Vera Holme to Celia Wray and Alick Embleton

Scope and Content

Manuscript letter, 3 pages. Describes her work as a driver, including the visit of Dr Inglis on a tour of inspection. Says she has cut her hair short and bought a Serbian man's kit. Describes driving Elsie Inglis, Evelina Haverfield and two of the doctors to visit another Scottish Women's Hospital Unit hospital, and having to change the wheel on the way. Transcript:

Lazaravatz [Lazarevac], 12 September 1915

My dearest girls

I was so glad to have your last letter in which you tell me all your ?? doing at the ?Hagills, and I was most diverted about the concert - yes I wish I had been there. We are still in tents and hope to be able to stay there for a long time, but we are going to have a stove built into ours. I think I said in my last that we had been very busy since we had been here. We have four hospitals here and the patients arrive sometimes 50 at a time and the train by which they come generally lands here at about 10.30pm. This week I have made some long drives in the motor. Dr Elsie Inglis came up here last Tuesday with Colonel Mihailovitch on a tour of inspection. I had to take the Colonel back to Kragiejevatz [Kragujevac] a matter of about 60 miles (this might be ?? as about 150 on an English road) and for half the distance the road is past description. When I arrived at Kragiejevatz [Kragujevac] he asked me to go to his house and be introduced to his wife and sisters in law - they were perfectly charming and all spoke French so I had a great time there. Then I went on to our hospital staff quarters and stayed the night there. In the morning I sallied out at 9 o'clock to do shopping. The interpreter had had to go to get petrol so I had to go alone and managed very well to do a great many things. I bought 2 hats, 3 walking sticks, a pair of scales, a coat, 6 ?? canteens, and a leather belt all by myself. This was done in Serbian with wild gesticulations and small sketches - but with success! I had a letter from my brother on my birthday. He is in the trenches in France. I had a picnic and we were having tea when the letters arrived. I also thank you very much for your good wishes which also arrived at the same time. I have my hair cut short and it is awfully wavy and curly and I look like an impresario - Eve says - and she loves it. I have got a full Serbian man's kit, it is most awfully picturesque. Last night I dressed up in it, and went to see some Serbian people who were absolutely delighted and helped me to fix it in the authodox [sic] way. I forgot to say that after I had done the shopping at Kragiejevatz [Kragujevac] I started back home about 2 o'clock and hoped to do it by day light. (When I was at Krag I met a Dr who had just arrived from New Zealand and I found it was someone I had met at Dr Christine Murrell's and Honor Bone's so I said you had better come with me for the ??, as Dr Inglis is staying with us. So she came, also ?Campfield, who had taken the car which Dr Inglis had arrived here in - on which the spring had got broken, so he had to drive it back empty. Coming back it rained rather hard so we took the opportunity of stopping and having a cup of tea in the ambulance - after which we stopped again at a place called ?Strangelevatz, where there was sparkling water which was good to drink and a large hospital. We went and drank the water and brought a bottle home. Then we got on to the worst part of the road about 5 o'clock, and sailed along. They were mending the road and we had to wait while two bridges were fixed for us to go across, so we got back when it was quite dark at 8 o'clock, having had a puncture.

The next day I drove Dr Inglis, Eve, Dr McDougal, Dr Scott and myself. We could not get off till 11o'clock with one thing and another and at 12.30 we pulled up and had lunch over which we took 11/2 as it was so good! And I made coffee. The road was very good for half of the way and extraordinarily bad for the other half. The first half was the worst going out and oh! it was so skiddy. When we got about 7 miles from Valiavo [Valjevo] we got a puncture and I had to take the wheel off and put another one on so that delayed us a little bit, and we did not arrive until 10 to four. They have a very nice camp hospital there and the view is beautiful but no better than at Lazaravatz [Lazarevac] where we are. We had tea and went round with Dr Alice Hutchingson, Dr Nellie Porter, Dr Lewis, Davidson and others - it was very interesting. They had got a beautiful laboratory - Alick you would have loved it. If you still want to sell your microscope you might say the lowest you would take for it and exactly what make and parts it consists of because the committee might buy it for one of our four hospitals we have out here. We have them at Kragiejevatz [Kragujevac], Lazaravatz [Lazarevac], Valiavo [Valjevo] and Mladenovatz [Mladenovac].

I have got no end of carpentry to do as I have to fix up shelves all round a room for stores and in the laundry for the clothes to be sorted. I hope Rags will not be recalcitrant this time. I have at the present 3 mongrels all jumping round me - they are very dear. Eve sends her best love

Yours ever, the same - Vera

Love to my nephews from their uncle - it was sweet of them to go to Doncaster.

(Drawing of man in Serbian costume)

I hope you like this letter better than a PC. I think it is worth ?6. Dr Scott tells me she knows Dennis Embleton - is he your cousin?

Please Celia, Eve says will you send a paper called the 'near East' - it is a weekly paper and I believe costs 3d per week. I should also be most awfully glad if you could send me some music for the violin (easy, valses etc) and piano. I have got a beautiful violin which would not make you have to go out of the room, as if you play a wrong note it has got such a nice tone you do not mind so much. I want a waltz that goes something like this: (two lines in manuscript of music).

End of transcript.