Dear Miss Shand-
I have two letters of yours to answer. That does not mean that I have been negligent in my correspondence but they arrived very close together. In account of my “Wandering Jew life” my mail has been most irregular. Yes I received the paper you sent showing the Whitby building and could distinguish Miss Mc Vittie standing on the balcony. Dr.Kidd will be the proud man with two kiddies. His cousin just left Margate before I came so I did not see her. What changes you have had among the nurses. Just imagine only two left whom I would know. I am sure you are thankful the exhibition is over once more as it certainly means a great deal of extra work for you. How dissappointing to think of having to give up those lovely new buildings at Whitby.
Well as you see by my heading I am in England once more. We left Malta Sept 23rd and a few hours after getting on the boat I went to bed with a second attack of Malaria although much less severe than the first attack. However severe enough to keep me in bed for seven days. We were nine days making the voyage to England so I had two days up on board ship. I received the utmost kindness from the staff on the hospital ship. The sisters who staffed the ship had had a most unfortunate experience just a year before. They were coming down to Salonika to go on duty in a hospital there and were torpedoed and of course lost everything, landing in Salonika with only the clothes they wore. Much to my disgust the ship’s doctor insisted upon my being a stretcher case so I was carried down the gang way at Southampton in true returning hero style and lifted into a waiting ambulance train. There were seven sick sisters altogether and we were all in the same car. The ambulance trains are most comfortably fitted up. It was about 11.15 p.m. when we arrived in London which is darker than ever. We were taken directly to a hospital for sick sisters where we waited for eight days for our medical board. This was an English hospital and most comfortable but they lived by rule alone and the fates help you if you side tracked. The only one I ever saw smile around the place was a little V.A.D. who was giving her services free of charge. We had our board on Sept 10th and were given five weeks. We went from the hospital to a home for Canadian Sisters at 13 [?] place. This is a private house given over by The Hon Mrs Murray Graham for Red Cross purposes She left the house furnished and every thing looks so cosey. There is room for only eight sisters so your stay there is necesseialy limited to a few days to make room for the next. It is intended as a stopping place between the hospital and the convalescent home down here at Margate. We spent those two days in buying civilian clothes which you are expected to wear when on leave. When our time was up there were a few purchases for which we were waiting so we went to The Thackeray hotel for a day. On Oct 14th we started out for Margate which is a two hours’ run from London. Margate is a very popular summer resort right on the sea, I should imagine about ten thousand of a population. The home is a hotel leased for the purpose. The house overlooks the sea, there being only a wide boulivard separating us from the cliff. I found Miss Drysdale here but she leaves to-morrow as her leave is up and she goes on duty some where.
Well we arrived on Saturday evening and I waked on Sunday morning to find my third attack of Malaria awaiting me. I had a chill then my temperature shot right up to 103°. Thank goodness each attack gets shorter and I was in bed four- days only this time. But it has taken it out of me all right. When I went to Salonika I weigh one hundred and seventy and now I weigh one hundred and forty seven. I hope the Malaria bug is through with me for at this rate there wont be much left of me and you know there was a lot of me when I left Toronto. Yesterday Miss Drysdale and I went to Hythe to spend the day with Mrs Baillie. It took two and a half hours to go so it shortened the day somewhat. It rained hard all day to make things more pleasant especially as we rode on four different trains to get there.
Mrs Baillie is boarding now and is looking extremely well, better than I ever saw her looking. Major Baillie came home to lunch and also to tea and they both came to the Station with us.
I suppose Miss Jean Johnson came to see Mrs Clare while on her leave to Canada. I was rather hoping I might be granted long enough leave to enable me to get home. Two of our sister’s Miss Gertude Spanner and Miss Muldrew have gone on leave to Canada. I think they had two months. They both live in Toronto, so you may come across them.
Must close now with love to Mrs Clare, Miss Mac and Miss Coombs.
Lena A. Davis.