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Title: War Days in Brittany
Author: Jarves, Elsie Deming
Language: English
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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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WAR DAYS IN BRITTANY

By Elsie Deming Jarves

Private Edition

Mrs. Deming Jarves Officier de l'Académie



MEDAL OF THE RECONNAISSANCE FRANÇAISE

By decree of the President of the Republic, the silver medal of the
Reconnaissance Française was conferred on Mrs. Elsie Deming Jarves for
the devotion she showed since the beginning of the war to our wounded.

The Citation reads as follows:

"Mrs. Deming Jarves, since the beginning of the war, showed the most
generous solicitude for our wounded soldiers in Brittany, has never
spared herself and has shown the greatest devotion."

As announced elsewhere, Mr. Deming Jarves was made a Chevalier of the
Legion of Honor for the same cause.

The above article is reprinted from "Le Nouvelliste de Bretagne," a
French daily paper published in Bonnes, the capital of Brittany.



WAR DAYS IN BRITTANY

By Elsie Deming Jarves

Saturday Night Press, Inc. Detroit, Michigan 1920

Copyright, 1920, by Deming Jarves

JUL 26 1920

TO THOSE GENEROUS AMERICANS

FROM WHOM CAME THE FINANCIAL AID AND MORAL ENCOURAGEMENT NECESSARY TO
HELP US THROUGH THESE DAYS,

IS DEDICATED THIS LITTLE COLLECTION OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCES DURING THE
GREAT WAR

INSTITUT DE FRANCE

Madame:

Vous avez véçu dans notre pays ces années de terrible guerre; vous vous
êtes interressée à tout ce que nous avons véçu de misères, à tout
ce qu'on souffert nos enfants. Vous m'avez demandé combien des miens
étaient mort; J'avais quatre petits neveux, trois sont tombés au Champ
d'Honneur; un reste qui était aviateur en Russie et qui a obtenu trois
citations à l'ordre de l'armée, cela, c'est le cas habituel des familles
Bourgoises; je ne me plaine pas, ne m'eu vaute: Aucun des enfants,
n'était marié, aucun n'a laissé d'enfants; mais les morts sont nombreux
ailleur et leurs veuves et leurs petits enfants vivent. Il faut qu'ils
vivent; ne serait ce que pour opposer encore leurs poitrines aux
Barbares quand ils reviendront sur nous pour engager la Suprême
bataille. Deux millions de Français sont mort sauver la liberté du
monde. Ils ont donné aux autres le temps de venir, mais le temps comme,
ils l'ont payé!

Si l'Amérique veut aider leurs enfants à s'instruire, et à se former aux
bonnes études nous l'accepterons; ceux qui sont mort sont mort pour Elle
comme ils sont mort pour la France. Veuillex agréer Madame l'hommage de
mes sentiments respectueux.

Frederic Masson.

December 12, 1918.



CONTENTS


IN BRITTANY

THE TRAIN OF THE WOUNDED

DINARD DAY BY DAY

DINARD ACTUALITIES

TO A DYING BOY

THE SUBSTITUTE MOTHER

HAIL TO THE DEAD!

A RED CROSS HOSPITAL IN BRITTANY

THE CASTLE OF COMBOURG

A BELGIAN ROMANCE

THE VOW

WHAT FRENCHWOMEN ARE DOING IN WAR TIME

PRISONERS AND AMBULANCES

TO A POILU

OUR WAR WORK

AMERICANS IN BRITTANY

VICTORIOUS BELLS OF FRANCE



IN BRITTANY

I

               Sing me a song of the west country

                   Where 'priest and peasant still abide;

               Where giant cliffs come down to the sea

                   To lave their feet in the long green tide;

               Atlantic rollers, huge and free,

               Beat high on the coast of Brittany!

II

               Sing of the pearly sky hung low,

                   Of verdant forests girding the land!

               Where heather and gorse on the hillsides glow,

                   The long gray lines of the Menhir stand,

               Guarding their secret constantly

               Through age-long silence, in Brittany.

III

               The high-flung roofs in lichen decked,

                   Yellow and green and golden-brown,

               With tiny flowers and weeds o'er-flecked,

                   Shelter the cottages of the town;

               While up from the chimneys, silently,

               Floats the thin, blue smoke of Brittany.

IV

               A gleam of brass through the open door,

                   Of walled-in bed of carven oak,

               Of polished flags upon the floor,

                   Neath heavy rafters black with smoke;

               The song of the wheel as, cannily,

               The wife spins her flax in Brittany.

V

               The sabots clatter down the street,

                   The church bell sounds across the bay,

               The brown sails of the fishing fleet

                   Grow black against the dying day;

               While sun and 'peace sink glowingly

               Upon the land of Brittany.

VI

               Mystic and weird is the ancient tale

                   Of Arthur and Merlin, and knights of old,

               Of Celtic ardor, and holy Grail,

                   Of Church, and Priest, and Castlehold!

               Of Prince and Peasant ardently

               Guarding the faith in Brittany.

VII

               Land of the Legends! Country of Dreams--

                   Of Saints, and Pardons, and Ancient Faith!

               Deep-hidden beside your forest streams

                   Still live the sprites and ghostly wraith!

               Land of Crosses, where, fervently,

               The peasants still pray in Brittany!

VIII

               Brave are your sons as they sail the seas

                   'Mid storm and tempest and winter gale!

               Brave the wife as she waits on the leas

                   For the distant gleam of homing sail!

               Brave and patient and earnestly

               The peasants still pray in Brittany!

--Elsie Deming Jarves.



THE TRAIN OF THE WOUNDED

[Illustration: 0032]

|The train draws up gently, soldiers appear at the doors, silent and
patiently waiting, some with foreheads swathed in reddening bandages,
others with their arms in slings, again others leaning on crutches. One
could not judge of the number, as more wounded were lying on the seats.
One saw only black and white and yellow faces peering anxiously forth,
and one understood that these soldiers had no words to express their
sufferings, they only wait "for help."

A young doctor, just commencing his life of self-sacrifice, his eyes
heavy with fever, his shoulders drooping with fatigue, seeks the
military doctor in charge at the station and hands him a list giving
him some information, brief and military, on the wounded hundreds behind
him. Some are so injured they must have instant help. Here are men
who may travel further; seeking from station to station the promised
assistance.

The more desperately wounded are removed on stretchers; the nuns bring
cooling water to wash their fevered hands and faces; the nurses bring
them food and hot coffee; kind hands replace their slings, awry; boys
and girls bring them newspapers, cigarettes and candies. All wish to
express their admiration and devotion to these humble defenders of
France.

All along the vast platforms are rows of stretchers, each laden with its
suffering humanity. One counts the men by the upturned boot soles. Alas!
those wounded in the legs hang brokenly down. Here a wretched man with
broken shoulder wanders toward the operating room, installed in every
railway station. There a feeble comrade leans on the shoulders of a
nurse as he struggles toward the doctors awaiting him.

The more seriously wounded must remain on the spot, and the medical
director inspects him, as taking his number he encourages him with a few
words: "Now, my brave one, you will not travel further; a look, a look
at your wound, my friend, and then to a comfortable hospital." The
wounded soldier touches his cap, lifts his covering and shows a dressing
spotted with yellow and brown; but has the strength to say to the
bearers, "Carefully, gently, my friends; I suffer much!" and he looks
with misgiving on the motor car, for they are moving him again. Poor
fellow, he has suffered so much.

They lift him tenderly and he disappears beneath the Red Cross
ambulance, there to find a nurse who whispers "My little soldier,
another moment of patience and thou wilt find thyself amidst cool
sheets, far from noise and confusion. Thou shalt rest in peace, and thou
shalt be well."

In the midst of this "empressement," this joy of helping, the German
prisoners, wounded and far from home, are not forgotten. At the door
of one of the wagons a little brown chap is leaning, silent, but with
shining eyes. The odors of good, refreshing coffee and hot bread are
wafted to him; but he does not make a sign. But how hungry he is! And
those good comrades behind him who for so many days faced death and
famine in the trenches--how they hunger! He glances behind him. Here
a man lies on his back, his eyes closed. Another is gasping, with his
hands clenched. Others are crouching in obscurity. How hungry they are!
How the thirst burns. But one must not ask mercy of one's conquerors.

Suddenly a young doctor, with a nun at his side, appears at the window.
Coffee, bread and meat are offered; it is the little brown wounded one
kneeling at the window who brings to his fellows the hospitality of
France.

The officers are crowded together, heads swathed in blood-stained
bandages, legs and arms encircled in spotted bands, but their voices are
lowered as they thank the nuns, and they squeeze themselves together to
allow a freer space to the more injured companion. The newspaper brought
to them tells them of the battles in which they have fought, and in the
list of those fallen on the field of honor appears the name of many a
cherished friend.

Oh, the brave, humble little _Piou-Piou!_ The little infantrymen who
so bravely and so enthusiastically have fought for their native
soil; wounded in arm and leg, in head and thigh, in foot and hand;
uncomplaining, patient and grateful, so tired and so injured, but
as ready to return to their trenches, bearing all things, suffering,
seeking a nameless grave, that their beloved France may remain free and
intact. These are unknown, courageous Frenchmen, who on the present-day
battlefields appeal to us to help, comfort and succor in this their day
of tribulation.

At Rennes and the larger towns there are comforts and medical equipments
impossible for our little Dinard and its hastily-installed hospitals;
all the hotels and casinos have been "requisitiones" and we are doing
our best to make things comfortable for those poor chaps; but we lack,
alas, so much! There are no ambulances, and so all sorts of conveyances
are called into use, from elegant limousines and small motor cars, down
through the list of private carriages and cabs, to express carts.

It is a painful sight to see these latter, minus springs or even
mattresses (which are all in use in hospitals), bumping the poor wounded
over car-tracks and crossings to their destination.

At the grand casino one's heart is torn by the sight of such suffering
supported so uncomplainingly. A large hall is hastily arranged with
cane-bottomed chairs, in front of each a tin basin, hot water in cans
(heated on a gas stove) is poured into these primitive receptacles, and
ladies of the Croix Rouge kneel in front of these rough wounded men.
It is hard work, sometimes, to separate the heavy army boots from the
wounded feet. Some of these men have not had their boots off in two
months; constantly marching to and fro over those fields and through the
mud, ready at any moment to spring to arms to defend us and our homes.
It is the least we can do, to help their pain now.

The blood has soaked through the worn-out socks, and the whole mass is
impregnated with dirt, blood, etc.; but how grateful they are, these
poilus, to have their wounds dressed, their torn, dirty uniforms
removed, and to find themselves in comfortable beds, a soothing drink
of beef tea, with a dash of brandy held to their lips, and a soft pillow
behind their weary heads. One boy said to me, as we finally got him in
bed: "Madam, one goes gladly to fight for la France, but now, I must
rest awhile. With such kind ladies to aid me, I know I shall soon
gain strength enough to return to show those Boches." What la Jeunesse
Française is willing to bear for France!

October, 1914



DINARD DAY BY DAY

[Illustration: 0042]

|Up the village street comes the funeral. Gusts of wind, bearing fog and
rain on their wings, roar up the roadway, tossing the branches against
the low sky, tearing the last Autumn leaves from the trees, whirling
the skirts of the women and the white garments of the priest, as the
mournful little band struggles towards the church.

The bell is tolling in long, heavy notes; the funeral cars, alas! three
in number, move slowly along; the "tricolor," wet and draggled, whipping
above the heads of the little troopers who have lain down their lives
that it may float free and unsubdued over France.

What a sad little procession it is! First, a chorister bearing a cross;
then two others chanting, with the priest, the dirge for the dead.

On either side of the three hearses limp a few soldiers, their red
trousers the only spot of color in the black and gray landscape.

A group of the Red Cross nurses follow, their dark cloaks and white
head-dresses straining in the gale, and then the crowd of sorrowing
people. Poor, humble folk they are, in sabots and heavy black
peasant costumes. Old women tottering along together, bending their
white-coiffed heads to the blast. Young women, white and broken-hearted.
Tragedy written in changeless lines on their faces, innocent victims of
this unspeakable war, bearing their last poor little offerings in their
red hands, a few rain-beaten bunches of chrysanthemums, the only tribute
they can offer to their dear ones.

The bell still tolls mournfully; the bowed, black figures grow fainter
in the mist. In from the Atlantic sweeps the storm, raging above the
piteous mourners. Shrieking! Whistling! Howling! Where now the sunny
France sung by the poets? Where the gaiety and life, so typical of the
charming French?

Gray clouds, wind-swept roads, black skeleton branches, straining away
from the sea. Rain in gusts. Cold, sorrow, desolation in all the land!

Since the war began, seventy-five thousand Frenchmen have fallen on the
field of honor. Some on the battlefields, some in the trenches, others
destroyed beyond human recognition. Nameless graves cover the northern
plains. In innumerable hospitals lie the broken remnants of French
manhood.

Five hundred thousand they are today, suffering untold agonies,
helpless, uncomplaining.

What can Americans, in the happy safety of their homes know of the
tragedy, the death, that overwhelms us here?

It is so far-reaching, so stupendous, so heart-breaking, all energy and
activity become paralyzed.

Where begin? What can one do? If one helps only a few hundreds, how
about the thousands one cannot reach?

England, in fine generosity, has sent supplies of all kinds: medicines,
garments, hospital stores, surgical instruments; five hundred tons have
crossed the channel.

Beyond praise, the pitying help of England! She has poured her wealth,
her supplies, her splendid armies, into France, giving ungrudgingly and
constantly. But for her timely assistance, we should be in unimaginable
straits. But now England needs for her own.

With her great losses in men, fifty-seven thousand; her own wounded
the end of this October; her thousands upon thousands of refugees--one
cannot expect her to do for all.

How are her cousins across the Atlantic coming to our aid?

Can we count on the Americans? Will their warm hearts send out to us
these _necessities_ for the wounded not only now, but during the long
weary months that stretch in such dreary perspective before us?

The melancholy little funeral is a daily occurrence; so used to it are
we, one scarcely notices it. The wounded living claim all our pity and
work.

Darkness closes down early these bleak November days, and the few
straggling lights illumine streets deserted. At 8 o'clock all cafes
close, the lamps are put out, and only the military patrol with their
feeble lanterns traverse the gloom. Nothing more until the cold November
dawn wakes us to another day of hard work.

Where fashionable women in luxurious motor-cars sped through the
avenues, now soldiers hobbling on sticks and crutches, or wheeled in
chairs, appear. Women and children swathed in crepe wander in dumb
groups on the Esplanade. The shops are full of soldiers' necessities,
and everywhere high and low, young and old, the seamstress, the
shop-keeper behind her counter, the young girls taking their morning
walks, even little schoolgirls, grandmammas and nurses, all are
knitting.

If a friend come to call (a rare pleasure nowadays, as all are too busy
for social amenities), out come the needles from a bag. The tea hour is
interrupted by the click of steel and the counting of stitches.

Those who cannot nurse are knitting socks, comforters, chest-protectors,
cholera belts, for the nights are cold on the battlefields and the
trenches are often full of water. The chilling fogs creep up from the
Flemish marshes and the little soldier, the little _Piou-Piou_, has many
long hours to face the cold and darkness. Happy he who has some loving
women to knit for him.

Strong, vigorous young men one never sees! Only wounded fellows, old men
in mourning, and priests ceaselessly on their errands of consolation and
pity.

In this hour of tribulation, France has turned devoutly and repentantly
to religion. The tone of the press has changed. A reverent and humble
seeking after Divine help is felt in their supplications.

It is not only the women and the ancients who now pray, for over many
hospital cots hang a crucifix, and hardened, indifferent men turn in
their agony to the ever-present clergy.

One dying man told me with great pride that though he had been a great
scoffer and unbeliever for many years, "Now that he had confessed and
received absolution, he was at peace and willing to go;" so, during the
long watches of the night, the old priest, broken as he was with fatigue
and sleeplessness, sat beside the poor chap comforting him through
the Valley of the Shadow, and when dawn came shortly, closed his eyes,
placing the crucifix between the stiffening fingers.

When the next day I placed a few flowers about the quiet form I found
the rugged features softened, all coarseness had disappeared. He lay at
peace with God and man.

Who was he? A peasant? A shoe-maker? A factory hand or street cleaner?
Perhaps an Apache? I do not know. But he gave all he had--his young
life! Surely he has gone to his reward.

Dinard, November, 1914.



DINARD ACTUALITIES

1914-1915

|There are four thousand wounded in Dinard this winter, and the need for
chemises, antiseptic cotton, sacks and bandages, never diminishes. I,
fortunately, have a few things left from what I brought over, and I
am dealing them out, as if worth their weight in gold. Socks are much
appreciated, as many are wounded in the feet, and cannot put on slippers
or shoes. One poor wretched Belgian hospital has depended all the winter
on what we gave them. The Matron told me _but for us they would have
had nothing_. She has been up two or three times since my return begging
socks, chemises and slippers, but, alas, I had none to give her! She
said the men were obliged to stay in their rooms or beds as their
uniforms were so dirty, torn, and shot-riddled, they had to be repaired,
and, having nothing else to wear, they had to stay in hospital. I went
by there the other day, a glorious sunny summer afternoon, and I saw
such poor, white faces looking out so longingly, so young, and so
suffering--mere boys of twenty, twenty-two and twenty-four.

I hate to say too much about the sorrowing and suffering over here--so
much has been given, especially from America, where the generosity has
been overwhelming. One cannot see such wistfulness and patience without
finding a renewal of sympathy and a wish to help.

I was notified last week, that on Saturday, July 10th, at 4 o'clock, the
Prefet of our department (the governor of the state) will come to Val
Fleuri, officially, in full uniform, surrounded by his staff, to thank
us in the name of France, for what we have obtained from our friends in
America, and to express through us the Government's grateful recognition
of America's generosity. French people tell me it is a rare honor which
the government is showing us, and is an expression of France's gratitude
to America. The Prefet asked for a report (which we sent), and the
government has perfect cognizance from whence came our supplies. So that
you may be sure that full recognition has been made for the shipments.

Many wounded there are always, but the spirit of the French people is
magnificent. No sacrifice is too great to make, no economy too severe.
All France has the utmost confidence in the soldiers and their generals,
and everyone feels it is time for endurance, economy and work. And all,
high and low, rich and poor, are putting their hearts and courage into
the affair, with an enthusiasm and devotion quite surprising to those
who thought of France as a decadent nation.

Yesterday I met at tea a French duchess, last year the most frivolous
and worldly person, always dressed in the height of fashion and devoted
to golf, bridge, and motoring. Yesterday she was dressed in a cheap,
ready-made black serge suit, with a black straw sailor hat, trimmed
with a black taffeta bow, such as a poor little governess or an upper
housemaid would have worn a year ago. And she said she was proud to
wear the costume, bought ready-made at the "Galleries Lafayette" for 50
francs.

She has had a hospital in her chateau since the war began, where one
hundred little Pious-Pious have been taken care of and nursed back to
health, and, alas, to a quick return to the trenches! So she said she
had no money "_pour la toilette_."

What these French women are doing is beyond praise. A sober, quiet
determination has taken the place of their erstwhile frivolity. And when
one sees delicately nurtured ladies doing the most ordinary menial work
in the hospitals, not day by day, but month by month, rising at 7 a. m.,
and only returning home for meals and bed at 8.30 p. m.--women who
in former times thought of nothing but extravagance, luxury and
display--one realizes that there is good, red blood left in France, and
the Gallic strain, having supported the trials of centuries, is still
able to make a stand for justice and freedom.

The best English and French authorities say that the war will last at
least a year or eighteen months. An English colonel told me recently
that the British government was preparing to make heavy-calibre guns for
August, 1916, and the French are settling down to another year or two of
war, but after the _Lusitania_ horror I should think all Americans would
feel it their bounden duty to help the allies. If they are defeated,
what chance has America against the German spirit of world dominion? And
we want to remember that every pair of socks, every bandage, every roll
of cotton is a stone in the barricade against these abominable Huns.
There is no uncertainty, no discouragement, no failing in French lines
or English, which hold 580 miles from the North Sea to Switzerland.

I often go to the "Arrivee des Blesses." Alas, they come too often to
the railroad station, long stretchers filled with broken humanity. Does
one ever hear complaints, groans or repinings? No, never! One said to me
as I gave him a cup of beef tea, after he had been lifted from a box
car where he had passed three days and three nights: "Madame, I am a
homeless cripple, my eyesight is gone and I am forever dependent on my
family, my poor wife and my children. But, in the future, when France is
victorious and at peace, they will not begrudge their old father his
sup and board, for he was decorated by the guns of Arras" (meaning, poor
wretch, his sightless eyes).

The Belgian soldiers are strong, able-bodied, silent fellows, and speak
eagerly of their return to their country. They do not seem to realize
that such a consummation is most unlikely.

I am sending by express a few baskets made by them as they lie crippled
on their hospital cots. The little money I paid for them will buy them
tobacco, chocolate, post-cards and pencils. I should be glad if you will
give these baskets to your friends who have so kindly sent us things.
They are of no value, but they will show our appreciation of all you
have done. There are also some rings made out of the aluminum which
forms the point of the German shells. The men have picked them up on the
battlefields and in the trenches--these bits, so full of interest and
personal strife--and have made them into rough rings, but carrying a
pathetic interest of their own.

[Illustration: 0055]

The first of the "Grands Blesses Prisonniers en Allemagne" have arrived.
They came via Switzerland to Lyons, and from there have been distributed
through the country and seashore places. Nineteen came to Dinard, very
severely injured--blind, many one-legged, and some badly disfigured, but
so rejoiced, poor chaps, to find themselves once more in France. Some
have been in Germany since September. They say they were kindly treated
in the hospitals, but had precious little to eat. Their looks show
it, being quite emaciated. Being also accustomed to little food, their
capacity for digesting has also decreased--much to their regret; but,
no doubt, that misfortune will correct itself now they are back in the
"land of plenty."

It appears that when the train drew up in the Lyons Gare, they saw
hundreds of enthusiastic compatriots cheering and waving flags and
handkerchiefs, flowers everywhere, and heard the "Clarions de France,"
some broke down and cried like children. They had borne the privations
and sufferings consequent to imprisonment for ten long months, but when
they heard those sweet, clear notes, and saw the "tricolor" once more
(_Ils Avaient le Coeur Gros_) they just gave way; that is, the weaker
ones did.

At the mother-house of the Little Sisters of the Poor, at St. Bern,
one hundred and twenty-five are installed in that quiet convent, in the
midst of the rich fields, and the green and peaceful woods of Brittany,
with those good little sisters to wait upon them and nurse them; with
fine milk, butter and eggs, chickens and fresh vegetables to eat, they
will soon recover and they can hardly express their feelings, poor
fellows, but just sit smiling and cheery in the sun. Mere boys, many of
them--thin-cheeked, fresh-colored, bright-eyed, but crippled for life.
Older men, fathers of families, bronzed and calm, thankful to be in
France, with the thought of soon returning to their wives and children.
May they there regain their health and strength. To these brave ones, we
all, Americans and French alike, owe an immense debt of gratitude, for,
but for them and their like, we would be facing now a very different
outlook.

What impresses one above all is their modesty, patience and patriotism.
Whether they are doctors or lawyers, peasants or little artisans,
they all show the same soul-stirring love for France, they count their
sufferings as nothing compared to the welfare of the nation.

The life of the last ten years which we knew and loved so well, has
vanished like the snows of yester-year. Where the tango was danced are
now long rows of hospital cots. The music of the Hungarian band has
given place to the silence of the ambulance corridors. Crippled men are
sitting on the casino verandas where fashionable women in former
years strolled in idleness and elegance. Horrid odors of iodoform and
chloroform assail one, instead of the perfume of the flowers. The gay
young girls of other days, who laughed and flirted and danced in these
airy halls, are now demure Red Cross nurses, in severe white linen
gowns, the Red Cross embroidered on their white veils; a vivid testimony
to their real nature and pitying compassion for the helpless.

What a few awful months of this World's War seems to us over here. You
in America, who continue to live as much as usual, can really have but
little conception. To you that pageant and tragedy of war is as "A Tale
that is Told"--very horrible, perhaps, but of necessity it cannot affect
you intimately. You can know little of the heartrending day-by-day
experience and hourly ordeals demanded of those men and women of France.

Some few weeks ago I attended a class for "first aid" to the injured,
whose matron was rather a formidable Frenchwoman, laden with years and
honors. As I went in, a friendly Red Cross nurse murmured: "The poor
Marquise had just received a telegram two hours ago announcing the death
of both her sons; but, you know, her husband was killed in September,
and she has given her boys to France. She does not wish it mentioned--do
not refer to it." As I looked at that wrinkled but composed countenance,
so stern and so calm, as I listened to her instructions, given in a
quiet voice, it was quite evident that the old French proverb still
holds good, "_Bon sang ne peut mentir_." There she was, an old, stricken
mother, looking drearily into the future. Her two dear sons killed on
the same day on the field of honor, her home forever desolate. But she
came down, nevertheless, to show us how to bandage the wounded men, to
teach us patience, endurance and control under all circumstances. At
night she returns to her lonely hearth to mourn these brave boys. _But
did she not need our sympathy?_ To us, watching this superb example, she
seemed to embody the spirit of courage, which admits of no defeat. The
valiant heart rising above the wreck of happiness and home to do its
duty to "La Patrie."

Only a short distance separates us from the battlefields, where the
manhood of France and England are daily laying down their lives in
defense of their countries. God grant that no such sacrifice may ever be
demanded of America. To us who have remained in France, life has become
a very solemn reality; as we go forth in sober garb and spirit to do
what we can for these suffering hundreds, wounded men and boys, lonely
young widows, stricken parents, we realize intensely that life in Europe
has utterly changed. The old order of things has passed away. What will
replace it? Who can tell?

                   Letter Written to Dr. Livingston Seaman,

                   British War Relief in New York,

               July, 1915.



TO A DYING BOY

               Poor little soldier, lying there weak and wounded,

                   Why were you horn to live so brief a day?

               Is your young manhood hut to serve as target

                   For the grim guns of war to injure or to slay?

               So young to die. On lip and cheek and forehead

                   Still flame youth's brilliant colors, white and red,

               And your clear eyes so full of hope and courage,

                   Must we tomorrow count you with the dead?

               All life before you; glad and useful hours

                   Lay shining in your path unsullied, clear,

               Youth's dreams fulfilled in manhood's ampler duties,

                   A wife, a home, and all that we hold dear

               Vanished. In one short hour's tragic action,

                   Swept from the world of man and manly ways.

               Naught but a memory in your mother's bosom,

                   Shall soon recall your transient, earthly days.

               In vain our aid. Our utmost skill and patience

                   Cannot re-string the loosened silver cord.

               The golden bowl is broken at the fountain,

                   And your lone soul must hence to meet it's God,

               Lonely, yet clad in beauty pure and holy,

                   For of your best you gave, unstinted, glad,

               That at your country's call all selfish thought and purpose

                   Faded away--you gave your life, dear lad!

                   Dinard, 1915



THE SUBSTITUTE MOTHER

(A Story of France)

|In the old house, heavily garlanded with ivy and climbing roses, at the
end of the village, lived the old maid. Through vistas of thick foliage,
the broken sky-line of tiled roofs appeared. In the west, the church
tower showed dark against the sunset skies.

Here she had lived in seclusion these many years. Her pigeons feeding on
the green lawn. Her rose garden, fragrant and sunny, facing the Eastern
hills. Her peulailler (poultry yard), her dogs, her cats, filled the
long hours of her austere life.

In solitude she ate her well-cooked meals. By the stone fireside
(in other years the center of family life and gaiety) she sat in the
evenings reading her _Figaro_, with her knitting in the recesses of the
Louis XVI "tricoteuse" close at hand in case the print became blurred,
which so often happened of late. Meditating, her pure thoughts far from
the world and its stormy passions, her judgment became, perhaps, too
severe; her charity a trifle too customary and censorious. All her
actions were the result of axioms and precepts laid down years ago
by long-dead parents. To her the past shone with a glorious light of
Humanity and Youth, full of kindly people and cheerful pleasures and gay
days. The present, so solitary and sad, had crept upon her unperceived,
to find her with wrinkling brow and graying hair, more and more lonely.

Every morning at early mass she looked with noncomprehension into the
faces of the elderly women--her comtemporaries--mothers these many
years. Long ago they loved and married, leaving "la Mademoiselle" to her
patrician seclusion up at the "great house." Lusty youths and strong,
fresh-faced girls clustered about these contemporaries; sweet-faced
young women, holding babies against their rounded breasts; boys touched
their caps in awe as she left the church; girls smiled, blushing and
demure; children sucked their thumbs and bobbed courtesies; but to none
was she vital or important. To them the world was full of busy pleasures
and activities, of warm summer days and young joys; to her, bending over
her endless tapestry-work in the silence of the old manor, the world
seemed trite indeed. Her home was so orderly, so clean, so proper, so
remote from life. No muddy footprints on the wax floors, no child's toys
forgotten in the corner, no cap or jacket thrown carelessly on disturbed
furniture. Her apartments were sweet with lavender and roses, but
tobacco smoke was a stranger to their antique propriety.

Now, suddenly, all these quiet ways, these time-honored habits were
destroyed. War broke over France and she, with countless of her
countrywomen, donned the white linen gown embroidered with that
cross-of-red emblem of so many sacrifices and devotions. The
hastily-installed hospital became her only thought; all her energy,
care, and patience must be brought to the aid of the broken men as her
tribute to the defenders of France.

In the long whitewashed hall, on whose blank walls the crucifix hung
alone, stood the double row of beds, where lay these valiant fellows.
Young boys of eighteen and twenty, arms and legs in plaster or bound in
bloodstained bandages; forced, poor chaps, to the sight of such horrors
on the battlefields as to remove forever their youthful joyance of life.
Older men, bearded and bronzed, talked to her of their family life; of
their wives and children; of the little humdrum everyday experiences,
so unknown to her, so commonplace and vital to them. Gone for her the
tranquil days of yester-year, her collection of laces, her bibelets,
her books, her revues--all her souvenirs of years of sedate living and
tranquil seclusion.

Only the maps of the battlefields interested her now; the long, hard
duties of the Red Cross nurse were more entrancing than her most
delightful journeys in Italy, or her summers in Switzerland. Many
things she saw, heard, and was obliged to do, she was often shocked and
horrified, but courage, patience and skill were daily demanded of her. A
great endurance necessary for such arduous work, and her compassion ever
inspired renewed effort. Life and death were there in frightful reality
before her eyes, so to the round-shouldered, gray-headed woman these
great facts became the motive power of her life. She became the willing,
compassionate servant of this army of cripples. What surprises she
received! What human misery she witnessed! What confessions she heard!
She must write a last message to a distant mother from her dying son.
There a strong man, now a cripple, implored her to tell his wife of his
misfortune; again an ignorant, faithful creature begged for news of his
family. Since the war began, nearly two years ago, no word of them had
reached him. To all these little duties she added the care of their
injured bodies, the dressing of wounds, the feeding of the helpless.

To her, who so short a time ago lived in lonely luxury, to whom
the world and life were as a closed book; to her, who last year was
satisfied with her dogs and chickens, her cats and pigeons, who looked
with a half-scornful, half-indignant commiseration on the vibrant life
around her, had come a great illumination! From these big children,
the rough "poilus," soldiers she nursed so tenderly, she learned
instinctively! They opened their hearts to her, they showed her their
anguish and suffering! They called her "La Petite Mère," turning to her
in all hours for consolation and help. So when the "Demoiselle" went
home after 12 hours' work for these wounded ones, her heart was filled
with a great rejoicing; a warmth and satisfaction such as she had never
known stole through her weary body; aching feet were forgotten, and to
God she sent up a prayer of thankfulness that she had been allowed "to
serve."

It was a lovely June evening. The night breeze, fragrant with new-mown
hay and the perfume of sleeping field-flowers, stole through the open
window, fluttering the "Veilleuse" as it cast its feeble light and
shadow over the still form lying in the white sheet, so soon to become
its shroud. The old "Demoiselle" sat there in pious thought, her eyes
fixed on the boy she had nursed so many months, now so near to death;
the boy whose soul had been washed clean by the Holy Sacrament and whose
body was so soon to disappear from the world of men. Poor fellow, so far
from all who loved him, his white features showed pinched and thin in
the light of the crescent moon, looking over the black masses of trees
into the desolate white room. From time to time his stiffening lips
murmured "mother." He turned his head feebly from side to side seeking
her, who, in a far-away province, knew nothing of her son's agony.
The hours dragged on, the young moon disappeared behind the trees, the
moribund moaned gently from time to time. A cooler breeze, fore-runner
of morning freshness, swept through the wood. The "Demoiselle" still
kept her vigil, changing her patient's pillow, holding a cup of water
to his lips. Suddenly he gave an agonizing cry: "My mother! My mother!
Where art thou? I cannot see! It is growing dark! Hold me, my mother,
hold me!"

Then to the old maid came her great moment. Taking the poor, trembling
form in her arms, she pillowed the rolling head on her bosom and
pressing her lips to the dying boy's forehead she whispered: "I am here,
my son! Do not fear. I, your mother, hold you. You are safe in my arms,
my little one. Rest in peace."

The sun rose in glorious June splendor; the birds were singing their
morning matins; the dewy flowers cast forth a ravishing fragrance--only
in the sickroom was there silence, but also a holy peace, for the old
maid--she who had never lied, who had scorned and reproved those who did
so--had lied eagerly to comfort the passing spirit of a boy.

Dinard, June, 1915.



[Illustration: 0076]

THE SONS OF FRANCE

1915

|To you, in God's country, safe and sound, far removed from the
conditions existing over here, a few notes of our daily existence may
not come amiss.

First, let me quote the lines found on a dead boy in Champagne, his
"_Feuille de route_" (diary), which shows eloquently how the little
"piou-piou" feels these sorrowful days of 1914.


FEUILLE DE ROUTE

Diary of Albert Ledrean, volunteer for France in the war of 1914. Aged
18 years. In the 10th Regiment of Infantry. Fell on the field of honor,
October 17th, 1914, in Champagne. (This diary was found on his body and
sent home to his mother.):

"Auxonne, Cotes d' Or, September 15th, 1914--At last this
long-wished-for moment has arrived. The great clock on the facade in our
barracks marks 12:45, it is the hour for our departure; the clear notes
of the bugles announce our colonel's approach; he appears, his fine
horse curvetting and prancing, and our battalion stands rigidly at
attention as he passes us on review. He draws his sword and gives orders
to advance. The regimental music shrills loudly, our troopers with quick
steps and alert bearing, start for the battlefields, which we have so
long desired to see.

"We have decorated our rifles with huge bunches of flowers. On our route
the people have strewn autumn leaves. More than one woman weeps as we go
by, for our passing recalls so vividly to them, those poor women, their
husbands, or brothers, or sons, who are fighting out yonder in the
defense of the sacred soil of France. At the railway station a large
crowd awaits, hands are shaken, adieux are made to those comrades who
remain. We climb into the waiting train. Our colonel calls us to the
windows and stirs our souls with a speech of patriotic feeling. He gives
the accolade to our commander, and through him, to us all. The train
starts, as the strains of the Marseillaise float in the air. From all
our throats burst the cry, "Vive la France!" The regiment, massed near
the station, salutes us, the bayonets glisten in the pale autumn sun and
the drums and bugles sound gaily. We lean far out of the windows waving
our _kepis_ joyously to the crowd. The train moves faster and faster to
our unknown destination. Who knows where? But what does it matter? It is
for our country.

"Wednesday, September 28th--We were marched today to Dugny, by Verdun.
Our adjutant ordered us to descend from our train at 8 a.m., and
with enthusiasm we stepped through the clear morning air towards our
destination. In traversing the village we met large Parisian autobuses
heavily ladened with meat for the _ravitallement_ of our troops; it was
droll indeed to see the great vehicles with signs "Trocadero, Odeon,
Porte Maillot, Louvre, Versailles, etc., in big letters here in the
silence of the Champagne plains, so far from the crowded Paris streets,
where before the war, they carried their human freight.

"We find the bridges destroyed everywhere, so to cross the streams we
have much ado, the little makeshifts being very shaky and uncertain. We
see many things of interest in our march. A captive balloon balancing in
the blue air above a hill at the entrance of the village of Rangiere. We
perceive the piteous results of the _marmites_ of William, the Kaiser,
vast holes of great circumference everywhere. Even as we arrived we
heard the noise of two huge _marmites_ which burst 500 metres from us.
We saw a great black smoke, and dirt and earth springing into the air.
Then our great cannons answered, our 75s joined the party, five minutes
of cannonade and we no longer heard the shells of William.

"We were then allowed a short rest after our fifteen-mile walk, before
descending to the village, where we are now resting in a barn with some
_Chasseurs d'Afrique_. They are good comrades, these Chasseurs, we make
friends at once, and have much to say, each recounting his thoughts and
ideas of this war.

"Thursday, September 29th--At 7 a. m., we left Rangiere to find our
regiment. We met a Taube flying above our heads. Our batteries fired on
it, we deploying to offer less of a target. Later it flew towards the
German lines, and my company reached a little wood where we spent the
night. The shells whistled over our heads all the time; it is not gay,
that noise.

"Friday, September 30th--Our Battalion has 24 hours' rest. The shells
and shrapnels from Germany shriek all day and all night. I asked if
these were the big ones. A man laughed and said "No, mon ami, ce sont
les enfants." (No, my friend, these are the baby ones.) It never stops,
this cannonade and shooting.

"Wednesday, October 4th--We are since four days in the front line, in
the trenches, like foxes in their holes. The French and German shells
never stop howling over our heads. On all sides, noise! noise! noise!

"Friday, October 6th--We are of the reserve; we leave our trenches to
rest back yonder. On the way I saw the graves of two French soldiers,
two crosses of wood at their heads. Ah, how obscure, but how noble,
these graves of two sons of France, fallen on the field of honor.

"Monday, October 9th--We are back in the trenches. A funny thing has
happened. Our sergeant hung his flannel shirt on the parapet of the
trench to dry. A German shell burst at 50 metres. He ran in terror
to save his shirt. 'Ah!' he cried, 'that would be too much, the dirty
Germans, after they have destroyed the Cathedral of Reims, they want to
burn my only flannel shirt.'

"Tuesday, October 10th--Went to the trench at 6 o'clock. At 7 o'clock
our batteries commenced their fire. Our '75' swept the earth for
80 metres in front of us, the enemies' cannonading ceased. Our '75'
redoubled in speed; we could hear the _boches_ howling with pain. Then
the German _marmites_ recommenced. We assisted at an artillery duel
which lasted till noon. The rest of the day and night was quiet.

"Wednesday, October 11th--We left this morning at 6 a. m., for an
unknown destination. At the entrance of the wood we ate our 'Soupe' and
then started on our route. Adieu! woods of the Woevre, we have not been
too unhappy in thy valleys and on thy hillsides, although for a month I
have not undressed. In the trenches we had little straw and no warmth,
rain and cold were our constant companions, but we shall still regret
thee, for we may find much worse further on."

So he did... He found his death.


Extracts from a letter written to his family by a sublieutenant from the
battlefield of Champagne, October 23rd, 1915:

"At 9 o'clock we were all assembled on the first line. Orders passed
from mouth to mouth. Bayonets are fixed to our rifles, each looking
to his equipment, paying attention to the last detail. Nothing must be
lacking on this momentous day, longingly awaited since many months. We
all shake hands, some even embrace, wishing each other good luck;
some with eyes brilliant with impatience, await the longed-for signal;
others, calmer perhaps, although equally eager, polish their muskets
with their handkerchiefs. It is raining heavily and mud is everywhere,
but all our spirits are high. 9:15--The hour has come! The artillery
increases the range of its shells. The first wave of men hurl themselves
out of the trenches. What a magnificent moment. A rain of shells falls
round, blowing to atoms some of the first line of soldiers. All along
our immense front the infantry springs from the trenches, the bands
playing shrilly the 'Marseillaise.' The bugle and the drums sound the
charge. A roar of voices answer. With fixed bayonets we rush towards
the German trenches, while their mitrailleuses mow us down. Our way is
strewn already with corpses and wounded. Blood lies in pools or soaks
in streams into the broken soil. From time to time the survivors fling
themselves on the ground to escape the gale of shells. Notwithstanding
this hell-fire, or the sharpshooters, we press through the woods. The
cannons! The cannons! We must save them!

"All of us understand that this is a great day of battle for us French.
We must win. Without hesitation, we must sacrifice our life and blood.
We must fight to our last breath."

Here are quoted some reports made by the commanders of regiments and
brigades. Words coming often from humble mouths, but inspired by the
highest patriotism: A Colonial infantryman wounded in the foot in the
beginning of the action limped to a "Poste de Secours" and said, "Here,
quick, put on a strong bandage, I have only killed one so far. I am wild
to get back." He was last seen climbing frantically up the slopes of "la
Main de Massiges."

A captain, his face streaming with blood from a ghastly wound, refused
to retire. "Today one pays no attention to little wounds, it is only
death that will stop me now!"

A boyish lieutenant, as the first wave of men swept forward, shouted to
his command: "Allons, Forward! Heads up, eyes straight. Fight! Fight!!
Fight!!! Today we are going to enjoy ourselves. We are going to protect
the sacred soil of France." He fell five minutes later.

A colonel of Colonial infantry, nick-named the bravest of the "Poilus,"
although severely wounded in the head, pushed forward to climb the
"Entonnoir" of the crater. As he fell he shouted: "Onward! Onward, my
brave lads. I would lead but I have lost too much blood. You are heroes
all. En avant mes enfants!" ("Forward, my children, for France!")

Let me note a few words of personal experience: It was a gray cold day
in early November. The little ferry-boat which runs between St. Malo
and Dinard tossed heavily in the yellow-green waves rolling in from the
channel. The decks were awash with spume and water, the sharp north
wind whistled around our ears. I huddled down in the corner behind the
pilothouse. Nothing but necessity would have driven me forth on such
a day, but when one hears of 130 wounded arriving the day before in a
remote convent hospital, one puts personal comfort aside and goes forth.
The wind was piercing and brutal, even my fur coat was a poor protection
against this bitter assailant from the north. Miserable and shivering I
crouched behind the weak shelter, sincerely wishing I had never come.

Suddenly a cheerful voice wished me "Bon Jour."

A Zouave, baggy trousers, fez, clear bronze complexion, aquiline
features, flashing eye, stood before me.

"Madame will permit that I seat myself on her bench?" he said.

"But certainly," I replied, looking with interest at this injured youth
from afar. "Whence came you, mon petit?" ("my little one") I said, "you
do not look any too strong to stand this winter gale."

"Quite true, Madame," he replied, "but we Zouaves are accustomed to the
cold and storm."

"But surely you came from a warm country, mon soldat? The Zouaves are
from Africa are they not?"

"True, I am from Tunis," he replied.

"On such a day you must long for your country?" I asked.

"Helas, oui. The orange trees are forever in bloom there, the heliotrope
and hibiscus blossom all winter. The rose-scent hangs heavy on the air,
there in my home! Even now I think of the deep blue sky, the long dusty
road leading out into the desert; again I see the palms, the cacti; that
is, if I close my eyes. Sometimes when it is dark and cold, and one is
sad in the trenches, I cannot help wondering if ever again I shall sit
beneath the awnings of the Cafe de France, or shall see the dusky women,
in linen, walking to the fountain, or shall smell the dry heavy dust,
or shall sit tranquilly in the blazing sun of 'La Tunisie.' Ah, oui,
Madame, all that is many miles away from this cold, gray land of yours.

"But at the front that was another story. See, I have been wounded
twice, and am here convalescing. All I dream of is to go back to the
trenches. Ours is at Neuport. Only 1 metre (13 feet) separates us from
the 'boches.' they call to us often from their side (they speak good
French, too) ordering us to surrender for they are bound to win, and we
are only losing time. We answer, too. We give them something to think
about."

"But what were you before the war, soldier?" I asked.

"An antiquaire, Madame. I sold Persian carpets, brass lamps, leather
goods to the tourists who came to my beautiful Tunisie."

"What will you do afterwards, my soldier?"

"That is as God wills, madame. Who knows? Can I even know where I shall
be a week hence? All I want now is to get back to my regiment. To the
front." With a military salute he left me.

At the hospital they were very busy. About 180 had just arrived from
the great battle in Champagne; almost all wounded in the legs, many with
only one to limp on.

"How comes it," I asked, "that you are all injured in the legs?"

"That is simple," answered a cheery looking fellow, "the _boches_ just
turned the mitrailleuses on us, like a man playing a hose on the lawn,
but low down you see, so it caught us in the knees mostly. However, we
have hands and arms still--a man can do a lot with them, even if he must
have false legs or use crutches."

One pale, emaciated fellow said: "Madame, would you help me to the
window to look at the sea. I have never seen it, and since, in July, I
was wounded with 34 eclats d'obus (34 shell wounds) they have promised
me, I should come to that great wonder, the sea!"

As I put my arm under his skeleton one, felt how thin and bony it was,
looked at his poor pale young face and tried to realize what life in the
future held for this battered young creature, my soul felt sick within
me at all this useless waste and destruction. He did not complain, this
little soldier. He only wanted to look on the cold northern ocean, which
he had never before seen. The future was for him perhaps as gray, as
cheerless, as sad, but, however despairing his thoughts may have been,
he did not speak them. He did not whimper. Once for all he had given his
all for France, and now in his feebleness he counted on kind souls to
help him. Hundreds, nay thousands like him exist today, all over this
sad old continent of Europe, vigorous young men now condemned forever to
the dull and painful existence of a cripple. One hears on all sides
of the courage and self-sacrifice of both the French and English Roman
Catholic priests, how they cheer and encourage the men, bringing peace
to the dying, nursing the wounded, holding services within the firing
line, showing by example the highest patriotism.

An officer belonging to Nantes, in a letter to his wife on September
20th, describes a moving ceremony he had attended that morning:

"At 8 o'clock I heard a Mass said by the chaplain of the --th
Territorials, a plank had been nailed up between two trees, and behind
had been placed some leafy branches the best that our men could do under
the circumstances. The chaplain began by addressing us a few words in
which he told us that God would make allowance whilst work was being
done for France; that he could not hear all our confessions, and that
we should, therefore, make an act of contrition and a firm purpose of
confessing our faults as soon as possible.

"All the 300 of us then signed that we wished to be included in the
general absolution, which he gave us. After he exhorted all to receive
the Holy Communion, which he would give us as he passed along the
trenches. He then began the Mass, which was served by a lieutenant.
Shells were bursting over-head as the Mass continued and during his
short address after the Gospel. Never had I heard more fervent singing.
At the Communion half of our number went up to the altar to receive,
some with tears in their eyes, what was to many their _Viaticum_. The
ceremony will be to me an unforgetable memory and a sweet consolation."

Let me quote a notice from the _Tablet_ of October 30th, about an
English priest. The following account of the devotion to duty shown
during the fighting hound Hill 70, by Father John Gwynn, S. J., who
died of wounds received in a dug-out, is given in a letter from an Irish
Guardsman:

"Father Gwynn was known among the boys as 'the brave little priest.'
Early in the war he was seriously wounded but refused to return to
England. During the terrible fighting recently, Father Gwynn was again
at his post. I saw him just before he died. Shrapnel and bullets were
being showered upon us in all directions. Hundreds of our lads dropped.
Father Gwynn was undismayed, he seemed to be all over the place trying
to give the last sacrament to the dying. Once I thought he was buried
alive, for a shell exploded within a few yards of where he was, and the
next moment I saw nothing but a great heap of earth. The plight of the
wounded concealed beneath was harrowing. Out of the ground came cries,
'Father! Father! Father!' from those who were in their death agonies.

"Then, as if by a miracle, Father Gwynn was seen to fight his way
through the earth. He must have been severely wounded, but he went on
blessing the wounded and hearing their confessions. The last I saw of
him he was kneeling by the side of a German soldier. It was a scene to
make you cry. The shells continued to explode about the wounded, but
they could not stop a little English priest from doing his duty, even to
a dying German."

One more item to add to these vignettes of our soldiers. I have told you
of the volunteer, the lieutenant, the zouave and the priests. Now of
a soldier (by profession) of the Colonial infantry. He had served nine
years, having received two medals for the Moroccan campaign.

Last October, the 30th, a very dangerous reconnaissance was necessary
before a certain action in the Argonne. The colonel called for
volunteers, Petit immediately volunteered. He was given ten men, warned
of the desperate nature of his work, and wished God-speed. The Germans
were supposed to be intrenched behind a small wood over the crest of a
hill There was a long slope to climb, a road to cross, another abrupt
ascent to the wood.

It was brilliant moonlight. The men crept forward, seeking every shadow
or bush or hollow to cover them.

They had climbed the first slope, crossed the road and were well up the
second hill when they were suddenly swept by German rifle fire.

Petit glanced behind. All but two were lying bleeding and dead. He
called to the other two to race back to their trenches, if possible, but
he himself continued to creep through the straggling undergrowth up the
crest. After some minutes, having discovered what he came to seek, the
position and force of the enemy, he hastily retreated down the hill.
Of the two survivors, one had already cleared the road and escaped. The
other was lying, a moaning heap, on the white moonlit highway.

The Germans were firing at his flying figure, but a few steps more
and he would have crossed the road--when he fell. Presently he picked
himself up. One eye was gone, the blood streaming down his cheeks.
But he determined, as he said, to revenge his comrades and himself.
Staggering to the road he, with great difficulty, dragged his wounded
companion off the road and to the shelter of some bushes. Fortunately,
at that moment, a cloud passed over the moon, and they were able to lie
hidden for a while. Then, with many struggles, he succeeded in getting
his one remaining companion on his shoulders, and dragged himself back
to the French lines. His information was of importance, but he did not
know of it, for he lost consciousness immediately on delivering it.

The next day his company went into action and was annihilated. Of the
200 men, he and the man whose life he saved were the only survivors.

Months afterward I was able to welcome this gallant son of France back
to Dinard. He is my maid's only brother, and the night he arrived we had
a fitting supper awaiting him. My brother and I, and my cheery little
French maid drank his health and listened to this story from his own
lips. I am happy to say he is strong and well and active, and makes
light of the wound.

"After all, Madame," he said, "a man can see all he wants with one eye,
and if later I find some pretty girl to marry me, she may find that one
eye will see only good in her, whereas, perhaps, as the years went by, I
might have perceived, with two eyes, some faults."

One fine day this autumn I was invited to a little ceremony. The general
commanding this region, surrounded by the pickets, the soldiers able
to hobble about, the Red Cross nurses, and some of Petit's personal
friends. It was to decorate him for conspicuous bravery under fire. The
bugle shrilled loudly, an adjutant read the official announcement, the
general stepped up and pinned on Petit's breast the _Médaillé Militaire_
and the _Croix de Guerre_. Thus France recognizes and rewards her
valiant soldiers.

October, 1915.



HAIL TO THE DEAD!

(_Salut Aux Morts!_)

How many sad hearts are in France this night of the _Jour des Morts_
(All Soul's Day), in this third dolorous year of the Great War? All over
the country, from earliest hours, thousands upon thousands of black-clad
mourners have placed their homage of respect and love on the tombs of
those who have died in the past twelve months. Churches held constant
services, chants and prayers rose in unbroken succession; bells tolled,
people flocked to the cemeteries; everywhere the "soul of the French"
has been in communion with its dead and this great national and
religious festival has been observed as never before.

In Paris and its suburbs nearly a million accomplished this sacred duty.
Every town and village was filled with sorrowing throngs. Seeing all
this desolation and sadness, one wonders how they can so steadfastly
look forward to another year of war.

When one remembers how many beautiful lives have been sacrificed in the
last twelve months, how much of talent, art, intellect and science has
been ruthlessly destroyed when these promising men died, does it seem
strange that the whole nation has gone forth to honor their dead? How
many young fellows, just leaving the Lycée thoroughly prepared by years
of hard study to accomplish great things in their chosen profession,
have been wounded, or killed, or maimed? What humanity has lost will
never be known, but that the loss is stupendous is acknowledged by
everyone.

Each man and woman has someone to grieve for tonight. Countless young
widows are facing the future, deprived forever of the companionship
of their helpmates, some so young as to have had only a few months
happiness. To how many childish eyes is shown (in tears and sorrow) the
photograph of _le pere mort pour la patrie_ (the father who died for his
country). Poor little ones, they will never know his loving care, his
solicitude for their welfare, his devoted protection. To them he will
always be a wonderful heroic being, remote and impersonal, who cannot
share their little pleasures and troubles, can never play with them or
be their friend!

The poor old fathers and mothers, how bent and tragic they are! All they
cherished on earth has gone! Slowly and painfully they move amongst the
be-flowered graves, and life holds no further happiness for them. Let me
describe the procession as it passed on the way to the burying ground.
First came the school children in two long files on either side of the
boulevard, leaving the center free, the little boys walking two by two,
clutching their sprays of chrysanthemums, gay and laughing as if on a
frolic, but sobering suddenly when the teacher's eye veered in their
direction; following them a hundred little girls, much more demure,
stepping daintily, well clad, even the poorest putting on their best for
this great national fete.

The Mayor is escorted on either side by the French and Belgian
"Commandants de Place," one in Belgian khaki and the other in
horizon-blue, (the latter limping badly, a hero from Verdun where he
won the _Croix de Guerre_ and the _Medalle Militaire_), the doctors
in uniform and the Red Cross nurses whose white dresses, blue caps and
veils add a note of color, and present a cheering appearance in contrast
to the convalescing Belgians who follow, very sombre, in their black
uniforms and black caps.

[Illustration: 0096]

Two hundred-odd Frenchmen, striding after them, are very different in
appearance and behavior. The Belgians are gloomy and taciturn, moving
along in silent ranks; the Frenchmen, on the contrary, are full of life
and nerve (their wounds notwithstanding), attired in delicious shades
of blues and reds and creamy-white--the light blue of the Hussars, the
darker shades of the Chasseurs Alpins, the brilliant Zouaves, the
red trousers of the Fantassians; even the black-faced scarlet-clad
Senegalais give a lively note, for these men are convalescing, and old
clothes are good enough, their new horizon-blue uniforms being kept for
their return to the front.

A very pleasant crowd they form, with an eye towards the pretty Bretonne
in her peasant coiffe and costume, with a laugh for a comrade, and a
merry word for the bystander. Behind these plucky fellows (perhaps on
the battlefield tomorrow) come the townspeople and peasants from the
neighboring country. The procession moves on to the cemetery, where
prayers and speeches, patriotic and religious, are made, wreaths placed
on the little wooden crosses. White-coiffed heads are bowed in silent
communion, and over all tolls the solemn notes of the church bell.

All over France today there has been a great coming and going. Flowers
are placed lovingly and regretfully on the mounds. But to how many, even
this last service is denied, for the northern battlefields hide many
unknown graves. Only in spirit can these afflicted ones visit the last
resting-place of father, husband, son, or fiancé. But who shall say that
the great army of heroic souls, so lately passed over, are not present,
consoling and comforting by their spiritual presence, their grieving
people? The French have often been considered a frivolous race, but no
one who has seen the solemn way in which they fulfil this pious duty can
ever believe it again.

"One could kneel before our soldiers," said one of our great chiefs
in one of the most tragic moments in the long agonizing siege before
Verdun. In face of the most violent attacks, under the infernal
bombardment, such acts of heroism and self-sacrifice and devotion took
place, that one realized how deep is their sense of duty, and how great
their determination, expressed in their own battle-cry, "They shall not
get through." (_Ils ne passerons pas!_)

This same martial spirit is found all along the line. What can be more
novel and inspiring than the aviators who fight their fantastic duels
3000 metres above the earth? Again, the sangfroid, the supreme
devotion of the artillery, who amidst apalling losses and the heaviest
bombardment, stick to their posts, regulating their fire and working
their guns, taking every risk without a moment's hesitation. The
infantry, that backbone of the army with their "élan" carry forward the
banner of France or die heroically in no-man's land.

In every attack, glorious acts are done, often by the humblest of
soldiers, whose abnegation and modesty is only equalled by their scorn
of death! One is amazed at this wonderful state of mind. Men of all ages
and all conditions excel in these heroic qualities. Fathers of families,
who know how anxiously they are awaited in the home; young men, with the
call of life ringing in their ears, go gaily into the combat--they have
counted the cost--and lay down their lives with simplicity and dignity;
with no other thought than their duty to their country; with no other
ambition than "to be there when we get them (_d'etre la quand on les
aura_)."

Pessimists and pacifists will say, "Oh, yes, that is very noble, very
sublime; but when the heat of the battle is past, when excitement and
furor has disappeared, what is left to the poor fellows, suffering from
wounds, fever and pain? They must be greatly disillusioned then, these
gay soldiers." Yet he who speaks thus, let him go to any ward in any of
the great hospitals in Paris or elsewhere and there receive his answer.
Here is a soldier of the class of 1914. When he left for the war, his
family was in easy circumstances. His father a well-to-do merchant, his
mother and sisters lived comfortably and happily in their charming
home. Since then the father has died, poverty came, his sisters now
are working for their living, supporting the mother, and he, young,
vigorous, intelligent, and well-educated, who in ordinary times would
have replaced the father, has received a terrific wound in the head, and
is blind for life.

Does he whimper or complain? Hear his answer: "I ought to have been
killed" he said pleasantly, "when they drew the bullet from my head.
I might have remained an idiot or an epileptic, but, thank God, I am
getting better and better, and I shall learn a trade. I am told there
are good ones for the blind and I shall help support my dear ones."

Here again is a lad, a young soldier of the last class of 1916 sent to
the front. He is almost a child, but he has the patience and courage of
a man. A terrible wound in the spine, cutting it open to the marrow, did
not cause him to despair. To his weeping parents he said: "Don't weep,
dearest mother, I shall recover, I shall get well, I shall go home with
you, to be your little boy again," and in panting voice he went on
to praise the skill of the doctors, the tenderness of the infirmière,
saying, "Yes, she hurts me terribly at times, so I must cry out, but she
is so good, so kind, I forgive her when the dressing is over."

Further on, a man with a shattered shoulder suffers atrociously, but
tells me with a cheerful grin that he is glad to have seen it, to have
found himself surrounded by Germans with raised arms shouting "Kamerad!"
One of the lady visitors offering to be his amanuensis (as he cannot
write), he accepted with joy, and then, blushing, said: "But you see,
Madame, it is a bit difficult, I am accustomed to calling my wife by a
pet name; if I began my letter otherwise she would not believe it was
from me."

"Yes, and how do you wish it to begin?" asked the lady. "Well, Madame, I
always called her 'my little Rat'."

"All right, here goes for 'my little Rat'."

One more instance: A pale, emaciated man of middle age, with both hands
amputated, suffering a martyrdom without a murmur, without a reference
to what happened to him on the battlefield, accepts with gentle
politeness the cakes and chocolates offered to him. Seeing a large
letter on his bed, I asked if he had news from home. "No, madame, it is
from the government announcing that I am decorated with the _Médaillé
Militaire_ and the _Croix de Guerre_. Please read it to me."

"N------, cannon-servant, was admirable for devotion and sang froid;
when a shell wrecked his cannon and killed all his companions,
severely wounded himself in both hands, he remained at his post
alone, notwithstanding his atrocious pain, to guard the remains of his
companions and his cannon."

To people upheld by such ideals, inspired with such patriotism, to whom
France means all that is sacred and beautiful, "defeat cannot come."
Until the detested enemy has been thrown across the Rhine, no suggestion
of peace would be welcome; they will even call on the dead to defend
their beloved land, as witnessed in the following story, vouched for
by General Zurlinden, from whom I have also obtained some of the above
facts:

It would interest all men to know how the now famous cry, "Stand Up, You
Dead!" was first shouted forth. On April 8th, 1915, Adjutant Pericard,
acting lieutenant of the 95th Regiment of Infantry, found himself in a
perilous position. A trench having been taken the day before by the
1st and 3rd Batallions was the object of a violent counter-attack, the
occupants were withdrawing, and the trench on the point of being taken
by the enemy. Lieutenant Pericard was in reserve, but seeing how badly
things were going called for volunteers, and with his little band rushed
to arrest the enemy. He succeeded in retaking the trench, but feeling
himself abandoned, he looked back and saw only dead and wounded, not
another man on his feet. It was then he shouted his famous war-cry:
"Stand Up, You Dead!"

Dinard, November 1st, 1916.



A RED CROSS HOSPITAL IN BRITTANY

I

               Within the walls of this cool, tranquil place

                   Lie wounded men from Northern battlefields;

               With shattered limb, with wan and pain-streaked faces.

                   Safely they rest; they whom the Red Cross shields,

               The roar of gun, the shriek of bomb and shell,

                   The shrapnel hissing through the awful din,

               Are silenced here. A nearby chapel bell

                   Strikes the calm hours. Quietly within

               The restful rooms the men lift up their eyes,

               To that small crimson cross afloat in peaceful skies.

II

               From rain-filled trench, from bare and blood-soaked

                        ground,

                   Where in low piles the dead and dying lie--

               (The mitrailleuse has swept each ridge and mound

                   Where Frenchmen rushed to conquer or to die)

               They bring them to us--broken, crippled boys,

                   White as the linen bands around the head.

               And some may live. To some life's hopes and joys

                   Are growing dim--unto the glorious dead

               Their souls depart. Ah! God will speed them well.

               These gallant men who for their country fell.

III

               From the White Alps up to the gray North Sea,

                   Along the Somme and Meuse the Army holds;

               Calm in the certitude of Victory--

                   They see her shining on their banner's folds.

               These injured boys have helped to do this deed.

                   Their strength and youth were gladly offered here,

               That their dear land might once again be freed

                   From the black curse of war, and grief, and fear.

               When Peace returns, let their great sacrifice

                   Remain forever holy in our eyes.

August, 1916.



THE CASTLE OF COMBOURG

[Illustration: 0110]

|The September morning was crystal-clear. The old fortifications at St.
Malo, violet in shadow, lay wrapped in sunlight as from the crest of
the hill we turned for a farewell glimpse of Dinard and the sea, before
turning eastward on our long proposed trip to some Brittany hospitals.

Our motor was packed in every corner with hospital supplies--tins of
ether, rolls of absorbent cotton, hundreds of compresses and bandages,
surgical supplies and instruments, cigars, cigarettes, chocolate,
hospital-shirts and slippers, sponges, socks--all we could think of,
capable of mending the broken bodies or healing the spirits of those
brave poilus we were to visit in various hospitals during the next few
days.

The motor looked top-heavy, with great hampers strapped on its roof,
as we (my husband, the singer and I) squeezed ourselves in between the
bulky supplies, but in these days of almost priceless tires and rare
gasoline one must manage with little personal pretentions to comfort.
The first place of call was the Chateau of Combourg. As we bowled along
roads now much in need of repair after three years of forced neglect, we
recalled something of its history.

The vast pile, buried in its own forests, was built, before the Norman
Conquest, of immense blocks of granite hewn from nearby quarries; its
five great towers, with deep slate roofs, ornamented with forged iron
"grilles" and weathervanes, its massive keep, its crenelated walls
and outlying bastions, have apparently withstood the vicissitudes of
centuries. Wars, revolution, fire, siege, storms, have left it unharmed.
As we approached, the castle loomed up above the surrounding groves,
looking much as it must have appeared to the Crusaders as they left its
doors for the Holy Land.

We rolled through a sordid village lying at its base, and soon stopped
before an iron gate in a high stone wall for the concierge to open, and
then a lovely scene met our eyes.

Great avenues of oaks and chestnuts stretched in all directions,
interspersed with long stretches of greensward and clumps of bushes. It
required slight imagination to see Robin Hood and his men, or catch a
glimpse of them fleeting through the sun-wrapped distance--or hear their
horns sounding in the forest.

The young chatelaine was awaiting us at the head of a great flight
of stone steps, "Tescalier d'honneur," large and broad enough for a
regiment to ascend. The drawbridge and moat, formerly occupying this
side, were removed by order of Cardinal Richelieu, who, fearing the
belligerent spirit of the Brittany nobles, and determined to destroy
their feudal privileges for all time, conceived the idea of turning
their castle-fortresses into harmless country-houses, and they,
themselves, into extravagant courtiers.

For two and one-half years these walls have sheltered wounded from the
battlefields of Picardie and Lorraine, nursed back to health by the
Comtesse who, as "infirmière Majeure," does all the dressing of wounds
herself--_50 beds in all_. She has three assistant nurses and a doctor,
but all the expense of this private hospital is borne by the Comte
and Comtesse de Durfort. No small item, when everything has doubled in
price, and hospital supplies, as well as food, are necessarily difficult
to obtain. The question of lighting and heating alone is a hard one. No
coal to be found anywhere, so trees are sacrificed in the Park. Candles
and kerosene lamps being the only way of lighting, these immense halls
must be gloomy and depressing enough in the long dark afternoons of
winter, with the wind howling around the towers and the rain lashing the
casements.

[Illustration: 0113]

The great dining-room and salons (in feudal times the "Salle des
Gardes") have been turned into dormitories, white cots stand in rows
beneath the painted beams of the ceilings; frescoed knights, bishops and
ladies gaze down from the lofty walls on the broken soldiers of today;
hooded chimneys of stone, heavily carved with armorial bearings, still
burn, in their black depths, logs from the neighboring forest. Through
cross-barred windows, cut in eighteen feet of masonry, one catches
glimpses of white and blue skies, of seas of verdant leaves, of sunlight
glinting on yellow lichen roofs far below. A pale blue smoke drifts
upward, the voices of children, the clang of forge, the lowing of cattle
in the market place, sound faintly through the autumn air, and gazing
downwards from this elevation, one realizes vaguely how great was the
distance, socially and morally, separating in the middle ages the serf
from his overlord!

After a most excellent luncheon of chicken "en casserole," venison,
fresh vegetables and salads, a pastry and some fine Burgundy (all
furnished by the estate, except the wine), the host and hostess, the
singer, my husband and I, climbed around the upper turrets, gazed down
through the "Machiacoli" whence boiling oil was hurled on the
besieger in the Dark Ages, scrambled through low stone arches, up
corkscrew-stairs to the bedroom of the famous Comte de Chateaubriand,
great-uncle of the present owner, and from whom she inherited the
property. Here he spent his lonely childhood, full of dreams and fears;
in one of his books, complaining of the bats circling and flapping
outside his window, in the moonlight, around this white-washed room high
up in this silent tower! What a dreary abode for an imaginative boy!

Down the turning staircase, where an ancestral ghost with a wooden leg
and accompanied by a spectral cat "walks" before any disaster comes to
the family, we came to the Poet's Library, a circular room, lined from
floor to ceiling with books, as well as many unbound manuscripts. A
ladder on runners can be pushed around to reach the higher rows. Here
are many family relics; a comfortable oak armchair and table before the
open fireplace, where Chateaubriand wrote many of his world-renowned
books.

On returning to one of the salons, we found some thirty-five wounded
awaiting the little concert we had arranged for them. Some village
notables, the mayor, the cure, the postmaster and a few elderly
neighbors, were amongst them.

The singer, Miss Marion Gregory, of New York, confided to me afterwards
that she was so overcome, facing those poor wounded fellows, especially
the blind with their sightless eyes turned towards her, that her voice
seemed to die in her throat; but the singer was new to all the pain and
sorrow, having only just come from "'God's Country." She said she had
faced many large audiences in America, but never with so many qualms.
The soldiers, however, ignoring this, sat in blissful attention,
enjoying every note of her lovely voice, and heartily applauding. The
postmaster then recited some stirring French poetry, then, rising, we
all sang the "Marseillaise." One poor blind boy, with tears streaming
down, said to me: "Oh, Madame, I am so sad, I have no longer eyes to see
to fight to avenge the wrongs of my beloved France."

A "gouter" served in the dining-hall made us all very cheerful. Speeches
were made, hands shaken, toasts drunk, in that excellent wine of
Champagne to "la Victoire," and to the intimacy of France and the United
States.

The Comte and his beautiful wife, surrounded by their "blessés," bade
us farewell at the foot of the "escalier d'honneur;" the castle behind
them looming gray and forbidding against the evening sky. The sun,
gilding the crests of the chestnuts and oaks and glinting on the
tricolor, the Red Cross flag and the family banner hanging limply in the
lambent air, sent its flood of red over the little group.

As we waved goodbye, we felt how intimately the past and present are
related. How great traditions never die, but repeat themselves in
national life from generation to generation. The high caring for
the humble, the rich for the poor. How love of country wipes out all
distinctions of caste, making France what she is today, the world's
example of sacrifice, devotion and patriotism.

September, 1916.



A BELGIAN ROMANCE

[Illustration: 0122]

|She was a slender, graceful creature; tall, blond, highbred; so young
and so good-looking, one wondered how she was able to escape from
Belgium without unheard-of difficulties from those brutes of Germans;
but here she was, that cold February night, coming to Val Fleuri with
a pitiful handful of luggage, a great courage, and soul-racking
remembrances.

A mutual friend had months ago told me of her tragic experiences and
her keen desire to escape from the German tyranny in Belgium, so we
originated a scheme (through a Belgian consul in Switzerland) by which
she was to travel via Germany to Switzerland, thence to France where she
would sign on as a regular Red Cross nurse.

Poor girl! Her life in Namur had been so tragic, it was extraordinary
she had the courage to undertake _alone_ a long journey, in the depth
of winter, through enemy country, going voluntarily into exile for
an indefinite period, with no one to turn to in case of trouble or
sickness, entirely dependent on her meager Red Cross pay, frcs 2.50 (50
cents) a day--board and lodging alone being provided by the hospital.

She remained a number of months in Val Fleuri as our guest, and little
by little, as her reserve wore off, the tale of the actual horror of her
life under the German yoke came out, and I was able to understand the
motive which drove her, a beautiful girl of twenty-seven, into France,
facing an unknown future and a hard present, rather than remain a day
longer than was necessary under German rule.

The only daughter of a rich and indulgent widow, until the fatal summer
of 1914, she had lived a luxurious idle life; petted by society in
Belgium for her charm and her beauty; welcomed at house parties and
balls; sought for cotillions, dinners, race-meetings; with all that
wealth and rank in the old nobility could offer to a girl of her
position, the sudden transition to the horrors of German invasion and
occupation was terrific.

When the war broke out in 1914, her mother and she were entertaining
a large house-party of fashionable young people in their chateau, some
miles out from Namur. The sudden crashing of guns broke in upon their
country pleasures, their guests fled, the shells boomed over the park
and buildings, old friends advised them, two defenseless women, to
abandon the chateau and take refuge in their large town house at Namur.

Their hearts were heavy with grief and foreboding, that August morning,
when they looked their last on their ancestral home; its huge towers and
wide terraces framed in great oaks and chestnuts, sleeping tranquilly
beneath a radiant blue sky. Ten days later their home had been gutted
from tower to basement, flames had destroyed their furniture, pictures,
family heirlooms, household treasures--all scattered, burnt or carried
off by the Huns--and, crowning insult, German dead buried in the
rose-gardens beneath the marble terrace. *

*Note. She seemed to feel this more bitterly than anything else.

[Illustration: 0125]

None of us in America have had our homes pillaged or destroyed, so it
is hard to realize the heart-anguish of looking on, helpless, while the
destruction of all one holds sacred is consummated; so these two lonely
women passed many gloomy hours in the town house at Namur where they
immediately installed a Red Cross hospital.

The shells boomed night and day over the town; every hour my young
friend passed through the whole building, with her servants, carrying
water, wet blankets and sticks to beat out any possible fire; six or
seven poor families from the neighbors had taken refuge in their great
house, and one could not turn them away to face the fire and bullets in
the streets, so they camped out in the kitchen and offices, hall-ways
and cellars. The Louis XVI ballroom, with its magnificent frescoes and
paneled walls, was turned into a temporary hospital, my young friend in
charge.

Fortunately, before the war, she had, like many women of rank in
Belgium, taken a course in surgical nursing, and, having passed her
examination, was fully qualified to take charge of the hospital. The
wounded during the siege were brought in from the streets, their blood
staining the marble steps of the grand escalier, and lying in pools on
the inlaid floors of the ball room. A ghastly reminder for all time of
that August, 1914! For four months they fed, sheltered and protected
36 people, not counting the wounded. The Red Cross flag over the great
portes-cocheres did not prevent the German soldiers from firing at any
imprudent person who might show themselves at the windows after dark.

The health of the widow, never robust, gave away under these
misfortunes, and early in December, 1914, the poor girl was left alone
to face her difficulties. Her country destroyed, her mother dead, the
town house a hospital, and German officers quartered in the two wings
looking on the court. Not a safe or pleasant home for a defenseless
girl. Friends of her parents advised her leaving for France, but still
she hesitated to leave what little remained of her previous happiness
to seek an unknown future in a strange land, and only a dangerous and
unpleasant incident finally decided her to take this hazardous step.

In December, curious to see the damage done by the Huns, she went with a
girl friend to visit the town of _Dinant_, that spot of infamous memory,
where the boches shot down civilians--men, women and children--like
dogs, and dragged their families out to see their execution. On the
tram, the girls fell into conversation with a man who, a native of
Dinant, had nearly been massacred on that fearful day in August. He said
he had been lined up with the other victims and the order given. Shots
were poured into the helpless crowd. He owed his escape to the fact that
he was in the second line and was short, the man in front being a tall
noble, who turned out to be a cousin of my Yolande. He showed the girls
a sharp, white line along the top of his head, where the bullet had
passed. He fell beneath the cousin of my friend, who, being a large,
heavy man, completely covered him. During the night the boches came back
often and fired into the dark mass, did they see the slightest movement.
All during the night the man talked in undertones to the wounded noble,
who told him to be still until dawn, when they might hope to escape in
the morning mists by swimming the Meuse.

About 3:30 a. m., the traveler spoke to the noble, and, getting no
reply, very slowly and carefully moved his hand up to where he thought
the head was. The body had been growing heavier and heavier and he had
been saturated with a wet substance. What was his horror to find the
head had been shot away in the last volley! He waited, silent as the
dead about him, until the morning mists crept up from the river, then
wriggled out from the mass of dead, and effected his escape by creeping
down the bank and swimming the Meuse in the early dawn before the sun
rose. My poor Yolande was deeply affected by this recital. She had known
of the murder of her relative, but none of the details. On reaching
Dinant, she visited the devastated part of the town, where some poor
wretched women sought shelter under their broken roofs, having lost
everything, and not knowing where their families were scattered, having
nowhere else to go, they came back like homeless cats, nothing but
broken walls, shattered roofs and piles of plaster, bricks, charred
wood, and perhaps a chimney to show what had once been their homes; but
they came back and poked among the rubbish with sticks, hoping to find
a spoon or cooking utensil; many holding monkey-like babies to their
starved breasts, all that remained to them of their previous families.

Sitting thus, holding their starving children to their bosoms, their
vacant faces and shrivelled forms outlined under the roofless doorways;
staring at space, they presented a truly desolate picture. My friend
spoke to them and tried to awaken and cheer them, but it was useless,
they were too far gone in misery to even understand.

This horrible spectacle of misery, combined with the story of her
relative's death, raised such hatred in her heart that, as she said, she
must have shown too plainly what she felt, for, while passing in front
of a cafe where some German officers were singing and feasting, she
suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and she and her friend were
arrested and taken to the guardhouse. When she demanded why they had
been arrested the sergeant said: "because she had cast such a look of
hatred at the officers in the cafe!" ("Un regard de hain.")

For five hours they were left sitting in the guard-room, while soldiers
came in and tried to laugh and talk to them. Finally the officer who had
them arrested came in and tried to "jolly" them. When all his efforts
were met with a frigid silence, he went to the phone. Fortunately for
Yolande, as she understood his German orders, she immediately claimed
her release as a Red Cross nurse. He would not listen at first, but
an insistent appeal to the Military Governor on her part secured their
freedom, and the two girls were turned out at two o'clock in the morning
in the soldier-infested streets of Dinant; and, remember, this was at
the height of the German invasion of Belgium, when the whole country
lay at their mercy. Had she not understood German, it is doubtful if the
girls would ever have been seen again!

How she ever got back to Namur she never quite remembered, but this
experience determined her to leave. After much wire-pulling and family
influence, she obtained her passports, and, in company of a young
wife and three small children, they made their way across Germany to
Switzerland. Her perfect German accent and blond appearance helped them
along, but when at last they crossed the frontier their hearts were too
heavy for talk. They were safe, but at what a sacrifice.

Safely arrived in Dinard, she immediately signed on "for the war," and
became one of the most valuable and beloved nurses. She was so gentle
and gracious, but still so firm and competent, she soon was given charge
of a whole floor (65 men of all kinds and descriptions). I looked at her
often in amazement. How that slender young woman could make those rough
men obey her! She never raised her voice or lost her temper in all the
eighteen months she was in Dinard. I never saw her peeved, or snappy, or
cross.

At that time I used to go every morning, from 9 to 12, to make a little
"extra food" or canteen for the more dangerously wounded, I had invited
a friend, the Marquise de T------ (also a Belgian), to help me. We had a
little rolling table piled high with jam, bread and butter, soup, and
a rum punch I made from Mellin's food, milk and eggs and rum, which we
took to the different wounded. The men were very fond of this punch,
but only those who were "bed cases" could have it, and then only a glass
apiece.

Amongst others, there was a huge Senegalais, an interne for some months,
who had had a number of small operations and who, just as he was getting
better, would always go out and get drunk and then was laid up again,
a perpetual blesse. One day, apparently, the Marquise and I were
innocently distributing our little dejeuner, when this huge creature
hobbled up, demanding some "Ponche." We told him it was strictly
forbidden that day. He gave a wild bellow and rushed at us. I shall
never forget that great animal, his face as black as ink, with flashing,
angry eyes, his great red mouth open and yelling incomprehensible
gibberish at us, flinging himself along on crutches, with terrific
speed, he seemed the personification of Darkest Africa.

We fled down the corridor pursued by the negro, our little table
rattling along, cups, saucers and tartines bounding out as we ran, the
precious rum punch slopping over at every step, and that great bellowing
Senegalais pounding along behind, flinging everything that came to hand
at us, even to his slippers, which he finally whipped off as he saw us
dash around the corner. Suddenly a door opened and Yolande appeared.
What she said to the monster or how she appeased him I don't know, but
after a while he went grumbling and growling back to his room. The other
soldiers said, "_Vous l'avez échappé belle c'est un mauvais caractère_."
(You got off easily, he has a nasty character.)

For over two years, Yolande staid on, reaping golden opinions on all
sides; her constant devotion to the wounded all day and many nights,
easing their suffering, comforting, cheering, even in the last sad hours
staying with them through the Valley of the Shadow, and going to the
funeral and the grave! I often wondered how she stood the strain, the
long tedious hours, the poor food, the cold and discomfort, the anxiety
of the operations, and then, added to all these, the uncertainty of the
future, the loneliness of exile, and the then black outlook for Belgium!

A year ago happier times came for the dear girl. For a number of
years she had been engaged to a distinguished officer in the Belgian
diplomatic service, and last December he was able to obtain leave for
three months, and came to carry his bride off to a far-away, sunny
country.

I like to think of her, happily married to the man she has loved so
long, in a charming house of her own amidst palms, hibiscus and tropical
foliage, far-away from all the gloom and tragedy of her war-stricken
country. May all happiness and wealth and peace be hers in this new
life! She deserves them all.

December, 1917.



THE VOW

Le Journal

Paris, 30 Mars, 1917.

Madame:

J'ai lu et hautement apprécié la belle traduction que vous avez faite de
mon poème et je vous remercie de votre pensée de la faire connaître dans
votre pays.

Autant d'Américains fraternels partagent notre indignation française et
qui s'unis si réellement â la cause de la justice et du droit.

Daigniez agréer, Madame, avec tous mes remerciements, mes hommages
respectueux.

Henri de Regnier.


THE VOW

I

               I swear to keep forever in my heart

                   This sacred Hate, until the final beat.

               This holy venom will become a part

                   Of every drop which forms its living heat.

               Forever graven on my sombre face

                   A tragic furrow on my mournful brow.

               This outrage leaves its utmost loathly trace

                   Upon my mind and soul, Forever, Now.

II

               My ruined fields, my cities sunk in flame,

                   My murdered hostages, my fallen sons,

               My wounded babes, the nameless deeds of shame

                   Upon my women, helpless, fore the Huns,

               I swear I shall avenge! My justice and my right

                   Shall conquer, or my last red blood I shed.

               I, France, austere and blazing in my might

                   Shout forth this message to my valiant dead.

III

               This Holy vow of wrath, this oath of hate,

                   Before high Heaven solemnly I swear,

               Before the waters of the Marne and Aisne,

                   Still crimson with French blood, I consecrate

               Myself. Oh, Rheims sublime! Thou torch whose glare,

                   Still shows the sacred ruins of thy fane,

               Burning and crumbling on the horizon,

                   Hear, thou, my vow of vengeance on the Hun!

Henri de Regnier.

1917, Translated by Elsie Deming Jarves.



WHAT FRENCHWOMEN ARE DOING IN WAR TIME

[Illustration: 0142]

|With the full blast of war sweeping over this old Continent, with the
young manhood of France forming a wall of steel between us and the enemy
who would annihilate, with the prospect of this tragedy continuing for
an indefinite period, each Frenchwoman, safe behind the living barrier,
asks herself what she can do to help. How to use her individual
capacities to the best advantage for the sustenance and comfort of those
dear ones--the son or grandson in the trenches, the husband or brother
at the front, the children and the old folk left behind in her care.

As one looks abroad over this beautiful country, seeing what she is
accomplishing, one is inspired with a sincere and fervent admiration for
her devotion, self-sacrifice and patriotism.

These noble qualities are not restricted to one class, but are universal
in all ranks; from the peasant to the comtesse, from the little
working girl to banker's wife; dressmakers, actresses, school-teachers,
shopkeepers, nuns, the erstwhile rich and idle, as well as the
wage-gainer, _all_ feel the same enthusiasm; the same spirit of courage
and endurance fills their souls; the pressing desire to "soul-ager"
(help) the sorrow and privation brought on by this war of wars.

All through the summer and autumn the women have worked manfully in the
fields. I use this word advisedly.

The physical strength to gather the wheat, cut the hay, garner the fruit
and vegetables, care for the cattle, toiling every day and all day to
replace the men at the front, shows what healthy living for generations
will do.

I have seen them down on the beach raking up the heavy piles of
sea-weed, pitching it on the high carts and hauling it back to their
farms, sometimes miles away, as fertilizer for the soil.

Strong, broad women these, woolen skirts tucked up high above their
thick ankles, muslin coiffes flapping in the stinging wind blowing in
from the channel, broad faces and muscular arms, red from exertion; very
often even, the Grandma tosses a load of sea-weed on her pitchfork to
the granddaughter, standing high upon the soggy mass in the two-wheeled
cart. I have seen them working at the cider mill in the farmyard;
ploughing the fields for the winter wheat; driving carts piled with farm
products to the markets. A woman and a tiny donkey being about the only
means of transport left now, since the horses and men have gone to the
war.

The old men and women, who might confidently look forward to a
comfortable seat by the open hearth, are out in the fields in all
weathers, forgotten, the rheumatic joints, the bronchitis and the colds;
the wind is piercing, rain falls almost every day in Brittany, but warm
garments, and boots lined with straw keep out the cold, and the cattle
must be herded; someone must cut and trim the hedges and trees; collect
the apples and cabbages; potatoes and turnips must be dug Many are the
little gifts of knitted socks and jerseys, of passemontagnes (hoods)
sent to the "Poilu" at the front, for these women are never idle. In the
long, dark evenings by the open fire, with only its light and a candle
to brighten the dark interior, knitting needles glisten and click, and
thoughts roam afar to the trenches, where, behind the barbed-wire and
fortifications, "_the man_" is watching each day.

Railroad canteens are another war work for the soldiers going to,
and coming back from the front. Here they can get a warm drink and
food--tea, coffee, milk, cocoa, good bread and meat, etc.--served by the
ladies of the French Red Cross, who also climb into the trains, passing
from carriage to carriage, shaking their little tin boxes for sous or
francs; the stations have, as well, a Red Cross dressing station, where
wounds are washed and rebandaged, a bed for a weary body, and a quiet
hour are provided free of all charge. They are constantly used, I can
tell you.

In thousands of hospitals all over France, the Red Cross nurses are
working with unexampled devotion. No task is too menial for them, no
work too repulsive; their only thought is to relieve the suffering of
the poor creatures brought to them. The men repay them well by quick
obedience, and openly-expressed gratitude. It is a touching sight to
go down a hospital ward lined with beds, and see these chaps follow
gratefully with boyish eyes, the little white-robed figure, which
represents so much to them of well-being and gentle care. If one stops
to inquire about their health, always a cheery answer, "_Ca va bien
aujour d'hui, Madame_ (It goes well today, Madame);" no matter how much
they suffer, or what acute agony they may be undergoing, they will not
admit it.

I know one boy of nineteen, a volunteer, twice wounded, who was told by
the doctor, while dressing his wound for the first time after his third
operation, "Scream, my boy, scream, if it does you good, it will help."

"No, doctor," he replied, "I prefer to whistle." So while the doctor
opened the wound and cleaned the bone, he whistled "Nous les aurons"
(We'll get 'em)--the latest song from the trenches.

[Illustration: 0148]

Many women who would gladly work in the hospitals are prevented by other
duties. They have their homes and children to look after, or old people
or invalids dependent on them, or also they must tend the shops in
their husbands' absence, or run the auberge or hotel, or work in the
factories, but each one does something on the side for the "Union
sacrée." It may not be more than a pair of knitted socks sent weekly to
the trenches, or a cushion made of snipped-up cotton rags, cut fine and
close, or a package of tobacco bought by carefully saved sous. From this
universal wish have been created many good and useful works. During
a recent visit to Paris I was impressed by the number of charities
Frenchwomen have established and keep in fine running order. Let me
mention a few:

1. _Oeuvre des Blesses au Travail_ (work of wounded soldiers).

2. _Oeuvre du Soldat dans la Tranchée_ (fund for the soldier in the
trenches--send warm clothing).

3. For sending food and clothing to the French Prisoners in Germany.

4. The "_Quinze Vingt_" the government establishment for teaching the
permanently blind a trade.

5. The Duchesse d'Uzes' organization for sending clothing and money to
the soldiers from the invaded districts; men who have no news from their
families or relations since the German invasion.

6. Soup kitchens--good, wholesome meals provided for ten cents. There
are a number scattered over Paris, frequented by men and women of
good positions before the war. Old artists and musicians out of work,
professors who have lost their jobs, refugees from Lille, Courtrai
and the invaded provinces, widows and girls with no means, little
dressmakers and milliners without custom--a sad patient crowd who come
silently and humbly to eat the bitter bread of charity. One group of
ladies at the Hotel Mercedes (placed at their disposal) provides four
hundred meals daily.

_L'Oeuvre du Blesse au Travail_ (objects made by wounded soldiers) are
showing in handsomely arranged shops, articles made by the men as they
lie wounded in their beds. These articles consist chiefly of baskets of
finely plaited straw, some artistically colored and of charming designs;
others made by clumsier hands, crude but interesting--lace mats of
plaited ribbon; string bags of macramé work; penholders and pencils,
fashioned from spent cartridges. Rings made from the aluminum tips of
exploded German shells picked up in the French trenches--these are very
cunningly made and are often very handsome in design and execution.
Every man, woman and child wants one of these rings, but as their only
value is being "genuine," _i. e., made in the trenches by a soldier,
from the real shell tip_, there are naturally not enough to go 'round.

Flowers made out of bread, tinted and modeled to an exact imitation of
Dresden flowers, stand in little gilt baskets, also made by the soldier.
Dolls as Red Cross nurses, soldiers, doll furniture and houses, boxes,
baskets, no end of tempting little things are displayed and sold by the
ladies of the committee, who guarantee the genuineness of each object.

Then there is the "Journée," or a day is chosen with the approval of the
government, committees are formed in all the cities, towns, and villages
of France. Bands of young girls and children start out early to sell
flags or boutonnierés or rosettes, on the steps of the churches, at
the railroad station, in the public squares and streets, holding their
little pincushions stuck with flags, or scraps of ribbon, with a sealed
tin box for coins. Thus, enormous sums are collected for the various
war works, and every one, no matter how poor or humble, can give his
offering.

Besides these charities, innumerable "Ouvroirs" exist in every city.
Sewing-rooms, where poor women are paid (and fed) to make shirts,
chemises, belly-bands, socks, pyjamas, etc., and everyone is thus helped
through the long, hard winter.

Women are taking men's places all over France. Women are in the munition
factories, in the government postoffice and telegraph service, as
tramway conductors, as metro ticket collectors--places they never
dreamed of filling before the war, for the Frenchwoman is essentially a
home-body, her "intérieur" (home) being dearer to her than all else; to
take these masculine occupations is especially hard.

The great dressmakers of the Rue de la Paix, the Rue de Rivoli, and the
Place Vendôme are doing their share, too. One floor is usually devoted
to some charitable purpose, either an "Ouvroir," or a convalescent home,
etc.; and that the little "midinette" (apprentice) may feel that she,
too, is working for France, a work has been started called "la marraine"
(the godmother). Through proper channels, any woman or girl can be put
in communication with some lonely soldier in the trenches. She writes
him long, encouraging letters. She keeps up his spirits by letting him
know someone is thinking of him. When, by strictest economy, she can
scrape a few sous together, she buys him a ten-cent packet of tobacco,
or a few postal cards, or a pencil, and back in due time comes a soiled
card, written in pencil, telling her the news of the trenches, how they
will soon throw the "sales boches" out of France, and promising to spend
many a happy hour with his "marraine" if he is lucky enough to escape
the German bullets.



PRISONERS AND AMBULANCES

|So many friends have asked me to tell them about our life here in
Brittany, that I have selected a few facts, hoping that these little
wavelets, on the ocean of war-literature at present inundating the
country, may prove of interest.

Let me first tell the story of an American girl of whom we are all
very proud--a girl whose courage and devotion has won her the _Croix de
Guerre_ and the _Médaille d'or des Epidemes_.

The Vicontesse de la Mettrie, daughter of the late Comte Amedee de
Gasquet--James of New Orleans and Dinard--and grand-daughter of the
late Colonel George Watson Pratt, of Albany, has lived in Dinard all her
life. On the 18th of August, 1914, she offered her services as a nurse,
and since that date has been constantly on duty, never sparing herself
in her devotion to her wounded.

I cannot do better than translate from the order of the day, read at the
army headquarters, the following citation:

"The Vicontesse Henri de la Mettrie, whose husband went to the front
early in August, 1914, became hospital-nurse in the military hospitals,
first at Rennes, and afterwards at the front on the Somme, and on the
Aisne, these last places since 1916. She has just become the object of
highly laudatory 'citation' in general orders of the army for the
18th of February, 1918, in the following terms: 'Has shown, during the
bombardment of the ambulance of --------, the utmost courage, devotion
and sang froid. On the 30th of November, 1917, her ambulance was
subjected to a prolonged bombardment and, although slightly wounded
herself from bursting shell, she immediately rescued two dangerously
injured stretcher bearers, who fell at her side. She refused to seek
shelter and showed the greatest courage throughout all danger.

"The _Croix de Guerre_ is accorded with this citation. Madame de la
Mettrie has further earned the gratitude of her compatriots by giving
her blood, by infusion, to save the life of one of her wounded men
(dying in her hospital at the front) and she had the joy of knowing she
had saved his life." Let me add in passing, that, before the war, the
Vicontesse de la Mettrie was a lively, gay young woman of fashion, fond
of automobiling, hunting, traveling and dancing. The contrast of these
carefree days before the war when young, rich and lovely, with a devoted
husband and a loving family about her, she could reasonably look forward
to every happiness--and the present tragic months under the German guns
must be at times overwhelming.

Her last posts have been in such dangerous zones, often under
bombardment night and day, that, before the war-office allowed her
to go, she was obliged to sign three papers, stating, respectively:
First--that she had no children or parents dependent on her;
second--that she fully realized the danger, and went at her own risk and
peril; third--that her husband knew when and where she was going, and
fully gave his consent.

Those people in America who think war-nursing consists of attending to
nice, clean, interesting young men in big, airy, spotless wards, with
sunshine pouring in at the open windows, flowers on a table near the
bed, and pretty Red Cross nurses serving wine, jellies and afternoon
tea, would be rather surprised to look in upon these ambulance-stations
at the front, behind the first dressing stations.

Imagine a shelltorn, gunswept desert; low, wooden encampments
partitioned off into long rooms, full to overflowing with wounded;
ankle-deep mud separating the different sheds; appalling food; no
possibility of baths or even elementary cleanliness; no comfort of any
kind. For sleeping quarters each nurse has a cubicle 5 feet by 9 feet,
a cot, a chair, a washbasin on a box, and a small trunk for her clothes.
Under the cot is a hole, long and large and deep enough for a person
to lie in, into which they pop when the bombardment alarm is given. The
damp cold is intense in these desolated regions, the work equally so.
Always on the alert for gas attacks or shells, always ready, night and
day, for the arrival of freshly wounded from the trenches, only a
few yards away, operations often, deaths often, fatigue always, dirt,
stenches, vermin, the sacrifice of youth, good looks and ease--these
are some of the demands that a military nurse under army orders must
consider all in a day's work.

The _Croix de Guerre_ is the highest decoration given by the French
Government for deeds of valor or endurance under fire, and many are the
sons of France who wear it on their blue tunics. That it also gleams
on the uniforms of some of her daughters, shows how unfailing is the
heroism and patriotism inspiring alike the men and women of France.

All these four long, weary years this has been the lot of the French.

Behind the lines reigns a constant anxiety. In the cities, in the
villages, in the lonely farms, everywhere, the homes are empty of their
men-folk. Millions of families living in fear of what crushing news the
next hours may bring. Lucky those households whose men are still in the
fighting line.

A slight idea of the degradation and misery endured in the German prison
camps may be gathered from a letter received from the brother of one
of my maids. He is now at Leysin, in Switzerland, trying to regain his
health and recover his eyesight. At times he is almost blind, the result
of the typhus. If he loses it completely, he will indeed be a helpless
burden to his family, as he is a cabinetmaker by trade. His father and
mother are humble folk who have brought up their nine children honestly
and well, educating them, giving each a good trade, and, before the war,
looking forward themselves to a well-earned rest in their old age. Now
this large family is completely ruined and broken up. This eldest son
almost blind, the second son disappeared since 1914 in the holacust of
the war, the third son fighting in Italy. Next month the fourth boy,
barely eighteen, joins the colors.

The poor old father, struck down by paralysis, has been slowly dying for
months. The rest of the family, the old mother, four small children and
a young girl, are entirely dependent on the wages of my maid, except for
110 francs ($23) a month, given as allowance by the French Government to
those whose men are fighting. The old mother has a patch of ground where
she grows a few vegetables. One boy of fourteen receives a few francs as
electrician (the only wage earner at home). Out of her wages of $20.60 a
month, my good Marie has helped her family, bought clothes and medicines
for the sick father and the children, and managed to send twice a month,
for the last three and one-half years, a box to the prisoner brother.
Naturally, all her savings are gone. This is typical of thousands of
families all over France--it is not a hard-luck story.

These monthly boxes sent to the prisoners usually contain a half pound
of coffee, costing 28 cents; a quarter pound of sugar, costing 5 cents;
one-half pound of chocolate, costing 25 cents; one-half pound of rice,
costing 18 cents; one-half pound of butter, costing 50 cents; one-half
pound of figs, costing 14 cents; one box of sardines, costing 42 cents;
one jar of jam, costing 25 cents; one can of condensed milk, costing 55
cents; one box of dates, costing 35 cents; one piece of soap, costing
20 cents; two packages of cigarettes, costing 25 cents; one pair of wool
socks; one cotton shirt; packing, costing 50 cents; one box of meat and
beans, costing 39 cents.

The letter of Marie's brother is as follows:

"Madame permits me to address to her my sincere thanks for the money
which allows me to purchase some strengthening food, which my poor state
of health so greatly demands.

"Since my arrival in Switzerland, I asked no further help from my sister
nor my family, who, as Madame knows, have struggled against such great
difficulties, due to present conditions. How much they have voluntarily
borne during my stay in Germany, when it was so urgent! It is absolutely
certain that if I am still in this world it is to thanks of the
solicitude of my sister and of my family, who deprived themselves daily
in order to send me food.

"Being wounded the 29th of August, 1914, and made prisoner, I dragged
about the hospital for five and one-half months. The 15th of February,
1915, I was sent to the camp at Cassel at the very moment of the
outbreak of typhus, which appeared the 29th of February. I would not
know how to describe to you, Madame, the scenes of horror which I
witnessed at that time. I would have to write a book, even then I would
lack words to give you the smallest conception of all the great misery
whose ghastly impression will remain forever engraved in my soul.

"After nursing a large number of my comrades, attempting by my goodwill
to make up for my inexperience, my own turn came. I was struck low by
this appalling sickness the 19th of April, 1915. After a few days in the
hospital I conquered this awful illness, but in what a state. I could
not walk but with the aid of crutches. I was a human rag. The care which
I ought to have had was substituted by a complete neglect on the part
of the authorities, even the most ordinary and needful precautions were
denied me.

"For the following two months I lay on the floor, only a threadbare
blanket for covering. It is useless, Madame, to recite to you the
treatment of utmost rigor to which I was subjected. It was the same for
all of us. Alas, how many unfortunates have died of it! Two thousand
five hundred are the official figures recognized by the German
authorities in our hospital.

"They will have to answer before the tribunal of humanity for this
horror added to so many others of which they are guilty. They are
entirely responsible, for they never made the slightest effort to
prevent contagion, or to attenuate, in any way, the hideous results.
Quite the contrary! They remained inert, rejoicing in the work of
desolation passing before their eyes. Their cynical ferocity permitted
the German general commanding our camp to explain in the presence of
these dying prisoners: 'I make war in my own way.' He made us feel, we
unfortunate mori-bunds, that if we were left without the most elementary
care of nursing, abandoned in a most tragic state, it was entirely due
to him, the German general commanding.

"After a long time, the Red Cross, horrified by the ravages caused
by this scourge, and by the indifference of the German authorities,
obtained after great difficulty, the privilege of sending some French
doctors to our camp at Cassel. These devoted men did their whole duty,
more than their duty, no matter how trying and disheartening. There,
where the deepest despair reigned, their arrival gave us a gleam of
hope. By their sublime abnegation and absolute devotion, they succeeded
in stamping out this pest; alas, by the sacrifice of their lives. Two of
our dear doctors thus paid the debt, but to those who saw them at their
work--courageous, cheering, consoling their poor comrades, prey to this
vile disease, the remembrance of them will remain forever vivid and
holy--these two heroes.

"I have witnessed the most horrible misery, but I would do wrong to
let you think I was the greatest sufferer. Whoever has been prisoner
in Germany has seen the same spectacle, the acts of refined cruelty
one hoped had disappeared forever from the world. I enclose two photos,
which will give you some idea of the actual conditions endured by so
many thousand unfortunates fallen into German hands. One shows the
interior of a shed where the prisoners are crowded, a bed of infection
for all kinds of diseases. The other shows the punishment meted out for
the merest peccadillo. They need no comment.

[Illustration: 0163]

"I cannot close this recital of misery without a word, which I judge
very necessary, about this unhappy life, so bravely supported by so many
thousands of unfortunates. What would have become of us, but for such
kind souls as you? How many of my wretched companions have only been
sustained morally and physically, through these days of trial, by the
regular arrival of parcels sent by kind unknown friends!

"If these charitable people could hear half of the expressions of
gratitude, and see the pleasure caused by these shipments, they would
assuredly feel rewarded. I want you to know this, as I feel it will
especially interest you. Your kindness towards me proves it. Thanks from
me and thanks from them.

"I long to return to France. I await with impatience the day of
expatriation, which will permit me to see again my old parents, my
family, and to embrace once more my little girls--poor darlings,
deprived so early of my affection and care. But I am resigned to wait,
and to re-establish here in Switzerland my health, so necessary after
this war. I know, Madame, you have given things to my little ones; from
me many thanks.

"Receive, Madame, my sincerest salutations and the assurance of my
profound gratitude.

"Your devoted,

"F. F.

"Interne Français.

"Hotel du Chamessaire, Leysin, Suisse."


With this authentic picture before us, shall we not do well, we
Americans, to realize what our own boys will have to face, should they
fall into German hands?

Dinard has recently been obliged to open her doors to one thousand
homeless children from Nancy. That historical and beautiful old town
in Lorraine is no longer a safe place for kiddies. Twelve thousand have
been sent here to Brittany, escorted by American Red Cross doctors and
American nurses, and their school-masters and mistresses. Poor little
mites, they look white and frightened and suppressed, but they must
be relieved to feel they can run about the beach without the fear of
bombs--that terror, night and day, which for so many months has haunted
them.

Now the soft lapping of the waves replaces the roar of cannon; the green
fields of Brittany, the crumbling buildings of their old home; but their
little hearts are heavy, many a baby is crying for "maman" when bed-time
comes. Their wan cheeks are growing rosy in the breezes from the
Atlantic. Good butter, milk, eggs and peaceful sunny days, freedom from
the fear of bombardment, are building up their fragile little bodies,
and the strained look is leaving their eyes, and they are becoming
normal children again.

We are constantly suffering from the spy fever. Every once in a while it
breaks out in a virulent form. Everyone looks askance at his neighbor.
The most absurd rumors circulate through the whole community, and the
world and his wife are in a feverish state of exasperation, each one
offering excellent advice as to the suppression of spies, German agents,
pro-boches, etc., etc.

Of course, there is some foundation for their fears. If you take up a
map of Brittany, you will see that the coast line is greatly indented.
There are high, rocky cliffs and innumerable caves which might easily
shelter whole cargoes of enemy supplies. Remote little beaches might
serve as landing places, and there are all sorts of rumors about tanks
of gasoline, barrels of butter, piles of fresh vegetables and meat being
hidden in these natural warehouses, and as to how the submarines come
in, signalled from shore by their spies, telling them when and where to
land.

Undoubtedly there are bases for supplies along the coast. It is wild and
uninhabited for miles, the little fishing villages, sheltering along
the shore-line in rocky bays and inlets, are practically denuded of
able-bodied men; only women, children and old folk living in these
little stone cottages facing the rough Atlantic, and who are they to
dare to withstand armed Germans?

All the waters along the coast are infested with the German U-boats.
Last week the little English packet, running between Saint-Malo and
Southampton, was torpedoed ten miles off the Isle of Wight. Only the
captain and four others, who happened to be on deck, were saved by
clinging to wreckage. All the crew, the two stewardesses, and the cabin
boys were drowned before they could reach the deck. We knew them well,
these courageous people who have so often made the journey since the war
began, and now they are lying under these green waters, martyrs to their
duty.

The submarines take weekly toll, but no names are mentioned in the
papers, only the total amount of tonnage lost each week. So, added to
the horror of the war, is the horror of the sea. In many a little home
along the coast, the wife and mother waits for the man who will never
return.

At Paimpel, seventy-five miles away, sixty-six out of the seventy
anti-bellum fishing smacks have been sunk. What it means to the poor
fishing folk can be better imagined than described. Four or five
families would often put the savings of a generation into a fishing
boat, and the whole population of many villages lived entirely off the
product of the sea. Naturally, their poverty is great, and they don't
know where to look for help. As one sits on the rocks, looking at the
beautiful turquoise ocean with the great space of radiant blue above,
and the coast-line stretching away for miles into the hazy distance, it
is hard to realize that beneath these sunny waters, perhaps a mile or
two away, lurks that hideous instrument of death, the German submarine.

One cannot deny their presence--they make themselves too often
conspicuous. Ten days ago, a British transport was torpedoed and went
down off Jersey, about fifty miles from here. Every once in a while a
French destroyer comes into Saint-Malo harbor, or a military balloon
mounts guard in the translucent air.

A story was told recently which bears out these facts, but I don't
believe, myself, that it is possible. During the high spring tides
we had this month of March, the sea went out on the ebb to a great
distance, leaving exposed many rocky islets and long sandy beaches. One
small island has deep water on one side, where a U-boat could be safely
hidden, and a sandy stretch to the landward side forms an ideal harbor.

The story runs that a few days ago two well-dressed men walked into
a little country inn, in a small village, ordered a lunch of young
vegetables, chicken, cigars and liqueurs. Smiling pleasantly over their
meal, before leaving, they called for paper and ink.

They paid for their food in French money, and left a note for the
Sous-Préfet of Saint-Malo. Imagine that official's chagrin, on opening
it, to find the following:

"Monsieur le Sous-Préfet--We had an excellent lunch and wish to state
that we perceive you still eat well in France.

"Captain Fritz.

"Lieut. Johann.

"U-boat off Brittany, March, 1918."



TO A POILU

               Hail to you, Poilu! Before the world you stand

                   Clad in the glory of your deathless fame;

               War had no terrors for the dauntless band

                   That held the line 'gainst bombs, and shells, and flame.


               Through tragic months of winter cold and rain,

                   When snow and water filled the narrow trench,

               Steadfast and patient you did bear the strain;

                   Oh! little soldier of the war-tried French.


               From peasant hut, from wealthy, well-stocked farm,

                   From mountain village, or town's crowded mart,

               When first the Toscin shrilled its fierce alarm,

                   Gladly you rushed to play your noble part.


               Oh, Sons of France! How quickly you forgot

                   The easy comfort of your tranquil life;

               When high and low have shared a common lot

                   There is no room for friction or for strife.


               Beneath the August sun, two years ago,

                   Life fiercely throbbed and beat in your young frame;

               You battled, struggled, panted in the glow

                   Of love for France, and for her precious fame.


               'Midst rye and wheat of cultivated fields,

                   Where now the harvest waits the reapers' glaive,

               Only a wooden cross and rain-stained kepi shields

                   You--unknown hero in your nameless grave.


               Afar, 'perhaps, some woman mourns your end,

                   Wondering, in sorrow, where your body lies;

               She cannot come with loving hands to tend

                   Your humble tomb beneath the Argonne skies.


               No flowers shall fade upon your lowly mound,

                   So soon by storm and time effaced to be;

               But where you died, His France's holy ground,

                   An altar and a pledge to Victory.


               Hail to you, Poilu! In all the years to come,

                   You'll represent the Fighting Soul of France;

               Verdun, the Meuse, the Champagne and the Somme,

                   Are clarion notes which thrill, inspire, entrance.


               That rolling down the misty vales of Time

                   Proclaim your strength, your courage, fine and true,

               Raising you to the ranks of men sublime;

                   The World salutes you! Hail to you, Poilu!

Dinard, 1918.



OUR WAR WORK

Deming Jarves August 14, 1918

[Illustration: 0176]

|Since the following article, "Our War Work," was written, Mr. Deming
Jarves has been decorated by the French government with the cross of the
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

The Jarves Family were represented in the Great War by Mrs. Jarves'
brother, Capt. John P. Jackson, U. S. N., commanding American transports
bringing soldiers to France, and the following great-nephews of Mr.
Jarves:

Captain Francesco Marigliano, Duke Delmonte of the Cavalliera di Udine,
Italian Army, received two of the highest awards for valor in the Battle
of the Piave.

Count Pio Marigliano (his brother), First Lieutenant in the Italian
Navy, killed in the blowing up of the battleship Leonardo di Vinci.

Captain Howard Kerr, 11th Hussars, British Army, served through the War
on the British Front in France and Belgium.

Captain Graham Lindley of the U. S. Army.

Eric and John Higginson (brothers), petty officers in the U. S. Navy,
served on destroyers on the Irish Coast.

Charles Higginson (youngest brother of above), took an intensive course
at Annapolis, and then received his commission from the U. S. Navy as an
Ensign, on a Cruiser doing convoy work.

Mr. Jarves' father and two uncles took part in the War of 1812, and his
grandfather in the Revolutionary War.


(_From the Paris Edition of the_ New York Herald _of May 12, 1917_)

When the wounded from the Marne began pouring into Brittany, there were
no adequate hospitals to receive and care for the thousands of gravely
injured men. Everyone was called upon to give money, supplies, beds and
bedding, lamps and heating apparatus, surgical instruments, bandages,
dressings, hospital garments, all the paraphernalia of great military
hospitals, to be installed immediately. The confusion was great, the
goodwill endless, but the material lacking.

Upon these tragic circumstances everyone, from peasant to American
pleasure-seeker, gave of their best.

Twelve large hospitals were opened in Dinard alone; in the two large
casinos, in the hotels, and in private villas in the neighborhood of
Dinard.

From St. Malo, St. Servan, Paramé, St. Briac, St. Lunaire, all within
walking distance of Dinard, came urgent calls for help.

From remoter convents, where everything had to be provided, came even
greater demands.

Mr. and Mrs. Deming Jarves, seeing the necessity for immediate help,
gave very largely personally, and wrote to relatives and friends in
America for assistance. How generous the response was, is indicated in
the following list of friends who responded at once:

Cases were sent by:

The Red Cross Society of Washington.

Philadelphia Emergency Aid Society.

British War Relief Association, New York.

Vacation War Relief Association, New York.

Junior War Relief Association, New York.

Surgical Dressing Committee, Philadelphia.

Princeton Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Detroit Drug Company.

Princess Louis of Battenberg.

Mme. Jusserand (wife of the French Ambassador in Washington). Mme.
Ekengren (wife of the Swedish Minister in Washington). Lady Swettenham.

Lady Wolseley, of Wolseley.

Miss Martha Codman, Washington.

Mrs. Morehead, Washington.

Mrs. McGowan, Washington.

Miss May Moulton, New York.

Major Louis L. Seaman (President British War Relief Association New
York).

Mrs. C. Wolcott Henry, Philadelphia.

Mrs. Freeman, Wissaluckon Heights.

Mrs. Norman, Newport.

Mrs. Charles Pike, Chicago.

Mr. W. M. Kozmenski, Chicago.

Mrs. G. H. Rowland, New York.

Mrs. Russell A. Alger, Detroit.

Money was sent by:

Mr. George A. Russel, Detroit, President People's State Bank, Michigan.

Mr. M. F. Barbour, Detroit, President Michigan Stove Company. Mr. J. T.
McMillan, Detroit, President Detroit Steamship Company.

Mr. H. H. Campbell, Detroit.

Mr. G. E. Lawson, Detroit, Vice-President People's State Bank. Mr. Angus
Smith, Detroit.

Mr. J. Dwyer, Detroit, President Detroit Stove Co.

Mr. H. B. Ledyard, Detroit, President Michigan Central Railway. Mr.
H. Russel, Detroit, Vice-President Michigan Central Railway. Mr. R. A.
Alger, Detroit, Vice-President Packard Motor Car Co. Mr. C. H. Freer,
Detroit.

Mr. J. C. Hutchings, Detroit, Detroit United Railway.

Mr. Howie Muir, Detroit.

Mr. F. J. Hecker, Detroit.

Mrs. R. S. Mason, Detroit.

Mrs. Butler, Detroit.

Mr. Truman H. Newberry, Detroit, former Secretary of the United States
Navy.

Mr. J. S. Alexander, New York, President National Bank of Commerce.

Mr. Myron T. Herrick, New York, former Ambassador to France. Mrs. Helen
A. Noyes, St. Paul.

Mrs. Coudert, Washington.

Mrs. Thompson, Washington.

Mrs. Julien-James, Washington.

Mrs. C. Howe Johnson, Washington.

Mrs. Lorthorpe Bradley, Washington.

Mr. Gibson Farnstock, Washington.

Mr. Hudnut, New York.

Mr. John Aspergren, New York.

Mrs. Sheffield Phelps, New York.

Mrs. Moses Taylor Pyne, New York.

Mrs. John Innes Kane, New York.

Mrs. Edward Walker, Detroit.

Mrs. J. J. White, Atlantic City.

Mrs. Barker Gummere, Washington.

Mme. Ekengren and Miss Helen Patten sent a sum of money, being the
proceeds of a concert arranged by them.


_Villa Transformed Into Warehouse_

Mr. Jarves converted two salons of his Villa Val Fleuri into receiving
and storing rooms, engaged a secretary and two women for the packing and
re-sorting of supplies, and used the garage for opening and receiving
the cases. It is estimated that over 97,000 articles have been thus
distributed, not to mention tobacco, candies, fruit, cocoa, chocolate,
Liebig's Extract, Valentine's Essence, Benger's Food, tetanus serum,
etc.

To give a more complete idea of the extent of the work done, it is only
necessary to say that 6,393 beds have been installed in the various
buildings converted into hospitals.

Besides these immediate demands for medical and surgical supplies, came
the call of the homeless, the refugees, prisoners in Germany (Dinard
men). From all sides, these appeals poured in from the unfortunate
victims of the war.

Thousands of Belgians sought refuge in Brittany. Baronne Raymond
de Saint-Gilles, at Le Fretay, has over 4,000 dependent on her for
assistance, and Abbé Destroopers at Avranches, and Mlle. Powis de
Tenbossche at Rennes, both of whom have over 3,000 Belgians on their
refuge lists, all have been supplied with great quantities of garments.

The convents were especially deserving of assistance; many throughout
Brittany were of the poorest description. These religious women found
themselves face to face with, for them, unparalleled conditions, and
were occupied in attending Arabs, Senagalais, Turcos, Bretons, Chasseurs
Alpins and Paris "gamins."

The accommodations were poor enough and the medical and surgical
supplies utterly inadequate, for they simply did not exist.

To them, Mr. Jarves was able to give a large quantity of necessary
articles, including a hot-air apparatus, a full set of surgical
instruments, clothing, medicines, comforts and money. The supplies from
America have been divided with the conscientious desire to see American
generosity help as far as could be.

97,610 Articles Distributed The following list is an estimate of the
numbers and kind of articles distributed:

Compresses of all kinds... .. 37,000 Bandages of all kinds... ..
22,000 Pairs of socks .. 4,290 Shirts .. 2,095 Articles of children's
clothing.. .. 4,000 Articles of men's and women's clothing .. 2,500
Pyjamas .. 375 Miscellaneous articles... .. 24,500 Cotton wool
(pounds)... .. 850 Total .. 97,610

About six hundred surgical instruments have been distributed to various
hospitals in Brittany.

Gifts of money have been distributed as follows:

November, 1914--Five thousand francs to the Oeuvre des Belges, Dinard.

November, 1914--Ten thousand francs to M. Crolard (Mayor of Dinard) for
the poor of Dinard and the French and Belgian refugees.

The balance was spent in England in purchasing provisions, surgical
instruments and dressings for the hospitals.

In December, 1916, Mr. Deming Jarves gave to the town of Dinard the sum
of 5,800fr., to form a fund called the "Deming Jarves Fund" (which was
increased later to 10,000fr.), which the mayor is distributing to
the poor, residing permanently in Dinard and having need of immediate
assistance.

All automobile expenses, transport, storage, cartage, distribution
and Custom House expenses have been paid by Mr. Deming Jarves. These
expenses are estimated at not less than 15,000 fr.

The work still continues, although for the last year, through the
courtesy of the American Relief Clearing House, the cases are sent
through free of charge from Bordeaux.

France's Thanks

On July 8,1915, Mr. and Mrs. Deming Jarves were notified by M. Julliard,
the Préfet of Ille-et-Vilaine, that he would call on them on July 11, at
three o'clock, accompanied by M. Lacouloumére, Sous-Préfet of Redon; M.
Revilliot, Sous-Préfet of Saint-Malo; General Grillot, commanding the
district; M. Crolard, Mayor of Dinard, "en grande tenue," to thank them
in the name of France for their generous help in the great crisis of
this war.

[Illustration: 0186]



AMERICANS IN BRITTANY

|When the Yankees return home after the great war is over, those who
have been quartered in Brittany will carry back a vivid impression of
long stretches of green forests and fields, of tumbling green waters,
of gray-and-white skies with dashes of tender blue, of glinting sunshine
lying warm on blue slate roofs, of low stone villages huddled about
quaint church-towers, and of granite buildings of unknown antiquity--and
some may carry home recollections of yellow- or auburn-haired girls,
rosy-cheeked, clad in heavy black peasant costumes and white muslin
"coiffes."

It rains often in this west country, skies hang low, and there is much
hazy atmosphere and blue-wrapped distances, but the temperature is so
mild, roses bloom all winter, mimosa spread their golden sprays over
southern walls. The hedgerows and uplands are aglow early in January
with primroses and gorse, all shades of golden yellows, cutting sharp
against green backgrounds and vapory skies.

The air is mild and damp, and it is probably due to this purity of
atmosphere, that the Breton is as hardy and as vigorous as he is,
for their cottages, with the dirt floors, walled-in beds, and lack of
cleanliness, are about as sanitary as in the days of Anne of Brittany.

Since 1914 these good people have been called upon to provide
hospitality for all kinds of foreigners; strangers who, in ordinary
life, had never even heard of this part of the world, and who probably
never had any desire to see it--but Kaiser Wilhelm arranged otherwise,
and they poured in in their thousands. Somehow or other, food and
lodging were found for them, and they became tremendously at home. Some,
much too much so!

First came the Belgians, poor, driven, dazed creatures, carrying all
sorts of parcels and bundles, footsore, limping, weary; fleeing before
that first dreadful on-rush of Germans in August, 1914. Everyone worked
to get them food, clothing and lodging; but, scattered all over the
province, they were wretchedly unhappy crowds, knowing no language but
Flemish or Walloon, isolated and lost in France, and with their families
in Belgium. English and Americans took charge of them, and, by tireless
generosity and exertion, provided them with the necessities of life.

I know of one Belgian hospital at St. Lunaire, which, for the last
four-and-a-half years, has been dependent on five English girls, who,
through all sorts of trouble, complications and work have kept it
going--and going competently and well.

From England they obtained the necessary surgical and hospital supplies,
but often and often they had to dip deep into their own pockets--it
was a flimsy summer hotel, in no way suited to a hospital service; but,
nothing daunted, they stuck at it courageously, giving time, health, and
wealth, never relaxing their efforts, or becoming discouraged--brave,
unselfish, untiring volunteers!

Many a Belgian, exiled, wounded, homesick, has a special little shrine
in his heart for the Misses de Montmorency and Miss Amscott.

After the Belgian invasion, came the French wounded.

I would not dare say how many thousands have passed through the Dinard
hospitals, where they were nursed by French, English, Belgian and
American Red Cross ladies. For years, the streets were full of bandaged,
limping creatures, happy to recuperate in our soft climate. While these
were in our town, we were suddenly inundated by hordes of Russians;
strong, vigorous young men, with a charming disregard for all
discipline, and an ardent determination to do exactly as they chose.
When remonstrated with, they just laughed and said: "Kaput czar, kaput
Russia--kaput tout," and that is all there was to it. They weren't going
to fight any more, or obey anyone. They traveled when it pleased them,
getting on or off of trains, without inquiring about their destination,
carefully ignoring all formalities, such as tickets, time, or
overcrowding, and behaved themselves generally as if law and order had
disappeared with the czar. Great, strapping chaps they were, too; in
clean, well-brushed uniforms and fine boots, apparently not concerning
themselves in the least as to the war or the future, sauntering about
our streets, amusing themselves as they saw fit, and finally becoming so
unbearable that a few were hauled up and shot by the authorities at St.
Malo, and the rest sent off somewhere, at the unanimous request of St.
Malo and Dinard.

In ordinary times, these Belgians and Russians would never have heard of
Dinard, and been perfectly satisfied not to, but then so would we have
been, had William the Kaiser permitted them to remain at home.

Last March, the third invasion took place--twelve hundred boys and girls
from Nancy, aged four to twelve years. They were quartered at the Royal
Hospital and at St. Lunaire, and the American Red Cross sent down nurses
and doctors to look after them. They needed everything--clothing, boots,
medical attendance and hygiene--being in a shocking condition, having
hidden in cellars for months during the bombardment of Nancy; their
faces were yellow and pinched, their bodies unhealthy and sickly, their
morale at its lowest ebb.

Mr. Thomas Ewing Moore, representative of the American Red Cross, formed
a committee of ladies, with the Marquise de Sigy as president, who tells
me they distributed, in four months, over ten thousand garments, shoes,
boots, hats, underwear, etc.

After the Nancy children had been comfortably installed and attended
to, French refugees from the Aisne began to pour in, fleeing before the
German offensive of last March. Again the American Red Cross came to
their relief, and over $100,000.00 was spent on them--clothing, food,
medicines, coal were purchased, homes found, furniture bought--a
tremendous work all over Brittany.

All these invasions gave a great deal to do, no one could afford to be
idle, and I must say the call was nobly responded to. A branch of the
Surgical Dressings Service (American Red Cross) was installed by Mrs.
Austin, an "ouvroir" opened, which did splendid work from October,
1917, to September, 1918. 300,000 dressings were sent to
Paris; English, French, Belgian and American ladies worked all day
and every day; and, thanks to President Mrs. John C. Howard's tact, it
proved to be a most harmonious circle. From accounts one hears on
all sides of other "ouvroirs," harmony is not precisely their most
conspicuous feature.

Elmer Stetson Harden is the _one_ American volunteer serving in our
Brittany regiments. He won the highest praise for his fine courage
under fire, which earned him the _Croix de Guerre_. His officers and
companions consider it rather splendid of him, a rich and independent
American, to volunteer as a simple "poilu," and to refuse all promotion,
satisfied to remain with them through dangers and discomforts, sharing
their everyday life out of love for France. It is the more praiseworthy,
as he is beyond the age limit; Medford, Mass., may well be proud of this
son of hers. He has been wounded twice. After months of suffering in
a Dinard hospital, is now cheery and well. I met him yesterday at a
luncheon and was glad to see such a wholesome American in horizon-blue.

After all these different invasions--Belgian, French, wounded,
children--you can imagine we looked with some misgiving on a Yankee one.
The American Y. M. C. A. opened in August, 1,200 men in Dinard, 2,000
across the bay at St. Malo and Paramé; but now, after three months, I
can frankly say they are welcome everywhere.

Well-behaved, well-mannered, cheery, healthy, young, they come like a
fresh breeze from the sparkling Atlantic, bringing hope, courage and
enthusiasm in their wake.

It is so delightful for us war-weary Dinardais to come in contact with
anything so vital, and vigorous, that we open our doors to them, bidding
them welcome, with patriotic fervor.

All the Anglo-American colony, as well as the French aristocracy at
Dinard, have entertained them, either at luncheon or teas, and the Y.
M. C. A. has done its utmost to make their short vacation a happy and
memorable one. Trips to Mont St. Michel, Dinan and Combourg are included
in their week's stay. Vaudeville performances, dances, concerts,
everything to make them feel at home and "comfy." My French friends
are much impressed by their intelligence and manliness. My friend, the
Countess de Durfort, receives 200 every Friday at her feudal Castle of
Combourg, and often tells me what pleasure it gives her to entertain
"ces braves Américains."

La Baronne de Charette, née Miss Antoinette Polk, of Tennessee,
great-niece of President Polk, and widow of Général de Charette, the
famous leader of the Papal Zouaves in the war of 1870, has opened her
old Chateau every Wednesday to 200 Yankees.

Her Brittany home lies in a hollow surrounded by gray-bearded oaks,
near the river Ranee. It is full of historical souvenirs of all kinds.
Royalty has spent many happy days beneath its high-peeked roof; parties
and festivities of all sorts taking place here.

Wednesdays have always been the reception days of the

General and Mme. de Charette, since 1883. Notabilities who came to
Brittany, made it a pleasure as well as a duty to pay their respects to
the venerable hero and his charming American wife; they enjoyed a truly
southern hospitality, inspected the various historical souvenirs, the
flags, the banners, the presentation swords (gifts of devoted admirers
all over France), walked in the beautiful park, feasted on good wine and
good cheer, and departed with a pleasant recollection of all the charms
of this old-world manor, given to the famous general by his ardent
followers, the Papal Zouaves.

Madame de Charette wanted to offer the same hospitality to her American
compatriots as was offered to European royalty and distinguished
foreigners. So every Wednesday her doors are opened to 200 Yanks.

They find an excellent "goûter," a charming hostess, surrounded by the
ladies of the nobility from the neighborhood, who put themselves out to
amuse the "doughboys."

Music, singing, dancing, fill in the hours from 3 to 8, but what they
seem to like the most is to sit in the halflight in a circle, before
the great granite chimney-place, the logs burning and snapping, casting
weird shadows over these fighters from afar, on the heavy oak beams
of the "Salle des Zouaves," flitting here and there over the dark oak
furniture, catching a sheen of light from steel helmets, of a bit of
color from some pendant war flag. They listen to the old southern tales
and the history of the general's battles, or tell, themselves, of what
they have seen or done in this war of wars.

Among the French and Italian flags is one--a poor, tattered, faded silk
American one--cherished reverently by the family; for, in 1862, Mme.
de Charette (then Miss Polk) rode on horseback by a black night to warn
General Forrest of the approach of the Union troops. After the victory,
General Forrest presented this trophy to the young girl, saying: "My
child, thanks to you, we have won the battle; to you, therefore, I give
the flag."

Mme. de Charette's only son, the Marquis de Charette, was wounded
April 16, 1917, being the only man in his tank to escape alive; he has
fighting blood in his veins, for, besides his father's, his ancestors,
General de Charette fought at Yorktown with General Lafayette--as
well as General Leonidas Polk of the Southern army. We consider it
a privilege for our Yankee boys to see such an interior; our own
entertainments for them in our modern villas at Dinard being much
inferior in interest and attractions, but it is a great pleasure to
receive them.

Every Saturday a certain number--20 to 25--come to our home, "Val
Fleuri," and we give them American pumpkin-pie, cornbread, potato-chips,
cakes, chocolate, etc. Pretty girls dance with them, we sing war songs,
and old-fashioned ones, too, and although each Saturday brings a new
set, my husband and I are glad to be able to offer to these "boys from
God's country" an afternoon in our American home.

October, 1918.

[Illustration: 0201]



VICTORIOUS BELLS OF FRANCE

|It is the eleventh of November, a date future generations will look
back to as the greatest in modern history; a date which marks the end of
the most brutal and aggressive war. The horrible nightmare is over, and
the "superman" vanquished, pray God, for all time.

We who have lived through these long tragic years, who have seen with
what fortitude and patience the darkest hours have been borne, when
storm-clouds blackened the skies and hope hid her face--we tremble with
longing for Peace, can scarcely believe it can be true. The hope has
dwelt so long in our hearts, the realization has seemed so impossible.

All the morning the town was alive with rumors--a word, a suggestion,
a guess, all light as a zephir, but gaining stability as they
spread--until people crowding in the streets with radiant faces and
happy eyes, became aware of the certitude of Victory as yet unannounced:

"Is it true the boches are beaten?"

"Have we the victory?"

"Foch has signed today."

"The Kaiser has fled."

"The Crown Prince is killed."

A hundred such-like reports were tossed about, nothing definite but
a happy expectancy on all the grinning faces. I met the mayor at 11
o'clock.

"Ah, Ah, Monsieur le Maire, voici la Victoire; What? (There is
Victory?)"

"But non, Madame, not yet, it is not official."

"But at least we can pavoise (beflag)?"

"Non, non, Madame, pas encore, but--" with a twinkling eye, "you can
have your flags ready."

All along the streets are little groups of people chattering excitedly,
joined constantly by new-comers; itinerant newsmongers, each with his
own special brand of rumor. At the Place de l'Eglise, a large crowd has
gathered, waiting for the bells, so long silent, now perhaps to ring in
a new era for humanity. The postmaster, a functionary of importance in
our little town, is gesticulating and laughing with the _commandant de
place_. Peasants, shopkeepers, doughboys, Red Cross nurses, Poilus and
Belgian wounded, priests, children, old and young, are all crowding,
jostling, each with perfect good humor.

Flags spring forth on house-fronts, little fluttering lines of bunting
stretch across from window to window, flowers appear in buttonholes, out
of church-tower windows lean the bell ringers; a little French flag has
been hoisted high on the tower, the first in four years.

"Will the great news never come?"

Presently a loud clattering of sabots; the schools are out, 'round the
corner they stream at full speed, twenty abreast, little chaps from
eight to twelve, their pink faces aglow, their capes streaming in the
wind, a tricolor grasped in red fists, bobbing in front line. Dear
little chaps, each has lost someone--a brother or a father--one's
eyes fill with tears of relief of what they have escaped, these little
citizens of the future, they at least can grow to the fulness of manhood
without a dreadful menace hanging over them. The world is safe for them.

[Illustration: 0205]

The clock points to 3. Suddenly a great peal of bells rings out on the
sunny November air; louder and louder the sound reverberates over the
autumn trees and far out to sea, loud and clear and joyous, carrying the
glorious news over land and water to the hearts of the waiting people.

Ah! ring, bells of France! Ring out over all this beautiful martyred
land, over towns and villages, over country, river, sea. Messengers
of God, bringing joy and hope. Ring in long, swelling notes, full of
harmony and Peace. Bring to all who listen the certitude of victory;
the knowledge that the vast sacrifices have not been in vain; that Peace
soon will spread her healing breath over this sore-tried nation. As the
carillons ring, a shout bursts out, people weep, laugh, embrace each
other. They sob and cheer in the same breath, all hearts united in one
over-whelming wave of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Then a slow booming from the cannon at Saint-Malo sounds across the
water--only a few days ago what fears it would have caused--but today,
thrice blessed guns!

The doughboys raise a terrific shouting; some whistle, shriek, cat-call;
tin pans are banged as cymbals; a procession is formed, French and
Belgians with their flags in front, singing the "Marseillaise," then the
Yanks, cheering and dancing arm in arm, thirty abreast, zigzaging down
the boulevard. I ran out with some thirty small national flags, and in a
second they were whipped out of my arms and went careering away over the
heads of the shouting men.

The procession swept on, catching up bystanders; infirmières had flags
thrust at them, and joined the ranks, their white veils and dresses
gleaming ahead; some of the Americans picked up the tiny children,
carrying them shoulder high, the kiddies clutching them in a
stranglehold, their necks craning to see their mothers and sisters
running along the sidewalk near them.

The crowd swings on to visit the hospitals, to salute their wounded
comrades, to the _mairie_, to the _commandant de place_, singing
"Over There," the "Star-Spangled Banner," the "Marseillaise," and "la
Brabançonne." There was no bed that day for the wounded, operation or no
operation they hung out of the windows and balconies, to the horror
of their nurses, waving handkerchiefs, towels, pillow-slips,
slippers--anything that came to hand. One boy, with the _Croix de
Guerre_ and four other medals, hobbled out on the terrace, waved a
crutch, sang the first verse of the "Marseillaise," and then fainted
dead away. Another hung over a balcony cheering himself hoarse, when
remonstrated with and told to remember his operation of two days ago,
declared he didn't care if he had to spend six more weeks in bed, he had
been wounded five times for his country's good, and now he would have
one for his own pleasure.

All the afternoon, little bands marched up and down, a group of Belgians
with an accordion, the player with an arm in a sling clutching it
somehow, playing the "Brabançonne." Yanks decked out in paper caps and
tricolor ribbons, arm in arm with singing girls, sky-larking about the
town. All the week, festivities have been in full swing, in the cafes,
the hotels, the American Y.M.C.A.--entertainments, flags, cheering,
songs, music, games--the world is alive again, and fear, death, horror
banished.

So it is all over France. Paris is delirious with joy. I quote from a
letter from a French officer:

"The enthusiasm is indescribable! Sammies, Tommies, Poilus, Midinettes,
dance the farandele in the streets, singing. More serious people content
themselves with round dances on the sidewalks; the girls have their hair
tied with tricolor ribbons, the men wear colored paper caps. Actresses
are singing on the street corners, waving flags. Add to this the firing
of cannon and bombs as if we were back in the evil days of _avions_ last
spring. Your compatriots, colder and more phlegmatic, content themselves
with firing their revolvers in the air. I hope they withdrew the
bullets. In every street are corteges with flags, drums, trumpets.
'Marseillaise' sang, shouted, whistled. Some drag the German cannons
surmounted by poilus, from the Place de la Concorde; on all sides a sea
of heads; impossible to cross the Avenue de la Opera, but every one is
'bon-enfant,' and there have been no fights.

"On the boulevards are great 'Transparents' with Foch, Wilson and
Clemenceau's portraits. The crowd stands all day and all night
acclaiming them. Clemenceau himself ventured out on the boulevards, and
only escaped suffocation from his too ardent admirers, by rushing into
the Grand Hotel and having the _portes cocheres_ closed."

As soon as the news of the signing of the armistice was known in
official circles yesterday morning, the Paris Municipal Council sent
out, to be posted all over the city, a stirring appeal to the population
to celebrate the greatest victory ever won. The poster read as follows:

"Inhabitants of Paris"

"Victory! Triumphant Victory! On all fronts the defeated enemy has laid
down his arms! Blood will cease to flow!

"Let Paris throw off the noble reserve for which she has been admired by
the whole world.

"Let us give free course to our joy and enthusiasm and hold back our
tears.

"To show our infinite gratitude to our magnificent soldiers and their
incomparable leaders, let us decorate all our houses with the French
colors and those of our dear allies.

"Our dead may rest in peace. The sublime sacrifice they have made of
their lives to the future of the race and the salvation of France will
not be in vain.

"For them, as for us 'the day of glory has arrived.'

"Vive la Republique!

"Vive la France immortelle!

"For the Municipal Council,

"Adrien Mithouard, President.

"Chausse, Chassaigne-Goyon, Adolphe Chérioux, Henri Rouselle,
Vice-Presidents;

"Georges Pointel, Le Corbeiller, Lemarchand, Fiancette, Secretaries;

"Andre Gent, Syndic."

News Flashed Throughout France

While this appeal was being drawn up, the magnificent news was flashed
by telephone to the Prefects throughout France by M. Pams, Minister of
the Interior, with the following orders:

"Put out flags immediately. Illuminate all public buildings this
evening. Have all bells ring out in full peal, and arrange with the
military authorities to have guns fired, in order that the people may
know of the signing of the armistice.

"Dinard, November 11th, 1918"

[Illustration: 0217]





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