Feb. 8 [1918]

Hotel Castiglione

Dear Family.

I have been terrible about writing lately but if you knew
how busy I had been or what a hectic life I had been leading I
think you would understand. In the first place we have moved,
& as I am chief of our material I was the one responsible for
the packing of all our supplies & seeing to their loading on
to the train. We moved on Sunday last, but things began
to get busy by Wednesday--we had over 40 box cases & at
least that amount of bales, 5 tents, heterogeneous stuff,
stoves etc. I was supposed to know what was in Each cases,
mark it & see that it was put with others like it. I forgot
to say that we also own over 300 mattresses and some beds. I
don't know when I have enjoyed a week more or passed
a funnier time. Mrs. Daly began sending members off on
Thursday, the majority went on Sat. The only maids who
knew about the kitchen went on Sat. & the other maids left
unexpectedly Sun. morning so that Milly, Mrs. Daly & I were left
to do all the clearing up. Agnes, Suzette & two other girls ran
our motors--we have 3 Fiat lorries & a Ford truck all
day Sat. and Sun. & we loaded besides our own stuff a lot of
the French material as well. Something doing I can tell

tell you, for unless we looked after our own interests we were
likely to be forgotten. As I understand it Mrs. Daly has
promised to be responsible for all the supplies used in the
operating room & in the wards--her nurses keep the operating
room in order, manage the sterilization & work in the wards
but there is a whole group of French nurses who assist
the doctors in the surgical work.

To add to the humor of things we met last week an
English doctor at the head of one of the English first aid
stations & attached to him were 2 American doctors. They dined
with us one night & the next day we all trooped over to Tea
with them. It was an unique party because they messed in
a little village house of two rooms--nothing was in it but
an open fire place & their camp furniture, table, bench, kitchen
etc. It was very cosy & lots of fun because it is rather
unusual to be teaing with English officers in the war zone.
just before we arrived the general stopped on a tour of
inspection & our colonel was so afraid that he would see
the tea things all on the table that he quickly met him at
the door & instead of inviting him in almost pushed him
out by force. We had such a jolly time then that the
next day they invited a few of us there to dinner, that
was the best fun of all--just picture to yourselves motoring
through a devastated village at night to a tiny little house
& there to find a large fire (you don't see them often here) & to

sit down to a delicious dinner, soup, fish, meat, desert, cheese,
savory, coffee etc. served beautifully by an English orderly.
Everyone of us were in uniform of course, an English colonel Two
captains & the American, & we in our blue veils, capes & dark blue
dresses. We all have a menu with our signatures which I
will keep as a souvenir because dinner parties on such a
finished basis are not customary at the front. You may
trust the English, however, to do things right. The ones I saw
while we were at the hospital I liked a lot, & I am glad we
had a chance to see a few of them.

Our particular friends were so amused by us that they
came over the next day, Sat., to see how we were getting
along--we gave them a vision of a real mess all right. I wore
my tweed suit, a dirty flannel shirt, my hair was loose, & I
had been trying to clean up all day. Milly had on a white
dress which showed signs of use, & Agnes & Suzette when they
flitted in & out between loads were covered with motor grease
& oil. We gave them Tea out of agate cups, no saucers, no
tea pot but the kettle & a tea ball. We had to group at
one End of the table because the rest of the room was filled
with half opened cases which the maids were packing with
kitchen ware, washing & counting as they went--such confusion,
but the men managed to drink three cups of tea & use
up over an hour of our precious time so I guess they
Enjoyed it. I forgot to say that the electricity was not in

order so that all our activities had to be carried on by
the light of one or two candles. You probably wonder when
I speak about maids, but they are used in the wards we
have only three or four for our personal use, maiding, cooking
etc. but when we moved out of the hospital of course we
had all the rest on our hands.

To make a long story short, after much trucking, scrubbing,
packing, swearing, laughing & all the rest of the trials that
go with moving, we got off after dark Sunday & started in
our four machines for our new destination. I was with
Mrs. Blakeman & we led the procession. We arrived at our
new barrack at about nine o'clock--then we had a bit
more of camping out, no barriers between our beds, the
maids barely partitioned off, the English orderly barely separated
from them, all thrown in headlong bag & baggage. If
Everyone had not had a sense of humor it would have
been awful, but Mrs. Daly is a screamingly funny person
& we all had to laugh. We had our own beds, blankets etc.
so that we got a good sleep & our army rations, although
served to us amidst all our belongings in the middle of
our one barrack, were not bad--the maids go for the food
& we give it an Extra heating on our own little stove.
I forgot to save out any big dishes so we Eat stew &
vegetables in style from a wash basin. You see I had
to pack a special box with plate, knife, spoon, fork etc. for

Each one of us.

The next few days equaled those at the other End, hard
manual work, get straightened out as at the other End, complications,
amusing Episodes etc. It may not have been the work I came
over for but hospital formations certainly have to be moved
& someone has to help move them. It is all in the
military game & as we are under army orders we have
to do as we are told. I can't tell you where we are
now but I am in Paris for a day or two to help buy
some things. I am rooming at present with the Fowlers
who are off for a vacation. Last night we dined with
Frank Page & Joe Coolidge from Boston was there. if you
see Mrs. J. R. Jr. tell her from me that he was looking
very swell in an English cut overcoat & fur collar. I must
stop now because this is all being written before 8 o'clock.
I expect a busy day ahead. Mrs. Daly is a remarkable woman
& full of ideas, she keeps things moving all the time & she
expects others to get as much accomplished as she herself
does; she has a wonderful way of putting things through &
I can tell you that things are always lively when she is
about--I like her Ever so much.

Will write again as soon as I get a chance. Forgot
to say that Hottinguer has the Maillard's. I am going after
it To-day. Many thanks.

Much love,

25.2 cm x 20 cm

From the Eleanor Saltonstall papers