News of Old Mistresses and Girls – Spring Term 1918

Miss Jones is busy as ever with her school, and we often hear what a splendid school she has made of it. The following extract from a South African paper is very interesting: “On Saturday evening a lecture on Sculpture -was given in the Muir Hall at the Training College by Miss Jones, the Principal of the Diocesan School for Girls, Grahams­town, to an appreciative audience. After being briefly introduced to the audience by Miss Collard, the Principal of the Training College, Miss Jones, commenced with a few words on the subject of Sculpture in general. The lecturer drew the attention of the audience to the ex­ampIes of the art which exist in South Africa, mentioning in particular the beautiful Rhodes Memorial at Groote Schuur, Capetown. South Africa, she said, seemed a country peculiarly suited for sculpture, possessing as it does such a wealth of fine material in the shape of marble and granite., and a wonderful setting for such works of art in its clear bright air and intensely blue skies. Miss Jones then gave an outline of the history of sculpture from its earliest known beginnings, illustrating her subject with some very fine lantern slides. The first picture thrown on the screen was that of a figure of a man sculptured by an Egyptian 1000 years before the time of Abraham. Other ancient Egyptian examples were shown, and these were followed by Assyrian and Greek models. the whole series illustrating the development of the art from its earliest crude stages till it reached a state of perfection in the hands of the art-loving C, reeks. Among the pictures screened were some beautiful examples of high and low relief, also rounded or free sculpture. The lecturer handled her subject in a way which showed her love for and knowledge of it, and helped her audience to appreciate its beauties.”

Eleanor Lea gives us the following very interesting account of the arrival of American troops “For the last two or three months American troops have been pouring through Liverpool, two or three days a week. When a convoy comes in the Stars and Stripes are flown on the Town Hall as a signal for everybody to fly their flags. The streets through which the troops march are hung with flags, and the people who sell in the shops rush to the doors and windows and wave flags or handkerchiefs, and cheer. Crowds collect on either side of the street, but most people stand and stare, and do not attempt a cheer; only a few cheer now and again. It seems as though those standing in the streets are too shy to cheer, whereas those standing at windows and doorways, where they are not conspicuous, cheer like mad. At first when the Americans started arriving there was not a cheer, not a flag and not a note of welcome anywhere. Crowds collected and stared as though some new form of animal was walking along, and the men were obviously disappointed at their reception. I consider that we raised about the first cheer from their throats, as on the second day of troops arriving, I thought I must buy an American flag, so, just before lunch, I went to a flag-shop and bought a flag for 2s. That was not a fabulous price for the cheer it raised, for during lunch we heard, tramp, tramp, tramp, and I took our flag on the end of a broom-stick on to the balcony, and such a cheer went up from about a thousand throats that I thought we should be deafened. The men were pleased, many saluted, others raised their hats, and all were smiling. Who would have thought that a small piece of material could have done so much!”

She also sends us the following: “Last Sunday a friend of mine and I were taken over a destroyer by her Sub-Lieutenant. I have never been so thrilled before, for although she was so small, the strength of her was extraordinary. The guns were swung round ready for action for our benefit; we saw the torpedo tubes with the torpedoes ready for their work: we went down small round holes in the deck into the wardroom cabins, sailors’ quarters, pantry (everything there was hung on the ceiling!) and then into the engine-room. After that we went into the wireless house, and saw exactly how messages were taken down and translated and how they were sent out. Then into the chart-house, and so on, to the Captain’s bridge. What struck me most was that with 85 men on board there were only three officers, the Captain, the First Lieutenant, in charge of all the deck hands, and responsible for everything on deck when the destroyer comes into action (I am sure he was not more than 20 or 21); and the Sub-Lieutenant, who is about 19, and who keeps all the charts and whose fault it would be if the destroyer ran around. Besides these three there is an R.N.R. Snottie, who is learning the trade, and the engineer officer.”
J. Rogers is still cooking at the Orthopedic Hospital in Porchester ­terrace. She has been Assistant Quartermaster.
P. Robb is working at the Cape at the Governor-General’s fund for helping the dependants of those fighting. She and G. Syfret both want to come to England and cannot get passports. They joined a South African Unit for the W.A.A.C. to come to England to help, but the Imperial Government thanked them for their offer, but said the supply of women in England was still adequate.
S. Pike (nee Strange) is head driver at Headquarters No. 2 Area of the R.A.F., Salisbury. I. Saint and B. Ashford are both drivers in the same Area.
R. Strange has joined the French Red Cross, and is working, and very hard work it is, too – at Hospital No. 6 Camp, Beziers-Herault, France (postage is only 1d. to her).
M. Strange (nee Beath) has “The Bungalow,” Sutton Scotney, Andover, while her husband is in France.
C. Allen is working at the London Life Insurance Office, in London.
M. Southwood is doing Food Cards and Books, and helping with the hay. Lilian had to give up nursing, but is now strong enough to work in a bank in Yeovil. She and K. Bulteel spent a week-end at Nelson House this term.
A. Koop is student mistress at Sneaton Hall, Whitby, and teaches the V. and IV. Forms hygiene.
E. Smart was for over six months on a hospital ship going from Alexandria to Mudros and to the Dardanelles, where the ship was under fire. Edith was sister-in-charge of the officers’ ward. Then she was sister in a Military Hospital in Montazah, about four miles from Alex­andria. The hospital is in the ex-Khedive’s palace, and the grounds are most extensive and beautiful. There she got blood-poisoning, and was in hospital for some time, and then invalided home. She is now doing private nursing, but will soon take up military nursing again.
M. Newton has joined the Almeric Paget Massage Corps. Dora: has gone to the Central Nursery at Acton. It is a creche, where working women may leave their babies night or day.
M. Stinton has been “mentioned” in respect of “the valuable services rendered in connection with the war.” She is working at the R.A.F. Headquarters.
K. Sargeaunt, is working at an officers’ hospital in Sussex, as a cook.
L. Shannon is training to be a secretary in London.
M. Sim, is going to work at Longford Castle.
N. Northcroft is going on with her music, and she also helps at home.
O. Prater is still working as a cook at a Red Cross hospital.
P. Godwin drives convoys of wounded from Southampton to Winchester.
J. Hinxnam is busy working at a Red Cross hospital at Worthing. B. Bridge has gone to a be a house-mistress at Dorset, under Miss Kitcat.
J. Dennison is home temporary orderly work at Reigate V.A.D. Hospital.

We were delighted to see Alice Workman’s name amongst the Birthday’ Honours, and most heartily congratulate her.
M. Sanctuary writes from Delhi: “It is very splendid of you all to find room in your hearts for Missionary work amid all the strain and stress of these times. It does seem possible that this awful war may give a great impetus to Missionary work in a not too far distant future, and I think Indian missions will have a special interest because of the closer contact between English and Indian which the war has brought about and which will be increased by the more rapid communication which is almost certain to be established within the next few years. India is going through a tremendously difficult and important time just now and her position in the Empire is going to be one of the big problems. It will be for wise and great men to tackle these problems, but I believe that a spirit of sympathy and confidence between English and Indians personally will help even more to overcome difficulties than efficient organisation, and even a small school like ours has its part to play in creating an atmosphere of love and trust.

“I will never leave this school; it is in my heart,’ said one of our nicest girls to me the other day. I am sure that is a feeling which will appeal to Godolphin girls, and I think it shows we are a school of the right sort! School means so much to these girls. For most of them it is the only means of contact with the world outside their home; it repre­sents all their opportunities of social intercourse and friendship. Our Mohamedan girls dread the approach of the long holidays, for six weeks of monotony in a small, not very comfortable zenana, with absolutely nothing to occupy the time except a few domestic duties and revision of-school lessons, is not a very cheerful prospect to anyone who has experience of a livelier life.

” Our girls are not all Mohamedans – many of them are Hindus ­some more or less orthodox, and others, like Aryas or Sikhs, advanced in their ideas and very keen on education. Hindu women are not as a rule strictly purdah in this part of India and among the Aryas and Sikhs women have a great deal of freedom. We generally have one or two Parsecs, who have come from Bombay and settled in Delhi here, and they are very up-to-date people; one very intelligent young person, aged about eleven, introduced me in a very correct way to her mother the other day, and added ‘Please excuse her, she doesn’t know English.’ Such is young India! I must say, though, that I believe the girls are absolutely loyal and dutiful to the uneducated mothers. We have a few Christian girls here, but not many, for it is better that they should be sent when possible to schools for Christians, where they can have a much

more thorough religious training than we can give them together with non-Christian companions. Schools must have a great influence in breaking down divisions of religion, as caste, as girls and boys cannot grow up hating and despising those with whom they have worked and played and found by experience to be jolly companions.

” A headmistress in India has to arrange to get her girls to school as well as to take care of them when they are there! Most of our girls come in the big school carriages, and as these have to make more than one round, some of the girls are at school very early and others cannot get away until rather late, but that does not seem to trouble them. Our school is aa picturesque building of grey stone with a cloister-like verandah; it is built in the form of a quadrangle round a courtyard, which is strictly purdah and has a nice bit of garden outside.

“By six o’clock in the summer and by ten in the cold weather, we are beginning to be lively, and girls are arriving, and whatever the de­pressing influence of the zenana may he, girls who come to school very quickly learn to laugh and play very heartily. I think one of the things which would strike a visitor on looking in on us is the wonderful variety of dress among us – no uniformity of neat pigtails, shirt blouses, blue serge skirts and blue, pinafores here! Mohamedan girls wear trouser usually tight, and loose tunics, and sometimes waistcoats; Hindus wear loose trousers and tunics or saris and blouses, generally close-fitting. Most of the quite little girls arid nearly all the Christian wear simple English frocks. Rules about wearing no jewellery would be unthinkable in an Indian girls’ school, and there are always plenty of ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets and ankle rings to be seen. On prize­ giving’s and special occasions, when everyone comes in her best, the school is really very gay!

“School lasts from 7.00 – 11.30 in the hot weather, and from 10.30 – 3.00 in the cold weather: We assemble for prayers in the verandah as soon as most of the, girls have arrived. Our prayers consist of a hymn in English, and a collect and the Lord’s Prayer in Urdu. As the girls are mostly non-Christians, we have such prayers as they can join in sin­cerely. Christian hymns and prayers, of course, but a selection. After prayers comes the Scripture lesson; our aim with the younger girls is to teach them the great moral lessons of the Old Testament, and to give them such a knowledge of the life and character of Christ as will lead them to love Him now and to choose Him for themselves when they grow older, while we want the girls who will leave school to understand what Christianity means to us and may mean to them, and to realise that they are responsible for the attitude they take up to the, teaching they have received.

“Lessons are more or less alike in India and England, but girls learn Persian and English instead of Latin and French. Their own language here in most cases is Urdu, and of course they learn that very carefully. A few of the girls are Hindu or Bengali speaking, and of course that complicates matters! The little children sit on the floor on mats for their lessons and take off their shoes; they do their Urdu copies on little wooden boards. All the upper classes of the school do all their work – except actual language lessons – in English, and are not allowed to speak anything except English in school hours. Our highest class is at present in the thick of the Matriculation Examination; it is the first time the school has sent girls in for this, so we should like them to get through, but are not very hopeful about them; some of them have not been with us long, and some are rather backward in their English.

“There are short times for drill and singing every morning-I think most of you would be much amused at the drill! Indian dress does not altogether lend itself to physical exercises, and ` position ‘ after any Movement is generally a signal, for a rearrangement of dupattas (the light wrap thrown round the shoulders by those who do not wear saris) and a general ‘shakedown.’ Loose slippers are rather a trial in running or jumping; and one girl, who had just got married and was, conse­quently, loaded with Jewellery, found ‘whip jump’ quite an impossi­bility on account of the many bracelets round her feet! Drill is a new thing for Indian girls, and they are only beginning to take it seriously and to realise that it is not exactly an occasion for laughter and remark. They are also exceedingly self-conscious about it some of them.

“Ours is mainly a day-school, but we have a few boarders. These are all Hindus of advanced types at present, and they have their own Hindu dining-room and Hindu servant. As they are not purdah, we can take them out for walks, &c., and the elder ones get the chance of an occasional outside lecture.

“If any Godolphin girl would care to exchange letters with an Indian schoolgirl, I am sure I could find someone who would like to write, though I can’t guarantee a very grand English letter!

A little printed paper about this school has been published and is supplied from the S.P.G. House, Westminster. You would probably find that interesting.”

Gladys Filliter writes: I have done nearly two years’ nursing now, though not successively, at Barts, then in Lancashire and then Reading. Some of the operations performed now are simply wonderful –crafting a finger taken from the left hand on to the right hand in place of a thumb, removing half the tongue of a man with cancer, taking portions of bone from both legs to replace a cavity in the skull, and replacing the gap in a severed sciatic nerve with pieces of nerve taken from the arms, and many more just as wonderful.”
P. Newham gives us an account of a “moss picking party” which she goes to once a week. Large quantities of sphagnum moss grow in the neighbourhood, and they have to prepare it and pack it for the London Depot.
D. Moore hopes to take her Drawing and Painting Diploma next session, and is very anxious to pass her examination in Architectural Drawing.
Madge Glynn has been going through a Secretarial course.
D. Kent is very busy with her work in the School at Durban, and also helps with the Red Cross.
Louie Delacombe writes: “Mother and I both took up munition work the beginning of last March at the same place, Park Royal, where Avice Foljambe was. It’s awfully jolly there, as a cousin of ours is one of the general overlookers and all the other overlookers are friends, so we have something in common. The work is to examine all the cart ridges that go out to the Front, and lately we have been doing nearly all Russian stuff, which are quite different sort of cartridges to ours, being made to fit the Japanese rifles supplied to the Russians. So, at the present moment we are in an awful state, as all the machinery has to be changed for the English cartridges, and they are also putting up bomb-­proof roofs in all the bays to protect us from shrapnel. We nearly always happen to be on night shift during the air raid period, and directly there is a warning a hooter goes off three times in the factory, and all the girls leave off work and collect together at one side of the bay away from the glass, and all the lights are turned out, with the exception of a few little lamps that are hung up at long distances from one another, and cast such weird shadows about. As the enemy approaches the office is kept notified of their whereabouts. The girls are most cheery, with very few exceptions, and all sing every song there is to be sung in turn, while the guns are making the most deafening row outside. Somehow you can’t be frightened; there is such a thrill of excitement everywhere, and everything is so unreal you might be dreaming. We are having a few days’ holiday, from yesterday till Thursday night. Five whole days, it seems quite a lifetime. Our hours have been cut down now, all Sunday night work is cancelled, and on day-work we now work from seven till five. It still means getting up at five in the morning, as it’s an hour’s journey from the house. In September I took a fortnight’s leave and joined mother at Lyme Regis. I came across quite a lot of Godolphinites there. Lately I have seen a good deal of Eva Bartrum, who is studying at the School of Medicine; also Enid Carter, who has gone over to Paris with her mother, and Margaret Godley; in fact, I always seem to be running across old friends.”

Snowyia Marsh writes: – “At present I am working four days a week at our Red Cross Depot. I mostly work at the ‘sphagnum moss dressings,’ which are very interesting. We go up and gather the moss on the moor behind Brownsbarn. Most of the sphagnum grows in water, the first quality growing in bin brown sponges (as we call them), the second quality is thin and pale green, and sometimes 1s, found growing among heather. I heard the other day that the turf the Irish peasants burn is entirely composed, up to 5oft, thick of sphagnum moss.”

Dorothy Fisher writes: – “My husband is very busy. For two years he did all the dental work for our three Camps near here, till his health gave way. Now each Camp has its own surgery. I am thankful to say. He still has the hospitals and, of course, his private patients. He thoroughly enjoys reading the Magazine, too. Florence is Matron of a children’s hospital in Sydenham, and is doing splendidly. They were very much in debt when she went there, but now it is all cleared off. The committee wrote her such a nice letter the other day, saying how they appreciated her good work and that they were raising her salary from £70 to £100. So, she is another Godolphin success! Hilda is still in Egypt, and has not been able to come home for four years. She has a little boy aged nearly four and a baby girl six months. She finds the climate very trying, I think.”

Alice Ayler writes from 36 Stationary Hospital, Egyptian Expedi­tionary Force: “I suppose you would like to hear of my life out here as a V. A.D. of St. John Ambulance Brigade. You will know from Mary Carver of my time at 17 Hospital at Alexandria. It was so nice seeing her again, her husband and children, to know them and her de­lightful English home. I was eighteen months at 17 Hospital. There were twelve V.A.D.’s, some St. John and Red Cross. left out of fifty who were at the 17 in the Autumn of 191.5. The others had returned home at different times. We, the twelve left, had all decided to return home in April, 1917, when the Authorities out here declined to send us, no hospital ships and the great stunt in Palestine required all help. We had been very slack, then the rush came, and we did our best for our men. Fortunately, the great question, of flies had been battled with, so it is not flies everywhere. One scarcely sees one now, which is a great comfort. I happened to be the first to decide to remain. and as the Matron knew I was keen to experience life in the desert, and this hos­pital was being formed and my name accepted by the Matron-in-Chief, Miss Oram, with four sisters, one other V.A.D. and myself came here. We e were the second batch to arrive. Since then others have arrived; now we are about 46 on the nursing staff. There are about 1,600 beds. Fortunately, we are by the sea, and get cool breezes and bathing, as our huts are just along the shore. The sand hills are everywhere, but really quite beautiful in the setting sun, with the deep blue and purple shadows, and dotted here and there with small bushes of bright and dull greens. It is extraordinary how green these bushes keep during the great heat of the summer. It is the heavy dews at night, and they have long roots from which they draw their moisture. The dew is so heavy that it drips from the roofs of huts and tents as if it is raining during the extreme heat, which we all found most trying. Now that it is getting cooler, we are able to work more briskly. The patients give a concert twice a week, and there are moving pictures twice a week, besides out­door and indoor games for them. We have two tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course. The great thing is to have exercise when off duty, so as to keep oneself well. We also get riding occasionally, but there are few horses now. We hope to move up the line; it is everyone’s ambition. We are the next hospital to go. Peluisum; which is three miles from us, was a most interesting day’s excursion which some of us took. Old coins, half-rings, &c., we found. Then there is Chabrys, an old ruined Roman fort, where also Roman glass and pottery have been dug up. I unfortunately broke a pottery vase in the digging. I have been most lucky in keeping well. I went sick with a rather bad throat after I arrived here, and was on the sick list for three weeks. Before that and since nothing has ailed me. I have taken some Interesting photos around here. Our washing goes to Port Said, and it takes anything from three weeks to a month. Everyone does some washing. It is amusing to see bundles carried from one’s hut to the bathrooms, which we are most fortunate in having, also hot water at night from the electric light station. The great difficulty is getting shoes mended, and shops at Port Said are not very good. If we can get leave for Cairo we go, but only have a few hours there. The sand storms are starting and Khamseens, which are the most trying out here. Everything sand. You breathe sand, sleep in sand in your camp bed, and your food is kept in a biscuit tin. When you want bread or bread and butter, if You are lucky in having it, you dive your hand in and put the lid on quickly.

Except for these sand storms, which do not occur often we have very little to grumble at, when one considers what our men have to go through.”

MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES – Plummer, Miss E., V.A.D). Nurse, Countess of Pembroke’s Officers’ Hospital, Wilton.