CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/43
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date17 January 1915
Extent9 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her parents, who are quite well informed by telegrams of matters in Europe; lull because of the weather; fighting is now centred on Poland, where the temperature is 20' below zero; trench warfare in France is exhausting and requires the men to be changed around more frequently; as many bronchial, pneumonia and frostbite cases as wounded; admiration for Joffre who is 'nibbling' at the enemy and saving life; French retreat from Soissons because of flooding; Scottish soldiers the reason Germany no longer despises the British army; Mons was a major factor in this; a spring offensive is anticipated; Germany boasts of strong reserves; she has posted 1,000,000 men to support the Austrians against Italy; Verona and Milan being fortified; explanation as to why parts of Switzerland are pro-German, particularly associated with universities; the Swiss will still resist invasion; Austria is breaking into factions, to Germany's frustration; Hungary and Poland are likely to break away; according to Mme. B. Prince von Bülow's current mission to Rome is to split Germany and Austria in the Italian mind and allow Austria to sue for peace, giving over the Trent region to Italy; this would leave Germany free to attack; the decision lies with Giolitti and Salandra, but they have different views; popular protests; news that Germany has narrowly decided to invade Belgium rather than Switzerland; arrest of Cardinal Mercier after a courageous pastoral letter; he is retained in his own palace by German guards; Germany has the Pope's silent consent, which does not help; the King of Belgium has protested to the Pope; the Russians now occupy all of Bucovina, and Germany is preparing for an aerial raid on Italy, using Zeppelins and other aircraft; one of the Zeppelins has a hydroplane attached to it for scouting purposes; description of their capacity and powers; air raid by Davies and Pearse of the R.F.C. on the Zeebrugge pier nearly prevented by German aircraft, but they escaped; preparations for German air raids on London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Hull, Edinburgh, and Dundee, on the Kaiser's birthday; Miss Gatliff, in Paris, writes of lighting restrictions; Miss Slessor has died at Old Calabar; obituary in the Scotsman; Amelia has written to Bishop Hennig for her father, with Dr. Spiro's help; no mails are coming from German East Africa; Fraulein Albrecht's brother has just gone to Dar-es-Salaam after taking his medical degree, and they do not expect to hear from him until the war is over; mention of the capture of the 'Emden'; its Captain, Müller, is 'a shining light in the darkness'; even as a prisoner in London he has been honoured for his decent conduct; the Abruzzi calamity after the earthquake has taken the Italians' minds off war; Turkey resents German control, has been badly defeated by the Russians and now sees no hope of attacking Egypt; Van Millingen and his family have arrived in Naples from the Robert College, Constantinople, rather than be sent into the interior by the Turkish Government; the American members of the College are safe but the conditions are not good; hopes that America may be able to stay out of the war; Norway has been supplying Germany with metal; Italian supplies to the Germans through Switzerland have given benefits to the economy but raised the prices at home; apples cost more, illogically, because of the earthquake, though it has not affected apple-growing areas; economy drive; prices are rising for basic foods; it will cause a revolt; the German victory at the Masurian lakes was due to Von Hindenburg's familiarity with the area; the Russians were driven in the bogs and shelled; the Russians' clever strategy to capture the Turks, using field kitchens; German military plans in Turkey take no account of local knowledge and the Turks are blamed if they fail; rumours that Austria has ceded Trentino to Germany - whether or not it is true, Trentino is in a bad way; Italy protests but does nothing to help; Italy's self-interest is ruining her international reputation; impossible to know what the summer will bring, but usual retreat to the Tyrol will be impossible, and Switzerland will be equally inaccessible; the Swiss blame the English for the expense of keeping their frontiers guarded; the mercenary nature of the Swiss and their disgraceful conduct; possibility of going to England for the summer, but it would be expensive and not at all restful; additional risk of not being able to return to Rome; speculating as to changes in her parents' furloughs; life is very peaceful, which is good for Aunt; Uncle is much less considerate of her needs when he has visitors, so a slow season is good for her; her hand needs cold compresses; Uncle is doing very little and seems disinclined to study or lecture; he reads endless newspapers and has allowed his mind to become undisciplined; he should help with work at home if he is doing none of his own; he has no hobby; Aunt kept busy even when she was ill; Uncle is a difficult patient and does nothing for himself; many busy men are knitting socks for the Front, but Uncle does not even go out for walks; her theories on adapting to old age; he dismisses advice given him; he takes great care of himself, which makes him delicate; Bishop La Frobe replied to her letter in the absence of Bishop Hennig; Mr. Brims in Thirl. has died, leaving his affairs embarrassed, and his lawyer has recommended a Mr. Clark, who succeeds to the business; Amelia requires a quick reply from her parents regarding this business [they appear to have a house there]; Uncle has been asked to write an account of her parents' life and work for the Church Record; Uncle has passed the matter on to Mr. Daly who keeps the mission reports and is not related; Uncle's name had been put forward by Mr. Thin senior; concerns over Karonga; hopes that military occupation will not undo missionary work; rumours of an uprising in Nyasaland, based in Zomba, under German influence; thanks for cheque; Miss Fleming sent a cheque at Christmas; working hard at her lessons; fears still of Dr. Spiro having to leave; praise for him as a teacher; accuracy essential in the study of harmony; plans to continue with him if at all possible; ease of transmitting money now; great naval battle on Kaiser's birthday; ships caught in their passage to Newcastle and turned back when they saw the British ships; Germans' lack of decency in battle; Turks threatening to throw off German yoke; their idea of a Holy War has vanished; failed attacks on the Suez Canal; dreadful battle at Borgimov; bread riots in Sicily; anecdote of Colonel Lamb, the military attaché, finding an intruder in his room; Italian speculation that the Romans will soon become fish, for it is still raining.
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