CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/254
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date30 July 1918
Extent4 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her relatives, regarding reply from Aix; no good news, and further recommendations which would probably come to nothing; Mme. Delattre has gone to the hospital opposite her house to make enquiries; Amelia had often wondered why she so rarely saw nurses attending to the patients in that hospital, but has now found out that there are so few people to do rough work that the nurses spend part of the morning chopping vegetables; Mme. Delattre decided that that hospital was not for her; there is a possible position in the annexe, usually reserved for officers but at the moment full of a mixture; Mme. Delattre has negotiated on her behalf but there is still a little time to wait; the position is a nursing one but she might manage some early massage while she is there; it might at least be a stepping stone to something better; description of the annexe, which was built for evangelical purposes but has been taken over by the Dames Françaises, the 'most liberal' organisation in Valence, 'the Secours aux Blessés being very clerical'; return of M. Jean Delattre on leave and description of him; he gives an interesting general account of his experiences but with no details; the western hospitals are so busy that working women even do evening voluntary work after their working day; investigations into organ practice at the Cathedral; visit to Mrs. Kilroy, the English organist, who has lived there for 30 years and whose playing fills the Cathedral; she is a Roman Catholic like her mother, but her family in Leeds is Anglican; she and her husband live for music; her boy was a musical genius but died young; she has an American organ and a German piano and let Amelia play on both; meeting with staff at the annexe; Amelia is quite impressed with the senior nurse, Mme. Soureillat, who is a little like Mlle. Vernaz; she is keen to employ her, particularly as another train of wounded has just arrived; in the past week Valence has become an important centre for both French and American wounded; the annexe is so near the station it is an important first stop for the weak; Amelia is to work there on Sunday even though approval will only come through on Monday, because they are so busy; there might be the chance of her having a room in the hospital for a time, but she does not want any responsibilities to go with it in moments of medical emergency as she does not have the nursing knowledge; there is a night staff anyway; there are 7 massage cases already awaiting her attention; she would be a nurse but also a special assistant in the salle de pansement; she is still impressed by Mme. Soureillat the next day though she is the reverse of Mme. Delattre; Mlle. Combe, the infirmière-major, is taking a fortnight's leave and Amelia may have her room - Mlle. Combe then wishes to work in an American hospital as she is reluctant to carry on without a salary, being a qualified nurse, as the war is going on so long; her health may not hold out under the exacting American regime; the room will have electric light and heat, which is modern for Valence; there will be little fuel for heating this winter; the arrangements for her employment and lodging are irregular but have been forced through by Mme. Delattre to save time; she will start work on Tuesday. [Letter breaks off without signature]
Access StatusOpen
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