At No 10 General Hospital
My dear Father
You will probably have had a note from Mary telling you I’m in hospital with measles. The WO will also send the usual notification in due course. I’ve been a bit off colour for the last few days, and yesterday the cause became clear, so I was sent down here where they isolate the infectious cases. I must have caught it from a patient whom I had nearly three weeks ago. Mine is a very light attack, and the worst of it is already over, but I suppose I’ll be kept here for isolation for another fortnight, so you might address your next letter here.
I’m in a tent with two other patients, one a Red X worker, an Italian Count I’m told, an old man who has been pretty bad. He doesn’t look foreign. I’m told he was pretty querulous until I appeared! Today another measles has come in, a wounded subaltern of the Suffolks. He has a bullet in his lung, so may cause much anxiety.
I’d meant to write some days ago, but this business has put me off. I hope you are all really better by now; it has been for many reasons a trying spring.
The proposed action with regard to drink and efficiency in war work seems to be crystallizing, and I hope the steps taken will be the best. A heavy spirit tax, lowering the alcohol standard of beer, and later opening of pubs and clubs would appear likely to meet the case, with perhaps special action in bad areas. It’s bound to hit the trade, but the best elements in it will surely accept that as best they can. I hope your firm, partly from its conservative finance, and partly from the character of the area in which it trades, will manage to avoid grave disturbance of its finance. I shall hope to hear before long something of your views on the subject, and of prospects. Don’t forget that my bank balance is a little on the credit side, and if it should be necessary I can give help. I don’t want you and Mother to have to start straitening circumstances again at this time of life if any of us can prevent it. Fortunately most of us make a living from sources less likely to be hard hit by the war.
The place isn’t designed as an Officers’ Hospital, but we do quite well here. I expect I’ll get horribly bored when I get up, as I’ll be “prisoner” in the compound. Don’t address me Ruhleben by mistake.
Colonel Scott has left No 9 for a post with one of the divisions at the front and we have a new colonel – quite another type of man, but the general impression was very favourable. He strikes one as very able and well informed.
I’ve been in bed two days. Didn’t get sick till yesterday morning, though the evening before I knew something was up. I am very glad to get news of George. Have not yet heard direct from him.
I was sleepy yesterday but have made no attempt to rival my achievements of 1892(?). How old it makes me feel when I say I had measles over twenty years ago! And yet the nurse here complacently refers to me and the other measles lieutenant as “these boys”! The count looks quite 70 so he escapes the reference.
The book you are sending me will come in very useful. I haven’t done much reading here yet as my eyes were sore yesterday.
I wish I could hear better accounts of Kathleen’s health, she really requires a good rest I expect and that is always a difficult matter. I wonder whether she’d care to consult Horder. She could do through Dr Charsley preferably, but I could write to him as well if she liked.
No 10 is all in tents on the Race Course – I prefer our huts, though I daresay in hot weather things will be different. You’ll gather from the length of this letter that I’m not acutely ill.
With much love to all.
Your affectionate son