as a chance to lecture on his experiences with the soldiers at Mürren; problems via the Y.W.C.A., of which Mrs. Blake is president in Florence; Mary Rossi is a friend of hers; Uncle has already spoken about Mürren during sermons in Rome but Blake regards it as his own subject; the soldiers would despise him for it; 'he needs to be sent into the trenches, and the front line too, only he is not fit to mingle with the good and the true!'; Uncle maintains that Crozier should be examined at Leghorn, not in Rome; Mr. Green says that all men over thirty who are doing Red Cross work will be considered as doing their duty; the able-bodied men under 30 are already at home - Mr. Barbour may not be of that class; Uncle's letter from Lady Meath regarding Miss Forster Walker; Miss Forster Walker is frail but her use of stimulants (Marsala, Vermouth and brandy) is doing her harm; she changes her mind constantly about having an attendant; she came to tea on Christmas Day and David Henderson came to dinner, then Amelia went to visit the Polkinghornes, just back from Peccioli, and in the evening Paul Rossi called - he does not look so well and his shoulder is stiff, but he is now a Lieutenant; Mrs. Brock and Muriel interrupted their dinner; Mrs. Brock annoys Maria; Maria 'reading the paper, searching for suicides and such like'; visit of Baroness Sonnino to say that Dr. Diamante of the S. Croce Hospital was urgently looking for foreign masseuses; visit of Aunt and Amelia to the Baroness whose husband, Baron George, is an invalid; Amelia lays down her terms; the Baroness takes her to the hospital to meet the Colonello Medico and Dr. Diamante, a small man with a sharp tongue; she starts work; brief description of her first few cases, a rheumatic knee, a closed hand, a withered arm following a long-neglected dislocated shoulder, and two arms with motor nerves paralysed by cold; the hospital is the S. Croce barracks, with 1,400 patients; she is in a ward with 78 cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, intestinal catarrh and such like; there are no wounded in the hospital; description of the bare ward; description of sanitary conditions; no soap or basin; the bedridden are never washed and the convalescents can wash themselves if they like, which they do not; food dishes are also washed in the bathroom; the doctor is unsympathetic and nursing does not exist; description of the awful food; the doctor wishes her to learn how to use the electric batteries, but she has also arranged for Signora Bianchi to go to work there; Maria thinks it a good thing and says that now the clique will be silenced; letter from Mrs. Harper, hoping not to lose touch; Fai Harper is at Malta as a doctor; Mary is at Oxford learning about poultry and pig-farming; Mrs. Manzinoja at the Schweizenhof has died; thanks to Aunt Amy for letter.
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