7th January 1916

At Queensferry. Very rough and still impossible for the hospital boat to do her trip. It is a good job we transferred that bad case yesterday for the weather today is worse if anything. Oh! it does blow here when it makes a start.

The new Captain is nothing if not thorough and he is going into everything minutely. This morning at General Quarters he kept us all busy. He wanted to see the arrangements for the conveyance of wounded from the upper deck to the dressing stations. We went through the performance and he appeared satisfied. I’m glad he has seen this carried out, There is no doubt this Captain means to have the ship efficient and he is having a general shake up. The ship is not near so efficient as she used to be, owing to the fact that the best men have been taken away for bigger and more responsible ships, and replaced by boys or temporary seamen. In fact, at the present time this ship is more like a sea-going training ship than a man-o’-war. She is not so safe to go to sea or into action in as she was in the first 8 or 9 months of the war. However I don’t expect she will be required again for such dangerous work as she accomplished then.

This evening I received letters from you and Aunt Nina. It is the first letter I have received from Aunt since Dec. 1st and I have been wondering what I have done to incur her displeasure. However the tone of her letter is reassuring, but she makes no excuse or apology for the time she has kept me in “suspenders”. She ends up by telling me that she has sent a parcel on to me containing butter, cake and fruit, so I am hoping that I shall have better luck with my parcel this time.

In your letter you inform me of a most horrible nightmare you had, apparently in consequence of having a big supper. A while ago you were dreaming benight of nasty things about me and since it could not be due to the amount you ate retiring I suggested that you should try a big supper. The result is not at all pleasing since you dream of horses, a wolf, a yellow duck, an officer being stripped of his decorations, a woman running from a lot of soldiers, a man thrown from his horse and you struggling through a muddy mire, with hundreds of birds keep flying up against you, and a horse nearly knocking you over when you reached the road. And then you woke up sweating streams and oh! what a head you say you had. Mabel I’m afraid you must have had something stronger than a ham sandwich, Xmas pudding – or milk – before retiring. If you inform me of any more such nights I shall begin to doubt your being a total abstainer. Of course it may have been in the Xmas pudding, since some people put brandy or rum in their “duff”. Thank goodness I don’t suffer from such dreams, no matter what the supper be like. Must be your liver Mabs, because there is no doubt you suffer from biliousness a lot.

Both Aunt and Cousin Nina give good reports of your appearance and you say you feel quite well yourself. I am pleased with such knowledge dear.

You would like to see me occasionally you say, but would not have me home except on leave or duty. Good girlie, that’s the spirit that rules these days. Thank God, I have never been a “slacker”, you would make me feel terribly guilty if I had, and I have a big conscience. I have no doubt both your patriotism and unselfishness will in good time be rewarded. I pray so anyhow. I have a lot to reward you for, and there is only one reward, but not till after the war.

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