My dear Miss Shand.-
You see I am once more in London. We had very little warning to leave France. At 4.30 A.M. on the morning of Oct 5th all six Toronto nurses were awakened and told to be ready to leave the country in 3 hours. Sounds bad does it not? but I can assure you we did not deserve it. It was pitch dark and I can tell you it was no joke packing in a little bell tent by candle light. Two of us in the tent at that.
We had two weeks laundry at Paris-Plage besides boots being repaired, all of which we had to leave. We boarded the Channel boat at Boulogne at 10.30 a.m. The water looked quiet enough when we started but we ran right into a storm and four out of the six did not like that storm one bit. One comfort was that it was fast and furious and at 12.30 p.m. we landed in Folkstone. The camp at Shorncliff is only two miles out so we went out by motor. No one there knew we were coming and they were all very much surprised to see us.
We found the hospital at Shorncliff in a state of confusion as they had received orders to hand over the hospital in a few days to the British Columbia unit. We stayed at Shorncliff two days then proceeded to London with the rest of the nurses. It is beautiful at Shorncliff. I am sorry we did not stay there longer. I saw my kitten there which had come across from France. We came direct to the Thackeray Hotel. It is very much like the one at which we stayed when here before. We were told, unoffically, that we would likely be starting off again in three days so most of us had shopping to do and some laundry to send out. Well we had not been in London twenty four hours when word came we would likely be starting inside of three hours. You can imagine the confusion that reigned. All of us had parcels which were going to be sent and also our laundry out. The man at the hotel door was kept pretty busy for a while calling taxis as the only thing to do was to get into a taxi and go around and gather up your parcels. We had to carry our cloths home from the laundry wet. Then when we all got packed and ready word came that we would not be starting for two days. I might say that we are going to the Dardanelles. The next morning after we landed your letter came. I am afraid you have missed my last letter as you should have had it before you wrote. I directed it to Miss Mac as I received letters from all three of you on the same mail so was making one letter do as I wanted to say the same things to all. In that letter I spoke of seeing Dr Williams in France. I am pleased to hear that Dr Clare was favorably impressed with “The Garden of Canada” How I would like to see Harvey and Jim. Tell Harvey that candy tasted just as good as if I had eaten it. I thought of you during the Exhibition and wondered how you were getting along with your “Ex Crowd”. Dr Cumberland is not the only one who would like to walk up those stairs and sit down at your peaceful and heavenly dining room table. Forget Dr Clare’s bet nothing doing. Yours is the second Toronto letter I have had accusing the nurses at the front of smoking cigarettes. I speak for myself only. I have not yet learned.
I am very glad indeed to hear that the third year class is so large but sorry it will mean more work for you. Poor Miss Coombs. How she will miss all the new hats she used to buy out of that tin box. Tell Mrs Clare that Miss Dickinson is here and expects to go to the Dardanelles with us. Before I left France I was walking home from town one day and who should I meet but Dr Patterson. The uniform changes him so. It does not improve him at all. He is stationed at Etaples. I had a letter written in French from Madame Bivert. In it she spoke of both you and Mrs Baillie. I have sent a couple of cards to Mrs Baillie and will also write her but it is so hard to know where to find her. I saw “The Christians” at the Lyric Theatre last night. It was splendid. Hall Cain’s son takes part of leading man. I also saw “The Scarlet Pimpernal” at The Strand the night before which also was fine. Before we left France the hospital was busy. One night we got in one hundred and forty and the next night one hundred and fifty. They came directly from the trenches to us with only first aid done to them at the dressing station. You might be interested to know that only a few days before I left France I was on special with a mental case (Manic depression) with Dr Fisher as doctor. Of course needless to say the patient recovered under such skilled care. Some specialist E L I. You see my reputation must have gone before me.
Love to all.