Such a squabbling over seniority to-day in my office with a view to succeeding me. First of all Major H.H., the Prince de Mahé came to see me before I was out of bed to point out that he was senior to Fernie. Fernie was a Lieutenant in the King’s Dragoon Guards and is now a temporary Major in the Yeomanry – each thinks he is senior to the other, and as I know nothing about territorials, volunteers, militia, yeomanry and Special Reserve I shall have to send it on to the War Office to settle. They both lost their tempers violently and I had to keep the peace. Daisie returns to Havre to-day – Are the Germans still sure of victory? Are the poor things at last convinced of the absolute certainty of their well-merited downfall? I do not think anyone in the world sympathises with them, though in the abstract it is heroic to see one nation fighting against the whole world and the utter destruction of a splendid empire.
Dollie [sister-in-law] and Bettie arrived Friday night from Havre; it was very nice to see them. The Prince de Mahé drove me up in his car to meet them and we drove them to the Hotel de France where I left them. To-day they did some of the Churches in the morning.
It is easy enough to live cheaply in the trenches, but on the Lines of Communication life is very dear and prices rise.
I hear Kitchener has given an order that all wives are to leave France whether employed or not. Taking a train up the line to see how things are working. I took the busiest train of course. Ramassage [collection, or pick-up] B. left Rouen 7.45 p.m. Lt. Col. Carter R.A. and Lt. Col. Stewart R.A. (Ordnance) as passengers. I took the Prince de Mahé’s carriage and gave him a rest looking after my office.
In my bedroom here I find this red ink and nothing else. Packed up and left Havre on the last day of the old year and came up with the Prince de Mahé who also motored me out to lunch with a very nice French family Offroy, about 15 miles from here – a tremendous repast. I have taken rooms for the time being in the Hotel de France, Rue Grand Pont [possibly Rouen], nice and old fashioned and good, but I do not like hotel life. When I was here as a boy I lived in the Elmering family. Adolphe about 50, Isabelle, Marie and Berthe, 3 sisters a little younger. They would now be from 70 to 75 I suppose. I see their name is still in the book, so I am going to call. I expect they have not forgotten me as I wrote to them for at least 12 years. I was sorry to leave the family Hollaender at Havre, but the life was frowsy and I did not like the idea of fleas in my bed, though they do not bite me. I already feel better for the change. Later on I am going to try and get rooms here. I see poor Rome of the 20th has been killed – just married in June. And Rundall of the 4th Gurkhas [also see here], has lost his two sons on one day. Daisie has got work in French hospital No. 12*, at Havre under Mrs. Gardner and is due out the day after to-morrow, it will be nice to know she is within reach.
* According to this website, no 12 hospital was in Rouen, rather than Le Havre. I have been unable to establish any more details.