OUR WORK IN WARSAW
In two or three days’ time after our visit to the Empress we were off to Warsaw and reported ourselves to Monsieur Goochkoff, the head of the Red Cross Society there.
We received our marching orders at once. We were not to be together at first, as they thought we should learn Russian more quickly if we were separated, so two of us were to go to one hospital in Warsaw, two to another. My fate was a large Red Cross hospital close to the station, worked by a Community of Russian Sisters. I must say I had some anxious moments as I drove with Sister G. to the hospital that afternoon. I wondered if Monsieur Goochkoff had said we were coming, and thought if two Russian Sisters suddenly turned up without notice at an English hospital how very much surprised they would be. Then I hoped they were very busy, as perhaps then they would welcome our help. But again, I meditated, if they were really busy, we with our stumbling Russian phrases might be only in the way. It was all very well in Denmark to think one would come and help Russia—but supposing they did not want us after all?
By the time I got so far we had arrived at the hospital, the old familiar hospital smell of disinfectants met my nostrils, and I felt at home at once. I found that I had been tormenting myself in vain, for they were expecting us and apparently were not at all displeased at our arrival. The Sister Superior had worked with English people in the Russo-Japanese War and spoke English almost perfectly, and several of the other Sisters spoke French or German. She was very worried as to where we should sleep, as they were dreadfully overcrowded themselves; even she had shared her small room with another Sister. However, she finally found us a corner in a room which already held six Sisters. Eight of us in a small room with only one window! The Sisters sleeping there took our advent like angels, said there was plenty of room, and moved their beds closer together so that we might have more space. Again I wondered whether if it were England we should be quite so amiable under like circumstances. I hope so.