Le Touquet. France.
My dear Miss Shand-
Your nice long letter arrived Aug 6th. I was very sorry indeed to hear of your mishap. You see you don’t have to come to the war always to get wounded. I am sure you must have had a very delightful time in Muskoka. Yes I received both your cards from there. I had a nice long letter from Mrs Forster also this week in which she gave me lots of news. Poor Mr Carcarau! I am not surprised at his illness though. I received a picture of the graduating group which I thought was very fine. The grounds make such a pretty background. Miss Adehead and Emily both wrote me very interesting letters. You must be having lots of fun with all your new requisitions. Well I have been off night duty for some time now and like it much better. We are given a day and a half after our night duty term. On my whole day off I went to Boulogne (22 miles). with Miss Geen- Mrs Territs friend. When we arrived there we went on out to Wimereux three miles farther. There is a Canadian Hospital there and Miss Geen knew some of the nurses there. Miss Hammell was there I think Mrs Baillie knows her. I also saw Miss Johnson there (Mrs Clare’s friend). Miss Dickinson was also stationed there but had just gone to England for ten days leave. We stayed there for lunch. They are entirely under canvas. They have a tent leading off the mess tent fitted up as a little sitting room. The furniture is very plain but it looks very cosy. They are right on the sea coast. Just a little way down the shore we saw the ruins of an immense stone buttress. They told us that it was the remains of a bridge Napoleon started to build across to England. Napoleon was a man after my own heart. I wish he had not died until he had completed that bridge across the ocean. On the half day five of us got a carriage and drove to Montrueil (Pronounced Mont- Pay). It is about ten miles from here and the drive all the way is so pretty. The roads here are very fine and for long stretches trees and shrubs are planted and it makes such a difference.
After “doing the town” we had our supper in the quaintest old Inn. We entered first into a huge kitchen spotlessly clean with rows and rows of brightly polished brass kettles and pans hanging around the walls. It was the sort of kitchen you often read about in stories of long ago. It is a pleasure to see a clean house here. The way some of the people live is almost unbelievable. Then another day four of us obtained a days leave and went to Amiens. We left the hospital about 7.30 a.m. Took the train at Etaples at 8.30 a.m. and arrived at Amiens at 12.30 a.m. We had a very nice apartment in the train and the four of us were alone all the way. The scenery all the way was very pretty indeed. You will no doubt remember that last fall the Germans ocuppied Amiens and reframed from destroying it only because a huge ransom was paid. The Cathedral there is a great center of interest. It is well worth seeing being the third largest in the world. The work on it must have taken years of work. We arrived back at Etaples at 11. p.m. and drove home in the moonlight. You see we make good us of our time off and see what we can. We always try to see some new place on our afternoon off if possible. One afternoon we hired a motor and went to Hardlot Castle (10 miles away). The items of interest about it are that it was built in 811 and all the walls and lower part of the castle are still the original. The upper part being built in more modern times. Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France signed a peace treaty there and Charles Dickens lived there while he wrote the “Tale of two Cities” The day we were there they were painting and putting in new plumbing getting it ready for a hospital. The Duchess of Rutland is equiping it. It is very nice from the castle point of view but to my mind not suitable for a hospital. I think the sisters will break their necks going up and down those winding stair ways. The day we were there on our way home we stopped for afternoon tea at an old country Inn. Tea was served in a very large old fashioned garden at the back. It was so pretty I could scarcely drink my tea for admiring it. I must tell you a joke, Miss Shand, about my experience with sandwiches here seeing you have seen the French bread. One day in Paris-Plage – we though we would like some sandwichs and cacoa. We had no difficulty in making them understand about the cocoa but they did not seem to know at all about the sandwichs. I told them in French to place some meat between bread and that was all we wanted. What do you think they brought us. You know those yard loaves of bread, well they split it down lengthwise, laid some ham on one half, pressed the other half on it and served it that way. You can imagine how we laughed when we saw our “sandwiches”. The poor girl was so hurt about our laughing that she began to cry. However with the aid of a good sharp knife we reconstructed our material into a more eatable shape.
Captain Fisher had a letter from Dr Forster the other day from which he read me some extracts. Dr Forster also spoke of Dr Williams gloomy outlook on his position. However I hope it will not be as gloomy as he thinks it will be.
Well miss Shand as it is my bed time (9.30 p.m.) I think I will turn in my tent. I had night mare the other night and awaken the whole tent neighborhood.
With love to yourself, Mrs Clare and Miss Mac
Lena A. Davis.