CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/212
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date1 - 4 November 1917
Extent4 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her parents (but unaddressed), regarding producing a running commentary in response to various letters received over the past months to which she has not had time to reply fully; she has been practising sight reading in the summer so returned to organ practice quite ably; Mr. Green is busy with the Red Cross annual accounts; he has had a son in August; his daughter is very sweet, and Amelia hopes for the mother's sake that the son will not take after the father; the Red Cross units are being threatened with removals following military events - Dr. Brock's unit, No.1, is safely at Conegliano, but the whereabouts of No.2, which has lost its cars, are unknown; No.3 is possibly with the 3rd. Army and No.4 is missing, though the canteen has arrived at Milan; she must be careful in what she writes; Dr. Brock has been working very hard to save the hospital and its contents; Austria has made substantial gains and is bombarding Udine; Treviso is threatened; Italian morale is very low; the Allies have gone to help but the situation is already very bad; they have heard nothing from Mr. Barbour for a year; she did not acknowledge his last letter for a couple of months in the hope that he would be going home for Christmas; he did not reply to her letter and she has not written again; she would like to know why the correspondence has stopped though she says she is not sorry; it is possible that Mrs. Brock has said something to him to stop him; he may be in England or France, or retreating with his unit; 'conditions are grave'; high price of C & B's marmalade [Callard & Bowser?]; dreadful storm but wonderful to watch; hindrance to church building in Livingstonia and choice of roofing materials; reference to Mr. Macdonald's lucky escape from the lions; effects of old age on Miss Telford, and difficulties in keeping up a correspondence under the circumstances; Aunt Amy seems to have settled at Appin Cottage, though she is relying on gifts from all of them to make ends meet; difficult times set to become worse in Rome with refugees from Udine; Uncle and Aunt now both regret they did not get flannels last winter; Amelia has had a heavy dress expenditure this year but what she has bought will last a good while; it is possible that clothing ordered from Britain (from Turnbull & Wilson) will not be allowed to get through; the frontier at Modane is closed for civilians; she and Aunt both have navy outfits for the winter, and she had a blue silk blouse made at Chambéry to match; she has had a blue hat delivered and has white blouses which will look well with it; she likes the benefit of being in uniform if she goes back to work in hospital - the uniform is not subject to fashion and always looks clean; her accounts are all straight, and she thanks them for their generosity; she is back for dental treatment and is having two porcelain teeth set into good roots; she may have to have a gold crown in one of her back teeth, which at present needs a new filling twice a year; she did not want to go to a dentist in Chambéry as they are all military dentists just now and have no patience; they extract but cannot replace with artificial teeth unless their patient is military; no news of Mrs. Young but the C. Reids are well; she kept healthy all summer, and so did Aunt; the good effects are wearing off now with the socialising in Rome; Ernesta is still doing well; her appearance is improving and so is her initiative; Amelia has no Francesca duties so can occupy herself with 'church, house and personal sewing as well as writing and music'; she is always repairing things and is still working on the mourning drapery for the pulpit; reference to the name of Gryffe Castle; interesting letter from Mrs. Moir, who says that Pea does not like sick people; Mrs. Fred wants Margaret home, probably wanting her to find a husband; Annie has 'found her niche'; the National Service movement is demanding a large number of women; comparing prices at home and in Italy; Mrs. Fred has complained at not hearing from Amelia but Amelia sent her three letters unanswered before stopping; Uncle received a nice letter from Mr. Brown, whose advocate son was killed in France, his second loss; Annie never writes now; she has had a second daughter; Mr. Burns has had a son; Amelia has asked Aunt Amy to write frequently, regardless of reply; mails and newspapers are held up so they are receiving little news; local newspapers are 'cooked'; it is a shame not to be able to write freely but the cause is worse than the effect; 'serious responsibilities are laid on those who are already overburdened'; reference to father's first drive on motor-bicycle down to lake, a drive involving hairpin turns; there are frequent references to German East Africa in the papers but too vague to be useful; the war seems indefinite in Africa; they wonder how it will affect mission stations; reference to her father's biography in the 'Record', and to his article on drink in the Livingstonia News; man's affection for strong drink puzzles her; the patients in Chambéry did not like to be barred from drinking; absinthe has been cut off in France; drinking is bad, but not as bad as at home; in France 'there would be revolution in the army if the wine ration were reduced'; the Abbé thought her idea of digging up the vineyards to make room for much needed grain was foolish; there was one educated patient who liked neither alcohol nor the cinema but enjoyed reading and music; the religious side will not attract the men until they 'make their religion not only real, but glowing and magnetic'; if you provided the men with music they forgot even smoking and cards, but the music had to be good; tactics for making the men interesting in more intellectual pursuits.
Access StatusOpen
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