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Title: 'My Beloved Poilus'
Author: Warner, Agnes
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "'My Beloved Poilus'" ***

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                          "MY BELOVED POILUS"

THESE HOME LETTERS FROM AN AMERICAN GIRL, DAUGHTER OF A RETIRED GENERAL
OF THE U. S. ARMY, GIVING HER TRAINED SERVICES, CARING FOR THE WOUNDED
IN FRANCE AT AN ARMY AMBULANCE AND SUCCORING DISTRESS WHEREVER SHE MEETS
IT, ARE PUBLISHED BY HER FRIENDS WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE. SIMPLY AND
SOLELY TO RAISE MONEY TO AID HER IN HER WORK WHICH BEGAN ON THE 4th DAY
OF AUGUST, 1914.

EVERY DOLLAR RECEIVED FROM THE SALE OF THE BOOK, LESS BARE COST OF
PRINTING AND EXPRESS CHARGES, GOES TO THE FUND.

                            St. John, N. B.
                  BARNES & CO., Limited, PUBLISHERS.
                                  1917

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Assistance of all Booksellers and Stationers is Solicited in
Pushing this Work. Price One Dollar. Single Copies by Mail Postage Paid.
Address "Poilus," Box 163, St. John, N. B. Hospital Contributions will
be received and acknowledged by A. C. Skelton, Manager Bank of British
North America, St. John, N. B.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               Copyright.

                         Canada, March 2, 1917.
                      United States, March, 1917.

                     First Edition, March 15, 1917.
                    Second Edition, April 15, 1917.

                             Engravings by
                   F. C. Wesley Co., St. John, N. B.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                PREFACE.

When Florence Nightingale began her great work in the hospital wards at
Scutari in 1854, she little realised how far-reaching would be the
effect of her noble self-sacrificing efforts. Could she to-day visit the
war-stricken countries of Europe she would be astonished at the great
developments of the work of caring for the wounded soldiers which she
inaugurated so long ago. Her fine example is being emulated to-day by
hundreds of thousands of brave women who are devoting themselves to the
wounded, the sick and the dying in countless hospital wards.

All too little is known of what these devoted nurses have done and are
doing. Some day the whole story will be given to the world; and the
hearts of all will be thrilled by stirring deeds of love and bravery. In
the meantime it is pleasing and comforting to catch fleeting glimpses of
a portion of the work as depicted in this sheaf of letters, now issued
under the title of "My Beloved Poilus," written from the Front by a
brave American nurse.

Two outstanding features give special merit to these letters. They were
not written for publication, but for an intimate circle of relatives and
friends. And because of this they are not artificial, but are free and
graceful, with homely touches here and there which add so much to their
value. Amidst the incessant roar of mighty guns; surrounded by the
wounded and the dying; shivering at times with cold, and wearied almost
to the point of exhaustion, these letters were hurriedly penned. No time
had she for finely-turned phrases. Neither were they necessary. The
simple statements appeal more to the heart than most eloquent words.

These letters will bring great comfort to many who have loved ones at
the Front. They will tell them something of the careful sympathetic
treatment the wounded receive. The glimpses given here and there, of
the efforts made by surgeons and nurses alike to administer relief, and
as far as possible to assuage the suffering of the wounded, should prove
most comforting. What efforts are made to cheer the patients, and to
brighten their lot, and what personal interest is taken in their
welfare, are incidentally revealed in these letters. For instance, "The
men had a wonderful Christmas Day (1916). They were like a happy lot of
children. We decorated the ward with flags, holly and mistletoe, and
paper flowers that the men made, and a tree in each ward."

How these letters bring home to us the terrible tragedy that is going on
far across the ocean. And yet mingled with the feeling of sadness is the
spirit of inspiration which comes from the thought of those brave men
who are offering themselves to maintain the right, and the devoted women
who are ministering to their needs. Our heads bow with reverence, and
our hearts thrill with pride, when we think of them. But we must do
more than think and feel; we must do our part in supporting them and
upholding their hands. They have given their all. They can do no more,
and dare we do less?

                                                H. A. CODY,
                                                Rector St. James Church.

                                Author of "Rod of the Lone Patrol,"
                                "Frontiersman,"
                                "If any Man Sin,"
                                Etc., Etc.

St. John, N. B.,
February 19th, 1917.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              INTRODUCTION

The writer of these letters, a graduate of McGill College, and the
Presbyterian Hospital, New York, left New York in the Spring of 1914
with a patient, for the Continent, finally locating at
Divonne-Les-Bains, France, near the Swiss border, where they were on
August 1st, when war broke out. She immediately began giving her
assistance in "Red Cross" work, continuing same until the latter part of
November, when she returned with her patient to New York--made a hurried
visit to her home in St. John and after Christmas returned to again take
up the work which these letters describe.

[Illustration: Ambulance Volant, France.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          "MY BELOVED POILUS"


                                              Divonne-les-bains, France,
                                                         August 2, 1914.


DEAR MOTHER:

The awful war we have all been dreading is upon us--_France is
Mobilizing_. At five o'clock yesterday morning the tocsin sounded from
the Mairie (village hall) and men, women, and children all flocked to
hear the proclamation which the Mayor of the village read. It called
upon all of military age--between twenty years and fifty years--to march
at once, and inside of twenty-four hours five hundred men had gone, they
knew not where. The bravery of these villagers--men and women--is
remarkable, and not to be forgotten. No murmuring, no
complaining,--just, "Ma Patrie," tying up the little bundle--so
little--and going; none left but old men, women and children.

We have started teaching the women and girls to make bandages, sponges,
etc., for the hospital which will be needed here.


                                              Divonne-Les-Bains, France.
                                                        August 23, 1914.

Your letter came yesterday--twenty days on the way--but I was fortunate
to get it at all; so many of these poor people, whose nearest and
dearest have gone to fight for their country, have had no word from them
since they marched away, and they do not know where they are.

From this little village 500 men left the first day of mobilization;
there is not a family who has not some one gone, and from some both
fathers and sons have gone, as the age limit is from twenty to fifty
years.

I am filled with admiration and respect for these people. The courage
of both the men and women is remarkable. There is no hesitation, and no
grumbling, and everyone tries to do whatever he or she can to help the
cause.

I do not know if I told you, in my last letter, of the poor lady who
walked all night through the dark and storm to see her son who was
leaving the next morning. All the horses and motors had been taken by
the Government for the army, so she started at eleven o'clock at night,
all by her self, and got here about five in the morning--her son left at
seven, so she had two hours with him. While there are such mothers in
France she cannot fall. There are many such stories I might tell you,
but I have not the time.

The "Red Cross" has started a branch hospital here, and I have been
helping them to get it in order. It is just about ready now, and we may
get soldiers any day.

I have classes every morning and find many of the women very quick to
learn the rudiments of nursing. Every one in the place is making
supplies and our sitting room is a sort of depot where they come for
work.

If my patient is as well in October as she is now I am going to stay and
give my services to the "Red Cross." If I have to go home with her I
will come back--I would be a coward and deserter if I did not do all I
could for these poor brave people.


                                                       October 25, 1914.

Another Sunday--but this is cold and rainy--the days slip by so quickly
I cannot keep track of them. We have only two soldiers left at the
hospital--they tell us every day that others are coming. The country all
about is perfectly beautiful with the autumn coloring. We do not see
any of the horrors of the war here. If it were not for the tales that
come to us from outside, and for the poor broken men who come back, we
would not know it was going on. There are very enthusiastic accounts of
the Canadians in all the English papers.


                                         PARIS, about February 15, 1915.

Back safely in Paris after taking my patient to New York and a short
visit home, which now seems like a dream.

I have been spending a lot of time at the American Ambulance this week,
but have not gone out to stay as yet, as I still have to see some other
small hospitals and had to go to the Clearing House to make arrangements
for sending supplies, which I brought from home and New York, to
different places.

I have seen quite a number of operations, and as X-ray pictures are
taken of all the cases there is no time wasted in hunting for a bullet;
they get the bullet out in about two minutes. They are using Dr. Criles'
anæsthetic--nitrous oxide gas and oxygen--it has no bad effects
whatever. The patients come out of it at once as soon as the mask is
taken off, and there is no nausea or illness at all; and most of them go
off laughing, for they cannot believe that it is all over,--they feel so
well; but oh, mother, it is awful to see the sad things that have
happened. In some cases there are only pieces of men left. One young
chap, twenty-one years old, has lost both legs. At first he did not want
to live, but now he is beginning to take an interest in things and is
being fitted for wooden legs.

The dental department has done wonderful work. They build up the frame
work of the face and jaws and then the surgeons finish the work by
making new noses and lips and eyelids. I thought I had seen a good many
wonderful things, but I did not believe it possible to make any thing
human out of some of the pieces of faces that were left, and in some of
the cases they even get rid of the scars. Photos are taken when they
first come in, and then in the various stages of recovery. One of the
worst cases I saw the last day I was out. He has to have one more
operation to fill in a small hole in one side of his nose and then he
will be all right.

Last Sunday one of the men in Miss B----'s ward was given the medal for
distinguished service. He had saved his officer's life--went right out
before the guns and carried him in on his back. He was struck himself
just before he got to his own lines and one leg almost torn off. When
they brought him to the American Ambulance, all the doctors, except Dr.
B----, said his leg would have to come off at once--he refused to do it
and saved the leg for the man. It will be stiff, of course, as the knee
joint is gone entirely; but will be better than a wooden leg, and the
poor man is so pleased.

[Illustration: The Dog who Saved His Master's Life.]

I must tell you about the wonderful dog that is at the American
Ambulance; perhaps you have read about him in some of the papers. His
master came from Algeria, and of course did not expect to take his dog
with him, but when the ship left the wharf the dog jumped into the sea
and swam after it, so they put off a boat and hauled him on board, and
he has been with his master all through the war. He was in the trenches
with him, and one day a German shell burst in the trench and killed all
of his companions and buried this man in the mud and dirt as well as
injuring him terribly. Strange to say the dog was not hurt at all, and
the first thing the man remembered was the dog digging the mud off his
face. As soon as he realized his master was alive he ran off for help,
and when they were brought into the Ambulance together there were not
many dry eyes about. After he was sure his master was being taken care
of he consented to go and be fed, and now he is having the time of his
life. He is the most important person in the place. He has a beautiful
new collar and medal, lives in the diet kitchen, and is taken out to
walk by the nurses, and best of all is allowed to see his master every
day. I will send a photo of him to you. His master has lost one leg, the
other is terribly crushed, and one hand also, but Doctor B---- thinks he
can save them.

I think I shall go back to Divonne-Les-Bains--they are urging me so
strongly and there seems to be more need there.


                                                      February 19, 1915.

Back again in Divonne-Les-Bains. It seems as if I had never been away--I
have fallen into the old work so easily. I left Paris Sunday night about
eight o'clock and arrived here at two the next day, and had a warm
welcome from everybody. One poor man died of tetanus before I got back.
I have nine on my floor. I have thirteen patients, nine in bed all the
time, and the others up part of the day. One of the women of the village
helps me in the morning, two others help with the cleaning up and
serving meals; everything has to be carried up three flights of stairs,
so you can imagine the work.

I have a very comfortable room at the hotel, go to the Ambulance at
seven in the morning and generally get back at nine or half past. I do
not know how long I shall be here--until this lot get well or more come.

One of the patients is a chef, and was acting as cook for the regiment
when a shell landed in his soup pot; he was not wounded, but his heart
was knocked out of place by the shock and his back was twisted when he
fell.


                                                      February 28, 1915.

The poor man who was so very ill died on the morning of the twenty-third
after three weeks of intense suffering--I stayed that night with him.
The others are all out of danger with the exception of two who cannot
get well--one is paralyzed and the other has tuberculosis.

I went to the village for the first time yesterday and was quite touched
by the welcome I received at every little shop and house. The people
seemed genuinely glad to have me back. They cannot seem to get over the
fact that I have crossed the ocean twice and come back to them. To them
the ocean is a thing of terror, especially since the war broke out.
Doctor R---- has a great many sick people in the country about here to
take care of in addition to the soldiers. In one house they had nothing
to eat but potatoes, but he is a good deal like our dear old doctor, and
feeds and clothes and takes care of them himself.


                                                          March 5, 1915.

I can scarcely believe that it is nearly three weeks since I left Paris.
I have been so busy, that the days fly by. Some of the men are leaving
to-morrow, and most of the others are getting along very well.

Mr. E---- is indeed kind. He has just sent an order to the village
people, who make beautiful lace and embroidery, for $500.00 worth of
work. They are so happy about it, for it means food for many of them.
One poor woman, who has lost her husband in the war and has a child to
take care of, can earn only eighteen francs a month, that is $3.60, and
that is all she has to live on.


                                                          March 7, 1915.

One of the American doctors from the American Ambulance came to see me
yesterday. He was very much interested in what he saw and is coming back
in ten days. We have had one or two beautiful days, the pussy-willows
are beginning to come out, and primroses everywhere.

Dr. S---- said that the man who owned the wonderful dog that is at the
American Ambulance is really getting well, and they managed to save one
leg and the crushed hand.

In Dr. B----'s service he did not do a single amputation during the
months of January and February,--a very wonderful record.

Dr. S---- seems to think there is no hope of my poor paralyzed man
getting better, he may live for twenty years but can never walk. I am
giving him English lessons every day. He is very quick at learning; it
helps pass the time. Poor man, he has already been in bed six months.


                                                         March 21, 1915.

This has been the most lovely Spring day. The violets are blooming in
the fields, they are smaller than ours but very fragrant; the yellow
primroses are beautiful and grow everywhere. There is still lots of snow
on the mountains but none in the valley. If it were not for the soldiers
who are here we could scarcely believe that terrible fighting is going
on so near us.

A lot of our men went off last week, some of them scarcely able to
hobble, poor things, but all the hospitals are being cleared out to make
room for the freshly wounded. We are expecting a new lot every day, and
have prepared ten extra beds.

I will have some letters this week to send to the "Red Cross" and "The
De Monts" Chapter, I. O. D. E., thanking them for the things they sent
back by me; they have been so much appreciated, done so much good and
relieved so much distress. I gave some to Mademoiselle de C---- who sent
them to a small hospital in Normandy near their chateau, some to the
hospital here, and some to a small hospital not far from here where they
are very poor; the doctor who is in charge there nearly wept when he
knew the things were for him.


                                                         March 26, 1915.

Another beautiful day and the air is soft and balmy as a day in June.
The woods and fields are full of spring flowers, there are big soft gray
pussies on all the willow trees and the other trees are beginning to
show a faint tinge of green. It is certainly a lovely place.

You probably felt much relieved that I was not in Paris at the time of
the last air raid when the bombs were dropped. One fell so near the
Ambulance at Neuilly that one of the doctors was knocked out of bed by
the shock.

I had my paralyzed man out on the balcony to-day, it is the first time
in six months that he has been out.

One of the men here, who has lost the use of both hands, told me to-day
that he had six brothers in the army; two have been killed, two wounded
and two are still at the front. He was a coachman in a private family,
has lost a thumb of one hand and on the other has only the thumb and one
finger left. Fortunately his employer is a good man and will take care
of him; but think of the poor man,--horses are his chief joy, and he
will never be able to drive again.

[Illustration: The hopelessly paralyzed man who afterwards walked two
miles on crutches.]


                                                          April 2, 1915.

Easter Sunday and still raining. We had a splendid service from Mr.
R---- and a Communion service after. The service is more like the
Presbyterian than any other. We have four new soldiers but the large
convoy has not yet arrived. There has been awful fighting in Alsace
lately, so the wounded must come soon.

To-day we had a specially good dinner for the men. Madam B---- gave them
cigars and Easter eggs, and after dinner they sang some of their songs,
then gave us three cheers. They are a fine lot of men and so grateful
for everything we do for them.

The story of the dog has gone through the whole country, but it is nice
to know that it is really true, and to have seen the dog.

Dr. B---- was able to save the other leg of the dog's master, and after
another operation he thinks he will have the use of his hand.


                                                         April 10, 1915.

We had a severe snow storm to-day and yesterday also, and in between the
snow storms it poured rain; all the lovely, spring weather has
disappeared.

Wednesday night they announced the arrival of a train of wounded, for
the next morning at half-past five, but did not tell us how many to
expect. We all went to the Ambulance at half-past five and got
everything ready for dressing and beds prepared for thirty. At seven
thirteen arrived,--all convalescents, and no dressings at all to do. The
last time forty came, and all in a dreadful state of infection, so we
never know what to expect.

I am not sorry I came back to Divonne for I feel that I have been able
to help more here than in Paris; there they have many to help and here
very few.

I am sending you a photo of three of my patients--Chasseurs d' Alpine or
"Blue Devils" as the Germans call them--they are the ones who have done
such wonderful work in Alsace.

[Illustration: Three Chasseurs d'Alpine called by the Germans "Blue
Devils."]


                                                         April 19, 1915.

I have had quite a busy week, for my men have been coming and going. The
paralyzed man has been sent to Bourg, the two Chasseurs d' Alpine have
gone and I have six new ones--this lot is ill, not wounded. There are
three officers among them,--one is a cousin of Madam B----, the French
lady who helped establish this Ambulance. Her husband came on Thursday;
he has eight days leave. He is very interesting, for he has been all up
through the north of France. He is adjutant to one of the generals and
travels from eighty to one hundred miles a day in a motor, carrying
despatches. There is a French aviator here, but he has not got his
machine, so I am afraid there is no hope for me.


                                                         April 25, 1915.

They took down all the stoves in the Ambulance last week, and the day
after it snowed; we had to put some of the men to bed to keep them
warm. We have been very busy all week, new patients coming every day
till now we have forty. Most of them are not wounded. Poor fellows, they
are utterly done out; some have pneumonia, others rheumatism, one
paralyzed and all sorts of other things. This is a wonderful place for
them to come to and most of them get well very quickly. They are talking
of increasing the number of beds in the hospital and of making it a
regular military one. In that case they will send a military doctor here
and the whole thing will be re-organized. They want me to promise to
take charge of it, but I do not think it would be a wise thing, there is
so much red tape and so many things about the military organization I do
not understand, that I am afraid I would get into hot water at once.

I am sending you a circular of Mademoiselle de Cauomonts' lace school.
They do lovely work and need all the help and orders that they can get.
They will be glad to execute orders by mail for anyone writing them to
Divonne-Les-Bains, France.


                                                            May 2, 1915.

I have never seen anything as lovely as the country is now, it is like
one great garden; how I wish you could be here. I have had a busy day,
as one of my patients had to be operated on. Doctor R---- took a piece
of shrapnel out of his arm, and two others have been pretty ill; four
leave to-morrow, so the general clearing up will begin again.

My poor old lady who had a stroke of paralysis died yesterday. I have
been helping take care of her. The only son is at the front. So many old
people are dying this year; when they get ill they don't seem to have
any power of resistance; poor things, they have endured so much they
cannot stand any more.

There is a poor little woman here who comes from Dinant, that was
destroyed by the Germans in the early part of the war. She has lost all
trace of her father and mother; her husband and brother have both been
killed and their property utterly destroyed. Mr. B----, the pastor of
the Protestant Church, has not been able to find his mother, who
disappeared last August. Every day we hear of something new.

The papers are full of accounts of the gallant fighting of the
Canadians, but the losses have been very heavy.


                                                            May 9, 1915.

It is just a year to-day since I sailed from New York, starting on our
trip with Mrs. E----. Little did we think of the horrors that have
happened since.

Seven more men went off last night, so we have only twenty left. I have
ten on my floor, but only four in bed; the others are able to be out all
day. Charrel, one of my patients who just left, was one of six
brothers, all of whom went off the first days of the war; three have
been killed, the other three wounded.

I am going to Lyons on Thursday for a few days to visit some of the
hospitals.

The French papers are full of the heroism of the Canadian troops; they
have done wonderful work at Ypres, but at what a terrible cost.

I feel so proud every time I see the dressing gowns the DeMonts Chapter
sent me--they are the nicest we have.


                                                           May 18, 1915.

I left here Thursday at noon with Madam B---- who went to Paris. Before
I left I telegraphed to Madam M----, the wife of the soldier who was
here such a long time, asking her to get me a room, but when I arrived I
found the whole family at the station to meet me and they insisted on my
going home to stay with them. They are very simple people, but so kind
and hospitable. I think it is quite an event having a stranger stay with
them. We ate in the kitchen, and the whole family seemed to sleep in a
cupboard opening off of it.

I saw a lot of hospitals and was rather favorably impressed with them.
At the Hotel Dieu, they had received seven hundred patients within
twenty-four hours. I think the saddest part was the eye ward, there were
so many who would never see again and some of them so young. There were
some with both legs gone and others both feet, and many with one arm or
leg missing.

The boats on the river that were fitted up as hospitals were very
interesting, but I fancy would be very hot in the summer and the
mosquitoes would be terrible.

Saturday I spent the day with Mademoiselle R----, who had been staying
at the Hotel at Divonne for a time. The R----'s are a wealthy family
who have lived in Lyons for generations. Mademoiselle was able to take
me to a good many of the hospitals, as they have done a good deal for
them. We visited them in the morning, which was much more interesting,
as we saw the work going on. At two of the hospitals wounded were
arriving when we left there, so we saw the whole thing. I also saw the
dressing being done in one of the large military hospitals. In the
afternoon we went to a "Red Cross" hospital, where she worked in the
lingerie; there are fifty beds and the patients are taken care of by the
sisters. They seemed to be very cheerful and well looked after.

Sunday morning I got up at 3.30 and took a train at 4.30 for Romans
where Mrs. C---- is working in a military hospital. At eight I arrived
at Tourons and had to walk from there to a small village called Tain,
where I got a tramway to Romans. I arrived at eleven, had my lunch on
the sidewalk before a cafe,--a most excellent meal for fifty cents. I
found Mrs. C---- at the convent, where she is staying; fortunately she
had the afternoon off. She has charge of the dressings and all of the
infected operations. At the hospital where she is they have forty
wounded Germans; they seem very contented and glad to be there. Mrs.
C---- says it is dreadful to do their dressings, for they have no
self-control at all; they have a certain dogged courage that makes them
fight as they do, in the face of certain death, but when they are
wounded they cannot stand the pain. The French, on the contrary, seldom
say a word; they will let one do anything, and if the pain is very bad
they moan occasionally or say a swear word, but I have never seen one
who lost control of himself and screamed.

I had dinner with Mrs. C---- at the convent, and at 7.15 took the train
for Valence where I changed and waited two hours for the train to Lyons,
but there was so much going on at the station that the time did not seem
long,--troops coming and going all the time and a hospital train with
three hundred wounded arrived.

Monday morning I left for Divonne and arrived back very tired but well
satisfied with my trip.

I found two new patients, one with a leg as big as an elephant and the
other out of his head. I have twelve now on my floor.

Just think! lily of the valley grows wild here, and you can get a bushel
in a morning; the whole place is sweet with the perfume.


                                                           May 29, 1915.

We got twelve more patients Wednesday,--six left. I still have fifteen;
this lot were all ill. One man is quite a character. The doctor put him
on milk diet the first day--but he did not approve, so he went to the
village and bought a loaf of bread and some ham.

Between the florist of the village and the wife of one of the soldiers I
am kept well supplied with roses. I wish I could share my riches with
you.

I am anxiously waiting to hear of the safe arrival of the Twenty-fourth;
as we have heard nothing, they must be all right. It is hard to have
them go but I cannot understand the attitude of those who will not go or
who object to their men and boys going. You are just beginning to feel
now what they have been suffering here since August last.

Madam L'H---- was called back to Verdun to-day; she was supposed to have
three weeks' holidays, but has only been away ten days. She is not fit
to go back but there is no help for it.

There was great excitement here when Italy finally declared war. It is
awful to think of the brutes throwing bombs on Venice. I do hope they
will not do any harm there.

I must say good-night, for I am tired. I am up at half-past five every
morning and seldom get off duty before nine at night.


                                                          June 20, 1915.

Yesterday we got five patients,--the four worst were consigned to me.
One poor chap was shot through the body and the spine was injured; they
do not know just what the extent of the injury is, but he is completely
paralyzed from the waist down. Fortunately he is very small, so it is
not difficult to take care of him; he is the most cheerful soul, and
says he has much to be thankful for as he has never suffered at all.
When he was shot he simply had the sensation of his legs disappearing.
When he fell he said to a comrade, "Both my legs have gone," but he had
no pain at all. His comrade assured him that he had not lost his legs,
but he said he could not believe it until he got to the hospital. He has
received the Medaille Militaire for bravery, and his comrades said he
certainly deserved it. He is so glad to get here, where it is real
country and quiet. We put him on a chaise longue on the balcony to-day
and he has been out of doors all day long.

It is after ten o'clock, but I am still at the Ambulance. We are waiting
for a train that is bringing us fifteen wounded directly from Alsace.
Poor souls, they will be glad to get here, for they have been a long
time on the way.

No letters this week; regulations are very strict again, and they are
holding up all mail for eight or ten days.


                                                          June 22, 1915.

I had to stop my letter as the men arrived. We got eighteen instead of
fifteen. Such a tired dirty lot they were; they came straight from the
battle field, and had only had one dressing done since they were
wounded. Some of them came on stretchers, others were able to walk, as
they were wounded in the arms and head. I drew two from this lot, which
brings my number up to seventeen again. One of mine has both bones
broken in his leg and the other is wounded in the left side and
shoulder. One poor chap had been a prisoner in one of the trenches for
four days and they were unable to get any food all that time; most of
them have slept ever since they arrived, they were so exhausted.

To-day a military doctor came from Besançon to show us about some
special electrical treatment. They are going to increase the beds by
fifty to begin with, and later may make it three hundred.

The news is not good to-day, the Russians seem to be retreating all the
time and the losses in the north are terrible. There seems to be no
doubt in the minds of many people that the war will last another year at
least; it seems too terrible.


                                                          June 27, 1915.

I did not get my letter off to-day as there was so much to do. We have
had inspection all week. They have finally decided to enlarge the
hospital very much and make it a semi-military institution of four
hundred beds. We are to turn the large dining-room into a ward with
fifty beds, and the large part of the hotel will hold three hundred
more. They want me to take charge. Dr. R---- will be chief with two
assistants. There will be forty men nurses--convalescent soldiers--and I
do not know how many more women nurses. I am very glad it has been so
decided, for it is a great pity this place has not been of more use. Our
last lot of men are getting on very well now; but we have had a hard
week, for some of them were very ill. The doctor was very much afraid
one man would lose his arm, but he has managed to save it.

I have grown to be a sort of official shotsnapper for the Ambulance and
village. It is really very interesting and my camera is very good.

Did I send you the snaps of the Bayin baby? She is only nine months old
and runs around like a rabbit--is as pretty as a picture. I am so sleepy
I can hardly see, so good-night.


                                                           July 4, 1915.

I was glad to get your letter this week; three weeks on the way is a
long time to wait.

I have such mixed feelings when I hear that the troops have left St.
John. My heart aches for those left behind, but I am so glad to know
they are on the way, for they are needed badly and they will get a royal
welcome, for Canadians have proved their worth. When they were in
barracks and had nothing to do but drill they were not always angels,
but when there was real work to be done their equal was not to be found.
The French papers were full of the stories of their bravery. There were
some officers who said that while others were splendid fighters the
Canadians were marvelous.

It must have been terribly hard for Mrs. ---- to let S---- go. I wish
you would ask her for his address. I will try and get in touch with him
and if he should be ill or wounded tell her I will go to him if I have
to walk to get there. Get D----'s address also, so I can look after him.
When I hear of them all being over here a wave of homesickness comes
over me and I feel that I must go and join them.

There is much to be done on this side now, for the fighting in Alsace
has been terrible. The last lot of soldiers that came were Chasseurs d'
Alpine, and out of one thousand two hundred who went off only five
hundred came back, and the greater number of them wounded.

Fifteen young men from this village have been missing since the terrible
battle of three weeks ago, the deaths of a half a dozen have been
confirmed but of the others nothing is known.

I am afraid there is no chance of the war finishing before the winter is
over.

I wish somebody would organize a "French Day" or "Divonne Day" and
collect pennies for me; we will need so many things before the winter is
over. The general who came the other day said to make the money we have
go to the furthest possible point, and then make debts--the soldiers
must be taken care of.


                                                          July 11, 1915.

We have had arrivals and departures all week. The days are not half long
enough to do all that is necessary. My four men who came for electrical
treatment are getting on wonderfully well, the big one who was paralyzed
and who could not move hand or foot when he came, is now walking without
crutches, and feeds himself.

The poor little chasseur who was shot through the body is really better.
He is beginning to walk--with a great deal of help, of course. He can
make the movements of walking and can put both legs straight out in
front of him, and the doctor says there is great hope of a permanent
cure. Poor little man, he deserves to get well, for I have never seen
such courage and patience. We begin to-morrow to prepare the big
dining-room for fifty new patients, so we shall have a busy week. I am
to have charge of the big ward and keep my floor as well. I will have
two military men nurses and some more people from the village to help.


                                                          July 17, 1915.

We have had a most terrific rain for the last two days--the people are
getting anxious on account of the grain.

There was no celebration in the village on the fourteenth as is usual,
but at the Ambulance we had a little feast in honor of the men who were
at Metezeral. We have four from the Seventh Chasseurs, whose regiment
was decorated for unusual bravery.

My paralyzed man stood up alone last Sunday for the first time and now
he walks, pushing a chair before him like a baby. He is the happiest
thing you can imagine; for seven months he has had no hope of ever
walking again.

Seven left last week and six more go on Monday, so we shall probably get
a train load before long.

I have got a small English boy to help me in the mornings. He has been
at school in Switzerland and the whole family have come here for the
summer in order to help at the Ambulance.

One of the great actors from Paris was here on Wednesday and played and
sang for the men. He is making a tour in an automobile and visiting all
the hospitals in order to give performances for the soldiers. A
collection is taken up afterwards that goes towards the support of the
hospital. The men were a most appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

There is a young Swiss doctor from Geneva here now who has come to help
Dr. ---- who is very tired. I think he is rather surprised at the amount
of work the old doctor gets through in a day. He said this morning that
he would have to get up earlier in order to keep up with him.

The brother of my chambermaid has been missing for a month and the poor
girl is terribly afraid he has been killed. He was at Arras, and the
fighting there has been terrible.

Fifteen of the young men from the village are missing and every day
comes the news of the death of some one.

We got five new men yesterday for electrical treatment; two of them are
regular giants and we cannot get any clothes or shoes to fit them. They
are devoted to my little paralyzed man, and sit around and watch him as
if he was a baby just learning to walk.

I feel as sleepy as a dried apple to-night, so please forgive me if I
tell you the same things over many times.


                                                          July 25, 1915.

Miss Todd took me out in her motor to-day for an hour. We took Daillet,
my star patient, with us. It was a pleasure to see his enjoyment. Doctor
R---- was much surprised at the progress he had made in eight days; he
says there is no doubt but that he will be entirely cured. Daillet
wrote to his mother and told her that he could stand alone and was
beginning to walk, but she did not believe it; she thought that he was
just trying to cheer her up, so he asked me to take a photo of him
standing up so that he could send it to her. He was the proudest,
happiest thing you can imagine when he sent it off. Then his aunt came
to see him, so the poor mother is finally convinced that it is true, and
is coming to see him as soon as the haying is done, but she has to work
in the fields now and cannot get away.

It is wonderful the work that the women do here. There are only two old
horses left in the whole village, so the women harness themselves into
the rakes and waggons and pull them in place of the horses--and they so
seldom complain of the hard work. I asked one woman if she did not find
it very hard, and she said at first it came very difficult but she got
used to it and it was nice to be able to do their part.

We got twenty men from Alsace on Friday--some of them badly wounded.
They did not arrive till half-past eleven at night, and it was three in
the morning before we got the dressings done and got them to bed. It is
the second time that some of them have been wounded. They are all
Chasseurs d' Alpines--they are a splendid type. Some of them had both
legs and both arms wounded. Yesterday we were rather anxious about
several of them, but to-day they are better. They generally sleep about
three days after they arrive, they are so done out.

Mrs. H---- has had to leave to care for a typhoid patient, so my hands
are very full. My English boy is getting trained rapidly; he is only
seventeen and not very strong, too young to go to the war but very keen
to do something to help.

Do not worry about me, I am as well as possible and as strong as a
horse, but as my day begins at half-past five in the morning and ends at
half-past nine at night I fall asleep over my letters.

Thanks for the clippings; I would not have known B---- if the name had
not been there. I do not dare to think of his coming, and yet I would
not be proud of him if he did not want to come. I shall try and get up
to the north later so as to be nearer him when he comes.

Good-night, mother; these are sad times, but we must not lose courage. I
wish I could see you to-night.


                                                         August 1, 1915.

To say that I was delighted will not express my feelings when I got the
letter from the Loyalist Chapter, I. O. D. E., enclosing cheque. It was
awfully good of them to help us here, for I realize the demands for
help on every side and it is only natural that they should send to the
Canadians first. But O! it is so badly needed and will do so much good
here. I had been racking my brain trying to think of a way to scratch up
a few pennies, and then this delightful surprise came.

This hospital is called the "Paradise of the Seventh Region," for it is
so very far ahead of most of the French military hospitals. But while
there is a good deal of luxury on one side, such as pleasant airy rooms,
comfortable beds, good food and air, on the other hand there is a great
lack of what we consider necessities. The first thing I did when I got
the letter with the money was to order a foot tub for each floor,
slippers for the patients when they are in the house, scissors for the
pharmacy and for each floor, and various other small things that I have
been longing for and that will save many steps. Now that the capacity
of the hospital has been increased by fifty beds, it is more difficult
than ever to get money from the general fund for things of that kind; it
really has to be kept for food and heating. We also need instruments and
basins, etc., for a table for dressings in the new ward, as we have
absolutely nothing. Then it is so nice to have a fund that we can draw
on in case of need. Sometimes the men are terribly poor and cannot
afford to get anything for themselves when they leave. Sometimes a
ticket for a wife or daughter to come to see them and cheer them up. It
is the second time some of these men have been wounded and they have not
seen their families for a year.

It is just a year to-day (August 1st) since mobilization began. At five
o'clock in the morning the tocsin sounded and all the village gathered
at the Town Hall to read the notice of mobilization. There were many
sad and anxious hearts then, but many more now, for there is not a
family who has not lost someone who is near and dear to them--and still
it goes on. I wonder when the end will come.

My prize patient, Daillet, walks down stairs by himself now by holding
on to the railing like a child. We are all proud of him. The doctor who
sent him here from Besançon came in the other day to see how he was
getting on and he could not believe it when he saw him.

I am almost asleep so I must stop. I made a mistake this morning, got up
at half-past four instead of half-past five.


                                                        August 15, 1915.

In the face of all the terrible things which are happening one must not
worry over little things. I have got to the stage now when I feel as if
one should never complain or worry if they have a roof over their heads
and enough to eat, and that all one's efforts should be given to
helping others.

I feel perfectly overwhelmed with the letters that ought to be written,
but cannot find time to do them. I have been up all night and a couple
of days. We got thirty new patients last night. They arrived at 3 a.m.
and it was half-past five before we got them to bed. I did not get any
of this lot, as my rooms were full. There were not so many
wounded,--more sick, rheumatism, bronchitis, etc. One poor man said it
was like going directly from hell to heaven; it was the first time he
had slept in a bed for a year. Some of them have been wounded for the
second time.

It is nearly eleven and I must be up early, so good-night.


                                                        August 23, 1915.

Your letter has been long delayed, as they are very strict and holding
up the mails again.

We heard this morning that there are French troops guarding the border
at Crassier, just half a mile from here. We hear all the Swiss border is
to be protected by barbed wire. I do not know what it all means unless
it is on account of spies.

We got fifteen more patients last week, one yesterday and one to-day,
but as several went away we have still the same number--eighty-four.

We have had a very busy morning. An inspector arrived just as we were
ready to operate, and between the two I did not know whether I was on my
head or my heels. Thirty of our men will go off on Monday and we will
probably get a train full later in the week.

We have a phonograph with a rasping voice that plays from morning to
night. The soldiers love it; the poor things are so used to noise that
they don't seem happy without it, but sometimes I feel as if I could
scream.

One of the men got a telegram saying his mother was dying; the doctor
gave him forty-eight hours leave--all he could possibly do--so he went
home and has just got back; could not stay for the funeral, but was so
thankful to have been able to see her. If he had been at the front that
would not have been possible--only another sad consequence of the war.
Another soldier received the news of the death of his little girl.

Miss Todd took me out in her motor the other day. We had a beautiful run
over the mountains; the view was magnificent. We took one of the
soldiers with us and he enjoyed himself immensely; it was the first time
he had ever been in one.


                                                Sunday, August 29, 1915.

It is pouring rain, it is sad to say, as the soldiers are having a
little celebration. A band came from Noyon and the Count de Divonne made
a speech, two of the men received their Croix de Guerre, the doctor
made such a nice little speech to each of them. It was very touching to
see the groups of men, some with arms in slings and others with legs and
heads bandaged, and some who could not stand at all, still others were
in their beds. The decorations were given in the Grand Salle.

I am not sure if all your letters reach me or not, sometimes I get two
in a week and then again none for three weeks.

Thirty-three men go off to-morrow, some of them cured and back to the
front, some who will never be better, and some to go home on
convalescence.

To-day the florist in the village sent a clothes basket full of roses to
the Ambulance for the fete. I thought of you and wished you could have
some.


                                                      September 5, 1915.

Thanks for the money you sent from a friend in your last letter. I will
use it wisely and make it go as far as possible. There will be more
suffering this winter than there was last, but they are so brave, these
people, they seldom complain of anything.

There is a little woman here whose husband was killed. She makes twenty
cents a day selling papers and gets ten cents a day pension. She has
three children, the eldest a girl of twelve. I got her a good pair of
boots the other day and warm underclothes for the other children. She
was so grateful.

Don't worry about me. My expenses are very small, I have not bought any
clothes and do not need any this winter.

To-day they had a big concert in the hotel, the proceeds go to the
Ambulance.

We have had an awful week of rain and cold, but hope for a little more
sunshine to thaw us out.

Our good doctor is going to be married next month. I am so glad, for he
lives all alone and needs some one to look after him.

I shall have to go to bed to get warm. There is no heat in this house
and when it rains it is like an ice box.


                                                     September 11, 1915.

I expect to leave here in two weeks to go to an Ambulance at the front.
It is somewhere in the north in Belgium. I think Dr. R---- is sorry to
have me leave, but it will be a much larger field and the kind of a
place where there will be much to do. They have all been so nice to me
here about helping me get my papers ready to send to the Minister of
War, so I do not think there will be any difficulty of my getting
through. I go to Paris first, then to Dunkirk, where Mrs. T---- will
meet me, after that my destination is uncertain. Do not worry if you do
not hear from me regularly, for it may be difficult to get mail
through. I will write as usual.

I cannot tell you how glad I am to be able to go to the front, for it
means a chance to do good work and I shall be so glad to be in the north
when B---- comes over and nearer the Canadian boys. Even if I cannot
see them I shall not feel so far away.

One of my men to-day got word that his baby, seven months old, had just
died and the little girl of two is very ill. He expected to go next week
and has been counting the days till he could see them. He has never seen
the baby as it was born after the war began--another one of the sad
things of this awful war.

Good-night; I am so glad of the chance of active service.


                                                     September 16, 1915.

It was awfully good of Miss W---- to send the money to me, it is so
much needed here. I expect to get off Monday or Tuesday of next week.


                                                     September 19, 1915.

My orders came to-day, and I leave on Tuesday for Paris and on Friday
for Dunkirk. I am up to my eyes in work, for there is so much to be done
before leaving and new people to break in. Three military nurses arrived
yesterday, but it is rather difficult to manage for they know nothing at
all about taking care of sick people. They have all been at the front,
and wounded too badly to return and sent into an auxiliary service. One
is a priest, one a hair dresser and the third a horse dealer; however,
they are nice men and are willing to learn, which is a great thing in
their favor.

If they are able to raise any money for me I will see that it is wisely
spent. There is great need everywhere, and I am proud of the people of
St. John, they have done so much.

There is a poor woman who lives in a little village near here. She had
two sons--one has been killed in the war, the other a helpless cripple
for eighteen years and is not able to move out of his chair. He makes
baskets sometimes, but now there is no one to buy the baskets. The
mother goes out by the day but can earn so little. I gave him five
francs, one of the De Monts dressing gowns and some warm underclothes.
He was so grateful, poor boy, and says he will not feel the cold now.
His mother is away nearly all day and he sits by the window all alone
and depends upon the neighbours coming in to help him from time to time;
he is always cheerful and never complains.

The W----s have such a hard time--they get so little of their income
since the war began. It has gradually gone down from $3,000.00 per year
to $500.00; four of them to live on that amount. So many people are in
just the same condition, there is no end to the misery.

I do not know whether it is the French or the English army we are to
follow at my new post.


                                               PARIS September 23, 1915.

I am off to-morrow at 7.30 a.m., to Boulogne, then Calais and reach
Dunkirk at 9.30 p.m.

I have had two very strenuous days and will be glad to rest in the train
to-morrow. It took such a time to get my papers in order. The
thermometer for the last two days has been about 100.


                                             MOBILE NO. 1, France, 1915.

I am really not in France but Belgium. I cannot tell you just where, but
it is within ten miles of the firing line, and not far from the place
where so many of our boys from home have been sent. I thought when I
came here that it would be entirely English, as the lady who gave the
hospital is an American married to an Englishman. The English are not
far away but they are taken to their own hospitals.

We belong to a little wedge of the French that is in between the
English and Belgians. It is a regular field hospital and is composed of
a great many portable huts or sheds; some are fitted up as wards,
another the operating room, another the pharmacy, another supply room,
laundry, nurses' quarters, doctors' quarters, etc. It is a little colony
set down in the fields and the streets are wooden sidewalks.

The first night I arrived I did not sleep, for the guns roared all night
long, and we could see the flashes from the shells quite plainly; the
whole sky was aglow. The French and English guns sounded like a
continuous roar of thunder; but when the shells from the German guns
landed on this side we could feel a distinct shock, and everything in
our little shanty rattled.

Yesterday I saw my first battle in the air between German and French
aeroplanes. We could scarcely see the machines, they were so high up in
the air, but we could see the flashes from their guns quite distinctly
and hear the explosion of the shells. To-day a whole fleet of aeroplanes
passed over our heads; it was a wonderful sight.

There are about one hundred and fifty beds in all here.

I have been inspected by doctors, captains, generals, and all kinds of
people till I am weary. I hope they are satisfied at last, but I cannot
go off the hospital grounds until I have two different kinds of passes
given to me,--one is a permission to go on the roads about here and the
other is good as far as Dunkirk.

We have a man in our ward who had a piece of shrapnel the size of an egg
in his abdomen; they had to take out about half a yard of intestines,
which had been torn to pieces. He was also shot through the shoulder, in
the arm and leg. As we got him within two hours after he was wounded
there was no infection, and having a clever surgeon he is getting along
famously. Another poor chap has lost his right arm and shot through the
liver as well as being cut up by piece of shrapnel--he is getting well
also. Two have died, and it is a blessing; for to live in darkness the
rest of one's life is worse than death. The Germans are using a new kind
of gas bomb that blinds the men.

It is pouring rain to-night and cheerless enough here, but I can only
think of the poor men in the trenches.

I got a joyful surprise to-day--a letter from Mr. Bell enclosing post
office order from Mr. Calhoun, of Philadelphia. Nothing gives me so much
pleasure as to help these poor people.

It is beginning to get cold. I shall get bed socks for the men, for they
have not enough hot water bags to go round and all suffer from cold
feet.

I passed Colonel MacLaren's hospital in the train--it is very
impressive to see the rows and rows of white tents. I also saw some
Canadian nurses in the distance, and did so want to get out and speak to
them.

I must go to bed now to get warm. As long as one keeps going the cold is
not so apparent but when one sits still it is not pleasant.

There are four English, three American and three French nurses here.


                                                        October 3, 1915.

My fund is like the widow's cruse,--it never gives out. Somebody is
always sending me something. I do hope they all realize how grateful I
am and how much good I have been able to do. I have been very careful
how I spent it.

A boy of twenty went off to-day. He had absolutely nothing warm to put
on him, so I got him an outfit at Dunkirk--he was almost blown to
pieces, poor boy, and he said that one sock was all that was left of his
clothes. They provide them with necessary things at the hospital, but
sometimes the supply gets a bit low and now it is so cold they need
extra underclothing. When he was brought in they put him in a ward by
himself because they thought he would not live through the night, he was
so terribly wounded. His right arm was gone, he had a bullet in his
liver--it is still there--and multiple wounds of head and body. But he
made a wonderful recovery and went away very white and weak, but
cheerful and confident that he will get something to do that will not
require two hands. He has the Medaille Militaire and the Croix de
Guerre, and his Lieutenant, Captain and General have all been to see him
several times--they say he was a wonderful soldier.

[Illustration: Thought to be a hopeless case but everyone must have
their chance, three doctors operated at once amputating leg, an arm and
trepanning. Now as happy as the day is long.]

Three of us went to Dunkirk by motor to get various supplies. We saw
many interesting things on the way, and in Dunkirk saw the destruction
caused by the bombardment. The whole side was out of the church and
several houses were simply crushed like a pack of cards. Some of the
nurses were in Dunkirk when it was bombarded, and they said the noise
was the most terrifying part of it all.

The day we went to Dunkirk we saw a lot of armoured cars. Such curious
looking things they are--some are painted with blotches of yellow and
green and gray and red and brown so they cannot be distinguished from
the landscape. We saw lots of English troops. I looked in vain for
Canadians, but they are not far off.

It has been awfully cold so far and rains most of the time. We have
decided that we shall just keep putting on clothes like the Italians do
in winter and never take anything off.

We get wounded every day, sometimes not more than half a dozen, but as
they are almost all seriously wounded we are kept busy.

There have been so many troops moving on lately, that we thought we
would be left without anything to do. We have orders not to do anything
that is not absolutely necessary as we may have to move also.

I believe the hospital at Divonne has been taken over by the nuns. I
miss the lovely flowers that I had there. I share a small room with two
other nurses and there is not much room to spare. We have boxes put up
on end for tables and wash-stands, and there is only one chair. Some of
the nurses have tents, two in each.

We have had a terrible busy week. All the new ones that came into my
ward lived only thirty-six or forty-eight hours--they were too far gone
to save. Five went away cured, and they really were cases to be proud
of.

I think it was the sweetest thing of little Mary Murray to send me her
birthday money for my soldiers. I have been getting them fruit and
cigarettes for Sunday. That is the thing that overwhelms me at
times--the awful suffering every way one turns. Dorothy Thompson sent me
£5, much to my joy.

Last night I could not sleep for the noise of the guns; they must have
been bombarding some place near at hand, for the whole earth seemed to
shake.

The boys who drive the American ambulance and bring our patients in say
this place is a sort of heaven to them, they are always glad to get
here. Mrs. T---- does everything she can for them. They are a nice lot
of boys and are doing good work.

Some of the poor men who have lost large pieces of their intestines
find the hospital diet a little hard.


                                         MOBILE NO. 1, November 7, 1915.

Letter writing is done, under difficulties here. I have gone to bed in
order to keep warm and have a small lantern with a candle in to light
the paper.


                                                      November 15, 1915.

I did not get any further with my letter for the kitty insisted upon
playing with the candle and I was afraid we would have a fire, and since
then I have been so busy I have not had a minute. We have had three
glorious days and have appreciated them, I can tell you. It has been so
cold and wet we have all been water-logged. As for me, I have no word to
express my gratitude for all the friends have sent to me. I am quite
overwhelmed with all the gifts of money and supplies, but I shall make
good use of them and nothing shall be wasted. The wool which Mrs. S----
sent turned up yesterday and I have already given half of it to the
women in one of the villages here to knit into socks. There is a dear
old English colonel who has a soup kitchen near the firing line, and he
is always looking for socks. He does a great deal of good, for he gets
the men when they are carried in from the trenches and gives them hot
drinks and hot water bottles, and warm socks when he has them. So many
of the men have just straw in their boots and are almost frozen. It
makes such a difference if they can get warmed up quickly. Poor souls,
they have had a hard time since the heavy rains began. They are brought
in here just caked with mud from head to foot.

Oh, how glad I was to get the cheque from the "Red Cross" Society and
the cheque from Miss G----. I have written to her and would like to
write long letters to every one who is so kind, but there is not time.

This Ambulance was established by an American lady who then gave it to
the French government. The expenses of running it are paid by them, but
I think Mrs. ---- pays the nurses and also helps out in the way of extra
supplies.

On All Saints Day we went to the little cemetery and decorated the
graves of the soldiers who have died in the hospital. There was a
special mass and service in the churchyard and the General sent us an
invitation. It was pouring rain but I would not have missed it for
anything, and I only wish the mothers, wives and sisters could know how
beautiful it all was and how tenderly cared for are the last
resting-places of their dear ones. It was a picture I shall never
forget. The corner of the little churchyard with the forty new graves so
close together, each marked with a small wooden cross and heaped high
with flowers--the General standing with a group of officers and soldiers
all with bared heads--the nurses and one or two of the doctors from the
hospital behind them, and then the village people and refugees--hundreds
of them, it seemed to me--and the priest giving his lesson--and all the
time the rain coming down in torrents and nobody paying any attention to
it. There were no dry eyes, and when the General came and shook hands
with us afterwards, he could not speak. He is a splendid man, very
handsome and a patriot to the backbone,--one of the finest types of
Frenchmen.

Do not worry about me for I am very well and so glad to be here in spite
of the cold and discomforts. Mrs. S----'s socks and bandages have just
come.


                                                      November 28, 1915.

It is bitterly cold here, and we feel it more because it is so damp. I
can't tell you how thankful I am to be able to get socks and warm things
for the men. We can send things to the first dressing station by the
ambulances, and from there they go to the trenches at once. Mrs. D----'s
socks came yesterday, and I sent them off to Colonel Noble, who has the
soup kitchen at the front. All Mrs. S----'s have been given away. It was
such a good idea to have them white, for they put them on under the
others and it often saves the men from being infected by the dye of the
stockings.

This morning when I got up my room was like a skating pond, for the
moisture had frozen on the floor and the water in the pitcher was solid.
The getting up in the morning is the hardest, but after we get started
we do not mind the cold.

The patients have plenty of blankets and hot water bottles, so they do
not suffer.

Two Zeppelins went over our head yesterday, but fortunately we are too
unimportant to be noticed. I suppose that is one of the reasons they
will not let us say where we are, for there are so many spies everywhere
that can send information.

An English nurse came yesterday; she has had most interesting
experiences. She was in Brussels when it was taken by the Germans and
was obliged to take care of German soldiers and officers for some time.
She said the officers, as a rule, were brutes, but some of the men were
very nice and grateful.

For three days and nights the guns have thundered without ceasing. I
wonder what it all means?

My kitty keeps all the seventeen dogs that loaf around here in order.
Yesterday she chased a big yellow dog, half St. Bernard, down the main
sidewalk of the Ambulance. It was a very funny sight, for she was like a
little round ball of fury and the poor dog was frightened to death.


                                                       December 5, 1915.

Last night we had the most awful wind storm. I thought our little hut
would be carried over into the German lines. It rained in torrents and
the roof leaked, and I could not get my bed away from the drips, so I
put up my umbrella and the kitty and I had quite a comfortable night.

Ben Ali, the poor Arab who was so desperately wounded, was up to-day for
the first time.

I have ordered six dozen pair of socks from Paris. My nice old English
Colonel Noble (with the soup kitchen) is always clamoring for them. I
think he saves lots of the men from having frozen feet. Madge S----'s
wool is being made into socks by the women of the village.


                                                      December 26, 1915.

Christmas is over, and in spite of the under-current of sadness and the
suffering the men had a very happy day. In my ward all but one were well
enough to enjoy the tree, and they were like a lot of children with
their stockings. Christmas Eve one of the orderlies who was on guard
helped me decorate the ward and trim the tree, then we hung up their
stockings. They had oranges, sweets and cigarettes and some small toys
and puzzles and various things of that kind to amuse them.

I had a package for each one in the morning, and, thanks to my good
friends at home, was able to give them some nice things. I had a pair of
warm socks and gloves for each one, a writing pad and envelopes, pen,
pencil, small comb in a case, tooth brush, tooth powder, piece of soap,
wash cloth and a small alcohol lamp with solidified alcohol--a thing
made especially for the trenches and which delighted them very
much--also a small box of sweets, and to several of the very poor ones I
gave a small purse with five francs in it. One poor boy said he had
never had such a Christmas in his life; he is one of a family of seven,
and says that in times of peace it was all they could do to get enough
to eat.

Christmas day at four o'clock the tree was lighted, and one of the many
priests who act as infirmiers here came round to the different wards and
sang carols. He has a very beautiful voice and was much appreciated by
the soldiers. Mrs. Turner then came in, followed by an orderly with a
huge hamper containing a present for each man. They had a wonderful
dinner, soup, raw oysters, (which came from Dunkirk by motor), plum
pudding, etc. I could only give my men a bite of pudding to taste it,
but they were able to eat the oysters and other things in moderation.

In the other wards, where there were only arms and legs and heads to
consider, they had a royal feast. She also gave a grand dinner to all
the infirmiers and men on the place--had a tree for them and a present
for each one. We also had a good dinner and a present for each. She
certainly went to a great deal of trouble and made many people happy.

The next day we divided the things on the trees and each man made a
package to send home to his children. They were even more delighted to
be able to do this than with their own things.

One poor man in my ward was so ill that I was afraid he would die, so I
moved his bed to the end of the ward and put screens around it so that
he would not be disturbed and that the others would not be disheartened
by seeing him. He was so much better Christmas night that we had great
hopes of saving him, but to-day he died. He was wounded in seven places
and one hip was gone. The General came at four o'clock and decorated
him. He roused up and saluted and seemed so pleased. In the evening the
doctor came to do his dressing and he seemed much better. After the
doctor had gone he turned to me and said, "That Major knows what he is
about, he is a corker."

Ben Ali, my prize Arab, had a wonderful day. He ate too much and had to
stay in bed to-day, but he has been wrapping and unwrapping his presents
and having a fine time. He is just like a child, he is so pleased. He
has taken a great fancy to me and asked me to visit him after the war is
over.

We had midnight mass on Christmas eve for the infirmiers and personnel
of the hospital. One of the empty wards was fitted up as a chapel and a
Franciscan monk from Montreal officiated. He is on duty here in the
lingerie, and is a splendid man. He is delicate, has some serious heart
trouble, so that he need not stay, but he came over to do what he could
for his country and his services are invaluable here. His mother was in
the north of the country taken by the Germans and he has not been able
to get any news of her for more than a year.

We have had orders from head-quarters to close all the shutters as soon
as the lights are lit, so we feel as if we were shut up in packing
cases.

There were a great many aeroplanes flying about to-day, so I suppose
they are expecting an attack of some kind. It is blowing a gale to-night
and I feel as if our little shanty would blow over.


                                                        January 1, 1916.

It is hard to believe that we are beginning another year. If only it
will bring a lasting peace! The boxes have not turned up yet, but they
doubtless will one of these days, and we will be all the more glad to
see them because we have used up everything else.

I expected to go on night duty immediately after Christmas, but we had
such sick people in my ward they did not want to make a change just
then.

It is blowing a gale again to-night, and raining in torrents; it seems
as if it would never stop raining. The roof of one of the wards was
loosened the other night the wind was so strong, so the patients had to
be all moved out while it was being mended. Our barracks had to be
propped up also, all one side was loose and the rain came in in sheets.
I frequently go to bed with an umbrella.


                                                       January 16, 1916.

We have had orders to evacuate all the men who are able to travel, so we
got rid of a great many--eighteen went on Tuesday, twenty on Friday and
nineteen more are to go next Tuesday.

The roof nearly blew off my ward last night, so my patients had to be
moved into the next ward till it is mended. I am going to take advantage
of it and have a thorough house cleaning.

Le Roux, the boy who has been here so long and who has been so terribly
ill, died on Tuesday. I had great hopes of him up till the last day.
Half an hour after he died the General came to decorate him. I hope they
will send the medals to his people, it seems hard that they should have
been just too late to give them to him. The next day I went to his
funeral--the first soldier's funeral I have seen. I was impressed with
the dignity and simplicity of it. The plain deal coffin was covered with
a black pall, which had a white cross at the head, the French flag
covered the foot and a bunch of purple violets, tied with red, white
and blue ribbon, lay between. It was carried in one of the covered
military carts. At three o'clock the little procession started for the
cemetery. First came the priest in soldier's uniform, carrying a small
wooden cross, on which was written Le Roux's name and the name of his
regiment. One of this kind is always put at the head of each grave. Then
came three soldiers with guns on their shoulders, then the car bearing
the coffin, and on each side three soldiers with arms reversed; directly
behind were two infirmiers and three soldiers with guns on their
shoulders, we two nurses in our uniforms, then two officers and some
more soldiers. As we went down the road to the little church in R---- we
passed long lines of soldiers going somewhere, and everyone saluted. A
few stray people followed us into the church and afterwards to the
graveyard, where we left Le Roux with his comrades who had gone before.
I had not been there since All Saints Day and it was sad to see how many
more graves had been added to the line. The ward seems very empty
without Le Roux, but I am glad that the poor boy is at rest for he has
suffered so long. I am beginning to think that death is the only good
thing that can come to many of us.

[Illustration: Nurses Quarters for Two.]


                                                       January 25, 1916.

We have been awfully busy, wounded arriving every night, sometimes nine
and sometimes ten, etc. To-night we have had only six so far, but will
probably have some more before eight a.m., they have all been very bad
cases. There has been a terrific bombardment every night we have been on
duty.

My little tent nearly blew away in the big wind storm, so I had to sleep
in the barracks--or rather try to sleep. I did not succeed very well, so
to-day I moved back to the tent. From my bed in the tent I can see the
troops passing on the road and aeroplanes in the sky. To-day we saw so
many we knew it would mean trouble to-night. The trenches were
bombarded, and some of the poor men who were wounded had to lie in the
mud and cold for over twelve hours before they could be moved,
consequently they arrived here in a pretty bad shape. One of the men had
on a pair of Mrs. D----'s socks. I had sent them to Colonel Noble and he
gave them to the men in the trenches. It has been clear and frosty for
two nights, such a relief after all the rain. The hospital is full of
very sick men. I am glad to be on night duty for a change.


                                                       January 30, 1916.

It has been so cold and damp to-day that I could not get warm even in
bed. I like sleeping out in the little tent and as a rule sleep very
well--have a cup of hot tea when they wake us at six o'clock. I wear
two pair of socks, beside the rooms are not so frightfully damp since we
got up the little stoves; they get dried out once a day, which is a
great advantage.

I am sending you some snap shots of my little kitty. We call her
"Antoinette" after the aeroplane, for she makes a noise like the
aeroplane when she sings.

When I have a chance I shall go back to Divonne for a rest--it is too
far to go home--but there does not seem any chance of it at present. The
English nurses who have been here six months will have to go first, and
we are more than busy. There are two new nurses coming next
week--Canadians, I think. It is very difficult to get nurses up here,
there is so much red tape to go through.

You must not worry about me, for I am really very well. The cold and
simple life is very healthy, even if it is not always comfortable. I
seem to be as strong as an ox and the more I have to do the better I
feel.

It is joyful to hear that I am to have some more money. St. John people
certainly have been good. A box came to-day from Trinity, it had been
opened. There is the ambulance, I must run.


                                                       February 6, 1916.

We are so busy here that we scarcely know where to turn. It is just a
procession of wounded coming and going all the time, for we have to send
them off as quickly as possible in order to make room for the new
arrivals. Thirty-eight went off last Tuesday and fifteen on Friday, but
the beds are filled up again. The last ones we have been getting are so
badly wounded that I wonder who can be moved on Tuesday. We have had
wild wind and rain for the last week, but to-day is cold and clear and
for the first time in weeks it is quiet--the cannonading has been
incessant.

Two English aviators were brought in yesterday whose machine fell quite
near here; fortunately they are not very badly hurt.

The box from the high school girls came to-day, and it was like having
Christmas all over again,--such a nice lot of things there were. I shall
have a fine time distributing them.

Here comes the ambulance. One poor man died in the receiving ward and
the other two went to the operating room at once. They both have
symptoms of gas gangrene, and I am afraid one will lose an arm and the
other a leg.

In spite of the cold and wet we keep extraordinarily well.

Four new nurses have come, much to our relief, for the work was getting
rather beyond us. Two of them are Canadians from Toronto. They know ever
so many people I know. They sailed from St. John at Christmas time and
saw so many St. John friends of mine--they said everyone was so good to
them.

We do not get a minute during the night and some days have been up to
lunch time.


                                                      February 22, 1916.

There have been two big attacks and we have had our hands full. Since
Sunday the cannonading has gone on without ceasing. It seems to be all
round us. At night we can see the flashes of the guns quite distinctly,
in fact the sky is lit up most of the time. It is like the reflection of
a great fire--it would be very beautiful if one could get away from the
horror of what it all means.

The aeroplanes were almost as thick as the motors--one came down in a
field near the hospital yesterday--the wings were riddled with bullets,
but fortunately the aviator was not hurt. We often see taubes, and
Zeppelins have gone over us several times, though I could not recognize
them, but the noise was unmistakeable. The wounded are nearly all
brought in at night so we have our hearts and hands full. The other
night twenty-three came in at once so we had to call up the day people
to help us; seventeen were operated upon and all are getting well but
one.

From the twenty-third July, 1915, until the first January, 1916, seven
hundred and fifty patients have been cared for here and sixty-six have
died. I have had over one hundred wounded come in at night this last
month, and as they all come directly from the trenches you can imagine
what it means.

Such a fine box came from Mrs. S---- and F---- containing bandages,
socks, etc., all most welcome.

The ground is white with snow to-day but it will not stay long.

It is very difficult to get nurses here as a command of the French
language is an essential.

The guns are still at it, so there will be much to do to-night.


                                                          March 6, 1916.

We have had snow several times this week and it is snowing again to-day.
It is very pretty for a little while but soon melts, and the mud is
worse than ever.

I feel that I can never be grateful enough to the people who have
enabled me to do so much for these poor men. I am going to order some
more pillows, they are things that we need very much. All the lung cases
have to sit up in bed and need a great many pillows to make them
comfortable. Strange to say we have not lost a lung case and we have had
some pretty bad ones. There is one in now who was shot through the lung,
and yesterday they took out a long sibber bullet from under his rib; he
will be able to go home next week. When he came in he was in very bad
condition and he could not speak for a week. The treatment is to sit
them up in bed and give them morphine every day to keep them perfectly
quiet, the hemorrhage gradually stops and they get well very quickly. We
have had a number of deaths from that awful gas gangrene; there is not
much hope when that attacks them.

[Illustration: AMBULANCE VOLANT, in Winter.]

The bombardments have been so terrible lately that those who are
wounded in the morning cannot be taken out of the trenches until night,
and then they are in a sad condition.

One day last week, just as I was getting ready to go to bed, some people
came out from the village to ask if we could help a poor girl who had
been burned. Mrs. Turner and I went at once with all sorts of dressings
and found her in a terrible state--her whole body burned--so of course
there was no hope. She only lived three days. I went in the mornings to
do her dressing and another nurse in the afternoon. She was burned by
lighting a fire with oil.

Things are too heavy now for me to get my holiday.


                                                         March 12, 1916.

Only ten admissions. All the efforts are being directed against Verdun.
The defence has been magnificent, and if only the ammunition holds out
there will be no danger of the Germans getting through; but what a
terrible waste of good material on both sides.

Mrs. Turner has been obliged to go to Paris and has left me in charge of
the hospital. I hope nothing terrible will happen while she is away.

The snow is all gone and we are having rain again.

My kitty is getting very bad and spends all her nights out. She has
grown to be just a common ordinary cat now, but she caught a rat the
other day, so has become useful instead of ornamental.


                                                         March 20, 1916.

I am left in charge of the Ambulance for a time and am a bit nervous,
having French, English, American, Canadian and Australian nurses under
me.

We had quite an exciting time yesterday watching a German being chased
by four French machines. They all disappeared in the clouds so we do not
know what happened. To-day I counted eleven aeroplanes in the air at
once as well as three observation balloons. One aeroplane came so close
over the barracks that we could wave to the pilot.

We had a lot of patients out of doors to-day, some on stretchers, others
on chairs, and others had their beds carried out--they enjoyed it so
much. We take advantage of all the good weather.

It is pouring again to-night and the guns are booming in an ominous
manner.

One day last week I went to Poperinghe with Mrs. C----. We heard there
was some Canadian troops there and I was hoping to find some friends,
but the Canadians had been moved; however, we talked with some Tommies,
gave them cigarettes and chocolate and had a very interesting time.


                                                         March 29, 1916.

Just a week ago a French general was brought in wounded in the leg while
he was inspecting the Belgian trenches. We were rather overwhelmed at
first, but I arranged a corner of one of the wards and he spent one day
and night there while we fixed up an empty ward for him. The next day
his wife arrived and she is camping quite contentedly in another corner
of the ward. She, poor woman, has suffered much from the war but is very
brave. Her eldest son was killed, her second son is ill at Amiens, and
this is the second time the general has been wounded. The first time he
was in a hospital for three months. Her nephew, who is like a second
son, has also been killed, and his wife, a young woman of twenty-two,
taken prisoner by the Germans, and they have had no news of her since
September, 1914. The general's home was in the Aisne district and is, of
course, in the hands of the Germans. There is nothing left of the house
but the four walls; everything has been packed off to Germany, all the
wood work and metal has been taken for the trenches. The day the general
was brought in, the King of the Belgians came to decorate him, and we
were all so disappointed because we did not know about it and only one
or two of us saw him. He came in a motor, accompanied only by one
officer, and we did not know anything about it until he had gone.

We had another awful storm last night--wind and rain. Windows blew off
and doors blew in, and one poor little night nurse was blown off the
sidewalk and nearly lost in the mud.

One day last week I was surprised by a visit from two Canadian boys.
They were doing some engineering work in this section and when they
heard there were Canadians here they came over to see us. One was from
Toronto, the other from Fort William. I gave them one of the Christmas
cakes and some cigarettes. They went away very happy. I was hoping to
get news of some of our boys, but they did not know any of them
personally but expected to see some of the men from the Twenty-sixth in
a few days. I told them to tell any who could to come and see us. I have
been hoping ever since their visit to see B---- or S---- or D---- walk
in some day. It is awful to know that they are so near and not be able
to see them.


                                                          April 8, 1916.

A cheque came to-day from the De Monts Chapter, I. O. D. E., which gave
me great joy. It touches me to tears to think of the way the St. John
people have helped me. I wish they could have a look in here and see how
much more I have been able to do on account of the help they have sent
me.

There is a soldier who helps here by the name of Baquet; his wife has
just taken three orphan children, the oldest six years old, to look
after, in addition to her own four, her mother and her mother-in-law.
There are no men left to do the work on the farm, and poor Baquet did
not know how they could get along. I gave him one hundred francs and
told him it was from my friends in Canada. He did not want to take it at
first, saying it was sent for the wounded, but I explained to him that
it was sent to me to help the soldiers and the soldiers' families. He
said it would mean so much to his wife, she works from four in the
morning till dark. They are the sort of people who deserve help, and it
is such a joy to be able to lighten their burdens a little.

We have only about eighty patients at present, but they keep us busy.
The two men who came in last have been so terribly wounded. We have had
a number of cases of gas gangrene. They are trying to cure them with a
new sort of serum. Two of the men really seem to be getting better. Four
cases were brought in yesterday. One poor man died at noon, and I was
glad he did not live any longer; another they had to operate on in the
afternoon and take his leg off. He was in very bad shape last night but
this morning he surprised every one by asking for pen and paper to write
to his mother, and says he feels fine.

Our wounded general left to-day. He could not say enough nice things
about the hospital. He said he was so glad he had been brought here, not
only on his own account, but he was so glad to see how wonderfully his
men were taken care of.

The guns have been going incessantly for the past two days, and we hear
that the English have taken four trenches. I have also heard that some
Canadians have come over lately and our B---- may be only four or five
miles from me. I asked the general if it would be possible for me to
find out; he said he would inquire and if B---- is anywhere in reach he
would get me a pass to go and see him. I feel as if I would start out
and walk to try and find him; but alas! one cannot get by the sentries
without proper papers.

I hope my fur lined cape has not gone to the bottom. I think I shall
still need it in June, for after two wonderful sunshiny days we are
again freezing. Sunday and Monday were like days in June and we moved
the beds of the patients out in the grass and others were on
stretchers. We had the phonograph going, served lemonade, biscuits,
sweets and cigarettes. They had a wonderful time and all slept like tops
the next night.

I think I shall have to find a new job when the war is over, for I don't
think I shall ever do any more nursing.

I am trying to find a lot of straw hats like "cows' breakfasts" and
cheap parasols to protect their heads when they are taking sun baths.

The dressings are taken down and one thickness of gauze only left over
the wound, and they are left in the sun from twenty minutes to two hours
according to what they can stand.


                                                         April 11, 1916.

Yesterday we had quite an interesting time with air crafts. The machine
came down so close, that we could see the pilot and his assistant who
waved to us that they were going to throw something to us. A package
landed, almost in the pond. It turned out to be a letter tied up in a
handkerchief with some shot as weight. It was from the English boys who
were patients here for a while; they told us they would pay us a visit
some day. We could see the machine gun in front of the aeroplane quite
distinctly. In the afternoon there was another excitement--a German
machine chased by several French. It looked from below as if they had
got him, but they all disappeared in the clouds and we did not know the
result of the fight.

At nine o'clock there was a terrific explosion as if a bomb had dropped
just outside the gate. We all rushed out and could hear the aeroplane
distinctly, but could not see it; no damage was done near us. We have
just heard that the bomb landed just outside the village doing no
damage.

Thanks for the toilet articles, they are a wise selection. What we
before considered necessities we now know are luxuries.

We have just got off a motor full of convalescents going home on
permission. I hope they will get a month, some of them have been in the
trenches twenty months.


                                                            May 3, 1916.

I got a lot of linen hats and Chinese umbrellas to keep the sun off the
patients when they are out of doors.

The two Canadian nurses are a joy to work with, for they have had
splendid training and are the kind that will go till they drop.

We have a wounded German prisoner who was brought in three days ago. The
poor boy had to lose his right arm, and was at first terrified of every
one. He expected to be ill-treated, but now that he sees he gets the
same treatment as all the other patients he is happy and contented and
very glad to be with us. I thought if I ever saw a German in these
regions I would be capable of killing him myself, but one cannot
remember their nationality when they are wounded and suffering.

[Illustration: Showing linen caps and chinese umbrellas purchased for
patients from contributions.]

[Illustration: Queen of the Belgians leaving the ambulance.]

I am sending you a photo of the Queen of the Belgians, who visited us
and was very nice; she spoke so highly of the Canadians and of the
splendid work they had done.

                                                    PARIS, May 24, 1916.

I left Dunkirk Thursday morning in time to escape the bombs, and stopped
off at Etaples to look up some of our friends at the Canadian hospital.
Dr. MacL---- had left for London but I saw M---- D----, and M---- P----.

Etaples is a real city of hospitals now. I saw the St. John Ambulance
and the Canadian unit; they are both most interesting, so well
organized.

Captain T---- took me to the station in a motor, for which I was glad,
as it is two miles, and the walk over in the sun was as much as I
wanted. Arrived at Paris at five the next morning rather weary, had a
hot bath, the first in a real tub for eight months, and when I went to
bed that night I slept for nearly twenty-four hours.


                                        DIVONNE-LES-BAINS, May 30, 1916.

I did not go to the Grand Hotel for reasons of economy. This is a clean
little place and I am quite comfortable but I miss the bathroom and the
balcony.

There are no patients at the Ambulance here for the moment. All the
fighting is in the north and at Verdun. Poor Verdun--it is terrible
there, one hundred days and still no let up--I think there will be no
men left in France before long and then the English will have to take
their turn. When will it all end? Divonne is as beautiful as ever, and
so quiet and peaceful one would not realize that there was a war if it
were not for the fathers and sons who will never come back, and the
women who are struggling to make both ends meet.

I have had news of several of my old patients who were here. Daillet,
who was paralyzed, is at Vichy and can walk two miles with crutches, two
others have been killed and many of the others back in the trenches.

I have not been able to sleep, it is so quiet.

                                    MOBILE NO. 1, France, June 20, 1916.

To-day I went over to Poperinghe to look up Margaret H----. She is in
charge of the Canadian clearing hospital and is doing a wonderful work.
They have been getting all the wounded from this last fight--receive one
day, evacuate the next, and the third day clean up and get ready again.
It is wonderfully organized; the trains come right up to the hospital
and there is a nurse for each car, so the patients are well looked
after. Margaret has been mentioned in despatches, I believe. I am so
glad, for she certainly deserves it.


                                                          June 25, 1916.

I went over for Margaret H---- in the motor. She went with me to the
cemetery near the hospital and I put some roses on the grave of one of
our St. John boys. I wish his mother could see how well cared for it is.
Margaret came back to tea with us.

To-day I have been specializing a man who has developed tetanus. I would
almost wish that he would die, for he has no hands, and has a great hole
in his chest and back, but strange to say he wants to live, is so
patient and so full of courage. When I have cases like this one I am
always so grateful to the people who have helped me in my work. If they
could see the comforts that can be given by a bottle of cologne or a
dozen oranges they would be rewarded.

Our medicine chef was a prisoner in Germany for eleven months. The
things that he tells us makes one's blood boil. One cannot imagine human
beings as brutal as the Germans are. When they came into the town where
he had his hospital, they shot all the wounded that were left and eight
of his orderlies who stayed with him. He expected to be shot also, but
they needed his services so took him prisoner.


                                                          July 16, 1916.

Another rainy day and as cold as the dickens but we are glad to get
through the summer without extreme heat or a pest of flies.

My tetanus case is really getting better.

Last week I went to a concert given at R---- for the soldiers who are
resting. It was one of the nicest I have ever been at. I did not want to
go, for I don't feel like any kind of gaiety, but Mrs. T---- insisted.
There were only three ladies present, the rest of the salle was filled
with soldiers just from the trenches. The concert was held in a stable.

Some English and Canadian officers, who are on construction work near
here, have been coming to see us. One is Major H----, who was on the
Courtenay Bay work at St. John.


                                                          July 29, 1916.

We are nearly eaten up with the mosquitoes so I have been to Dunkirk to
get some mosquito netting.

Mrs. T---- gave a grand concert to the men on the anniversary of the
opening of this hospital. Denries, from the Opera Comique in Paris, and
Madame Croiza, from the opera in Paris, sang. The Prince of Teck was
here and in my ward, he was so nice to the patients. We had French,
English and Belgian generals, colonels and officers of various kinds.


                                        NO. 3 CANADIAN CASUALTY STATION,
                                                          July 31, 1916.

I got twenty-four hours permission and came out here to spend the night
with nursing Sister Margaret Hare, hoping to get some news of B----. I
have found out where he is and that he has been on rest and went back to
the trenches to-day. They are usually on duty eight days and off eight,
so Margaret is going to send him word when he next comes off to come
here and I will come over and meet him. I do hope we will be able to
make connection. It is so hard to be so near and yet not be able to see
him. If he is wounded he will have to pass through No. 10 Clearing
Station, which is right next to this. I have left my name and address at
the office, so if he should be brought in they will telephone to me and
I can get over to him in half an hour. The patients here are so well
taken care of. They have had a light day. I helped her a little in the
dressing room this morning, saw some of the men who had come in last
night, saw three operations. There is a very clever English surgeon here
and several McGill men. It is a scorching hot day.

My tetanus patient is quite cured, is beginning to walk about.

                                          MOBILE NO. 1, August 14, 1916.

We have had a strenuous and exciting week. It began with a visit from
the King of the Belgians, who came to decorate three of my men who had
fought in the trenches with conspicuous bravery. He visited all the
wards and talked with the soldiers. Like all the royalty I have met so
far, he is extraordinarily simple--wore no decorations or distinguishing
marks of any kind. We were all presented to him in turn and shook hands
with him.

[Illustration: Nurse and Nephew. The meeting in France, one serving
with the French, the other with the Canadian B. E. F.]

The next day we got twenty gas cases and several badly wounded men--one
Canadian from Ontario and two English boys, one was a policeman in
London. I asked the Ontario man how he happened to get to our Ambulance,
he said, "he'd be blessed if he knew," he was working on the lines which
run right up to the trenches when the warning for gas was given. He
started to put on his helmet and the next thing he knew he was in a "Red
Cross" ambulance on the way to the hospital. He is getting on splendidly
but we lost four of the gas cases. It is the worst thing I have seen
yet, much worse than the wounded, and the nursing is awfully hard, for
they cannot be left a moment until they are out of danger.


                                                        August 28, 1916.

I have met our boy B---- at his rest camp not very far from here. It was
a joy to find him looking so well, and big and brown.


                                                      September 9, 1916.

Rain, continuous rain. The guns have been roaring without any let-up for
three days and nights, and our little barracks are nearly shaken to
pieces. We have had several warnings of gas attacks, but fortunately
nothing has happened. One of the orderlies kept his mask on all night
and everyone was surprised that he was alive next morning, they are the
most awful smelling things you can imagine.

We have never seen so many aeroplanes as during this past week. This
morning we counted eighteen in a row.

Mrs. T---- is going to organize another hospital on the Somme and is
going to keep this one as well. She certainly has done a splendid work.
We are all hoping that the fighting will be over before Christmas.


                                                        October 1, 1916.

The rain has begun, so I suppose we may expect to be under water for the
rest of the winter, but things are going well for us, so we must hope
on; but O! how dreadful it all is.

A stationary balloon that is not far from here, used as a Belgian
observation post, was struck by a bomb from an aeroplane and we saw it
fall in flames. The men who were in it jumped out with parachutes and
both escaped without injury.

Broterl, the famous French sniper and poet, came the other day to sing
for the soldiers. He is wonderful, and sang all sorts of songs that he
had composed in the trenches. The men were enchanted, it does such a lot
of good, for it makes them forget for a time.

One of our orderlies has just got word that one of his brothers has been
killed at the Somme, another is dangerously wounded in the head, and a
third has lost his leg--he has six brothers, all at the front.

One of the men in my ward got word of the death of his brother also. He
was a stretcher bearer and was helping a German officer who was
wounded. As soon as the German got to a place of safety he shot the poor
man who had been helping him.

I am nearly frozen to-night and will have to go to bed.


                                                        October 9, 1916.

Our Bayard has come through the Courcelette fight safely, where the New
Brunswickers did such wonders; but O! at such a terrible cost.

It has been very cold and rainy here. I am afraid the bad weather has
set in.

Wish you would send me an aluminum hot water bottle for Christmas,
another pair of Indian moccasins, and fill up the corners of the box
with malted milk and maple sugar.

I shall never forget the poor little Breton who said when he saw me--as
he roused a little when we were taking him from the ambulance,
"maintenant je suis sauve" (Now I am saved).

I have just received a cheque from the Rothesay Red Cross. Since I
began, my fund has never entirely given out, and I have been able to
give such a lot of pleasure and comfort to the men.

If any one wants to know what to send me you might suggest Washington
coffee like Lady T---- sent. It was a great success.

I am too cold to write any more, so good-night.

I wish I had some of Maggie's crullers and squash pie, but the French
don't know anything about squash pies.

Our poor man with a broken back has been moved to a hospital near his
home so his family can see him. We sent him on a mattress, fixed up with
pillows and cushions so that he did not suffer at all on the journey.

When I have any one who is so ill as he was I bless the good people at
home counting infirmiers and men that work about the hospital--they are
soldiers who have been in the trenches for nearly two years, or been
disabled through wounds or sickness, or exchanged prisoners from Germany
unfit for military service. They call the hospital "le petit Paradis des
blesses" and are so glad to be sent here. A man was brought in here the
other day who was wounded for the second time, but he did not mind in
the least about his wounds, he was so glad to get back. He is delighted
because he will not be well enough to leave before Christmas.

We sent to England for some pop-corn, and to-day the men have been like
a lot of happy children stringing the corn for the tree. They had never
seen it before and were much interested. We made quite a successful
popper out of a fly screen and a piece of wire netting.

The other night we were talking over the various experiences we have
had since the beginning of the war--the terrible things we have
seen--the sad stories we have heard, and the strange but very true
friendships we have formed--and we all agree that we could never have
carried on our work in such a satisfactory way if it had not been for
the gifts which have come from time to time from our home friends. The
extra food that we have been able to give to the very sick men has made
all the difference in the world to their recovery, and then the warm
clothing when they go out, and the bit of money to help them over the
hard place. You cannot imagine how much it means to them.

I remember so well one poor little man who had reached the limit of
endurance, and when I found the sleepless nights were due to worry and
not to pain, the whole pitiful little story came out. His wife was ill,
his sister-in-law dead and there were six children to be looked
after--the eldest a boy of eleven--and no money. As long as his wife had
been able to run the farm they had been able to get along, but she had
given out. The French soldier only gets five cents a day, so he had
nothing to send them. He cried like a baby when I told him I could help
him. We sent off a money order for one hundred francs the next day, and
I wish you could have seen the change in that man. That little sum of
money put things straight six months ago and now everything is going
well. But he will never forget, and both he and his wife have a very
warm feeling in their hearts for the good people across the sea who came
to their rescue in a time of need. When I begin to talk of my beloved
French it is hard to stop.

[Illustration: My Salle--Christmas, 1916.]


                                                        January 1, 1917.

The men had a wonderful Christmas day. They were like a happy lot of
children. We decorated the wards with flags, holly, mistletoe, and paper
flowers that the men made, and a tree in each ward. You cannot imagine
how pretty they were. Each patient began the day with a sock that was
hung to the foot of his bed by the night nurses. In each was an orange,
a small bag of sweets, nuts and raisins, a handkerchief, pencil, tooth
brush, pocket comb and a small toy that pleased them almost more than
anything else, and which they at once passed on to their children. They
had a fine dinner--jam, stewed rabbit, peas, plum pudding, fruit, nuts,
raisins and sweets. The plum puddings were sent by the sister of one of
the nurses.

In the afternoon the trees were lighted and we had the official visit of
the medicine chef and all the staff. After the festivities were over we
began preparing for the tree for the refugee children. We had thought
that we would have enough left over to manage for fifty children, but
the list grew to one hundred and twenty-five. The mayor of the village
let us have a large room in his house, as the first place we had chosen
was too small. We had the tree on Sunday afternoon and three hundred and
thirty-one children arrived. Fortunately we had some extra things so
there was enough of something to go around. They had a lovely time, each
one got a small toy, a biscuit, and most of them a small bag of sweets
and an orange. The oranges and sweets gave out, but there was enough
biscuits and toys, but there was nothing left.

We are all dead tired, for we worked like nailers for the past two
weeks; but it was worth while, for we were able to make a great many
people happy, and now we are sending off packages to the
trenches--things that came too late for Christmas.

[Illustration: So many readers of this book expressed regret that it
did not contain a photo of the one who penned these letters, as she is
in home life, that we applied to the family, and after earnest
solicitation they granted this--the one in use on her passports in
France, which we are sure will complete this passport to the hearts of
her readers.]

We expect to move this month. It will be an awful business breaking up
here, for all the barracks have to be taken to pieces and moved with us.
We have begun to take an inventory, and to pack up, but I do not know
just where we will move to, the papers are not in order yet. It is hard
to believe that another year of war has begun.





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