CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/199d
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date12 August 1917
Extent10 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Chambéry, to her relatives, thanking for birthday wishes; birthday treat of soup of corn grains steeped overnight, and plums; the soup is a local one and delicious as the steeping gives a creaminess to compliment the vegetables; the grains are like large barley grains; the plums were dear because of the heavy rains; she and Aunt hoped to see David Henderson and the Browns passing through the station, but it is out of bounds for platform tickets at present; she asks Uncle to explain to the Browns why they did not see them; they are pleased the Browns are getting back to England, though probably David Henderson did not need to make such a rush of it; it is just as well, however, to be in Scotland before the winter; he seems to need some kind of operation, but Bury passed him; Mr. Robertson says he intends to leave for Australia at the end of the month for family reasons; he always uses his family as an excuse; as at Pontresina after Mr. Fothergill's death he has been upset by the sudden death from acute appendicitis of the surgeon Miss Wilson (surgeon at Royaumont and connected with the Bains); Mrs. Daly's father has died and when they wrote to her they received a mauve-bordered printed acknowledgement card, the first of the kind they have seen; she has received two letters from Tonia, whose family home has broken up: her father, looking very elderly, has gone back to the front, her mother and younger sister have gone south to be near relatives, and two older sisters are independent; Tonia is in some large institution, teaching, and gives her salary and conditions; account of a grandmother and grand-daughter, neighbours in Chambéry, who are from Lorraine and have seen some tragedies; there are frequent train loads of refugees with blue labels coming down from the north; the domestic disruption of the war is terrible; Raby is a gourmand, and eats too much fruit when he is out; he has had five bouts of colic recently, all related to too much fruit too unripe, and it keeps the whole ward awake; the sister gives him elixir pédagorique; Piquet describes the whole ritual and complains how the rest of them suffer; he reckons Raby should just kill himself outright; Boursier objects that the funeral would be expensive; Raby expects to be sent money by his wife for all the extra food and wine; the wounded acquire bad habits through being paid while they are idle; the men at the front write home demanding food, which is now terribly expensive, and their families at home can hardly make ends meet as it is; the men are growing selfish and spoiled; the patients take advantage of the nurses for mending and cleaning; Amelia despises men's attitude in domestic affairs; the attitude towards being fit to return to the front is very different from last year, and the men are reluctant now to be healed; the time of year makes it especially bad, as convalescence in the autumn means return to the trenches in the winter; the patients are eager enough when they are bed-ridden, because they want to get up, but after that there is reluctant progress; they also tire themselves out spending afternoons in town; they do not see beyond the war where recovery will be of use to them; there is also the matter of a pension and the various levels at which it is calculated; Dupaux has been weighing the merits of a pension versus a useless arm; sometimes it is persuasive to remind them that massage can help avoid another operation; trick for getting round Loreau who has managed to avoid massage altogether; both his leg and his arm are bad; she also has power now to order them to stay in in the afternoon for massage even if they want to go out; she is still amazed at the trusting and trustworthy nature of the local people, hanging full milk cans on doors, leaving bicycles unlocked with belongings attached, and so on - the market is equally honest; Oscar would be astonished. [Letter breaks off unsigned] Carbon copy includes note thanking for money from Edinburgh, and for Mr. Mackenzie's money, and noting that the Reids have not written this year.
Access StatusOpen
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