CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/252
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date18 July 1918
Extent6 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her parents, regarding correspondence crossing with her; problems with censorship; wondering how her parents are managing for clothes with long delivery times and delay beyond their furlough time in Africa; Uncle would not allow her to order another suit for him last winter so he will have to pay extra for one made in Rome this winter; she was not able to get low-heeled shoes in France or Italy; her parents' references to lions make her wonder if they have changed their territory because of military action; mention of mixing millet and baking powder; mention of Mrs. Chisholm and the likelihood that she and her husband will stay in Africa; Murenzo has changed a great deal since they left; her parents' reference to making toffee for the children is a contrast - there are no sweets in Valence, no chocolate, and only rationed sugar; her bread is rationed, and there are no cakes nor biscuits; Elesca cocoa, with milk and sugar in it, is her favourite, but can no longer be conveniently bought; there are no restrictions on sweetened condensed milk; milk is very rare and people are taking unsweetened black coffee with dry bread; there is plenty of butter but it is expensive, though not as expensive as in Rome; families manage better than people on their own; amounts of bread allocated to different ages and types; meat is available three times a week; the food is expensive but unadulterated; mention of stores in Africa washed away by the floods; she will send on to Aunt mother's recipe for potato and onion pie; the Chiesa Hotel has had to be abandoned by Aunt and Uncle as the sanitary conditions were bad and both fell ill; they have returned to Sondrio where it is clean but expensive; they may move to Campodulcino on the Splügen route in August; Aunt was upset by too many visitors before they left, and Amelia wishes that Rome was over for good; the problem of the summer increases as the war goes on, with the most beneficial places being either inaccessible or expensive; Valence is too hot with the scirocco and she is glad she is not to work there, as it also looks as if the hospital would be too cold in the winter; there is no personal interest taken in the patients and they look pathetic; Aunt has been very ill at Sondrio and the doctor urged them to move to Campodulcino; Uncle and Aunt have received letters forwarded from Rome addressed to Captain Henry Maitland Moir, though they were not expecting him; mention of Pearl sticking nobly to nursing, and Amelia's remarks on this; Mr. Moir must be difficult to cope with in the city if his hobby is gardening; mention of the Elmslies meeting their boys in Glasgow; mention of accidents in connexion with electrical installation in Livingstonia; Aunt Amy has referred to the death of Miss Telford; hopes of finding out more information from Mrs. Urquhart; Miss Telford will be very much missed; Aunt Amy is having to scrimp for food and chooses it unwisely; Aunt's neuritis was not so bad this winter; Chambéry was hard work but good for her; mention of death of Mr. Holme, who had written to Uncle telling him not to put so much strain on his sisters; more reflections on Uncle's selfishness and Amelia's own need for independence, and on the divisions between old and young; summary of conditions at the 103; thanks for copies of advertisements for aluminium splints and repairs of rubber gloves; the aluminium must be better than anything, but metal is very scarce at the moment; mention of Mr. M., who made a bad patient and looked down on the natives; pleased to hear that mother's rheumatism was not so bad this winter; price of fowl in Rome; criticism of plan to put Mission doctors on a lower level than those employed by the Government; if she has the opportunity to witness operations she will take it - she does not want to, but she feels she needs to see the original cause of many of the conditions she treats; she is considering the possibility of nursing temporarily in a surgical ward; she was able to get Heitzmann's Anatomy in Rome, so will not purchase Heath's; she likes Heitzmann's book and it is the one used by the Swedish Institute for Massage at Stockholm; there is still a chance of the church building and the manse being taken over by the War Office in Rome; the cost of living is higher in France than it was last year, but the food is better than in Rome; Uncle is cross at the proposed prices of Campodulcino; Aunt will probably have a worse winter this year, but she will be free to return and nurse her if necessary - she does not wish to, as that would put summer plans back again; Uncle never wishes to leave Rome, but Amelia's situation might help Aunt to escape; thanks for further letters; mention of Mr. Hartley's visit to Livingstonia, and food supplies there; mention of a hospital planned for 'wearied natives' on their way home; mention of Miss and Mr. McQueen; mention of theft of iron implements; thanks for cheque; involvement of Mr. McGregor's brother in the 'burning accident' near Modane'; deliberate forest fires are delaying trains around Marseilles; there is a prospect of her staying at Valence so she has been enquiring about organ practice at the Cathedral; she met Miss Suzanne Gatliff there: 'she is a bigoted R.C. as her sister is a staunch Protestant'; the organist is an English lady named Mrs. Kilroy; Mme. Delattre is going to the hospital today on Amelia's behalf to see if she can make any progress; her elder son is to come home today on leave; the younger son now addresses Amelia as 'Mlle. Ma soeur'.
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