Letter from Grace Osler to her sister, Susan Chapin [Transcript]
Lady Osler writes of the deaths of Margaret Burnett, and May and James Little. She is shocked by Osler's animosity towards
the Germans. She relates news of family and friends. Revere will go to Christ Church and take part in the Training Corps.
She writes of her involvement in the war-effort. Osler and Mr. Armour are organizing the Canadian Hospital in London.
[Description courtesy of McGill University.]
About this transcript: Soon after Osler's death in 1919, Lady Osler asked their good friend Dr. Harvey Cushing to write
a biography. For this project, Cushing gathered a wide variety of material, including a substantial amount of Osler correspondence
and other memorabilia borrowed from Osler's family, friends, and colleagues. He employed three secretaries to transcribe
these documents, and later donated the transcripts (along with his other working materials) to the Osler Library. Because
many of the original documents were returned to the owners, the Cushing transcripts constitute the largest and most accessible
collection of Osler's correspondence.
Harvey Cushing's "Life of Sir William Osler" was published by Oxford University Press in 1925, and was awarded
a Pulitzer Prize in 1926.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (2,240,434 Bytes)
1914-09-15 (September 15, 1914)
Transcriber: [Cushing, Harvey]
Original Repository: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Osler Library Archive Collections, P417: Harvey Cushing Fonds
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
(Lady Osler to Mrs. Chapin)
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Tuesday PM 15th (Sept., 1914)
Nothing could be too absorbing to make me appreciate your troubles less - And I have thought so much of the loss of your dear
friend Margaret Burnett. I wrote last week - but I am sure I have not said a word about May & James Little. It was a mercy
they died as they did and she did not linger alone. Is Blanche Barrett dead? It gives may rather the shakes when I think May
was only 1 1/2 years older than I - & I may have a stroke or some antique diseases any day - but I'll keep going.
The grass is not growing under my feet just now - excuse the slang expression. Of course we're feeling hopeful today over
the retreat from Paris - but one hardly dares put too much faith in it. The news came Sunday afternoon when we came out from
Cathedral in the morning it was posted on the Town Hall. The Yeomanry stationed in Christchurch were at the service and Scott
Holland preached a wonderful sermon. Poor dear Reggie - can't go to church - he really says he can't endure the prayers
& hymns - To me it is a relief to get ready to burst and not be able to. The attitude W. O. is in seems more unreal than
anything else - He allows everyone to abuse the Germans & even says suspicious things himself of the Kaiser - He is sending
letters & books to Pres. Wilson & all the prominent men - about Germany's lying attitude. It is really extraordinary
to hear him - you may hear that we have 7 Louvain people in the house. The enclosed will show you what we are doing -I have
written several people to help - Pauline among others and I sent her a card on Friday p.m. just as we heard a family was coming
- the Pooles have a Prof. With his wife and two babies who just escaped & one manuscript from the library - the only thing
saved from the University. He gave us the address of the Prof. of Bacteriology in Folkestone & we asked him to come with
his wife & family - to horror I found at 9 PM Friday that there were 5 children & they were due at 11.15 Saturday
- Parsons, Lizzie & William away! - We hustled about & had already - went to meet them & only Prof. D- came. -
When he found he was not to pay board he would not bring his family - it seems they were at the seaside near Ostend &
got away easily bringing money & clothes & 2 maids. So they have a decent place of Folkestone. I am getting him a
house and they will come for the winter. The 2 Professors lunched here and the stories were awful. Anything more wonderful
than the kindness of people here I could never imagine. Letters are pouring in with offers of Hospitality - but money for
clothes etc. is very important. The lodging houses here will all be empty this winter & we shall have to help these people
- I want to get a good some in order to pay board for Belgians. Personally I would rather do that than have them in this rackety
house and not speaking French easily makes it rather ghastly. Saturday I was expecting Orville Bullits and Collis - so headfirst
to send them were not to come and then to come - but they changed their plans & couldn't come. Collis has a commission
& is going to camp - Orville came yesterday. He has been waiting in London for his mother. I have just had a wire saying
Florence is better but will not leave Dinard - so Loulie will probably come here Saturday. Orville sails tomorrow & Willie
is in Paris - He went from Dinard to see about the apartment & get his grandmother's legal papers out of the safe.
He's staying on thinking he might see the siege - but at present it looks as though that would not be - let us pray so.
Loulie may go to Harrogate for the cure - but I hope she will rest here for time, her experience has been too ghastly. I wonder
if I told you - her mother's funeral was at 4 PM & she & Billy arrived at 11 - poor Alice has never yet been able
to get a letter - only telegrams. I have written her everything & Mr. Max Muller and send it in the British Ambassadors
bag to Rome. Mr. MM has a job in the Gen P. O. in London censoring letters. Every foreign letter is opened and read. The details
of work - amount to something simply enormous in every direction - Revere is away still. I feel very worried about it all.
Willie was opposed to his joining anything at once - so it is decided for him to come to Ch.Ch. They are to wear uniform -
do lectures - no games - form the new company of Officers Training Corps (O. T. C. ) and work hard at that. The chances after
that training are much better - Arthur Howard is doing the same. Donald is at the front and so far all right - Harry doing
home defense. I try not to think we have prevented Revere going into active work it once - but he is so young and so inexperienced
it seemed unnecessarily cruel for Willie and this O. T. C. - Training will be much better for the future. I have such busy
days - Up early wither cutting sandwiches for recruits luncheons in College or flowers for the Hospital - Doris Thomson has
charge of the Flowers at our Base Hospital and gets mine. Then the work room from 9.30 to 1 & from 2 to 4.30 or 5 - The
evenings are for writing & reading the Times & bed very early - too sleepy to stay awake - which is a mercy for one
might think & become a coward - incidentally there are adoring WO Americans to be seen. Last week the Bavarian Boris -
Miss Erwin - Grandma Toland (Priscilla) Bushes - & many others - including loving doctors up for luncheon. W. O. and Mr.
Armour are organizing the Canadian Hospital in London with a Convalescent Hospital is beginning to fill up now with wounded
- 80 Germans in one ward. Prisoners of course they will be - I have not been there since badly wounded men have come. I'm
afraid to go for I lake that so much better than selling & inspecting garments that I don't like to begin.
Tell Barbara that the big lecture room is full of wounded Germans. In our work room we are making clothes for Belgians - nightshirts
for a Hospital and in a rush 500 sacks to hold straw for recruits to sleep on in College Halls - when you read these things
you will feel as though Oxford would look changed - but it doesn't - only people look so worried and anxious -
It is announced today that London & Oxford are the marketplaces for German airships - but who knows! The Bushes promised
to call you up and tell you is seeing us the last thing. They should be home Friday. Pretty little Mrs. Shawn Kelly is at
the Wiley's with her baby - he in Paris.
Now I am going to bother you - Will you arrange to have the enclosed put in the papers - whichever you think best - &
receive subscriptions which can be put to my account Arrange that with Ned - I shall be a thousand times obliged. Then please
send this letter to Marjorie and asked her to return it to Sallie at N. care of Mrs. Poor.