CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/278
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date21 January 1919
Extent4 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her parents, regarding diminishing numbers at the annexe; there are now only ten men and one officer, Captain Dobinson; she plans to spend her spare afternoons now studying modern French music with Mlle. Draussin; the 201 and the annexe are now under the classification of hospitals open indefinitely, at least until June; they may later have patients evacuated from elsewhere, so she will take advantage of the quiet spell; she has sent them photographs taken in indoor and outdoor uniform [absent], as her parents will not have home leave for a while; photographs are expensive at the moment, so she had very few copies made; Aunt Amy will have been sending them her own news; her letters are amusing as she obviously expects to live with her relatives again soon, and would much prefer that to living alone; Uncle and Aunt are hesitant, but Aunt Amy has had her income increased through Miss Telford's generosity; Amelia in her position would keep her independence; Aunt is very grateful for their gift to her, which she is saving to help with expenses in the summer; she has been having a hard time in Rome; Amelia will send the Roman sheets on to her parents [absent]; Uncle has been perpetually annoyed by Gibson, who is taking advantage of his position as organist in Amelia's absence; Uncle should decide to retire, arrange Bible Society matters, and go home to find a successor; instead he has invited the Dalys to Rome to see how they like it; he finds it impossible to delegate; he would like to hold on to all his responsibilities in Rome except for the preaching; he will make himself unfit to carry on with the Bible Society and instead of having a reduced income in retirement will have none at all; Aunt has no say in what is her future, too; Amelia has refused to go back to Rome, though she will not return to Britain without Aunt; the war at least gave a definite pattern to things, but now 'one has the sense of being like a piece of driftwood, at the mercy of family decisions, possessed of a liberal education but with no sequence in the use of it'; Amelia is generally very happy in her work; Mme. Soureillat is now rather more pleasant; her fault is that she treats the patients like children; 'the patients have always been slightly divided by their leanings towards her or towards me: she has had the morally weaker men, while the pure, boyish natures or strong controlled men gave me their confidence'; the recent bad atmosphere has mostly blown over; Mme. Soureillat shows her jealousy by continuing to try to treat a delicate massage case; she greatly disliked Captain Fonsagrive; the situation had been going on for longer than Amelia realised; Amelia seems to have avoided being tarnished by it; Miss Harvey has turned out to be very pleasant; she was 'one of the butterfly women of Society who saw the hollowness of her previous life ... her brother's death re-awakened the serious part of her nature'; she is the daughter of a Scotsman [a banker] and a member of the Grant-Leslie family from Grantown-on-Spey; she has had her eyes opened by her present problems; she hardly knows her father and sister, but intends to make a new start now that the war is over; Captain Fonsagrive was finally converted to belief again; it has been hard work for her to stand up to his reasoning, but he found her more convincing than a pastor as she had no ulterior motive; death of Mr. Lubin, whom they met at the Agricultural Institute in Rome; Dr. Barbour's chauffeur, Mr. Young, has visited Aunt and Uncle in Rome on his way to Naples, returning the car lent to the Red Cross by Mr. Rae; G.B. Barbour is at Padova, an officer in the artillery; 'Mr. Young referred to the war having "come to an end before Mr. Barbour had the opportunity of showing his mettle". As the 70,000 troops at present in Italy are being demobilised at the rate of 3,000 per week, he may be sent home by-and-by'; he will have to decide what to do with his future; 'as he had only one more year before him at Cambridge it is possible he had his degree conferred on him already, as it seems was done by many of the Universities'; thanks for letters; news that von Lettow was prevented from harassing troops in Africa; strange that the influenza was bad there, too; it has killed 6,000,000 in Europe; 'Excessive population has had a check these years and there will be considerably more room for many to find an outlet, if they have the health to face the struggle for a livelihood; she has enclosed the formula for the Carrel method of treating wounds [absent]; her address here might not be valid for much longer.
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