18 West Parade
29th Oct 1914
My dear Eugénie
Annie Hodson managed to get a letter through to me through an American Consular Messenger; the letter was dated the 16th of this month. Her three youngest children, Amy, 13, Arthur, 9, and Henry, 7, had been taken down by her to a small place by the sea last July, she left them there in an institution for children managed by a Madame Michot whom Annie knows. The war broke out so suddenly, the Germans occupying Brussels so rapidly, Annie, who had returned home, found herself cut off from the children. She had, however, had news of them before I left Brussels and was quite content they should remain by the sea under the care of Madame Michot as, at that time, the coast was free of Germans.
Now, however, during the last fortnight things have changed, the place where the children were is in the centre of a tremendous battle. Madame Michot’s brother has seen Annie and told her she might be quite sure that his sister will have come over to Folkestone with the children as soon as any danger threatened them. Thereupon Annie writes to me asking me to try and find them. I have done what I could in Folkestone, examining the registers kept by the Committee for the Refugees and also those kept at the Belgian Consulate but I could find no trace of Madame Michot or of the children. The Committee in Folkestone has my address; I feel pretty certain they must be in England, but probably they went on to London. I have written to the war refugees Committee in London but, so far, I have no response.
Now supposing the children do turn up, if I sent Amy down to you, could you keep her for some little time, of course I would pay her journey. She is now 13, quite a nice child, intelligent, sharp and can be very useful, of course speaks French as well as she does English, and might perhaps be useful to May in making her pupils talk.
I have written to some of Hodson’s relations in England, stating the case and shall, no doubt, hear from them but I am doubtful of much result, as they did not, I believe, approve of his marrying again.
Arthur wired to Ethel giving her full details of her husband’s wound, which was very kind of him. Ethel brought Courtney down here last Saturday; his wound, which was in the left wrist hand, is going on quite well, he expects to be able to take up work next week at Weymouth with the 3rd Battalion of his Regiment. Ethel and he left this morning to pay a visit to his brother, the clergyman, and from there they will go on to Weymouth and settle things there; we have the baby and nurse here for the present.
I doubt I suppose that the Hodson children have much in the way of clothes, in any case nothing for the winters, but Florence thinks we could get plenty for them, as so many garments are given for children.
Florence is still kept in by a bronchial attack, I think I shall have to take her soon to a warmer place for the winter. Ethel came here the other day and was here when Courtney arrived.
Much love from us both.
Your affectionate brother