Oct 23rd /14
My dear Mother
I was very pleased to get your letter midday, there are only 3 posts instead of 5 here now, so have letters arrive rather later. It has been very fine today and warmer, yesterday was unsettled. Aunt Lizzie had a good night on Tuesday and was comfortable on Wednesday, but she is not inclined to talk much. I went out with Marian about 10.30 and we took the motor to Kingsdown and walked back. There is a very large camp there, everywhere in this district you see soldiers. There was a lot of shipping in the Downs, two torpedo destroyers and several small boats connected with the navy were in sight, a hospital ship lies off Deal. I went to see Aunt Lizzie about 12.20 and stayed until 1 o’clock, she lies on her back all the time, she would speak sometimes, but on the whole lies quiet closing her eyes at times. She takes very little, has had nothing solid for some days. Her heart and pulse are fairly strong still, she may linger for some time yet, or may not last long, should the growth touch a vital part of course it would kill her. I thought Aunt Edith pretty well considering, she goes over at 10.30 for a time. Marian looks thin, she feels the responsibility and strain I am sure. Norah was cheerful about herself, but is appallingly thin. She and I went up to the sea and took the field-glasses with us after dinner, it was interesting looking at the ships through them.
After tea I went with Marian to Mrs Girdlestone’s and from there to Petone where I sat with Aunt Lizzie until time to leave. I told her I hoped to go over and see here again while here. Yesterday morning was unsettled, I went about 10.45 to see if Barbara Constable was still at the Moneys, but found she had crossed to Boulogne the day before, so I just missed her. Mrs B C had stayed there and seemed anxious to have Barbara. I just saw Mrs Money, she was going out, but I had quite a chat with Eva Money. She was interesting about the refugees about here and their experiences in Switzerland and getting back. I tried next to find Aunt Pollie, but they were all out, so I went on the Leas and turned into the 12 o’clock Intercession Service at Holy Trinity where I knew Aunt Lottie was going; we walked back together and close home met Aunt Pollie and Anna, the former looks so well. I arranged to go in after tea and see them. I wrote to Dolly after dinner and then went calling with Auntie, first to a Mrs Nicholls, she was still away, and then to Mrs Anstey’s in Millfield, she is an old lady quite nice with a daughter who seems jolly, we had tea there. I went in to see Miss Tyson then, she was pleased to see me, I stayed some time, she showed me over her house, it is so nice with lovely things in it. I am afraid she is in very poor health. I went to see Aunt Pollie next and stayed until 6.40 when I walked round by the Town Hall to see telegrams and get evening newspaper, the latter is Miss de C’s joy! Auntie is somewhat contemptable of them. It has been very nice all day. I am finishing this letter after supper. This morning I went an errand or two for Auntie, then went with a message to Aunt Pollie. They are staying at Carlisle House, Cheriton Place, it is only 5 minutes’ walk from here. On the way I saw [?] sweeping near the gate and at No 12 where she is now, she seems quite pleased to see me. Miss de C says I was a favourite! Of course she inquired after Mr Cyril, she had a very high opinion of him!
Aunt Pollie looks so well and is most cheery. She went to her doctor yesterday, his opinion is that if a doctor cannot heal her wound up satisfactorily he had better shut up shop! So it looks as if it really ought to be well soon. There is very little discharge now, and only a very small tube in. Tomorrow morning she is to go and have an electric treatment on it, they hope very soon to be able to let it heal. Anna is much as usual, most cheerful. Dalgarno is a dear little fellow, very sharp and all there. He is like his mother but they say very like the father. I walked down to the harbour station to see what was on there. It is quite amusing standing outside the gates and watching people in and out, they are very strict about allowing entrance, and some of the foreigners get very excited over it all! A number of foreign soldiers were about, a lot of wounded Belgians are in Folkestone. I had quite an interesting talk with Red Cross Nurse who was down there, she is nursing Belgians at a hospital in Sandgate. I don’t think I told you that two soldiers got into our carriage at Dover on Wednesday, the day I came back from Deal, they had just returned from France, had got lost and got to Dunkirk and the British Consul had sent them over for a few days’ rest to England, they were going to Shorncliffe. I thought they looked weather-beaten when one belonging to the Lancashire Fusiliers presented another girl and me with a bullet each, a souvenir from Belgium, so we talked to them, it was so interesting. The man opposite me was a big fine Irishman in the Dublin Fusiliers, he had been out 10 weeks and seen a lot, he had been through Mons. This afternoon I wrote letters until 3.30 and then went with Aunt Pollie and Anna to the Leas Pavilion where we had tea, there was a variety entertainment on. Dalgarno came too, it was most amusing watching him. We got in about 5.45 and I stayed playing with the boy until his bedtime, then I read Aunt Pollie George’s letter and chatted until 6.30 when I walked on to the Leas to see what it was like. The big lights are all out, only low ones, blacked on one side next the sea. It was a lovely clear night. The flash light from Dover was very bright, also the revolving lights from France. It seems strange to think what a few miles it really is from here to the scene of war. I walked round by the Town Hall but there were no telegrams up. Sandgate Road and all round that corner is packed with foreigners, it is quite unusual to meet English! Quite 19 out of 20 are Belgian or French. I shall try and go over to Hythe tomorrow. Aunt Lottie is going over to Deal. Did you notice that Leslie Grant Dalton was among the officers missing in Tuesday’s paper, they will be terribly anxious. Also in today’s list, Captain Grant Dalton, their cousin, reported killed a month ago is now reported a wounded prisoner. I shall hear how Captain Tanner is tomorrow when I go over to Hythe. There are a large number of widows among the foreigners here and many in black. Aunt Lottie heard from Dolly yesterday, there was no special news in her letter. Tell May I believe scarfs for the soldiers and sailors should be 12 inches wide and 2½ yards long, regulation size, it takes nearly or quite 1 lb of wool for each, according to the thickness.
Well I must close and go to post, it is after super. Both Aunts send love. With much to you all three.
From you loving daughter
Ethel N Sladden