Crashing over broken glass to the surgical side, we pantingly asked if everyone was safe. We met Porter coming down the stairs, a stream of blood flowing from a cut on her forehead. I hastily got some dressings for it. Luckily it was only a flesh wound, and not serious. Besides the night nurses at the Hospital, the chauffeurs and housekeeper slept in the far end of the big room at the top of the building. They had not been awakened (so accustomed were they to din and noise), until the crash of the bomb on the Cathedral, and it was by the glass being blown in on to their stretcher beds that Porter had been cut; otherwise no one else was hurt.
I plunged through the debris back to the typhoids, wondering how 23 had got on, or rather got out, and, would you believe it, his delirium had gone and he was sleeping quietly like a child! The only bit of good the Boche ever did I fancy, for the shock seemed to cure him and he got well from that moment.
The others were in an awful mess, and practically every man’s bed was full of broken glass. You can imagine what it meant getting this out when the patients were suffering from typhoid, and had to be moved as little as possible! One boy in Salle V had a flower pot from the window-sill above fixed on his head! Beyond being slightly dazed, and of course covered with mould, he was none the worse; and those who were well enough enjoyed his discomfiture immensely. Going into Salle III where there were shouts of laughter (the convalescents were sent to that room) I saw a funny sight. One little man, who was particularly fussy and grumpy (and very unpopular with the other men in consequence), slept near the stove, which was an old-fashioned coal one with a pipe leading up to the ceiling. The concussion had shaken this to such an extent that accumulations of soot had come down and covered him from head to foot, and he was as black as a nigger! His expression of disgust was beyond description, and he was led through the other two wards on exhibition, where he was greeted with yells of delight. It was just as well, as it relieved the tension. It can’t be pleasant to be ill in bed and covered with bits of broken glass and mortar, not to mention the uncertainty of whether the walls are going to fall in or not. “Ah,” said the little Sergeant to me, “I have never had fear as I had last night.” “One is better in the trenches than in your Hospital, Miske,” chimed in another. “At least one can defend oneself.”
One orderly—a new one whom I strongly suspected of being an embusque—was unearthed in our rounds from under one of the beds, and came in for a lot of sarcasm, to the great joy of the patients who had all behaved splendidly. With the exception of Pierre and the porter on the surgical side, every man jack of them, including the Adjutant, had fled to the cave. A subsequent order came out soon after which amused us very much:—In the event of future air raids the infirmiers (orderlies) were to fly to the cave with the convalescents while the tres malades were to be left to the care of the Mees anglaises!