Letter from Grace Osler to her sister, Susan Chapin [Transcript]
Lady Osler writes of her work with the Belgian refugees and reports on the war. She describes the Canadian Hospital at Folkestone,
where Osler is the Medical Boss. Revere was not pleased to see his father in uniform. She writes of Archie Malloch, Mrs. Fred
Guest and her brother, Jay Phipps, Margaret Pearce, and Marlborough.
[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 (1,816,522 Bytes)
1914-11-12 (November 12, 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)
Thursday p.m. (Nov. 12th, 1914)
Tuesday no yesterday morning I started a letter to you from Browns - but had to hurry off to Folkestone. I am alone now and
hope to be able to write. I found your Lusitania letter on my return & you say the cheque enclosed but it didn't come.
I suppose it was the $45-cheque - so let me know and I will send another. I am ashamed that no matter - I am a muddled pated
old idiot. Brown Shipley writes the money has come and I think it's simply wonderful & am gurgling over it. It is
a mercy we have it for we can only help Science man with the Rockefeller money. We have made splendid n. gowns out of the
Canton flannel - some of it. It is unknown here and affords immense interest. The stockings are a joy I assure you. Send along
what you get. Everything comes in useful and I believe we'll have these people with us forever. They are a queer lot,
so helpless - no one sews - I mean the ladies - or offers to do anything. Saturday at dear old lady wept on my shoulder &
said she needed clothes. So I wrote Marion & Mrs. V. B. Said some nice things & Marion too. These rooms have the nice
"Cousin Etta" scent we have known always - then Marion asked me to send things to the ships going over to bring the
wounded back. She takes parcels to the Docks and gives them to the Nurses going over - They try to help the wounded coming
back & get them warm and more comfortable for the journeys. I got splendid things from our work room - Shirts - long bed
socks to go over bandages & socks - she was so grateful & I got Lady Strathcona to send them too. I had tea with her
Tuesday. I think I wrote that they heard Donald was wounded and after 3 days heard he was back at the trench as it was a scratch
only. I can tell you the blankets will be useful - I have bought & bought- All the furnished houses we have taken haven't
enough - & I have loaned all I can from here - as we may have night nurses to sleep here anytime. Oxford has been ordered
to have 1000 Hospital beds ready - there is so much delay in getting wounded over - that people get perfectly frantic. Willie
was at the War Office Friday about a Canadian Base Hospital for France & they say it is not safe yet - for if the Germans
break the coastline - everything would be swept away as they have no regard for red + or white +. The devils!!
Oh - dear - where am I? I must tell you about the Canadian hospital at Folkestone. The house is given by a Lady Markham who
gives all the farm produce. It is a charming old house - about 4 miles from the Sea. The Canadian War Com. supports it. Nurses
& Doctors are Canadians - head Nurse - assistant & 2 others are Hopkins nurses & of course nearly burst with joy
over W. O. being the Medical Boss - Lady Markham lives in the Cottage & makes everyone comfortable. At present all patients
are Belgians and very nice. Some wounds were awful - but all doing well. When man showed me a piece of shrapnel taken out
of his shoulder as large as half my little finger. We came back to London and got home at eight o'clock -found Revere
& Bobbie here for dinner & Campbell Gwyn arrived from Camp. He looks burly & well & seems happy. Revere was
quite unhappy in seeing his beloved Dad in Uniform for the first time. Today I have been cleaning Campbell. War is a filthy
business, and I hardly know why anyone survives. Fancy Campbell has been in that uniform since early in August - ship &
all - & nothing to change into - rain or shine.
I wish I could go somewhere & curse & swear & pound something hard. Oh - it requires more equanimity than I have
to behave myself during War -At our Visiting Committee of the Hospital I was forced to harangue the women the other day to
put themselves under Military Control. The Administrator of the Hospital is an old Indian officer and a martinet - & one
must not oppose him - We have about 4 women on the committee who want to run the hospital & they are growing furious with
me because I will not advise them to use their passes except the visiting week. I probably like wounds & Hospitals more
than any untrained person there but am trained in death of the administrator & keep away - I find it takes too much out
of one to talk to the men & hear their stories except occasionally & I am determined to hold out and be ready for
darker days than we have had - Every night Willie says "The worst is yet to come" and he must not find me enfeebled.
Archie Malloch has come to go abroad, as surgeon with Mrs. Fred Guest and an Ambulance Hospital she and her brother Jay Phipps
will establish. Archie is the son of our friend Dr. Malloch of Hamilton & such a splendid fellow. WO is helping Mrs. Guest
get her equipment, also arranging For the McGill Hospital & Staff - everyone speaking French. Campbell has volunteered
for that and if he comes a fancy Ottilie & the children who come here to be near him but I do not believe they will come
yet - certainly not while the coast conditions are uncertain. Now I wonder if I have told you all I know - thank you M. &
Sue for their letters & Ned too. I can't write again until next Saturday. The weather keeps mild & plenty of roses
still. Margaret Pearce has heard constantly until three days ago. All are Oxford Yeomanry are in Trenches now. Marlborough
is not fighting but stays over there at headquarters & comes home 2 days a week. I had a letter from him asking me to
come over to see his Convalescent Home at Blenheim so I must go Saturday perhaps -
Goodnight dear Grandma. Squeeze Grandpa Tilden for me - & love to his mother -
Harriet Hemenway wants 10 Belgian children & Mrs. Boyce at New Bedford 1 - anything else?