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Date: July 22nd 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

22 July, ’16 (Lunch time).

Just got up after strenuous night. Last train didn’t come down till four-thirty A.M. so had a little sleep, and in half an hour am going to work again. Some Canadians are beginning to come in now. However, it hasn’t been Canada that supplied us with patients, but Anzacs. Last night Princess Victoria’s concert party came. I was able to get relieved for an hour to go to it. I couldn’t help thinking how you would have felt the extraordinary contrast — pretty, well-dressed girls — flowers — music — and all around tired-out staff and hundreds upon hundreds of patients all fresh from the front line.

The thing that interested me as much as anything — you’d never guess — in the morning I had your letter where a paragraph or two dwelt on the new fashions. It may seem curious, but we never see any well-dressed women — or rather I should say fashionably-dressed women. It’s curious that, in a town like Boulogne; but the French are taking this war in desperate earnest. In appearance they are chic and neat, very, but not fashionable — if the women’s pages in the magazines are anything to go by. However, the majority seem to me to wear that large mourning veil you may have noticed in war pictures. Therefore this party, just after having your letter, was interesting as a side line for that reason. I love pretty clothes. The Americans’ skirts were to me — remember I haven’t been in London or anywhere for months — something of a shock. To be frank, I don’t like short skirts as they wear ’em now at all. I think they aren’t even pretty.

A point which would have brought the war home to you — right in the middle of the show, an officer got on the stage and said, — “Will all men here marked Blighty return to their wards at once and prepare to leave.”

Much joshing occurred, as the men, bandaged here, there, and everywhere, straggled out, — the big joke being to tell those on crutches to double up.

Original Scans

Original Scans