Sunday, 25 January 2009

Chumbi Valley, 24-1-1903

My dear Bertie,

I admit I have been rather slack lately in writing but there has been very little to record. General MacDonald and Staff arrived here from Phari on the 19th and with them came Colonel Waddall Tibbs - the PMO. On the following morning the General and his Staff inspected this hospital and were very pleased with the appearance of our Camp.

We are rather higher here than the rest of the camp being situated on a raised piece of ground - the front of this I had made in to a kind of terrace and this was levelled with three flights of steps cut into it and leading in to Camp - gives our camping ground a most imposing appearance. On the front of the Terrace is our Flag Post with flag flying. The Camping Ground itself was beautifully level not a stone to be picked up anywhere - all Tents pitched most accurately and in a line - a stable built for my pony - also my assistant surgeons - and lastly our living house beautifully warm and sunny.

All this impressed the General and PMO very much. They said though I had arrived last our Camping Ground and arrangements were best in Camp I made my formal call on him during the afternoon and he - General MacDonald - was very pleased - though a very quiet man. I hear he was out in China at Tiantsin on "railways" but he never mentioned you - do you remember him? I will enclose you a list of the staff here and Heads of units. When read please forward to Delia, also the "baby pictures". Delia talks of her babies - so I am sure she will be interested in mine.

Many thanks for the Cake and potted meats which arrived safely yesterday. The Cake I started on yesterday and much enjoyed. The Battery 7th MB -3 Officers - are dining with me tonight and I intend to do them "proud". I have an excellent cook and I believe that I fare better than most judging of the meals I have taken outside, Certainly the luncheon I had at the Battery yesterday my cook would never look at. Everything very "Kutcha" and dirty - their servants had run away and their native driver was cooking for them!!!

It is very cloudy and dark today and looks very much like snow. The General and Staff have hired a native house about ¼ mile from here and are already ensconced - awaiting Snow! Since I have been here all my "pals" have been exceptionally good in writing and sending papers. I had a letter from Miss Bull by the last mail I think I must really send it on - also from Lady Hapwood - Mrs Thomarsson - Ralph - and by this morning's mail letters from Grandma - Daisy and Delia.

Thanks for offering to send me anything more but you must not really trouble. I have sent a R/-100 to the Calcutta stores and if I want anything can send for it myself though of course an unexpected present like your last is much more exciting to receive. Yesterday I sent for 5lbs of bacon and 3lbs of Cheese, Chocolate and Cigarettes - as I have nothing to smoke without sponging on my friends. Your Company - Sappers & Miners are still at Guntak though the Madras Sappers have come on. I hope your fellows come on shortly as I want to meet them. I hear from Rumour - the West Ridings and another Native Regiment are coming up in March as there is certain to be fighting when we leave Tuna - where the Mission at present are. Must really close - a splendid long letter from Delia this morning.



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