Jan. 1st 1917
Dearest Mother and Father,
I have had letters from you both since I last wrote but the last week has been such a busy one that letter writing was out of the question. I have so much to write about that it would take me a day or two before I finish this. First thing I suppose you would like to hear all about the presents I got & who from & who sent me cards etc. Well I mentioned getting your box and Jean Sayre in my last also the one from the church. The next one that came was from Mary Mae. It contained a lovely fruit cake almond paste & all, a film pack for the camera she gave me, a dear little hankie, two cakes of milk chocolate and another hakf. from Mrs. MacLaren. The next day a box arrived from Mrs. Sayle and Doris. It was most beautifully packed. The box was a round trim one with a hinged cover and was all covered with cretonne so makes a lovely box to keep. Everything inside was done up in separate little Xmas boxes & it was quite exciting opening it. There were doughnuts & fancy cakes at the bottom, above that raisin caramels, salted peanuts, tin of violt powder, 2 lovely handkerchiefs lovely net collar, lead pencil and chewing gum. Now wasn’t it lovely of them. I haven’t had a minute to sit down & thank them yet. You must mention to them when you see them how much I appreciated their thoughtfulness also Mrs. Mac and Mary too and Jean Sayre. Of course I will write to them all in time but I want you to speak about it too. [?] sent a big 5 lb box of Ganong chocolates. Mrs. Perry sent a calendar and Eric a card. Hazel and Fred’s box of apples arrived Xmas Eve in perfect condition and you have no idea how we have enjoyed helping ourselves to them and then I have been able to treat the other girls. Frances Armstrong sent me 2 dozen beautiful white and yellow chrysanthemums from London. Even the 3 boys that we met on the steamer coming over didn’t forget us. Lieut. Jemmett sent us each one of his regimental badges made into a pin. He is in the Canadian Engineers is at present in hospital. Lieu Percy [?] who has gone to India in the Imperial Army sent me ½ dozen India silk handkerchiefs. He was only about 22 and such a nice boy & I think I told you about he and his sister taking us out in London. Lieut Ings sent us each cards. Kip sent me a beautiful bottle of real French perfume. I got cards from Vivian, Mrs. Roy Campbell, Grace Cameron, Eileen Cushing, Mrs. Henderson (the lady who came over with us) Mrs. J.P. Barnes Haty & Buff, Iris Schofield Frances [?] the Blairs, Mrs. [?] etc. Mrs. Murray MacLaren sent us each a box of chocolates and Mrs. Mannabury that lady who lives in Leeds and whose daughter is a V.A.D. at Gledhow Convalascent Home sent us a lovely cake. Now did you ever hear told of such kindness. Marion Magee made me such a pretty boudoir cap. M. Crocket gave me an autograph album Eva Mae sent me a sweet hankie & Mrs. Fisher did too before she left. Miss Martin the senior V.A.D. in my ward gave me a lovely rose pink china vase to match our candlesticks and Miss Clark also in my ward a little creteonne covered box full of hairpins the sisters and nurses in St. Towns gave each V.A.D. a very pretty calendar and then “Sister” [?] gave me a little special gift of a handkerchief and from the Leeds Ladies Committee that visits our ward I got a pin cushion. At our place at breakfast Xmas morning was an envlope with a ten schilling note for each junior V.A.D. and a pound for the seniors. That we really earned as it was supposed to have been the saving on our meals. The sister in charge of the Fairfax is allowed so much by the war office for each girl for meals so by nearly starving us she managed to be able to give us that at Xmas. Think I would rather have had more to eat. Jean [?] sent me crocheted lingerie strings and Helen [?] a bolt of baby ribbon also had a lovely long letter from Beulah. Now I suppose you would like to hear how I happened to have a visit from Fraser-Campbell. Well when I first arrived in Leeds, I wrote him and sent the letter to his Scotland home. I never had an answer so thought nothing more of it. One day Marion Magee said she had a boy in her ward who had been in Fraser’s co of the A + S. so she asked him where he was & he replied Ripon. Now Ripon is only about 20 or 30 miles from here so I thought I would send him a card for Xmas, Two days after I sent the card (it was last Saturday) I got a wire from him saying “what time can I get you on phone to-day Give your phone number”. Well as we’re not allowed to use the ‘phone I wired back (the answer was prepaid) not allowed to use ‘phone. Off duty to-morrow from 2 - 10. Would like to see you if you could come. Next day (Sunday) at dinner time one of the girls came in & said there was someone to see me so out I went to the hall and there was Fraser in his kilt looking very fine. We went for a walk and then he had to catch the 4.30 train back to Ripon. Now I must tell you the funny coincidence about the whole thing. He was only in Ripon for the weekend as he and his mother came there to spend Xmas with his brother who was leaving the middle of the week for the front. He arrived there Friday morning got my card on Saturday & wired at once as he wanted to phone me and see if I couldn’t come to Ripon & spend Xmas day with he and his mother at the spa hotel there. When he found he couldn’t phone me, he decided to come over & see me & still wanted me to spend Xmas day with them but of course that was quite out of the question for we never even left the wards the whole of Xmas day. He is stationed at Troon in Scotland as bombing instructor athe the Grenade School there. Had never got the letter I wrote him of course he returned to Troon on Tuesday. Wasn’t it funny though that my card should just catch him when he was there. Sammy Mackay was about the only friend that entirely forgot me & then Katie tries to make me believe that I am the only girl he is interested in. Must go back on duty now. will try finish this to-night if the rumors of a convoy are unfounded.
Tuesday Jan. 2 1917
The convoy didn’t come last night but is expected to-night. I am half-daying so hardly think I will be called back on duty. After I started this yesterday I got the loveliest box from Catherine and Dorothy Blizard. It was for both Marion M and myself. There was candy dulce, Xmas bonbons, a pr of scissors for each of us & a little box of blotters for each then Catherine sent me a little travelling clock in a nickel case and a gold piece of $2.50 to use for my wounded men. Wasn’t it sweet of them. Also got a book from Aunt Bess and Clara, a little address book from Eva and a Happy New Year cable from Mary and [?]. The boys of our two wards gave each of the V.A.D.’s yesterday, a little manicure set in a [?] & gave sister a brush and comb in a case. We did a lot for them at Xmas though so I expect they appreciated it. I paid Miss Rowans $5 towards the Xmas treat for the men and added $5 more to it myself. We V.A.D.’s gave each of the 72 men in our two wards a case containing a military brush, a comb and a mirror which came to 7L. They spent a very jolly Xmas, we hired a piano for the ward for the whole week. We had a picture of the ward taken Xmas day just after the boys had finished dinner and when they are finished I will send you one. Sunday night we filled 72 stockings which were hung at the head of their beds by the night sister. The dinner was at 12.30 and all the bed patients were moved into one ward (there were 28 in bed) and the other 44 sat at a long table that reached well down the ward. It looked so pretty when it was set with little Xmas trees jars of flowers smilox & Xmas crackers strewn around. The 4 big turkeys were carved in the ward by the doctor & we nurse & V.A.D.’s waited on the men of course there was plum pudding which was brought in from the kitchen on fire and each man had a mug of beer. After the dinner things were cleared away, they had a whist drive there were 12 tables as we nurses played too and the prizes were lovely, then we danced Sir Roger [?] sang some songs & they retired at 9 an hour later than usual. Our wards were beautifully decorated, quite the prettiest of the huts I thought. The holly here is so lovely such a shiny green and such red berries. We had quantities of it also ivy & laurel. We of course got no off duty, in fact had none all week with the exception of Wednesday when I was off a few hrs. on the [?] Xmas morning the head sister let me go down to the Presbyterian services in matron’s office. Marion Crocket was allowed off too only lasted ½ hour. Tuesday night the nurses and V.A.D.’s concert was held in the big assembly hall for the walking patients & Wednesday night for the bed patients I will send you a paper with an account of it in it. It was an awful job on Wednesday to get the bed patients there, they had to be carried on stretchers and operating carriages taken down in the elevator & deposited on beds in the hall. We had 16 to go, As I was in the concert I had to leave the ward at 5.30 as the affair started at 6 then as soon as our first part was over I had to hustle into uniform to help get the patients back & then on top of all that a huge convoy arrived at 9 oclock. It was a very tiring day – as we had no off duty time and didn’t get to bed till 11.30. Thursday afternoon we had a concert & tea in the ward given by outside people & another one on Friday. On Thursday we were allowed to have over girls from other wards drop in for tea too. On…afternoon I was invited up to the Officers ward for tea. Some of them requested to meet me after the performance so one of the V.A.D.’s there invited me up on Friday. Most of them are typical English fools though. Saturday night we had our fancy dress dinner and as theer were 90 of us you can imagine it was quite an affair. The tables looked lovely and certainly a great deal of trouble was taken over it. We had soup, turkey, plum pudding, minced pie, trifle, fruit nut and raisins and claret cup. Also Xmas crackers & [?] of all kinds. After dinner we danced & played cards. Matron of course was at it & I sat at her left. We didn’t know she was to sit at the table, but Sister Symes told me to sit there & I think she knew. Matron is very nice to the three of us, much more than to some of the others. Sister Symes favors us a bit too. To-night Mary and I are having our supper sent up to our bed rooms as we both have the evening off. I am undressed and ready for bed as I want to get a good nights sleep. Marion Crocker had a letter from Mrs. Hodge to-day and she sent us each the sweetest little hankies. I also had cards from Isabel, Jack, and Connie Morrison. We are going to have some of your pound cake with our supper to-night. It is delicious. I am so glad you sent me the money. I would rather have it than anything else. It was funny being away from home at Xmas but we were so rushed & busy that I hadn’t time to get homesick [words unclear] letter to Hazel I really won’t have time to write her too & it would take so long to write the same things all over again. It may sound a little disconnected but hope you will be able to make some sense out of it.
Love to all,
P.S. They all loved my Indian costume. It looked fine
Dear Hazel I am mailing this to you at once.] Have been looking for a letter from you for quite a while. I thought I would surely get one from you to-day
P.S. this letter is [?] being [?]