CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/199b
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date20 July 1917
Extent6 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Chambéry, to her relatives, regarding settling into routine; hot weather though mornings and evenings cool; some nurses on holiday, including Mlle. Vernaz; the place runs so smoothly one is hardly aware of the administration; the nurses are not as close to the patients as they were at the Bristol, because the nurses change more often; the length of the war has also brought in an element of fatalism, and the men talk of being wounded or killed, and going back and forth from the front to hospital until you are dead or mutilated for life; the French army is reduced to a quarter of its original strength; the men feel the entrance of the Americans will prolong the war; they are realistic about the future to the point of pessimism, and she has to be careful what she says to them about their future life in peace time; the men are anxious to leave the hospital and go home, so often she is not able to finish her treatments; mention of a group photograph [absent]; list of patients in it and their injuries: Dupaux (pierced forearm), Piquet (ditto), Faure (sprain), Pouquine (fractured leg), Raby (lumbar rheumatism), Boursier (amputated toes, frozen feet), Brethis (big toes amputated, frozen feet); she was given the copy by Raby as a souvenir; the others tease Raby for the sheer quantity of medical treatment he receives and the enjoyment he seems to derive from it; he is not wounded but ill, so the others are less than sympathetic, though he contracted it while guarding the reservoir at Troyes; operations for Boursier and Dabadie, who has had some more shrapnel removed as it was causing an abcess; it could be seen on X-ray [radio photograph] but could not be reached; she has been playing the piano for Faure, a professional singer, and for M. Fruchin, a teacher of Greek and Latin who is acting as stretcher bearer and is an excellent amateur singer; she has been improvising and sight reading; the music is beyond most of the men, so she hopes Faure will find some more popular tunes to perform; Faure despises them, but the men need the entertainment; Allemand has been longing for someone to say something funny to entertain them; neither priest nor pastor has any instructive programme for them; when the young and alert are out in the afternoon the place is very dull; case of Leloup, shot through the lung over two years ago: the wound is still suppurating, but he is good humoured; Dr. Michaud has complimented her bandaging in her absence and the men are impressed; mention of an enclosed photograph of the hospital itself [absent] with an explanation; the coals are all in for next winter; there is a sort of garden, devoted mostly to potatoes, bowls and rabbits, with a corner for burning soiled dressings; it is cool but not cold, and quite sheltered, ideal for convalescents; Allemand, who was skeletal, is beginning to take on some weight in his limbs; his appetite and complexion have improved; Aunt is occupied with housekeeping; walk to the Grande Chartreuse; Amelia went to church out of duty but did not enjoy it - the sermon was depressing. [Letter breaks off without signature]
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