1916 Elizabeth Cole's letter written in
Portaferry to Mac in Dunmurry
& Blanche Cole in New Zealand
Co Down Co Antrim 24.1.16
My dear Mac,
Your letter of 11th reached me about three days later. Almost a fortnight ago Mrs Savage of Barr Hall Portaferry wrote saying that if I wanted to see her mother alive I must come soon. I started the same day and Mrs McMath mother's last surviving cousin died next night. She was almost 85 and bed ridden for years with rheumatism so it was not to be desired that the pain would be prolonged.
Two days after her death a married daughter of Mrs Savage sent over (about four miles) for me Yest? Week, to see if I would nurse her little girl of over three, with whooping cough and threatened pneumonia, no other nurse could be got. Mrs Hastings herself has a baby of two months, and had a nasty cold, her husband and mother-in-law were both in bed with colds, so she was in a fix, happily all the grown ups are nearly well and the small patient is improving. She is ??? in bed for a week more or least. I have to leave today, am going back to Mrs Savage tonight and tomorrow go to Dunmurry.
I think our Clones trip will not come off after all as it is almost decided that I said on 26th Feb, I was waiting to hear from the Seely? (and hoping that it would be later on) before writing. I must try and get across for a final run to Scotland but there is lots to do yet before I will be ready for Africa. I want a few days in London before sailing. Please thank Mary for the little book. I only got the latter read last night as I have been fairly busy since coming here.
I am very glad to learn that you are improving and that Uncle Will and the others have got across safely and that he has benefited by the trip. It would be fine if he could live out near the other two brothers. It would not be fair if I did not go back to my work in Africa and it would be quite impossible to get to NZ on a hosp ship. I would probably be stuck at Plymouth and some one else get off to sea. It is useless making a request to the War Office in 1900 I offered to serve free of salary in S. Af and no notice was taken of my offer. Later on I was called up, being on the reserve. Red tape is a wonderful thing.
I know of one hosp in Lpool which has been fully staffed for over six months and has no patients. There are lots of nurses if properly organised, please explain this to your mother, she must not think that I do not fancy going out to see them. Just now I could not afford it but will see what can be done later on, if spared. Please give my kind regards to the Aunts and with love for you and hoping you continue better and take every care of yourself.
Aunt Lizzie Cole
My Dear Blanche
Yours of last of Oct recd when at Clones staying with Mrs Gass is only being answered now.
Mac Murray was down at the same time staying four days with Mr Gibson for a little change after his operation, he seems fairly well now, 23 with the exception of a slight cold.
The two girls have been in bed with feverish colds and are something better & up this week. Maggie was very seedy the past three days but says she is much better today. Jackie tries to produce a cough to get sympathy, but his cold is not bad, he had a headache yesterday evng & I was in town, he was lamenting that Aunt Lizzie would not "see" his headache.
I am just a week back from Portaferry where I went to see the last of Mother's cousin, Mrs McMath, she died the following night after I got to her daughter's, Mrs Savage's home (Bar Hall). Three days after I got to Barr Hall, a married daughter Lizzie Hastings, said to see if I would go to her, (about three miles off) as her Mother-in-law was in bed, also her husband, her oldest child (not five) Meta had whooping cough & the second (about 3 ? ) was very ill, wh-cough and a touch of pneumonia, I stayed there nine days and had to hurry back as I got word to sail on 26th Feb & I had a lot of preparations to make.
The older folk were all right & the child Marion was a good deal improved. My sailing is now postponed till 18th March by "SS Baltimore Castle".
You would all get a great shock as we did to learn of John's painful illness & death we thought him so strong but he worked so hard never sparing himself. He was most kind and unselfish. I will enclose Dorothy's letter. I have had no further word from her since this letter came. Daisy has not answered my last letter either. Dorothy had written to Martin asking him to come over from New York & help her settle affairs. We were glad to hear that Uncle Will had got safe across, also Aunt Fanny & Kathleen and that Bob had gone to see him, what great chats the three brothers would have. I wish I could have joined in & had share of the talk. I heard from Mac Junr. That Willie was benefitted by the voyage.
We were all sorry to hear of Mrs McLeod's very serious illness, she and her husband stayed a few nights at Dunmurry and was much thought of. David often talked and wrote of her, so I seem to know her too, she used to write to me now & again.
I have not seen as much of Mac Junr. As I would have liked on account of him not being well, he had his appendix removed when I was in Glasgow & came over on holiday. We hoped to have him at Xmas, but he needed a rest & submarines were too much in evidence, so I told him not to cross. One night the cross channel service was partly off. I hear seven enemy submarines were got in the Irish Sea a couple or three weeks ago. Three were got close to P. ferry, at least near. One was got between Bar Hall and I. O. Man (It and coast of Scotland are clearly visible in good weather). Another one, said to be supplied with wire cutting arrangements, got thro two lots of wire and got stuck on a third, and is still stuck in or near Belfast Lough. The Savages pointed out a rock with a beacon on it at the entrance to the Bar of S Lough where an enemy sub was chased by a patrol boat she knocked a bit out of her bottom and turned turtle and was towed away by the patrol boat, afterwards when examined 29 smothered Germans were found.
Yesterday week a very serious loss of life was prevented by a device for blowing up part of the Queens Island, the harbour and a considerable part of Belfast. A battleship was in for slight repairs & in the place where ammunition was stored in her. Two electric wires were attached to a bomb. If the electricity had been turned on, there would have been a frightful loss of life and damage to property, happily it was averted.
I am glad your sister's husband was not among the killed & hope that he will soon see his family again. Oh! If only this killing time were over!
Jack will be enlisting too one of these days I suppose. Isn't his birthday in January? I hope Bob you the girls and the boys big and little are keeping well.
I owe Lottie a letter, which I hope to answer shortly, but you can understand my time is fairly filled up. I wrote five letters yesterday. They had accumulated & I did not get writing for a couple of weeks.
I have my passport to get seen to. No one can go out or come into the country without getting one these days. I must get two photographs for it, & will get more copied and send you on one and when you get a good one of the family send one to me.
Now I will close.
With much love to Bob and you and all the family
P.S. "War" work done in spare time
1 long muffler
2 sand bags
28 pairs of socks
6 pairs long operatn stockings
Sorry I forgot to return this photo sooner. A few seeds of tree plum enclosed. The first fruit is good for jelly and for stewing. It [was?] first year with us.
Think this a trip William Newell Cole did out to New Zealand
She appears to say that Mrs Savage's mother (Mrs McMath) is Jane Coates" cousin
Kearney House, Portaferry
Belfast Newsletter - 27 September,
1910 Marriage SAVAGE-HASTINGS - September 24th at Fountainville Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. Alexander Gallagher, Harry McDowell Savage, second son of William Savage, Bar Hall, Portaferry to Meta Isabel, youngest daughter of the late Hugh C. Hastings, Kearney House, Portaferry
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