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44

DONATIONS FROM ENGLAND.

we were enabled to obtain it through the kindness of friends in England, who sent us money for this and such-like purposes. It will gratify them to know that many and many a poor fellow had a comfortable meal through their consideration.

We are glad to take this opportunity of thanking them for the warm, affectionate sympathy and ready help they so often afforded us, not only in sending us money and other presents but for the personal trouble they took in the matter. We had but to write to England and say we wanted such and such a thing and it was sent by the first opportunity, and not only this but we often received letters begging us to write and

say what things would be useful. Little school children sent us money-small sums they had saved, and wished to be sent to the 6 ladies who nursed the sick soldiers.':

Could these friends have seen the glistening eyes with which the poor men listened

GRATITUDE OF THE SOLDIERS.

45

to the account of their kindness, and have heard their hearty “God bless them—God bless them !” they would have been more than rewarded. It would have pleased them to have gone round our wards with us at tea-time, accompanied by our butter-bowl, and have seen the grateful look of each patient as he received his small portion, and have heard his exclamation, “ Why, here's actually a bit of butter—that is nice and homelike !” Many would keep half their portions till next morning's breakfast. It certainly was very unlike English butter, and we sometimes wondered how they could eat it with such evident enjoyment; but long months of hardship and almost starvation had taught them to be easily satisfied with what many in England would have grumbled at. Our means of procuring them this comfort of course soon came to an end. It was not fair to give butter in one ward and not in another, and one £3 after another was

46

COST OF BUTTER IN TURKEY.

quickly spent in providing a whole hospital with butter, even once or twice a week, as it cost from 3s. to 4s. a pound. 4s. we always paid for it when we bought it at the canteens, but we could procure it at 3s. if we bought casks of £2 or £3 value at Constantinople.

When Mr. Robertson came he ordered butter to be had in the stores, and we drew it upon requisition, and gave it when we thought the men really needed it. Next we happened to be complaining to one of the officer's wives of the sour bread furnished to the hospital, which also came to our own table. She said it was very strange, their bread was beautiful, as good or better than English. We found this arose from the officers' rations being drawn from the commissariat department, while ours came, like the patients’, from the purveying, and that these two departments had separate contractors for bread. Upon this being represented to the purveyor-in-chief he changed

BREAD CONTRACTS.

47

the bread contract at Midsummer, and from that time the hospital was supplied with excellent bread, the contractor being Mr. Hamelin, the Armenian Minister at Bebek. From his bakery long previous to this we procured biscuits which were very good. They were twelve piastres the ock (an ock is about two and a half pounds), so that they are much cheaper as well as better than any we could have procured in the French shops at Pera.

We spent a good deal of our free-gift money in purchasing them, for we often found men who were very weak could eat biscuits when they could not swallow or digest bread. Eventually biscuits, like every other imaginable comfort, could be freely drawn from Government stores.

The bad washing, and consequent deficiency in the linen department, had been severely felt from the first, but there was no remedy. At Scutari the washing,

48 FORMATION OF A WASHING ESTABLISHMENT.

we heard, was now well regulated, being done on the spot by means of washing machines, but this could not be done at Koulali, as there was no building which could be made into a washhouse ; all that could be done was to place the linen stores under the charge of the Sisters and ladies. It was a point on which Mr. Robertson was very anxious. He had rooms fitted up for this purpose at both hospitals; at the upper one it was under the charge of Sister JM who began hers first, and it was conducted in beautiful order.

The linen stores of the Lower Hospital was under Miss and nurses assisted in both stores.

The care of the linen stores was a very laborious work. The lady superintendent, in addition to her numerous duties, spent much of her time in those at the Barrack Hospital; she kept the accounts, and brought it by degrees into perfect shape and order.

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