CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/211
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date27 October 1917
Extent4 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, regarding tiring herself sewing and thinking; Uncle's incessant demands to have visitors and visits; the fatigue must be like that of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses' hands; Aunt is already tired just shopping for food, but does not want Amelia to defend her as she has thought of a tactic for herself; so far it seems to be working; Mlle. Vernaz at the hospital was very sensible in making them restrict their work to eight hours a day, so that they would not wear themselves out in the long term; homes should be done the same way; new stove in the church to burn wood as the cellar stove is damaged and there will be no coal this winter; description of the stove which is of Swiss type, made of pink earthenware; very handsome and installation very smooth; church warm and more efficiently heated with less work for Fulvio; trouble finding a receptacle for wood; Mr. Bath told Uncle that a Canadian contingent was staying at the Bristol Hotel; this necessitated some tidying in case some of them came to church; the notice frame needed new backing, and cardboard is a luxury; the fixing of the wood basket for church was delayed by the men coming to put on the double windows; Uncle demanding flannel for a belt for a Canadian with dysentery, and expecting it to be ready forthwith; when it is finished he mentions that it will be too large for the man is very thin; such a thing would not happen in Mlle. Vernaz' hospital; people in authority, least of all men in their own homes, do not realise how to make things easier and pleasanter for those who serve them; the Canadian now needs a doctor as his temperature is up to 102 degrees, so Uncle has gone to Lord Monson to see what can be done; the belt is now not required; the Canadian has been eating raw fruit and the bread is bad; Aunt is depressed at the change from Chambéry; rations are to begin in a few days but have not been well thought out; the macaroni was off altogether for a few days and when it reappeared it was a dirty grey; matters are worse in the country, where Ernesta says it has to be boiled twice and the sour water from the first boiling thrown away; the flour is mouldy and full of worms; oil is expensive because the olives are deliberately being allowed to rot on the trees; the proprietors are trying to bring the price up; butter and bread have to be bought before an early breakfast or they have gone; at Turin in September there were very serious riots, for the mills were closed 'to prevent the grinding of corn and to force the raising of prices, until the women of Turin stormed the shops and compelled the police to act'; beans, rice and macaroni are all hard to obtain or bad, so the poor have no staple food left; 'it is known that stores exist but are not forthcoming. Corruption and self-interest are rife'; '21 divisions of Germans, brought from Russia and Macedonia, have taken the Bainsizza plateau, lately gained by the Italians'; the government is reforming again; Guido Rossi has wired to say that he is all right but nothing has been heard of his brother Paul for a fortnight; Mrs. Brock is arranging to let her apartment; Dr. Brock was to arrive yesterday but has been delayed; Mrs. Brock and Miss Jazdowska have had a terrible row [There were Jazdowskis associated with teaching and art in Aberdeen: James Bronislas Jazdowski, son of John, teacher in Aberdeen, graduated from Marischal College in 1856 and according to an annotation of the Search Room student list died in Rome in 1902]; Miss Jazdowska is completely dedicated to the soldiers' club and rules it for hours every day; she has offended Uncle by first suggesting that he should give over his church to the club, then that the new stove at the church was not worth it for so few people, who could more conveniently meet in his drawing room; Mr. Bath told Uncle that a gentleman in Rome had received permission from his [mission?] committee to send photographs to the club that would be of interest to the men, but Miss Jazdowska barred it because he had not asked her permission first; she would only allow Mrs. Brock to work there one afternoon a week, but Mrs. Brock demanded to see the list of volunteers and the timetable and discovered that there was much more scope for her than that; they then fought over the maid, who refused to take sides; Aunt has been busy with visits with the Gibsons, Mrs. Bath, Mrs. Benton, Mrs. Smith, the Hopes, Miss Senior, Mme. Poitet, etc.; Uncle has been busy with Mrs. Dawes Rose's affairs; she has had a good offer for her house but is delaying; Uncle had his purse stolen in the car, but is more concerned about a large consignment of scriptures being lost on the 'Drake' when she was torpedoed; Amelia has been busy attending to her summer accounts and she has a good deal of repair work to do about the house; visit of Mr. Wisely and a Rev. Mr. Craig, who is on his way to assist Sim of Malta, replacing 'Mr. Fisher of the pitcher lip'; Mr. Craig is very ill-educated, which Mr. Wisely regrets; Craig is of the Hope Waddell Institutes, Old Calabar, and knows Cousin Aleck well and Mary Cruickshank; he has been in Old Calabar for 17 years, then helping his father in West Lothian; he has been briefly back in Old Calabar but at the moment women are not allowed to sail, his wife is stuck in Scotland, and he does not want to go back to Old Calabar without her; she is the driving force in his missionary work; Uncle regretted asking him to preach; they have decided that he is 'one of the wandering Revs. who have never had an Arts or Divinity training'; Uncle is dining with the Canadians and is to give a talk on St. Paul in Rome; thanks for letters.
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