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Title: My War Experiences in Two Continents
Author: Macnaughtan, S. (Sarah), 1864-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's note:

     The unique headers on the odd numbered pages in the original
     book have been reproduced with [Page Heading: ] tags. They
     have been inserted in front of the paragraph or letter to
     which the heading refers.

     There are several inconsistencies in spelling and punctuation
     in the original. A few corrections have been made for obvious
     typographical errors; these, as well as some doubtful spellings
     of names, have been marked individually in the text. All
     changes made by the transcriber are enumerated in braces, for
     example {1}; details of corrections and comments are listed at
     the end of the text.

     Text in italics in the original is shown between _underlines_.




Edited by Her Niece, Mrs. Lionel Salmon (Betty Keays-Young)

With a Portrait

[Illustration: Camera Portrait by E. O. Hoppé.]

John Murray, Albemarle Street, W.






CAPTAIN LIONEL SALMON, 1st Bn. the Welch Regt.
CAPTAIN HELIER PERCIVAL, M.C., 9th Bn. the Welch Regt.
CAPTAIN ALAN YOUNG, 2nd Bn. the Welch Regt.


   PREFACE                                                ix


      ANTWERP                                              1


      AT FURNES RAILWAY-STATION                           60

      WORKING UNDER DIFFICULTIES                          85

      THE SPRING OFFENSIVE                               111

      LAST DAYS IN FLANDERS                              135


      HOW THE MESSAGE WAS DELIVERED                      159


      PETROGRAD                                          179

      WAITING FOR WORK                                   204


      ON THE PERSIAN FRONT                               237

      THE LAST JOURNEY                                   258

   CONCLUSION                                            272

   INDEX                                                 281


In presenting these extracts from the diaries of my aunt, the late Miss
Macnaughtan, I feel it necessary to explain how they come to be
published, and the circumstances under which I have undertaken to edit

After Miss Macnaughtan's death, her executors found among her papers a
great number of diaries. There were twenty-five closely written volumes,
which extended over a period of as many years, and formed an almost
complete record of every incident of her life during that time.

It is amazing that the journal was kept so regularly, as Miss
Macnaughtan suffered from writer's cramp, and the entries could only
have been written with great difficulty. Frequently a passage is begun
in the writing of her right, and finished in that of her left hand, and
I have seen her obliged to grasp her pencil in her clenched fist before
she was able to indite a line. In only one volume, however, do we find
that she availed herself of the services of her secretary to dictate the
entries and have them typed.

The executors found it extremely difficult to know how to deal with such
a vast mass of material. Miss Macnaughtan was a very reserved woman.{1}
She lived much alone, and the diary was her only confidante. In one of
her books she says that expression is the most insistent of human needs,
and that the inarticulate man or woman who finds no outlet in speech or
in the affections, will often keep a little locked volume in which self
can be safely revealed. Her diary occupied just such a place in her own
inner life, and for that reason one hesitates to submit its pages even
to the most loving and sympathetic scrutiny.

But Miss Macnaughtan's diary fulfilled a double purpose. She used it
largely as material for her books. Ideas for stories, fragments of plays
and novels, are sketched in on spare sheets, and the pages are full of
the original theories and ideas of a woman who never allowed anyone else
to do her thinking for her. A striking sermon or book may be criticised
or discussed, the pros and cons of some measure of social reform weighed
in the balance; and the actual daily chronicle of her busy life, of her
travels, her various experiences and adventures, makes a most
interesting and fascinating tale.

So much of the material was obviously intended to form the basis for an
autobiography that the executors came to the conclusion that it would be
a thousand pities to withhold it from the public, and at some future
date it is very much hoped to produce a complete life of Miss
Macnaughtan as narrated in her diaries. Meanwhile, however, the
publisher considers that Miss Macnaughtan's war experiences are of
immediate interest to her many friends and admirers, and I have been
asked to edit those volumes which refer to her work in Belgium, at
home, in Russia, and on the Persian front.

Except for an occasional word where the meaning was obscure, I have
added nothing to the diaries. I have, of course, omitted such passages
as appeared to be private or of family interest only; but otherwise I
have contented myself with a slight rearrangement of some of the
paragraphs, and I have inserted a few letters and extracts from letters,
which give a more interesting or detailed account of some incident than
is found in the corresponding entry in the diary. With these exceptions
the book is published as Miss Macnaughtan wrote it. I feel sure that her
own story of her experiences would lose much of its charm if I
interfered with it, and for this reason I have preserved the actual
diary form in which it was written.

To many readers of Miss Macnaughtan's books her diaries of the war may
come as a slight surprise. There is a note of depression and sadness,
and perhaps even of criticism, running through them, which is lacking in
all her earlier writings. I would remind people that this book is the
work of a dying woman; during the whole of the period covered by it, the
author was seriously ill, and the horror and misery of the war, and the
burden of a great deal of personal sorrow, have left their mark on her
account of her experiences.

I should like to thank those relations and friends of Miss Macnaughtan
who have allowed me to read and publish the letters incorporated in this
book, and I gratefully acknowledge the help and advice I have received
in my task from my mother, from my husband, and from Miss Hilda Powell,
Mr. Stenning, and Mr. R. Sommerville. I desire also to express my
gratitude to Mr. John Murray for many valuable hints and suggestions
about the book, and for the trouble he has so kindly taken to help me to
prepare it for the press.


_October, 1918._






On September 20th, 1914, I left London for Antwerp. At the station I
found I had forgotten my passport and Mary had to tear back for it.
Great perturbation, but kept this dark from the rest of the staff, for
they are all rather serious and I am head of the orderlies. We got under
way at 4 a.m. next morning. All instantly began to be sick. I think I
was the worst and alarmed everybody within hearing distance. One more
voyage I hope--home--then dry land for me.

We arrived at Antwerp on the 22nd, twenty-four hours late. The British
Consul sent carriages, etc., to meet us. Drove to the large Philharmonic
Hall, which has been given us as a hospital. Immediately after breakfast
we began to unpack beds, etc., and our enormous store of medical things;
all feeling remarkably empty and queer, but put on heroic smiles and
worked like mad. Some of the staff is housed in a convent and the rest
in rooms over the Philharmonic Hall.

_23 September._--Began to get things into order and to allot each person
her task. Our unit consists of Mrs. St. Clair Stobart, its head; Doctors
Rose Turner, F. Stoney, Watts, Morris, Hanson and Ramsey (all women);
orderlies--me, Miss Randell (interpreter), Miss Perry, Dick, Stanley,
Benjamin, Godfrey,{2} Donnisthorpe, Cunliffe, and Mr. Glade. Everyone
very zealous and inclined to do anybody's work except their own. Keen
competition for everyone else's tools, brooms, dusters, etc. Great
roaming about. All mean well.

_25 September._--Forty wounded men were brought into our hospital
yesterday. Fortunately we had everything ready, but it took a bit of
doing. We are all dead tired, and not so keen as we were about doing
other people's work.

The wounded are not very bad, and have been sent on here from another
hospital. They are enchanted with their quarters, which indeed do look
uncommonly nice. One hundred and thirty beds are ranged in rows, and we
have a bright counterpane on each and clean sheets. The floor is
scrubbed, and the bathrooms, store, office, kitchens, and
receiving-rooms have been made out of nothing, and look splendid. I
never saw a hospital spring up like magic in this way before. There is a
wide verandah where the men play cards, and a garden to stump about in.

The gratitude of our patients is boundless, and they have presented Mrs.
Stobart with a beautiful basket of growing flowers. I do not think
Englishmen would have thought of such a thing. They say they never
tasted such cooking as ours outside Paris, and they are rioting in good
food, papers, nice beds, etc. Nearly all of them are able to get out a
little, so it is quite cheery nursing them. There is a lot to do, and we
all fly about in white caps. The keenest competition is for sweeping out
the ward with a long-handled hair brush!


I went into the town to-day. It is very like every other foreign town,
with broad streets and tram-lines and shops and squares, but to-day I
had an interesting drive. I took a car and went out to the second line
of forts. The whole place was a mass of wire entanglements, mined at
every point, and the fields were studded with strong wooden spikes.
There were guns everywhere, and in one place a whole wood and a village
had been laid level with the ground to prevent the enemy taking cover.
We heard the sound of firing last night!

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Keays-Young._

_25 September._


It was delightful getting your letter. Our wounded are all French or
Belgians, but there is a bureau of enquiry in the town where I will go
to try to hear tidings of your poor friends.

We heard the guns firing last night, and fifty wounded were sent in
during the afternoon. In one day 2,500 wounded reached Antwerp. I can
write this sort of thing to-day as I know my letter will be all right.
To show you that the fighting is pretty near, two doctors went for a
short motor drive to-day and they found two wounded men. One was just
dying, the other they brought back in the car, but he died also. In the
town itself everything seems much as usual except for crowds of
refugees. Do not believe people when they say German barbarity is
exaggerated. It is hideously true.

We are fearfully busy, and it seems a queer side of war to cook and race
around and make doctors as comfortable as possible. We have a capital
staff, who are made up of zeal and muscle. I do not know how long it can
last. We breakfast at 7.30, which means that most of the orderlies are
up at 5.45 to prepare and do everything. The fare is very plain and
terribly wholesome, but hardly anyone grumbles. I am trying to get girls
to take two hours off duty in the day, but they won't do it.

Have you any friends who would send us a good big lot of nice jam? It is
for the staff. If you could send some cases of it at once to Miss Stear,
39, St. James's Street, London, and put my name on it, and say it is for
our hospital, she will bring it here herself with some other things.
Some of your country friends might like to help in a definite little way
like this.

Your loving

---- is going to England to-night and will take this.

       *       *       *       *       *

_27 September._--Yesterday, when we were in the town, a German airship
flew overhead and dropped bombs. A lot of guns fired at it, but it was
too high up to hit. The incident caused some excitement in the streets.


Last night we heard that more wounded were coming in from the
fighting-line near Ghent. We got sixty more beds ready, and sat up late,
boiling water, sterilising instruments, preparing operating-tables and
beds, etc., etc. As it got later all the lights in the huge ward were
put out, and we went about with little torches amongst the sleeping men,
putting things in order and moving on tip-toe in the dark. Later we
heard that the wounded might not get in till Monday.

The work of this place goes on unceasingly. We all get on well, but I
have not got the communal spirit, and the fact of being a unit of women
is not the side of it that I find most interesting. The communal food is
my despair. I can _not_ eat it. All the same this is a fine experience,
and I hope we'll come well out of it. There is boundless opportunity,
and we are in luck to have a chance of doing our darndest.

_28 September._--Last night I and two orderlies slept over at the
hospital as more wounded were expected. At 11 p.m. word came that "les
blessés" were at the gate. Men were on duty with stretchers, and we went
out to the tram-way cars in which the wounded are brought from the
station, twelve patients in each. The transit is as little painful as
possible, and the stretchers are placed in iron brackets, and are
simply unhooked when the men arrive. Each stretcher was brought in and
laid on a bed in the ward, and the nurses and doctors undressed the men.
We orderlies took their names, their "matricule" or regimental number,
and the number of their bed. Then we gathered up their clothes and put
corresponding numbers on labels attached to them--first turning out the
pockets, which are filled with all manner of things, from tins of
sardines to loaded revolvers. They are all very pockety, but have to be
turned out before the clothes are sent to be baked.

We arranged everything, and then got Oxo for the men, many of whom had
had nothing to eat for two days. They are a nice-looking lot of men and
boys, with rather handsome faces and clear eyes. Their absolute
exhaustion is the most pathetic thing about them. They fall asleep even
when their wounds are being dressed. When all was made straight and
comfortable for them, the nurses turned the lights low again, and
stepped softly about the ward with their little torches.

A hundred beds all filled with men in pain give one plenty to think
about, and it is during sleep that their attitudes of suffering strike
one most. Some of them bury their heads in their pillows as shot
partridges seek to bury theirs amongst autumn leaves. Others lie very
stiff and straight, and all look very thin and haggard. I was struck by
the contrast between the pillared concert-hall where they lie, with its
platform of white paint and decorations, and the tragedy of suffering
which now fills it.

At 2 a.m. more soldiers were brought in from the battlefield, all caked
with dirt, and we began to work again. These last blinked oddly at the
concert-hall and nurses and doctors, but I think they do not question
anything much. They only want to go to sleep.


I suppose that women would always be tender-hearted towards deserters.
Three of them arrived at the hospital to-day with some absurd story
about having been told to report themselves. We got them supper and a
hot bath and put them to bed. One can't regret it. I never saw men sleep
as they did. All through the noise of the wounded being brought in, all
through the turned-up lights and bustle they never even stirred, but a
sergeant discovered them, and at 3 a.m. they were marched away again. We
got them breakfast and hot tea, and at least they had had a few hours
between clean sheets. These men seem to carry so much, and the roads are

At 5 o'clock I went to bed and slept till 8. Mrs. Stobart never rests. I
think she must be made of some substance that the rest of us have not
discovered. At 5 a.m. I discovered her curled up on a bench in her
office, the doors wide open and the dawn breaking.

_2 October._--Here is a short account of one whole day. Firing went on
all night, sometimes it came so near that the vibration of it was rather
startling. In the early morning we heard that the forts had been heavily
fired on. One of them remained silent for a long time, and then the
garrison lighted cart-loads of straw in order to deceive the Germans,
who fell into the trap, thinking the fort was disabled and on fire, and
rushed in to take it. They were met with a furious cannonade. But one of
the other forts has fallen.

At 7 a.m. the men's bread had not arrived for their 6 o'clock breakfast,
so I went into the town to get it. The difficulty was to convey home
twenty-eight large loaves, so I went to the barracks and begged a
motor-car from the Belgian officer and came back triumphant. The
military cars simply rip through the streets, blowing their horns all
the time. Antwerp was thronged with these cars, and each one contained
soldiers. Sometimes one saw wounded in them lying on sacks stuffed with

I came down to breakfast half-an-hour late (8 o'clock) and we had our
usual fare--porridge, bread and margarine, and tea with tinned
milk--amazingly nasty, but quite wholesome and filling at the price. We
have reduced our housekeeping to ninepence per head per day. After
breakfast I cleaned the two houses, as I do every morning, made nine
beds, swept floors and dusted stairs, etc. When my rooms were done and
jugs filled, our nice little cook gave me a cup of soup in the kitchen,
as she generally does, and I went over to the hospital to help prepare
the men's dinner, my task to-day being to open bottles and pour out beer
for a hundred and twenty men; then, when the meat was served, to procure
from the kitchen and serve out gravy. Our own dinner is at 12.30.

Afterwards I went across to the hospital again and arranged a few
things with Mrs. Stobart. I began to correct the men's diagnosis sheets,
but was called off to help with wounded arriving, and to label and sort
their clothes. Just then the British Minister, Sir Francis Villiers, and
the Surgeon-General, Sir Cecil Herslet, came in to see the hospital, and
we proceeded to show them round, when the sound of firing began quite
close to us and we rushed out into the garden.

[Page Heading: A TAUBE OVERHEAD]

From out the blue, clear autumn sky came a great grey dove flying
serenely overhead. This was a German aeroplane of the class called the
Taube (dove). These aeroplanes are quite beautiful in design, and fly
with amazing rapidity. This one wafted over our hospital with all the
grace of a living creature "calm in the consciousness of wings," and
then, of course, we let fly at it. From all round us shells were sent up
into the vast blue of the sky, and still the grey dove went on in its
gentle-looking flight. Whoever was in it must have been a brave man! All
round him shells were flying--one touch and he must have dropped. The
smoke from the burst shells looked like little white clouds in the sky
as the dove sailed away into the blue again and was seen no more.

We returned to our work in hospital. The men's supper is at six o'clock,
and we began cutting up their bread-and-butter and cheese and filling
their bowls of beer. When that was over and visitors were going, an
order came for thirty patients to proceed to Ostend and make room for
worse cases. We were sorry to say good-bye to them, especially to a nice
fellow whom we call Alfred because he can speak English, and to Sunny
Jim, who positively refused to leave.

Poor boys! With each batch of the wounded, disabled creatures who are
carried in, one feels inclined to repeat in wonder, "Can one man be
responsible for all this? Is it for one man's lunatic vanity that men
are putting lumps of lead into each other's hearts and lungs, and boys
are lying with their heads blown off, or with their insides beside them
on the ground?" Yet there is a splendid freedom about being in the midst
of death--a certain glory in it, which one can't explain.

A piece of shell fell through the roof of the hospital to-day--evidently
a part of one that had been fired at the Taube. It fell close beside the
bed of one of our wounded, and he went as white as a ghost. It must be
pretty bad to be powerless and have shells falling around. The doctors
tell me that nothing moves them so much as the terror of the men. Their
nerves are simply shattered, and everything frightens them. Rather late
a man was brought in from the forts, terribly wounded. He was the only
survivor of twelve comrades who stood together, and a shell fell amongst
them, killing all but this man.

At seven o'clock we moved all the furniture from Mrs. Stobart's office
to the dispensary, where she will have more room, and the day's work was
then over and night work began for some. The Germans have destroyed the
reservoir and the water-supply has been cut off, so we have to go and
fetch all the water in buckets from a well. After supper we go with our
pails and carry it home. The shortage for washing, cleaning, etc., is
rather inconvenient, and adds to the danger in a large hospital, and to
the risk of typhoid.


_4 October._--Yesterday our work was hardly over when Mrs. Stobart sent
a summons to all of us "heads" to come to her bureau. She had grave news
for us. The British Consul had just been to say that all the English
must leave Antwerp; two forts had fallen, and the Germans were hourly
expected to begin shelling the town. We were told that all the wounded
who could travel were to go to Ostend, and the worst cases were to be
transferred to the Military Hospital.

I do not think it would be easy to describe the confusion that followed.
All the men's clothes had to be found, and they had to be got into them,
and woe betide if a little cap or old candle was missing! All wanted
serving at once; all wanted food before starting. In the midst of the
general mêlée I shall always remember one girl, silently, quickly, and
ceaselessly slicing bread with a loaf pressed to her waist, and handing
it across the counter to the men.

With one or two exceptions the staff all wanted to remain in Antwerp. I
myself decided to abandon the unit and stay on here as an individual or
go to Ostend with the men. Mrs. Stobart, being responsible, had to take
the unit home. It was a case of leaving immediately; we packed what
stores we could, but the beds and X-ray apparatus and all our material
equipment would have to be left to the Germans. I think all felt as
though they were running away, but it was a military order, and the
Consul, the British Minister, and the King and Queen were leaving. We
went to eat lunch together, and as we were doing so Mrs. Stobart brought
the news that the Consul had come to say that reinforcements had come
up, the situation changed for the better, and for the present we might
remain. Anyone who wanted to leave might do so, but only four did.

We have since heard what happened. The British Minister cabled home to
say that Antwerp was the key to the whole situation and must not fall,
as once in here the Germans would be strongly entrenched, supplied with
provisions, ammunition, and everything they want. A Cabinet Council was
held at 3 a.m. in London, and reinforcements were ordered up. Winston
Churchill is here with Marines. They say Colonel Kitchener is at the

The firing sounds very near. Dr. Hector Munro and Miss St. Clair and
Lady Dorothy Fielding came over to-day from Ghent, where all is quiet.
They wanted me to return with them to take a rest, which was absurd, of

Some fearful cases were brought in to us to-day. My God, the horror of
it! One has heard of men whom their mothers would not recognise. Some of
the wounded to-day were amongst these. All the morning we did what we
could for them. One man was riddled with bullets, and died very soon.

It is awful work. The great bell rings, and we say, "More wounded," and
the men get stretchers. We go down the long, cold covered way to the
gate and number the men for their different beds. The stretchers are
stiff with blood, and the clothes have to be cut off the men. They cry
out terribly, and their _horror_ is so painful to witness. They are so
young, and they have seen right into hell. The first dressings are
removed by the doctors--sometimes there is only a lump of cotton-wool to
fill up a hole--and the men lie there with their tragic eyes fixed upon
one. All day a nurse has sat by a man who has been shot through the
lungs. Each breath is painful; it does not bear writing about. The pity
of it all just breaks one's heart. But I suppose we do not see nearly
the worst of the wounded.

The lights are all off at eight o'clock now, and we do our work in the
dark, while the orderlies hold little torches to enable the doctors to
dress the wounds. There are not _half_ enough nurses or doctors out
here. In one hospital there are 400 beds and only two trained nurses.


Some of our own troops came through the town in London omnibuses to-day.
It was quite a Moment, and we felt that all was well. We went to the
gate and shook hands with them as they passed, and they made jokes and
did us all good. We cheered and waved handkerchiefs.

_5-6 October._--I think the last two days have been the most ghastly I
ever remember. Every day seems to bring news of defeat. It is awful, and
the Germans are quite close now. As I write the house shakes with the
firing. Our troops are falling back, and the forts have fallen. Last
night we took provisions and water to the cellars, and made plans to get
the wounded taken there.

They say the town will be shelled to-morrow. All these last two days
bleeding men have been brought in. To-day three of them died, and I
suppose none of them was more than 23. We have to keep up all the time
and show a good face, and meals are quite cheery. To-day, Tuesday, was
our last chance of leaving, and only two went.

The guns boom by day as well as by night, and as each one is heard one
thinks of more bleeding, shattered men. It is calm, nice autumn weather;
the trees are yellow in the garden and the sky is blue, yet all the time
one listens to the cries of men in pain. To-night I meant to go out for
a little, but a nurse stopped me and asked me to sit by a dying man.
Poor fellow, he was twenty-one, and looked like some brigand chief, and
he smiled as he was dying. The horror of these two days will last
always, and there are many more such days to come. Everyone is behaving
well, and that is all I care about.

_7 October._--It is a glorious morning: they will see well to kill each
other to-day.

The guns go all day and all night. They are so close that the earth
shakes with them. Last night in the infernal darkness we were turning
wounded men away from the door. There was no room for them even on the
floor. The Belgians scream terribly. Our own men suffer quite quietly.
One of them died to-day.

Day and night a stream of vehicles passes the gate. It never ceases.
Nearly all are motors, driven at a furious pace, and they sound horns
all the time. These are met by a stream of carts and old-fashioned
vehicles bringing in country people, who are flying to the coast. In
Antwerp to-day it was "sauve qui peut"! Nearly all the men are
going--Mr. ----, who has helped us, and Mr. ----, they are going to
bicycle into Holland. A surgeon (Belgian) has fled from his hospital,
leaving seven hundred beds, and there seem to be a great many deserters
from the trenches.


The news is still the same--"very bad"; sometimes I walk to the gate and
ask returning soldiers how the battle goes, but the answer never varies.
At lunch-time to-day firing ceased, and I heard it was because the
German guns were coming up. We got orders to send away all the wounded
who could possibly go, and we prepared beds in the cellars for those who
cannot be moved. The military authorities beg us to remain as so many
hospitals have been evacuated.

The wounded continue to come in. One sees one car in the endless stream
moving slowly (most of them _fly_ with their officers sitting upright,
or with aeroplanes on long carriages), and one knows by the pace that
more wounded are coming. Inside one sees the horrible six shelves behind
the canvas curtain, and here and there a bound-up limb or head. One of
our men had his leg taken off to-day, and is doing well. Nothing goes on
much behind the scenes. The yells of the men are plainly heard, and
to-day, as I sat beside the lung man who was taking so long to die,
someone brought a sack to me, and said, "This is for the leg." All the
orderlies are on duty in the hospital now. We can spare no one for
rougher work. We can all bandage and wash patients. There are wounded
everywhere, even on straw beds on the platform of the hall.

Darkness seems to fall early, and it is the darkness that is so
baffling. At 5 p.m. we have to feed everyone while there is a little
light, then the groping about begins, and everyone falls over things.
There is a clatter of basins on the floor or an over-turned chair. Any
sudden noise is rather trying at present because of the booming of the
guns. At 7 last night they were much louder than before, with a sort of
strange double sound, and we were told that these were our "Long Toms,"
so we hope that our Naval Brigade has come up.

We know very little of what is going on except when we run out and ask
some returning English soldiers for news. Yesterday it was always the
same reply "Very bad." One of the Marines told me that Winston Churchill
was "up and down the road amongst the shells," and I was also told that
he had given orders that Antwerp was not to be taken till the last man
in it was dead.

The Marines are getting horribly knocked about. Yesterday Mrs. O'Gormon
went out in her own motor-car and picked wounded out of the trenches.
She said that no one knew why they were in the trenches or where they
were to fire--they just lay there and were shot and then left.


I think I have seen too much pain lately. At Walworth one saw women
every day in utter pain, and now one lives in an atmosphere of bandages
and blood. I asked some of the orderlies to-day what it was that
supported them most at a crisis of this sort. The answers varied, and
were interesting. I myself am surprised to find that religion is not my
best support. When I go into the little chapel to pray it is all too
tender, the divine Mother and the Child and the holy atmosphere. I begin
to feel rather sorry for myself, I don't know why; then I go and move
beds and feel better; but I have found that just to behave like a
well-bred woman is what keeps me up best. I had thought that the Flag or
Religion would have been stronger incentives to me.

Our own soldiers seem to find self-respect their best asset. It is
amazing to see the difference between them and the Belgians, who are
terribly poor hands at bearing pain, and beg for morphia all the time.
An officer to-day had to have a loose tooth out. He insisted on having
cocaine, and then begged the doctor to be careful!

The firing now is furious--sometimes there are five or six explosions
almost simultaneously. I suppose we shall read in the _Times_ that "all
is quiet," and in _Le Matin_ that "pour le reste tout est calme."

The staff are doing well. They are generally too busy to be frightened,
but one has to speak once or twice to them before they hear.

On Wednesday night, the 7th October, we heard that one more ship was
going to England, and a last chance was given to us all to leave. Only
two did so; the rest stayed on. Mrs. Stobart went out to see what was to
be done. The ---- Consul said that we were under his protection, and
that if the Germans entered the town he would see that we were treated
properly. We had a deliberately cheerful supper, and afterwards a man
called Smits came in and told us that the Germans had been driven back
fifteen kilometres. I myself did not believe this, but we went to bed,
and even took off our clothes.

At midnight the first shell came over us with a shriek, and I went down
and woke the orderlies and nurses and doctors. We dressed and went over
to help move the wounded at the hospital. The shells began to scream
overhead; it was a bright moonlight night, and we walked without
haste--a small body of women--across the road to the hospital. Here we
found the wounded all yelling like mad things, thinking they were going
to be left behind. The lung man has died.

Nearly all the moving to the cellars had already been done--only three
stretchers remained to be moved. One wounded English sergeant helped us.
Otherwise everything was done by women. We laid the men on mattresses
which we fetched from the hospital overhead, and then Mrs. Stobart's
mild, quiet voice said, "Everything is to go on as usual. The night
nurses and orderlies will take their places. Breakfast will be at the
usual hour." She and the other ladies whose night it was to sleep at the
convent then returned to sleep in the basement with a Sister.


We came in for some most severe shelling at first, either because we
flew the Red Cross flag or because we were in the line of fire with a
powder magazine which the Germans wished to destroy. We sat in the
cellars with one night-light burning in each, and with seventy wounded
men to take care of. Two of them were dying. There was only one line of
bricks between us and the shells. One shell fell into the garden, making
a hole six feet deep; the next crashed through a house on the opposite
side of the road and set it on fire. The danger was two-fold, for we
knew our hospital, which was a cardboard sort of thing, would ignite
like matchwood, and if it fell we should not be able to get out of the
cellars. Some people on our staff were much against our making use of a
cellar at all for this reason. I myself felt it was the safest place,
and as long as we stayed with the wounded they minded nothing. We sat
there all night.

The English sergeant said that at daybreak the firing would probably
cease, as the German guns stopped when daylight came in order to conceal
the guns. We just waited for daybreak. When it came the firing grew
worse. The sergeant said, "It is always worse just before they stop,"
but the firing did not stop. Two hundred guns were turned on Antwerp,
and the shells came over at the rate of four a minute. They have a
horrid screaming sound as they come. We heard each one coming and
wondered if it would hit us, and then we heard the crashing somewhere
else and knew another shell was coming.

The worst cases among the wounded lay on the floor, and these wanted
constant attention. The others were in their great-coats, and stood
about the cellar leaning on crutches and sticks. We wrapped blankets
round the rheumatism cases and sat through the long night. Sometimes
when we heard a crash near by we asked "Is that the convent?" but
nothing else was said. All spoke cheerfully, and there was some laughter
in the further cellar. One little red-haired nurse enjoyed the whole
thing. I saw her carry three wounded men in succession on her back down
to the cellar. I found myself wishing that for me a shot would come and
finish the horrible night. Still we all chatted and smiled and made
little jokes. Once during that long night in the cellar I heard one
wounded man say to another as he rolled himself round on his mattress,
"Que les anglais sont comme il faut."

At six o'clock the convent party came over and began to prepare
breakfast. The least wounded of the men began to steal away, and we were
left with between thirty and forty of them. The difficulty was to know
how to get away and how to remove the wounded, two of whom were nearly
dead. Miss Benjamin went and stood at the gate, while the shells still
flew, and picked up an ambulance. In this we got away six men, including
the two dying ones. Mrs. Stobart was walking about for three hours
trying to find anything on wheels to remove us and the wounded. At last
we got a motor ambulance, and packed in twenty men--that was all it
would hold. We told them to go as far as the bridge and send it back for
us. It never came. Nothing seemed to come.

The ---- Vice-Consul had told us we were under his protection, and he
would, as a neutral, march out to meet the Germans and give us
protection. But when we enquired we heard he had bolted without telling
us. The next to give us protection was the ---- Field Hospital, who said
they had a ship in the river and would not move without us. But they
also left and said nothing.

We got dinner for the men, and then the strain began to be much worse.
We had seven wounded and ourselves and not a thing in which to get out
of Antwerp. I told Mrs. Stobart we must leave the wounded at the convent
in charge of the Sisters, and this we did, telling them where to take
them in the morning. The gay young nurses fetched them across on

[Page Heading: FLIGHT]

About 5 o'clock the shelling became more violent, and three shells came
with only an instant between each. Presently we heard Mrs. Stobart say,
"Come at once," and we went out and found three English buses with
English drivers at the door. They were carrying ammunition, and were the
last vehicles to leave Antwerp. We got into them and lay on the top of
the ammunition, and the girls began to light cigarettes! The noise of
the buses prevented our hearing for a time the infernal sound of shells
and our cannons' answering roar.

As we drove to the bridge many houses and sometimes a whole street was
burning. No one seemed to care. No one was there to try and save
anything. We drove through the empty streets and saw the burning houses,
and great holes where shells had fallen, and then we got to the bridge
and out of the line of fire.

We set out to walk towards Holland, but a Belgian officer got us some
Red Cross ambulances, and into these we got, and were taken to a
convent at St. Gilles, where we slept on the floor till 3 a.m. At 3 a
message was brought, "Get up at once--things are worse." Everyone seemed
to be leaving, and we got into the Red Cross ambulances and went to the

_9 October._--We have been all day in the train in very hard third-class
carriages with the R.M.L.I. The journey of fifty miles took from 5
o'clock in the morning, when we got away, till 12 o'clock at night, when
we reached Ostend. The train hardly crawled. It was the longest I have
ever seen. All Ostend was in darkness when we arrived--a German airship
having been seen overhead. We always seem to be tumbling about in the
dark. We went from one hotel to another trying to get accommodation, and
at last (at the St. James's) they allowed us to lie on the floor of the
restaurant. The only food they had for us was ten eggs for twenty-five
hungry people and some brown bread, but they had champagne at the house,
and I ordered it for everybody, and we made little speeches and tried to
end on a good note.

_10 October._--Mrs. Stobart took the unit back to England to-day. The
wounded were found in a little house which the Red Cross had made over
to them, and Dr. Ramsey, Sister Bailey, and the two nurses had much to
say about their perilous journey. One man had died on the road, but the
others all looked well. Their joy at seeing us was pathetic, and there
was a great deal of handshaking over our meeting.


Miss Donnisthorpe and I got decent rooms at the Littoral Hotel, and
brought our luggage there, and had baths, which we much needed. Dr.
Hanson had got out of the train at Bruges to bandage a wounded man, and
she was left behind, and is still lost. I suppose she has gone home. She
is the doctor I like best, and she is one of the few whose nerves are
not shattered. It was a sorry little party which Mrs. Stobart took back
to England.



_12 October._--Everyone has gone back to England except Sister Bailey
and me. She is waiting to hand over the wounded to the proper
department, and I am waiting to see if I can get on anywhere. It does
seem so hard that when men are most in need of us we should all run home
and leave them.

The noises and racket in Ostend are deafening, and there is panic
everywhere. The boats go to England packed every time. I called on the
Villiers yesterday, and heard that she is leaving on Tuesday. But they
say that the British Minister dare not leave or the whole place would go
wild with fear. Some ships lie close to us on the grey misty water, and
the troops are passing along all day.

_Later._--We heard to-night that the Germans are coming into Ostend
to-morrow, so once more we fly like dust before a broom. It is horrible
having to clear out for them.

I am trying to discover what courage really consists in. It isn't only a
lack of imagination. In some people it is transcendent, in others it is
only a sort of stupidity. If proper precautions were taken the need for
courage would be much reduced--the "tight place" is so often the result
of sheer muddle.

This evening Dr. Hector Munro came in from Ghent with his oddly-dressed
ladies, and at first one was inclined to call them masqueraders in their
knickerbockers and puttees and caps, but I believe they have done
excellent work. It is a queer side of war to see young, pretty English
girls in khaki and thick boots, coming in from the trenches, where they
have been picking up wounded men within a hundred yards of the enemy's
lines, and carrying them away on stretchers. Wonderful little Walküres
in knickerbockers, I lift my hat to you!

Dr. Munro asked me to come on to his convoy, and I gladly did so: he
sent home a lady whose nerves were gone, and I was put in her place.


_13 October._--We had an early muddly breakfast, at which everyone spoke
in a high voice and urged others to hurry, and then we collected luggage
and went round to see the General. Afterwards we all got into our motor
ambulances _en route_ for Dunkirk. The road was filled with flying
inhabitants, and down at the dock wounded and well struggled to get on
to the steamer. People were begging us for a seat in our ambulance, and
well-dressed women were setting out to walk twenty miles to Dunkirk. The
rain was falling heavily, and it was a dripping day when we and a lot of
English soldiers found ourselves in the square in Dunkirk, where the
few hotels are. We had an expensive lunch at a greasy restaurant, and
then tried to find rooms.

I began to make out of whom our party consists. There is Lady Dorothy
Fielding--probably 22, but capable of taking command of a ship, and
speaking French like a native; Mrs. Decker, an Australian, plucky and
efficient; Miss Chisholm, a blue-eyed Scottish girl, with a thick coat
strapped around her waist and a haversack slung from her shoulder; a
tall American, whose name I do not yet know, whose husband is a
journalist; three young surgeons, and Dr. Munro. It is all so quaint.
The girls rule the company, carry maps and find roads, see about
provisions and carry wounded.

We could not get rooms at Dunkirk and so came on to St. Malo les Bains,
a small bathing-place which had been shut up for the winter. The owner
of an hotel there opened up some rooms for us and got us some ham and
eggs, and the evening ended very cheerily. Our party seems, to me,
amazingly young and unprotected.

_St. Malo les Bains. 14 October._--To-day I took a car into Dunkirk and
bought some things, as I have lost nearly all I possess at Antwerp. In
the afternoon I went to the dock to get some letters posted, and tramped
about there for a long time. War is such a disorganizer. Nothing starts.
No one is able to move because of wounded arms and legs; it seems to
make the world helpless and painful. In minor matters one lives nearly
always with damp feet and rather dirty and hungry. Drains are all
choked, and one does not get much sleep. These are trifles, of course.

[Page Heading: WOMEN AT THE FRONT]

To-night, as we sat at dinner, a message was brought that a woman
outside had been run over and was going to have a baby immediately in a
tram-way shelter, so out we went and got one of our ambulances, and a
young doctor with his fiancée went off with her. There was a lot of
argument about where the woman lived, until one young man said, "Well,
get in somehow, or the baby will have arrived." There is a simplicity
about these tragic times, and nothing matters but to save people.

_15 October._--To-day we went down to the docks to get a passage for Dr.
Munro, who is going home for money. A German Taube flew overhead and men
were firing rifles at it. An Englishman hit it, and down it came like a
shot bird, so that was the end of a brave man, whoever he was, and it
was a long drop, too, through the still autumn air. Guns have begun to
fire again, so I suppose we shall have to move on once more. One does
not unpack, and it is dangerous to part with one's linen to be washed.

Yesterday I heard a man--a man in a responsible position--say to a girl,
"Tell me, please, how far we are from the firing-line." It was one of
the most remarkable speeches I ever heard. I go to these girls for all
my news. Lady Dorothy Fielding is our real commander, and everyone knows
it. One hears on all sides, "Lady Dorothy, can you get us tyres for the
ambulances? Where is the petrol?" "Do you know if the General will let
us through?" "Have you been able to get us any stores?" "Ought we to
have 'laissez-passer's' or not?" She goes to all the heads of
departments, is the only good speaker of French, and has the only
reliable information about anything. All the men acknowledge her
position, and they say to me, "It's very odd being run by a woman; but
she is the only person who can do anything." In the firing-line she is
quite cool, and so are the other women. They seem to be interested, not
dismayed, by shots and shrapnel.

_16 October._--To-day I have been reading of the "splendid retreat" of
the Marines from Antwerp and their "unprecedented reception" at Deal.
Everyone appears to have been in a state of wild enthusiasm about them,
and it seems almost like Mafeking over again.

What struck me most about these men was the way in which they blew their
own trumpets in full retreat and while flying from the enemy. We
travelled all day in the train with them, and had long conversations
with them all. They were all saying, "We will bring you the Kaiser's
head, miss"; to which I replied, "Well, you had better turn round and go
the other way." Some people like this "English" spirit. I find the
conceit of it most trying. Belgium is in the hands of the enemy, and we
flee before him singing our own praises loudly as we do so. The Marines
lost their kit, spent one night in Antwerp, and went back to England,
where they had an amazing reception amid scenes of unprecedented
enthusiasm! The Government will give them a fresh kit, and the public
will cheer itself hoarse!


I could not help thinking, when I read the papers to-day, of our tired
little body of nurses and doctors and orderlies going back quietly and
unproclaimed to England to rest at Folkestone for three days and then to
come out here again. They had been for eighteen hours under heavy shell
fire without so much as a rifle to protect them, and with the immediate
chance of a burning building falling about them. The nurses sat in the
cellars tending wounded men, whom they refused to leave, and then hopped
on to the outside of an ammunition bus "to see the fun," and came home
to buy their little caps and aprons out of their own slender purses and
start work again.

I shall believe in Britishers to the day of my death, and I hope I shall
die before I cease to believe in them, but I do get some disillusions.
At Antwerp not a man remained with us, and the worst of it was they made
elaborate excuses for leaving. Even our sergeant, who helped during the
night, took a comrade off in the morning and disappeared. Both were
wounded, but not badly, and two young English Tommies, very slightly
wounded, left us as soon as the firing began. We saw them afterwards at
the bridge, and they looked pretty mean.

To-night at dinner some officers came in when the food was pretty well
finished, and only some drumsticks of chicken and bits of ham were left.
I am always slow at beginning to eat, and I had a large wing of chicken
still on my plate. I offered this to an officer, who accepted it and
ate it, although he asked me to have a little bit of it. I do hope I
shall meet some cases of chivalry soon.

Firing ceased about 5 o'clock this afternoon, but we are short of news.
The English papers rather annoy one with their continual victories, of
which we see nothing. Everyone talks of the German big guns as if they
were some happy chance. But the Germans were drilling and preparing
while we were making speeches at Hyde Park Corner. Everything had been
thought out by them. People talk of the difficulty they must have had in
preparing concrete floors for their guns. Not a bit of it. There were
innocent dwelling-houses, built long ago, with floors in just the right
position and of just the right stuff, and when they were wanted the top
stories were blown off and the concrete gun-floors were ready. There
were local exhibitions, too, to which firms sent exhibition guns, which
they "forgot" to remove! While we were going on strike they were making
an army, and as we have sown so must we reap.

One almost wonders whether it might not be possible to eliminate the
personal element in war, so constant is the talk about victorious guns.
If guns decide everything, then let them be trained on other guns. Let
the gun that drives farthest and goes surest win. If every siege is
decided by the German 16-inch howitzers, then let us put up brick and
mortar or steel against them, but not men. The day for the bleeding
human body seems to be over now that men are mown down by shells fired
eight miles away. War used to be splendid because it made men strong and
brave, but now a little German in spectacles can stand behind a Krupp
gun and wipe out a regiment.


I suppose women will always try to protect life because they know what
it costs to produce it, and men will always try to protect property
because that is what they themselves produce. At Antwerp our wounded men
were begging us to go up to the hospital to fetch their purses from
under their pillows! At present women are only repairers, darning socks,
cleaning, washing up after men, bringing up reinforcements in the way of
fresh life, and patching up wounded men, but some day they must and will
have to say, "The life I produce has as much right to protection as the
property you produce, and I claim my right to protect it."

There seems to me a lack of connection between one man's desire to
extend the area he occupies and young men in their teens lying with
their lungs shot through or backs blown off.

_19 October._--Our time is now spent in waiting and preparing for work
which will probably come soon, as there has been fighting near us again.
One hears the boom of guns a long way off, and always there is the sound
of death in it. One has been too near it not to know now what it means.

Yesterday I went to church in an empty little building, but a few of our
hospital men turned up and made a small congregation. In the afternoon
one or two people came to tea in my bedroom as we could not make our
usual expedition to de Poorter's bunshop. The pastry habit is growing
on us all.

We went to the arsenal to-day to see about some repairs to our
ambulances. I saw a German omnibus which had been captured, and the
eagles on it had been painted out with stripes of red paint and the
French colours put in their place. The omnibus was one mass of
bullet-holes. I have seen waggons at Paardeberg, but I never saw
anything so knocked about as that grey motor-bus. The engines and sides
were shattered and the chauffeur, of course, had been killed. We went on
by motor to the "Champs des Aviateurs." We saw one naval aeroplane man,
who told us that he had been hit in his machine when it was 4,000 feet
up in the air. His jacket was torn by a bullet and his machine dropped,
but he was uninjured, and got away on a bicycle.

The more I see of war the more I am amazed at the courage and nerve
which are shown. Death or the chance of death is everywhere, and we meet
it not as fatalists do or those who believe they can earn eternal glory
with a sacrifice, but lightly and with a song. An English girl at
Antwerp was horribly ashamed of some Belgians who skulked behind a wall
when the firing was hottest. She herself remained in the open.

It has been a great comfort to me that I have had a room to myself so
far on this campaign. I find the communal spirit is not in me. The noisy
meals, the heavy bowls of soup, the piles of labelled dinner-napkins,
give me an unexpected feeling of oppressive seclusion and solitude, and
only when I get away by myself do I feel that my soul is restored.

Mr. Gleeson, an American, joined his wife here a couple of days ago: it
was odd to have a book talk again.

_21 October._--A still grey day with a level sea and a few fishing-boats
going out with the tide. On the long grey shore shrimpers are wading
with their nets. The only colour in the soft grey dawn is the little
wink of white that the breaking waves make on the sand. This small empty
seaside place, with its row of bathing-machines drawn up on the beach,
has a look about it as of a theatre seen by daylight. All the seats are
empty and the players have gone away, and the theatre begins to whisper
as empty buildings do. I think I know quite well some of the people who
come to St. Malo les Bains, just by listening to what the empty little
place is saying.

Firing has begun again. We hear that our ships are shelling Ostend from
the sea. The news that reaches us is meagre, but I prefer that to the
false reports that are circulated at home.

[Page Heading: WE GO TO FURNES]

This afternoon we came out in motors and ambulances to establish
ourselves at Furnes in an empty Ecclesiastical College. Nothing was
ready, and everything was in confusion. The wounded from the fighting
near by had not begun to come in, but the infernal sound of the guns was
quite close to us, and gave one the sensation of a blow on the ear.
Night was falling as we came back to Dunkirk to sleep (for no beds were
ready at Furnes), and we passed many motor vehicles of every
description going out to Furnes. Some of them were filled with bread,
and one saw stacks of loaves filling to the roof some once beautifully
appointed motor. Now all was dust and dirt.

All my previous ideas of men marching to war have had a touch of
heroism, crudely expressed by quick-step and smart uniforms. To-day I
see tired dusty men, very hungry looking and unshaved, slogging along,
silent and tired, and ready to lie down whenever chance offers. They
keep as near their convoy as they can, and are keen to stop and cook
something. God! what is heroism? It baffles me.

_22 October. Furnes._--The bulk of our party did not return from Furnes
yesterday, so we gathered that the wounded must be coming in, and we
left Dunkirk early and came here. As I packed my things and rolled my
rugs at 5 a.m. I thought of Mary, and "Charles to fetch down the
luggage," and the fuss at home over my delicate health!

A French officer called Gilbert took us out to Furnes in his Brooklands
racing-car, so that was a bit of an experience too, for we sat curled up
on some luggage, and were told to hang on by something. The roads were
empty and level, the little seats of the car were merely an appendage to
its long big engines. When we got our breath back we asked Gilbert what
his speed had been, and he told us 75 miles an hour.

There was a crowd of motors in the yard of the Ecclesiastical College at
Furnes, engines throbbing and clutches being jerked, and we were told
that all last night the fighting had gone on and the wounded had been
coming in. There are three wards already fairly full, nothing quite
ready, and the inevitable and reiterated "where" heard on every side.

"Where are the stretchers?" "Where are my forceps?" "Where are we to
dine?" "Where are the dead to be put?" "Where are the Germans?"

No one stops to answer. People ask everybody ten times over to do the
same thing, and use anything that is lying about.


There are two war correspondents here--Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Ashmead
Bartlett--and they told me about the fighting at Dixmude last night. I
must try to get Mr. Gibbs's newspaper account of it, but nothing will
ever be so simple and so dramatic as his own description. He and Mr.
Bartlett, Mr. Gleeson and Dr. Munro, with young Mr. Brockville, the War
Minister's son, went to the town, which was being heavily shelled.
Dixmude was full of wounded, and the church and the houses were falling.
The roar of things was awful, and the bursting shells overhead sent
shrapnel pattering on the buildings, the pavements, and the cars.

Young Brockville went into a house, where he heard wounded were lying,
and found a pile of dead Frenchmen stacked against a wall. A bursting
shell scattered them. He went on to a cellar and found some living men,
got the stretchers, loaded the cars and bade them drive on. In the
darkness, and with the deafening noises, no one heard his orders
aright, the two motor ambulances moved on and left him behind amongst
the burning houses and flying shells. It was only after going a few
miles that the rest of the party found that he was not with them.

Mr. Gleeson and Mr. Bartlett went back for him. Nothing need be said
except that. They went back to hell for him, and the other two waited in
the road with the wounded men. After an hour of waiting these two also
went back.

I asked Mr. Gibbs if he shared the contempt that some people expressed
for bullets. He and Mr. Gleeson both said, "Anyone who talks of contempt
for bullets is talking nonsense. Bullets mean death at every corner of
the street, and death overhead and flying limbs and unspeakable sights."
All these men went back. All of them behaved quietly and like gentlemen,
but one man asked a friend of his over and over again if he was a
Belgian refugee, and another said that a town steeple falling looked so
strange that they could only stand about and light cigarettes. In the
end they gave up Mr. Brockville for lost and came home with the
ambulances. But he turned up in the middle of the night, to everyone's
huge delight.

_23 October._--A crisp autumn morning, a courtyard filled with motors
and brancardiers and men in uniform, and women in knickerbockers and
puttees, all lighting cigarettes and talking about repairs and gears and
a box of bandages. The mornings always start happily enough. The guns
are nearer to-day or more distant, the battle sways backwards and
forwards, and there is no such thing as a real "base" for a hospital.
We must just stay as long as we can and fly when we must.

About 10 a.m. the ambulances that have been out all night begin to come
in, the wounded on their pitiful shelves.

"Take care. There are two awful cases. Step this way. The man on the top
shelf is dead. Lift them down. Steady. Lift the others out first. Now
carry them across the yard to the overcrowded ward, and lay them on the
floor if there are no beds, but lay them down and go for others. Take
the worst to the theatre: get the shattered limbs amputated and then
bring them back, for there is a man just dead whose place can be filled;
and these two must be shipped off to Calais; and this one can sit up."

[Page Heading: A WOUNDED GERMAN]

I found one young German with both hands smashed. He was not ill enough
to have a bed, of course, but sat with his head fallen forward trying to
sleep on a chair. I fed him with porridge and milk out of a little bowl,
and when he had finished half of it he said, "I won't have any more. I
am afraid there will be none for the others." I got a few cushions for
him and laid him in a corner of the room. Nothing disturbs the deep
sleep of these men. They seem not so much exhausted as dead with

A French boy of sixteen is a favourite of mine. He is such a beautiful
child, and there is no hope for him; shot through the abdomen; he can
retain nothing, and is sick all day, and every day he is weaker.

I do not find that the men want to send letters or write messages.
Their pain is too awful even for that, and I believe they can think of
nothing else.

All day the stretchers are brought in and the work goes on. It is about
5 o'clock that the weird tired hour begins when the dim lamps are
lighted, and people fall over things, and nearly everything is mislaid,
and the wounded cry out, and one steps over forms on the floor. From
then till one goes to bed it is difficult to be just what one ought to
be, the tragedy of it is too pitiful. There is a boy with his eyes shot
out, and there is a row of men all with head wounds from the cruel
shrapnel overhead. Blood-stained mattresses and pillows are carried out
into the courtyard. Two ladies help to move the corpses. There is always
a pile of bandages and rags being burnt, and a youth stirs the horrible
pile with a stick. A queer smell permeates everything, and the guns
never cease. The wounded are coming in at the rate of a hundred a day.

The Queen of the Belgians called to see the hospital to-day. Poor little
Queen, coming to see the remnants of an army and the remnants of a
kingdom! She was kind to each wounded man, and we were glad of her
visit, if for no other reason than that some sort of cleaning and
tidying was done in her honour. To-night Mr. Nevinson arrived, and we
went round the wards together after supper. The beds were all full--so
was the floor. I was glad that so many of the wounded were dying.

The doctors said, "These men are not wounded, they are mashed."

I am rather surprised to find how little the quite young girls seem to
mind the sight of wounds and suffering. They are bright and witty about
amputations, and do not shudder at anything. I am feeling rather
out-of-date amongst them.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Letter to Miss Macnaughtan's Sisters._

_23 October._


I think I may get this posted by a war correspondent who is going home,
but I never know whether my letters reach you or not, for yours, if you
write them, never reach me. I can't begin to tell you all that is
happening, and it is really beyond what one is able to describe. The
tragedy of pain is the thing that is most evident, and there is the roar
and the racket of it and the everlasting sound of guns. The war seems to
me now to mean nothing but torn limbs and stretchers. All the doctors
say that never have they seen men so wounded.

The day that we got here was the day that Dixmude was bombarded, and our
ten ambulances (motor) went out to fetch in wounded. These were shoved
in anywhere, dying and dead, and our men went among the shells with
buildings falling about them and took out all they could. Except where
the fire is hottest one women goes with each car. So far I have been
doing ward work, but one of the doctors is taking me on an ambulance
this afternoon. Most of the women who go are very good chauffeurs
themselves, so they are chosen before a person who can't drive. They
are splendid creatures, and funk nothing, and they are there to do a
little dressing if it is needed.

The firing is awfully heavy to-day. They say it is the big French guns
that have got up. Two of our ambulances have had miraculous escapes
after being hit. Things happen too quickly to know how to describe them.
To-day when I went out to breakfast an old village woman aged about 70
was brought in wounded in two places. I am not fond of horrors.

We have been given an empty house for the staff, the owners having
quitted it in a panic and left everything, children's toys on the
carpet, and beds unmade. The hospital is a college for priests, all of
whom have fled. Into this building the wounded are carried day and
night, and the surgeons are working in shifts and can't get the work
done. We are losing, alas! so many patients. Nothing can be done for
them, and I always feel so glad when they are gone. I don't think anyone
can realise what it is to be just behind the line of battle, and I fear
there would not be much recruiting if people at home could see our
wards. One can only be thankful for a hospital like this in the thick of
things, for we are saving lives, and not only so, but saving the lives
of men who perhaps have lain three days in a trench or a turnip-field
undiscovered and forgotten.

As soon as a wounded man has been attended to and is able to be put on a
stretcher again he is sent to Calais. We have to keep emptying the wards
for other patients to come in, and besides, if the fighting comes this
way, we shall have to fall back a little further.

We have a river between us and the Germans, so we shall always know when
they are coming and get a start and be all right.

Your loving

       *       *       *       *       *

_25 October._--A glorious day. Up in the blue even Taubes--those birds
of prey--look beautiful, like eagles wheeling in their flight. It is all
far too lovely to leave, yet men are killing each other painfully with
every day that dawns.

I had a tiresome day in spite of the weather, because the hospital was
evacuated suddenly owing to the nearness of the Germans, and I missed
going with the ambulance, so I hung about all day.

_26 October. My birthday._--This morning several women were brought in
horribly wounded. One girl of sixteen had both legs smashed. I was
taking one old woman to the civil hospital and I had to pass eighteen
dead men; they were laid out beside some women who were washing clothes,
and I noticed how tired even in death their poor dirty feet looked.


We started early in the ambulance to-day, and went to pick up the
wounded. It was a wild gusty morning, one of those days when the sky
takes up nearly all the picture and the world looks small. The mud was
deep on the road, and a cyclist corps plunged heavily along through it.
The car steered badly and we drove to the edge of the fighting-line.

First one comes to a row of ammunition vans, with men cooking breakfast
behind them. Then come the long grey guns, tilted at various angles, and
beyond are the shells bursting and leaving little clouds of black or
white in the sky. We signalled to a gun not to fire down the road in
much the same way as a bobby signals to a hansom. When we got beyond the
guns they fired over us with a long streaky sort of sound. We came back
to the road and picked up the wounded wherever we could find them.

The churches are nearly all filled with straw, the chairs piled
anywhere, and the sacrament removed from the altar. In cottages and
little inns it is the same thing--a litter of straw, and men lying on it
in the chilly weather. Here and there through some little window one
sees surgeons in their white coats dressing wounds. Half the world seems
to be wounded and inefficient. We filled our ambulance, and stood about
in curious groups of English men and women who looked as if they were on
some shooting-party. When our load was complete we drove home.

Dr. Munro told me that last night he met a German prisoner quite naked
being marched in, proudly holding his head up. Lots of the men fight
naked in the trenches. In hospital we meet delightful German youths.

Amongst others who were brought in to-day was Mr. "Dick" Reading, the
editor of a sporting paper. He was serving in the Belgian army, and was
behind a gun-carriage when it was fired upon and started. Reading clung
on behind with both his legs broken, and he stuck to it till the
gun-carriage was pulled up! He came in on a stretcher as bright as a
button, smoking a cigar and laughing.

[Page Heading: POPERINGHE]

Late this afternoon we had to turn out of Furnes and fly to Poperinghe.
The drive was intensely interesting, through crowds of troops of every
nationality, and the town seemed large and well lighted. It was crowded
with people to see all our ambulances arrive. We went to a café, where
there was a fire but nothing to eat, so some of the party went out and
bought chops, and I cooked them in a stuffy little room which smelt of
burnt fat.

After supper we went to a convent where the Queen of the Belgians had
made arrangements for us to sleep. It was delightful. Each of us had a
snowy white bed with white curtains in a long corridor, and there was a
basin of water, cold but clean, and a towel for each of us. We
thoroughly enjoyed our luxuries.

_28 October._--The tide of battle seems to have swung away from us again
and we were recalled to Furnes to-day. The hospital looked very bare and
empty as all the patients had been evacuated, and there was nothing to
do till fresh ones should come in. Three shells came over to-day and
landed in a field near us. Some people say they were sent by our own
naval guns firing wide. The souvenir grafters went out and got pieces of

[Page Heading: DUNKIRK]

_2 November._--I have been spending a couple of nights in Dunkirk, where
I went to meet Miss Fyfe. The _Invicta_ got in late because the _Hermes_
had been torpedoed and they had gone to her assistance. No doubt the
torpedo was intended for the _Invicta_, which carries ammunition, and is
becoming an unpopular boat in consequence. Forty of the _Hermes_ men
were lost.

Dunkirk is full of people, and one meets friends at every turn. I had
tea at the Consulate one afternoon, and was rather glad to get away from
the talk of shells and wounds, which is what one hears most of at

I saw Lord Kitchener in the town one day; he had come to confer with
Joffre, Sir John French, Monsieur Poincaré, and Mr. Churchill, at a
meeting held at the Chapeau Rouge Hotel. Rather too many valuable men in
one room, I thought--especially with so many spies about! Three men in
English officers' uniforms were found to be Germans the other day and
taken out and shot.

The Duchess of Sutherland has a hospital at our old Casino at Malo les
Bains, and has made it very nice. I had a long chat with a Coldstream
man who was there. He told me he was carried to a barn after being shot
in the leg and the bone shattered. He lay there for six days before he
was found, with nothing to eat but a few biscuits. He dressed his own

"But," he said, "the string of my puttee had been driven in so far by
the shot I couldn't find it to get the thing off, so I had to bandage
over it."

I went down to the station one day to see if anything could be done for
the wounded there. They are coming in at the rate of seven hundred a
day, and are laid on straw in an immense goods-shed. They get nothing to
eat, and the atmosphere is so bad that their wounds can't be dressed.
They are all patient, as usual, only the groans are heartbreaking
sometimes. We are arranging to have soup given to them, and a number of
ambulance men arrived who will remove them to hospital ships and trains.
But the goods-shed is a shambles, and let us leave it at that.[1]

  [1] It must not be thought that in this and in subsequent
  passages referring to the sufferings of the wounded Miss Macnaughtan
  alludes to any hardships endured by British troops. Her time in
  Flanders was all spent behind the French and Belgian lines.--ED.

Mrs. Knocker came into Dunkirk for a night's rest while I was staying
there. She had been out all the previous day in a storm of wind and rain
driving an ambulance. It was heavy with wounded, and shells were
dropping very near. She--the most courageous woman that ever lived--was
quite unnerved at last. The glass of the car she was driving was dim
with rain and she could carry no lights, and with this swaying load of
injured men behind her on the rutty road she had to stick to her wheel
and go on.

Some one said to her, "There is a doctor in such-and-such a farmhouse,
and he has no dressings. You must take him these."

She demurred (a most unusual thing for her), but men do not protect
women in this war, and they said she had to take them. She asked one of
the least wounded of the men to get down and see what was in front of
her, and he disappeared altogether. The dark mass she had seen in the
road was a huge hole made by a shell! After steering into dead horses
and going over awful roads Mrs. Knocker came bumping into the yard,
steering so badly that they ran to see what was wrong, and they found
her fainting, and she was carried into the house. At Dunkirk she got a
good dinner and a night's rest.

_Furnes. 5 November._--The hospital is beginning to fill up again, and
the nurses are depressed because only those cases which are nearly
hopeless are allowed to stay, so it is death on all sides and just a
hell of suffering. One man yelled to me to-night to kill him. I wish I
might have done so. The tragedy of war presses with a fearful weight
after being in a hospital, and wherever one is one hears the infernal
sound of the guns. On Sunday about forty shells came into Furnes, but I
was at Dunkirk. This morning about five dropped on to the station.

[Page Heading: NIEUPORT]

To-day I went out to Nieuport. It is like some town one sees in a
horrible nightmare. Hardly a house is left standing, but that does not
describe the scene. Nothing can fitly describe it except perhaps such a
pen as Victor Hugo's. The cathedral at Nieuport has two outer walls left
standing. The front leans forward helplessly, the aisles are gone. The
trees round about are burnt up and shot away. In the roadway are great
holes which shells have made. The very cobbles of the street are
scattered by them. Not a window remains in the place; all are shattered
and many hang from their frames. The fronts of the houses have fallen
out, and one sees glimpses of wretched domestic life: a baby's cradle
hangs in mid-air, some tin boxes have fallen through from the box-room
in the attic to the ground floor. Shops are shivered and their contents
strewn on all sides; the interiors of other houses have been hollowed
out by fire. There is a toy-shop with dolls grinning vacantly at the
ruins or bobbing brightly on elastic strings.

In a wretched cottage some soldiers are having breakfast at a
fine-carved table. In one house, surrounded by a very devastation of
wreckage, some cheap ornaments stand intact on a mantelpiece. From
another a little ginger-coloured cat strolls out unconcernedly! The
bedsteads hanging midway between floors look twisted and thrawn--nothing
stands up straight. Like the wounded, the town has been rendered
inefficient by war.

_6 November._--Furnes always seems to me a weird tragic place. I cannot
think why this is so, but its influence is to me rather curious. I feel
as if all the time I was living in some blood-curdling ghost story or a
horrid dream. Every day I try to overcome the feeling, but I can't
succeed. This afternoon I made up my mind to return to our villa and
write my diary. The day was lovely, and I meant to enjoy a rest and a
scribble, but so strong was the horrid influence of the place that I
couldn't settle to anything. I can't describe it, but it seemed to
stifle me, and I can only compare it to some second sight in which one
sees death. I sat as long as I could doing my writing, but I had to give
in at last, and I tucked my book under my arm and walked back to the
hospital, where at least I was with human beings and not ghosts.

Our life here is made up of many elements and many people, all rather
incongruous, but the average of human nature is good. A villa belonging
to a Dr. Joos was given to our staff. It is a pretty little house, with
three beds in it, and we are eighteen people, so most of us sleep on the
floor. It wouldn't be a bad little place (except for the drains) if only
there wasn't this horrid influence about it all. I always particularly
dislike toddling after people like a little lost dog, but here I find
that unless I am with somebody the ghosts get the better of me.

The villa is being ruined by us I fear, but I have a woman to clean it,
and I am trying to keep it in order. It is a cold little place for we
have no fires. We can, by pumping, get a little very cold water, and
there is a tap in the bath-room and one basin at which everyone tries to
wash and shave at the same time. We get our meals at a butcher's shop,
where there is a large room which we more than fill. The lights of the
town are all out by 6 o'clock, so we grope about, but there is a lamp in
our dining-room. When we come out we have to pass through the butcher's
shop, and one may find oneself running into the interior of a sheep.

We get up about 7 o'clock and fight for the basin. Then we walk round to
the butcher's shop and have breakfast at 7.30. Most people think they
start off for the day's work at 8, but it is generally quite 10 o'clock
before all the brown-hooded ambulances with their red crosses have moved
out of the yard. We do not as a rule meet again till dinner-time, and
even then many of the party are absent. They come in at all times, very
dirty and hungry, and the greeting is always the same, "Did you get
many?"--_i.e._, "Have you picked up many wounded?"

One night Dr. Munro got bowled over by the actual air force created by a
shell, which however did not hit him. Yesterday Mr. Secher was shot in
the leg. I am amazed that not more get hit. They are all very cheery
about it.

To-day we heard that a jolly French boy with white teeth, who has been
very good at making coffee at our picnic lunches, was put up against a
tree and shot at daybreak. Someone had made him drunk the night before,
and he had threatened an officer with a revolver.


_7 November. St. Malo les Bains._--Lady Bagot turned up here to-day, and
I lunched with her at the Hôtel des Arcades. Just before lunch a bomb
was dropped from a Taube overhead, and hardly had we sat down to lunch
when a revolver shot rang through the room. A French officer had
discharged his pistol by mistake, and he lay on the floor in his scarlet
trews. The scene was really the Adelphi, and as the man had only
slightly hurt himself one was able to appreciate the scenic effect and
to notice how well staged it was. A waiter ran for me. I ran for
dressings to one of our ambulances, and we knelt in the right attitude
beside the hero in his scarlet clothes, while the "lady of the bureau"
begged for the bullet!

In the evening Lady Bagot and I worked at the railway-sheds till 3 a.m.
One immense shed had 700 wounded in it. The night scene, with its
inevitable accompaniment of low-turned lamps and gloom, was one I shall
not forget. The railway-lines on each side of the covered platform were
spread with straw, and on this wounded men, bedded down like cattle,
slept. There were rows of them sleeping feet to feet, with straw over
them to make a covering. I didn't hear a grumble, and hardly a groan.
Most of them slept heavily.

Near the door was a row of Senegalese, their black faces and gleaming
eyes looking strange above the straw; and further on were some Germans,
whom the French authorities would not allow our men to touch; then rows
of men of every colour and blood; Zouaves, with their picturesque dress
all grimed and colourless; Turcos, French, and Belgians. Nearly all had
their heads and hands bound up in filthy dressings. We went into the
dressing-station at the far end of the great shed and dressed wounds
till about 3 o'clock, then we passed through the long long lines of
sleeping wounded men again and went home.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Lady Clémentine Waring._

_8 November._

I have a big job for you. Will you do it? I know you are the person for
it, and you will be prompt and interested.

The wounded are suffering from hunger as much as from their wounds. In
most places, such as dressing-stations and railway-stations, nothing is
provided for them at all, and many men are left for two or three days
without food.

I wish I could describe it all to you! These wounded men are picked up
after a fight and taken anywhere--very often to some farmhouse or inn,
where a Belgian surgeon claps something on to the wounds or ties on a
splint, and then our (Dr. Munro's) ambulances come along and bring the
men into the Field Hospital if they are very bad, or if not they are
taken direct to a station and left there. They may, and often do, have
to wait for hours till a train loads up and starts. Even those who are
brought to the Field Hospital have to turn out long before they can walk
or sit, and they are carried to the local station and put into covered
horse-boxes on straw, and have to wait till the train loads up and
starts. You see everything has to be done with a view to sudden
evacuation. We are so near to the firing-line that the Germans may sweep
on our way at any time, and then every man has to be cleared out somehow
(we have a heap of ambulances), and the staff is moved off to some safer
place. We did a bolt of this sort to Poperinghe one day, but after being
there two days the fighting swayed the other way and we were able to
come back.


Well, during all these shiftings and waitings the wounded get nothing to
eat. I want some travelling-kitchens, and I want you to see about the
whole thing. You may have to come from Scotland, because I have opened
the subject with Mr. Burbidge, of Harrods' Stores. A Harrods' man is
over here. He takes back this letter. I particularly want you to see
him. Mr. Burbidge has, or can obtain, old horse-vans which can be fitted
up as travelling-kitchens. He is doing one now for Millicent, Duchess of
Sutherland; it is to cost £15, which I call very cheap. I wish you
could see it, for I know you could improve upon it. It is fitted, I
understand, with a copper for boiling soup, and a chimney. There is also
a place for fuel, and I should like a strong box that would hold
vegetables, dried peas, etc., whose top would serve as a table. Then
there must be plenty of hooks and shelves where possible, and I believe
Burbidge makes some sort of protection against fire in the way of lining
to the van. Harrods' man says that he doesn't know if they have any more
vans or not.

I want someone with push and energy to see the thing right through and
get the vans off. The _Invicta_, from the Admiralty Pier, Dover, sailing
daily, brings Red Cross things free.


The vans would have to have the Red Cross painted on them, and in
_small_ letters, somewhere inconspicuous, "Miss Macnaughtan's
Travelling-Kitchens." This is only for identification. I thought we
might begin with _three_, and get them sent out _at once_, and go on as
they are required. I must have a capable person and a helper in charge
of each, so that limits my number. The Germans have beautiful little
kitchens at each station, but I can't be sure what money I can raise, so
must go slow.

I want also two little trollies, just to hold a tin jug and some tin
cups hung round, with one oil-lamp to keep the jug hot. The weather will
be bitter soon, and only "special" cases have blankets.

Clemmie, if only we could see this thing through without too much red
tape!... No permission need be given for the work of these kitchens, as
we are under the Belgian Minister of War and act for Belgium.

I thought of coming over to London for a day or two, and I can still do
so, only I know you will be able to do this thing better than anyone,
and will think of things that no one else thinks of. I can get voluntary
workers, but meat and vegetables are dreadfully dear, so I shan't be
able to spend a great deal on the vans. However, any day they may be
taken by the Germans, so the only thing that really matters is to get
the wounded _a_ mug of hot soup.

Last night I was dressing wounds and bandaging at Dunkirk station till 3
a.m. The men are brought there in _heaps_, all helpless, all suffering.
Sometimes there are fifteen hundred in one day. Last night seven hundred
lay on straw in a huge railway-shed, with straw to cover them--bedded
down like cattle, and all in pain. Still, it is better than the trenches
and shrapnel overhead!

At the Field Hospital the wounds are ghastly, and we are losing so many
patients! Mere boys of sixteen come in sometimes mortally wounded, and
there are a good many cases of wounded women. You see, no one is safe;
and, oh, my dear, have you ever seen a town that has been thoroughly
shelled? At Furnes we have a good many shells dropping in, but no real
bombardment yet. After Antwerp I don't seem to care about these
visitors. We were under fire there for eighteen hours, and it was a bit
of a strain as our hospital was in a line with the Arsenal, which they
were trying to destroy, so we got more than our share of attention. The
noise was horrible, and the shells came in at the rate of four a minute.
There was something quite hellish about it.

Do you remember that great bit of writing in Job, when Wisdom speaks and
says: "Destruction and Death say, it is not in me"?

The wantonness and sort of rage of it all appalled one. Our women
behaved splendidly.

I'll come over to England if you think I had better, but I am sure you
are the person I want.... If anything should prevent your helping,
please wire to me: otherwise I shall know things are going forward.

Your loving,

The vans should be strong as they may have rough usage; also, to take
them to their destination they may have to be hitched on to a

One or two strong trays in each kitchen would be useful. The little
trollies would be for railway-station work. As we go on I hope to have
one kitchen for each dressing-station as well.


       *       *       *       *       *

_8 November._--This afternoon I went down to the Hôtel des Arcades,
which is the general meeting ground for everyone. The drawing-room was
full and so was the Place Jean Bart, on which it looks. Suddenly we saw
people beginning to fly! Soldiers, old men, children in their Sunday
clothes, all running to cover. I asked what was up, and heard that a
Taube was at that moment flying over our hotel. These are the sort of
pleasant things one hears out here! Then Lady Decies came running in to
say that two bombs had fallen and twenty people were wounded.

Once more we got bandages and lint and hurried off in a motor-car, but
the civilian doctors were looking after everyone. The bomb by good luck
had fallen in a little garden, and had done the least damage imaginable,
but every window in the neighbourhood was smashed.


At night we went to the railway-sheds and dressed wounds. I made them do
the Germans; but it was too late for one of them--a handsome young
fellow with both his feet deep blue with frost-bite, his leg broken, and
a great wound in his thigh. He had not been touched for eight days.
Another man had a great hole right through his arm and shoulder. The
dressing was rough and ready. The surgeons clapped a great wad of lint
into the hole and we bound it up. There is no hot water, no sterilising,
no cyanide gauze even, but iodine saves many lives, and we have plenty
of it. The German boy was dying when we left. His eyes above the straw
began to look glazed and dim. Death, at least, is merciful.

We work so late at the railway-sheds that I lie in bed till lunch time.
Lady Bagot and I go to the sheds in the evening and stay there till 1

_11 November. Boulogne._--I got a letter from Julia yesterday, telling
me that Alan is wounded and in hospital at Boulogne, and asking me to
go and see him.

I came here this morning and had to run about for a long time before I
started getting a "laissez-passer" for the road, as spies are being shot
almost at sight now. By good chance I got a motor-car which brought me
all the way; trains are uncertain, and filled with troops, and one never
knows when they will arrive.


I found poor old Alan at the Base Hospital, in terrible pain, poor boy,
but not dangerously wounded. He has been through an awful time, and
nearly all the officers of his regiment have been killed or wounded. For
my part, in spite of his pain, I can thank God that he is out of the
firing-line for a bit. The horror of the war has got right into him, and
he has seen things which few boys of eighteen can have witnessed. Eight
days in the trenches at Ypres under heavy fire day and night is a pretty
severe test, and Alan has behaved splendidly. He told me the most awful
tales of what he had seen, but I believe it did him good to get things
off his chest, so I listened. The thing he found the most ghastly was
the fact that when a trench has been taken or lost the wounded and dying
and dead are left out in the open. He says that firing never ceases, and
it is impossible to reach these men, who die of starvation within sight
of their comrades.

"Sometimes," Alan said, "we see them raise themselves on an arm for an
instant, and they yell to us to come to them, but we can't."

His own wound was received when the Germans "got their range to an
inch" and began shelling their trenches. A whole company next to Alan
was wiped out, and he started to go back to tell his Colonel the trench
could not be held. The communication trench by which he went was not
quite finished, and he had to get out into the open and race across to
where the unfinished trench began again. Poor child, running for his
life! He was badly hit in the groin, but managed just to tumble into the
next bit of the trench, where he found two men who carried him, pouring
with blood, to his Colonel. He was hastily bound up and carried four
miles on crossed rifles to the hospital at Ypres, where his wound was
properly dressed, and after an hour he was put on the train for

Alan had one story of how he was told to wait at a certain spot with 130
men. "So I waited," he said, "but the fire was awful." His regiment had,
it seems, gone round another way. "I got thirty of the men away," Alan
said, "the rest were killed." It means something to be an officer and a

Every day the list of casualties grows longer, and I wonder who will be

_19 November. Furnes._--Early on Monday, the 16th, I left Boulogne in
Lady Bagot's car and came to Dunkirk, where I was laid up with a cold
for two or three days. It was singularly uncomfortable, as no one ever
answered my bell, etc.; but I had a bed, which is always such a comfort,
and the room was heated, so I got my things dry. Very often I find the
only way to do this or to get dry clothing is to take things to bed with
one--it is rather chilly, but better than putting on wet things in the

The usual number of unexpected people keep coming and going. At Boulogne
I met Lady Eileen Elliot, Ian Malcolm, Lord Francis Scott, and various
others--all very English and clean and well fed. It was quite different
from Furnes, to which I returned on Wednesday. Most of us sleep on
mattresses on the floor at Furnes, but even these were all occupied, so
I hopped about getting in where I could. The cold weather "set in in
earnest" as newspapers say, and when it does that in Furnes it seems to
be particularly in earnest.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Lady Clémentine Waring._

_18 November, 1914._


Forgive the delay in writing again. I was too sick about it all at
first, then I was sent for to go to Boulogne to see my nephew, who is
badly wounded. I can't explain the present situation to you because it
would only be censored, but I hope to write about it later.

I shall manage the soup-kitchens soon, I hope, but next week will decide
that and many things. The objection to the _pattern_ is that those vans
would overturn going round corners when hitched on behind ambulances.
Some wealthy people are giving a regular motor kitchen to run about to
various "dressing"-stations--this will be most useful, but it doesn't do
away with the need of something to eat during those interminable waits
at the _railway_-stations.


To-morrow I begin my own little soup-kitchen at Furnes. I have a room
but no van, and this is most unsatisfactory, as any day the room (so
near the station) may be commandeered. A van would make me quite
independent, but I must feel my way. The situation changes very often,
as you will of course see, and when one is quite close to the Front one
has to be always changing with it.

I want helpers and I want vans, but rules are becoming stricter than
ever. Even Adeline, Duchess of Bedford, whose good work everyone knows,
has waited for a permit for a week at Boulogne, and has now gone home.
When all the useful women have been expelled there will follow the usual
tale of soldiers' suffering and privations: when women are about they
don't let them suffer.

The only plan (if you know of any man who wants to come out) is to know
how to drive a motor-car and then to offer it and his services to the
Red Cross Society. I have set my heart on station soup-kitchens because
I see the men put into horse-boxes on straw straight off the field, and
there they lie without water or light or food while the train jolts on
for hours. I wish I had you here to back me up! We could do anything

As ever, yours gratefully,

The motor kitchens cost £600 fitted, but the maker is giving the one I
speak of for £300. Everyone has given so much to the war I don't feel
sure I could collect this amount. I might try America, but it takes a
long time.



_21 November._--I am up to my eyes in soup! I have started my
soup-kitchen at the station, and it gives me a lot to do. Bad luck to
it, my cold and cough are pretty bad!

It is odd to wake in the morning in a frozen room, with every pane of
glass green and thick with frost, and one does not dare to think of Mary
and morning tea! When I can summon enough moral courage to put a foot
out of bed I jump into my clothes at once; half dressed, I go to a
little tap of cold water to wash, and then, and for ever, I forgive
entirely those sections of society who do not tub. We brush our own
boots here, and put on all the clothes we possess, and then descend to a
breakfast of Quaker oat porridge with bread and margarine. I wouldn't
have it different, really, till our men are out of the trenches; but I
am hoping most fervently that I shan't break down, as I am so "full with


Our kitchen at the railway-station is a little bit of a passage, which
measures eight feet by eight feet. In it are two small stoves. One is a
little round iron thing which burns, and the other is a sort of little
"kitchener" which doesn't! With this equipment, and various huge
"marmites," we make coffee and soup for hundreds of men every day. The
first convoy gets into the station about 9.30 a.m., all the men frozen,
the black troops nearly dead with cold. As soon as the train arrives I
carry out one of my boiling "marmites" to the middle of the stone
entrance and ladle out the soup, while a Belgian Sister takes round
coffee and bread.

These Belgians (three of them) deserve much of the credit for the
soup-kitchen, if any credit is going about, as they started with coffee
before I came, and did wonders on nothing. Now that I have bought my
pots and pans and stoves we are able to do soup, and much more. The
Sisters do the coffee on one side of eight feet by eight, while I and my
vegetables and the stove which goes out are on the other. We can't ask
people to help because there is no room in the kitchen; besides, alas!
there are so many people who like raising a man's head and giving him
soup, but who do not like cutting up vegetables.

After the first convoy of wounded has been served, other wounded men
come in from time to time, then about 4 o'clock there is another
train-load. At ten p.m. the largest convoy arrives. The men seem too
stiff to move, and many are carried in on soldiers' backs. The
stretchers are laid on the floor, those who can "s'asseoir" sit on
benches, and every man produces a "quart" or tin cup. One and all they
come out of the darkness and never look about them, but rouse themselves
to get fed, and stretch out poor grimy hands for bread and steaming
drinks. There is very little light--only one oil-lamp, which hangs from
the roof, and burns dimly. Under this we place the "marmites," and all
that I can see is one brown or black or wounded hand stretched out into
the dim ring of light under the lamp, with a little tin mug held out for
soup. Wet and ragged, and covered with sticky mud, the wounded lie in
the salle of the station, and, except under the lamp, it is all quite
dark. There are dim forms and frosty breaths, and a door which bangs
continually, and then the train loads up, the wounded depart, and a
heavy smell and an empty pot are all that remain. We clean up the
kitchen, and go home about 1 a.m. I do the night work alone.

_24 November._--We are beginning to get into our stride, and the small
kitchen turns out its gallons and buckets of liquid. Mrs. ---- has been
helping me with my work. It is good to see anyone so beautiful in the
tiny kitchen, and it is quaint to see anyone so absolutely ignorant of
how a pot is washed or a vegetable peeled.

I have a little electric lamp, which is a great comfort to me, as I have
to walk home alone at midnight. When I get up in the morning I have to
remember all I shall want during the day, as the villa is a mile from
the station, so I take my lantern out at 9.30 a.m.!

I saw a Belgian regiment march back to the trenches to-day. They had a
poor little band and some foggy instruments, and a bugler flourished a
trumpet. I stood by the roadside and cried till I couldn't see.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Page Heading: A LETTER HOME]

_To Miss Mary King._

_27 November._


You will like to know that I have a soup-kitchen at the station here,
and I am up to my neck in soup. I make it all day and a good bit of the
night too, for the wounded are coming in all the time, and they are half
frozen--especially the black troops. People are being so kind about the
work I am doing, and they are all saying what a comfort the soup is to
the men. Sometimes I feed several hundreds in a day.

I am sure everyone will grieve to hear of the death of Lord Roberts, but
I think he died just as he would wish to have died--amongst his old
troops, who loved him, and in the service of the King. He was a fine
soldier and a Christian gentleman, and you can't say better of a man
than that.

I feel as if I had been out here for years, and it seems quite odd to
think that one used to wear evening dress and have a fire in one's room.
I am promising myself, if all goes well, to get home about
Christmas-time. I wish I could think that the war would be over by then,
but it doesn't look very like it.

Remember me to Gwennie, and to all your people. Take care of your old

Yours truly,

       *       *       *       *       *

_1 December._--Mrs. Knocker and Miss Chisholm and Lady Dorothy went out
to Pervyse a few days ago to make soup, etc., for Belgians in the
trenches. They live in the cellar of a house which has been blown inside
out by guns, and take out buckets of soup to men on outpost duty. Not a
glimpse of fire is allowed on the outposts. Fortunately the weather has
been milder lately, but soaking wet. Our three ladies walk about the
trenches at night, and I come home at 1 a.m. from the station. The men
of our party meanwhile do some house-work. They sit over the fire a good
deal, clear away the tea-things, and when we come home at night we find
they have put hot-water bottles in our beds and trimmed some lamps. I
feel like Alice in Wonderland or some other upside-down world. We live
in much discomfort, which is a little unnecessary; but no one seems to
want to undertake housekeeping.

I make soup all day, and there is not much else to write about. All
along the Yser the Allies and the Germans confront each other, but
things have been quieter lately. The piteous list of casualties is not
so long as it has been. A wounded German was brought in to-day. Both his
legs were broken and his feet frost-bitten. He had been for four days in
water with nothing to eat, and his legs unset. He is doing well.

[Page Heading: PERVYSE]

On Sunday I drove out to Pervyse with a kind friend, Mr. Tapp. At the
end of the long avenue by which one approaches the village, Pervyse
church stands, like a sentinel with both eyes shot out. Nothing is left
but a blind stare. Hardly any of the church remains, and the churchyard
is as if some devil had stalked through it, tearing up crosses and
kicking down graves. Even the dead are not left undisturbed in this
awful war. The village (like many other villages) is just a mass of
gaping ruins--roofs blown off, streets full of holes, not a window left
unshattered, and the guns still booming.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Charles Percival._

_5 December._


I have a chance of sending this to England to be posted, so I must send
you a line to wish you many happy returns of the day. I wish we could
have our yearly kiss. I will think of you a lot, my dear, on the 8th,
and drink your health if I can raise the wherewithal. We are not famous
for our comforts, and it would amaze you to see how very nasty food can
be, and how very little one can get of it.

I have an interesting job now, and it is my own, which is rather a
mercy, as I never know which is most common, dirt or muddle. I can have
things as clean as I like, and my soup is getting quite a name for
itself. The first convoy of wounded generally comes into the station
about 11 a.m. It may number anything. Then the men are put into the
train, and there begins a weary wait for the poor fellows till more
wounded arrive and the train is loaded up, and sometimes they are kept
there all day. The stretcher cases are in a long corridor, and the
sitting-up cases in ordinary third-class carriages. The sitters are
worn, limping men, with bandaged heads, and hands bound up, who are yet
capable of sitting up in a train.

The transport is well done, I think (_far_ better than in South Africa),
but more women are wanted to look after details. To give you one
instance: all stretchers are made of different sizes, so that if a man
arrives on an ambulance, the stretchers belonging to it cannot go into
the train, and the poor wounded man has to be lifted and "transferred,"
which causes him (in the case of broken legs or internal injuries
especially) untold suffering. It also takes up much room, and gives
endless trouble for the sake of an _inch and a half_ of space, which is
the usual difference in the size of the stretchers, but that prevents
them slipping into the sockets on the train.

Another thing I have noticed is, that no man, even lying down in the
train, ever gets his boots taken off. The men's feet are always soaked
through, as they have been standing up to their knees in water in the
trenches; but, of course, slippers are unheard of. I do wonder if ladies
could be persuaded to make any sort of list or felt or even flannel
slippers? I saw quite a good pattern the other day, and will try to send
you one, in case Eastbourne should rise to the occasion. Of course,
there must be _hundreds_ of pairs, and heaps would get lost. I do
believe other centres would join, and the cost of material for slippers
would be quite trifling. A priest goes in each corridor train, and there
is always a stove where the boots could be dried. I believe slippers can
be bought for about a shilling a pair. The men's feet are _enormous_.
Cases should be marked with a red cross, and sent per S.S. _Invicta_,
Admiralty Pier, Dover.


The fighting has had a sort of lull here for some time, but there are
always horrible things happening. The other day at Lampernesse, 500
soldiers were sleeping on straw in a church. A spy informed the Germans,
who were twelve miles off, but they got the range to an inch, and sent
shells straight into the church, killing and wounding nearly everyone in
it, and leaving men under the ruins. We had some terrible cases that
day. The church was shelled at 6 a.m., and by 11 a.m. all the wounded
were having soup and coffee at the station. I thought their faces were
more full of horror than any I had seen.

The parson belonging to our convoy is a particularly nice young fellow.
I have had a bad cold lately, and every night he puts a hot-water bottle
in my bed. When he can raise any food he lays a little supper for me, so
that when I come in between 12 and 1 o'clock I can have something to
eat, a lump of cheese, plum jam, and perhaps a piece of bully beef,
always three pieces of ginger from a paper bag he has of them. Last
night when I got back I found I couldn't open the door leading into a
sort of garage through which we have to enter this house. I pushed as
hard as I could, and then found I was pushing against horses, and that a
whole squad of troop horses had been shoved in there for the night, so I
had to make my entry under their noses and behind their heels. Pinned to
the table inside the house was a note from the parson, "I can't get you
any food, but I have put a bottle of port-wine in your room. Stick to

I had meant to go early to church to-day, but I was really too tired, so
I am writing to you instead. Now I must be getting up, for "business
must be attended to."

Well, good-bye, my dear. I am always too busy to write now, so would you
mind sending this letter on to the family?

Your loving sister,

       *       *       *       *       *

_December._--Unexpected people continue to arrive at Furnes. Mme. Curie
and her daughter are in charge of the X-ray apparatus at the hospital.
Sir Bartle Frere is there as a guest. Miss Vaughan, of the _Nursing
Times_, came in out of the dark one evening. To-day the King has been
here. God bless him! he always does the right thing.

_6 December._--My horizon is bounded by soup and the men who drink it.
There is a stir outside the kitchen, and someone says, "Convoi." So then
we begin to fill pots and take steaming "marmites" off the fire. The
"sitting cases" come in first, hobbling, or carried on their comrades'
backs--heads and feet bandaged or poor hands maimed. When they have been
carried or have stiffly and slowly marched through the entrance to the
train, the "brancard" cases are brought in and laid on the floor. They
are hastily examined, and a doctor goes round reading the labels
attached to them which describe their wounds. An English ambulance and
a French one wait to take serious cases to their respective hospitals.
The others are lifted on to train-stretchers and carried to the train.


Two doctors came out from England on inspection duty to-day. They asked
if I had anything to report, and I made them come to the station to go
into this matter of the different-sized stretchers. It is agony to the
men to be shifted. Dr. Wilson has promised to take up the question. The
transport service is now much improved. The trains are heated and
lighted, and priests travel with the lying-down cases.

_8 December._--I have a little "charette" for my soup. It is painted
red, and gives a lot of amusement to the wounded. The trains are very
long, and my small carriage is useful for cups and basins, bread, soup,
coffee, etc. Clemmie Waring designed and sent it to me.

To-day I was giving out my soup on the train and three shells came in in
quick succession. One came just over my head and lodged in a haystall on
the other side of the platform. The wall of the store has an enormous
hole in it, but the thickly packed hay prevented the shrapnel
scattering. The station-master was hit, and his watch saved him, but it
was crumpled up like a rag. Two men were wounded, and one of them died.
A whole crowd of refugees came in from Coxide, which is being heavily
shelled. There was not a scrap of food for them, so I made soup in great
quantities, and distributed it to them in a crowded room whose
atmosphere was thick. Ladling out the soup is great fun.

_12 December._--The days are very short now, and darkness falls early.
All the streets are dark, so are the houses, so is the station. Two
candles are a rare treat, and oil is difficult to get.

Such a nice boy died to-night. We brought him to the hospital from the
station, and learned that he had lain for eight days wounded and
untended. Strangely enough he was naked, and had only a blanket over him
on the stretcher. I do not know why he was still alive. Everything was
done for him that could be done, but as I passed through one of the
wards this evening the nurses were doing their last kindly duty to him.
Poor fellow! He was one of those who had "given even their names." No
one knew who he was. He had a woman's portrait tattooed on his breast.

_19 December._--Not much to record this week. The days have become more
stereotyped, and their variety consists in the number of wounded who
come in. One day we had 280 extra men to feed--a batch of soldiers
returning hungry to the trenches, and some refugees. So far we have
never refused anyone a cup of soup; or coffee and bread.

I haven't been fit lately, and get fearful bad headaches. I go to the
station at 10 a.m. every morning, and work till 1 o'clock. Then to the
hospital for lunch. I like the staff there very much. The surgeons are
not only skilful, but they are men of education. We all get on well
together, in spite of that curious form of temper which war always seems
to bring. No one is affable here, except those who have just come out
from home, and it is quite common to hear a request made and refused,
or granted with, "Please do not ask again." Newcomers are looked upon as
aliens, and there is a queer sort of jealousy about all the work.


Oddly enough, few persons seem to show at their best at a time when the
best should be apparent. No doubt, it is a form of nerves, which is
quite pardonable. Nurses and surgeons do not suffer from it. They are
accustomed to work and to seeing suffering, but amateur workers are a
bit headlong at times. I think the expectation of excitement (which is
often frustrated) has a good deal to do with it. Those who "come out for
thrills" often have a long waiting time, and energies unexpended in one
direction often show themselves unexpectedly and a little unpleasantly
in another.

In my own department I always let Zeal spend itself unchecked, and I
find that people who have claimed work or a job ferociously are the
first to complain of over-work if left to themselves. Afterwards, if
there is any good in them, they settle down into their stride. They are
only like young horses, pulling too hard at first and sweating off their
strength--jibbing one moment and shying the next--when it comes to
"'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer on the 'ard 'igh road," one finds who is going
to stick it and who is not.

There has been some heavy firing round about Nieuport and south of the
Yser lately, and an unusual number of wounded have been coming in, many
of them "gravement blessés."

One evening a young French officer came to the kitchen for soup. It was
on Wednesday, December 16th, the day the Allies assumed the offensive,
and all night cases were being brought in. He was quite a boy, and
utterly shaken by what he had been through. He could only repeat, "It
was horrible, horrible!" These are the men who tell brave tales when
they get home, but we see them dirty and worn, when they have left the
trenches only an hour before, and have the horror of battle in their

There are scores of "pieds gelés" at present, and I now have bags of
socks for these. So many men come in with bare feet, and I hope in time
to get carpet slippers and socks for them all. One night no one came to
help, and I had a great business getting down a long train, so Mrs.
Logette has promised to come every evening. The kitchen is much nicer
now, as we are in a larger passage, and we have three stoves, lamps,
etc. Many things are being "straightened out" besides, my poor little
corner and war seems better understood. There is hardly a thing which is
not thought of and done for the sick and wounded, and I should say a
grievance was impossible.

I still lodge at the Villa Joos, and am beginning to enjoy a study of
middle-class provincial life. The ladies do all the house-work. We have
breakfast (a bite) in the kitchen at 8.30 a.m., then I go to make soup,
and when I come back after lunch for a rest, "the family" are dressed
and sitting round a stove, and this they continue to do till a meal has
to be prepared. There is one lamp and one table, and one stove, and
unless papa plays the pianola there is nothing to do but talk. No one
reads, and only one woman does a little embroidery, while the small
girl of the party cuts out scraps from a fashion paper.

The poor convoy! it is becoming very squabbly and tiresome, and there is
a good deal of "talking over," which is one of the weakest sides of
"communal life." It is petty and ridiculous to quarrel when Death is so
near, and things are so big and often so tragic. Yet human nature has
strict limitations. Mr. Ramsay MacDonald came out from the committee to
see what all the complaints were about. So there were strange
interviews, in store-rooms, etc. (no one has a place to call their
own!), and everyone "explained" and "gave evidence" and tried to "put
matters straight."

It rains every day. This may be a "providence," as the floods are
keeping the Germans away. The sound of constant rain on the window-panes
is a little melancholy. Let us pray that in singleness and cheerfulness
of heart we may do our little bit of work.


_23 December._--Yesterday I motored into Dunkirk, and did a lot of
shopping. By accident our motor-car went back to Furnes without me, and
there was not a bed to be had in Dunkirk! After many vicissitudes I met
Captain Whiting, who gave up his room in his own house to me, and slept
at the club. I was in clover for once, and nearly wept when I found my
boots brushed and hot water at my door. It was so like home again.

I was leaving the station to-day when shelling began again. One shell
dropped not far behind the bridge, which I had just crossed, and
wrecked a house. Another fell into a boat on the canal and wounded the
occupants badly. I went to tell the Belgian Sisters not to go down to
the station, and I lunched at their house, and then went home till the
evening work began. People are always telling one that danger is now
over--a hidden gun has been discovered and captured, and there will be
no more shelling. Quel blague! The shelling goes on just the same
whether hidden guns are captured or not.

I can't say at present when I shall get home, because no one ever knows
what is going to happen. I don't quite know who would take my place at
the soup-kitchen if I were to leave.

_25 December._--My Christmas Day began at midnight, when I walked home
through the moonlit empty streets of Furnes. At 2 a.m. the guns began to
roar, and roared all night. They say the Allies are making an attack.

I got up early and went to church in the untidy school-room at the
hospital, which is called the nurses' sitting-room. Mr. Streatfield had
arranged a little altar, which was quite nice, and had set some chairs
in an orderly row. As much as in him lay--from the altar linen to the
white artificial flowers in the vases--all was as decent as could be and
there were candles and a cross. We were quite a small congregation, but
another service had been held earlier, and the wounded heard Mass in
their ward at 6 a.m. The priests put up an altar there, and I believe
the singing was excellent. Inside we prayed for peace, and outside the
guns went on firing. Prince Alexander of Teck came to our service--a
big soldierly figure in the bare room.


After breakfast I went to the soup-kitchen at the station, as usual,
then home--_i.e._, to the hospital to lunch. At 3.15 came a sort of
evensong with hymns, and then we went to the civil hospital, where there
was a Christmas-tree for all the Belgian refugee children. Anything more
touching I never saw, and to be with them made one blind with tears. One
tiny mite, with her head in bandages, and a little black shawl on, was
introduced to me as "une blessée, madame." Another little boy in the
hospital is always spoken of gravely as "the civilian."

Every man, woman, and child got a treat or a present or a good dinner.
The wounded had turkey, and all they could eat, and the children got
toys and sweets off the tree. I suppose these children are not much
accustomed to presents, for their delight was almost too much for them.
I have never seen such excitement! Poor mites! without homes or money,
and with their relations often lost--yet little boys were gibbering over
their toys, and little girls clung to big parcels, and squeaked dolls or
blew trumpets. The bigger children had rather good voices, and all sang
our National Anthem in English. "God save our nobbler King"--the accent
was quaint, but the children sang lustily.

We had finished, and were waiting for our own Christmas dinner when
shells began to fly. One came whizzing past Mr. Streatfield's store-room
as I stood there with him. The next minute a little child in floods of
tears came in, grasping her mother's bag, to say "Maman" had had her arm
blown off. The child herself was covered with dust and dirt, and in the
streets people were sheltering in doorways, and taking little runs for
safety as soon as a shell had finished bursting. The bombardment lasted
about an hour, and we all waited in the kitchen and listened to it. At
such times, when everyone is rather strung up, someone always and
continually lets things fall. A nun clattered down a pail, and Maurice
the cook seemed to fling saucepan-lids on the floor.

About 8.15 the bombardment ceased, and we went in to a cheery
dinner--soup, turkey, and plum-pudding, with crackers and speeches. I
believe no one would have guessed we had been a bit "on the stretch."

At 9.30 I went to the station. It was very melancholy. No one was there
but myself. The fires were out, or smoking badly. Everyone had been
scared to death by the shells, and talked of nothing else, whereas
shells should be forgotten directly. I got things in order as soon as I
could and the wounded in the train got their hot soup and coffee as
usual, which was a satisfaction. Then I came home alone at
midnight--keeping as near the houses as I could because of possible
shells--and so to bed, very cold, and rather too inclined to think about

_26 December._--Went to the station. Oddly enough, very few wounded were
there, so I came away, and had my first day at home. I got a little
oil-stove put in my room, wrote letters, tidied up, and thoroughly
enjoyed myself.

A Taube came over and hovered above Furnes, and dropped bombs. I was at
the Villa, and the family of Joos and I stood and watched it, and a
nasty dangerous moth it looked away up in the sky. Presently it came
over our house, so we went down to the kitchen. A few shots were fired,
but the Taube was far too high up to be hit. Max, the Joos' cousin, went
out and "tirait," to the admiration of the women-kind, and then, of
course, "Papa" had to have a try. The two men, with their little gun and
their talk and gesticulations, lent a queer touch of comic opera to the
scene. The garden was so small, the men in their little hats were so
suggestive of the "broken English" scene on the stage, that one could
only stand and laugh.


The Joos family are quite a study, and so kind. On Christmas Eve I dined
with them, and they gave me the best of all they had. There was a
pheasant, which someone had given the doctor (I fancy he is a very small
practitioner amongst the poor people); surely, never did a bird give
more pleasure. I had known of its arrival days before by seeing
Fernande, the little girl, decorated with feathers from its tail. Then
the good papa must be decorated also, and these small jokes delighted
the whole family to the point of ecstasy.

On Christmas Eve Monsieur Max conceived the splendid joke, carefully
arranged, of presenting Madame Joos--who is young and pretty--and the
doctor with two parcels, which on being opened contained the child's
umbrella and a toy gun. There wasn't even a comic address on the
parcels; but Yrma, the servant, carefully trained for the part, brought
them in in fits of delight, and all the family laughed with joy till the
tears ran down their cheeks. As they wiped their eyes, they admitted
they were sick with laughter. After supper we had the pianola, played by
papa; and I must say that, when one can get nothing else, this
instrument gives a great deal of pleasure. One gets a sort of ache for
music which is just as bad as being hungry.

_27 December._--Bad, bad weather again. It has rained almost
continuously for five weeks. Yesterday it snowed. Always the wind blows,
and _something_ lashes itself against the panes. One can't leave the
windows open, as the rooms get flooded. It is amazingly cold o' nights,
I can't sleep for the cold.

We have some funny incidents at the station sometimes. A particularly
amusing one occurred the other day, when three ladies in knickerbockers
and khaki and badges appeared at our soup-kitchen door and announced
they were "on duty" there till 6 o'clock. I was not there, but the scene
that followed has been described to me, and has often made me laugh.

It seems the ladies never got further than the door!
Some people might have been firm in the "Too sorry!
Come-some-other-day-when-we-are-not-so-busy" sort of way. Not so Miss
----. In more primitive times she would probably have gone for the
visitors with a broom, but her tongue is just as rough as the hardest
besom, and from their dress ("skipping over soldiers' faces with
breeches on, indeed!") to their corps there was very little left of


It wasn't really from the dog-in-the-manger spirit that the little woman
acted. The fact is that Belgians and French run the station together,
and they are all agreed on one thing, which is, that no one but an
authorised and registered person is to come within its doors. Heaven
knows the trouble there has been with spies, and this rule is absolutely

Two Red Cross khaki-clad men have been driving everywhere in Furnes, and
have been found to be Germans. Had we permitted itinerant workers, the
authorities gave notice that the kitchen would have to close.

In the evening, when I went to the station, another knickerbockered lady
sat there! I told her our difficulties, but allowed her to do a little
work rather than hurt her feelings. The following day Miss ---- engaged
in deadly conflict with the lady who had sent our unwelcome visitors.
Over the scene we will draw a veil, but we never saw the knickerbockered
ladies again!

_31 December, 1914._--The last day of this bad old year. I feel quite
thankful for the summer I had at the Grange. It has been something to
look back upon all the time I have been here; the pergolas of pink
roses, the sleepy fields, the dear people who used to come and stay with
me, and all the fun and pleasure of it, help one a good deal now.

Yesterday was a fine day in the middle of weeks of rain. When I came
down to breakfast in the Joos' little kitchen I remarked, of course, on
the beauty of the weather. "What a day for Taubes!" said Monsieur Max,
looking up at the clear blue sky. Before I had left home there was a
shell in a street close by, and one heard that already these horrible
birds of prey had been at work, and had thrown two bombs, which
destroyed two houses in the Rue des Trèfles. The pigeons that circle
round the old buildings in Furnes always seem to see the Taubes first,
as if they knew by sight their hateful brothers. They flutter disturbed
from roof and turret, and then, with a flash of white wings, they fly
far away. I often wish I had wings when I see them.

I went to the station, and then to the hospital for slippers for some
wounded men. Five aeroplanes were overhead--Allies' and German--and
there was a good deal of firing. I was struck by the fact that the night
before I had seen _exactly_ this scene in a dream. Second sight always
gives me much to think about. The inevitableness of things seems much
accentuated by it. In my dream I stood by the other people in the yard
looking at the war in the air, and watching the circling aeroplanes and
the bursts of smoke.

At the station there was a nasty feeling that something was going to
happen. The Taubes wheeled about and hovered in the blue. I went to the
hospital for lunch, and afterwards I asked Mr. Bevan to come to the
station to look at some wounded whose dressings had not been touched for
too long. He said he would come in half an hour, so I said I wouldn't
wait, as he knew exactly where to find the men, and I came back to the
Villa for my rest. As I walked home I heard that the station had been
shelled, and I met one of the Belgian Sisters and told her not to go on
duty till after dark, but I had no idea till evening came of what had
happened. Ten shells burst in or round the station. Men, women, and
children were killed. They tell me that limbs were flying, and a French
chauffeur, who came on here, picked up a man's leg in the street. Mr.
Bevan sent up word to say none of us was to go to the station for the

At Dunkirk seven Taubes flew overhead and dropped bombs, killing
twenty-eight people. At Pervyse shells are coming in every day. I can't
help wondering when we shall clear out of this. If the bridges are
destroyed it will be difficult to get away. The weather has turned very
wet again this evening. We have only had two or three fine days in as
many months. The wind howls day and night, and the place is so well
known for it that "vent de Furnes" is a byword. No doubt the floods
protect us, so one mustn't grumble at a sore throat.

[Page Heading: SHELLS AT FURNES]

_1 January._--The station was shelled again to-day. Three houses were
destroyed, and there was one person killed and a good many more were
wounded. A rumour got about that the Germans had promised 500 shells in
Furnes on New Year's Day.

In the evening I went down to the station, and I was evidently not
expected. Not a thing was ready for the wounded. The man in charge had
let all three fires out, and he and about seven soldiers (mostly drunk)
were making merry in the kitchen. None of them would budge, and I was
glad I had young Mr. Findlay with me, as he was in uniform, and helped
to get things straight. But these French seem to have very little
discipline, and even when the military doctors came in the men did
nothing but argue with them. It was amazing to hear them. One night a
soldier, who is always drunk, was lying on a brancard in the doctor's
own room, and no one seemed to mind.

_3 January, Sunday._--I have had my usual rest and hot bath. I find I
never want a holiday if I may have my Sundays. I spent a lazy afternoon
in Miss Scott's room, she being ill, then went to Mr. Streatfield's
service, dinner, and the station. A new officer was on duty there, and
was introduced to the kitchen. He said, "Les anglais, of course. No one
else ever does anything for anybody."

I believe this is very nearly the case. God knows, we are full of
faults, but the superiority of the British race to any other that I know
is a matter of deep conviction with me, and it is founded, I think, on
wide experience.

_6 January._--I went to Adinkerke two days ago to establish a
soup-kitchen there, as they say that Furnes station is too dangerous. We
have been given a nice little waiting-room and a stove. We heard to-day
that the station-master at Furnes has been signalling to the enemy, so
that is why we have been shelled so punctually. His daughter is engaged
to a German. Two of our hospital people noticed that before each
bombardment a blue light appeared to flash on the sky. They reported
the matter, with the result that the signals were discovered.


There has been a lot of shelling again to-day, and several houses are
destroyed. A child of two years is in our hospital with one leg blown
off and the other broken. One only hears people spoken of as, "the man
with the abdominal trouble," or "the one shot through the lungs."

Children know the different aeroplanes by sight, and one little girl,
when I ask her for news, gives me a list of the "obus" that have
arrived, and which have "s'éclaté," and which have not. One can see that
she despises those which "ne s'éclatent pas." One says "Bon soir, pas
des obus," as in English one says, "Good-night, sleep well."

_10 January._--Prince Alexander of Teck dined at the hospital last
night, and we had a great spread. Madame Sindici did wonders, and there
were hired plates and finger-bowls, and food galore! We felt real
swells. An old General--the head of the Army Medical Corps--gave me the
most grateful thanks for serving the soldiers. It was gracefully and
delightfully done.

I am going home for a week's holiday.

_14 January._--I went home _via_ Calais. Mr. Bevan and Mr. Morgan took
me there. It was a fine day and I felt happy for once, that is, for once
out here.

Some people enjoy this war. I think it is far the worst time, except
one, I ever spent. Perhaps I have seen more suffering than most people.
A doctor sees a hospital, and a nurse sees a ward of sick and wounded,
but I see them by the hundred passing before me in an endless train all
day. I can make none of them really better. I feed them, and they pass

One reviews one's life a little as one departs. Always I shall remember
Furnes as a place of wet streets and long dark evenings, with gales
blowing, and as a place where I have been always alone. I have not once
all this time exchanged a thought with anyone. I have lived in a very
damp attic, and talked French to some kind middle-class people, and I
have walked a mile for every meal I have had. So I shall always think of
Furnes as a wet, dark place, and of myself with a lantern trudging about
its mean streets.



I have not written my diary for some weeks. I went home to England and
stayed at Rayleigh House. On my way home I met Mr. F. Ware, who told me
submarines were about. As I had but just left a much-shelled town, I
think he might have held his peace. The usual warm welcome at Rayleigh
House, with Mary there to meet me, and Emily Strutt.

I wasn't very tired when I first arrived, but fatigue came out on me
like a rash afterwards. I got more tired every day, and ended by having
a sort of breakdown. This rather spoilt my holiday, but it was very nice
seeing people again. It was difficult, I found, to accommodate myself to
small things, and one was amazed to find people still driving serenely
in closed broughams. It was like going back to live on earth again after
being in rather a horrible other world. I went to my own house and
enjoyed the very smell of the place. My little library and an hour or
two spent there made my happiest time. Different people asked me to
things, but I wasn't up to going out, and the weather was amazingly

I was to have gone back to work on the Thursday week after I arrived
home, but I got a telegram from Madame Sindici saying Furnes was being
shelled, and the hospital, etc., was to be evacuated. Dr. Perrin, who
was to have taken me back, had to start immediately without me. It was
difficult to get news, and hearing nothing I went over on Saturday,
January 23rd, as I had left Mrs. Clitheroe in charge of my soup-kitchen,
and thought I had better do the burning deck act and get back to it.

Mr. Bevan and Mr. Morgan met me at Calais, and told me to wait at
Dunkirk, as everyone was quitting Furnes. One of our poor nurses was
killed, and the Joos' little house was much damaged. I stopped at Mrs.
Clitheroe's flat, very glad to be ill in peace after my seedy condition
in London and a bad crossing. Rested quietly all Sunday in the flat by
myself. It is an empty, bare little place, with neither carpets nor
curtains, but there is something home-like about it, the result, I
think, of having an open fire in one room.

On Monday, the 25th, I went back to work at Adinkerke station, to which
place our soup-kitchen has been moved. I got a warm welcome from the
Belgian Sisters. It is very difficult doing the station work from
Dunkirk, as it is 16 kilometres from Adinkerke; but the place itself is
nice, and I just have to trust to lifts. I fill my pockets with
cigarettes and go to the "sortie de la ville," and just wait for
something to pass--and some queer, bumpy rides I get. Still, the
soldiers who drive me are delightful, and the cigarettes are always
taken as good pay.

One day I went and spent the night at Hoogstadt, where the hospital now
is, and that I much enjoyed. Dr. Perrin gave up his little room to me,
and the nurses and staff were all so full of welcome and pleasant

On Monday, February 8th, I went out to La Panne to start living in the
hotel there; but I was really dreadfully seedy, and suffered so much
that I had to return to the flat at Dunkirk again to be nursed. My day
at La Panne was therefore very sad, as I nearly perished with cold, and
felt so ill. Not a soul came near me, and I wished I could be a Belgian
refugee, when I might have had a little attention from somebody.

On Tuesday, February 9th, a Belgian officer came into Adinkerke station,
claimed our kitchen as a bureau, and turned us out on to the platform. I
am trying to get General Millis to interfere; but, indeed, the rudeness
of this man's act makes one furious.


_14 February._--I have been laid up for some days at the flat at
Dunkirk. It is amazing to realise that this place should be one's
present idea of comfort. It has no carpets, no curtains, not a blind
that will pull up or down, and rather dirty floors, yet it is so much
more comfortable than anything I have had yet that I am too thankful to
be here. There is a gas-ring in the kitchen, on which it is possible to
cook our food, and there are shops where things can be got.

Mr. Strickland and I are both laid up here, and Miss Logan nurses us
devotedly. Our joy is having a sitting-room with a fire in it. Was
there ever anything half so good as that fire, or half so homely, half
so warm or so much one's own? I lie on three chairs in front of it, and
headache and cold and throat are almost forgotten. The wind howls, the
sea roars, and aeroplanes fly overhead, but at least we have our fire
and are at home.

_17 February._--Another cold, wet day. I am alone in the flat with a
"femme de ménage" to look after me. A doctor comes to see me sometimes.
Miss Logan and Mr. Strickland left this morning. There was a tempest of
rain, and I couldn't think of being moved. They were sweet and kind, and
felt bad about leaving me; but I am just loving being left alone with
some books and my fire.

I have been lying in bed correcting proofs. Oh, the joy of being at
one's own work again! Just to see print is a pleasure. I believe I have
forgotten all I ever knew before the war began. A magazine article comes
to me like a language I have almost forgotten.

_18 February._--This is the day that German "piracy" is supposed to
begin. We heard a great explosion early this morning, but it was only a
mine that had been found on the shore being blown up. The sailors'
aeroplane corps is opposite us, and we see Commander Samson and others
flying off in the morning and whirling back at night, and then we hear
there has been a raid somewhere. When a Taube comes over here the
sailors fire at it with a gun just opposite us, and then tell us they
only do it to give us flower-vases--_i.e._, empty shell-cases!


Mr. Holland came here to-day, and told me some humorous sides of his
experiences with ambulances. One man from the Church Army marched in,
and said: "I am a Christian and you are not. I come here for petrol, and
I ask it, not for the Red Cross, but in the name of Christ." Another man
came dashing in, and said: "I want to go to Poperinghe. I was once there
before, and the mud was beastly. Send someone with me."

My own latest experience was with an American woman of awful vulgarity.
I asked her if she was busy, like everyone else in this place, and she

"No. I was suffering from a nervous breakdown, so I came out here. What
is your _war_ is my _peace_, and I now sleep like a baby."

I want adjectives! How is one to describe the people who come for
one brief visit to the station or hospital with an intense
conviction that they and they only feel the suffering or even notice
the wants of the men. Some are good workers. Others I call
"This-poor-fellow-has-had-none." Nurses may have been up all night,
doctors may be worked off their feet, seven hundred men may have passed
through the station, all wounded and all fed, but when our visitors
arrive they discover that "This poor fellow has had none," and firmly,
and with a high sense of duty and of their own efficiency, they make the
thing known.

No one else has heard a man shouting for water; no one else knows that a
man wants soup. The man may have appendicitis, or colitis, or
pancreatitis, or he may have been shot through the lungs or the abdomen.
It doesn't matter. The casual visitor knows he has been neglected, and
she says so, and quite indiscriminately she fills everyone up with
soup. Only she is tender-hearted. Only she could never really be
hardened by being a nurse. She seizes a little cup, stoops over a man
gracefully, and raises his head. Then she wants things passed to her,
and someone must help her, and someone must listen to what she has to
say. She feeds one man in half an hour, and goes away horrified at the
way things are done. Fortunately these people never stay for long.

Then there is another. She can't understand why our ships should be
blown up or why trenches should be taken. In her own mind she proves
herself of good sound intelligence and a member of the Empire who won't
be bamboozled, when she says firmly and with heat, "Why don't we _do_
something?" She would like to scold a few Generals and Admirals, and she
says she believes the Germans are much cleverer than ourselves. This
last taunt she hopes will make people "_do_ something." It stings, she

I could write a good deal about this "solitary winter," but I have not
had time either to write or to read. I think something inside me has
stood still or died during this war.

_21 February, Sunday._--The Munro corps has swooped down in its usual
hurry to distribute letters, and to say that someone is waiting down
below and they can't stop. They eat a hasty sardine, drink a cup of
coffee, and are off!

To-day I have made this flat tidy at last, and have had it cleaned and
scrubbed. I have thrown away old papers and empty boxes, and can sit
down and sniff contentedly. No convoy-ite sees the difference!


I think I have learnt every phase of muddle and makeshift this winter,
but chiefly have I learnt the value of the Biblical recommendation to
put candles on candlesticks. In the "convoi Munro" I find them in
bottles, on the lids of mustard-tins, in metal cups, or in the necks of
bedroom carafes. Never is the wax removed. Where it drips there it
remains. Where matches fall there they lie. The stumps of cigarettes
grace even the insides of flower-pots, knives are wiped on bread,
and overcoats of enormous weight (khaki in colour, with a red cross
on the arm) are hung on inefficient loose nails, and fall down.
Towels are always scarce; but then, they serve as dinner-napkins,
pocket-handkerchiefs, and even as pillow-cases, so no wonder we are a
little short of them. There is no necessity for muddle. There never is
any necessity for it.

The communal life is a mistake. I wonder if Christ got bored with it.

On Sundays I always want to rest, and something always makes me write.
The attack comes on quite early. It is irresistible. At last I am a
little happy after these dreary months, and it is only because I can
think a little, and because the days are not quite so dark. I think the
nights have been longer here than I ever knew them. No doubt it is the
bad weather and the small amount of light indoors that make the days
seem so short.

I am going back to-morrow to the station, with its train-loads of
wounded men. I _want_ to go, and to give them soup and comforts and
cigarettes, but just ten days' illness and idleness have "balmed my

_22 February._--Waited all day for a car to come and fetch me away. It
was dull work as I could never leave the flat, and all my things were
packed up, and there was no coal.

_23 February._--Waited again all day. I got very tired of standing by
the window looking out on a strip of beach at the bottom of the street,
and on the people passing to and fro. Then I went down to the dock to
try and get a car there, but the new police regulations made it
impossible to cross the bridge. I went to the airmen opposite. No luck.

There is a peculiar brutality which seems to possess everyone out here
during the war. I find it nearly everywhere, and it entails a good deal
of unnecessary suffering. Always I am reminded of birds on a small ledge
pushing each other into the sea. The big bird that pushes another one
over goes to sleep comfortably.

I remember one evening at Dunkirk when we couldn't get rooms or food
because the landlady of the hotel had lost all her servants. The staff
at the ---- gave me a meal, but there was a queer want of courtesy about
it. I said that anything would do for my supper, and I went to help get
it myself. I spied a roll of cold veal on a shelf, and said helpfully
that that would do splendidly, but the answer was: "Yes, but I believe
that is for our next meal." However, in the end I got a scrap,
consisting mostly of green stuffing.

"But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room"--ah, my
dear Lord, in this world one may certainly take the lowest place, and
keep it. It is only the great men who say, "Friend, come up higher."

"You can't have it," is on everyone's lips, and a general sense of
bustle goes with the brutality. "You can't come here," "We won't have
her," are quite common phrases. God help us, how nasty we all are!

I find one can score pretty heavily nowadays by being a "psychologist."
All the most disagreeable people I know are psychologists, notably ----,
who breaks his promises and throws all his friends to the wolves, but
who can still explain everything in his sapient way by saying he is a

One thing I hope--that no one will ever call me "highly strung." I wish
good old-fashioned bad temper was still the word for highly strung and
nervy people.

... I am longing for beautiful things, music, flowers, fine thoughts....

[Page Heading: LA PANNE]

_La Panne. 25 February._--At last I have succeeded in getting away from
Dunkirk! The Duchess of Sutherland brought me here in her car. Last
night I dined with Mrs. Clitheroe. She was less bustled than usual, and
I enjoyed a chat with her as we walked home through the cold white mist
which enshrouded La Panne.

This long war has settled down to a long wait. Little goes on except
desultory shelling, with its occasional quite useless victims. At the
station we have mostly "malades" and "éclopés"; in the trenches the
soldiers stand in the bitter cold, and occasionally are moved out by
shells falling by chance amongst them. The men who are capable of big
things wait and do nothing.

If it was not for the wounded how would one stand the life here? A man
looks up patiently, dumbly, out of brown eyes, and one is able to go on

_La Panne. 27 February_.--I have been staying for three nights at the
Kursaal Hotel, but my room was wanted and I had to turn out, so I packed
my things and came down to the Villa les Chrysanthèmes, and shared Mrs.
Clitheroe's room for a night. In the morning all our party packed up and
left to go to Furnes, and I took on these rooms. I may be turned out any
minute for "le militaire," but meanwhile I am very comfortable.

The heroic element (a real thing among us) takes queer forms sometimes.
"No sheets, of course," is what one hears on every side, and to eat a
meal standing and with dirty hands is to "play the game." Maxine Elliott
said, "The nervous exhaustion attendant upon discomfort hinders work,"
and she "does herself" very well, as also do all the men of the regular
forces. But volunteer corps--especially women--are heroically bent on
being uncomfortable. In a way they like it, and they eat strange meals
in large quantities, and feel that this is war.

Lord Leigh took me into Dunkirk in his car to-day, and I managed to get
lots of vegetables for the soup-kitchen, and several other things I
wanted. A lift is everything at this time, when one can "command"
nothing. If one might for once feel that by paying a fare, however high,
one could ensure having something--a railway journey, a motor-car, or
even a bed! My work isn't so heavy at the kitchen now, and the hours are
not so long, so I hope to do some work of a literary nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Page Heading: LA PANNE]

_To Miss Macnaughtan's Sisters._

_Sunday, 28 February._


It is so long since I wrote a decently long letter that I think I must
write to you all, to thank you for yours, and to give you what news
there is of myself.

Of war news there is none. The long war is now a long wait, and the huge
expense still goes on, while we lock horns with our foes and just sway
backwards and forwards a little, and this, as you know, we have done for
weeks past. Every day at the station there is a little stream of men
with heads or limbs bandaged, and our work goes on as before, although
it is not on quite the same lines now. I used to make every drop of the
soup myself, and give it out all down the train. Now we have a
receiving-room for the wounded, where they stay all day, and we feed
them four times, and then they are sent away. The whole thing is more
military than it used to be, the result, I think, of officers not having
much to do, and with a passion for writing out rules and regulations
with a nice broad pen. Two orderlies help in the kitchen, the soup is
"inspected," and what used to be "la cuisine de la dame écossaise" is
not so much a charitable institution as it was.

One sees a good deal of that sort of thing during this war. Women have
been seeing what is wanted, and have done the work themselves at really
enormous difficulty, and in the face of opposition, and when it is a
going concern it is taken over and, in many cases, the women are turned
out. This was the case at Dunkirk station, which was known everywhere as
"the shambles." I myself tried to get the wounded attended to, and I
went there with a naval doctor, who told me that he couldn't uncover a
single wound because of the awful atmosphere (it was quite common to see
15,000 men lying on straw). One woman took this matter in hand, purged
the place, got mattresses, clean straw, stoves, etc., and when all was
in order the voice of authority turned her out.

This long waiting is being much more trying for people than actual
fighting. In every corps the old heroic outlook is a little bit fogged
by petty things. One sees the result of it in some wrangling and
jealousy, but this will soon be forgotten when fighting with all its
realities begins again.

I think Britain on the subject of "piracy" is about as fine as anything
in her history. Her determination to ignore ultimatums and threats is
really quite funny, and English people still put out in boats as they
have always done, and are quite undismayed. Our own people here continue
to travel by sea, as if submarines were rather a joke, and when going
over to England on some small and useless little job they say
apologetically, "Of course, I wouldn't go if I hadn't got to." The fact
is, if there is any danger about they have to be in it.

Some of our own corps have gone back to Furnes--I believe because it is
being shelled. The rest of us are at La Panne, a cold seaside place
amongst the dunes. In summer-time I fancy it is fashionable, but now it
contains nothing but soldiers. They are quartered everywhere, and one
never knows how long one will be able to keep a room. The station is at
Adinkerke, where I have my kitchen. It is about two miles from La Panne,
and it also is crammed with soldiers. There seems to be no attempt at
sanitation anywhere.

I wish I had more interesting news to tell you, but I am at my station
all day, and if there is anything to hear (which I doubt) I do not hear

There is a barge on the canal at Adinkerke which is our only excitement.
It is the property of Maxine Elliott, Lady Drogheda, and Miss Close, and
to go to tea with them is everyone's ambition. The barge is crammed with
things for Belgian refugees, and Maxine told me that the cargo
represents "nearer £10,000 than £5,000." It is piled with flour in
sacks, clothing, medical comforts, etc. The work is good.

I am sending home some long pins like nails. They are called "Silent
Death," and are dropped from German aeroplanes. Boys pick them up and
give them to us in exchange for cigarettes.


I want to tell Tabby how immensely pleased everyone is with her
slippers. The men who have stood long in the trenches are in agonies of
frost-bite and rheumatism, and now that I can give them these slippers
when they arrive at the station, they are able to take off their wet
boots caked with mud.

If J. would send me another little packet of groceries I should love it.
Just what can come by post. That Benger's Food of hers nearly saved my
life when I was ill at Dunkirk. What I should like better than anything
is a few good magazines and books. I get _Punch_ and the _Spectator_,
but I want the _English Review_ and the _National_, and perhaps a
_Hibbert_. I enclose ten shillings for these. What is being read?
Stephen Coleridge seems to have brought out an interesting collection,
but I can't remember its name. I wonder if any notice will be taken of
"They who Question." The reviews speak well of the Canadian book.

Love to you all, and tell Alan how much I think of him. Bless you, my
dears. Write often.

Yours as ever,

       *       *       *       *       *

_1 March._--Woe betide the person who owns anything out here: he is
instantly deprived of it. "Pinching" is proverbial, and people have
taken to carrying as many of their possessions as possible on their
person, with the result that they are the strangest shapes and sizes.
Still, one hopes the goods are valuable until one discovers that they
generally consist of the following items: a watch that doesn't go, a
fountain-pen that is never filled, an electric torch that won't light, a
much-used hanky, an empty iodine bottle, and a scarf.

_5 March._--I went as usual to-day to the muddy station and distributed
soup, which I no longer make now that the station has become
militarised. My hours are from 12 noon to 5 o'clock. This includes the
men's dinner-hour and the washing of the kitchen. They eat and smoke
when I am there, and loll on the little bench. They are Belgians and I
am English, and one is always being warned that the English can't be too
careful! We are entertaining 40,000 Belgians in England, but it must be
done "carefully."


It is a great bore out here that everything is stolen. One can hardly
lay a thing down for an instant that it isn't taken. To-day my Thermos
flask in a leather case, in which I carry my lunch, was prigged from the
kitchen. Things like metal cups are stolen by the score, and everyone
begs! Even well-to-do people are always asking for something, and they
simply whine for tobacco. The fact is, I think, the English are giving
things away with their usual generosity and want of discrimination,
and--it is a horrid word--they are already pauperising a nice lot of
people. I can't help thinking that the thing is being run on wrong
lines. We should have given or lent what was necessary to the Belgian
Government, and let them undertake to provide for soldiers and refugees
through the proper channels. No lasting good ever came of gifts--every
child begs for cigarettes, and they begin smoking at five years old.

I often think of our poor at home, and wish I had a few sacks full of
things for them! I have not myself come across any instances of poverty
nearly as bad as I have seen in England. I understand from Dr. Joos and
other Belgians who know about these things that there is still a good
deal of money tucked away in this country. I hope there is, and we all
want to help the Belgians over a bad time, but it would be better and
more dignified for them to get it through their own Government.

I had tea with Lady Bagot the other day, and afterwards I had a chat
with Prince Francis at the English Mission. Another afternoon I went
down to the Kursaal Hotel for tea. The stuffy sitting-room there is
always filled with knickerbockered, leather-coated ladies and with
officers in dark blue uniform, who talk loudly and pat the barmaid's
cheeks. She seems to expect it; it is almost etiquette. A cup of bad
tea, some German trophies examined and discussed, and then I came away
with a "British" longing for skirts for my ladies, and for something
graceful and (odious word) dainty about them. Yesterday evening Lady
Bagot dined with me. This Villa is the only comfortable place I have
been in since the war began: it makes an amazing difference to my

It is odd to have to admit that one has hardly ever been unhappy for a
long time before this war. The year my brother died, the year one went
through a tragedy, the year of deadly dullness in the country--but now
it isn't so much a personal matter. War and the sound of guns, and the
sense of destruction and death abroad, the solitude of it, and the
disappointing people! Oh, and the poor wounded--the poor, smelly, dirty
wounded, whom one sees all day, and for whom one just sticks this out.

I have only twice been for a drive out here, and I have not seen a
single place of interest, nor, indeed, a single interesting person
connected with the war. That, I suppose, is the result of being a
"cuisinière!" It is rather strange to me, because for a very long time I
always seem to have had the best of things. To-day I hear of this
General or that Secretary, or this great personage or that important
functionary, but the only people whom I see are three little Sisters and
two Belgian cooks.

To give up work seems to me a little like divorcing a husband. There is
a feeling of failure about it, and the sense that one is giving up what
one has undertaken to do. So, however dull or tiresome husband or work
may be, one mustn't give them up.


_6 March._--To-day I have been thinking, as I have often thought, that
the real power of the Bible is that it is a Universal Human Document.
The world is based upon sentiment--_i.e._, the personality of man and
his feelings brought to bear upon facts. It is also the world's dynamic
force. Now, the books of the Bible--especially, perhaps, the magical,
beautiful Psalms--are the most tender and sentimental (the word has been
misused, of course) that were ever written. They express the thoughts
and feelings of generations of men who always did express their thoughts
and feelings, and thought no shame of it. And so we northern people,
with our passionate inarticulateness, love to find ourselves expressed
in the old pages.

I find in the Gospels one of the few complaints of Christ. "Have I been
so long time with you and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" All one
has ever felt is said for one in a phrase, all that one finds most
isolating in the world is put into one sentence. There is a wan feeling
of wonder in it; "so long," and yet you think that of me! "so long," and
yet such absolute inability to read my character! "so long," and yet
still quite unaware of my message! The humour of it (to us) lies in the
little side of it! The dear people who "thought you would like this or
dislike that"--the kind givers of presents even--the little people who
shop for one! The friends who invite one to their queer, soulless, thin
entertainments, with their garish lights; the people who choose a book
for one, who counsel one, even with importunity, to go to some play
which they are "sure we shall like." "So long"--they are old friends,
and yet they thought we should like that play or that book! "So
long"--and yet they think one capable of certain acts or feelings which
do not remotely seem to belong to one! "So long"--and yet they can't
even touch one chord that responds!

We are always quite alone. The communal life is the loneliest of all,
because "yet thou hast not known me." The world comes next in
loneliness, but it is _big_, and with a big soul of its own. The family
life is almost naïve in its misunderstanding--no one listens, they just
wait for pauses....

... The worship of the "sane mind" has been a little overdone, I think.
The men who are prone to say of everyone that they "exaggerate a
little," or "are morbid," are like weights in a scale--just, but oh,
how heavy!...

... This war is fine, _fine_, FINE! I know it, and yet I don't get near
the fineness except in the pages of _Punch_! I see streams of men whose
language (Flemish) I don't speak, holding up protecting hands to keep
people from jostling a poor wounded limb, and I watch them sleeping
heavily, or eating oranges and smoking cigarettes down to the last hot
stump, but I don't hear of the heroic stands which I know are made, or
catch the volition of it all. Perhaps only in a voluntary army is such a
thing possible. Our own boys make one's heart beat, but these poor,
dumb, sodden little men, coming in caked with mud--to be patched up and
sent into a hole in the ground again, are simply tragic.

[Page Heading: "THE WOMAN'S TOUCH"]

_7 March._--"The woman's touch." When a woman has been down on her knees
scrubbing for a week, and washing for another week, a man, returning and
finding his house in order, and vaguely conscious of a newer and fresher
smell about it, talks quite tenderly of "a woman's touch."...

... There are some people who never care to enter a door unless it has
"passage interdite" upon it....

... The guns are booming heavily this morning. Nothing seems to
correspond. Are men really falling and dying in agonies quite close to
us? I believe we ought to see less or more--be nearer the front or
further from it. Or is it that nothing really changes us? Only war
pictures and war letters remain as a fixed blazing standard. The
soldiers in the trenches are quite as keen about sugar in their coffee
as we are about tea. No wonder men have decided that one day we must put
off flesh. It is far too obstrusive....

... To comfort myself I try to remember that Wellington took his old
nurse with him on all his campaigns because she was the only person who
washed his stocks properly....

... Surely the expense of the thing will one day put a stop to war. We
are spending two million sterling per day, the French certainly as much,
the Germans probably more, and Austria and Russia much more, in order to
keep men most uncomfortably in unroofed graves, and to send high
explosives into the air, most of which don't hit anything. Surely, if
fighting was (as it is) impossible in this flooded country in winter, we
might have called a truce and gone home for three months, and trained
and drilled like Christians on Salisbury Plain!...

... Health--_i.e._, bad health--obtrudes itself tiresomely. I am ill
again, and, fortunately, few people notice it, so I am able to keep on.
A festered hand makes me awkward; and as I wind a bandage round it and
tie it with my teeth, I once more wish I was a Belgian refugee, as I am
sure I would be interesting, and would get things done for me!

A sick Belgian artist, M. Rotsartz{3}, is doing a drawing of me. I go to
Lady Bagot's hospital, where he is laid up, and sit to him in the
intervals of soup. That little wooden hospital is the best place I have
known so far. Lady Bagot is never bustled or fussy, nor even "busy," and
her staff are excellent men, with the "Mark of the Lamb" on them.

I gave away a lot of things to-day to a regiment going into the
trenches. The soldiers were delighted with them.

_11 March._--There was a lot of firing near La Panne to-day, and a
British warship was repeatedly shelled by the Germans from Nieuport. I
went into Dunkirk with Mr. Clegg, and got the usual hasty shopping done.
No one can ever wait a minute. If one has time to buy a newspaper one is
lucky. The difficulty of communicating with anyone is great--no
telephone--no letters--no motor-car. I am stranded.

[Page Heading: FRENCH MARINES]

I generally go in the train to Adinkerke with the French Marines, nice
little fellows, with labels attached to them stating their "case"--not
knowing where they are going or anything else--just human lives battered
about and carted off. I don't even know where they get the little bit of
money which they always seem able to spend on loud-smelling oranges and
cigarettes. The place is littered with orange-skins--to-day I saw a long
piece lying in the form of an "S" amid the mud; and, like a story of a
century old, I thought of ourselves as children throwing orange-skins
round our heads and on to the floor to read the initial of our future
husband, and I seemed to hear mother say, "'S' for Sammy--Sammy C----,"
a boy with thick legs whom we secretly despised!

I have found a whole new household of "éclopés" at Adinkerke, who want
cigarettes, socks, and shoes all the time. They are a pitiful lot, with
earache, toothache, and all the minor complaints which I myself find so
trying, and they lie about on straw till they are able to go back to the
trenches again.

The pollard willows between here and Adinkerke are all being cut down to
build trenches. They were big with buds and the promise of spring.

_14 March._--I went to the station yesterday, as usual. Suddenly I
couldn't stand it any more. Everyone was cleaning. I was getting swept
up with straw and mopped up with dirty cloths. The kitchen work was
done. I ate my lunch in a filthy little out-building and then I fled. I
had to get into the open air, and I hopped on to an ambulance and drove
to Dunkirk. I had a good deal to do there getting vegetables,
cigarettes, etc., and we got back late to the station, where I heard the
Queen had paid a visit. Rather bad luck on almost the only day I have
been away.

I am waiting anxiously to hear if the report of the new British advance
yesterday is true. When fighting really begins we are going to be in for
a big thing; one dreads it for the sake of the boys we are going to
lose. I want things to start now just to get them over, but I rather
envy the people who died before this unspeakable war began.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Keays-Young._

_17 March._


[Page Heading: CAPTAIN L. M. B. SALMON]

I have (of course) been getting letters and parcels very badly lately. I
am sending this home by hand, which is not allowed except on Red Cross
business, but this is to ask how Lionel is, so I think I may send it. My
poor Bet! What anxiety for her! This spring weather is making me long to
be at home, and when people tell me the crocuses are up in the
park!--well, you know London and the park belong to me! Are the catkins
out? We can get flowers at Dunkirk, but not here.

Not a word of war news, because that wouldn't be fair. A shilling wire
about Lionel would satisfy me--just "Better, and Bet well," or something
of that sort.

Always, my dear,
Your loving,

P.S.--Your two letters and Bet's have just come. To be in touch with you
again is _very_ pleasant. I can't tell you what it was like to sit down
to a pretty, clean breakfast to-day with my letters beside me. Someone
brought them here early.

I heard to-day that I am going to be decorated by the King of the
Belgians, but don't spread this broadcast, as anything might happen in

       *       *       *       *       *

_20 March._--I met an Englishman belonging to an armoured car in Dunkirk
a couple of days ago. He told me that the last four days' fighting at La
Bassée has cost the British 13,000 casualties. Three lines of holes in
the ground, and fighting only just beginning again! Bet's fiancé has
been shot through the head, but is still alive. My God, the horror of it
all! And England is still cheerful, I hear, and is going to hold
race-meetings as usual.

At the station to-day I saw a mad man, who fought and struggled. I
thought madmen raved. This one fought silently, like a man one sees in a
dream. Another soldier shook all over like an old man. Many were blind.

"On the whole," someone said to me in England, "I suppose you are having
a good time."

There is a snowstorm to-day, and it is bitterly cold. It is very odd how
many small "complaints" seem to attack one. I can't remember the day out
here when I felt well all over.

Last night some Belgians came in to dinner. It was like old times trying
to get things nice. I had some flowers and a tablecloth. I believe in
making a contrast with the discomfort I see out here. We forced open a
piano, and had some perfect music.

_21 March._--The weather is brighter to-day; the sound of firing is more
distant; it is possible to think of other things besides the war.

Mrs. ---- came to the station this morning. I think she has the most
untidy mind I have ever met with.

With all our faults, I often wish that there were more Macnaughtans in
the world. Their simple and plain intelligence gives one something to
work upon. Mrs. ---- came and told me to-day that last night "they
laughed till they cried" over her attempt at making a pudding. I should
have cried, only, over a woman of fifty who wasn't able to make a
pudding. She and ---- are twin nebulæ who think themselves

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Miss Mary King._

_22 March._


My plans, like those of everybody else, are undecided because of the
war. If it is going to stop in May I should like to stay till the end,
but if it is likely to go on for a long time, I shall come home. I don't
think hot soup (which is my business) can be wanted much longer, as the
warm weather will be coming.

I have been asked to take over full charge of a hospital here. It is a
great compliment, but I have almost decided to refuse. I have other
duties, and I have some important writing to do, as I am busy with a
book on the war. I begin work as early as ever, and then go to my

[Page Heading: LONGING FOR HOME]

When I do come home I want to be in my own house, and I am longing to be
back. Many of my friends go backwards and forwards to England all the
time, but when I return, I should like to stay.

I am in wonderfully comfortable rooms at present, and the landlady is
most kind and attentive. She gives me a morning cup of tea, and the care
and comfort are making me much better. I get some soup before I go off
to my station, and last night I was really a fine lady. When I came in
tired, the landlady, who is a Belgian, took off my boots for me!

When I come home I think I'll lie in bed all day, and poor old Mary
will get quite thin again nursing me. The things you will have to do for
me, and all the pretty things I shall see and have, are a great pleasure
to think about!

Yours truly,



_Villa les Chrysanthèmes, La Panne._--I have been to London for a few
days to see about the publication of my little war book. I got frightful
neuralgia there, and find that as soon as I begin to rest I get ill.

I went to a daffodil show, and found myself in the very hall where the
military bazaar was held last year. I saw the place where the Welch had
their stall. What fun we had! How many of the regiment are left? Only
one officer not killed or wounded. Lord Roberts, who opened the bazaar,
is gone too. All the soldiers whom I knew best have been taken, and only
a few tough women seem to weather the storm of life.

I had to see publishers in London, and do a lot of business, and just
when I was beginning to love it all again my holiday was over. There had
been heavy fighting out here, and I felt I must come back. My dear
people didn't want me to return, and were very severe on the subject,
and Mary scolded me most of the time. It was all affection on their
part, although it made "duty" rather a criminal affair!

There was endless difficulty about my passport when I returned. The
French Consulate was besieged by people, and I had to go there at 8.30
a.m. and wait till the doors were opened, and was then told I must first
go to the Foreign Office to get an order from Colonel Walker. I went
down to Whitehall from Bedford Square, and was told I must get a letter
from Mr. Coventry. I went to Pall Mall and Mr. Coventry said it was
quite impossible to do anything for me without instructions from Mr.
Sawyer. Mr. Sawyer said the only thing he could do (if I could establish
my identity) was to send me to a matron who would make every enquiry
about me, and perhaps in three days I might get an Anglo-French
certificate, through which Mr. Coventry might be induced to give me a
letter to give to Colonel Walker, who might then sign the passport,
which I could then take to Bedford Square to be visé{4}.

I got Sir John Furley to identify me, and then began a dogged going from
place to place and from official to official till at last I got the
thing through. I felt just like a Russian being "broken." There is a
regular system, I believe, in Russia of wearing people out by this sort
of official tyranny. I do not know anything more tiring or more
discouraging! I had all my papers in order--my passport{5}, my "laissez
passer," a letter from Mr. Bevan, explaining who I was and asking for
"every facility" for me, and my photograph, properly stamped. I am now
so loaded with papers that I feel as if I were carrying a library about
with me. Oh, give me intelligent women to do things for me! The best-run
things I have seen since the war began have been our women's unit at
Antwerp and Lady Bagot's hospital at Adinkerke.

[Page Heading: QUARRELLING]

I came back refreshed. I think everyone (every woman) out here has
noticed how indifferent and really "nasty" people are to each other at
the front. It is one of the singular things about the war, because one
always hears it said that it is deepening people's characters, purifying
them, and so on. As far as my experience goes, it has shown me the
reverse. I have seldom known so much quarrelling, and there is a sort of
queer unhappiness which has nothing to do with the actual war or loss of
friends. I can't be mistaken about it, because I see it on all sides.

At the ---- hospital men and women alike are quarrelling all the time.
Resignations are frequent. So-and-so has got So-and-so turned out;
someone has written to the committee in London to report on someone
else; a nice doctor is dismissed. Every nurse has given notice at
different times. Most people are hurt and sore about something. Love
seems quite at a discount, and one can't help wondering if Hate can be
infectious! It is all frightfully disappointing, for surely one's heart
beat high when one made up one's mind to do what one could for suffering
Belgium and for the sake of the English name.

Those two poor girls at ----! I know they meant well, and had high ideas
of what they were going to do. Now they "use langwidge" to each other
(although I know a very strong affection binds them), and very, very
strong that language is.

Poor souls, the people here aren't a bit happy. I wonder if the work is
sufficiently "sanctified." One never knows. Lady Bagot's is the happiest
and most serene place here; her men are Church Army people, and they
have evening prayers in the ward. It _does_ make a difference.

Scandals also exist out here, but they are merely silly, I think, and
very unnecessary, though a little conventionality wouldn't hurt anyone.
Sometimes I think it would be better if we were all at home, for
Belgians are particular, and I hate breeches and gaiters for girls, and
a silly way of going on. I do wish people could sometimes leave sex at
home, but they never seem to. I wonder if Crusaders came back with
scandals attached to their names!

I got back here in one of those rushes of work that come in war time
when fighting is near. At first no car could be spared to meet me at
Boulogne, so I had to wait at the Hôtel Maurice for two or three days. I
didn't mind much as I met such a lot of English friends, and also
visited some interesting hospitals; but I knew by the thousands of
wounded coming in that things must be busy at the front, and this made
one champ one's bit.

The Canadians and English who poured in from Ypres were terribly
damaged, and the asphyxiating gas seems to have been simply diabolical.
It was awful to see human beings so mangled, and I never get one bit
accustomed to it. The streets were full of British soldiers, and the
hospitals swarmed with wounded. I went to visit the Casino one. The
bright sun streamed through lowered blinds on hundreds of beds, and on
stretchers lying between them. Many Canadians were there, and rows of
British. God! how they were knocked about! The vast rooms echoed to the
cries of pain. The men were vowing they could never face shells and hand
grenades any more. They were so newly wounded, poor boys; but they come
up smiling when their country calls again.

But it _isn't right_. This damage to human life is horrible. It is
madness to slaughter these thousands of young men. Almost at last, in a
rage, one feels inclined to cry out against the sheer imbecility of it.
Why bring lives into the world and shell them out of it with jagged
pieces of iron, and knives thrust through their quivering flesh? The
pain of it is all too much. I am _sick_ with seeing suffering.


On Thursday, April 29th, Mr. Cooper, and another man came for us, and we
left Boulogne. At Dunkirk we could hardly credit our eyes--the place had
been shelled that very afternoon! I never saw such a look of
bewilderment and horror as there was on all faces. No one had ever
dreamed that the place could be hit by a German gun, yet here were
houses falling as if by magic, and no one knew for a moment where on
earth or in heaven the shells were coming from. Some people said they
came from the sea, but the houses I saw hadn't been hit from the sea,
which lies north, but from the east. Others talked of an armoured train,
but armoured trains don't carry 15-inch shells. So all anyone could do
was to _gape_ with sheer astonishment.

Dunkirk, that safest of places, the haven to which we were all to fly
when Furnes or La Panne were bombarded! Everybody contradicted one, of
course, when one declared that no naval gun had been at work, but the
fact remains that a long-range field-piece had been hidden at Leke, and
Dunkirk was shelled for three days, and, as far as I know, may be
shelled again. The inhabitants have all fled. The shops are not even
shut; one could help oneself to anything! The "état major" has left, and
so have all the officials; 23,000 tickets have been taken at the railway
station, and the road to Calais is{6} blocked with fleeing refugees.

It was rather odd that the day I left here and passed through Furnes it
was being shelled, and we had to wait a little while before we could get
through; and when I arrived at Dunkirk the bombardment was just over,
and a huge shell-hole prevented us passing down a certain road.

Well, I got back to my work at Adinkerke in the midst of the fighting,
and reached it just as the sun was setting. What a scene at the station,
where I stopped before reaching home to leave the chairs and things I
had bought for the hospital there! They were bringing in civilians
wounded at Ypres and Poperinghe, which place also has been shelled (and
yet we say we are advancing!), and there were natives also from


One whole ambulance was filled with wounded children. I think King Herod
himself might have been sorry for them. Wee things in splints, or with
their curly heads bandaged; tiny mites, looking with wonder at their
hands swathed in linen; babies with their tender flesh torn, and older
children crying with terror. There were two tiny things seated opposite
each other on a big stretcher playing with dolls, and a little
Christmas-card sort of baby in a red hood had had its mother and father
killed beside it. Another little mite belonged to no one at all. Who
could tell whether its parents had been killed or not? I am afraid many
of them will never find their relations again. In the general scrimmage
everyone gets lost. If this isn't frightfulness enough, God in heaven
help us!

On the platform was a row of women lying on stretchers. They were
decent-looking brown-haired matrons for the most part, and it looked
unnatural and ghastly to see them lying there. One big railway
compartment was slung with their stretchers, and some young men in
uniform nursed the babies. I shall never forget that railway compartment
as long as I live. A man in khaki appeared, thoughtful, as our people
always are, and brought a box of groceries with him, and sweet biscuits
for the children, and other things. Thank Heaven for the English!

At the hospital it was really awful, and the doctors were working in
shifts of twenty-four hours at a time.

I left my tables, chairs, trays, etc., for the hospital at the station,
and returned early the next day, for numbers of wounded were still
coming in. I wanted slippers for everyone, but my Belgian helpers had
given a hundred pairs of mine away in my absence. They were overworked a
little, I think, so I overlooked the fact that they lost their tempers
rather badly. Besides, I will _not_ quarrel. In a small kitchen it
would be too ridiculous. The three little people fight among themselves,
but I don't fancy I was made for that sort of thing.

There was nothing but work for some time. My "éclopés" had been entirely
neglected, and no one had even bothered to buy vegetables for the men.

On Sunday, May 2nd, I went to see Dr. de Page's hospital. I saw a baby
three weeks old with both his feet wounded. His mother came in one mass
of wounds, and died on the operating table--a young mother, and a pretty
one. A young man with tears in his eyes looked at the baby, and then
said, "A jolly good shot at fifteen miles."

They can't help making jokes.

There were two Scots lying in a little room--both gunners, who had been
hit at Nieuport. One, Ochterlony from Arbroath, had an eye shot away,
and some other wounds; the other, McDonald, had seven bad injuries.
Ochterlony talked a good deal about his eyes, till McDonald rolled his
head round on the pillow, and remarked briefly, "I'd swop my stomach for
your eyes."

Sunday wasn't such a nasty day as I usually have--in fact, Sunday never
is. But that station, with its glaring hot platform, its hotter kitchen,
and its smells, takes a bit of sticking. I have discovered one thing
about Belgium. Everything smells exactly alike. To-day there have been
presented to my nose four different things purporting to have different
odours, drains, some cheese, tobacco, and a bunch of lilac. There was no
difference at all in the smells!

[Page Heading: WAR WEARINESS]

I am much struck by the feeling of sheer weariness and disgust at the
war which prevails at present. People are "soul sick" of it. A man told
me last night that he longed to be wounded so that he might go home
honourably. Amongst all the volunteer corps I notice the same thing.
"Fed up" is the expression they all use, fed up with the suffering they
see, fed up even with red crosses and khaki.

When one thinks of primrose woods at home, and birds singing, and
apple-blossom against blue sky, and the park with its flower-beds newly
planted, and the fresh-watered streets, and women in pretty dresses--but
one mustn't!

_6 May._--Mrs. Guest arrived here to stay yesterday, and her chauffeur,
Mr. Wood, dined here. It is nice to be no longer quite alone. Last night
we were talking about how horrible war is. Mrs. Guest told me of a sight
she had herself seen. Some men, horribly wounded, were being sent away
by rail in a covered waggon ("fourgon"). One man had only his mouth left
in his face. He was raving mad, and raged up and down the van, trampling
on other men's wounded and broken limbs.

Certainly war is a pretty game, and we must go on singing "Tipperary,"
and saying what fun it is. A young friend of mine at home gave me a
pamphlet (price 2d.) written by a spinster friend of hers who had never
left England, proving what a good thing this war was for us all. When I
said I saw another aspect of it, the kind, soothing suggestion was that
I must be a little over-tired.

_7 May._--They say La Panne is to be bombarded to-day. The Queen has
left. Some people fussed a good deal, but if one bothered one's poor
head about every rumour of this sort (mostly "dropped from a German
aeroplane") where would one be?

I was much touched when some people at home clubbed together and sent me
out a little car a short time ago. But, alas! it had not been chosen
with judgment, and is no use. It has been rather a bother to me, and now
it must go back. Mr. Carlile drove it up from Dunkirk, and it broke down
six times, and then had to be left in a ditch while he got another car
to tow it home. Since then it has lain at the station.

I can't get anyone to come and inspect it. The extraordinary habit which
prevails here of saying "No" to every request makes things difficult,
for no privileges can be bought. Sometimes, when I hear people ask for
the salt, I fancy the answer will be, "Certainly not." Two of our own
chauffeurs live quite close to the station: they say they are busy, and
can't look at my car. One smiles, and says: "When you _have_ time I
shall be _so_ grateful, etc." Inwardly one is feeling that if one could
_roar_ just for once it would be a relief.

Sometimes at home I have felt a little embarrassed by the love people
have shown me--as if I have somehow deceived them into thinking I was
nicer than I really am. Out here I have to try to remember that I have a
few friends! In London I couldn't understand it when people praised me
or said kind things.

There is only one straight tip for Belgium--have a car, and understand
it yourself. Never did I feel so helpless without one. But the roads are
too bad and too crowded to begin to learn to drive, and there are
difficulties about a garage.

[Page Heading: MY CAR]

This evening Mr. Wood and I went to Hoogstadt, and towed that
_corpse_--my car--up to La Panne for ---- to inspect. The whole Belgian
army seemed to gather round us as we proceeded on our toilsome journey,
with breaking tow-ropes (for the "corpse" is heavy) and defective
steering-gear. _They_ were amused. I was just cracking with fatigue.
Needless to say, ---- didn't come. As the car was a present I can't send
it back without the authority of a chauffeur. If I keep it any longer
they will say I used it and broke it....

There were some fearful bad cases at Hoogstadt to-day, and we were
touched to see an old man sitting beside his unconscious son and keeping
the flies off him, while he sobbed in great gusts. One Belgian officer
told us that the hardest thing he had to do in the war was to give the
order to fire on a German regiment which was advancing with Belgian
women and children in front of it. He gave the order, and saw these
helpless creatures shot down before his eyes.

At the Yser the other night two German regiments got across the river
and found themselves surrounded. One regiment surrendered, and the men
of the other coolly turned their guns on it and shot their comrades

Some of our corps were evacuating women and children the other day. One
man, seeing his wife and daughter stretched out on the ground, went
mad, and ran up and down the field screaming. We see a lot of madness.

_8 May._--The guns sound rather near this morning, and the windows
shake. One never knows what is happening till the wounded come in. I sat
with my watch in my hand and counted the sound of bursting shells. There
were 32 in one minute. The firing is continuous, and very loud, and
living men are under this fire at this moment, "mown down," "wiped out,"
as the horrible terms go. I loathe even the sound of a bugle now. This
carnage is too horrible. If people can't "realise" let them come near
the guns.

They were shelling Furnes again when I was at Steenkerke the other day,
and it was a strange sound to hear the shells whizzing over the peaceful
fields. One heard them coming, and they passed overhead to fall on the
old town. Under them the brown cattle fed unheeding, and old women hoed
undisturbed, and the sinking sun threw long shadows on the grass. And
then a busy ambulance would fly past on the road; one caught a glimpse
of blood-covered forms. "Yes, a few wounded, and two or three killed."

Old women are the most courageous creatures on this earth. When everyone
else has fled from a place you can see them sitting by their cottage
doors or hoeing turnips in the line of fire.

It was touching to see a little family of terrified children sheltering
with their mother in a roadside Calvary when the shells were coming
over. The poor young mother was holding up her baby to Christ on His


There is a matter which seems almost more than a coincidence, and one
which has been too often remarked to be ignored, and that is, that in
the midst of ruins which are almost totally destroyed the figure of
Christ in some niche often remains untouched. I have seen it myself, and
many writers have commented on the fact. Sometimes it is only a crucifix
on some humble wall, or it may be a shrine in a church. The solitary
figure remains and stands--often with arms raised to bless. At Neuve
Chapelle one learns that, although the havoc is like that wrought by an
earthquake, and the very dead have been uprooted there, a crucifix
stands at the cross-roads at the north end of the village, and the
pitiful Christ still stretches out His hands. At His feet lie the dead
bodies of young soldiers. At Nieuport I noticed a shrine over a doorway
in the church standing peacefully among the ruins, and at Pervyse also
one remained, until the tower reeled and fell with an explosion from
beneath, which was deliberately ordered to prevent accidents from
falling masonry.

I had to go to Dunkirk this afternoon and while I was there I heard that
the _Lusitania_ had been torpedoed and sunk with 1,600 souls on board
her. What change will this make in the situation? Is America any use to
us except in the matter of supplies, and are we not getting these
through as it is? A nation like that ought to have an army or a navy.

Dunkirk was nearly deserted owing to the bombardment, and it was
difficult to find a shop open to buy vegetables for my soup-kitchen.
Still, I enjoyed my afternoon. There was a chance that shelling might
begin again at any time, and a bitter wind blew up clouds of prickly
dust and sand; but it was a great relief to be out in the open and away
from smells, and to have one's view no longer bounded by a line of
rails. God help us! What a year this has been! It tires me even to think
of being happy again, cheerfulness has become such an effort.

_10 May._--I went to see my Scottish gunner at the hospital to-day. He
said, "I can't forget that night," and burst out crying. "That night" he
had been wounded in seven places, and then had to crawl to a "dug-out"
by himself for shelter.

Strong healthy men lie inert in these hospitals. Many of them have face
and head wounds. I saw one splendid young fellow, with a beautiful face,
and straight clear eyes of a sort of forget-me-not blue. He won't be
able to speak again, as his jaw is shot away. The man next him was being
fed through the nose.

The matron told me to-day that last night a man came in from Nieuport
with the base of a shell ("the bit they make into ash trays," she said)
embedded in him. His clothing had been carried in with it. He died, of

One of our friends has been helping with stretcher work, removing
civilians. He was carrying away a girl shot to pieces, and with her
clothing in rags. He took her head, and a young Belgian took her feet,
and the Belgian looked round and said quietly, "This is my fiancée."

[Page Heading: THE "LUSITANIA"]

_11 May._--To-day being madame's washing day--we ring the changes on
the "nettoyage," "le grand nettoyage," and "le lavage"--everything was
late. The newspaper came in, and was full of such words as "horror,"
"resentment," "indignation," about the _Lusitania_, but that won't give
us back our ship or our men. I wish we could do more and say less, but
the Press must talk, and always does so "with its mouth." M. Rotsartz
came to breakfast. The guns had been going all night long, there was a
sense of something in the air, and I fretted against platitudes in
French and madame's washing. At last I got away, and went to the sea
front, for the sound of bursting shells had become tremendous.

It was a sort of British morning, with a fresh British breeze blowing
our own blessed waves, and there, in its grey grandeur, stood off a
British man-of-war, blazing away at the coast. The Germans answered by
shells, which fell a bit wide, and must have startled the fishes (but no
one else) by the splash they made. There were long, swift torpedo-boats,
with two great white wings of cloven foam at their bows, and a great
flourish of it in their wake, moving along under a canopy of their own
black smoke. It was the smoke of good British coal, from pits where
grimy workmen dwell in the black country, and British sweat has to get
it out of the ground. Our grey lady was burning plenty of it, and when
she had done her work, she put up a banner of smoke, and steamed away
with a splendid air of dignity across the white-flecked sea. One knew
the men on board her! Probably not a heart beat quicker by a second for
all the German shells, probably dinner was served as usual, and men got
their tubs and had their clothes brushed when it was all over.

I went down to my kitchen a little late, but I had seen something that
Drake never saw--a bit of modern sea-fighting. And in the evening, when
I returned, my grey mistress had come back again. The sun was westering
now, and the sea had turned to gold, and the grey lady looked black
against the glare, but the fire of her guns was brighter than the
evening sunset, and she was a spit-fire, after all, this dignified
queen, and she, "let 'em have it," too, while the long, lean
torpedo-boats looked on.

I went to the kitchen; I gave out jam, I distributed socks, I heard the
fussy importance of minor officials, but I had something to work on
since I had seen the grey lady at work.

In the evening I dined quietly on the barge with Miss Close and Maxine
Elliott. We had a game of bridge--a thing I had not seen for a year and
more (the last time I played was down in Surrey at the Grange!), and the
little gathering on the old timbered barge was pleasant.

Some terrible stories of the war are coming through from the front. An
officer told us that when they take a trench, the only thing which
describes what the place is like is strawberry jam. Another said that in
one trench the sides were falling, and the Germans used corpses to make
a wall, and kept them in with piles fixed into the ground. Hundreds of
men remain unburied.


Some people say that the German gunners are chained to their guns. There
were six Germans at the station to-day, two wounded and four prisoners.
Individually I always like them, and it is useless to say I don't. They
are all polite and grateful, and I thought to-day, when the prisoners
were surrounded by a gaping crowd, that they bore themselves very well.
After all, one can't expect a whole nation of mad dogs. A Scotchman
said, "The ones opposite us (_i.e._, in the trenches) were a very
respectable lot of men."

The German prisoners' letters contain news that battalions of British
suffragettes have arrived at the front, and they warn officers not to be
captured by these!

_12 May._--To-day, when I got to the station, I was asked to remove an
old couple who sat there hand in hand, covered with blood. The old woman
had her arm blown off, and the man's hand was badly injured. We took
them to de Page's hospital.

The firing has been continuous for the last few days, and men coming in
from Ypres and Dixmude and Nieuport say that the losses on both sides
have been enormous. There were four Belgian officers who lived opposite
my villa, whom one used to see going in and out. Last night all were

At Dixmude the other day the Duke of Westminster went to the French
bureau to get his passport visé. The clerks were just leaving, but he
begged them to remain a minute or two and to do his little business.
They did so, and came to the door to see him off, but a shell came
hurtling in and killed them both, and of a woman who stood near there
was literally nothing left.

Last night ---- and I were talking about the _gossip_, which would fill
ten unpublishable volumes out here.... Why do these people come out to
the front? Give me men for war, and no one else except nuns. Things may
be all right, but the Belgians are horrified, and I hate them to "say
things" of the English. The grim part of it is that I don't believe I
personally hear one half of what goes on and what is being said. They
are afraid of shocking me, I believe.

The craze for men baffles me. I see women, _dead tired_, perk up and
begin to be sparkling as soon as a man appears; and when they are alone
they just seem to sink back into apathy and fatigue. Why won't these mad
creatures stop at home? They _are_ the exception, but war seems to bring
them out. It really is intolerable, and I hate it for women's sake, and
for England's.

The other day I heard some ladies having a rather forced discussion on
moral questions, loud and frank.... Shades of my modest ancestresses! Is
this war time, and in a room filled with men and smoke and drink, are
women in knickerbockers discussing such things? I know I have got to
"let out tucks," but surely not quite so far!

Beautiful women and fast women should be chained up. Let men meet their
God with their conscience clear. Most of them will be killed before the
war is over. Surely the least we can do is not to offer them temptation.
Death and destruction, and horror and wonderful heroism, seem so near
and so transcendent, and then, quite close at hand, one finds evil

[Page Heading: A TREASURE]

_14 May._--I heard two little stories to-day, one of a British soldier
limping painfully through Poperinghe with a horrid wound in his arm and

"You seem badly wounded," a friend of mine said to him.

"Yus," said the soldier; "there were a German, and he wounded me in
three places, but"--he drew from under his arm a treasure, and his poor
dirty face was transformed by a delighted grin--"I got his bloody

Another story was of an English officer telephoning from a church-tower.
He gave all his directions clearly and distinctly, and never even hinted
that the Germans had taken the town and were approaching the church. He
just went on talking, till at last, as the tramp of footsteps sounded on
the belfry stairs, he said, "Don't take any notice of any further
information. I am going." He went--all the brave ones seem to go--and
those were the last words he spoke.

Rhodes Moorhouse flew low over the German lines the other day, in order
to bombard the German station at Courtrai. He planed down to 300 feet,
and became the target for a hundred guns. In the murderous fire he was
wounded, and might have descended, but he was determined not to let the
Germans have his machine. He planed down to 100 feet in order to gather
speed. At this elevation he was hit again, and mortally wounded, but he
flew on alone to the British lines--like a shot bird heading for its own
nest. He didn't even stop at the first aerodrome he came to, but sailed
on--always alone--to his base, made a good landing, handed over his
machine, and died.

In the hospitals what heroism one finds! One splendid fellow of 6 feet 2
inches had both his legs and both his arms amputated. He turned round to
the doctor and said, smiling, "I shan't have to complain of beds being
too short now!" And when someone came and sat with him in his deadly
pain, he remarked in his gentle way, "I am afraid I am taking up all
your time." His old father and mother arrived after he was dead.

Ah! if one could hear more, surely one would do more! But this
hole-and-corner way of doing warfare damps all enthusiasm and stifles
recruiting. Why are we allowed to know nothing until the news is stale?
Yesterday I heard at first hand of the treatment of some civilians by
Germans, and I visited a village to hear from the _people themselves_
what had happened.

My work isn't so heavy now, and, much as I want to be here when the
"forward movement" comes, I believe I ought to use the small amount of
kick I have left in me to go to give lectures on the war to men in
ammunition works at home. They all seem to be slacking and drinking, and
I believe one might rouse them if one went oneself, and told stories of
heroism, and tales of the front. The British authorities out here seem
to think I ought to go home and give lectures at various centres, and I
have heard from Vickers-Maxim's people that they want me to come.

I think I'll arrive in London about the 1st of June, as there is a good
deal to arrange, and I have to see heads of departments. One has to
forget all about _parties_ in politics, and get help from Lloyd George
himself. I only hope the lectures may be of some use.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Page Heading: TO MRS. FFOLLIOTT]

_To Mrs. ffolliott._

_16 May._


One line, to wish you with all my heart a happy birthday. I shan't
forget you on the 22nd. Will you buy yourself some little thing with the
enclosed cheque?

This war becomes a terrible strain. I don't know what we shall do when
four nephews, a brother-in-law, and a nephew to be are in the field.

I get quite sick with the loss of life that is going on; the whole land
seems under the shadow of death. I shall always think it an idiotic way
of settling disputes to plug pieces of iron and steel into innocent boys
and men. But the bravery is simply wonderful. I could tell you stories
which are almost unbelievable of British courage and fortitude.

I am coming home soon to give some lectures, and then I hope to come out
here again.

Bless you, dear Poot,

Your loving

       *       *       *       *       *

_17 May._--I saw a most curious thing to-day. A soldier in the Pavilion
St. Vincent showed me five 5-franc pieces which he had had in his
pocket when he was shot. A piece of shrapnel had bent the whole five
until they were welded together. The shrapnel fitted into the silver
exactly, and actually it was silvered by the scrape it had made against
the coin. I should like to have had it, but the man valued his souvenir,
so one didn't like to offer him money for it.

A young Canadian found a comrade of his nailed to a door, and stone
dead, of course. When did he die?

A Belgian doctor told Mrs. Wynne that in looking through a German
officer's knapsack he found a quantity of children's hands--a pretty
souvenir! I write these things down because they must be known, and if I
go home to lecture to munition-workers I suppose I must tell them of
these barbarities.

Meanwhile, the German prisoners in England are getting country houses
placed at their service, electric light, baths, etc., and they say girls
are allowed to come and play lawn tennis with them. The ships where they
are interned are costing us £86,000 a month. Our own men imprisoned in
Germany are starved, and beaten, and spat upon. They sleep on mouldy
straw, have no sanitation, and in winter weather their coats, and
sometimes even their tunics, were taken from them.

Fortunately, reprisals need not come from us. Talk to Zouaves and Turcos
and the French. God help Germany if they ever penetrate to the Rhine.

A young man--Mr. Shoppe--is occupied in flying low over the gun that is
bombarding Dunkirk in order to take a photograph of it.

It seems to me a great deal to ask of young men to give their lives when
life must be so sweet, but no one seems to grudge their all. Of some one
hears touching and splendid stories; others, one knows, die all alone,
gasping out their last breath painfully, with no one at hand to give
them even a cup of water. No one has a tale to tell of them. God,
perhaps, heard a last prayer or a last groan before Death came with its
merciful hand and put an end to the intolerable pain.

How much can a man endure? A Frenchman at the Zouave Poste au Secours
looked calmly on while the remains of his arm were cut away the other
night. Many operations are performed without chloroform (because they
take a shorter time) at the French hospital.

[Page Heading: A HEAVENLY HOST]

I heard from R. to-day. He says the story about Mons is true. The
English were retreating, and Kluck was following hard after them. He
wired to the Kaiser that he had "got the English," but this is what men
say happened. A cloud came out of a clear day and stood between the two
armies, and in the cloud men saw the chariots and horses of a heavenly
host. Kluck turned back from pursuing, and the English went on unharmed.

This may be true, or it may be the result of men's fancy or of their
imagination. But there is one vision which no one can deny, and which
each man who cares to look may see for himself. It is the vision of what
lies beyond sacrifice; and in that bright and heavenly atmosphere we
shall see--we may, indeed, see to-day--the forms of those who have
fallen. They fight still for England, unharmed now and for ever more,
warriors on the side of right, captains of the host which no man can
number, champions of all that we hold good. They are marching on ahead,
and we hope to follow; and when we all meet, and the roll is called, we
shall find them still cheery, I think, still unwavering, and answering
to their good English names, which they carried unstained through a
score of fights, at what price God and a few comrades know.



_19 May._--In order to get material for my lecture to munition-workers I
was very anxious to see more of the war for myself than is possible at a
soup-kitchen, and I asked at the British Mission if I might be given
permission to go into the British lines. Major ---- in giving me a flat
refusal, was a little pompous and important I thought, and he said it
was _impossible_ to get near the British.

To-day I lunched on the barge with Miss Close, and we took her car and
drove to Poperinghe. I hardly like to write this even in a diary, I am
so seldom naughty! But I really did something very wrong for once. And
the amusing part of it was that military orders made going to Poperinghe
so impossible that no one molested us! We passed all the sentries with a
flourish of our green papers, and drove on to the typhoid hospital with
only a few Tommies gaping at us.

I was amazed at the pleasure that wrong-doing gives, and regretted my
desperately strict past life! Oh, the freedom of that day in the open
air! the joy of seeing trees after looking at one wretched line of rails
for nine months! Lilacs were abloom in every garden, and buttercups
made the fields look yellow. The air was misty--one could hardly have
gone to Poperinghe except in a mist, as it was being so constantly
shelled--but in the mist the trees had a queer light on them which made
the early green look a deeper and stronger colour than I have ever seen
it. There appeared to be a sort of glare under the mist, and the fresh
wet landscape, with its top-heavy sky, radiated with some light of its
own. Oh, the intoxication of that damp, wet drive, with a fine rain in
our faces, and the car bounding under us on the "pavé"! If I am interned
till the end of the war I don't care a bit! I have had some fresh air,
and I have been away for one whole day from the smell of soup and

How describe it all? The dear sense of guilt first, and then the still
dearer British soldiers, all ready with some cheery, cheeky remark as
they sat in carts under the wet trees. They were our brethren--blue-eyed
and fair-haired, and with their old clumsy ways, which one seemed to be
seeing plainly for the first time, or, rather, recognising for the first
time. It was all part of England, and a day out. The officers were
taking exercise, of course, with dogs, and in the rain. We are never
less than English! To-morrow we may be killed, but to-day we will put on
thick boots, and take the dogs for a run in the rain.

[Page Heading: AT POPERINGHE]

Poperinghe was deserted, of course. Its busy cobbled streets were quite
empty except for a few strolling soldiers in khaki, and just here and
there the same toothless old woman who is always the last to leave a
doomed city. At the typhoid hospital we gravely offered the cases of
milk which we had brought with us as an earnest of our good conduct, but
even the hospital was nearly empty. However, a secretary offered us a
cup of tea, and in the dining-room we found Madame van den Steen, who
had just returned to take up her noble work again. She was at Dinant, at
her own château, when war broke out, and she was most interesting, and
able to tell me things at first hand. The German methods are pretty well
known now, but she told me a great deal which only women talking
together could discuss. When a village or town was taken, the women
inhabitants were quite at the mercy of the Germans.

Continuing, Madame van den Steen said that all the filthiness that could
be thought of was committed--the furniture, cupboards, flowerpots, and
even bridge-tables, being sullied by these brutes. Children had their
hands cut off, and one woman, at least, at Dinant was crucified. One's
pen won't write more. The horrors upset one too much. All the babies
born about that time died; their mothers had been so shocked and

Of Ypres Madame said, "It smells of lilac and death." Some Englishmen
were looking for the body of a comrade there, and failed to find it
amongst the ruins of the burning and devastated town. By seeming chance
they opened the door of a house which still stood, and found in a room
within an old man of eighty-six, sitting placidly in a chair. He said,
"How do you do?" and bade them be seated, and when they exclaimed,
aghast at his being still in Ypres, he replied that he was paralysed
and couldn't move, but that he knew God would send someone to take him
away; and he smiled gently at them, and was taken away in their

Madame gave me a shell-case, and asked Mr. Thompson if he would bring in
his large piece to show us. He wheeled it across the hall, as no one
could lift it, and this was only the _base_ of a 15-inch shell. It was
picked up in the garden of the hospital, and had travelled fifteen

The other day I went to see for myself some of the poor refugees at
Coxide. There were twenty-five people in one small cottage. Some were
sleeping in a cart. One weeping woman, wearing the little black woollen
cap which all the women wear, told me that she and her family had to fly
from their little farm at Lombaertzyde because it was being shelled by
the Germans, but afterwards, when all seemed quiet, they went back to
their home to save the cows. Alas, the Germans were there! They made
this woman (who was expecting a baby) and all her family stand in a row,
and one girl of twenty, the eldest daughter, was shot before their eyes.
When the poor mother begged for the body of her child it was refused

The _Times_ list of atrocities is too frightful, and all the evidence
has been sifted and proved to be true.

_20 May._--Yesterday I arranged with Major du Pont about leaving the
station to go home and give lectures in England. Then I had a good deal
to do, so I abandoned my plan of visiting refugees with Etta Close, and
stayed on at the station. At 5.30 I came back to La Panne to see
Countess de Caraman Chimay, the dame d'honneur of the Queen of the
Belgians; then I went on to dine with the nurses at the "Ocean." Here I
heard that Adinkerke, which I had just left, was being shelled.
Fortunately, the station being there, I hope the inhabitants got away;
but it was unpleasant to hear the sound of guns so near. I knew the
three Belgian Sisters would be all right, as they have a good cellar at
their house, and I could trust Lady Bagot's staff to look after her. All
the same, it was a horrible night, full of anxiety, and there seems
little doubt that La Panne will be shelled any day. My one wish
is--let's all behave well.

I watched the sunset over the sea, and longed to be in England; but,
naturally, one means to stick it, and not leave at a nasty time.

[Page Heading: SOCKS]

_21 May._--Yesterday, at the station, there was a poor fellow lying on a
stretcher, battered and wounded, as they all are, an eye gone, and a
foot bandaged. His toes were exposed, and I went and got him rather a
gay pair of socks to pull on over his "pansement." He gave me a twinkle
out of his remaining eye, and said, "Madame, in those socks I could take

The work is slack for the moment, but a great attack is expected at
Nieuport, and they say the Kaiser is behind the lines there. His
presence hasn't brought luck so far, and I hope it won't this time.

I went to tea with Miss Close on the barge, and afterwards we picked up
M. de la Haye, and went to see an old farm, which filled me with joy.
The buildings here, except at the larger towns, are not interesting or
beautiful, but this lovely old house was evidently once a summer palace
of the bishops (perhaps of Bruges). It is called "Beau Garde," and lies
off the Coxide road. One enters what must once have been a splendid
courtyard, but it is now filled indiscriminately with soldiers and pigs.
The chapel still stands, with the Bishops' Arms on the wall; and there
are Spanish windows in the old house, and a curious dog-kennel built
into the wall. Over the gateway some massive beams have been roughly
painted in dark blue, and these, covered in ivy, and with the old
dim-toned bricks above, make a scheme of colour which is simply
enchanting. Some wind-torn trees and the sand-dunes, piled in miniature
mountains, form a delicious background to the old place.

I also went with Etta Close to visit some of the refugees for whom she
has done so much, and in the sweet spring sunshine I took a little walk
in the fields with M. de la Haye, so altogether it was a real nice day.
There were so few wounded that I was able to have a chat with each of
them, and the poor "éclopés" were happy gambling for ha'pence in the
garden of the St. Vincent.

In the evening I went up to the Kursaal to dine with Mrs. Wynne. Our two
new warriors who have come out with ambulances have stood this
_absolutely_ quiet time for three days, and are now leaving because it
is too dangerous! The shells at Adinkerke never came near them, as they
were deputed to drive to Nieuport only. (N.B.--Mrs. Wynne continues to
drive there every night!) Eight men of our corps have funked, no women.

I am going to take a week's rest before going home, in the hope that I
won't arrive looking as ill as I usually do. I hardly know how to
celebrate my holiday, as it is the first time since I came out here that
I haven't gone to the station except on Sundays.

[Page Heading: SUNDAY]

_23 May, Sunday._--I went to Morning Service at the "Ocean" to-day, then
walked back with Prince Alexander. In the evening we drove to the
Hoogstadt hospital. The King of the Belgians was just saying good-bye to
the staff, after paying a surprise visit. He has a splendid face, and
the simplicity of his plain dark uniform makes the strength and goodness
of it all the more striking.

As I was waiting at the hospital the Germans began firing at a little
village a mile off. It is always strange to hear the shells whizzing
over the fields. We drove out to see the Yser and the floods, which have
protected us all the winter. With glasses one could have seen the German

Spring is coming late, and with a marvel of green. A wind blows in from
the sea, and the lilacs nod from over the hedge. The tender corn rustles
its soft little chimes, and all across it the wind sends arpeggio chords
of delicate music, like a harp played on silver strings. A great big
horse-chestnut tree, carrying its flowers proudly like a bouquet,
showers the road with petals, and the shy hedges put up a screen all
laced and decorated with white may. It just seems as if Mother Earth
had become young again, and was tossing her babies up to the summer sky,
and the wind played hide-and-seek, or peep-bo, or some other ridiculous
game, with them, and made the summer babies as glad and as mischievous
as himself. Only the guns boom all the time, and my poor little French
Marines, who drink far too much, and have the manners of princes, come
in on ambulances in the evening, or at the "poste" a hole is dug for
them in the ground, and they are laid down gently in their dirty coats.

Mother Earth, with her new-born babies, stops laughing for a moment, and
says to me, "It's all right, my dear; they have to come back to me, as
all my children and all their works must do. Why make any complaint? For
a time they are happy, playing and building their little castles, and
making their little books, and weaving stories and wreaths of flowers;
but the stories, the castles, the flowers I gave them, and they
themselves, all come back to me at last--the leaves next autumn, and the
boy you love perhaps to-morrow."

Oh, Father God, Mother Earth, as it was in the beginning will it be in
the end? Will you give us and them a good time again, and will the
spring burst into singing in some other country? I don't know. I don't

Only I do know this--I am sure of it now for the first time, and it is
worth while spending a long, long winter within the sound of guns in
order to know it--that death brings release, not release from mere
suffering or pain, but in some strange and unknown way it brings
freedom. Soldiers realise it: they have been more terrified than their
own mothers will ever know, and their very spines have melted under the
shrieking sound of shells, and then comes the day when they "don't
mind." Death stalks just as near as ever, but his face is suddenly quite
kind. A stray bullet or a piece of shell may come, but what does it
matter? This is the day when the soldier learns to stroll when the
shrapnel is falling, and to look up and laugh when the murderous bullet
pings close by.

[Page Heading: SOUVENIRS]

War souvenirs! There are heaps of them, and I hate them all; pieces of
jagged shell, helmets with bullets through them, pieces of burnt
aeroplanes, scraps of clothing rent by a bayonet. Yesterday, at the
station, I saw a sick Zouave nursing a German summer casquette. He said
quietly, being very sick: "The burgomaster chez moi wanted one. Yes, I
had to kill a German officer for it--ce n'est rien de quoi--I got a ball
in my leg too, mais mon burgomaster sera très content d'avoir une
casquette d'un boche." Our own men leave their trenches and go out into
the open to get these horrible things, with their battered exterior and
the suggestion of pomade inside.

Yesterday, by chance, I went to the "Ierlinck" to see Mr. Clegg. I met
Mr. Hubert Walter, lately arrived from England, and asked him to dine,
so both he and Mr. Clegg came, and Madame van der Gienst. It was _so_
like England to talk to Mr. Walter again, and to learn news of everyone,
and we actually sat up till 10.30, and had a great pow-wow.

Mr. Walter attaches great importance to the fact that the Germans are
courageous in victory, but their spirits go down at once under defeat,
and he thinks that even one decisive defeat would do wonders in the way
of bringing the war to an end. The Russians are preparing for a winter
campaign. I look at all my "woollies," and wonder if I had better save
some for 1916. What new horrors will have been invented by that time? I
hear the Germans are throwing vitriol now! In their results I hate hand
grenades more than anything. The poor burnt faces which have been
wounded by them are hardly human sometimes, and in their bandages they
have a suggestion of something tragically grotesque.

_26 May._--We had a great day--rather, a glorious day--at the station
yesterday. In the morning I heard that "les anglais" were arriving
there, and, although the news was a little startling, I couldn't go
early to Adinkerke because I felt so seedy. However, I got off at last
in a "camion," and when I arrived I found the little station hospital
and salle and Lady Bagot's hospital crowded with men in khaki.

We don't know yet all that it means. The fighting has been fierce and
awful at Ypres. Are the hospitals at the base all crowded? Is there no
more room for our men? What numbers of them have fallen? Who is killed,
and who is left?

All questions are idle for the moment. Only I have a postcard to say
that Colin is at the front, so I suppose until the war is over I shall
go on being very sick with anxiety. At night I say to myself, as the
guns boom on, "Is he lying out in the open with a bullet through his
heart?" and in the morning I say, "Is he safe in hospital, and wounded,
or is he still with his men, making them follow him (in the way he has)
wherever he likes to lead them?" God knows, and the War Office, and
neither tells us much.

[Page Heading: GAS-POISONING]

The men at the station were nearly all cases of asphyxiation by gas.
Unless one had actually seen the immediate results one could hardly have
credited it. In a day or two the soldiers may leave off twitching and
shuddering as they breathe, and may be able to draw a breath fairly, but
an hour or two after they have inhaled the deadly German gas is an awful
time to see one's men. Most of them yesterday were in bed, but a few sat
on canvas chairs round the empty stove in the salle, and all slept, even
those in deadly pain. Sleep comes to these tired soldiers like a death.
They succumb to it. They are difficult to rouse. They are oblivious, and
want nothing else. They are able to sleep anywhere and in any position,
but even in sleep they twitch and shudder, and their sides heave like
those of spent horses.

It struck me very forcibly that what was immediately wanted was a long
draught for each of them of some clean, simple stimulant. I went and
bought them red wine, and I could see that this seemed to do good, and I
went to the barge and got bottles of whisky and a quantity of distilled
water, and we dosed the men. It seemed to do them a wonderful lot of
good, and in some way acted as an antidote to the poison. Also, it
pulled them together, and they got some quieter sleep afterwards.

Towards the afternoon, indeed, all but one Irishman seemed to be better,
and then we began to be cheery, and the scene at the station took colour
and became intensely alive. The khaki-clad forms roused themselves, and
(of course) wanted a wash. Also, they sat on their beds and produced
pocket-combs, and ran them through their hair. In their dirt and rags
these poor battered, breathless men began to try to be smart again. It
was a tragedy and a comedy all in one. A Highlander, in a shrunk kilt
and with long bare legs, had his head bound about with bandages till it
looked like a great melon, and his sleeve dangled empty from his
great-coat. Others of the Seaforths, and mere boys of the Highland
Territorials, wore khaki shirts over their tartan, and these were
bullet-torn and hanging in great rents. And some boys still wore their
caps with the wee dambrod pattern jauntily, and some had no caps to
wear, and some were all daubed about with white bandages stained
crimson, and none had hose, and few had brogues. They had breathed
poison and received shrapnel, and none of them had slept since Sunday
night. They had had an "awful doing," and no one knew how the battle at
Ypres had gone, but these were men yet--walking upright when they could,
always civil, undismayed, intelligent, and about as like giving in as a
piece of granite.

Only the young Scottish boys--the children of seventeen who had sworn in
as nineteen--were longing for Loch Lomond's side and the falls of
Inversnaid. I believe the Loch Lomond lads believed that the white burn
that falls over the rocks near the pier has no rival (although they have
heard of Niagara and the Victoria Falls), and it's "oor glen" and "oor
country" wi' them all. And one boy wanted his mother badly, and said so.
But oh, how ready they were to be cheery! how they enjoyed their day!
And, indeed, we did our best for them.

[Page Heading: A GARDEN-PARTY]

Lady Bagot's hospital was full, and we called it her garden-party when
we all had tea in the open air there. We fed them, we got them
handkerchiefs, our good du Pont got them tubs, the cook heaped more coal
on the fire, although it was very hot, and made soup in buckets, and
then began a curious stage scene which I shall never forget. It was on
the platform of the station. A band appeared from somewhere, and, out of
compliment to the English, played "God Save the King." All the dirty
bandaged men stood at attention. As they did so an armoured train backed
slowly into the station and an aeroplane swooped overhead. At Drury Lane
one would have said that the staging had been overdone, that the clothes
were too ragged, the men too gaunt and too much wounded, and that by no
stretch of imagination could a band be playing "God save the King" while
a square painted train called "Lou-lou" steamed in, looking like a
child's giant gaudy toy, and an aeroplane fussed overhead.

Everyone had stories to tell, but I think the best of them concerns the
arrival of the wounded last night. All the beds in Lady Bagot's little
hospital were full, and the Belgians who occupied them insisted on
getting up and giving their places to the English. They lay on the floor
or stood on their feet all night, and someone told me that even very
sick men leapt from their beds to give them to their Allies.

God help us, what a mixture it all is! Here were men talking of the very
_sound_ of bayonets on human flesh; here were men not only asphyxiated
by gas, but blinded by the pepper that the Germans mix with it; and here
were men determined to give no quarter--yet they were babbling of Loch
Lomond's side and their mothers, and fighting as to who should give up
their beds to each other.

Of course the day ended with the exchange of souvenirs, and the soldiers
pulled buttons off their coats and badges out of their caps. And when it
was all over, every mother's son of them rolled round and went to sleep.
Most of them, I thought, had a curious air of innocence about them as
they slept.

_27 May._--I took a great bundle of newspapers and magazines to the
"Jellicoe" men to-day. English current literature isn't a waste out
here, and I often wonder why people don't buy more. They all fall upon
my tableful, and generally bear away much of it.

The war news, even in the ever optimistic English press, is _not_ good,
but not nearly as bad as what seems to me the real condition of affairs.
The shortage of high explosives is very great. At Nieuport yesterday
Mrs. Wynne said to a French officer, "Things seem quiet here to-day," at
which he laughed, and said, "I suppose even Germans will stop firing
when they know you have no ammunition."


In France the armament works are going night and day, and the men work
in shifts of 24 hours--even the women only get one day off in a
week--while in Glasgow the men are sticking out for strict labour
conditions, and are "slacking" from Friday night till late on Tuesday
morning, and then demanding extra pay for overtime. And this in face of
the bare facts that since October the Allies have lost ground in Russia;
in Belgium they remain as they were; and in France they have advanced a
few kilometres. At Ypres the Germans are now within a mile of us, and
the losses there are terrible. Whom shall we ever see again?

Men come out to die now, not to fight. One order from a sergeant was,
"You've got to take that trench. You can't do it. Get on!"

A captain was heard saying to a gunner subaltern: "We must go back and
get that gun." The subaltern said, "We shall be killed, but it doesn't
matter." The captain echoed heavily, "No, it doesn't matter," and they
went back.

Sir William Ramsay, speaking about the war, says that half the adult
male population of Europe will be killed before it is over. Those who
are left will be the feeble ones, the slackers, the unfit, and the
cowards. It is good to be left to breed from such stock!

It is odd to me how confusing is the want of difference that has come to
pass between the living and the not living. Cottages and little towns
seem to be part of nature. One regrets their destruction almost as one
regrets the loss of life. They have a tragic look, with their
dishevelled windows and stripped roofs and skeleton frames. Life has
become so cheap that cottages seem almost as valuable. "It doesn't
matter"--nothing matters. I rather dread going back to London, because
there things may begin to seem important and one will be in bondage
again. Here our men are going to their death laughing because it doesn't

There is a proud humility about my countrymen which few people have yet
realised. It is the outcome of nursery days and public schools. No one
is allowed to think much of himself in either place, so when he dies,
"It doesn't matter."

God help the boys! If they only knew how much it mattered to _us_! Life
is over for them. We don't even know for certain that they will live
again. But their _spirit_, as I know it, can never die. I am not sure
about the survival of personality. I care, but I do not know. But I do
know that by these simple, glorious, uncomplaining deaths, some higher,
purer, more splendid place is reached, some release is found from the
heavy weight of foolish, sticky, burdensome, contemptible things. These
heroes do "rise," and we "rise" with them. Could Christ himself desire a
better resurrection?

[Page Heading: LARKS]

_28 May._--I am busy getting things prepared for going home--my lecture,
two articles, etc. I did not go to the station to-day, but worked till 3
o'clock, and then walked over to St. Idesbald. How I wish I could have
been out-of-doors more since I came here. It is such a wonderful
country, all sky. No wonder there are painters in Belgium. During the
winter it was too wet to see much, and I was always in the kitchen, but
now I could kiss the very ground with the little roses on it amongst the
Dunes. Larks sing at St. Idesbald, and nightingales. Some fine night I
mean to walk out there and listen.

_29 May._--To-day, according to promise, Mr. Bevan took me into
Nieuport. It was very difficult to get permission to go there, but Mr.
Bevan got it from the British Mission on the plea that I was going to
give lectures at home.

"The worst of going to Nieuport," said Major Tyrell, "is that you won't
be likely to see home again."

Mr. Bevan called at 10 o'clock with the faithful MacEwan, and we went
first to the Cabour hospital, which I always like so much, and where the
large pleasure-grounds make things healthy and quiet for the patients.
Then we had a tyre out of order, so had to go on to Dunkirk, where I met
Mr. Sarrel and his friend Mr. Hanson--Vice-Consul at Constantinople--and
they lunched with us while the car was being doctored.

At last we started towards Nieuport, but before we got there we found a
motor-car in a ditch, and its owner with a cut on his head and his arm
broken, so we had to pick him up and take him to Coxide. It was a clear,
bright day, with all the trees swishing the sky, and Mr. Bevan and
MacEwan did nothing all the time but tell me how dangerous it was, and
they pointed out every place on the road where they had picked up dead
men or found people blown to pieces. This was lively for me, and the
amusing part of it was that I think they did it from a belated sense of

It is as difficult to find words to describe Nieuport as it is to talk
of metaphysics in slang. The words don't seem invented that will convey
that haunting sense of desolation, that supreme quiet under the shock of
continually firing guns. Hardly anything is left now of the little
homely bits that, when I saw the place last autumn, reminded one that
this was once a city of living human beings. _Then_ one saw a few
interiors--exposed, it is true, and damaged, but still of this world.
Now it is one big grave, the grave of a city, and the grave of many of
its inhabitants. Here, at a corner house, nine ladies lie under the
piled-up débris that once made their home. There some soldiers met their
death, and some crumbling bricks are heaped over them too. The houses
are all fallen--some outer walls remain, but I hardly saw a roof
left--and everywhere there are empty window-frames and skeleton rafters.

[Page Heading: NIEUPORT]

I never knew so surely that a town can live and can die, and it set one
wondering whether Life means a thing as a whole and Death simply
disintegration. A perfect crystal, chemists tell us, has the elements of
life in it and may be said to live. Destruction and decay mean death;
separation and disintegration mean death. In this way we die, a crystal
dies, a flower or a city dies. Nieuport is dead. There isn't a
heart-beat left to throb in it. Thousands and thousands of shells have
fallen into it, and at night the nightingale sings there, and by day
the river flows gently under the ruined bridge. Every tree in a wood
near by is torn and beheaded; hardly one has the top remaining. The new
green pushes out amongst the blackened trunks.

One speaks low in Nieuport, the place is so horribly dead.

Mr. Bevan showed me a shell-hole 42 feet across, made by one single
"soixante-quinze" shell. Every field is pitted with holes, and where
there are stretches of pale-coloured mud the round pits dotted all over
it give one the impression of an immense Gruyère cheese. The streets,
heaped with débris, and with houses fallen helplessly forward into their
midst, were full of sunshine. From ruined cottages--whose insecure walls
tottered--one saw here and there some Zouaves or a little French "marin"
appear. Most of these ran out with letters in their hands for us to
post. Heaven knows what they can have to write about from that grave!

Some beautiful pillars of the cathedral still stand, and the tower, full
of holes, has not yet bent its head. Lieutenant Shoppe, R.N., sits up
there all day, and takes observations, with the shells knocking gaily
against the walls. One day the tower will fall or its stones will be
pierced, and then Lieutenant Shoppe, R.N., will be killed, as the
Belgian "observateur" was killed at Oostkerke the other day. He still
hangs there across a beam for all the world to see. His arms are
stretched out, and his body lies head downwards, and no one can go near
the dead Belgian because the tower is too unsafe now. One day perhaps
it will fall altogether and bury him.

Meanwhile, in the tower of the ruined cathedral at Nieuport Shoppe sits
in his shirt-sleeves, with his telephone beside him and his observation
instruments. His small staff are with him. They are immensely interested
in the range of a gun and the accuracy of a hit. I believe they do not
think of anything else. No doubt the tower shakes a great deal when a
shell hits it, and no doubt the number of holes in its sides is daily
becoming more numerous. Each morning that Shoppe leaves home to spend
his day in the tower he runs an excellent chance of being killed, and in
the evening he returns and eats a good dinner in rather an uncomfortable

In the cathedral, and amongst its crumbling battered aisles, a strange
peace rests. The pitiful columns of the church stand here and there--the
roof has long since gone. On its most sheltered side is the little
graveyard, filled with crosses, where the dead lie. Here and there a
shell has entered and torn a corpse from its resting-place, and bones
lie scattered. On other graves a few simple flowers are laid.

We went to see the dim cellars which form the two "postes au secours."
In the inner recess of one a doctor has a bed, in the outer cave some
soldiers were eating food. There is no light even during the day except
from the doorway. At Nieuport the Germans put in 3,000 shells in one
day. Nothing is left. If there ever was anything to loot, it has been
looted. One doesn't know what lies under the débris. Here one sees the
inside of a piano and a few twisted strings, and there a metal
umbrella-stand. I saw one wrought-iron sign hanging from the falling
walls of an inn.

Mr. Bevan and I wandered about in the unearthly quiet, which persisted
even when the guns began to blaze away close by us, whizzing shells over
our heads, and we walked down to the river, and saw the few boards which
are all that remain of the bridge. Afterwards a German shell landed with
its unpleasant noise in the middle of the street; but we had wandered up
a by-way, and so escaped it by a minute or less.

In a little burned house, where only a piece of blackened wall remained,
I found a little crucifix which impressed me very much--it stood out
against the smoke-stained walls with a sort of grandeur of pity about
it. The legs had been shot away or burned, but "the hands were stretched
out still."

As we came away firing began all round about, and we saw the toss of
smoke as the shells fell.

[Page Heading: STEENKERKE]

_31 May._--We went to Steenkerke yesterday and called on Mrs. Knocker,
and saw a terrible infirmary, which must be put right. It isn't fit for

At the station to-day our poor Irishman died. Ah, it was terrible! His
lungs never recovered from the gas, and he breathed his last difficult
breath at 5 o'clock.

In the evening a Zeppelin flew overhead on its way to England.

[Page Heading: NIGHTINGALES]

There is a nightingale in a wood near here. He seems to sing louder and
more purely the heavier the fighting that is going on. When men are
murdering each other he loses himself in a rapture, of song, recalling
all the old joyous things which one used to know.

The poetry of life seems to be over. The war songs are forced and
foolish. There is no time for reading, and no one looks at pictures, but
the nightingale sings on, and the long-ago spirit of youth looks out
through Time's strong bars, and speaks of evenings in old, dim woods at
home, and of girlish, splendid drives home from some dance where "he"
was, when we watched the dawn break, and saw our mother sleeping in the
carriage, and wondered what it would be like not to "thrill" all the
time, and to sleep when the nightingale was singing.

Later there came the time when the song of the throbbing nightingale
made one impatient, because it sang in intolerable silence, and one
ached for the roar of things, and for the clash of endeavour and for the
strain of purpose. Peace was at a discount then, and struggle seemed to
be the eternal good. The silent woods had no word for one, the
nightingale was only a mate singing a love-song, and one wanted
something more than that.

And afterwards, when the struggle and the strain were given one in
abundant measure, the song of the nightingale came in the lulls that
occurred in one's busy life. One grew to connect it with coffee out on
the lawn in some houses of surpassing comfort, where (years and years
ago) one dressed for dinner, and a crinkly housemaid brought hot water
to one's room. The song went on above the smug comfort of things, and
the amusing conversation, and the smell of good cigars. Within, we saw
some pleasant drawing-room, with lamps and a big table set with candles
and cards, and we felt that the nightingale provided a very charming
orchestra. We listened to it as we listened to amusing conversation,
with a sense of comfortable enjoyment and rest. Why talk of the time
when it sang of breaking hearts and high endeavour never satisfied, and
things which no one ever knew or guessed except oneself?

It sings now above the sound of death and of tears. Sometimes I think to
myself that God has sent his angel to open the prison doors when I hear
that bird in the little wood close beside the tram-way line.

On Thursday, June 3rd, I drove in the "bug" to Boulogne, and took the
steamer to England. I went through a nasty time in Belgium, but now a
good deal of queer affection is shown me, and I believe they all rather
like me in the corps.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following brief impression of Miss Macnaughtan's work at the
soup-kitchen forms the most appropriate conclusion to her story of her
experiences in Belgium. She cut it out of some paper, and sent it home
to a friend in England, and we seem to learn from it--more than from any
words of her own--how much she did to help our Allies in their hour of

     "It was dark when my car stopped at the little station of
     Adinkerke, where I had been invited to visit a soup-kitchen
     established there by a Scotchwoman. In peace she is a
     distinguished author; in war she is being a mother to such of the
     Belgian Army as are lucky enough to pass her way. I can see her
     now, against a background of big soup-boilers and cooking-stoves,
     handing out woollen gloves and mufflers to the men who were to be
     on sentry duty along the line that night. It was bitterly cold, and
     the comforts were gratefully received.

     "For a long time this most versatile lady made every drop of the
     soup that was prepared for the men herself, and she has, so a
     Belgian military doctor says, saved more lives than he has with her
     timely cups of hot, nourishing food. It is only the most seriously
     wounded men who are taken to the field hospital, the others are
     carried straight to the railway-station, and have to wait there,
     sometimes for many hours, till a train can take them on. Even then
     trains carrying the wounded have constantly to be shunted to let
     troop trains through. But, thanks to the enterprise and hard work
     of this clever little lady, there is always a plentiful supply of
     hot food ready for the men who, weak from loss of blood, are often
     besides faint with hunger."




_October, 1915._--So much has happened since I came home from Flanders
in June, and I have not had one moment in which to write of it. I found
my house occupied when I returned, so I went to the Petrograd Hotel and
stayed there, going out of London for Sundays.

Everyone I met in England seemed absorbed in pale children with
adenoids. No one cared much about the war. Children in houses nowadays
require food at weird hours, not roast mutton and a good plain Christian
pudding, but, "You will excuse our beginning, I know, dear, Jane has to
have her massage after lunch, and Tom has to do his exercises, and baby
has to learn to breathe." This one has its ears strapped, and that one
is "nervous" and must be "understood," and nothing is talked of but
children. My mother would never have a doctor in the house;
"nervousness" was called bad temper, and was dosed, and stooping was
called "a trick," and was smacked. The children I now see eat far too
much, and when they finish off lunch with gravy drunk out of tumblers
it makes me feel very unwell.

I went to the Breitmeyers, at Rushton Hall, Kettering; it's a fine
place, but I was too tired to enjoy anything but a bed. The next Sunday
I stayed at Chenies, with the Duchess of Bedford--always a favourite
resort of mine--and another week I went to Welwyn.

I met a few old men at these places, but no one else. Everyone is at the
front. The houses generally have wounded soldiers in them, and these
play croquet with a nurse on the lawn, or smoke in the sun. None of them
want to go back to fight. They seem tired, and talk of the trenches as
"proper 'ell."

There is always a little too much walking about at a "week-end." One
feels tired and stiff on Monday. I well remember last summer having to
take people three times to a distant water garden--talking all the time,
too! People are so kind in making it pleasant that they wear one out.

[Page Heading: ERITH]

All the time I was in London I was preparing my campaign of lecturing. I
began with Vickers-Maxim works at Erith, on Wednesday, 9th June, and on
the 8th I went to stay with the Cameron Heads. There was great bustle
and preparation for my lecture, Press people in the house at all hours
of the day, and so on. A great bore for my poor friends; but they were
so good about it, and I loved being with them.

The lecture was rather a red-letter occasion for me, everyone praising,
the Press very attentive, etc., etc. The audience promised well for
future things, and the emotion that was stirred nearly bowled myself
over. In some of the hushes that came one could hear men crying. The
Scott Gattys and a few of my own friends came to "stand by," and we all
drove down to Erith in motor-cars, and returned to supper with the
Vickers at 10.30.

The next day old Vickers sent for me and asked me to name my own price
for my lectures, but I couldn't mix money up with the message, so I
refused all pay, and feel happy that I did so. I can't, and won't,
profit by this war. I'd rather lose--I am losing--but that doesn't
matter. Nothing matters much now. The former things are swept away, and
all the old barriers are disappearing. Our old gods of possession and
wealth are crumbling, and class distinctions don't count, and even life
and death are pretty much the same thing.

The Jews say the Messiah will come after the war. I think He is here
already--but on a cross as of yore!

I went up to Glasgow to make arrangements there, and my task wasn't an
easy one. Somehow I knew that I must speak, that I must arouse slackers,
and tell rotters about what is going on. One goes forth (led in a way),
and only then does one realise that one is going in unasked to
ship-building yards and munition sheds and docks, and that one is quite
a small woman, alone, and up against a big thing.

Always the answer I got was the same: "The men are not working; forty
per cent. are slackers. The output of shells is not what it ought to be,
but they _won't_ listen!"

In the face of this I arranged seven meetings in seven days, to take
place early in August, and then I went back to give my lecture in the
Queen's Hall, London. I took the large Hall, because if one has a
message to deliver one had better deliver it to as many people as
possible. It was rather a breathless undertaking, but people turned up
splendidly, and I had a full house. Sir F. Lloyd gave me the band of the
Coldstream Guards, and things went with a good swing.

I am still wondering how I did it. The whole "campaign" has already got
rather an unreal atmosphere about it, and often, after crowded meetings,
I have come home and lain in the dark and have seen nothing but a sea of
faces, and eyes all turned my way. It has been a most curious and
unexpected experience, but England did not realise the war, and she did
not realise the wave of heroism that is sweeping over the world, and I
had to tell about it.

Well, my lectures went on--Erith, Queen's Hall, Sheffield (a splendid
meeting, 3,000 people inside the hall and 300 turned away at the door!),
Barrow-in-Furness. I gave two lectures at Barrow, at 3 and 7.30. They
seemed very popular. In the evening quite a demonstration--pipe band
playing "Auld lang syne," and much cheering. After that Newcastle, and
back to the south again to speak there. Everywhere I took my
magic-lantern and showed my pictures, and I told "good stories" to
attract people to the meetings, although my heart was, and is, nearly
breaking all the time.

[Page Heading: GLASGOW]

Then I began the Glasgow campaign--Parkhead, Whiteinch, Rose-Bank,
Dumbarton, Greenock, Beardmore's, Denny's, Armour's, etc., etc.
Everywhere there were big audiences, and although I would have spoken to
two listeners gladly, I was still more glad to see the halls filled. The
cheers of horny-handed workmen when they are really roused just get me
by the throat till I can't speak for a minute or two!

At one place I spoke from a lorry in the dinner-hour. All the men, with
blackened faces, crowded round the car, and others swung from the iron
girders, while some perched, like queer bronze images, on pieces of
machinery. They were all very intent, and very polite and courteous, no
interruptions at any of the meetings. A keen interest was shown in the
war pictures, and the cheers were deafening sometimes.

After Glasgow I went to dear Clemmie Waring's, at Lennel, and found her
house full of convalescent officers, and she herself very happy with
them and her new baby. I really wanted to rest, and meant to enjoy five
days of repose; but I gave a lecture the first night, and then had a
sort of breakdown and took to my bed. However, that had to be got over,
and I went down to Wales at the end of the week. The Butes gave me their
own rooms at Cardiff Castle, and a nice housekeeper looked after me.

[Page Heading: CARDIFF]

There followed a strange fortnight in that ugly old fortress, with its
fine stone-work and the execrable decorations covering every inch of it.
The days passed oddly. I did a little writing, and I saw my committee,
whom I like. Colonel Dennis is an excellent fellow, and so are Mr.
Needle, Mr. Vivian Reece{7}, and Mr. Harrison. A Mr. Howse acted as

The first day I gave a dock-gate meeting, and spoke from a lorry, and
that night I had my great meeting at Cardiff. Sir Frank Younghusband
came down for it, and the Mayor took the chair. The audience was
enthusiastic, and every place was filled. At one moment they all rose to
their feet, and holding up their hands swore to fight for the right till
right was won. It was one of the scenes I shall always remember.

Every day after that I used to have tea and an egg at 5 o'clock, and a
motor would come with one of my committee to take me to different places
of meeting. It was generally up the Rhondda Valley that we went, and I
came to know well that westward drive, with the sun setting behind the
hills and turning the Taff river to gold. Every night we went a little
further and a little higher--Aberdare, Aberystwyth, Toney Pandy,
Tonepentre, etc., etc. I gave fourteen lectures in thirteen days.
Generally, I spoke in chapels, and from the pulpit, and this seemed to
give me the chance I wanted to speak all my mind to these people, and to
ask them and teach them what Power, and Possession, and Freedom really
meant. Oh, it was wonderful! The rapt faces of the miners, the hush of
the big buildings, and then the sudden burst of cheering!

At one meeting there was a bumptious-looking man, with a bald head, whom
I remember. He took up his position just over the clock in the gallery.
He listened critically, talked a good deal, and made remarks. I began to
speak straight at him, without looking at him, and quite suddenly I saw
him, as I spoke of our men at the war, cover his face and burst into

The children were the only drawback. They were attracted by the idea of
the magic-lantern, and used to come to the meetings and keep older
people out. My lectures were not meant for children, and I had to adopt
the plan of showing the pictures first and then telling the youngsters
to go, and settling down to a talk with the older ones, who always
remained behind voluntarily.

We had some times which I can never forget; nor can I forget those dark
drives from far up in the hills, and the mists in the valley, and my own
aching fatigue as I got back about midnight. From 5 till 12.30 every
night I was on the stretch.

In the day-time I used to wander round the garden. One always meets
someone whom one knows. I had lunch with the Tylers one day, and tea
with the Plymouths. It was still, bright autumn weather, and the trees
were gold in the ugly garden with the black river running through it. I
got a few lessons in motor driving, and I spoke at the hospital one
afternoon. I took the opportunity of getting a dress made at rather a
good tailor's, and time passed in a manner quite solitary till the

Never before have I spent a year of so much solitude, and yet I have
been with people during my work. I think I know now what thousands of
men and women living alone and working are feeling. I wish I could help
them. There won't be many young marriages now. What are we to do for
girls all alone?

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Keays-Young._

_31 August, 1915._


Many thanks for your letter, which I got on my way through London. I
spent one night there to see about some work I am having done in the

I have a drawer quite full of press-cuttings, and I do not know what is
in any of them. It is difficult to choose anything of interest, as they
are all a good deal alike, and all sound my trumpet very loudly; but I
enclose one specimen.

We had meetings every night in Glasgow. They were mostly badly organised
and well attended. Here I have an agent arranging everything, and two of
my meetings have been enormous. The first was at the dock-gates in the
open air, and the second in the Town Hall. The band of the Welch
Regiment played, and Mr. Glover conducted, but nothing is the same, of
course. Alan is at Porthcawl, and came to see me this morning.

The war news could hardly be worse, and yet I am told by men who get
sealed information from the Foreign Office that worse is coming.

Poor Russia! She wants help more than anyone. Her wounded are quite
untended. I go there next month.

The King of the Belgians has made me Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold.

Love to all.
Yours ever,

       *       *       *       *       *

Press-cutting enclosed in Miss Macnaughtan's letter:






     A large and enthusiastic audience assembled at the Park-hall,
     Cardiff, on Monday evening, to hear and see Miss Macnaughtan's
     "Stories and Pictures of the War." Miss Macnaughtan is a well-known
     authoress, whose works have attained a world-wide reputation, and,
     in addition to her travels in almost every corner of the globe, she
     has had actual experience of warfare at the bombardment of Rio, in
     the Balkans, the South African War, and, since September last, in
     Belgium and Flanders. In her capacity as ministrant to wounded
     soldiers she has gained a unique experience of the horrors of war,
     and in order to bring home the realities of the situation, at the
     instigation of Lady Bute, she consented to address a number of
     meetings in South Wales.

     At the meeting on Monday night the Lord Mayor (Alderman J. T.
     Richards) presided, and in introducing Miss Macnaughtan to the
     audience announced that for her services in Belgium the honour of
     the Order of Leopold had been conferred upon her. (Applause.) We
     were engaged, he said, in fighting a war of right. We were not
     fighting only for the interests of England and our Empire, but we
     were fighting for the interests of humanity at large. ("Hear,

     Miss Macnaughtan, in the course of her address, referred to the
     origin of the war, and how suddenly it came upon the people of this
     nation, who were, for the most part, engaged in summer holidays at
     the time. She knew what was going on at the front, and knew what
     the Welch Regiment had been doing, and "I must tell you," she
     added, "of the splendid way in which your regiment has behaved, and
     how proud Cardiff must be of it." We knew very well now that this
     war had been arranged by Germany for many years. The Germans used
     to profess exceeding kindness to us, and were received on excellent
     terms by our Royal House, but the veil was drawn away from that
     nation's face, and we had it revealed as an implacable foe. The
     Germans had spoken for years in their own country about "The Day,"
     and now "The Day" had arrived, and it was for everyone a day of
     judgment, because it was a test of character. We had to put
     ourselves to the test. We knew that for some time England had not
     been at her best. Her great heart was beating true all the time,
     but there had crept into England a sort of national coldness and
     selfishness, and a great deal too much seriousness in the matter of
     money and money-getting. Although this was discounted in great
     measure by her generosity, we appeared to the world at large as a
     greedy and money-getting nation.

     However this might be, in all parts of the world the word of an
     Englishman was still as good as his bond. ("Hear, hear.") Yet
     England, with its strikes and quarrels and class hatred, and one
     thing and another, was not at its best. It was well to admit that,
     just as they admitted the faults of those they loved best.

     Had any one of them failed to rally round the flag? Had they kept
     anything back in this great war? She hoped not. The war had tested
     us more than anything else, and we had responded greatly to it; and
     the young manhood had come out in a way that was remarkable. We
     knew very well that when the war was begun we were quite unprepared
     for it; but she would tell them this, that our army, although
     small, was the finest army that ever took the field. (Applause.)

     Miss Macnaughtan then related a number of interesting incidents,
     one of which was, that when a party of wounded Englishmen came to a
     station where she was tending the Belgian wounded, every wounded
     Belgian gave up his bed to accommodate an English soldier. The idea
     of a German occupation of English soil, she said, was the idea of a
     catastrophe that was unspeakable. People read things in the papers
     and thought they were exaggerated, but she had seen them, and she
     would show photographs of ruined Belgium which would convince them
     of what the Germans were now doing in the name of God. However
     unprepared we were for war, the wounded had been well cared for,
     and she thought there never was a war in which the care of the
     wounded had been so well managed or so efficient. (Applause.) They
     had to be thankful that there had been no terrible epidemic, and
     she could not speak too highly of the work of the nurses and
     doctors in the performance of their duties. This was the time for
     every man to do his duty, and strain every nerve and muscle to
     bring the war to an end and get the boys home again. (Applause.)


     Sir Francis Younghusband, K.C.I.E., spoke of Miss Macnaughtan as a
     very old friend, whom he had met in many parts of the Empire. In
     this crisis she might well have stayed at home in her comfortable
     residence in London, but she had sacrificed her own personal
     comforts in order to assist others. They must realise that this war
     was something much more than a war of defence of their homes. It
     was a fight on behalf of the whole of humanity. A staggering blow
     had been dealt by our relentless enemy at Belgium, which had been
     knocked down and trampled upon, and Germany had also dealt blow
     after blow at humanity by the use of poison-gas, the bombardment of
     seaside towns, and bombs thrown on defenceless places by Zeppelins.
     She had thrust aside all those rights of humanity which we had
     cherished as a nation as most dear to our hearts. What we were now
     fighting for was right, and he would put to them a resolution that
     we would fight for right till right had won. In response to an
     appeal for the endorsement of his sentiments the audience stood en
     masse, and with upraised hands shouted "Aye." It was a stirring
     moment, and must have been gratifying to the authoress, who has
     devoted so much of her time and energy to the comfort of the
     wounded soldiers.

     The Lord Mayor then proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Macnaughtan
     for her address, and this was carried by acclamation.

     Miss Macnaughtan briefly responded, and then proceeded to
     illustrate many of the scenes she had witnessed by lantern-slides,
     showing the results of bombardments and the ruin of some of the
     fairest domains of Belgium and France.

     The provision of stewards was arranged by the Cardiff Chamber of
     Trade, under the direction of the President (Mr. G. Clarry). During
     the evening the band of the 3rd Welch Regiment, under the
     conductorship of Bandmaster K. S. Glover, gave selections.

[Page Heading: POISON-GAS]

     A statement having been made that Miss Macnaughtan was the first to
     discover a remedy for the poison-gas used by the Germans, a
     _Western Mail_ reporter interviewed the lady before the lecture on
     her experiences in this direction. She replied, that when the first
     batch of men came in from the trenches suffering from the effects
     of the gas, the first thing they asked was for something to drink,
     to take the horrible taste out of their mouths. She obtained a
     couple of bottles of whisky from the barge of an American lady, and
     some distilled water, and gave this to the soldiers, who appeared
     to be greatly relieved. Whenever possible, she had adopted the same
     course, but she was unaware that the remedy had been applied by the
     military authorities. Even this method of relieving their
     sufferings, however, was rejected by a large number of young
     soldiers, on the ground that they were teetotallers, but the
     Belgian doctors had permitted its use amongst their men.

       *       *       *       *       *



     During the dinner-hour Miss Macnaughtan gave an address to workmen
     at the Bute Docks. An improvised platform was arranged at the back
     of the Seamen's Institute, and some hundreds of men gathered to
     hear the story that Miss Macnaughtan had to give of the war.
     Colonel C. S. Denniss presided, and amongst those present were
     Messrs. T. Vivian Rees, John Andrews, W. Cocks, A. Hope, S. Fisher,
     and Robinson Smith.

     Colonel Denniss, in a few introductory remarks, referred to Miss
     Macnaughtan's reputation as a writer, and stated that since the
     outbreak of war she had devoted herself to the noble work of
     helping the wounded soldiers in Belgium and France. She had come
     to Cardiff to tell the working-men what she had seen, with the
     object, if possible, of stimulating them to help forward the great
     cause we were fighting for.

     Miss Macnaughtan said she had been speaking in many parts of the
     country, but she was especially proud to address a meeting of Welsh
     working-men. Besides coming of a long line of Welsh ancestors, her
     brother-in-law, Colonel Young, was in command of the 9th Welch
     Battalion at the front, and she had also four nephews serving in
     the Welch Regiment. Only the day before Colonel Young had written
     to her: "The Welshman is the most intensely patriotic man that I
     know, and it is always the same thing, 'Stick it, Welch.' His
     patriotism is splendid, and I do not want to fight with a better
     man." Miss Macnaughtan then explained that she was not asking for
     funds, and was not speaking for employers or owners. She simply
     wished to tell them her experiences of the war as she had seen it,
     and to describe the heroism which was going on at the front. If
     they looked at the war from the point of view of men going out to
     kill each other they had a wrong conception of what was going on.
     She had been asked to speak of the conditions which might prevail
     should the Germans reach this country. She did not feel competent
     to speak on that subject, as the whole idea of Germans in this
     country seemed absolutely inconceivable. If the Germans were to
     land on our shores all the waters which surrounded this isle would
     not wash the land clean. She knew what the Germans were, and had
     seen the wreck they had made of Belgium and part of France. She
     knew what the women and children had suffered, and how the churches
     had been desecrated and demolished. It was said that this was a war
     of humanity, but she believed it was a war of right against wrong;
     and if she were asked when the war would finish, she could only say
     that we would fight it right on to the end until we were

     The Germans were beaten already, and had been beaten from the day
     they gave up their honour. She spoke of the heroism of the troops,
     and stated that since September last she had been running a
     soup-kitchen for the wounded. In this humble vocation she had had
     an opportunity of gauging the spirit of the soldiers. She had seen
     them sick, wounded, and dying, but had never known them give in.
     Why should humble villages in France without soldiers in them be
     shelled? That was Germany, and that was what they saw. The thing
     was almost inconceivable, but she had seen helpless women and
     children brought to the hospitals, maimed and wounded by the cruel
     German shells. After this war England was going to be a better
     country than before. Up to now there had been a national
     selfishness which was growing very strong, and there was a terrible
     love of money, which, after all, was of very little account unless
     it was used in the proper direction. She could tell them stories of
     Belgians who had had to fire upon their own women and children who
     were being marched in front of German troops. The power of Germany
     had to be crushed. The spirit of England and Wales was one in this
     great war, and they would not falter until they had emerged
     triumphant. (Applause.)

[Page Heading: A CLARION CALL]

     Mr. Robinson Smith said the clarion call had been sounded, and they
     were prepared, if necessary, to give their last shilling, their
     last drop of blood, and their very selves, body, soul, and spirit,
     to fight for right till right had won. (Applause.)

     Cheers were given for the distinguished authoress, and the
     proceedings terminated.

       *       *       *       *       *

After Cardiff (and a most cordial send-off from my committee) I came
back to London, and lectured at Eton, at the Polytechnic, and various
other places, while all the time I was preparing to go to Russia, and I
was also writing.

In the year that has passed my time has been fully occupied. To begin
with, when the war broke out I studied district-nursing in Walworth for
a month. I attended committees, and arranged to go to Belgium, got my
kit, and had a good deal of business to arrange in the way of
house-letting, etc., etc. Afterwards, I went to Antwerp, till the siege
and the bombardment; then followed the flight to Ostend; after that a
further flight to Furnes. Then came the winter of my work, day and night
at the soup-kitchen for the wounded, a few days at home in January, then
back again and to work at Adinkerke till June, when I came home to

During the year I have brought out four books, I have given thirty-five
lectures, and written both stories and articles. I have gone from town
to town in England, Scotland, and Wales, and I have had a good deal of
anxiety and much business at home. I have paid a few visits, but not
restful ones, and I have written all my own correspondence, as I have
not had a secretary. I have collected funds for my work, and sent off
scores of begging letters. Often I have begun work at 5.30 a.m., and I
have not rested all day. As I am not very young this seems to me a
pretty strenuous time!

[Page Heading: THE DEATH OF YOUTH]

Now I have let my house again, and am off "into the unknown" in Russia!
I shouldn't really mind a few days' rest before we begin any definite
work. Behind everyone I suppose at this time lurks the horror of war,
the deadly fear for one's dearest; and, above all, one feels--at least I
do--that one is always, and quite palpably, in the shadow of the death
of youth--beautiful youth, happy and healthy and free. Always I seem to
see the white faces of boys turned up to the sky, and I hear their cries
and see the agony which joyous youth was never meant to bear. They are
too young for it, far too young; but they lie out on the field between
the trenches, and bite the mud in their frenzy of pain; and they call
for their mothers, and no one comes, and they call to their friends, but
no one hears. There is a roar of battle and of bursting shells, and who
can listen to a boy's groans and his shrieks of pain? This is war.

A nation or a people want more sea-board or more trade, so they begin to
kill youth, and to torture and to burn, and God himself may ask, "Where
is my beautiful flock?" No one answers. It is war. We must expect a
"list of casualties." "The Germans have lost more than we have done;"
"We must go on, even if the war lasts ten years;" "A million more men
are needed"--thus the fools called men talk! But Youth looks up with
haggard eyes, and Youth, grown old, learns that Death alone is merciful.

One sees even in soldiers' jokes that the thought of death is not far
off. I said to one man, "You have had a narrow squeak," and he replied,
"I don't mind if I get there first so long as I can stoke up for those
Germans." Another, clasping the hand of his dead Captain, said, "Put
plenty of sandbags round heaven, sir, and don't let a German through."

The other day, when the forward movement was made in France and Belgium,
Charles's Regiment, the 9th Welch, was told to attack at a certain
point, which could only be reached across an open space raked by
machine-gun fire. They were not given the order to move for twelve days,
during which time the men hardly slept. When the charge had to be made
the roar of guns made speaking quite impossible, so directions were
given by sending up rockets. When the rockets appeared, not a single man
delayed an instant in making the attack. One young officer, in the
trench where Charles was, had a football, and this he flung over the
parapet, and shouting, "Come on, boys!" he and the men of the regiment
played football in the open and in front of the guns. Right across the
gun-raked level they kicked the ball, and when they reached the enemy's
lines only a few of them were left.

Charles wrote, "I am too old to see boys killed."

Colonel Walton, with a handful of his regiment, was the only officer to
get through the three lines of the enemy's trenches, and he and his men
dug themselves in. Just in front of them where they paused, he saw a
fine young officer come along the road on a motor bicycle, carrying
despatches. The next minute a high-explosive shell burst, and, to use
his own words, "There was not enough of the young officer to put on a
threepenny bit." Always men tell me there is nothing left to bury. One
minute there is a splendid piece of upstanding, vigorous manhood, and
the next there is no finding one piece of him to lay in the sod.

[Page Heading: A LESSON FOR TURKS]

The Turks seem to have forsaken their first horrible and devilish
cruelties towards English prisoners. They have been taught a lesson by
the Australians, who took some prisoners up to the top of a ridge and
rolled them down into the Turks' trenches like balls, firing on them as
they rolled. Horrible! but after that Turkish cruelties ceased.

Our own men see red since the Canadians were crucified, and I fancy no
prisoners were taken for a long time after. We "censor" this or that in
the newspapers, but nothing will censor men's tongues, and there is a
terrible and awful tale of suffering and death and savagery going on
now. Like a ghastly dream we hear of trenches taken, and the cries of
men go up, "Mercy, comrade, mercy!" Sometimes they plead, poor caught
and trapped and pitiful human beings, that they have wives and children
who love them. The slaughter goes on, the bayonet rends open the poor
body that someone loved, then comes the internal gush of blood, and
another carcase is flung into the burying trench, with some lime on the
top of it to prevent a smell of rotting flesh.

My God, what does it all mean? Are men so mad? And why are they killing
all our best and bravest? Our first army is gone, and surely such a
company never before took the field! Outmatched by twenty to one, they
stuck it at Mons and on the Aisne, and saved Paris by a miracle. All my
old friends fell then--men near my own age, whom I have known in many
climes--Eustace Crawley, Victor Brooke, the Goughs, and other splendid
men. Now the sons of my friends are falling fast--Duncan Sim's boy,
young Wilson, Neville Strutt, and scores of others. I know one case in
which four brothers have fallen; another, where twins of nineteen died
side by side; and this one has his eyes blown out, and that one has his
leg torn off, and another goes mad; and boys, creeping back to the base
holding an arm on, or bewildered by a bullet through the brain, wander
out of their way till a piece of shrapnel or torn edge of shell finds
them, and they fall again, with their poor boyish faces buried in the

Mr. ---- dined with us last night. He had been talking of his brother
who was killed, and he said: "I think it makes a difference if you
belong to a family which has always given its lives to the country. We
are accustomed to make these sacrifices."

Thus bravely in the light of day, but when evening came and we sat
together, then we knew just what the life of the boy had cost him. They
tell us--these defrauded broken-hearted ones--just how tall the lad was,
and how good to look at! That seems to me so sad--as if one reckoned
one's love by inches! And yet it is the beauty of youth that I mourn
also, and its horribly lonely death.

"They never got him further than the dressing-station," Mr. ---- said;
"but--he would always put up a fight, you know--he lived for four days.
No, there was never any hope. Half the back of his head was shattered.
But he put up a fight. My brother would always do that."





Mrs. Wynne, Mr. Bevan, and I left London for Russia on October 16, 1915.
We are attached provisionally to the Anglo-Russian hospital, with a
stipulation that we are at liberty to proceed to the front with our
ambulances as soon as we can get permission to do so. We understand that
the Russian wounded are suffering terribly, and getting no doctors,
nurses, or field ambulances. We crossed from Newcastle to Christiania in
a Norwegian boat, the _Bessheim_. It was supposed that in this ship
there was less chance of being stopped, torpedoed, or otherwise

We reached Christiania after a wonderfully calm crossing, and went to
the Grand Hotel at 1 a.m. No rooms to be had, so we went on to the
Victoria--a good old house, not fashionable, but with a nice air about
it, and some solid comforts. We left on Wednesday, the 20th, at 7 a.m.
This was something of a feat, as we have twenty-four boxes with us. I
only claim four, and feel as if I might have brought more, but everyone
has a different way of travelling, and luggage is often objected to.

Indeed, I think this matter of travelling is one of the most curious in
the world. I cannot understand why it is that to get into a train or a
boat causes men and women to leave off restraint and to act in a
primitive way. Why should the companionship of the open road be the
supreme test of friendship? and why should one feel a certain fear of
getting to know people too well on a journey? The last friends I
travelled with were very careful indeed, and we used to reckon up
accounts and divide the price of a bottle of "vin ordinaire" equally. My
friends to-day seem inclined to do themselves very well, and to scatter
largesse everywhere.

[Page Heading: STOCKHOLM]

_Stockholm. 21 October._--After a long day in the train we reached
Stockholm yesterday evening, and went to the usual "Grand Hotel." This
time it is very "grand," and very expensive. Mr. Bevan has a terrible
pink boudoir-bedroom, which costs £3 per night, and I have a small room
on the fourth floor, which costs 17s. 6d. without a bath. There is
rather a nice court in the middle of the house, with flowers and a band
and tables for dinner, but the sight of everyone "doing himself well"
always makes me feel a little sick. The wines and liqueurs, and the big
cigars at two shillings each, and the look of repletion on men's faces
as they listen to the band after being fed, somewhat disgust me.

One's instinct is to dislike luxury, but in war-time it seems horrible.
We ourselves will probably have to rough it badly soon, so I don't
mind, but it's a side of life that seems to me as beastly as anything I
know. Fortunately, the luxury of an hotel is minimised by the fact that
there are no "necessaries," and one lives in an atmosphere of open
trunks and bags, with things pulled out of them, which counterbalances
crystal electric fittings and marble floors.

We rested all this morning, lunched out, and in the afternoon went to
have tea with the Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden. They were very
delightful. The British Minister's wife, Lady Isobel Howard, went with
us. The Princess had just finished reading my "Diary of the War," and
was very nice about it. The children, who came in to tea, were the
prettiest little creatures I have ever seen, with curly hair, and faces
like the water-colour pictures of a hundred years ago. The Princess
herself is most attractive, and reminds one of the pictures of Queen
Victoria as a young woman. Her sensitive face is full of expression, and
her colour comes and goes as she speaks of things that move her.

This afternoon we went to tea at the Legation with the Howards. The
House is charmingly situated on the Lake, with lovely trees all about
it. It isn't quite finished yet, but will be very delightful.

_22 October._--It is very strange to find oneself in a country where war
is not going on. The absence of guns and Zeppelins, the well-lighted
streets, and the peace of it all, are quite striking. But the country is
pro-German almost to a man! And it has been a narrow squeak to prevent
war. Even now I suppose one wrong move may lead to an outbreak of
hostilities, and the recent German victories may yet bring in other
countries on her side. Bulgaria has been a glaring instance of siding
with the one she considers the winning side (Gott strafe her!), and
Greece is still wondering what to do! Thank God, I belong to a race that
is full of primitive instincts! Poor old England still barges in
whenever there is a fight going on, and gets her head knocked, and goes
on fighting just the same, and never knows that she is heroic, but
blunders on--simple-hearted, stupid, sublime!

_24 October._--I went to the English church this morning with Mr.
Lancelot Smith, but there was no service as the chaplain had
chicken-pox! So I came home and packed, and then lunched with Mr. Eric
Hambro, Mr. Lancelot Smith, and Mr. ----, all rather interesting men at
this crisis, when four nations at least are undecided what to do in the
matter of the war.

About 6 o'clock we and our boxes got away from Stockholm. Our expenses
for the few days we spent there were £60, although we had very few meals
in the hotel. We had a long journey to Haparanda, where we stopped for a
day. The cold was terrible and we spent the day (my birthday) on a sort
of luggage barge on the river. On my last birthday we were bolting from
Furnes in front of the Germans, and the birthday before that I was on
the top of the Rocky Mountains.

Talking of the Rockies reminds me (did I need reminding) of Elsie
Northcote, my dear friend, who married and went to live there. The
other night some friends of mine gave me a little "send-off" before I
left London--dinner and the Palace Theatre, where I felt like a ghost
returned to earth. All the old lot were there as of yore--Viola Tree,
Lady Diana Manners, Harry Lindsay, the Raymond Asquiths, etc., etc. I
saw them all from quite far away. Lord Stanmore was in the box with us,
and he it was who told me of Elsie Northcote's sudden death. It wasn't
the right place to hear about it. Too many are gone or are going. My own
losses are almost stupefying; and something dead within myself looks
with sightless eyes on death; with groping hands I touch it sometimes,
and then I know that I am dead also.

[Page Heading: LOVE AND PAIN]

There is only one thing that one can never renounce, and that is love.
Love is part of one, and can't be given up. Love can't be separated from
one, even by death. It comes once and remains always. It is never
fulfilled; the fulfilment of love is its crucifixion; but it lives on
for ever in a passion-week of pain until pain itself grows dull; and
then one wishes one had been born quite a common little soul, when one
would probably have been very happy.

_28 October._--We arrived at midnight last night at Petrograd. Ian
Malcolm was at the hotel, and had remained up to welcome us. To-day we
have been unpacking, and settling down into rather comfortable, very
expensive rooms. My little box of a place costs twenty-six shillings a
night. We lunched with two Russian officers and Mr. Ian Malcolm, and
then I went to the British Embassy, where the other two joined me. Sir
George Buchanan, our Ambassador, looks overworked and tired. Lady
Georgina and I got on well together....

The day wasn't quite satisfactory, but one must remember that a queer
spirit is evoked in war-time which is very difficult of analysis.
Primarily there is "a right spirit renewed" in every one of us. We want
to be one in the great sacrifice which war involves, and we offer and
present ourselves, our souls and bodies in great causes, only to find
that there is some strange unexplained quality of resistance meeting us

Mary once said to me in her quaint way, "Your duty is to give to the
Queen's Fund as becomes your position, and to get properly thanked."

This lady-like behaviour, combined with cheque-writing on a large scale,
is always popular. It can be repeated and again repeated till
cheque-writing becomes automatic. Then from nowhere there springs a
curious class of persons whom one has never heard of before, with skins
of invulnerable thickness and with wonderful self-confidence. They claim
almost occult powers in the matter of "organisation," and they generally
require pity for being overworked. For a time their names are in great
circulation, and afterwards one doesn't hear very much about them.
Florence Nightingale would have had no distinction nowadays. It is
doubtful if she would have been allowed to work. Some quite inept person
in a high position would have effectually prevented it. Most people are
on the offensive against "high-souled work," and prepared to put their
foot down heavily on anything so presumptuous as heroism except of the
orthodox kind, and even the right kind is often not understood.

There is a story I try to tell, but something gets into my throat, and I
tell it in jerks when I can.


It is the story of the men who played football across the open between
the enemy's line of trenches and our own when it was raked by fire. When
I had finished, a friend of mine, evidently waiting for the end of a
pointless story, said, "What did they do that for?" (Oh, ye gods, have
pity on men and women who suffer from fatty degeneration of the soul!)

Still, in spite of it all, the Voice comes, and has to be obeyed.

_30 October._--We lunched at the Embassy yesterday to meet the Grand
Duchess Victoria. She is a striking-looking woman, tall and strong, and
she wore a plain dark blue cloth dress and a funny little blue silk cap,
and one splendid string of pearls. At the front she does very fine work,
and we offered our services to her. I have begun to write a little, but
after my crowded life the days feel curiously empty. Lady Heron Maxwell
came to call.

We were telling each other spy stories the other night. Some of them
were very interesting. The Germans have lately adopted the plan of
writing letters in English to English prisoners of war in Germany.
These, of course, are quite simple, and pass the Censor in England, but,
once on the other side, they go straight to Government officials, and
whereas "Dear Bill" may mean nothing to us, it is part of a German code
and conveys some important information. Mr. Philpotts at Stockholm
discovered this trick.

On the Russian front a soldier was found with his jaw tied up,
speechless and bleeding. A doctor tried to persuade him to take cover
and get attention; but he shook his head, and signified by actions that
he was unable to speak owing to his damaged jaw. The doctor shoved him
into a dug-out, and said kindly, "Just let me have a look at you." On
stripping the bandages off there was no wound at all, and the German in
Russian uniform was given a cigarette and shot through the head.

In Flanders we used to see companies of spies led out to be shot--first
a party of soldiers, then the spies, after them the burying-party, and
then the firing-party--marching stolidly to some place of execution.

How awful shell-fire must be for those who really can't stand it! I
heard of a Colonel the other day--a man who rode to hounds, and seemed
quite a sound sort of fellow--and when the first shell came over, he
leapt from his horse and lay on the ground shrieking with fear, and with
every shell that came over he yelled and screamed. He had to be sent
home, of course. Some people say this sort of thing is purely physical.
That is never my view of the matter.

[Page Heading: MISS CAVELL]

Miss Cavell's execution has stirred us all to the bottom of our hearts.
The mean trickiness of her trial, the refusal to let facts be known, and
then the cold-blooded murder of a brave English woman at 2 a.m. on a
Sunday morning in a prison yard!

It is too awful to think about. She was not even technically a spy, but
had merely assisted some soldiers to get away because she thought they
were going to be shot. A rumour reached the American and Spanish
Legations that she had been condemned and was to be shot at once, and
they instantly rang up on the telephone to know if this was true. They
were informed by the Military Court which had tried and condemned her
that the verdict would not be pronounced till three days later. But the
two Legations, still not satisfied, protested that they must be allowed
to visit the prisoner. This was refused.

The English chaplain was at last permitted to enter the prison, and he
saw Miss Cavell, and gave her the Sacrament. She said she was happy to
die for her country. They led her out into the prison yard to stand
before a firing-party of soldiers, but on her way there she fainted, and
an officer took out his revolver and shot her through the head.

       *       *       *       *       *

Petrograd! the stage of romance, and the subject of dazzling pictures,
is one of the most commonplace towns I have ever been in. It has its one
big street--the Nevski Prospect--where people walk and shop as they do
in Oxford Street, and it has a few cathedrals and churches, which are
not very wonderful. The roadways are a mass of slush and are seldom
swept; and there are tramways, always crowded and hot, and many rickety
little victorias with damp cushions, in which one goes everywhere. Even
in the evening we go out in these; and the colds in the head which
follow are chronic.

The English colony seems to me as provincial as the rest of Petrograd.
The town and its people disappoint me greatly. The Hôtel Astoria is a
would-be fashionable place, and there is a queer crowd of people
listening to the band and eating, as surely only in Russia they can eat.
It is all wrong in war-time, and I hate being one of the people here.

N.B.--Write "Miss Wilbraham" as soon as possible, and write it in gusts.
Call one chapter "The Diners," and try to convey the awful solemnity of
meals--the grave young men with their goblets of brandy, in which they
slowly rotate ice, the waiter who hands the bowl where the ice is thrown
when the brandy is cool enough, and then the final gulp, with a nose
inside the large goblet. Shade of Heliogabalus! If the human tummy must
indeed be distended four times in twenty-four hours, need it be done so
solemnly, and with such a pig-like love of the trough? If they would
even eat what there is with joy one wouldn't mind, but the talk about
food, the once-enjoyed food, the favourite food, is really too tiresome.
"Where to dine" becomes a sort of test of true worth. Grave young men
give the names of four or five favoured places in London. Others, hailed
and acknowledged as really good judges, name half-a-dozen more in Paris
where they "do you well." The real toff knows that Russia is the place
to dine. We earnestly discuss blue-point oysters and caviare, which, if
you "know the man," you can get sent fresh on the Vienna Express from

[Page Heading: BERNARD SHAW]

I once asked Bernard Shaw to dinner, and he replied on a postcard:
"Never! I decline to sit in a hot room and eat dead animals, even with
you to amuse me!"

I always seem to be sitting in hot rooms and eating dead animals, and
then paying amazing high prices for them.

_4 November._--I dined with the ----s the other night. Either the hot
rooms, or the fact that I am anæmic at present, causes me to be so
sleepy in the evenings that I dislike dining out. I sway with sleep even
when people are talking to me. It was a middle-class little party, such
as I often enjoy. One's friends would fain only have one see a few fine
blooms, but I love common flowers.

We have been to see "Peter's little house." There was a tiny shrine,
crowded with people in wraps and shawls, who crossed themselves
ceaselessly, to the danger of their neighbours' faces, for so fervid
were their gesticulations that their hands flew in every direction! They
shoved with their elbows to get near the wax candles that dripped before
the pictures of the black-faced Virgin and Child, who were "allowing"
soldiers to be painfully slaughtered by the million.

Ye gods, what a faith! What an acrobatic performance to try and
reconcile a Father's personal care for His poor little sparrows and His
indifference at seeing so many of them stretched bleeding on the ground!

Religion so far has been a success where martyrs are concerned, but we
must go on with courage to something that teaches men to _live_ for the
best and the highest. This should come from ourselves, and lead up to
God. It should not require teaching, or priests, or even prayer.
Humanity is big enough for this. It should shake off cords and chains
and old Bible stories of carnage and killing, and get to work to find a
new, responsible, clean, sensible, practical scheme of life, in which
each man will have to get away from silly old idols and step out by

There is nothing very difficult about it, but we are so beset by bogies,
and so full of fears and fancies that we are half the time either in a
state of funk, or in its antithesis, a state of cheekiness.
Schoolmaster-ridden, we are behaving still like silly children, and our
highest endeavour is (school-boy-like) to resemble our fellows as nearly
as possible. The result is stagnation, crippled forms, wasted energy,
people waiting for years by some healing pool and longing for someone to
dip them in. All the release that Christ preached to men is being
smothered in something worse than Judaism. We love chains, and when they
are removed we either turn and put them on again, or else caper like mad
things because we have cast them off. Freedom is still as distant as the

_5 November._--Yesterday we lunched with the English chaplain, Mr.
Lombard. He and I had a great talk walking home on a dark afternoon
through the slush after we had been to call on the Maxwells. I think he
is one of the "exiles" whom one meets all the world over, one of those
who don't transplant well. I am one myself! And Mr. Lombard and I nearly
wept when we found ourselves in a street that recalled the Marylebone
Road. We pretended we were in sight of Euston Station, and talked of
taking a Baker Street bus till our voices grew choky.

How absurd we islanders are! London is a poky place, but we adore it.
St. James's Street is about the length of a good big ship, yet we don't
feel we have lived till we get back to it! And as for Piccadilly and St.
Paul's, well, we see them in our dreams.

Our little unit has not found work yet. I was told before I joined it
that it had been accepted by the Russian Red Cross Society.

[Page Heading: "CHARITY" AND WAR]

I have been hearing many things out here, and thinking many things.
There is only one way of directing Red Cross work. Everything should
be--and must be in future--put under military authority and used by
military authority. "Charity" and war should be separate. It is absurd
that the Belgians in England should be housed and fed by a Government
grant, and our own soldiers are dependent on private charity for the
very socks they wear and the cigarettes they smoke. Aeroplanes had to be
instituted and prizes offered for them by a newspaper, and ammunition
wasn't provided till a newspaper took up the matter. To be mob-ridden is
bad enough, but to be press-ridden is worse!

Now, war is a military matter, and should be controlled by military
authorities. Mrs. Wynne, Mr. Bevan, and I should not be out here waiting
for work. We ought to be sent where we are needed, and so ought all Red
Cross people. This would put an end, one hopes, to the horrid business
of getting "soft jobs."

_7 November._--Whenever I am away from England I rejoice in the passing
of each week that brings me nearer to my return. I had hardly realised
to-day was the 7th, but I am thankful I am one week nearer the grey
little island and all the nice people in it.

Yesterday I went to Lady Georgina Buchanan's soup-kitchen, and helped to
feed Polish refugees. They strike me as being very like animals, but not
so interesting. In the barracks where they lodge everyone crowds in.
There is no division of the sexes, babies are yelling, and families are
sleeping on wooden boards. The places are heated but not aired, and the
smell is horrid; but they seem to revel in "frowst." All the women are
dandling babies or trying to cook things on little oil-stoves. At
night-time things are awful, I believe, and the British Ambassador has
been asked to protect the girls who are there.

_8 November._--This afternoon I went to see Mrs. Bray, and then I had an
unexpected pleasure, for I met Johnnie{8} Parsons, who is Naval Attaché
to Admiral Phillimore, and we had a long chat. When one is in a strange
land, or with people who know one but little, these encounters are
wonderfully nice.

The other night I dined with the Heron Maxwells, and had a nice evening
and a game of bridge. Some Americans, called de Velter, were there. I
think most people from the States regret the neutrality of their

[Page Heading: VISIONS OF PEACE]

Everyone brings in different stories of the war. Some say Germany is
exhausted and beaten, others say she is flushed with victory, and with
enormous reserves of men, food, and ammunition. I try to believe all the
good I hear, and when even children or fools tell me the war will soon
be over, I want to embrace them--I don't care whether they are talking
nonsense or not. Sometimes I seem to see a great hushed cathedral, and
ourselves returning thanks for Peace and Victory, and the vision is too
much for me. I must either work or be chloroformed till that time comes.

_9 November._--I think there is only one thing I dislike more than
sitting in an hotel bedroom and learning a new language, and that is
sitting in an hotel bedroom and nursing a cold in my head. Lately I have
been learning Russian--and now I am sniffing. My own fault. I would
sleep with my window open in this unhealthiest of cities, and smells and
marsh produced a feverish cold.

Out in the square the soldiers drill all the time in the snow, lying in
it, standing in it, and dressed for the most part in cotton clothing.
Wool can't be bought, so a close cotton web is made, with the inside
teased out like flannelette, and this is all they have. The necessaries
of life are being "cornered" right and left, mostly by the commercial
houses and the banks. The other day 163 railway trucks of sugar were
discovered in a siding, where the owners had placed it to wait for a
rise. Meanwhile, sugar has been almost unprocurable.

Everyone from the front describes the condition of the refugees as being
most wretched. They are camping in the snow by the thousand, and are
still tramping from Poland.

And here we are in the Astoria Hotel, and there is one pane of glass
between us and the weather; one pane of glass between us and the
peasants of Poland; one pane of glass dividing us from poverty, and
keeping us in the horrid atmosphere of this place, with its evil women
and its squeaky band! How I hate money!

I hope soon to join a train going to Dvinsk with food and supplies.

_13 November._--I have felt very brainless since I came here. It is the
result, I believe, of the Petrograd climate. Nearly everyone feels it. I
had a little book in my head which I thought I could "dash off," and
that writing it would fill up these waiting days, but I can't write a

The war news is not good, but the more territory that Germany takes, the
more the British rub their hands and cry victory. Their courage and
optimism are wonderful.

To-day I spent with the Maxwells, and met a nurse, newly returned from
Galicia, who had interesting tales to tell. One about some Russian
airmen touched me. There had been a fierce fight overhead, when suddenly
the German aeroplane began to wheel round and round like a leaf, when it
was found that the machine was on fire. One of the airmen had been shot
and the other burnt to death. The Russians refused to come and look at
the remains even of the aeroplane, and said sadly, "All we men of the
air are brothers." They gave the dead Germans a military funeral, and
then sailed over the enemy's lines to drop a note to say that all
honour had been done to the brave dead.

[Page Heading: BULGARIA]

I met Monsieur Jecquier, who was full of the political situation--said
Bulgaria would have joined us any day if we had promised to give her
Bukowina; and blamed Bark, the Russian Finance Minister, for the terms
of England's loan (the loan is for thirty millions, and repayment is
promised in a year, which is manifestly impossible, and the situation
may be strained). He said also that Motono, the Japanese Ambassador, is
far the finest politician here; and he told me that while Russia ought
to have been protecting the road to Constantinople she was quarrelling
about what its new name was to be, and had decided to call it
"Czareska." Now, I suppose, the Germans are already there. Lloyds has
been giving £100 at a premium of £5 that King Ferdinand won't be on his
throne next June. The premium has gone to £10, which is good news. If
Ferdie is assassinated the world will be rid of an evil fellow who has
played a mean and degraded part in this war.

We dined at the British Embassy last night. I was taken in to dinner by
Mr. George Lloyd, who was full of interesting news. I had a nice chat
with Lady Georgina.

_20 November._--It has been rather a "hang-on" ever since I wrote last,
nothing settled and nothing to do. No one ever seems at their best in
Petrograd. It is a cross place and a common place. I never understood
Tolstoi till I came here. On all sides one sees the same insane love of
money and love of food.

A restaurant here disgusts me as nothing else ever did. From a menu a
foot long no one seems able to choose a meal, but something fresh must
be ordered. The prices are quite silly, and, oddly enough, people seem
to revel in them. They still eat caviare at ten shillings a head; the
larger the bill the better they are pleased.

Joseph, the Napoleon of the restaurant, keeps an eye on everyone. He is
yellow, and pigeon-breasted, but his voice is like grease, and he speaks
caressingly of food, pencils entries in his pocket-book, and stimulates
jaded appetites by signalling the "voiture aux hors d'oeuvres" to
approach. The rooms are far too hot for anyone to feel hungry, the band
plays, and the leader of it grins all the time, and capers about on his
little platform like a monkey on an organ.

Always in this life of restaurants and gilt and roubles I am reminded of
the fact that the only authentic picture we have of hell is of a man
there who all his life had eaten good dinners.

[Page Heading: STAGNATION]

I have been busy seeing all manner of people in order to try and get
work to do. I hear of suffering, but I am never able to locate it or to
do anything for it. No distinct information is forthcoming; and when I
go to one high official he gives me his card and sends me to another.
Nothing is even decided about Mrs. Wynne's cars, although she is
offering a gift worth some thousands of pounds. I go to Lady Georgina's
work-party on Mondays and meet the English colony, and on Wednesdays and
Saturdays I distribute soup; but it is an unsatisfactory business, and
the days go by and one gets nothing done. One isn't even storing up
health, because this is rather an unhealthy place, so altogether we are
feeling a bit low. I can never again be surprised at Russian "laissez
faire," or want of push and energy. It is all the result of the place
itself. I feel in a dream, and wish with all my heart I could wake up in
my own bed.

_21 November._--Sunday, and I have slept late. At home I begin work at 6
a.m. Here, like everyone else, I only wake up at night, and the "best
hours of the day," as we call them, are wasted, à la Watts' hymn, in
slumber. If it was possible one would organise one's time a bit, but
hotel life is the very mischief for that sort of thing. There are no
facilities for anything. One must telephone in Russian or spend roubles
on messengers if one wants to get into touch with anyone. I took a taxi
out to lunch one day. It cost 16 roubles--_i.e._, 32s.

Dear old Lord Radstock used to say in the spring, "The Lord is calling
me to Italy," and a testy parson once remarked, "The Lord always calls
you at very convenient times, Radstock." I don't feel as if the Lord had
called me here at a very convenient time.

I called on Princess Hélène Scherbatoff yesterday, and found her and her
people at home. The mother runs a hospital-train for the wounded in the
intervals of hunting wolves. Her son has been dead for some months, and
she says she hasn't had time to bury him yet! One assumes he is
embalmed! Yet I can't help saying they were charming people to meet, so
we must suppose they are somewhat cracked. The daughter is lovely, and
they were all in deep mourning for the unburied relative.

_24 November._--This long wait is trying us a bit high. There is
literally nothing to do. We arrange pathetic little programmes for
ourselves. To-day I shall lunch with Mr. Cunard, and see the lace he has
bought: yesterday I did some shopping with Captain Smith: one day I sew
at Lady Georgina's work-party.

Heavens, what a life! I realise that for years I have not drawn rein,
and I am sure I don't require holidays. Moses was a wise man, and he
knew that one day in seven is rest enough for most humans. I always
"keep the Sabbath," and it is all the rest I want. Even here I might
write and get on with something, but there is something paralysing about
the place, and my brain won't work. I can't even write a diary! Everyone
is depressed and everyone longs to be out of Petrograd. To-day we hear
that the Swedes have closed the Haparanda line, and Archangel is frozen,
so here we are.

Now I have got to work at the hospital. There are 25,000 amputation
cases in Petrograd. The men at my hospital are mostly convalescent, but,
of course, their wounds require dressing. This is never done in their
beds, as the English plan is, but each man is carried in turn to the
"salle des pansements," and is laid on an operating-table and has his
fresh dressings put on, and is then carried back to bed again. It is a
good plan, I think. The hospital keeps me busy all the morning. Once
more I begin to see severed limbs and gashed flesh, and the old
question arises, "Why, what evil hath he done?" This war is the
crucifixion of the youth of the world.

[Page Heading: "SPEAKING ONE'S MIND"]

In a way I am learning something here. For instance, I have always
disliked "explanations" and "speaking one's mind," etc., etc., more than
I can say. I dare say I have chosen the path of least resistance in
these matters. Here one must speak out sometimes, and speak firmly. It
isn't all "being pleasant." One girl has been consistently rude to me.
To-day, poor soul, I gave her a second sermon on our way back from
church; but, indeed she has numerous opportunities in this war, and she
is wasting them all on gossip, and prejudices, and petty jealousies. So
we had a straight talk, and I hope she didn't hate it. At any rate, she
has promised amendment of life. One hears of men that "this war gives
them a chance to distinguish themselves." Women ought to distinguish
themselves, too.

    "Hesper! Venus! were we native to their splendour, or in Mars,
    We should see this world we live in, fairest of their evening stars.
    Who could dream of wars and tumults, hate and envy, sin and spite,
    Roaring London, raving Paris, in that spot of peaceful light?
    Might we not, in looking heavenward on a star so silver fair,
    Yearn and clasp our hands and murmur, 'Would to God that
        we were there!'"

Always when I see war, and boys with their poor dead faces turned up to
the sky, and their hands so small in death, and when I see wounded men,
and hear of soldiers going out of the trenches with a laugh and a joke
to cut wire entanglements, knowing they will not come back, then I am
ashamed of meanness and petty spite. So my poor young woman got a "fair
dose of it" this morning, and when she had gulped once or twice I think
she felt better.

Yesterday one saw enough to stir one profoundly, and enough to make
small things seem small indeed! It was a fine day at last, after weeks
of black weather and skies heavy with snow, and although the cold was
intense the sun was shining. I got into one of the horrid little
droshkys, in which one sits on very damp cushions, and an "izvoztchik"
in a heavy coat takes one to the wrong address always!

The weather has been so thick, the rain and snow so constant, that I had
not yet seen Petrograd. Yesterday, out of the mists appeared golden
spires, and beyond the Neva, all sullen and heavy with ice, I saw towers
and domes which I hadn't seen before. I stamped my feet on the shaky
little carriage and begged the izvoztchik to drive a little quicker. We
had to be at the Finnish station at 10 a.m., and my horse, with a long
tail that embraced the reins every time that the driver urged speed,
seemed incapable of doing more than potter over the frozen roads. I
picked up Mme. Takmakoff, who was taking me to the station, and we went
on together.

[Page Heading: BLIND]

At the station there was a long wooden building and, outside, a
platform, all frozen and white, where we waited for the train to come
in. Mme. Sazonoff, a fine well-bred woman, the wife of the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, was there, and "many others," as the press notices say.
The train was late. We went inside the long wooden building to shelter
from the bitter cold beside the hot-water pipes, and as we waited we
heard that the train was coming in. It came slowly and carefully
alongside the platform with its crunching snow, almost with the creeping
movement of a woman who carries something tenderly. Then it stopped. Its
windows were frozen and dark, so that one could see nothing. I heard a
voice behind me say, "The blind are coming first," and from the train
there came groping one by one young men with their eyes shot out. They
felt for the step of the train, and waited bewildered till someone came
to lead them; then, with their sightless eyes looking upwards more than
ours do, they moved stumbling along. Poor fellows, they'll never _see_
home; but they turned with smiles of delight when the band, in its grey
uniforms and fur caps, began to play the National Anthem.

These were the first wounded prisoners from Germany, sent home because
they could never fight again--quite useless men, too sorely hurt to
stand once more under raining bullets and hurtling shell-fire--so back
they came, and like dazed creatures they got out of the train, carrying
their little bundles, limping, groping, but home.

After the blind came those who had lost limbs--one-legged men, men still
in bandages, men hobbling with sticks or with an arm round a comrade's
neck, and then the stretcher cases. There was one man carrying his
crutches like a cross. Others lay twisted sideways. Some never moved
their heads from their pillows. All seemed to me to have about them a
splendid dignity which made the long, battered, suffering company into
some great pageant. I have never seen men so lean as they were. I have
never seen men's cheek-bones seem to cut through the flesh just where
the close-cropped hair on their temples ends. I had never seen such
hollow eyes; but they were Russian soldiers, Russian gentlemen, and they
were home again!

In the great hall we greeted them with tables laid with food, and spread
with wine and little presents beside each place. They know how to do
this, the princely Russians, so each man got a welcome to make him
proud. The band was there, and the long tables, the hot soup and the
cigarettes. All the men had washed at Torneo, and all of them wore clean
cotton waistcoats. Their hair was cut, too, but their faces hadn't
recovered. One knew they would never be young again. The Germans had
done their work. Semi-starvation and wounds had made old men of these
poor Russian soldiers. All was done that could be done to welcome them
back, but no one could take it in for a time. A sister in black
distributed some little Testaments, each with a cross on it, and the
soldiers kissed the symbol of suffering passionately.

They filed into their places at the tables, and the stretchers were
placed in a row two deep up the whole length of the room. In the middle
of it stood an altar, covered with silver tinsel, and two priests in
tinsel and gold stood beside it. Upon it was the sacred ikon, and the
everlasting Mother and Child smiled down at the men laid in helplessness
and weakness at their feet.

A General welcomed the soldiers back; and when they were thanked in the
name of the Emperor for what they had done, the tears coursed down their
thin cheeks. It was too pitiful and touching to be borne. I remember
thinking how quietly and sweetly a sister of mercy went from one group
of soldiers to another, silently giving them handkerchiefs to dry their
tears. We are all mothers now, and our sons are so helpless, so much in
need of us.


Down the middle of the room were low tables for the men who lay down all
the time. They saluted the ikon, as all the soldiers did, and some
service began which I was unable to follow. I can't tell what the
soldiers said, or of what they were thinking. About their comrades they
said to Mme. Takmakoff that 25,000 of them had died in two days from
neglect. We shall never hear the worst perhaps.

There were three officers at a table. One of them was shot through the
throat, and was bandaged. I saw him put all his food on one side, unable
to swallow it. Then a high official came and sat down and drank his
health. The officer raised his glass gallantly, and put his lips to the
wine, but his throat was shot through, he made a face of agony, bowed to
the great man opposite, and put down his glass.

Some surgeons in white began to go about, taking names and particulars
of the men's condition. Everyone was kind to the returned soldiers, but
they had borne too much. Some day they will smile perhaps, but yesterday
they were silent men returned from the dead, and not yet certain that
their feet touched Russia again.



We paid our heavy bills and left Petrograd on Monday, the 29th November.
Great fuss at the station, as our luggage and the guide had disappeared
together. A comfortable, slow journey, and Colonel Malcolm met us at
Moscow station and took us to the Hôtel de Luxe--a shocking bad pub, but
the only one where we could get rooms. We went out to lunch, and I had a
plate of soup, two faens (little wheat cakes), and the fifth part of a
bottle of Graves. This modest repast cost sixteen shillings per head. We
turned out of the Luxe Hotel the following day, and came to the
National, where four hundred people were waiting to get in. But our
guide Grundy had influence, and managed to get us rooms. It is quite

None of us was sorry to leave Petrograd, and that is putting the case
mildly. People there are very depressed, and it was a case of "she said"
and "he said" all the time. Everyone was trying to snuff everyone else
out. "I don't know them"--and the lips pursed up finished many a
reputation, and I heard more about money and position than I ever heard
in my life before. "Bunty" and I used to say that the world was
inhabited by "nice people and very nice people," and once she added a
third class, "fearfully nice people." That is a world one used to
inhabit. I suppose one must make the best of this one!

[Page Heading: MOSCOW]

_Moscow. 2 December._--Hilda Wynne was rather feverish to-day, and lay
in bed, so I had a solitary walk about the Kremlin, and saw a fine view
from its splendid position. But, somehow, I am getting tired of
solitude. I suppose the war gives us the feeling that we must hold
together, and yet I have never been more alone than during this last
eighteen months.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Miss Macnaughtan's Sisters._

_3 December._


I have just heard that there is a man going up to Petrograd to-night who
will put our letters in the Embassy bag, so there is some hope of this
reaching you. It is really my Christmas letter to you all, so may it be
passed round, please, although there won't be much in it.

We are now at Moscow, _en route_ for the Caucasus _via_ Tiflis, and our
base will probably be Julfa. We have been chosen to go there by the
Grand Duchess Cyril, but the reports about the roads are so conflicting
that we are going to see for ourselves. When we get there it will be
difficult to send letters home, but the banks will always be in
communication with each other, so I shall get all you send to Crédit
Lyonnais, Petrograd.

So far we have been waiting for our cars all this time. They had to
come by Archangel, and they left long before we did, but they have not
arrived yet. There are six ambulance cars, on board three different
ships (for safety), and no news of any of them yet.

Now, at least, _we_ have got a move on, and, barring accidents, we shall
be in Tiflis next week. It's rather a fearsome journey, as the train
only takes us to the foot of the mountains in four days, and then we
must ride or drive across the passes, which they say are too cold for
anything. You must imagine us like Napoleon in the "Retreat from Moscow"

Petrograd is a singularly unpleasant town, where the sun never shines,
and it rains or snows every day. The river is full of ice, but it looks
sullen and sad in the perpetual mist. There are a good many English
people there; but one is supposed to know the Russians, which means
speaking French all the time. Moscow is a far superior place, and is
really most interesting and beautiful, and very Eastern, while Petrograd
might be Liverpool. I filled up my time there in the hospital and

The price of everything gets worse, I do believe! Even a glass of
filtered water costs one shilling and threepence! I have just left an
hotel for which my bill was £3 for one night, and I was sick nearly all
the time!

[Page Heading: "WHEN WILL THE WAR END?"]

Now, my dears, I wish you all the best Christmas you can have this year.
I am just longing for news of you, but I never knew such a cut-off place
as this for letters. Tell me about every one of the family. Write
lengthy letters. When do people say the war will end?

Your loving

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tiflis. 12 December._--It is evening, and I have only just remembered
it is Sunday, a thing I can't recollect ever having happened before. I
have been ill in my room all day, which no doubt accounts for it.

We stayed at Moscow for a few days, and my recollection of it is of a
great deal of snow and frequent shopping expeditions in cold little
sleighs. I liked the place, and it was infinitely preferable to
Petrograd. Mr. Cazalet took us to the theatre one night, and there was
rather a good ballet. These poor dancers! They, like others, have lost
their nearest and dearest in the war, but they still have to dance. Of
course they call themselves "The Allies," and one saw rather a stale
ballet-girl in very sketchy clothes dancing with a red, yellow, and
black flag draped across her. Poor Belgium! It was such a travesty of
her sufferings.

Mr. Cazalet came to see us off at the station, and we began our long
journey to Tiflis, but we changed our minds, and took the local train
from ---- to Vladikavkas, where we stayed one night rather enjoyably at
a smelly hotel, and the following day we got a motor-car and started at
7 a.m. for the pass. The drive did us all good. The great snow peaks
were so unlike Petrograd and gossip! I had been rather ill on the train,
and I got worse at the hotel and during the drive, so I was quite a
poor Sarah when I reached Tiflis. Still, the scenery had been lovely
all the time, and we had funny little meals at rest houses.

When we got to Tiflis I went on being seedy for a while. I finished
Stephen Graham's book on Russia which he gave me before I left home. It
is charmingly written. The line he chooses is mine also, but his is a
more important book than mine.

_Batoum. 22 December._--We have had a really delightful time since I
last wrote up the old diary! (A dull book so far.) We saw a good many
important people at Tiflis--Gorlebeff, the head of the Russian Red
Cross, Prince Orloff, Prince Galitzin (a charming man), General Bernoff,
etc., etc.

Mrs. Wynne's and Mr. Bevan's cars are definitely accepted for the Tehran
district. My own plans are not yet settled, but I hope they may be soon.
People seem to think I look so delicate that they are a little bit
afraid of giving me hard work, and yet I suppose there are not many
women who get through more work than I do; but I believe I am looking
rather a poor specimen, and my hair has fallen out. I think I am rather
like those pictures on the covers of "appeals"--pictures of small
children, underneath which is written, "This is Johnny Smith, or Eliza
Jones, who was found in a cellar by one of our officers;
weight--age--etc., etc."

If I could have a small hospital north of Tehran it would be a good
centre for the wounded, and it would also be a good place for the others
to come to. Mr. Hills and Dr. Gordon (American missionaries) seem to
think they would like me to join them in their work for the Armenians.
These unfortunate people have been nearly exterminated by massacres, and
it has been officially stated that 75 per cent. of the whole race has
been put to the sword. This sounds awful enough, but when we consider
that there is no refinement of torture that has not been practised upon
them, then something within one gets up and shouts for revenge.

The photographs which General Bernoff has are proof of the devildom of
the Turks, only that the devil could not have been so beastly, and a
beast could not have been so devilish. The Kaiser has convinced the
Turks that he is now converted from Christianity to Mahomedanism. In
every mosque he is prayed for under the title of "Hájed Mahomet
Wilhelm," and photographs of burned and ruined cathedrals in France and
Belgium are displayed to prove that he is now anti-Christian. Heaven
knows it doesn't want much proving!

[Page Heading: RASPUTIN]

There are rumours of peace offers from Germany, but we must go on
fighting now, if only for the sake of the soldiers, who will be the ones
to suffer, but who _can't_ be asked to give in. The Russians are
terribly out of spirits, and very depressed about the war. The German
influence at Court scares them, and there is, besides, the mysterious
Rasputin to contend with! This extraordinary man seems to exercise a
malign influence over everyone, and people are powerless to resist him.
Nothing seems too strange or too mad to recount of this man and his
dupes. He is by birth a moujik, or peasant, and is illiterate, a
drunkard, and an immoral wretch. Yet there is hardly a great lady at
Court who has not come under his influence, and he is supposed by this
set of persons to be a reincarnation of Christ. Rasputin's figure is one
of those mysterious ones round which every sort of rumour gathers.

We left Tiflis on Friday, 17th December, and had rather a panic at the
station, as our passports had been left at the hotel, and our tickets
had gone off to Baku. However, the unpunctuality of the train helped us,
and we got off all right, an hour late. The train was about a thousand
years old, and went at the rate of ten miles an hour, and we could only
get second-class ordinary carriages to sleep in! But morning showed us
such lovely scenery that nothing else mattered. One found oneself in a
semi-tropical country, with soft skies and blue sea, and palms and
flowers, and with tea-gardens on all the hillsides. When will people
discover Caucasia? It is one of the countries of the world.

We had letters to Count Groholski, a most charming young fellow, who
arranged a delightful journey for us into the mountains, and as we had
brought no riding things we began to search the small shops for
riding-boots and the like. Then, in the evening we dined with Count
Oulieheff, and had an interesting pleasant time. Two Japanese were at
dinner, and, although they couldn't speak any tongue but their own,
Japanese always manage to look interesting. No doubt much of that
depends upon being able to say nothing.

[Page Heading: GEORGIA]

Early next day we motored out to the Count's Red Cross camp at ----.
Here everyone was sleeping under tents or in little wooden huts, and we
met some good-mannered, nice soldier men, most of them Poles. The
scenery was grand, and we were actually in the little known and
wonderful old kingdom of Georgia. Very little of it is left.{9} There
are ruins all along the river of castles and fortresses and old
stone bridges now crumbling into decay, but of the country, once so
proud, only one small dirty city remains, and that is Artvin, on the
mountain-side. It was too full of an infectious sort of typhus for us to
go there, but we drove out to the hospital on the opposite side of the
valley, and the doctor in charge there gave us beds for the night.

On Sunday, December 19th, I wandered about the hillside, found some
well-made trenches, and saw some houses which had been shelled. The
Turks were in possession of Artvin only a year ago, and there was a lot
of fighting in the mountains. It seems to me that the population of the
place is pretty Turkish still; and there are Turkish houses with small
Moorish doorways, and little windows looking out on the glorious view.
In all the mountains round here the shooting is fine, and consists of
toor (goats), leopards, bears, wolves, and on the Persian front, tigers
also. Land can be had for nothing if one is a Russian.

On Sunday afternoon we drove in a most painful little carriage to a
village which seemed to be inhabited by good-looking cut-throats, but
there was not much to see except the picturesque, smelly, old brown
houses. We met a handsome Cossack carrying a man down to the military
hospital. He was holding him upright, as children carry each other; the
man was moaning with fever, and had been stricken with the virulent
typhus, which nearly always kills. But what did the handsome Cossack
care about infection? He was a mountaineer, and had eyes with a little
flame in them, and a fierce moustache. Perhaps to-morrow he will be
gone. People die like flies in these unhealthy towns, and the Russians
are supremely careless.

We went back to the hospital for dinner, and then went out into crisp,
beautiful moonlight, and motored back to the Red Cross camp. I had a
little hut to sleep in, which had just been built. It contained a bed
and two chairs, upon one of which was a tin basin! The cold in the
morning was about as sharp as anything I have known, but everyone was
jolly and pleasant, and we had a charming time.

The Count told us of the old proud Georgians when there was a famine in
the country and a Russian Governor came to offer relief to the starving
inhabitants. Their great men went out to receive him, and said
courteously, "We have not been here, Gracious One, one hundred or two
hundred years, but much more than a thousand years, and during that time
we have not had a visit from the Russian Government. We are pleased to
see you, and the honour you have done us is sufficient in itself--for
the rest we think we will not require anything at your hands."

On Monday I motored with the others out to the ferry; then I had to
leave them, as they were going to ride forty miles, and that was thought
too much for me. Age has _no_ compensations, and it is not much use
fighting it. One only ends by being "a wonderful old woman of eighty":
reminiscent, perhaps a little obstinate, and in the world to
come--always eighty?

Came back to Batoum with Count Stanislas Constant, and went for a drive
with him to see the tea-gardens.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Page Heading: TIFLIS]

Christmas Eve at Tiflis, and here we are with cars still stuck in the
ice thirty miles from Archangel, and ourselves just holding on and
trying not to worry. But what a waste of time! Also, fighting is going
on now in Persia, and we might be a lot of use. We came back from Batoum
in the hottest and slowest train I have ever been in. Still, Georgia
delighted me, and I am glad to have seen it. They have a curious custom
there (the result of generations of fighting). Instead of saying
"Good-morning," they say "Victory"; and the answer is, "May the victory
be yours." The language is Georgian, of course; and then there is
Tartar, and Polish, and Russian, and I can't help thinking that the
Tower of Babel was the poorest joke that was ever played on mankind.
Nothing stops work so completely.

What will Christmas Day be like at home? I think of all the village
churches, with the holly and evergreens, and in almost every one the
little new brass plates to the memory of beautiful youth, dead and
mangled, and left in the mud to await another trumpet than that which
called it from the trenches. There is nothing like a boy, and all the
life of England and the prayers of mothers have centred round them.
One's older friends died first, and now the boys are falling, and from
every little vicarage, from school-houses and colleges, the endless
stream goes, all with their heads up, fussing over their little bits of
packing, and then away to stand exploding shells and gas and bombs. No
one except those who have seen knows the ghastly tale of human suffering
that this war involves every day. Down here 550,000 Armenians have been
butchered in cold blood. The women are either massacred or driven into
Turkish harems.

Yesterday we heard some news at last in this most benighted corner of
the world! England has raised four million volunteers. Hurrah! Over one
million men volunteered in one week. French takes command at home and
Haig at the front.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Charles Young._

_26 December._


It seems almost useless to write letters, or even to wire! Letters
sometimes take forty-nine days to get to England, and telegrams are
_always_ kept a fortnight before being sent. We have had great
difficulty about the ambulance cars, as they all got frozen into the
river at Archangel; however, as you will see from the newspapers, there
isn't a great deal going on yet.

I do hope you and all the family are safe and sound. I wired to ---- for
her birthday to ask news of you all, and I prepaid the reply, but, of
course, none came, so I am sure she never got the wire. I have wired
twice to ----, but no reply. At last one gives up expecting any. I got
some newspapers nearly a month old to-day, and I have been devouring

This is rather a curious place, and the climate is quite good; no snow,
and a good deal of pleasant sun, but the hills all round are very bare
and rugged.

I have had a cough, which I think equals your best efforts in that line.
How it does shake one up! I had some queer travelling when it was at its
worst: for the first night we were given a shakedown in a little
mountain hospital, which was fearfully cold; and the next night I was
put into a newly-built little place, made of planks roughly nailed
together, and with just a bed and a basin in it.

The cold was wonderful, and since then--as you may imagine--the
Macnaughtan cough has been heard in the land!


Yesterday (Christmas Day) we were invited to breakfast with the Grand
Duke Nicholas. A Court function in Russia is the most royal that you can
imagine--no half measures about it! The Grand Duke is an adorably
handsome man, quite extraordinarily and obviously a Grand Duke. He
measures 6 feet 5 inches, and is worshipped by every soldier in the

We went first into a huge anteroom, where a lady-in-waiting received us,
and presented us to "Son Altesse Impériale," and then to the Grand Duke
and to his brother, the Grand Duke Peter. Some scenes seem to move as
in a play. I had a vision of a great polished floor, and many tall men
in Cossack dress, with daggers and swords, most of them different grades
of Princes and Imperial Highnesses.

A great party of Generals, and ladies, and members of the Household,
then went into a big dining-room, where every imaginable hors d'oeuvre
was laid out on dishes--dozens of different kinds--and we each ate
caviare or something. Afterwards, with a great tramp and clank of spurs
and swords, everyone moved on to a larger dining-room, where there were
a lot of servants, who waited excellently.

In the middle of the déjeuner the Grand Duke Nicholas got up, and
everyone else did the same, and they toasted us! The Grand Duke made a
speech about our "gallantry," etc., etc., and everyone raised glasses
and bowed to one. Nothing in a play could have been more of a real fine
sort of scene. And certainly S. Macnaughtan in her wildest dreams hadn't
thought of anything so wonderful as being toasted in Russia by the
Imperial Staff.

It's quite a thing to be tiresome about when one grows old!

In the evening we tried to be merry, and failed. The Grand Duchess sent
us mistletoe and plum-pudding by the hand of M. Boulderoff. He took us
shopping, but the bazaars are not interesting.

Good-bye, and bless you, my dear,
Yours as ever,

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Miss Julia Keays-Young._

_27 December._


I can't tell you what a pleasure your letters are. I only wish I could
get some more from anybody, but not a line gets through! I want so much
to hear about Bet and her marriage, and to know if the nephews and
Charles are safe.

There seems to be the usual winter pause over the greater part of the
war area, but round about here, there are the most awful massacres;
550,000 Armenians have been slaughtered in cold blood by the Turks, and
with cruelties that pass all telling. One is quite impotent.

I expect to be sent into Persia soon, and meanwhile I hope to join some
American missionaries who are helping the refugees. Our ambulances are
at last out of the ice at Archangel, and will be here in a fortnight;
but we are not to go to Persia for a month. "The Front" is always
altering, and we never have any idea where our work will be wanted.

[Page Heading: HOMESICK]

We are still asking when the war will end, but, of course, no one knows.
One gets pretty homesick out here at times, and there was a chance I
might have to go back to England for equipment, but that seems off at

Your always loving
A. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

_29 December._--I have still got a horrid bad cough, and my big, dull
room is depressing. We are all depressed, I am afraid. Being accustomed
to have plenty to do, this long wait is maddening.

Whatever Russia may have in store for us in the way of useful work,
nothing can exceed the boredom of our first seven weeks here. We are
just spoiling for work. I believe it is as bad as an illness to feel
like this, and we won't be normal again for some time. Oddly enough, it
does affect one's health, and Hilda Wynne and I are both seedy. We are
always trying to wire for things, but not a word gets through.

We were summoned to dine at the palace last night. Everyone very

_31 December._.--Prince Murat came to dine and play bridge. Count
Groholski turned up for a few days. My doctor vetted me for my cold.
Business done--none. No sailor ever longed for port as I do for home.



_Tiflis. 1 January, 1916._--Kind wishes from the Grand Duke and
everybody. Not such an aimless day as usual. I got into a new
sitting-room and put it straight, and in the evening we went to Prince
Orloff's box for a performance of "Carmen." It was very Russian and
wealthy. At the back of the box were two anterooms, where we sat and
talked between the acts, and where tea, chocolates, etc., were served.
They say the Prince has £200,000 a year. He is gigantically fat, with a
real Cossack face.

Scandal is so rife here that it hardly seems to mean scandal. They don't
appear to be so much immoral as non-moral. Everyone sits up late; then
most of them, I am told, get drunk, and then the evening orgies begin.
No one is ostracised, everyone is called upon and "known" whatever they
have done. I suppose English respectability would simply make them
smile--if, indeed, they believed in it.

_2 January._--I don't suppose I shall ever write an article on war
charities, but I believe I ought to. A good many facts about them have
come my way, and I consider that the public at home should be told how
the finances are being administered.

I know of one hospital in Russia which has, I believe, cost England
£100,000. The staff consists of nurses and doctors, dressers, etc., all
fully paid. The expenses of those in charge of it are met out of the
funds. They live in good hotels, and have "entertaining allowances" for
entertaining their friends, and yet one of them herself volunteered the
information that the hospital is not required. The staff arrived weeks
ago, but not the stores. Probably the building won't be opened for some
time to come, and when it is opened there will be difficulty in getting
patients to fill it.

In many parts of Russia hospitals are _not_ wanted. In Petrograd there
are five hundred of them run by Russians alone.

Then there is a fund for relief of the Poles, which is administered by
Princess ----. The ambulance-car which the fund possesses is used by the
Princess to take her to the theatre every night.

A great deal of money has been subscribed for the benefit of the
Armenians. Who knows how much this has cost the givers? yet the
distribution of this large sum seems to be conducted on most haphazard
lines. An open letter arrived the other day for the Mayor of Tiflis.
There is no Mayor of Tiflis, so the letter was brought to Major ----. It
said: "Have you received two cheques already sent? We have had no
acknowledgment." There seems to be no check on the expenditure, and
there is no local organisation for dispensing the relief. I don't say
that it is cheating: I only say as much as I know.


A number of motor-ambulances were sent to Russia by some generous people
in England the other day. They were inspected by Royalty before being
despatched, and arrived in the care of Mr. ----. When their engines were
examined it was found that they were tied together with bits of
copper-wire, and even with string. None of them could be made to go, and
they were returned to England.

We are desperately hard up at home just now, and we are denying
ourselves in order to send these charitable contributions to the richest
country in the world. Gorlebeff himself (head of the Russian Red Cross
Society) has £30,000 a year. Armenians are literally rolling in money,
and it is common to find Armenian ladies buying hats at 250 Rs. (£25) in
Tiflis. The Poles are not ruined, nor do they seem to object to German
rule, which is doing more for them than Russia ever did. Tiflis people
are now sending money for relief to Mesopotamia. Of the 300,000 Rs. sent
by England, 70,000 Rs. have stuck to someone's fingers.

In Flanders there were many people living in comfort such as they had
probably never seen before, at the expense of the charitable public, and
doing very little indeed all the time: cars to go about in, chauffeurs
at their disposal, petrol without stint, and even their clothes (called
uniforms for the nonce!) paid for.

And the little half-crowns that come in to run these shows, "how hardly
they are earned sometimes! with what sacrifices they are given!" A man
in Flanders said to me one day: "We could lie down and roll in tobacco,
and we all help ourselves to every blooming thing we want; and here is a
note I found in a poor little parcel of things to-night: 'We are so
sorry not to be able to send more, but money is very scarce this week.'"

My own cousin brought four cars over to France, and he told me he was
simply an unpaid chauffeur at the command of young officers coming in to
shop at Dunkirk.

I am thankful to say that Mrs. Wynne and Mr. Bevan and I have paid our
own expenses ever since the war began, and given things too. And I think
a good many of our own corps in Flanders used to contribute liberally
and pay for all they had. People here tell us that their cars have all
been commandeered, and they are used for the wives of Generals, who
never had entered one before, and who proudly do their shopping in them.

War must be a military matter, and these things must end, unless money
is to find its way into the possession of the vultures who are always at
hand when there is any carcase about.

_5 January._--Absolutely nothing to write about. I saw Gorlebeff,
Domerchekoff, and Count Tysczkievcz{10} of the Croix Rouge about my
plans. They suggest my going to Urumiyah in Persia, where workers seem
to be needed. The only other opening seems to be to go to Count
Groholski's new little hospital on the top of the mountains. Mr. Hills,
the American missionary, wants me first to go with him to see the
Armenian refugees at Erivan, but we can't get transports for his gifts
of clothing for them.

[Page Heading: A PRESENTIMENT]

Before I left England I had a very strange, almost an overwhelming
presentiment that I had better not come to Russia. I had by that time
promised Mrs. Wynne that I would come, and I couldn't see that it would
be the right thing to chuck her. I thought the work would suffer if I
stayed at home, as she might find it impossible to get any other woman
who would pay her own way and consent to be away for so long a time. Our
prayers are always such childish things--prayer itself is only a
cry--and I remember praying that if I was "meant to stay at home" some
substitute might be found for me. This all seems too absurd when one
views it in the light of what afterwards happened. My vision of "honour"
and "work" seem for the moment ridiculous, and yet I know that I was not
so foolish as I seem, for I got a written statement from Mr. Hume
Williams (Mrs. Wynne's trustee), saying, "A unit has been formed,
consisting of Mrs. Wynne, Miss Macnaughtan, etc., and it has been
accepted by the Russian Red Cross." The idea of being in Russia and
having to look for work never in my wildest moments entered my head--and
this is the end of the "vision," I suppose.

_Russian Christmas Day._--Took a car and went for a short run into the
country. Weather fine and bright.

There is severe fighting in Galicia, and the rumour is that
Urumiyah--the place to which I am going--has been evacuated.

My impression of Russia deepens--that it is run by beautiful women and
rich men; and yet how charming everyone is to meet! Hardly anyone is
uninteresting, and half the men are good-looking. The Cossack-dress is
very handsome, and nearly everyone wears it. When the colour is dark red
and the ornaments are of silver the effect is unusually good. They all
walk well. One is amongst a primitive people, but a remarkably fine one!

_10 January._--I am taking French lessons. This would appear to be a
simple matter, even in Russia, but it has taken me three weeks to get a
teacher. The first to come required a rest, and must decline; the second
was recalled by an old employer; the third had too many engagements; the
fourth came and then holidays began, as they always do! First our
Christmas, then the Russian Christmas, then the Armenian Christmas,
leading on to three New Year Days! After that the Baptism, with its
holidays and its vigils.

There is only one sort of breakfast-roll in this hotel which is soft
enough to eat; it is not made on festivals, nor on the day after a
festival. I can honestly say we hardly ever see one.

With much fear and trembling I have bought a motor-car. No work seems
possible without it. The price is heavy, but everyone says I shall be
able to get it back when I leave. All the same I shake in my shoes--a
chauffeur, tyres, petrol, mean money all the time. One can't stop
spending out here. It is like some fate from which one can't escape.
Still the car is bought, and I suppose now I shall get work.

[Page Heading: DIFFICULTIES]

We are all in the same boat. Mrs. Wynne has waited for her ambulances
for three months, and I hear that even the Anglo-Russian hospital, with
every name from Queen Alexandra's downwards on the list of its patrons,
is in "one long difficulty." It is Russia, and nothing but Russia, that
breaks us all. Everything is promised, nothing is done. The only _hope_
of getting a move on is by bribery, and one may bribe the wrong people
till one finds one's way about.

_13 January._--The car took us up the Kajour road, and behaved well; but
the chauffeur drove us into a bridge on the way down, and had to be
dismissed. Tried to go to Erivan, but the new chauffeur mistook the
road, so we had to return to Tiflis. N.B.--Another holiday was coming
on, and he wanted to be at home. _I actually used to like difficulties!_

_15 January._--Started again for Erivan. All went well, and we had a
lovely drive till about 6 p.m. The dusk was gathering and we were up in
the hills, when "bang!" went something, and nothing on earth would make
the car move. We unscrewed nuts, we lighted matches, we got out the
"jack," but we could not discover what was wrong. So where were we to
spend the night?

In a fold of the grey hills was a little grey village--just a few huts
belonging to Mahomedan shepherds, but there was nothing for it but to
ask them for shelter. Fortunately, Dr. Wilson knew the language, and he
persuaded the "head man" to turn out for us. His family consisted of
about sixteen persons, all sleeping on the floor. They gave us the
clay-daubed little place, and fortunately it contained a stove, but
nothing else. The snow was all round us, but we made up the fire and got
some tea, which we carried with us, and finally slept in the little
place while the chauffeur guarded the car.

In the morning nothing would make the car budge an inch, and, seeing our
difficulty, the Mahomedans made us pay a good deal for horses to tow the
thing to the next village, where we heard there was a blacksmith. We
followed in a hay-cart. We got to a Malokand settlement about 5 o'clock,
and found ourselves in an extraordinarily pretty little village, and
were given shelter in the very cleanest house I ever saw. The woman was
a perfect treasure, and made us soup and gave us clean beds, and honey
for breakfast. The chauffeur found that our shaft was broken, and the
whole piece had to go back to Tiflis.

It was a real blow, our trip knocked on the head again, and now how were
we to get on? The railway was 48 versts away, and the railway had to be
reached. We hired one of those painful little carts, which are made of
rough poles on wheels, and, clinging on by our eyelids, we drove as far
as an Armenian village, where a snowstorm came on, and we took shelter
with a "well-to-do" Armenian family, who gave us lunch and displayed
their wool-work and were very friendly. From there we got into another
"deelyjahns" of the painful variety, and jolted off for about 25 miles,
till, as night fell, we struck the railway, and were given two wooden
benches to sleep on in a small waiting-room. People came and went all
night, and we slept with one eye open till 2 a.m., when the chauffeur
took a train to Tiflis. We sat up till 6 a.m., when the train, two hours
late, started for Erivan, where we arrived pretty well "cooked" at 11

[Page Heading: ERIVAN]

_Erivan. 20 January._--Last night's experiences were certainly very
"Russian." We had wired for rooms, but although the message had been
received nothing was prepared. The miserable rooms were an inch thick in
dust, there were no fires, and no sheets on the beds! We went to a
restaurant--fortunately no Russian goes to bed early--and found the
queerest place, empty save for a band and a lady. The lady and the band
were having supper. She, poor soul, was painted and dyed, but she
offered her services to translate my French for me when the waiters
could understand nothing but Russian. I was thankful to eat something
and go to bed under my fur coat.

To-day we have been busy seeing the Armenian refugees. There are 17,000
of them in this city of 30,000 inhabitants. We went from one place to
another, and always one saw the same things and heard the same tales.

Since the war broke out I think I have seen the actual breaking of the
wave of anguish which has swept over the world (I often wonder if I can
"feel" much more!). There was Dunkirk and its shambles, there was ruined
Belgium, and there was, above all, the field hospital at Furnes, with
its horrible courtyard, the burning heap of bandages, and the mattresses
set on edge to drip the blood off them and then laid on some bed again.
I can never forget it. I was helping a nurse once, and all the time I
was sitting on a dead man and never knew it!

And now I am hearing of one million Armenians slaughtered in cold blood.
The pitiful women in the shelters were saying, "We are safe because we
are old and ugly; all the young ones went to the harems." Nearly all the
men were massacred. The surplus children and unwanted women were put
into houses and burned alive. Everywhere one heard, "We were 4,000 in
one village, and only 143 escaped;" "There were 30 of us, and now only a
few children remain;" "All the men are killed." These were things one
saw for oneself, heard for oneself. There was nothing sensational in the
way the women told their stories.

Russia does what she can in the way of "relief." She gives 4-1/2 Rs. per
month to each person. This gives them bread, and there might be fires,
for stoves are there, but no one seems to have the gumption to put them
up. Here and there men and women are sleeping on valuable rugs, which
look strange in the bare shelters. Most of the women knitted, and some
wove on little "fegir" looms. The dullness of their existence matches
the tragedy of it. The food is so plain that it doesn't want
cooking--being mostly bread and water; but sometimes a few rags are
washed, and there is an attempt to try and keep warm. Yet I have heard
an English officer say that nothing pleases a Russian more than to ask,
"When is there to be another Armenian massacre?"

The Armenians are hated. I wonder Christ doesn't do more for them
considering they were the first nation in the world to embrace
Christianity; but then, one wonders about so many things during this
war. Oh, if we could stamp out the madness that seems to accompany
religion, and just live sober, kind, sensible lives, how good it would
be; but the Turks must burn women and children, alive, because, poor
souls, they think one thing and the Turks think another! And men and
women are hating and killing each other because Christ, says one, had a
nature both human and divine, and, says another, the two were merged in
one. And a third says that Christ was equal to the Father, while a whole
Church separated itself on the question of Sabellianism, or "The
Procession of the Son."

Poor Christ, once crucified, and now dismembered by your own disciples,
are you glad you came to earth, or do you still think God forsook you,
and did you, too, die an unbeliever? The crucifixion will never be
understood until men know that its worst agony consisted in the
disbelief which first of all doubts God and then must, by all reason,
doubt itself. The resurrection comes when we discover that we are God
and He is us.

[Page Heading: ETCHMIADZIN]

_21 January._--To-day, I drove out to Etchmiadzin with Mr. Lazarienne,
an Armenian, to see that curious little place. It is the ecclesiastical
city of Armenia--its little Rome, where the Catholicus lives. He was
ill, but a charming Bishop--Wardepett by name--with a flowing brown
beard and long black silk hood, made us welcome and gave us lunch, and
then showed us the hospital--which had no open windows, and smelt
horrible--and the lovely little third-century "temple." Then he took us
round the strange, quiet little place, with its peaceful park and its
three old brown churches, which mark what must once have been a great
city and the first seat of a national Christianity. Now there are
perhaps 300 inhabitants, but Mount Ararat dominates it, and Mount Ararat
is not a hill. It is a great white jewel set up against a sheet of
dazzling blue.

Hills and ships always seem to me to be alive, and I think they have a
personality of their own. Ararat stands for the unassailable. It is like
some great fact, such as that what is beautiful must be true. It is
grand and pure and lovely, and when the sun sets it is more than this,
for then its top is one sheet of rose, and it melts into a mystic hill,
and one knows that whatever else may "go to Heaven" Ararat goes there
every night.

We visited the old Persian palace built on the river's cliff, and looked
out over the gardens to the hills beyond, and saw the mosque, with its
blue roof against the blue sky, and its wonderful covering of old tiles,
which drop like leaves and are left to crumble.

_Tiflis. 24 January._--I left Erivan on Sunday, January 23rd. It was
cold and sharp, and the train was crowded. People were standing all down
the corridors, as usual. Nothing goes quicker than eight miles an hour,
nothing is punctual, nothing arrives. The stations are filthy, and the
food is quite uneatable. I often despair of this country, and if the
Russians were not our Allies I should feel inclined to say that nothing
would do them so much good as a year or two of German conquest. No one,
after the first six months, has been enthusiastic over the war, and the
soldiers want to get home. One young officer, 26 years old, has been
loafing in Tiflis for six months, and has at last been arrested. Another
took his ticket on eight successive nights to leave the place and never
moved. At last he was locked in his room, and a motor-car ordered to
take him to the station. He got into it, and was not heard of for three
days, when his wife appeared, and found her husband somewhere in the

Mrs. Wynne and Mr. Bevan have gone on ahead to Baku, but I must wait for
my damaged car. A young officer in this hotel shot himself dead this
morning. No one seems to mind much.


_25 January._--Last night I was invited to play bridge by one of the
richest women in Russia. Her room was just a converted bedroom, with a
dirty wall-paper. The packs of cards were such as one might see
railway-men playing with in a lamp-room. Our stakes were a few kopeks,
and the refreshments consisted of one tepid cup of tea, without either
milk or lemon, and not a biscuit to eat. We all sat with shawls on, as
our hostess said it wasn't worth while to light a fire so late at night.
A nice little Princess Musaloff and Prince Napoleon Murat played with
me. We were rich in titles, but our shoulders were cold.

I have not seen a single nice or even comfortable room since I left
England, and although some women dress well, and have pretty
cigarette-boxes from the renowned Faberjé, other things about them are
all wrong. The furniture in their rooms is covered with plush, and the
ornaments (to me) suggest a head-gardener's house at home with "an
enlargement of mother" over the mantelpiece; or a Clapham drawing-room,
furnished during some happy year when cotton rose, or copper was
cornered. In this hotel the carpets are in holes in the passages, and
there are few servants; but I don't fancy that the people here notice
things very much.

I went to see Mme. ---- one day in her new house. The rooms were large
and handsome. There was a picture of a cow at one end of the
drawing-room, and a mirror framed in plush at the other!

I must draw a "character" one day of the very charming woman who is
absolutely indifferent to people's feelings. The fact that some humble
soul has prepared something for her, or that a sacrifice has been made,
or that one kind speech would satisfy, does not occur to her. These are
the people who chuck engagements when they get better invitations, and
always I seem to see them with expensive little bags and chains and
Faberjé enamels. Men will slave for such women--will carry things for
them, and serve them. They have "success" until they are quite old, and
after they have taken to rouge and paint. A tired woman hardly ever gets
anything carried for her.

_26 January._--A day's march nearer home! This is the Feast of St. Nina.
There is always a feast or a fête here. People walk about the streets,
they give each other rich cakes, and work a little less than usual.

This hotel still keeps its cripples. Prince Murat sits on his little
chair on the landing. Prince Tschelikoff has his heart all wrong; there
is the man with one leg.

Now Mlle. Lepnakoff, the singer, Musaloff, in his red coat, and some
heavy Generals are here. We have the same food every day.


Perhaps I was pretty near having a breakdown when I came abroad, and the
enforced idleness of this life may have been Providential (all my hair
was falling out, and my eyes were very bad, and the war was wearing me
down rather); but to sit in an hotel bedroom or to potter over trifles
in sitting-rooms seems a poor sort of way of passing one's time. To rest
has always seemed to me very hard work. I can't even go to bed without a
pile of papers beside me to work at during the night or in the early

When the power of writing leaves me, as it does fitfully and without
warning, I have a feeling of loneliness, which helps to convince me of
what I have always felt, that this power comes from outside, and can
only be explained psychically. I asked a great writer once if he ever
experienced the feeling I had of being "left," and he told me that
sometimes during the time of desolation he had seriously contemplated

_30 January._--I got a telephone message from Mr. Bevan last night. He
says Baku is too horrible, and there is no news of the cars. People are
telling me now that if instead of cars we had given money, we should
have been fêted and decorated and extolled to the skies; but then, where
would the money have gone? Last week the two richest Armenian merchants
in this town were arrested for cheating the soldiers out of thousands of
yards of stuff for their coats. A Government official could easily be
found to say that the cloth had been received, and meanwhile what has
the soldier to cover him in the trenches?

Armenians are certainly an odious set of people, and their ingratitude
is equalled by their meanness and greed. Mr. Hills, who is doing the
Armenian relief work here, pays all his own expenses, and he can't get a
truck to take his things to the refugees without paying for it, while he
is often asked the question, "Why can't you leave these things alone?"
Now that Mrs. Wynne has left I am asked the same question about her.
Russia can "break" one very successfully.

The weather has turned cold, and there is tearing wind and snow.

_1 February._--"No," says I to myself, in a supremely virtuous manner,
"I shall not be beaten by this enervating existence here. I'll do
_something_--if it's only sewing a seam."

So out came needles and cotton and mending and hemming, but, would it be
believed, I am afflicted with two "doigts blancs" (festered fingers),
and have to wear bandages, which prevent my doing even the mildest seam.
Oddly enough, this "maladie" is a sort of epidemic here. The fact is,
the dust is full of microbes, and no one is too well nourished.


I am rather amused by those brave strong people who "don't make a fuss
about their health." One hears from them almost daily that their
temperature has gone up to 103°; "but it's nothing," they say
heroically, "or if it is, it's only typhoid, and who cares for a little
typhoid?" Does a head ache, there is "something very queer about it,
but"--pushing back hair from hot brow--"no one is to worry about it. It
will be better to-morrow; or if it really is going to be fever, we must
just try to make the best of it." A sty in the eye is cataract, "but
lots of blind people are very happy;" and a bilious attack is generally
that mysterious, oft-recurring and interesting complaint "camp fever."
Cheer up, no one is to be discouraged if the worst happens! A
thermometer is produced and shaken and applied. The temperature is too
low now; it is probably only typhus, and we mean to be brave and get up.

_3 February._--Last night we played bridge. All the princes and
princesses moistened their thumbs before dealing, and no one is above
using a "crachoir" on the staircase! Oh for one hour of England! In all
my travels I have only found one foreign race which seemed to me to be
well-bred (as I understand it), and that is the native of India. The
very best French people come next; and the Spaniard knows how to bow,
but he clears his throat in an objectionable manner. None of them have
been licked! That is the trouble. An Eton boy of fifteen could give them
all points, and beat them with his hands in his pockets.

I am quite sure that the British nation is really superior to all
others. Ours is the only well-bred race, and the only generous or
hospitable nation. Fancy a foreigner keeping "open house"! Here the
entertainment is a glass of thickened tea, and the stove is frequently
not lighted even on a chilly evening. Since I have been in Russia I have
had nothing better or more substantial given to me (by the Russians)
than a piece of cake, except by the Grand Duke. We brought heaps of
letters of introduction, and people called, but that is all, or else
they gave an "evening" with the very lightest refreshments I have ever
seen. Someone plays badly on the piano, there is a little bridge, and a

_6 February._--The queer epidemic of "gathered fingers" continues here.
Having two I am in the fashion. They make one awkward, and more idle
than ever. A lot of people come in and out of my sitting-room to "cheer
me up," and everyone wants me to tell their fortune. Mrs. Wynne and Mr.
Bevan are still at Baku.

Last night I went to Prince Orloff's box to hear Lipkofskaya in "Faust."

My car has come back, and is running well, but the weather has been cold
and stormy, with snow drifting in from the hills. I took Mme. Derfelden
and her husband to Kajura to-day. Now that I have the car everyone wants
me to work with them. The difficulty of transport is indescribable.
Without a car is like being without a leg. One simply can't get about.
In order to get a seat on a train people walk up the line and bribe the
officials at the place where it is standing to allow them to get on



_8 February._--A "platteforme" having been found for my car, I and M.
Ignatieff of the Red Cross started for Baku to-day. We found our little
party at the Métropole Hotel. Went to the MacDonell's to lunch. He is
Consul. They are quite charming people, and their little flat was open
to us all the time we were at Baku.

The place itself is wind-blown and fly-blown and brown, but the harbour
is very pretty, with its crowds of shipping, painted with red hulls,
which make a nice bit of colour in the general drab of the hills and the
town. There are no gardens and no trees, and all enterprise in the way
of town-planning and the like is impossible owing to the Russian habit
of cheating. They have tried for sixteen years to start electric trams,
but everyone wants too much for his own pocket. The morals become
dingier and dingier as one gets nearer Tartar influence, and no shame is
thought of it. Most of the stories one hears would blister the pages of
a diary. When a house of ill-fame is opened it is publicly blessed by
the priest!

_Kasvin. 18 February._.--We spent a week at Baku and grumbled all the
time, although really we were not at all unhappy. The MacDonells were
always with us, and we had good games of bridge with Ignatieff in the
evenings. We went to see the oil city at Baku, and one day we motored to
the far larger one further out. One of the directors, an Armenian, went
with us, and gave us at his house the very largest lunch I have ever
seen. It began with many plates of zakouska (hors d'oeuvres), and went
on to a cold entrée of cream and chickens' livers; then grilled salmon,
with some excellent sauce, and a salad of beetroot and cranberries. This
was followed by an entrée of kidneys, and then we came to soup, the best
I have ever eaten; after soup, roast turkey, followed by chicken pilau,
sweets and cheese. It was impossible even to taste all the things, but
the Georgian cook must have been a "cordon bleu."

On February 16th one of the long-delayed cars arrived, and we were in
ecstasies, and took our places on the steamer for Persia; but the
radiator had been broken on the way down, and Mrs. Wynne was delayed
again. I started, as my car was arranged for, and had to go on board.
Also, I found I could be of use to Mr. Scott of the Tehran Legation, who
was going there. We travelled on the boat together, and had an excellent
crossing to Enzeli, a lovely little port, and then we took my car and
drove to Resht, where Mr. and Mrs. McLaren, the Consul and his wife,
kindly put us up. Their garden is quiet and damp; the house is damp too,
and very ugly. There are only two other English people (at the bank) to
form the society of the place, and it must be a bit lonely for a young
woman. I found the situation a little tragic.

[Page Heading: KASVIN]

We drove on next day to this place (Kasvin), and Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin
were good enough to ask us to stay with them. The big fires in the house
were very cheering after our cold drive in the snow. The moonlight was
marvellous, and the mountain passes were beyond words picturesque. We
passed a string of 150 camels pacing along in the moonlight and the
snow. All of them wore bells which jingled softly. Around us were the
weird white hills, with a smear of mist over them. The radiant moon, the
snow, and the chiming camels I shall never forget.

Captain Rhys Williams was also at the Goodwins; and as he was in very
great anxiety to get to Hamadan, I offered to take him in my car, and
let Mr. Scott do the last stage of the journey in the Legation car to
Tehran. We were delayed one day at Kasvin, which was passed very
pleasantly in the sheltered sunny compound of the house. My little white
bedroom was part of the "women's quarters" of old days, and with its
bright fire at night and the sun by day it was a very comfortable place
in which to perch.

_Hamadan. 24 February._--Captain Williams and I left Kasvin at 8 a.m. on
February 19th.

I had always had an idea that Persia was in the tropics. _Where_ I got
this notion I can't say. As soon as we left sheltered Kasvin and got out
on to the plains the cold was as sharp as anything I have known. Snow
lay deep on every side, and the icy wind nearly cut one in two. We
stopped at a little "tschinaya" (tea-house), and ate some sandwiches
which we carried with us. I also had a flask of Sandeman's port, given
me last Christmas by Sir Ivor Maxwell. I think a glass of this just
prevented me from being frozen solid. We drove on to the top of the
pass, and arrived there about 3 o'clock. We found some Russian officers
having an excellent lunch, and we shared ours and had some of theirs. We
saw a lot of game in the snow--great coveys of fat partridges, hares by
the score, a jackal, two wolves, and many birds. The hares were very
odd, for after twilight fell, and we lit our lamps, they seemed quite
paralysed by the glare, and used to sit down in front of the car.

We passed a regiment of Cossacks, extended in a long line, and coming
over the snow on their strong horses. We began to get near war once
more, and to see transport and guns. General Baratoff wants us up here
to remove wounded men when the advance begins towards Bagdad.

The cold was really as bad as they make after the sun had sunk, and an
icy mist enveloped the hills. We got within sight of the clay-built,
flat Persian town of Hamadan about 10 p.m., but the car couldn't make
any way on the awful roads, so I left Captain Williams at the barracks,
and came on to the Red Cross hospital with two Russian officers, one a
little the worse for drink.


With the genius for muddling which the Russians possess in a remarkable
degree no preparations had been made for me. Rather an unpleasant Jew
doctor came to the gateway with two nurses, and the officers began to
flirt with the girls, and to pay them compliments. Some young
Englishmen, one of whom was the British Consul, then appeared on the
scene, so we began to get forward a little (although it seemed to me
that we stood about in the snow for a terrible long time and I got quite
frozen!). As it was then past midnight I felt I had had enough, so I
made for the American missionary's house, which was pointed out to me,
and he and his wife hopped out of bed, and, clad in curious grey
dressing-gowns, they came downstairs and got me a cup of hot tea, which
I had wanted badly for many hours. There was no fireplace in my room,
and the other fires of the house were all out, but the old couple were
kindness and goodness itself, and in the end I rolled myself up in my
faithful plaid and slept at their house.

The next day--Sunday, the 20th--Mr. Cowan, the young Consul, and a Mr.
Lightfoot, came round and bore me off to the Consulate. On Monday I
began to settle in, but even now I find it difficult to take my
bearings, as we have been in a heavy mountain fog ever since I got here.
There is a little English colony, the bank manager, Mr. MacMurray, and
his wife--a capable, energetic woman, and an excellent working
partner--Mr. McLean, a Scottish clerk, a Mr. McDowal, also a Scot, and a
few other good folk; whom in Scotland one would reckon the farmer class,
but none the worse for that, and never vulgar however humbly born.

On Monday, the 21st, I called on the Russian element--Mme. Kirsanoff,
General Baratoff, etc. They were all cordial, but nothing will convince
me that Russians take this war seriously. They do the thing as
comfortably as possible. "My country" is a word one never hears from
their lips, and they indulge in masterly retreats too often for my
liking. The fire of the French, the dogged pluck of the British, seem
quite unknown to them. Literally, no one seems much interested. There is
a good deal of fuss about a "forward movement" on this front; but I
fancy that at Kermanshah and at ---- there will be very little
resistance, and the troops there are only Persian gendarmerie. No doubt
the most will be made of the Russian "victory," but compared with the
western front, this is simply not war. I often think of the guns firing
day and night, and the Taubes overhead, and the burning towns of
Flanders, and then I find myself living a peaceful life, with an
occasional glimpse of a regiment passing by.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Charles Percival._

_23 February, 1916._


We are buried in snow, and every road is a dug-out, with parapets of
snow on either side. All journeys have to be made by road, and generally
over mountain passes, where you may or may not get through the snow. One
sees "breakdowns" all along the routes, and everywhere we go we have to
take food and blankets in case of a camp out. I have had to buy a
motor-car, and I got a very good one in Tiflis, but they are so scarce
one has to pay a ransom for them. I am hoping it won't be quite smashed
up, and that I shall be able to sell it for something when I leave.


Transport is the difficulty everywhere in these vast countries, with
their persistent want of railways; so that the most necessary way of
helping the wounded is to remove them as painlessly and expeditiously as
possible, and this can only be done by motor-cars. Only one of Mrs.
Wynne's ambulances has yet arrived, and in the end I came on here
without her and Mr. Bevan. I was wanted to give a member of the Legation
at Tehran a lift; and, still more important, I had to bring a soldier of
consequence here. So long as one can offer a motor-car one is
everybody's friend.

Yesterday I was in request to go up to a pass and fetch two doctors, who
had broken down in the snow. The wind is often a hurricane, and I am
told there will be no warm weather till May. I look at a light silk
dressing-gown and gauze underclothing, and wonder why it is that no one
seems able to tell one what a climate will be like. I have warm things
too, I am glad to say, although our luggage is now of the lightest, and
is only what we can take in a car. The great thing is to be quite
independent. No one would dream of bringing on heavy luggage or anything
of that sort, except, of course, Legation people, who have their own
transport and servants.

On journeys one is kindly treated by the few Scottish people (they all
seem to be Scots) scattered here and there. Everywhere I go I find the
usual Scottish couple trying to "have things nice," and longing for
mails from home. One woman was newly married, and had only one wish in
life, and that was for acid drops. Poor soul, she wasn't well, and I
mean to make her the best imitation I can and send them to her. They
make their houses wonderfully comfortable; _but_ the difficulty of
getting things! Another woman had written home for her child's frock in
August, and got it by post on February 15th. Cases of things coming by
boat or train take far longer, or never arrive at all.

I shall be working with the Russian hospital here till our next move.
There are 25 beds and 120 patients. Of course we are only waiting to
push on further. The political situation is most interesting, but I must
not write about it, of course. It is rather wonderful to have seen the
war from so many quarters.

The long wait for the cars was quite maddening, but I believe it did me
good. I was just about "through." Now I am in a bachelor's little house,
full of terrier dogs and tobacco smoke; and when I am not at the
hospital I darn socks and play bridge.

Now that really is all my news, I think. Empire is not made for nothing,
and one sees some plucky lives in these out-of-the-way parts. I did not
take a fancy to my host at one house where we stayed, and something made
me think his wife was bullied and not very happy. A husband would have
to be quite all right to compensate for exile, mud, and solitude. Always
my feeling is that we want far more people--especially educated people,
of course--to run the world; yet we continue to shoot down our best and
noblest, and when shall we ever see their like again?

Always, my dear,
Your loving

I hope to get over to Tehran on my "transport service," and there I may
find a mail. Some people called ----, living near Glasgow, had nine
sons, eight of whom have been killed in the war. The ninth is delicate,
and is doing Red Cross work.

       *       *       *       *       *

_26 February._--On Tuesday a Jew doctor took my motor-car by fraud, so
there had to be an enquiry, and I don't feel happy about it yet. With
Russians _anything_ may happen. I have begun to suffer from my chillsome
time getting here, and also my mouth and chin are very bad; so I have
had to lie doggo, and see an ancient Persian doctor, who prescribed and
talked of the mission-field at the same time.


I am struck by one thing, which is so naïvely expressed out here that it
is very humorous, and that is the firm and formidable front which the
best sort of men show towards religion. To all of them it means
missionaries and pious talk, and to hear them speak one would imagine it
was something between a dangerous disease and a disgrace. The best they
can say of any clergyman (whom they loathe) or missionary, is, "He never
tried the Gospel on with me." A religious young man means a sneak, and
one who swears freely is generally rather a good fellow. When one lives
in the wilds I am afraid that one often finds that this view is the
right one, although it isn't very orthodox; but the pi-jaw which passes
for religion seems deliberately calculated to disgust the natural man,
who shows his contempt for the thing wholesomely as becomes him. He
means to smoke, he means to have a whisky-peg when he can get it, and a
game of cards when that is possible. His smoke is harmless, he seldom
drinks too much, and he plays fair at all games, but when he finds that
these harmless amusements preclude him from a place in the Kingdom of
Heaven he naturally--if he has the spirit of a mouse--says, "All right.
Leave me out. I am not on in this show."

_27 February._--On Sunday one always thinks of home. I am rather
inclined to wonder what my family imagine I am actually doing on the
Persian front. No doubt some of my dear contemporaries saddle me with
noble deeds, but I still seem unable to strike the "noble" tack. Even my
work in hospital has been stopped by a telegram from the Red Cross,
saying, "Don't let Miss Macnaughtan work yet." A typhus scare, I fancy.
Such rot. But I am used now to hearing all the British out here murmur,
"What _can_ be the good of this long delay?"


I am still staying at the British Consulate. The Consul, Mr. Cowan, is a
good fellow, and Mr. Lightfoot, his chum, is a real backwoodsman, full
of histories of adventures, fights, "natives," and wars in many lands.
He seems to me one of those headstrong, straight, fine fellows whom one
only meets in the wilds. England doesn't agree with them; they haven't
always a suit of evening clothes; but in a tight place one knows how
cool he would be, and for yarns there is no one better. He tells one a
lot about this country, and he knows the Arabs like brothers. Their
system of communicating with each other is as puzzling to him as it is
to everyone else. News travels faster among them than any messenger or
post can take it. At Bagdad they heard from these strange people of the
fall of Basra, which is 230 miles away, within 25 hours of its having
been taken. Mr. Lightfoot says that even if he travels by car Arab news
is always ahead of him, and where he arrives with news it is known
already. Telegraphy is unknown in the places he speaks of, except in
Bagdad, of course, and Persia owns exactly one line of railway, eight
miles long, which leads to a tomb!

More important than any man here are the dogs--Smudge, Jimmy, and the
puppy. Most of the conversation is addressed to them. All of it is about

_28 February. A day on the Persian front._--I wake early because it is
always so cold at 4 a.m., and I generally boil up water for my hot-water
bottle and go to sleep again. Then at 8 comes the usual Resident Sahib's
servant, whom I have known in many countries and in many climes. He is
always exactly alike, and the Empire depends upon him! He is thin, he is
mysterious. He is faithful, and allows no one to rob his master but
himself. He believes in the British. He worships British rule, and he
speaks no language but his own, though he probably knows English
perfectly, and listens to it at every meal without even the cock of an
ear! He is never hurried, never surprised. What he thinks his private
idol may know--no one else does. His master's boots--especially the
brown sort--are part of his religion. He understands an Englishman, and
is unmoved by his behaviour, whatever it may be. I have met him in
India, in Kashmir, at Embassies, in Consulates, on steamers, and I have
never known his conduct alter by a hair's breadth. He is piped in red,
and let that explain him, as it explains much else that is British. Just
a thin red line down the length of a trouser or round a coat, and the
man thus adorned is part of the Empire.

The man piped in red lights my fire every morning in Persia, and
arranges my tub, and we breakfast very late because there is nothing to
do on three days of the week--_i.e._, Friday, the Persian Sabbath,
Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and Sunday, the Armenian Sunday. On these
three days neither bazaars nor offices are open. Business is at a
standstill. The Consulate smokes pipes, develops photographs, and reads
old novels. On the four busy days we breakfast at 10 o'clock, and during
the meal we learn what the dogs have done during the night--whether
Jimmy has barked, or Smudge has lain on someone's bed, or the puppy
"coolly put his head on my pillow."

About 11 o'clock I, who am acting as wardrobe-mender to some very untidy
clothes and socks, get to work, and the young men go to the town and
appear at lunch-time. We hear what the local news is, and what Mr.
MacMurray has said and Mr. McLean thought, and sometimes one of the
people from the Russian hospital comes in. About 3 we put on goloshes
and take exercise single-file on the pathways cut in the snow. At 5 the
samovar appears and tea and cake, and we talk to the dogs and to each
other. We dress for dinner, because that is our creed; and we burn a
good deal of wood, and go to bed early.

Travel really means movement. Otherwise, it is far better to stay at
home. I am beginning to sympathise with the Americans who insist upon
doing two cities a day. We got some papers to-day dated October 26th,
and also a few letters of the same date.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Unfinished Article on Persia found among Miss Macnaughtan's papers._

Persia is a difficult country to write about, for unless one colours the
picture too highly to be recognisable, it is apt to be uninteresting
even under the haze of the summer sun, while in wintertime the country
disappears under a blanket of white snow. Of course, most of us thought
that Persia was somewhere in the tropics, and it gives us a little shock
when we find ourselves living in a temperature of 8 degrees below zero.
The rays of the sun are popularly supposed to minimise the effect of
this cold, and a fortnight's fog on the Persian highlands has still left
one a believer in this phenomenon, for when the sun does shine, it does
it handsomely, and, according to the inhabitants, it is only when
strangers are here that it turns sulky. Be that as it may, the most
loyal lover of Persia will have to admit that Persian mud is the deepest
and blackest in the world, and that snow and mud in equal proportions to
a depth of 8 inches make anything but agreeable travelling. Snow is
indiscriminately shovelled down off the roofs of houses on to the heads
of passers-by, and great holes in the road are accepted as the
inevitable accompaniment to winter traffic.

In the bazaars--narrow, and filled with small booths, where Manchester
cotton is stacked upon shelves--the merchants sit huddled up on their
counters, each with a cotton lahaf (quilt) over him, under which is a
small brazier of ougol (charcoal). In this way he manages to remain in a
thawed condition, while a pipe consoles him for his little trade and the
horrible weather. Before him, in the narrow alleys of the bazaar,
Persians walk with their umbrellas unfurled, and Russians have put the
convenient bashluk (a sort of woollen hood) over their heads and ears.
The Arab, in his long camel-skin coat, looks impervious to the weather,
and women with veiled faces and long black cloaks pick their way through
the mire. Throngs of donkeys, melancholy and overladen, their small feet
sinking in the slush, may be with the foot-passengers. Some pariah dogs
make a dirty patch in the snow, and a troop of Cossacks, their long
cloaks spotted with huge snow-flakes, trot heavily through the narrow

But it is not only, nor principally, of climate that one speaks in
Persia at the present time.

Persia has been stirring, if not with great events, at least with
important ones, and at the risk of telling stale news, one must take a
glance at the recent history of the country and its people. It is
proverbial to say that Persia has been misgoverned for years. It is a
country and the Persians are people who seem fated by circumstances and
by temperament to endure ill-government. A ruler is either a despot or a
knave, and frequently both. Any system of policy is liable to change at
any moment. Property is held in the uneasy tenure of those who have
stolen it, and a long string of names of rulers and politicians reveals
the fact that most of them have made what they could for themselves by
any means, and that perhaps, on the whole, violence has been less
detrimental to the country than weakness.


The worst of it is that no one seems particularly to want the
Deliverer--the great and single-minded leader who might free and uplift
the country. Persia does not crave the ideal ruler; he might make it
very unpleasant for those who are content and rich in their own way. It
is this thing, amongst many others, which helps to make the situation in
Persia not only difficult but almost impossible to follow or describe,
and it is, above all, the temperament of the Persians themselves which
is the baffling thing in the way of Persian reform. Yet reform has been
spoken of loudly, and again and again in the last few years, and the
reformation is generally known as the Nationalist or Young Persian
Movement. To follow this Movement through its various ramifications
would require a clue as plain and as clear as a golden thread, and the
best we can do in our present obscurity is to give a few of the leading

The important and critical situation evident in Persia to-day owes its
beginning to the disturbances in 1909, when the Constitutional Party
came into power, forcibly, and with guns ready to train on Tehran, and
when, almost without an effort, they obtained their rights, and lost
them again with even less effort....

       *       *       *       *       *

_29 February._--The last day of a long month. The snow falls without
ceasing, blotting out everything that there may be to be seen. To-day,
for the first time, I realised that there are hills near. Mr. Lightfoot
and I walked to the old stone lion which marks the gateway of
Ekmadan--_i.e._, ancient Hamadan. I think the snow was rather thicker
than usual to-day. Mr. Lightfoot and I went to Hamadan, plodding our way
through little tramped-down paths, with snow three feet deep on either
side. By way of being cheerful we went to see two tombs. One was an old,
old place, where slept "the first great physician" who ever lived. In it
a dervish kept watch in the bitter cold, and some slabs of dung kept a
smouldering fire not burning but smoking. These dervishes have been
carrying messages for Germans. Mysterious, like all religious men, they
travel through the country and distribute their whispers and messages.
The other tomb is called Queen Esther's, though why they should bury her
at Ekmadan when she lived down at Shushan I don't know.

We went to see Miss Montgomerie the other day. She is an American
missionary, who has lived at Hamadan for thirty-three years. She has
schools, etc., and she lives in the Armenian quarter, and devotes her
life to her neighbours. Her language is entirely Biblical, and it sounds
almost racy as she says it.

There is nothing to record. Yesterday I cleaned out my room for
something to do, and in the evening a smoky lamp laid it an inch thick
in blacks. The pass here is quite blocked, and no one can come or go.
The snow falls steadily in fine small flakes. My car has disappeared,
with the chauffeur, at Kasvin. I hear of it being sent to Enzeli; but
the whole thing is a mystery, and is making me very anxious. There are
no answers to any of my telegrams, and I am completely in the dark.

_3 March._--I think that to be on a frozen hill-top, with fever, some
boils, three dogs, and a blizzard, is about as near wearing down one's
spirits as anything I know.

_5 March, Sunday._--In bed all day, with the ancient Persian in

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Return of the Pilgrim._

This is not a story for Sunday afternoon. It is true for one thing, and
Sunday afternoon stories are not, as a rule, true. They nearly all tell
of the return of the Prodigals, but they leave out the return of the
Pilgrims, and that is why this parable is not for Sunday afternoon. I
write it because I never knew a true thing yet that was not of use to

Most of us leave home when we are grown up. The people who never grow up
stop at home. The journey and the outward-bound vision are the signs of
an active mind stirring wholesomely or unwholesomely as the case may be.
The Prodigal is generally accounted one of those whose sane mind demands
an outlet; but he lands in trouble, and gets hungry, and comes back
penitent, as we have heard a thousand million times. The Far Country is
always barren, the husks of swine are the only food to be had, and
bankruptcy is inevitable.

The story has been accepted by many generations of men as a picture of
the world, with its temptations, its sins, its moral bankruptcy, and its
illusionary and unsatisfying pleasures. Preachers have always been fond
of allusions to the husks and swine, and the desperate hunger which
there is nothing to satisfy in the Far Country. The story is true, God
wot; it gives many a man a wholesome fright, and keeps him at home, and
its note of forgiveness for a wasted life has proved the salvation of
many Prodigals.

But there is another journey, far more often undertaken by the young and
by all those who needs must seek--the brave, the energetic, the good. It
is towards a country distant yet ever near, and it lies much removed
from the Far Country where swine feed. Its minarets stand up against a
clear and cloudless sky, its radiancy shines from afar off. It is set on
a hill, and the road thither is very steep and very long, but the
Pilgrims start out bravely. They know the way! They carry torches! They
have the Light within and without, and "watchwords" for every night, and
songs for the morning. Some walk painfully, with bleeding feet, on the
path that leads to the beautiful country, and some run joyously with
eager feet. Whatever anyone likes to say, it is a much more crowded path
than the old trail towards the pigsty. At the first step of the journey
stand Faith and Hope and Charity, and beyond are more wondrous things by
far--Glory, Praise, Vision, Sacrifice, Heroism, sublime Trust, the
Need-to-Give, and the Love that runs to help. And some of the
Pilgrims--most of them--get there.


But there is a little stream of Pilgrims sometimes to be met with going
the other way. They are returning, like the Prodigal, but there is no
one to welcome them. Some are very tragic figures, and for them the sun
is for ever obscured. But there are others--quite plain, sober men and
women, some humorists, and some sages. They have honestly sought the
Country, and they, too, have unfurled banners and marched on; but they
have met with many things on the road which do not match the watchwords,
and they have heard many wonderful things which, truthfully considered,
do not always appear to them to be facts. They have called Poverty
beautiful, and they have found it very ugly; and they have called Money
naught, and they have found it to be Power. They have found Sacrifice
accepted, and then claimed by the selfish and mean, and even Love has
not been all that was expected. The Pilgrims return. Their poor tummies,
too, are empty, but no calf is killed for them, there is no feasting
and no joy. They stay at home, but neither Elder Son nor Prodigal has
any use for them. In the end they turn out the light and go to sleep,
regretting--if they have any humour--their many virtues, which for so
long prevented them enjoying the pleasant things of life.

       *       *       *       *       *

_March._--I lie in bed all day up here amongst these horrible snows. The
engineer comes in sometimes and makes me a cup of Benger's Food. For the
rest, I lean up on my elbow when I can, and cook some little
thing--Bovril or hot milk--on my Etna stove. Then I am too tired to eat
it, and the sickness begins all over again. Oh, if I could leave this
place! If only someone would send back my car, which has been taken
away, or if I could hear where Mrs. Wynne and Mr. Bevan are! But no, the
door of this odious place is locked, and the key is thrown away.

I have lost count of time. I just wait from day to day, hoping someone
will come and take me away, though I am now getting so weak I don't
suppose I can travel.

One wonders whether there can be a Providence in all this
disappointment. I think not. I just made a great mistake coming out
here, and I have suffered for it. Ye gods, what a winter it has
been--disillusioning, dull, hideously and achingly disappointing!

[Page Heading: MEMORIES OF HOME]

It is too odd to think that until the war came I was the happiest woman
in the world. It is too funny to think of my house in London, which
people say is the only "salon"--a small "salon," indeed! But I can
hardly believe now in my crowds of friends, my devoted servants, my
pleasant work, the daily budget of letters and invitations, and the
press notices in their pink slips. Then the big lectures and the
applause--the shouts when I come in. The joy, almost the intoxication of
life, has been mine.

Of course, I ought to have turned back at Petrograd! But I thought all
my work was before me, and in Russia one can't go about alone without
knowing the way and the language of the people. Permits are difficult,
nothing is possible unless one is attached to a body. And now I have
reached the end--_Persia! And there is no earthly use for us, and there
are no roads._



My car turned up at Hamadan on March 9th, and on the 13th I said
good-bye to my friends at the Consulate, and left the place with a
Tartar prince, who cleared his throat from the bottom of his soul, and
spat luxuriously all the time. The mud was beyond anything that one
could imagine. There was a sea of it everywhere, and men waded knee-deep
in slush. My poor car floundered bravely and bumped heavily, till at
last it could move no more. Two wheels were sunk far past the hubs, and
the step of the car was under mud.

The Tartar prince hailed a horse from some men and flung himself across
it, and then rode off through the thick sea of mud to find help to move
the car. His methods were simple. He came up behind men, and clouted
them over the head, or beat them with a stick, and drove them in front
of him. Sometimes he took out a revolver and fired over the men's heads,
making them jump; but nothing makes them really work. We pushed on for a
mile or two, and then stuck again. This time there were no men near, and
the prince walked on to collect some soldiers at the next station. It
was a wicked, blowy day, and I crept into a wrecked "camion" and
sheltered there, and ate some lunch and slept a little. I wasn't feeling
a bit well.

That night we only made twenty miles, and then we put up at a little
rest-house, where the woman had ten children. They all had colds, and
coughed all the time. She promised supper at 8 o'clock, but kept us
waiting till 10 p.m., and then a terrible repast of batter appeared in a
big tin dish, and everyone except me ate it, and everyone drank my wine.
Then six children and their parents lay in one tiny room, and I and a
nurse occupied the hot supper-room, and thus we lay until the cold
morning came, and I felt very ill.

So the day began, and it did not improve. I was sick all the time until
I could neither think nor see. The poor prince could do nothing, of


At last we came to a rest-house, and I felt I could go no further. I was
quite unconscious for a time. Then they told me it was only two hours to
Kasvin, and somehow they got me on board the motor-car, and the horrible
journey began again. Every time the car bumped I was sick. Of course we
punctured a tyre, which delayed us, and when we got into Kasvin it was 9
o'clock. The Tartar lifted me out of the car, and I had been told that I
might put up at a room belonging to Dr. Smitkin, but where it was I had
no idea, and I knew there would be no one there. So I plucked up courage
to go to the only English people in the place--the Goodwins, with whom I
had stayed on my way up--and ask for a bed. This I did, and they let me
spread my camp-bed in his little sitting-room. I was ill indeed, and
aching in every bone.

The next day I had to go to Smitkin's room. It was an absolutely bare
apartment, but someone spread my bed for me, and there were some Red
Cross nurses who all offered to do things. The one thing I wanted was
food, and this they could only get at the soldiers' mess two miles away.
So all I had was one tin of sweet Swiss milk. The day after this I
decided I must quit, whatever happened, and get to Tehran, where there
are hotels. After one night there I was taken to a hospital. I was alone
in Persia, in a Russian hospital, where few people even spoke French!

On March 19th an English doctor rescued me. He heard I was ill, and came
to see me, and took me off to be with his wife at his own home at the
Legation. I shall never forget it as long as I live--the blessed change
from dirty glasses and tin basins and a rocky bed! What does illness
matter with a pretty room, and kindness showered on one, and everything
clean and fragrant? I have a little sitting-room, where my meals are
served, and I have a fire, a bath, and a garden to sit in.

God bless these good people!

       *       *       *       *       *


_To Lady Clémentine Waring._

_22 March._


I am coming home, having fallen sick. Do you know, I was thinking about
you so much the other night, for you told me that if ever I was really
"down and out" you would know. So I wondered if, about a week ago, you
saw a poor small person (who has shrunk to about half her size!) in an
empty room, feeling worth nothing at all, and getting nothing to eat and
no attention! Persia isn't the country to be ill in. I was taken to the
Russian hospital--which is an experience I don't want to repeat!--but
now I am in the hands of the Legation doctor, and he is going to nurse
me till I am well enough to go home.

There are no railways in this country, except one of eight miles to a
tomb! Hence we all have to flounder about on awful roads in motor-cars,
which break down and have to be dug out, and always collapse at the
wrong moment, so we have to stay out all night.

You thought Persia was in the tropics? So did I! I have been in deep
snow all the time till I came here.

I think the campaign here is nearly over. It might have been a lot
bigger, for the Germans were bribing like mad, but you can't make a
Persian wake up.

Ever, dear Clemmie,
Your loving

So nice to know you think of me, as I know you do.

       *       *       *       *       *

_26 March._--I am getting stronger, and the days are bright. As a great
treat I have been allowed to go to church this morning, the first I have
been to since Petrograd.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Miss Julia Keays-Young._

_1 April._


In case you want to make plans about leave, etc., will you come and stop
with me when first I get home, say about the 5th or 6th May, I can't say
to a day? It will be nice to see you all and have a holiday, and then I
hope to come out to Russia again. Did I tell you I have been ill, but am
now being nursed by a delightful English doctor and his wife, and
getting the most ideal attention, and medicines changed at every change
in the health of the patient.

I've missed everything here. I was to be presented to the Shah, etc.,
etc., and to have gone to the reception on his birthday. All the time
I've lain in bed or in the garden, but as I haven't felt up to anything
else I haven't fashed, and the Shah must do wanting me for the present.

The flowers here are just like England, primroses and violets and Lent
lilies, but I'm sure the trees are further out at home.

Your most loving

       *       *       *       *       *

_To Mrs. Keays-Young._

_8 April._


I don't think I'll get home till quite the end of April, as I am not
supposed to be strong enough to travel yet. My journey begins with a
motor drive of 300 miles over fearful roads and a chain of mountains
always under snow. Then I have to cross the lumpy Caspian Sea, and I
shall rest at Baku two nights before beginning the four days journey to
Petrograd. After that the fun really begins, as one always loses all
one's luggage in Finland, and one finishes up with the North Sea. What
do you think of that, my cat?


Dr. Neligan is still looking after me quite splendidly, and I never
drank so much medicine in my life. No fees or money can repay the dear

Tehran is _the_ most primitive place! You can't, for instance, get one
scrap of flannel, and if a bit of bacon comes into the town there is a
stampede for it. People get their wine from England in two-bottle

Yours as ever,

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tehran. April._--The days pass peacefully and even quickly, which is
odd, for they are singularly idle. I get up about 11 a.m., and am pretty
tired when dressing is finished. Then I sit in the garden and have my
lunch there, and after lunch I lie down for an hour. Presently tea
comes; I watch the Neligans start for their ride, and already I wonder
if I was ever strong and rode!

It is such an odd jump I have taken. At home I drifted on, never feeling
older, hardly counting birthdays--always brisk, and getting through a
heap of work--beginning my day early and ending it late. And now there
is a great gulf dividing me from youth and old times, and it is filled
with dead people whom I can't forget.

In the matter of dying one doesn't interfere with Providence, but it
seems to me that _now_ would be rather an appropriate time to depart. I
wish I could give my life for some boy who would like to live very much,
and to whom all things are joyous. But alas! one can't swop lives like
this--at least, I don't see the chance of doing so.

I should like to have "left the party"--quitted the feast of life--when
all was gay and amusing. I should have been sorry to come away, but it
would have been far better than being left till all the lights are out.
I could have said truly to the Giver of the feast, "Thanks for an
excellent time." But now so many of the guests have left, and the fires
are going out, and I am tired.


       *       *       *       *       *

The rest of the story is soon told.

Miss Macnaughtan left Tehran about the middle of April. The Persian hot
weather was approaching, and it would have been impossible for her to
travel any later in the season. The long journey seemed a sufficiently
hazardous undertaking for a person in her weak state of health, but in
Dr. Neligan's opinion she would have run an even greater risk by
remaining in Persia during the hot weather.


Dr. Neligan's goodness and kindness to Miss Macnaughtan will always be
remembered by her family, and he seems to have taken an enormous amount
of trouble to make arrangements for her journey home. He found an escort
for her in the shape of an English missionary who was going to
Petrograd, and gave her a pass which enabled her to travel as
expeditiously as possible. The authorities were not allowed to delay or
hinder her. She was much too ill to stop for anything, and drove night
and day--even through a cholera village--to the shores of the Caspian

We know very few details concerning the journey home, and I think my
aunt herself did not remember much about it. One can hardly bear to
think of the suffering it caused her. A few incidents stood out in her
memory from the indeterminate recollection of pain and discomfort in
which most of the expedition was mercifully veiled, and we learnt them
after she returned.

There was the occasion when she reached the port on the Caspian Sea one
hour after the English boat had sailed. She called it the "English"
boat, but whether it could have belonged to an English company, or was
merely the usual boat run in connection with the train service to
England, I do not know. A "Russian" vessel was due to leave in a couple
of hours' time, but for some reason Miss Macnaughtan was obliged to walk
three-quarters of a mile to get permission to go by it. We can never
forget her piteous description of how she staggered and crawled to the
office and back, so ill that only her iron strength of will could force
her tired body to accomplish the distance. She obtained the necessary
sanction, and started forth once more upon her way.

She stayed for a week at the British Embassy in Petrograd, where her
escort was obliged to leave her, so the rest of the journey was
undertaken alone.

We know nothing of how she got to Helsingfors, but I believe it was at
that place that she had to walk some considerable distance over a frozen
lake to reach the ship. She was hobbling along, leaning heavily on two
sticks, and just as she stumbled and almost fell, a young Englishman
came up and offered her his arm.

In an old diary, written years before in the Argentine, during a time
when Miss Macnaughtan was faced with what seemed overwhelming
difficulties, and when she had in her charge a very sick man, a kind
stranger came to the rescue. Her diary entry for that day is one of
heartfelt gratitude, and ends with the words: "God always sends

Certainly at Helsingfors some Protecting Power sent help in a big
extremity, and this young fellow--Mr. Seymour--devoted himself to her
for the rest of the journey in a marvellously unselfish manner. He could
not have been kinder to her if she had been his mother, and he actually
altered all his plans on arriving in England, and brought her to the
very door of her house in Norfolk Street. Without his help I sometimes
wonder whether my aunt would have succeeded in reaching home, and her
own gratitude to him knew no bounds. She used to say that in her
experience if people were in a difficulty and wanted help they ought to
go to a young man for it. She said that young men were the kindest
members of the human race.


It was on the 8th of May that Miss Macnaughtan reached home, and her
travels were over for good and all. One is only thankful that the last
weeks of her life were not spent in a foreign land but among her own
people, surrounded by all the care and comfort that love could supply.
Two of her sisters were with her always, and her house was thronged with
visitors, who had to wait their turn of a few minutes by her bedside,
which, alas! were all that her strength allowed.

She was nursed night and day by her devoted maid, Mary King, as she did
not wish to have a professional nurse; but no skill or care could save
her. The seeds of her illness had probably been sown some years before,
during a shooting trip in Kashmir, and the hard work and strain of the
first year of the war had weakened her powers of resistance. But it was
Russia that killed her.

Before she went there many of her friends urged her to give up the
expedition. Her maid had a premonition that the enterprise would end in
disaster, and had begged her mistress to stay at home.

"I feel sure you will never return alive ma'am," she had urged, and Miss
Macnaughtan's first words to her old servant on her return were: "You
were right, Mary. Russia has killed me."

Miss Macnaughtan rallied a little in June, and was occasionally carried
down to her library for a few hours in the afternoon, but even that
amount of exertion was too much for her. For the last weeks of her life
she never left her room.

Surely there never was a sweeter or more adorable invalid! I can see her
now, propped up on pillows in a room filled with masses of most
exquisite flowers. She always had things dainty and fragrant about her,
and one had a vision of pale blue ribbons, and soft laces, and lovely
flowers, and then one forgot everything else as one looked at the dear
face framed in such soft grey hair. She looked so fragile that one
fancied she might be wafted away by a summer breeze, and I have never
seen anyone so pale. There was not a tinge of colour in face or hands,
and one kissed her gently for fear that even a caress might be too much
for her waning strength.

Her patience never failed. She never grumbled or made complaint, and
even in the smallest things her interest and sympathy were as fresh as
ever. A new dress worn by one of her sisters was a pleasure, and she
would plan it, and suggest and admire.

It was a supreme joy to Miss Macnaughtan to hear, some time in June,
that she had received the honour of being chosen to be a Lady of Grace
of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Any recognition of her good work
was an unfailing source of gratification to her sensitive nature,
sensitive alike to praise or blame.

She was so wonderfully strong in her mind and will that it seemed
impossible in those long June days to believe that she had such a little
time to live. She managed all her own business affairs, personally
dictated or wrote answers to her correspondence, and was full of schemes
for the redecoration of her house and of plans for the future.

I have only been able to procure three of my aunt's letters written
after her return to England. They were addressed to her eldest sister,
Mrs. ffolliott. I insert them here:

       *       *       *       *       *




How good of you to write. I was awfully pleased to see a letter from
you. I have been a fearful crock since I got home, and I have to lie in
bed for six weeks and live on milk diet for eight weeks. The illness is
of a tropical nature, and one of the symptoms is that one can't eat, so
one gets fearfully thin. I am something over six stone now, but I was
very much less.

We were right up on the Persian front, and I went on to Tehran. One saw
some most interesting phases of the war, and met all the distinguished
Generals and such-like people.

The notice you sent me of my little book is charming.

Your loving
S. B .M.

       *       *       *       *       *

_9 June._


I must thank you myself for the lovely flowers and your kind letters. I
am sure that people's good wishes and prayers do one good. I so nearly

Your loving
S. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

_17th June_

Still getting on pretty well, but it is slow work. Baby and Julia both
in town, so they are constantly here. I am to get up for a little bit

Kindest love. It _was_ naughty of you to send more flowers.

As ever fondly,

       *       *       *       *       *

As the hot weather advanced it was hoped to move Miss Macnaughtan to the
country. Her friends showered invitations on "dear Sally" to come and
convalesce with them, but the plans fell through. It became increasingly
clear that the traveller was about to embark on that last journey from
which there is no return, and, indeed, towards the end her sufferings
were so great that those who loved her best could only pray that she
might not have long to wait. She passed away in the afternoon of Monday,
July 24th, 1916.

A few days later the body of Sarah Broom Macnaughtan was laid to rest in
the plot of ground reserved for her kinsfolk in the churchyard at Chart
Sutton, in Kent. It is very quiet there up on the hill, the great Weald
stretches away to the south, and fruit-trees surround the Hallowed Acre.
But even as they laid earth to earth and dust to dust in this peaceful
spot the booming of the guns in Flanders broke the quiet of the sunny
afternoon, and reminded the little funeral party that they were indeed
burying one whose life had been sacrificed in the Great War.


Surely those who pass through the old churchyard will pause by the
grave, with its beautiful grey cross, and the children growing up in the
parish will come there sometimes, and will read and remember the simple
inscription on it:

     "In the Great War, by Word and Deed, at Home and Abroad,
     She served her Country even unto Death."

And if any ghosts hover round the little place, they will be the ghosts
of a purity, a kindness, and of a love for humanity which are not often
met with in this workaday world.


Perhaps a review of her war work by an onlooker, and a slight sketch of
Miss Macnaughtan's character, may form an appropriate conclusion to this

I stayed with my aunt for one night, on August 7th, 1914. One may be
pardoned for saying that during the previous three days one had scarcely
begun to realise the war, but I was recalled by telegram from
Northamptonshire to the headquarters of my Voluntary Aid Detachment in
Kent, and spent a night in town en route, to get uniform, etc. Certainly
at my aunt's house my eyes were opened to a little of what lay before
us. She was on fire with patriotism and a burning wish to help her
country, and I immediately caught some of her enthusiasm.

Every hour we rushed out to buy papers, every minute seemed consecrated
to preparation for what we could do. There were uniforms to buy, notes
of Red Cross lectures to "rub up," and, in my aunt's case, she was busy
offering her services in every direction in which they could be of use.


Miss Macnaughtan must surely have been one of the first people to begin
voluntary rationing. We had the simplest possible meals during my visit,
and although she was proud of her housekeeping, and usually gave one
rather perfect food, on this occasion she said how impossible it was for
her to indulge in anything but necessaries, when our soldiers would so
soon have to endure hardships of every kind. She said that we ought to
be particularly careful to eat very little meat, because there would
certainly be a shortage of it later on.

I recollect that there was some hitch about my departure from Norfolk
Street on August 8th. It did not seem clear whether my Voluntary Aid
Detachment was going to provide billets for all recalled members, and I
remember my aunt's absolute scorn of difficulties at such a time.

"Of course, go straight to Kent and obey orders," she cried. "If you
can't get a bed, come back here; but at least go and see what you can

That was typical of Miss Macnaughtan. Difficulties did not exist for
her. When quite a young girl she made up her mind that no lack of money,
time, or strength should ever prevent her doing anything she wanted to
do. It certainly never prevented her doing anything she felt she _ought_
to do.

The war provided her with a supreme opportunity for service, and she did
not fail to take advantage of it. Of her work in Belgium, especially at
the soup-kitchen, I believe it is impossible to say too much. According
to _The Times_, "The lady with the soup was everything to thousands of
stricken men, who would otherwise have gone on their way fasting."

Among individual cases, too, there were many men who benefited by some
special care bestowed on them by her. There was one wounded Belgian to
whom my aunt gave my address before she left for Russia that he might
have someone with whom he might correspond. I used to hear from him
regularly, and every letter breathed gratitude to "la dame écossaise."
He said she had saved his life.

Miss Macnaughtan's lectures to munition-workers were, perhaps, the best
work that she did during the war. She was a charming speaker, and I
never heard one who got more quickly into touch with an audience. As I
saw it expressed in one of the papers "Stiffness and depression vanished
from any company when she took the platform." Her enunciation was
extraordinarily distinct, and she had an arresting delivery which
compelled attention from the first word to the last.

She never minced the truth about the war, but showed people at home how
far removed it was from being a "merry picnic."

"They say recruiting will stop if people know what is going on at the
Front," she used to tell them. "I am a woman, but I know what I would do
if I were a man when I heard of these things. _I would do my durndest._"

All through her life the idea of personal service appealed to Miss
Macnaughtan. She never sent a message of sympathy or a gift of help
unless it was quite impossible to go herself to the sufferer.

She was only a girl when she heard of what proved to be the fatal
accident to her eldest brother in the Argentine. She went to him by the
next ship, alone, save for the escort of his old yacht's skipper, and a
journey to the Argentine in those days was a big undertaking for a
delicate young girl. On another occasion she was in Switzerland when
she heard of the death, in Northamptonshire, of a little niece. She left
for England the same day, to go and offer her sympathy, and try to
comfort the child's mother.

"When I hear of trouble I always go at once," she used to say.

I have known her drive in her brougham to the most horrible slum in the
East End to see what she could do for a woman who had begged from her in
the street--yes, and go there again and again until she had done all
that was possible to help the sad case.


It was this burning zeal to help which sent her to Belgium and carried
her through the long dark winter there, and it was, perhaps, the same
feeling which obscured her judgment when her expedition to Russia was
contemplated. She was a delicate woman, and there did not seem to be
much scope for her services in Russia. She was not a qualified nurse,
and the distance from home, and the handicap of her ignorance of the
Russian language, would probably have prevented her organising anything
like comforts for the soldiers there as she had done in Belgium. To
those of us who loved her the very uselessness of her efforts in Russia
adds to the poignancy of the tragedy of the death which resulted from

The old question arises: "To what purpose is this waste?" And the old
answer comes still to teach us the underlying meaning and beauty of what
seems to be unnecessary sacrifice: "She hath done what she could."

Indeed, that epitaph might fitly describe Miss Macnaughtan's war work.
She grudged nothing, she gave her strength, her money, her very life.
The precious ointment was poured out in the service of her King and
Country and for the Master she served so faithfully.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have been looking through some notices which appeared in the press
after Miss Macnaughtan's death. Some of them allude to her wit, her
energy and vivacity, the humour which was "without a touch of cynicism";
others, to her inexhaustible spirit, her geniality, and the "powers of
sarcasm, which she used with strong reserve." Others, again, see through
to the faith and philosophy which lay behind her humour, "Scottish in
its penetrating tenderness."

In my opinion my aunt's strongest characteristic was a dazzling purity
of soul, mind, and body. She was a person whose very presence lifted the
tone of the conversation. It was impossible to think of telling her a
nasty story, a "double entendre" fell flat when she was there. She was
the least priggish person in the world, but no one who knew her could
doubt for an instant her transparent goodness. I have read every word of
her diary; there is not in it the record of an ugly thought, or of one
action that would not bear the full light of day. About her books she
used to say that she had tried never to publish one word which her
father would not like her to have written.

She had a tremendous capacity for affection, and when she once loved
she loved most faithfully. Her devotion to her father and to her eldest
brother influenced her whole life, and it would have been impossible for
those she loved to make too heavy claims on her kindness.

[Page Heading: SOCIAL CHARM]

Miss Macnaughtan had great social charm. She was friendly and easy to
know, and she had a wonderful power of finding out the interesting side
of people and of seeing their good points. Her popularity was
extraordinary, although hers was too strong a personality to command
universal affection. Among her friends were people of the most varied
dispositions and circumstances. Distinction of birth, position, or
intellect appealed to her, and she was always glad to meet a celebrity,
but distinction was no passport to her favour unless it was accompanied
by character. To her poorer and humbler friends she was kindness itself,
and she was extraordinarily staunch in her friendships. Nothing would
make her "drop" a person with whom she had once been intimate.

In attempting to give a character-sketch of a person whose nature was as
complex as Miss Macnaughtan's, one admits defeat from the start. She had
so many interests, so many sides to her character, that it seems
impossible to present them all fairly. Her love of music, literature,
and art was coupled with an enthusiasm for sport, big-game shooting,
riding, travel, and adventure of every kind. She was an ambitious woman,
and a brilliantly clever one, and her clearness of perception and
wonderful intuition gave her a quick grasp of a subject or idea. She had
a thirst for knowledge which made learning easy, but hers was the brain
of the poet and philosopher, not of the mathematician. Accuracy of
thought or information was often lacking. Her imagination led the way,
and left her with a picture of a situation or a subject, but she was
very vague about facts and statistics. As a woman of business she was
shrewd, with all a Scotchwoman's power of looking at both sides of a
bawbee before she spent it, but she was also extraordinarily generous in
a very simple and unostentatious way, and her hospitality was boundless.

Miss Macnaughtan was almost hypersensitive to criticism. Her intense
desire to do right and to serve her fellow-beings animated her whole
life, and it seemed to her rather hard to be found fault with. Indeed,
she had not many faults, and the defects of her character were mostly

As a girl she was unpunctual, and subject to fits of indecision when it
seemed impossible for her to make up her mind one way or the other. The
inconvenience caused by her frequent changes of times and plans was
probably not realised by her. Later in life, when she lived so much
alone, she did not always see that difficulties which appeared nothing
to her might be almost insuperable to other people, and that in houses
where there are several members of a family to be considered, no
individual can be quite as free to carry out his own plans as a person
who is independent of family ties. But when one remembered how
splendidly she always responded to any claim on her own kindness one
forgave her for being a little exacting.

Perhaps Miss Macnaughtan's greatest handicap in life was her immense
capacity for suffering--suffering poignantly, unbearably, not only for
her own sorrows but for the sorrows of others. Only those who appealed
to her in trouble knew the depth of her sympathy, and how absolutely she
shared the burden of the grief. But perhaps they did not always know how
she agonised over their misfortunes, and at what price her sympathy was


My aunt was a passionately religious woman. Her faith was the
inspiration of her whole life, and it is safe to say that from the
smallest to the greatest things there was never a struggle between
conscience and inclination in which conscience was not victorious. As
she grew older, I fancy that she became a less orthodox member of the
Church of England, to which she belonged, but her love for Christ and
for His people never wavered.

As each Sunday came round during her last illness, when she could not go
to church, she used to say to a very dear sister, "Now, J., we must have
our little service." Then the bedroom door was left ajar, and her sister
would go down to the drawing-room and play the simple hymns they had
sung together in childhood. And on the last Sunday, the day before her
death, when the invalid lay in a stupor and seemed scarcely conscious,
that same dear sister played the old hymns once more, and as the sound
floated up to the room above those who watched there saw a gleam of
pleasure on the dying woman's face.

My aunt had no fear of death. There had been a time, some weeks before
the end, when her feet had wandered very close to the waters which
divide us from the unknown shore, and she told her sisters afterwards
that she had almost seemed to see over to the "other side," and that so
many of those she loved were waiting for her, and saying, "Come over to
us, Sally. We are all here to welcome you."

Perhaps just at the last, when her body had grown weak, the journey
seemed rather far, and she clung to earth more closely, but such
weakness was purely physical. The brave spirit was ready to go, and as
the music of her favourite hymn pierced her consciousness when she lay
dying, so surely the words summed up all that she felt or wished to say,
and formed her last prayer in death, as they had been her constant
prayer in life:

    "In death's dark vale I fear no ill
       With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
     Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
       Thy Cross before to guide me.

    "And so through all the length of days
       Thy goodness faileth never;
     Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
       Within Thy house for ever."


Aberdare, 164

Aberystwyth, 164

Adinkerke, 116;
  soup-kitchen, 82, 86, 157;
  bombardment, 139

Airships, German, over Antwerp, 5, 9;
  Dunkirk, 81;
  Furnes, 80;
  St. Malo-les-Bains, 55;
  destroyed, 27, 194

Andrews, John, 171

Antwerp, 1;
  Hospital, 2;
  arrival of wounded, 2, 3, 5, 12;
  siege, 3-21;
  reinforcements, 12, 16;
  shelled, 18-21;
  retreat of the Marines, 28

Arabs, rapid system of communication, 247

Ararat, Mount, 230

Armenians, massacres of, 209, 214, 217, 228;
  refugees, 227;
  character, 234

Artvin, 211

Asquith, Raymond, 183

Australians, treatment of the Turks, 177

Bagdad, 247

Bagot, Lady, 100;
  at St. Malo-les-Bains, 49, 55;
  hospital, 104, 113, 114;
  arrival of wounded, 144;
  entertains them, 147

Bailey, Sister, 22, 24

Baku, 233, 237

Baratoff, General, 240, 241

Bark, M., Russian Finance Minister, 195

Barrow-in-Furness, lectures by Miss Macnaughtan, 162

Bartlett, Ashmead, war correspondent, at Furnes, 35

Batoum, 208, 213

"Beau Garde," farm, 140

Bedford, Adeline, Duchess of, 59

Belgians, King of the, 141

Belgians, Queen of the, visits the Hospital at Furnes, 38

Benjamin, Miss, 2, 20

Bernoff, General, 208, 209

_Bessheim_, the, 179

Bevan, Mr., at Furnes, 80, 83;
  Calais, 86;
  Nieuport, 151;
  Christiania, 179;
  Stockholm, 180;
  Baku, 231, 233

Bible, the, a Universal Human Document, 101

Boulderoff, M., 216

Boulogne, 55;
  wounded at, 114

Bray, Mrs., 192

British man-of-war, 125

Brockville, Mr., at Dixmude, 35

Brooke, Victor, 178

Buchanan, Sir George, Ambassador at Petrograd, 184

Buchanan, Lady Georgina, at Petrograd, 184;
  soup-kitchen, 192;
  work-party, 196

Bute Docks, 171

Cabour hospital, 151

Calais, 83, 86

Cardiff, lecture by Miss Macnaughtan, 164, 167-171

Cardiff Castle, 163

Carlile, Mr., 120

Caspian Sea, 265

Caucasia, 210

Cavell, Miss, execution, 186

Cazalet, Mr., 207

Chart Sutton, churchyard at, 270

Chenies, 160

Children wounded, 116, 118

Chimay, Countess de Caraman, dame d'honneur of the Queen of the
  Belgians, 139

Chisholm, Miss, 26, 63

Christiania, 179

Churchill, Winston, at Antwerp, 12, 16;
  Dunkirk, 44

Clarry, Mr. G., President of the Cardiff Chamber of Trade, 170

Clegg, Mr., 105, 143

Clitheroe, Mrs., 86, 93

Close, Miss Etta, barge, 97, 126, 135;
  work for the refugees, 140

Cocks, W., 171

Constant, Count Stanislas, 213

Cooper, Mr., 115

Courage, definition of, 24

Coventry, Mr., 112

Cowan{12}, Mr., Consul at Hamadan, 241, 246

Coxide, bombardment of, 69;
  refugees at, 138

Crawley, Eustace, 178

Cunard, Mr., 198

Cunliffe, Miss, 2

Curie, Mme., at Furnes, 68

Cyril, Grand Duchess, 205

Decies, Lady, 55

Decker, Mrs., 26

Denniss, Colonel, 164;
  speech at the Bute Docks, 171

Derfelden, Mme., 236

Dick, Miss, 2

Dinant, atrocities of the Germans at, 137

Dixmude, 127;
  bombardment, 35, 39

Donnisthorpe, Miss, 2, 22

Drogheda, Lady, 97

Dunkirk, 25, 43, 57, 73, 86, 87, 94, 123, 151;
  arrival of wounded, 44;
  bombs on, 81;
  condition of the station, 96;
  shelled by the Germans, 115

Elliot, Lady Eileen, at Boulogne, 58

Elliott, Maxine, 94, 97, 126

Enzeli, 238

Erivan, 225, 227

Etchmiadzin, 229

Ferdinand, King of Bulgaria, 195

ffolliott, Mrs., letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 131, 269, 270

Fielding, Lady Dorothy, 12, 26, 63

Findlay, Mr., 82

Fisher, S., 171

France, armament works, 149

French, Sir John, at Dunkirk, 44

Frere, Sir Bartle, at Furnes, 68

Furley, Sir John, 112

Furnes hospital, 33;
  arrival of wounded, 37, 68;
  evacuated, 41, 43;
  hopeless cases, 46;
  soup-kitchen, 60;
  shelled by the Germans, 75, 86, 122;
  bombs on, 80, 81

Fyfe, Miss, 43

Galicia, fighting in, 223

Galitzin, Prince, 208

Gas, asphyxiating, cases of, 114, 145, 171

Georgia, 211;
  custom at, 213

German army, siege of Antwerp, 3-21;
  driven back, 18{13};
  two regiments surrounded, 121;
  atrocities, 126, 132, 137, 138;
  throw vitriol, 144

Germany, preparations for war, 30;
  treatment of prisoners, 132

Ghent, 12

Gibbs, Mr., war correspondent, at Furnes, 35

Gienst, Mme. van der, 143

Gilbert, 34

Glade, Mr., 2

Glasgow, munition works, output, 149, 161;
  lectures by Miss Macnaughtan, 163

Gleeson, Mr., 33, 35

Glover, Bandmaster, K. S., 170

Godfrey, Miss, 2

Goodwin, Mr. and Mrs., 239

Gordon, Dr., American Missionary, 208

Gorlebeff, head of the Russian Red Cross, 208, 221, 222

Graham, Stephen, book on Russia, 208

Groholski, Count, 210, 218

Guest, Mrs., at Adinkerke, 119

Hamadan, 240;
  climate, 243, 247;
  tombs, 252

Hambro, Mr. Eric, 182

Hanson, Dr., 2, 23

Hanson, Mr., Vice-Consul at Constantinople, at Dunkirk, 151

Haparanda, 182

Harrison, Mr., 164

Haye, M. de la, 139, 140

Helsingfors, 266

_Hermes_, the, torpedoed, 43

Herslet, Sir Cecil, Surgeon-General, at Antwerp, 9

Hills, Mr., American missionary, 208, 222

Holland, Mr., 88

Hoogstadt, 87;
  wounded at, 121

Hope, A., 171

Howard, Lady Isobel, 181

Howse, Mr., 164

Ignatieff, M., 237

_Invicta_, the, 43, 52

Jecquier, M., 195

Joffre, Marshal, at Dunkirk, 44

Joos, Dr., 77;
  villa at Furnes, 48, 79

Joos, Mme., 77

Kajura, 236

Kasvin, 239, 259

Keays-Young, Mrs., letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 3, 106, 166, 262

Keays-Young, Miss Julia, letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 217, 262

King, Mary, 267;
  letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 63, 109

Kirsanoff, Mme., 241

Kitchener, Lord, at Dunkirk, 44

Kluck, General von, at Mons, 133

Knocker, Mrs., 45, 63, 155

La Bassée, British casualties at, 107

Lampernesse, church shelled, 67

La Panne, 87, 93, 97

Lazarienne, Mr., 229

Leigh, Lord, 94

Lennel, 163

Lepnakoff{14}, Mlle., 233

Lightfoot, Mr., at Hamadan, 241, 246, 252

Lindsay, Harry, 183

Lloyd, Sir F., 162

Lloyd, George, 195

Logan, Miss, 87

Logette, Mrs., 72

Lombaertzyde, farm at, 138

Lombard, Mr., 190

_Lusitania_ torpedoed, 123

McDonald, gunner, wounded, 118, 124

MacDonald{15}, Mr. Ramsay, 73

MacDonell, Consul, at Baku, 237

McDowal, Mr., 241

McLaren, Mr. and Mrs., 238

McLean, Mr., 241, 248

MacMurray, Mr., 241, 248

Macnaughtan, Lieut. Colin, 144

Macnaughtan, Sarah, at Antwerp 1;
  work in the Hospital, 8;
  incentive to keep up, 17;
  leaves Antwerp, 21;
  at Ostend, 22;
  joins Dr. Munro's convoy, 25;
  at Dunkirk, 25, 43, 57, 73, 86;
  St. Malo-les-Bains, 26, 49;
  Furnes, 34-43, 46, 57;
  flight to Poperinghe, 43;
  description of the ruins of Nieuport, 46, 152-155;
  request for travelling-kitchens, 51, 58;
  visits her nephew at Boulogne, 55-57;
  starts a soup-kitchen, 59-61;
  feeding the wounded, 61, 69;
  "charette," 69;
  at the Villa Joos, 72, 77;
  attends a Church service, 74;
  return to England, 83, 111, 157, 267;
  at Rayleigh House, 85;
  soup-kitchen at Adinkerke, 86, 116, 157;
  illness, 87, 104, 207, 245, 256, 259-264, 267-270;
  at La Panne, 93, 111;
  publication of war book, 111;
  difficulties in getting her passport, 112;
  at Boulogne, 114;
  presented with a car, 120;
  at Poperinghe, 135;
  method of relieving cases of poison gas, 145, 171;
  lectures on the war, 160-174, 274;
  at Lennel, 163;
  Cardiff Castle, 163;
  Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold conferred, 167;
  journey to Russia, 179-183;
  at Christiania, 179;
  Stockholm, 180;
  Petrograd, 183-204, 265;
  waiting for work, 191-198, 218;
  studies Russian, 193;
  works in a hospital, 198;
  at Moscow, 204;
  Tiflis, 208-210, 214, 230;
  delicate appearance, 208;
  at Caucasia, 210;
  entertained by the Grand Duke Nicholas, 215;
  on the administration of war charities, 219-222;
  lessons in French, 224;
  buys a motor-car, 224;
  journey to Erivan, 225-227;
  car breaks down, 225;
  festered fingers, 234;
  at Baku, 237;
  Resht, 238;
  Kasvin, 239, 259;
  Hamadan, 240-257;
  a day on the Persian front, 247-249;
  unfinished article on Persia, 249-252;
  _Return of the Pilgrim_, 253-256;
  Tehran, 260-264;
  journey home, 264-266;
  at Helsingfors, 266;
  appearance, 268;
  appointed Lady of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, 268;
  death, 270, 280;
  funeral, 270;
  review of her war work, 272-276;
  ideal of personal service, 274;
  sketch of her character, 276-279;
  religious views, 279

Malcolm, Colonel Ian, at Boulogne, 58;
  Petrograd, 183;
  at Moscow, 204

Malokand settlement, 226

Manners, Lady Diana, 183

Marines, British, at Antwerp, 12, 16;
  retreat from, 28

Marines, French, 105{16}

Maxwell, Lady Heron, 185

Millis, General, 87

Mons, retreat from, 133;
  vision at, 133

Montgomerie, Miss, American missionary at Hamadan, 252

Moorhouse, Rhodes, heroism, 129

Morgan, Mr., 83, 86

Morris, Dr., 2

Moscow, 204

Motono, M., at Petrograd, 195

Munitions, shortage of, 148

Munro, Dr. Hector, 12;
  convoy, 25, 90;
  at Dixmude, 35;
  knocked over by a shell, 49

Murat, Prince Napoleon, 218, 231, 233

Murray, Mr. John, xii

Musaloff, Princess, 231

Needle, Mr., 164

Neligan, Dr., care of Miss Macnaughtan, 260, 263, 264

Neuve Chapelle, ruins of, 123

Neva, the, 200

Nevinson, Mr., at Furnes, 38

Nicholas, Grand Duke, 215

Nieuport, 71, 151;
  ruins of, 46, 123, 152-155

Nightingale, song of the, 155-157

Nightingale, Florence, 184

Northcote, Elsie, 182;
  death, 183

Ochterlony, gunner, wounded, 118

O'Gormon, Mrs., 16

Oostkerke, Belgian "observateur" killed at, 153

Orloff, Prince, 208;
  appearance, 219

Ostend, 22, 24

Oulieheff, Count, 210

Page, Dr. de, 118

Parsons, Johnny{17}, 192

Passport, difficulties, 112

Percival, Mrs. Charles, letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 65, 242-245

Perrin, Dr., 86, 87

Perry, Miss, 2

Persia, climate, 239, 249;
  railway, 247;
  system of administration, 251;
  unfinished article on, 249-252

Pervyse, 63, 64;
  bombardment, 81;
  ruins of, 123

Peter, Grand Duke, 215

Petrograd, 183, 187, 206, 265;
  climate, 194;
  number of amputation cases, 198;
  return of wounded prisoners, 201-203;
  number of hospitals, 220

Philpotts, Mr., 186

_Pilgrim, Return of the_, 253-256

"Pinching," habit of, 98

Poincaré, M., at Dunkirk, 44

Polish refugees, at Petrograd, 192, 193

Pont, Major du, 138

Poperinghe, 43, 135-137;
  shelled, 116

Powell, Miss Hilda, xii

Prisoners, German, treatment in England, 132

Queen's Hall, London, lecture by Miss Macnaughtan, 162

Radstock, Lord, anecdote of, 197

Ramsay, Sir William, on the result of the war, 149

Ramsey, Dr., 2, 22

Randell, Miss, 2

Rasputin, malign influence, 209

Rayleigh House, 85

Reading, Mr. "Dick," 42

Rees{18}, T. Vivian, 164, 171

Resht, 238

Rhondda Valley, 164

Richards, Alderman J. T., speech at Cardiff, 167

Roberts, Lord, death, 63, 111

Rocky Mountains, 182

Rotsartz, M., 125;
  portrait of Miss Macnaughtan, 104

Rushton Hall, Kettering, 160

Russian army, return of wounded prisoners to Petrograd, 201-203

St. Clair, Miss, 12

St. Gilles, convent at, 22

St. Idesbald, 150

St. Malo-les-Bains, 26, 49;
  wounded at, 50

Samson, Commander, 88

Sarrel, Mr., 151

Sawyer, Mr., 112

Sazonoff, Mme., 200

Scherbatoff, Princess Hélène, 197

Scott, Lord Francis, at Boulogne, 58

Scott, Mr., 238

Scott, Miss, 82

Secher, Mr., wounded, 49

Seymour, Mr., kindness to Miss Macnaughtan, 266

Shaw, Bernard, 189

Sheffield, lecture by Miss Macnaughtan, 162

Shoppe, Lieutenant, 132;
  at Nieuport, 153

"Should the Germans come," lecture on, 171-173

Sim, 178

Sindici, Mme.{19}, 83, 86

Slippers for the wounded, 66, 98

Smith, Captain, 198

Smith, Mr. Lancelot, 182

Smith, Mr. Robinson, 171, 173

Smitkin, Dr., 259

Sommerville, Mr. R., xii

Soup-kitchen at Adinkerke, 82, 97, 157;
  Furnes, 60

Spies, German, shot, 44, 186

Stanley, Miss, 2

Stanmore, Lord, 183

Stear, Miss, 4

Steen, Mme. van den, 137

Steenkerke, 122, 155

Stenning, Mr., xii

Stobart, Mrs. St. Clair, head of the hospital unit at Antwerp, 2;
  office, 7, 10;
  issues orders, 18;
  leaves Antwerp, 21;
  return to England, 22

Stockholm, 180

Stoney, Dr. F., 2

"Stories and Pictures of the War," lecture on, 167

Streatfield, Mr., 74

Stretchers, size of, 66, 69

Strickland, Mr., 87

Strutt, Emily, 85

Strutt, Neville, 178

Sutherland, Duchess of, 93;
  hospital at St. Malo-les-Bains, 44

Sweden, Crown Prince of, 181

Sweden, Crown Princess of, appearance, 181

Taff river, 164

Takmakoff, Mme., 200, 203

Tapp, Mr., 64

Teck, Prince Alexander of, 141;
  at Furnes, 75, 83

Tehran, 260

Thompson, Mr., 138

Tiflis, 208, 214, 230

Tonepentre, 164

Toney Pandy, 164

Travelling-kitchens, 51

Tree, Viola, 183

Tschelikoff, Prince, 233{20}

Turks, cruelties, 177, 209

Turner, Dr. Rose, 2

Tyrell, Major, 151

Tysczkievez{21}, Count, 222

Urumiyah, evacuated, 223

Vaughan, Miss, at Furnes, 68

Vickers-Maxim works, Erith, lecture by Miss Macnaughtan, 160

Victoria, Grand Duchess, 185

Villiers, Sir Francis, British Minister at Antwerp, 9

Vladikavkas, 207

Wales, 163

Walker, Colonel, 112

Walter, Mr. Hubert, 143

Walton, Colonel, 176

War,{22} charities, administration, 219-222;
  cost of the, 104;
  cruelties, 175-178;
  result, 115;
  souvenirs, 143

Wardepett, Bishop, 229

Ware, Mr. F., 85

Waring, Lady Clémentine, letters from Miss Macnaughtan, 50-52, 58, 260;
  at Lennel, 163

Warship, British, shelled by the Germans, 105

Watts, Dr., 2

Welwyn, 160

Westminster{23}, Duke of, at Dixmude, 127

Whiting, Captain, 73

William II., Emperor of Germany, supposed conversion to
Mahomedanism{24}, 209

William, Capt. Rhys, 239

Williams, Mr. Hume, 223

Wilson, Dr., 69, 225

Wilson, 178

Wood, Mr., 119, 121

Wynne, Mrs., 132, 140;
  at Christiania, 179;
  Moscow, 205;
  Baku, 231

Young, Capt. Alan, at Boulogne, 55;
  experiences in the war, 56;
  wounded, 57

Young, Mrs. Charles, letter from Miss Macnaughtan, 214

Younghusband, Sir Frank, 164;
  speech at Cardiff, 169

Ypres, 114, 137;
  battle at, 144, 146

Yser, the, 64, 71, 121, 141

Billing and Sons, Ltd., Printers, Guildford, England

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's corrections and comments:

  1.  Added period missing in original.

  2.  Added comma missing in original.

  3.  Original had "Rotsarzt"; changed to "Rotsartz" to be consistent
      with later occurrences.

  4.  Original had "vise"; changed to "visé".

  5.  Original had "pasport"; changed to "passport".

  6.  Original had "...road to Calais s blocked..."; changed to
      "...road to Calais is blocked...".

  7.  Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Reece", index has

  8.  Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Johnnie", index has

  9.  Changed from comma in original to period.

  10. Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Tysczkievcz", index has
      "Tysczkievez"; most likely meant to be the Polish name

  11. Added period missing in original.

  12. Original had "Cowen"; changed to "Cowan", which is the spelling
      used in both instances in the text.

  13. Original reference to page 10; changed to page 18, as this
      contains the actual reference to the German army being driven

  14. Original had "Lipnakoff"; changed to "Lepnakoff" as the more
      likely spelling and to be consistent with the text.

  15. Original had "Macdonald"; changed to "MacDonald".

  16. Original reference to page 165; changed to page 105, as this
      contains the actual reference to the French Marines.

  17. Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Johnnie", index has

  18. Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Reece", index has

  19. Added period missing in original.

  20. Removed comma that was superfluous in the original.

  21. Note inconsistency in spelling: text has "Tysczkievcz", index has
      "Tysczkievez"; most likely meant to be the Polish name

  22. Added comma missing in original.

  23. Original had "Westminister"; changed to "Westminster".

  24. Original had "Mahommedanism"; changed to "Mahomedanism" to be
      consistent with the text.

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