CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/167
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date5 January 1917
Extent7 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her parents, regarding the Week of Prayer; music preparation; time to write letters; duties at hospital; mention of correspondence from banker; details of accounts; she has needed few clothes because they have had few social engagements, but she has ordered flannels for next winter and cellular combinations for the summer; she has received no cheque from them since June; Uncle has enough expenses with Uncle Aleck's increase and gifts to Aunt Amy; prices are still rising in Rome; summer plans are vague; Uncle had thought of taking them all to Mürren but she does not want to go; Mr. Mathieson seems settled there so a posting is unlikely; crossing into and out of Switzerland is very difficult; England is out of the question as it is almost impossible to secure passports because of the French requiring the railways for military movement; Chamonix is probably the most convenient place; Uncle will be busy with Bible Society work again; she might be accepted again at Aix but the doctor there has moved to Valence and attitudes to massage might have changed; there are only 70 patients left in the hospital and it might become militarised in the spring; the administration has finally ousted her successor there; the doctoress still writes to her so she would probably have little problem there, and she is also still in contact with the doctor; he appreciated also the moral influence she had over the wounded; she does not want the responsibility of a ward and would not like to nurse; she wants a post of her own somewhere next winter; Uncle says he will resign when the war is over; finances are still the problem as Uncle Aleck costs more than the interest of Uncle's savings; the organ work is not worth returning to Rome for; Mr. Green is still variable in his lessons; she prides herself on his general improvement; he considers the Scottish national characteristic to be getting to a goal regardless; massage will probably cease in Rome in April as it is too hot; Aunt thinks she should stay on in France after the summer; she wishes she could see her cases through properly, as she receives pathetic letters from her old patients whose problems have returned and who have to undergo further operations, not necessary if massage had been continued; Dupont's hand is useless again; description of what he is to undergo and what she had done previously; she finds it strange to work on medical cases after surgical ones, and hopes she can stay long enough to make a permanent difference to them; Signora Bianchi is optimistic that even after a break massage is good, because most of the soldiers are young enough to recover again; mention of misconception of cranium; Vanghetti's method of leaving the muscles outside the stump leads to their deterioration, so it does not work; sorry to hear of Dr. Johnston's death; he was egoistic; reflections on the disadvantages of being a middle-aged woman; thanks for letters; mention of teaching English and the desirability of foreign languages, emphasised by the war; foolishness of seeking positions of power; mention of debates over furloughs; they suppose that father and mother will postpone theirs until after the church is built, by which time Dr. Elmslie might be back to 'keep out some of the aggressive juniors'; problems of supplying flour to the troops, and the risk of malaria in the rainy season; mention of the laying of the foundation stone for the new church; they hope to leave Rome in the middle of June; she and Aunt will go and Uncle can stay on if he wants to; she did not sing at Aix last year for fear of damaging her voice; her gifts lie in teaching, not in performing; Mlle. Lacuffer hd a good soprano voice; she did not want to divert her strength from her massage; her work had to be carefully planned so she had little free time; her parents suppose that the French will fight to the finish but they have reasons for not doing so - they do not like the conditions, they hate militarism and the abuse of power in the system, and only civilians and journalists talk of fighting to the finish, for the soldiers hate it; there will be rebellion in the French army if the war goes into another winter; the Italian soldier says that Italy does not need more territory and the government will only raise taxes to keep it; the conditions in the trenches, physical and moral, are terrible; the Giolitti party tries to make itself heard in support of peace; Lloyd George must strengthen the weak points in Italy if he is not too trustful; more drifters are coming out from Britain to the Aegean, which is a 'nest of submarines'; Uncle met a sailor who dived under the Turkish nets in the Sea of Marmora three times and blew them up; the Italian soldiers are the only ones able to withstand the climate in Salonika; the French and British contract dysentery; Malta now has 20,000 cases; the Italian soldiers at the hospital are against the war and say that only the poor who cannot afford bribes are at the front; the man whose dislocated shoulder has not been set for four months was told to go away by his colonel, and the soldiers are treated like dogs; the Austrians are well entrenched; Mr. Barbour has written, having been in Gorizia since it was taken in August, and describes the elaborate Austrian fortifications; he writes of two organs he found there, and hopes to be injured in some way as to be sent for massage in Rome; he has not written since October so they do not know if he had home leave for Christmas or whether or not he has been classed as fit to fight; Mrs. Brock is certainly not going back to Udine for the food is too bad; Uncle has been upset by a letter from Blake who wants to present Uncle with an address in front of his congregation; he is once again indulging in self-glorification; Uncle's contemporaries should be there instead, especially Dr. Miller, who started it off; the congregation is at present too small and too mixed to take much notice.
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