Seward House, Badsey
May 19th 1915
My darling Boo
Here am I back in the homeland and thought you’d like a line to tell you so.
I left Tunbridge Wells by the 11.10 train and met Kath at Victoria. Old Nurse did not like me coming away at all and presented me with a box of chocolates at the parting moment. I felt rather selfish leaving there when I could see they all wanted me to stay on. Dora said she had never known Uncle to hint so much to anyone to stay on – he tried all sorts of arguments which he brought forth in a hesitating way as though ashamed of showing he minded me going. I cannot help feeling pleased that they like me well enough to miss me when I have gone. I think they have felt this time that they were just getting to know me and that I am nicer than they expected!
Yesterday Uncle had the vacuum cleaners in – they spring-cleaned the house in one day – the servants doing the white paint and Dora and I did the pictures and ornaments. Nurse was very sceptical about the vacuum cleaner, she said to me with the rolling burr of the Scotchwoman, “Between you and me, Miss Mela, a little soap and water would be just as good if not better, I don’t believe the dust you see passing through comes out of the carpet, I believe they put some sand into the tubes and then draw it through to make believe it’s the dust coming out of the carpet”!
However, I though the vacuum cleaner excellent. The charge for doing the whole house was £4. I should think it would take a charwoman and the maids a fortnight to spring-clean that house and Uncle reckons a charwoman and her food costs 4/- a day, that would be £2.16, then there would be the cost of sending carpets to be cleaned, as they are too large to be beaten at home, so that £4 would barely cover it all, so that I don’t call the vacuum very expensive, do you?
The home people are all well. They heard from George the other day – he is at Rouen now, about three miles away from Arthur. The latter thinks he is to be moved further away towards the scenes of action soon.
I cannot help feeling glad that Kitchener says we must play tit for tat with these gases. This may prevent them getting up to other low down tricks if they think that two can play at the same game. Of course I think the whole thing is cruel, but we cannot afford to have our men murdered wholesale.
George Crisp has been wounded. He is in the 4th Worcesters in the Dardanelles and the stationmaster’s son is also wounded and is at Cambridge in the military hospital there and is to undergo an operation to have a bullet extracted from the back of his knee.
I absolutely forbid the 9th Worcesters to go to the Dardanelles! Just think what a long time it takes for letters to get home. You must point this out to the authorities!
Best love, darling. I wish we could have our evening hour together – still it is no use wishing, so I must just try and be content. Goodnight.
Your own little Mela.