I had to explain that the wicked fairies leaping so realistically from Pandora’s box weren’t real at all, but I’m sure I did not convince the smaller one, who was far too shy and excited to utter a word beyond a startled whisper: “Yes, Miss,” or “No, Miss.” There were wails in the audience when the witch appeared, and several small boys near us doubled under their seats in terror, like little rabbits going to earth, refusing to come out again, poor little pets!
In the interval the two children watched the orchestra with wide-eyed interest. “I guess that guy wot’s wyving ’is arms abaht like that (indicating the conductor) must be getting pretty tired,” said the elder to me. I felt he would have been gratified to know there was someone who sympathised!
Altogether it was a most entertaining afternoon, and when we came out in the dark and rain the eldest again slipped off to get a taxi, dodging cabs and horses with the dexterity of an acrobat.
Christmas came round, and there was tremendous competition between the different wards, which vied with each other over the most original decorations.
At midday I was asked into the W.A.A.C.’s ward, where we had roast beef and plum pudding. The two women doctors who ran the hospital visited every ward and drank a toast after lunch. I don’t know what they toasted in the men’s wards, but in the W.A.A.C.’s it was roughly, “To the women of England, and the W.A.A.C.s who would win the war, etc.” It seemed too bad to leave out the men who were in the trenches, so I drank one privately to them on my own.
As I sat in my little ward that night I thought of the happy times we had had last Christmas in the convoy, only a short year before.
ROEHAMPTON: “BOB” THE GREY, AND THE ARMISTICE
After Christmas it was thought I was well enough to be fitted with an artificial limb, and in due course I applied to the limbless hospital at Roehampton. The reply came back in a few days.
“DEAR SIR, (I groaned),
“You must apply
to so-and-so and we will then be able to
give you a bed in a fortnight’s time, etc.
Signed: “SISTER D.”
My heart sank. I was up against the old question again, and in desperation I wrote back:
“My trouble is that I am a girl, etc.”
and poured forth all my woes on the subject. Sister D., who proved to be an absolute topper, was considerably amused and wrote back most sympathetically. She promised to do all she could for me and told the surgeon the whole story, and it was arranged for him to see me and advise what type of leg I had better wear and then decide where I was to be put up later. He was most kind, but I returned from the interview considerably depressed for, before I could wear an artificial leg, another operation had to be performed. It took place at the military hospital in January and I felt I should have to hurry in order to be “doing everything as usual” by the time the year was up, as Captain C. had promised.