Daisie had a tennis party on Saturday and so it poured all day, glad to have the dust laid anyway. What does one do when one retires after all this busy life – is it possible to sit still and do nothing? In addition to my Brigade Command I also Command this enormous station, then there is my beloved Soldiers’ Home, then Masonry, I belong to the Craft Lodge, the Mark and Ark, and the Chapter, then I belong to the C.E.M.S. and have to read papers and lecture, then I have the side shows for “Our Day” Dec. 12th. Mrs. Jarley’s Waxworks*, Mock Picture Gallery, Cocoanut Shies, Fortune-telling. It can only be done by decentralisation and I am A1. at that I believe.
* Mrs. Jarley was a character in Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop, who exhibited ‘live waxworks’, that is, actors dressed to look as wax models. The novelty was that each was ‘commanded’ to come to life. This discussion here explains how the performance became quite standard in such events as “Our Day”, a charity fundraising day.
It all sounds very gay, but it is not gay. These dinner-parties are “functions”, necessary and regrettable. I was in Cherat all day yesterday, dinner party at night. To-day we dine with the Chief Commissioner. Friday we have another dinner-party, Saturday Tennis party, mean-time Daisie has endless Red X work and the Mothers’ Union and the ‘Our Day’ work. I am to be allowed at last to wear the American War Medal I got from General Chaffee in China 1900*. Terribly shocked to hear of the death of Orlando Gunning, so sad for his wife and children, and such a good fellow and fine soldier.
* awarded in the Boxer Rebellion. If anyone has any details about what type of medal this would have been likely to be, I would be delighted to hear.
I am comfortably installed where I ought to be – at last – in the Station Hospital, my first time in a hospital in 33 years service though often sick in quarters where no hospital was. I like it because one feels that one is giving no trouble as in a private house, there are heaps of people and the job is what they are paid for. And I know that my boils will get well much quicker. All mostly gone now, except the very bad one which is carbuncular on my neck and one nasty one on my shoulder-blade, but I sleep like a top at night for which I thank God. Daisie does not look well and it was quite time she got up too, and now she wants tonic and fresh air. I walked up to the hospital on Saturday and was at once admitted.
I forgot to say that on the journey down, in the middle of the night I woke with Daisie shouting out something and I saw a man hanging on to the carriage-door from outside, with one arm inside. I leapt up and grabbed him for a thief, which he probably was, but he said he was the ice man and had got left at the last station and hopped on to our footboard. I was too sick to worry, so said no more. Lucky Daisie didn’t shoot him off-hand she had her revolver with her.
And so our Cherat trip is over and I am not sorry. I certainly thank God that He brought us here for those 15 days, when my boils were about to spring on me – I should have died down below. I am still very sick and get little sleep at night, but I suppose things are improving. In Murree I am to be injected with some sort of anti-boil stuff. We leave here to-morrow 7 a.m. spend the day packing and perspiring in Peshawar, leave by the night mail, arrive Pindi 6 a.m. arriving by motor in Murree at 9 a.m. if all goes well.
A horrid day. Went to Parade and Early Service at 7 a.m., then at 12 noon, went up to Hospital and had eleven boils cut and probed and messed about and touched up with carbolic. I do not remember anything more painful, but I was delighted to have it done and felt as if I was scoring off an enemy. I do not ever want any more boils.
Heat is appalling. I was very pleased to get a note saying that Sir Frederick Campbell was taking 15 days’ leave and I was to command the Division in his absence, so this agony ends on the 31st, when we go to Cherat – I really do not feel as if I could have survived much longer down here and even Daisie had begun to groan, to acquire a thirst, and to get prickly heat – things she has never done before in her life.
It is very hot. Our routine is, tea at 5 a.m. When I come back from riding at 8 a.m. I have milk and soda – then Soldiers’ Home accounts etc., then Brigade Office – bicycle back to breakfast 10.30 a.m. back to office, bicycle home 1.30 p.m., a little fruit – mangoes. Bed from 2.0 to 3.30 then tea – writing, bath 5 p.m. We get outside about 7 p.m., it is too hot to go out earlier – dinner at about 9 p.m. Daisie spends most of her time feeding her new found dove which I saved from the crows who were pecking it to death, her rabbits and her pigeons and chickens.