CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/168
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date7 January 1917
Extent3 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, regarding the arrival of the Allied delegates in Rome, most of them straight from Paris; Lloyd George is staying at the Embassy; Lord Milner, Briand, and others at the Hotel Bristol; according to the newspaper the Italians want financial and material support from the other allies; David Henderson found out recently that Runciman had already made over a large sum to Italy; there are hints that the Italians think the British are doing nothing for them, but there has been a gift of £10,000 worth of artificial limbs to Queen Elena, and another £10,000 given by the St. John's Ambulance Society; Proli, one of her patients, supposed that British hospitals were better than Italian ones, and when she agreed, said that that was because the British were rich; this resulted in a stream of criticism of basic and cheap hygiene from Amelia; the men do not like the doctor who switches from hopelessness to rage and back; he has forbidden newspapers because they were being used to hide the mess of the bedside tables; the two corporals, who are priests, let his rages slide off them and give him no respect; row between the sister and the doctor; the new place for her ward is better in design; description; 80 patients are comfortably housed there; there is good ventilation and it is well-staffed, but dirty; there is still no basin; her offer to help is met with the doctor's despair, the more so as a visit is expected from the Queens, and Queen Elena has a reputation for inspecting patients' feet to see how clean they are; a basin can be requisitioned by the doctor from the deposito but must be signed for by him and returned the same day; hot water is difficult to obtain; the doctor has given her charge over the orderlies if she will get something done; the tables have been taken away because they were dirty, so the men are left to eat in their beds; no one will agree to clean the tables; their table manners are disgusting; she aims to have Dora Polkinghorne in to help clean up, but it has to be done through Baroness Sonnino; the Baroness is very helpful and offers also to find her a broom, as the current one is bald; Uncle and Aunt are enjoying her accounts of it all; it is difficult to make reliable arrangements for travelling to the hospital each day; nothing can be left unguarded - Mrs. Gibson found that her uniform was being used by a nurse for scrubbing away iodine stains; Aunt is still having trouble with Miss Forster Walker; she is not averse to being looked after by the Blue Nuns but their hospital on the Caelian is full; she wishes Aunt to go with her to Dr. Brock because although she had arranged for Mrs. Pearce to accompany her, Mr. Pearce has rheumatism and Mrs. Pearce has enough to bear; visit of Mr. and Mrs. Smith; end of the Week of Prayer, with a description of its haphazard progress; she would rather scrub dirty patients; Mr. Smith's address was good but he and his wife squabbled over tea and did not create a good impression; visit of Mrs. Livingstone Wilson in finery; Uncle thinks she wants a husband; Miss Livingstone Wilson likes the Chisholms; her brother is in France; Mrs. Livingstone Wilson's plans for accommodation.
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