Dec. 27. 1917

Dear Miss D.

I have gone and done it again, for better for worse as
they say (don't think I'm engaged) but Milly & Agnes Fowler
have asked me to go on their hospital unit & after talking
it over with Dr. Cabot & Miss Curtis who said I must make
up my own mind, I have decided to make the change.
To tell you frankly Ever since I have been in Paris I have
not felt I have been doing the most Essential thing; first
the lodgings which are Essential but cold & bleak to hunt for,
& now the Dispensary. If I were the only one in it or had a
special job of importance I would feel I ought to stay, but
there are five nurses from Bordeaux, several French nurses,
one or two regular social workers & some more volunteers
besides, so that unless we increase remarkably in the next
few months they will be able to handle the whole business.
It is interesting work but it does not seem first hand, &
it seems to me that Everything I have done for the
refugees is already being attended to by some other organization.
The great need in Paris is a centralized organization & that
is what the Red Cross is striving for. I think it will do
wonders, but the work is professional social service such as
I can get all my life at home, while the job offered by the
Fowlers is a war job & one that will be an intensely

interesting Experience. It is hard to Explain conditions
on this side because they seem very different from
the way we see them at home. Ever since I landed I have
had a craving to do either canteen or work in a hospital.
perhaps if I saw refugees in the country I would want to
work for them, in fact I know I would want to help
them where the individual work was going to show &
where it was possible to do more than advise, for instance
like the French Wounded or other units in devastated
regions. For quite a while I have felt I was not doing
my best, you can see by my letters what a lot of
things I have been doing outside, & naturally when one
is diverted when one does not work well; you are bound
not to be so fresh or whole hearted in your work. I have
been just lonely Enough to want to be on the go all the
time & to want not to miss a trick. I have had a
splendid time, made some good friends & acquaintances
& done interesting things, but I have done not one
thing well, therefore when the Fowlers offered me this
job I jumped at it. I am to be general jack of all trades,
secretary & housekeeper & probably will be in charge of
the sterilization room. Milly Fowler is old in Experience,
level headed and calm, and I admire her a lot; if
she had not said that I would really fit the job
I would not have considered it. She said they
were short handed & that I would fit in beautifully; and that because of my being there it would
ease up on the other nurses all of whom have been
doing a little extra & are overtired.

I don't know what Pa will say. I suppose I
have done quite wrong, but after having been
wicked Enough to come over here at all I am now
going the limit. I try to analyze my reasoning & I
don't think it is a craving for excitement, but it
is more a feeling that I want to do more direct war
work. for instance social workers do not see the value
of the Y.M.C.A. work for the soldiers; now it seems to
me that the Y.M.C.A. and hospitals should be
given all possible workers & let the civil (some of which
in the case of the Red Cross is Experimental anyway) run short
if there are not Enough workers to go around. (I mean by that that Paris has a duplication of organizations--in the country I imagine the state of affairs is different.) I am
giving you this long harangue so you can defend
me (if you want) to Pa because I perfectly
understand that he will be swept off his feet. My
decision is not one of a moment because 4 weeks
ago I wanted to go on a canteen job but Miss
Curtis told me I was absolutely necessary to Dr. Cabot;
since then the Bordeaux nurses etc. have come so I
can't make myself feel so important. I may have made
a mistake but I felt I must get out of Paris; it is
too much like normal conditions to work here properly

and it is also the spot where Everyone, men & girls,
come on permission; therefore it is a continual round of
lunch, tea or dinner--not extravagantly but informally because
you wanted to see friends from home. I would like to feel
that I was doing some good & that as a result of my
being over here I had accomplished something; this may
be selfish but it will be interesting to see how the
situation works out. The pleasure of being with the Fowlers
and Suzette Ryerson will I feel sure be a great help to the

Be sure if you come over to go into a canteen, you
would be wonderful!

I hope you will do me a good turn in explaining
the bad points in my conscience. Perhaps you will
disapprove too, who knows? If you saw my hotel bill
I feel somehow that you would advise my leaving

Much love,