CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/247
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date22 June 1918
Extent6 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence [full address of 'Hôtel de la Croix d'Or, Valence, Drôme, France' is written on the duplicate copy], to her relatives, regarding visit to the dentist in Chambéry and recommendation for extraction of the tooth by a dentist (Dr. Dalban) in Grenoble; journey to Grenoble and viewing the pension recommended by Mlle. Cavaillon; it turns out to be a Maison des Jeunes Filles, like a Y.W.C.A. but not a good one; no room was vacant so she escaped easily; Mme. Monier's pension was full; Miss Delord's house is also full, though she was invited to stay to dinner with 27 children in red and white pinafores; Reine, Yvonne and Katrine are still there and are now the eldest; they are all war orphans, including one whose father (apparently not her father) was killed and whose mother abandoned her; she is 'criminal and innocent by turns' and is very ill; it is unwise to have so many children together; the Americans have imposed on Miss Delord in overcrowding the house and she now sleeps in the drawing room; an American lady has been sent to help her but knows little French and has an appalling accent and over-relaxed manner; there is too little food, as before, and the children are told off if they do not look happy; Amelia took cherries for the children, and thinks Miss Delord is as bad as ever; this part of France is crowded with refugees and there are constant enquiries about the rooms in her house; the cost of living is higher than in Paris; Miss Gatliff's brother and his wife are staying in the hotel and say that a bombardment of Paris would be effective, and that Gothas are already flying over it with bombs; Dr. Michaud's letter secured the assistance of Dr. Bische, who quickly brought her up to date with the situation in Grenoble; she has met Dr. Pla, the Médecin-chef de la Place, and Dr. Chartier, head of the neurological centre - she liked him but not his hospital; she has visited there a patient from the 103, who suffered in the cold on the Italian front, until his legs became useless; he was overworked as a youth but his nervous system is now paralysed and his arm is now also useless; he loved the 103 and everyone there, but is now in a bare cubicle with the linen and utensils not well washed; Dr. Chartier specialises in the re-education of the limbs and wishes her to see his method before she, experienced in surgical massage, decides whether or not she wants to work with him; Dr. Jacod advises her on how to proceed; the patients are depressed and fearful and the masseur was over-violent and inappropriate in his treatment; she was upset by the sight and wanted to treat the masseur to the same method himself; she sees that Dr. Chartier is sympathetic to the treatment and chooses not to work for him; she went to the dentist and had her root removed before returning to see Dr. Bische; Dr. Bische encourages her to try working with Dr. Chartier, but as she refuses he sends her back to Dr. Pla; she asks Dr. Jacod if he knows of a need for surgical massage at Aix, but has to wait as he has 'a three hours' operation on hand re-forming a nose, splintered and lying over on its side'; there are other curious cases at the Lycée where Dr. Jacod works; he has corrected an infirmier's squint; Dr. Jacod knew nothing of Aix but told her to write to Dr. Mollard, the husband of the lady who brought her to the 103; Dr. Pla and Dr. Bische agree that her method of massage is incompatible with that of Dr. Chartier; Dr. Bische offers her a letter to his cousin, chirurgien-chef de la Place at Valence, where there are wounded; she is pleased at the speed at which she has been helped in Grenoble; journey to Valence with three convalescents telling her war and hospital stories; they are dismissive of the 'embroidery nurses' and volunteers but recognise a real nurse when they meet one; the nuns were good but too religious, but it was worth putting up with the religion in order to get some wine from the priest; the doctors are also criticised, then one soldier follows with an account of his upbringing in a convent; 'One had been badly burnt by gas, but dreaded more the later kind, which so penetrated even the mask that the man had to choose between vomiting into his mask or taking it off a moment and risking death'; visit in Valence to Miss Gatliff who has left Paris; they did not recognise each other; description of her (Miss Marie) and her sister (Miss Suzanne) 'a picture of two generations ago'; it takes Amelia back to Craigo; she suspects Miss Gatliff of wearing a wig; news of Mrs. Evans' family and of Marie, Mrs. Evans' maid, who only outlived her by two years; Mrs. Evans had told Marie she would be well provided for after Mrs. Evans' death but this turned out not to be the case at all; she left her a small amount and an even smaller to Alfred and the other servants; the relatives should have done something about it but did not; Miss Gatliff recommended a hotel to Amelia as being no more expensive but better than the rest; brief description of Valence; visit to Dr. Rendu, cousin of Dr. Bische; he is keen to have her but his surgical cases are sent on as soon as possible so there is no time for proper massage; Amelia did not like the hospital, anyway; she was then sent to the Médecin-chef of the Hôpital Complémentaire 28 where there was a centre of physiothérapie; she is immediately dismissed, but shortly afterwards called back; the Doctor is a colonel and very snappy; a more gentle doctor shows her around; there is a caporal-masseur, who is a professional, and his tall, Swedish assistant masseuse; the doctor judges by results and does not dictate method; the caporal is kindly and the conditions seem pleasant; it is outside town in a good position; she now has to send her request to work there to the Médecin-Major at Lyon. [Letter breaks off without signature]
Access StatusOpen
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