Weather fine. The loss of Rose has been a great grief to me, and to all of us, but none of us feel it like the nursery dog, Velia, who seems to guess what has happened, and yet listens and hopes at every footstep. With all our grief none of us are really inconsolable – only the wonderful attachment of a dog can be that – human beings are not in the running.
We buried poor Rose yesterday evening in the cemetery at the foot of the hill – she was taken down by 6 men of the Yorkshire regiment*. Mrs. Thompson, a friend of hers, was there, Miss Key, Daisie and myself. Rev. J. Williams, Major Dunsford and Miss Attree of the G.F.S. Revd. Dixon conducted the funeral – a nice fellow. Susanna has not been told about it yet.
It is nice to escape from hospital, but I have a fresh boil on my right knee. I believe Velia, the dog, misses Rose most, she runs from room to room looking for her. Daisie told Susanna this morning that she would never see Rose again, that Rose had gone to God to be an angel and nurse little angel children in heaven. Susanna took hardly any notice and asked no questions – it was as if she had known it all along. But who can tell what a child’s thoughts are? It is very merciful. I also cannot, I’m glad to say, realize our loss till I deliberately turn my mind on to it. From a purely selfish point of view the loss is irreparable.
2nd inoculation and escaped from hospital. Neck still bad and has to be fomented. It has been a quaint experience and I really must say I do not like being visited. I daresay the men do. A large girl with specs gave me 2 bunches of crocuses yesterday and I hadn’t least idea what to do with them – no vases!
Ritchie came to see me at 9 a.m. this morning with the dreadful news that poor Rose was dead. It is a very great shock, she was like one of the family, and what poor dear little Susanna will do I cannot imagine – she loved Rose as much as, perhaps more than, her mother. The operation was quite successful, but her strength gave out. What are we to do? She was a good girl in every sense and ready at any time to answer at the Day of Judgement – one can only believe that she is happy now.
Daisie is the only one alive. Rose will have to be operated on for appendicitis, Susanna has fever. Got Rose up to Lady Robert’s Hospital and she was promptly operated on for abscess of the appendix, they didn’t remove the appendix. Thank God a very successful operation by Captain Ritchie R.A.M.C.*, it is a great responsibility. It will cost me a pretty penny just when I hoped for once to have a balance over, but I am glad that we were here at the time to arrange things and that I can meet the bill without running into debt.
My nasty boil on the neck was again sliced in 3 places, which hurt a good deal – the others are all right now. Susanna has got rid of her fever.
There are several Ritchies who appear in the records for this period – it is unlikely to be MBH Ritchie as he appears to have served the entirety of WW1 on the Western Front (that is, in France); alternatively it could be John Ritchie or DW Ritchie. If anyone has any details about this officer, please do get in touch.
My army birthday – 33 years service completed to-day. It pours and pours and pours. Rose has been very ill – just as well I’m out of the house as it has taken them all their time to attend on her. All boils gone except one beast on my neck that goes on for ever.
Daisie took Rose and Susanna to Murree and the bungalow is very empty – lots of work and the Soldiers’ Home keeps me busy. There is no chaplain, so I have to run it through the summer and have been busy getting a Committee together.
Susanna and Rose went off at 8.30 a.m. with Mrs. Fane to Murree. The house seems very empty and Daisie feels lonely. How awful it must be when a child, an only child, dies.