Thursday, 19 March 2009

Chumbi Valley, Sunday 7-03-1904

My Dear Delia,

I think I must write direct to you this week as my letters to you via Bertie seem to be somewhat irregular. Last mail I had as well as your letters, letters from Amy and Daisy who were so delighted with my letter describing my journey from Runypo to this place.

In connection with this trip we were all here very shocked to hear yesterday that a Mr Bragg, Director of Indian Post Offices who had come on a trip from Simla to inspect Post Office arrangements arrived at Gnatong and after waiting there for some two days during which he only complained of being unable to sleep at night, proceeded on to the next march, Kapaap - the place from which I wrote one of my letters just before the Talap Pass. Here he was taken much worse and Captain Bliss who was accompanying him said he had better go back to Gnatong. A "Doolie" was procured and he was taken back but died on the way. Poor fellow, dreadful to die all-alone like that. Captain Bliss his companion arrived here yesterday - I suppose the exertion and rarefied air was too much for his heart.

This week I have managed to get you some photos and eventually hope to get you some more. The ones of our camp were taken by Mr Bennat RA of the Battery I am in medical charge of. He gave me the negatives and I had 3 or 4 dozen printed off at Calcutta as most of my staff required a couple of copies, The views of the Snow Capped mountains are taken at Phari. One has to cross the mountain to reach Tuna where the mission with a small escort is now encamped and has been so for the last two months. I have been promised several more views and they are now on their way to me from Calcutta. You will notice am clothed in my sheep skin coat and look very furry, The other men have coats as well but I have mine open and thus the fur shows more.

You were asking what my assistant surgeons are. They are generally Eurasians who have taken Indian university degrees - and are of the so-called Indian Subordinate Medical Depot. I have one Eurasian and one Englishman and also an Eurasian attached to the Battery under my direction.

For the last few days we have had a lot more snow and rain and it has been very uncomfortable. The General sent for me on Friday to ask what transport I would require for the advance about the 24th. We are to travel very light and he has had me down for 15 mules to 25, so I will have to leave a lot of hospital equipment behind. A mule carries 80lbs only on each side. One of my assistants with most of the tents will have to be left here. We march straight through to Gyantsee - about 12 days’ march.

I was delighted to get your letters last week and enclosing Mrs Carey's and Alick and also the photos of the youngsters. I think it splendid both of them so fit and happy. I wrote to Laura and congratulated her and also wrote to the Cousins Bessie and Alda.

I must really close - I am getting your papers regularly - many thanks for the sweater, I am longing to see it. It will be the very thing I want. Socks will also be acceptable as I find after every hard march, my heels are absolutely devoid of socks from coming down hills on ones heels - luckily I don't blister. My knee is not troubling me at all though of course I have to take care.

Much love dear Delia your affectionate brother Cecil

PS: A nice letter from Lady Hapwood last week.

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