Fiercely hot and glad to be off. The sand-flies tear us to pieces. Still we get good flowers and have on the table geraniums, sun-flowers, Plumbago, Dianthus, Phlox, Aster, Snapdragon, Pelargonium – the latter 4 just expiring. The frontier seems fairly quiet, but a reverse in the Dardanelles might set India on fire at any moment and we wait anxiously for good news from anywhere and it never comes. The Russians in Galicia* are being thoroughly well hammered owing to lack of ammunition. Left at 11. p.m.
Arrived Suez at noon and straight off for Aden. Weather fine and not too warm. It was interesting going through the canal, all lights out and portholes closed on the port side for enemy’s snipers. Bridge protected with sandbags. Troops and defences all along. Saw the 56th that is the old 2nd P.I., and passed two French cruisers and one British. The ship is very empty and nice and quiet. Daisie and I enjoy that but other passengers complain that it is dull with no dancing or athletic sports. Susanna keeps well and cheerful with occasional fits of bad temper. She has one nice little boy to play with and seems in no hurry to get to the end of the journey. No particular war news. Where is our new force going to? The Dardanelles or to Bosnia, via Montenegro? Rumours of a naval expedition off Norway. No prospect of the war ending but of course some day it will end. I am certain that we will strike a blow between now and middle of May, that it will be successful and that the war will end in the Autumn. The Turks seem to be still quite serious in their advance on Egypt, but I do not think they can do much in that direction.
Malta 9 a.m. Ricasoli barracks where I joined my old regiment, the Royal Sussex, in November 1884, reminded me of old days. We all went ashore, Rose and Susanna, D. and myself – such a cold day with howling wind. Saw St. Johns and the Armoury and the Guard Room pictures. Left again at 6.30 p.m. Several men-of-war in from the Dardanelles to repair and refit. The Dublin and the Inflexible, which latter was almost sunk, and several French ships with wounds from guns and torpedoes.
No orders yet. Daisie came up on Wednesday evening and will not return till Sunday evening, a goodbye visit. The War goes well. The new move in the Dardanelles is working very well and it looks as if our fleet would soon get through. This action is forcing the Balkan neutrals to make up their minds. Roumania, Bulgaria, Greece are all wondering what to do, also Italy. Meantime Germany’s mad-dog behaviour at Sea is worrying America, Norway, Sweden and Holland, what a splendid war it is!