Le Touquet. France
July 4th. 1915
My dear Miss Shand, Mrs Clare and Miss Mac Namara.
I am writing this to all three of you as I want to say the same things to all of you.
I received your nice long letter, Miss Shand, to-night at supper time. It left Toronto on June 14 arriving here July 4. It takes quite a long time does it not? I suppose you received my letter telling of our departure for France on June 4th. I posted it in London June 3rd. It is just one month ago to-night we arrived here. I am sure no one could help being fond of London. I could have stayed there several weeks longer and enjoyed myself. I am quite ashamed to say I have misplaced your friends address. I get it out one afternoon and went down to the hotel office and made inquiries about getting there. They told me I would not have time to do it before dinner at 7 p.m. They told me it would take two hours to go one way only. So I thought I would wait until next day and asked permission to stay out a little longer and where that address went to I can’t tell. But if you would take the trouble to send it again I would be glad to have it as I may be going to London again. In fact, am quite sure.
I was so glad to hear all about the graduating exercises. It was too bad that any had to be away. Mrs Campbell might have postponed such a little things as getting married for a day or too. Or was it a case of strieking the iron while it was hot? Now that is rather mean, I should not have said that. Was your sister down? Emma said in her last letter that she had received an invitation but I have not received a letter from her since the exercises took place. It is time there was a letter as it is a week to night since I have had a letter from my family. It is a satisfaction for Miss Gilbert and Miss Sharkey to have their certificates from the Western Hospital also I am pleased to know that Miss Dodds and Miss Mc Vittie are getting on so nicely. My sister certainly did tell me about being down and of the dark plot hatched to rob a poor helpless nurse who was bleeding for her country at the front. You were all going to help bleed me a little more was that the idea? It was most unexpected I can assure you. I feel like a hypocrite in accepting it. I have written Dr Forester to thank him. Was so very sorry to hear that Harvey and “James” had the whooping cough but was glad to know that Harvey was on the home stretch. I am sure Jim will also soon be there. They certainly have their hands full on Ward II. Things always do seem to come in bunches. If I could spell Minnie Butchart’s married name I would write her a little note. There are some of the girls here who know her and they were quite interested to hear the news. Sisters Best, Carmichael & Martin. Did I tell you that all I saw of Mr Geo Williams on the boat was at church service one day and then not near enough to speak to him. If Miss Hartley had the running of the world in general there would be no need for reformitories or jails. We had our boundries on the boat. I suppose Dr Watt is through now. It certainly would not seem strange to have Dr Watt back again. Miss Peake (patient) for one would be quite delighted to have him back. I don’t know what you mean about the supervision. Probably only those who needed to hear about it were told about it. It is indeed a satisfaction to know I have been placed in the trusted class although very painful to realize that I look like that already so soon. A bright idea has just occurred to me (I still have flashes of intelligence once in a while). They may have found out that I purchased an angora kitten. They may also find out that all signs fail in a [drought?].
Mrs Clare’s letter which left Toronto May 31st. I received only about ten days ago. I think it has been taking a little side trip. Was so glad to know Dr Cumberland was sea sick in crossing. You see I am not ready to die yet.
Would like very much to see you in your new clothes. I like the black and white stripes so much. I am sure Dr Clare’s paper would be a good one. To – day has been our first hot day here. Although I slept all day. I remember waking about noon and pushing the blanket off. It is the first day that I have not needed two blankets over me. You see I am on nights now. Have been on for about three weeks. I am not on general duty but on special with one patient. We have a chaplain here – Captain Wells – an English Church Clergyman. Service is held every Sunday evening at 4.30 for everyone who can attend. Even some patients are carried down on stretchers. Two favorite hymns are “Eternal Fathers, strong to Save” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” The men seem very fond of those two. It seems rather hard to see the men go back into the firing line just after regaining their health. Their nerves are pretty well shattered when they come in first. Have not yet come across any Canadians. I saw the tide come in for the first time a week ago to-day. It was a glorious sight I thought. It took about forty five minutes to come in. It came in with a great roar I dont go very often down to the sea as it is a very tiresome walk. The sand is up to your ancles almost and makes the walking very heavy. It takes about twenty minutes to get down. The shore is covered with the most beautiful shells. I went in to Paris – Plage the other day and found a shampoo place. They charge two francs for a head shampoo without dressing. It was done very well too. The dry goods stores are not much in the little town but there are some quite nice groceries stores. I don’t wonder, Miss Shand, you praised the strawberries here. We buy them quite often. Really I never saw such large ones before and so clean. They are not so very cheap yet. We pay one franc a pound and it takes such a few to make a pound. You seldom see a man working in the fields here except old men and very young boys. But the women are like the Servian Women, as Dr Forster says, “the Servian Women are fine women, they are just like men.” Some of them look quite as strong. Nearly all the women you see on the road and streets are dressed in heavy moarning. The roses here are a perfect sight now. Roses that are just as large and pretty as hot house roses are climbing up houses, trees, over fences and forming arbors and pergolas. You see we are right in a nest of summer homes here but of course they are not occupied as such just now. Ether they are used in connection with Red Cross work or are closed up. Of course there are a few whoes owners are living in them. Lady Angilina Farlees lives down the road but drives her car where and when it is needed. Then there is a Duchess living next door to the Nurses Villa who does not seem to be doing much of anything. I really have bought an angora kitten. They don’t see very valuable here as I paid only a franc and a half for it. It is a mere baby and just as pretty as it can be.
You don’t know how much I enjoy getting all yours letters. Miss Mac’s letter has not come yet. Dont be cross at what I said about the trust class as I don’t believe one of you would be placed in it.
Kind regards to Miss Coombs. Please tell her I am going to write soon.
Most sincerely yours,
Lena A. Davis.