April 29 1916
My dear Jack
While I am sitting with Mother up in her room this afternoon I will write my promised letter to you. The doctor came again this morning and found her slightly better. There had been a good deal of improvement in her spirits. Yesterday afternoon was a very bad time but the evening was better and today has been better too in that respect. He is coming again tomorrow and I quite hope he may be able to give a satisfactory report. She stays entirely in bed, not even getting out to have it made and we have to give her light things, beef-tea, milk foods, jelly etc every two hours. We keep both windows wide open for air and have a little fire to keep a bronchitis kettle boiling. The complete rest is helping to make her legs and feet less swollen which is a good thing. We will let you have a daily report of her at present. If she were worse we should ask Mela to come at once, but at present her progress though slow is in the right direction. She has to do as little as possible, talk very little, not exert herself to read or listen to reading, so the days are long but I hope that will not last too long. Her cough is less troublesome today and her temperature about normal.
I think I told you we had a cable from the War Office yesterday about Cyril saying “Arrived Bombay on 24th, doing well”. A long letter arrived from him on Thursday morning dated Mar 16th. It had taken six weeks to come through. It has been sent on to May and I daresay will reach you in time. It contained nothing very special but some interesting details about Basra and the neighbourhood; he said Mela would give us more news; a letter for her arrived by the same post, but have not heard from her since then. May writes very cheerfully; she gets on quite well with the old man apparently who has opened a special bottle of port for her. They are feeding her up and trying to make her fatter. Of course if Mother is still as ill when I go away, May will have to return at once as we could not leave Ethel single-handed with her even for a day as she is now. It is not like when she was at Torquay when she had nothing else to do but to look after her. We have had such lovely sunny days ever since you left; I do hope you are getting away from the office still at six so that you may get a breath of fresh air and sunshine in the evening.
Ypers has come up and is sitting in my chair with his head on my knee. I think he hopes that if he asks nicely enough I may perhaps take him out for a run before supper! Betty does sometimes but she has gone over to tea with Mrs Ashwin today and to play to her and is not back yet. Lady Lifford called today to enquire after Mother and the Vicarage people and most anxious for a daily report. Mustoe sent her today two lovely white arums and a white niphetos rose. Thursday was the first day Mother was up in her room all day and such a day of wrath we had. The dining room was being spring-cleaned and the kitchen chimney swept at the same time so we had no fire there until after he had been which was at two o’clock. It was an unfortunate day to choose for it but the sweep having been sent for we had to stick to it. Now it is almost post time. There is not much news in this letter I am afraid, but sick-nursing does not give much material for letters.
Love from us all.
Your affectionate sister