Cazalet I am sending to Marseilles to get warm as he is always sick up here. I shall miss him very much, he leaves to-day. The number of my officers is increasing. Wrote a final ultimatum to the War Office, telling them to take me out of this soft job, and give me a Brigade up at the front where I ought to be. This is a good job, but a one-armed and one-legged man could do it. Everybody is impatient with the war, but we know we must wait till April or May before our time comes to strike the blow.
I have been in bed ever since last Monday with a most frightful cold, fever, flu, sore-throat, sort of thing and feel very miserable. I manage to get down to the office every day for one hour from 11 to 12.0 and then I go straight back to bed. I am tremendously soigné by Madame, who brings me grogs every night before she goes to bed, and tisanes all day long. “tisanes des quatres fruits.” I went to see Cazalet in hospital on Monday and in chaff drank some of his medicine out of his glass and I can only suppose I swallowed all his microbes as he has every sort of chest complaint and I was bowled over immediately after. Madame wants to paint my back with iodine and put a plaster on my chest, but I have drawn the line at that. She is determined to badigeonner me, a special verb for splashing paint on a wall. Lying miserably in bed, not undressed about 7 p.m. Knock at the door and Henriette enters announcing with huge delight “Madame Dunsterville”!!! Made me jump you may be sure. Of course it was a very great treat. She has two days’ leave from the hospital.
Thank goodness we have sunk in the Pacific the Gneisenau, Scharahorst, Leipzig and Nuremberg, who sunk our Monmouth and Good Hope. Beastly rainy day. I had such a time my last trip up the line. Left Havre 5 p.m. Dec. 6th by Passenger to Rouen. Supply Train with Cazalet to Abbeville, arrived pouring rain 1 p.m. 2 hours talk with Freeland. Then on to Boulogne with slow train – reached there 9.30 all shut, no dinner. An hour with Hilliard. Then Supply Train to St. Omer, Tuesday morning an hour’s interview with Gen. [John Henry] Twiss, Director of Railways – then caught slow train to Calais, thence slow train through Boulogne to Abbeville, an hour’s interview with Freeland 7.30 p.m., caught an empty supply train to Rouen, slept with 6 Tommies in a truck and got covered with bacon grease. Wed. morning block on line outside Rouen, pulled kit out, walked down line to gare du Nord, caught a train to Rue Verte and walked thence to gare Rive Droite and caught Paris express to Havre, arriving 11.30 a.m. Got the only decent meal I had had on board this train and it was a great treat, clean and good, coffee and rolls. To-day pouring rain. Daisie leaves on Tuesday and I shall go to Rouen.
Took a supply train to the front with Cazalet to see how things were working.
Arrived Maroc 6 a.m. Into Le Mans with Cazalet, had dejeuner and dîner there, saw the cathedral etc. – not interesting. All the R.C. Churches here are as plain and unadorned as Baptist Chapels. A notice in the Cathedral “Please don’t spit” and another asking for Sunday observance, quite a new idea for R.C.s
Cazalet’s train also came up and as we are to be here all day while they settle railheads according to the latest news from the front, we thought we would take a trip into Paris. Place de l’Opéra, Madeleine, Boulevards. It was a triumphal procession and we quite felt we owned Paris, everybody bowed and smiled and kissed their hands. Prayed for Daisie and the children in the Madeleine. Left Villeneuve 6.46 p.m.
Thank God to get some hot rations. Sleeping with Cazalet in a dirty horse truck, but comfortable. Shopping in the town. I was received with cheers, they thought I had been taken by the Germans and Creil was not so far off it. There is just that small amount of risk at railhead that one may be shoving one’s nose too far, especially as our troops are being driven in and the situation alters every hour.