Sisters’ Quarters, University House
Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Sept 28th 1915, Midnight
My own dear Cyril
Between now and 3 am we are expecting a convoy in of 200 wounded from France. This will make 800 in 8 days. The hospital only holds 1200 so you can imagine how we have had to have sudden clearances in order to make room for these 800. It is some little time since we had a convoy from the French frontier. I have room for 8 in my ward – the Australians that are already in it are very keen to meet men from the French frontier.
The Times and all the morning papers are ringing with the news of victories on all sides in Flanders, France, Italy and Russia. It is great to have some really good news and revives hope in one’s soul for the future. One mustn’t be over confident too soon but we at any rate hope and pray that a turning point is coming and that victory may soon be ours – by soon I mean within the next year or so.
I have been talking to another man who has been in India tonight, a bandsman of the KOSBs – he is a very superior man and so interesting to talk to. He knows many places I know and it brought back old times to talk about them.
Both he and Moore, the other man I wrote of in my last letter, love talking about India. In many ways the time spent out there was the happiest in my life, apart from my engagement to you. It was so full of life and full of interest and in the East there is always a suggestion of romance even when none really exists.
It is a curious fascination but somehow I don’t think it would altogether appeal to you – you like something more solid! But I think underneath all the gaiety of Indian life there is a layer of solidity because although everything appears gay, there are just the same sorrows and aching hearts underneath, but it seems to be the custom out there to face life smilingly in spite of difficulties.
The charm of an Indian night alone is worth a lot – the moonlight, the scented air – all the romantic surroundings appeal to one and bring a kind of glad content to one’s mind. I am yearnsome of the East!
The 5 mile advance by the British was made from Vermelle, where Cecil is, so I expect his regiment has been in the thick of it. I am very anxious to hear if he is all right. He told me in London that he did not expect to be able to come off scot free much longer as big things were about to be attempted and he with others would have to come out into the open to lead their men. Up to the present he has principally been in trench warfare, that is, since he got his commission.
I trust, darling, that good fortune will attend you next time you go into action but if you should get wounded, please say in the telegram you send whether it is serious or slight and where the wound is – for instance if it should be a bullet wound in leg and not serious – simply state the fact – it will relieve my mind immensely. If it should be serious, it is far better for me to know than that I should be kept in suspense.
You never once mentioned to me what the nursing Sisters were like at the Blue Sisters’ Hospital – were they Queen Alexandra’s or territorial nurses and had you nice ones looking after you?
I must close for tonight, dear Heart, as the convoy may come in any moment.
I am feeling better tonight than I have been for the last few days.
With all my love and pray that God may have you in His Holy Keeping.
Ever your devoted