The Project Gutenberg EBook of Over Here, by Hector MacQuarrie

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Title: Over Here
       Impressions of America by a British officer

Author: Hector MacQuarrie

Release Date: January 28, 2011 [EBook #35104]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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By Hector MacQuarrie, B.A., Cantab.
Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery
Illustrated, $1.35 net
"A Masterpiece"—New York Sun

Your Son, Brother or Friend in Arms

It is your duty to instruct and advise him as to what is in store for him at the front. This book will give you the facts,—read it and counsel your boy for his physical and spiritual good, or better still send him a copy and call his attention to the chapters that you think will be of the greatest value to him.

If You Are an American

Read it for the true facts it will give you of the living and working and fighting under actual war conditions. It will help you understand what difficulties face our army, both officers and men, in France. You will thereafter read the war news and letters from the front with deeper sympathy and greater understanding.

Author Hector MacQuarrie





Publisher's Mark






[Pg 7]



During a year spent largely in Pennsylvania, with occasional visits to other states, I have found little to criticise, but rather much to admire, much indeed to love. America now means a great deal to me, since it contains so many people that I have learnt to care for, so I want to let my cousins as well as my own countrymen know my thoughts.

From the day that I landed in New York until the present moment, I have been treated with a kindliness that surpasses anything I thought possible in this world. I have been able to see, I hope, where misunderstanding has arisen, and, being a Highland Scotchman, I am able to express my feelings.

I have written more about persons than about places. Sometimes I laugh a little, but never unkindly; and I do this because I realize that American people rather appreciate a joke even at their own expense.

Often I have heard, over here, that it is impossible for an Englishman to see a good joke. A man told me once that the Kaiser was disguising his submarines as jests, with an obvious design. The idea was interesting to me, because if there is one thing that we Britons pride ourselves upon, it is our sense of humour. Of course, the explanation is obvious. Most humour [Pg 8]is based upon the surprising incidents and coincidents of domestic relations, and how on earth are we poor British to appreciate specious American humour when we know nothing of American home life, and but little of American society?

When I arrived here first, I regarded the funny page of a newspaper as pure drivel; now I never miss having a good laugh when I read it. I have become educated. Once or twice in these letters I have slanged my own countrymen, but my American friends will not misunderstand, I am quite sure. If I were an American, perhaps I should have the right to criticise the American people.

During these times of stress it is difficult to concentrate upon anything not connected with the war, and so these papers have been written, sometimes sitting in a parlor car, sometimes at peace in my room at Bethlehem, and sometimes at meetings while awaiting my turn to speak. So I apologize for much that is careless in my effort towards good English, hoping that my readers will realize that while I desire to amuse them, still underlying much that is flippant, there is a definite hope that I shall succeed just a little in helping to cement a strong intelligent friendship between the two great Anglo-Saxon nations.

Hector MacQuarrie.

Bethlehem, Pa., November, 1917.

[Pg 9]


I.   A Naval Battle Followed by Service at Sea 11
II.   New York Shelled with Shrapnel and an Entrance made to the "Holy City" 17
III.   Social Amenities in "Back Billets" 36
IV.   "Very's Lights" 46
V.   A Christmas Truce 52
VI.   German Frightful Foolishness! A New Ally! The Hatchet Shows Signs of Becoming Buried 77
VII.   Some British Shells Fall Short 84
VIII.   Lacrymatory Shells 95
IX.   Shells 113
X.   Submarines 129
XI.   An Offensive Bombardment 137
XII.   Six Days' Leave 146
XIII.   Guns and Carriages 162
XIV.   A Premature 180
XV.   "Bon for You: No Bon for Me" 188
XVI.   A Naval Victory 196
XVII.   Poisonous Gas 209
XVIII.   Through Pennsylvania 219

[Pg 10]

[Pg 11]




R. M. S. Begonia, Atlantic Ocean,
August 30, 1917.

When I was told that I should possibly visit America I was not quite certain how I liked the idea. To be sure I had never been to the United States, but to leave the comparative peace of the war zone to spend my days amidst the noise and racket of machine shops and steel mills, accompanied by civilians, was not altogether attractive. Nevertheless there was a great deal that seemed interesting in the scheme, and on the whole I felt glad.

After being invalided from Ypres I had spent some time in a convalescent home, and I finally joined a reserve brigade on what is termed "light duty." While here, I was ordered to hold myself in readiness to proceed to America as an inspector of production, which meant that I was to help in every possible way the production of guns and carriages. My job would be to help the main contractor as far as possible by visiting the sub-contractors, and by letting the people at home know (through the proper channels) of anything that would assist the manufacturer.

[Pg 12]My ideas about America are slightly mixed. Like all my countrymen, I rather refuse to acknowledge the independence of the United States. They are relations, and who ever heard of cousins maintaining diplomatic relations amongst themselves and being independent at the same time. Of course, many cousins, especially of the enthusiastic and original type, rather seek a certain independence, but, alas, they never get it; so we still regard the American people as part of ourselves, and, of course, make a point of showing them the more unpleasant features of their national character. Of course, they may enjoy this, but on the other hand, they may not. I don't know. Perhaps I shall find out.

It is a little difficult to understand their attitude in regard to the Germans. We dislike them. They ought to.

However, before proceeding to America, I was ordered to tour the munition plants of the British Isles. I enjoyed this very much and was astonished at the cleverness displayed by my fellow countrymen, and especially by my fellow countrywomen. The latter were seen by the thousands. Some were hard at work on turret lathes turning out fuses like tin tacks. Others, alleged by my guide to be "society women," whatever that may mean, were doing work of a more difficult nature. They were dressed in khaki overalls and looked attractive. Some young [Pg 13]persons merely went about in a graceful manner wielding brooms, sweeping up the floor. There always seemed a young lady in front of one, sweeping up the floor. I felt like doffing my cap with a graceful sweep and saying, "Madam, permit me." I was examining a great big 9.2 Howitzer gun and carriage ready for proof, and I found three old ladies sitting behind it having a really good old gossip. They hopped up in some confusion and looked rather guilty, as I at once felt. This used to be called "pointing" when I worked in a machine shop. I saw the luncheon rooms provided for the women. When women do things there is always a graceful touch about somewhere which is unmistakable. The men in charge of several of the plants I visited remarked that, generally speaking, the women were more easily managed than the men, except when they were closely related to the men, and that then awkward situations sometimes arose. I believe there is a lady in charge called a moral forewoman.

The women have to wear a sort of bathing cap over their hair. Some of them hate this—naturally. A woman's glory has been alleged to be her hair, but this remark was made before the modern wig was developed, so I don't know whether it applies now or not. However, the order has to be insisted upon. One poor girl, working a crane, had her hair caught in the pinions, and unfortunately lost most of [Pg 14]her scalp. I won't vouch for the truth of this statement, but a full typed account of the accident was being circulated while I was visiting several large munition plants. Of course, the object was to let the ladies see, that while their glory might be manifested to the workmen for a time, there were certain risks of losing the glory altogether—and was it worth while?

I visited Glasgow and saw many wonderful things. In a weak endeavour to jump over a table, I caught my foot somehow or other, and came an awful cropper on my elbow, and I nearly died with pain, but after three days in the hospital I started off on my journey. Later I received an army form charging me with thirty days' ration allowance for time spent in Glasgow Military Hospital. I refused to sign this, but I dare say they will get the money all right; however, I won't know about it, and that is all that matters.

Finally, I returned to London, and after passing with some difficulty a rigid examination presided over by my chief, I lunched with him at the Reform Club, and then spent a few busy hours buying civilian clothes. Later I met my Major's wife who was in a worried condition over one big thing and another little thing. The big trouble was caused by her husband's unfortunate collision with a 5.9 shell; the little thing was caused by the fact that the Major's Airedale, Jack, had had an unfortunate incident with a [Pg 15]harmless lamb, which made his stay in the country difficult, if not impossible. I had to relieve her of Jack so that all her attention might be devoted to the Major. The next day, I took him home to the country, hoping that the lady of the manor would suggest his staying there. She might have done so if he had shown an humble spirit. He dashed into the pond, disturbed the life out of the tiny moorhens, and, worse still, sent scurrying into the air about a dozen tame wild duck. This sealed his fate as regards the manor, so I decided that he would have to go to America with me. I had few objections, but I regretted that he was so big.

He caused me much trouble and a little anxiety, but finally I got him safely on board the Cunarder. The captain seemed to like him all right, and so did many passengers, but he made much noise and eventually had to spend the greater part of his life in an unpleasant dungeon on one of the lower decks. Here he was accompanied by a well bred wire-haired fox terrier. This fox terrier gave birth, during the voyage, to seven little puppies, and the purser alleged that he would charge freight for eight dogs; thereby showing a commercial spirit but little humour, or perhaps too much humour.

These notes are being written during the last days of the journey. I am enjoying the whole thing. I sit at the Captain's table accompanied by another [Pg 16]officer from the navy, a correspondent of the Daily Mail, and a Bostonian and his wife whom I love rather, since I have always liked Oliver Wendell Holmes. The Bostonian is a splendid chap, turned out in an English cut suit which he hates because it seems to him too loose. I think that he looks ripping. I always agree with his arguments, feeling it to be safer; but I had to put in just a mild protest, when he observed that America could equip an army in six weeks, that would lick any Continental army. Of course, this showed some optimism, and a great faith.

We were comparatively happy, however, until the naval chap had an unfortunate altercation with the Bostonian. They both meant well, I am sure, but sea travelling often changes the mental perspective of people, and the Bostonian sought another table.

We expect to arrive in two days and I am looking forward to seeing New York and the skyscrapers.

[Pg 17]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., October 30, 1917.

After passing through several days of dense fog we at last arrived off the Statue of Liberty, and commenced to thread our way up the Hudson River.

What a wonderful approach New York has. I felt that anything merely "American" ought not to be so beautiful. It ought to have been flimsy and cheap looking. My mind rushed back to London and Tilbury Docks, where upon arrival one feels most depressed. For dear old London cannot impress a stranger when he first gets there.

The colouring of the great skyscrapers is so beautiful, sometimes white, sometimes rusty red, always gay and cheerful. Besides being marvellous products of engineering skill, they display architectural beauty. When man tries to vie with nature in matters of beauty, he generally comes off second best, but the high buildings when seen from the Hudson at dusk approach very closely to nature's own loveliness. Cheery little puffs of snowy white steam float around, and when the lights start to twinkle from every window one thinks of fairy land. In the dusk the [Pg 18]buildings seem to form a great natural cliff, all jagged and decently untidy.

Finally, we were safely docked and the naval fellow and I were at a loss to know where to go, until we were met by an energetic looking man with a kindly face, called Captain H——. I have never been able to decide whether this chap is an American citizen, an officer in the Canadian army, a sea captain, or what.

This officer was a great help to us in getting through the customs. He expressed astonishment at the large amount of baggage possessed by the naval walla and myself. He remarked bitingly that he had travelled around the world with a "grip." We believed it. I dared not tell him about Jack. I was unable to land that gentleman until he had been appraised, so I said nothing about him. Finally we got into a taxi, an untidy looking conveyance, and commenced to drive through the streets of New York to our hotel. I noted that the people living near and around the docks had almost a Southern European appearance. There seemed to be numbers of fruit stands, and the windows in all the houses had shades of variegated colours, mostly maroon and grey.

We drove up Fifth Avenue and finally reached our hotel. I am not going to give you now my impressions of New York. I always think that it is an impertinence to write about a city when one has only dwelt in it a few days. I thought, however, that the road [Pg 19]seemed a bit bumpy, and I must admit that I disliked the taxicab.

Arriving at the hotel we walked up some elegant steps and approached a place suggesting almost a throne, or a row of stalls in a cathedral. There was a counter in front, and behind it there stood several men, very clean looking and superior. With these our guide held converse. He spoke in a low and ingratiating voice, very humble. The chap behind the desk, a fellow with black curly hair and an anxious, competent expression, did not lower his voice, but looked disdainfully at him and finally agreed to let us have some rooms. The American hotel clerks, the "e" pronounced as in jerk, are veritable tyrants. Someone said that America having refused to have kings and dukes, had enthroned hotel clerks and head waiters in their places.

We had a charming luncheon. During the meal we listened to perfectly ripping music. Amidst the sound of the violins and other things the soft tones of a pipe-organ could be heard; the music was sweet and mellow and the players seemed to be hidden. As a matter of fact, they were in a gallery near the roof. Unlike in some London restaurants, one could hear oneself speak.

American food and its manner of being served differs from ours. I think it is much nicer. H—— ordered the meal, which we liked very much. We had [Pg 20]clams, which are somewhat like the cockles one gets on the English coast, but are much larger. They are served daintily amidst a lot of mushy ice. One "eats" bread and butter throughout the meal instead of "playing" with it as we do.

After luncheon, we went down town to interview our respective superiors. I found my chief in the Mutual Building. He is a humourous Scotchman of the Lowland variety, with a kindly eye and a good deal of his Scotch accent left. I liked him at once, and we had a long chat about common friends in England. He put me in the hands of an Englishman whose duty it was to look after my reports, etc. This man seemed a keen sort of fellow. Unfortunately, he decided at once that I belonged to the effete aristocracy—why I don't know—and with his keen manner let me know it. He was the sort of man who makes a fellow feel himself to be entirely useless and unnecessary. I felt depressed after leaving him. As a matter of fact, I have been told that he has done a large amount of work for us and is a splendid chap.

Later he confided to H——, and H—— confided to us, that a man who could bring a well bred and valuable Airedale across the Atlantic in war time could not possibly do any work. This was damning to start with, but it is easily understood. That type of man, possessing terrific will power allied to well developed efficiency who has reached a good position, [Pg 21]naturally regards with a certain amount of contempt the fellow who is placed upon equality with him, and who has not had similar struggles. However, he was very kind to me, and endeavoured to hide his feelings, with little success, alas!

I spent four or five days in New York. I went to several shows, amongst others the Winter Garden and Ziegfeld's Follies; they were very interesting. The scenery at the latter was distinctly original. I do not know very much about art, but I am certain that what I saw would come under the heading of the Futurist School. There was a great deal that was thoroughly amusing and interesting. Americans seem to have a sense of fun rather than a sense of humour. Shakespeare is caricatured a great deal. I thought that much of the dancing, and the performance of the chorus generally, bordered on the risqué. There seems, also, to be a type of comédienne who comes forward and talks to the people in a diverting way. She is sometimes about forty years old, makes no attempt to look beautiful, but just says deliciously funny things. She is often seen and heard in America. I have also seen the same type at La Cigale in Montmartre.

It is just a little difficult at first to get the same sort of tobacco here that one gets in England. The second day after my arrival in New York, I went into a tobacconist shop to buy a pipe and some tobacco. I [Pg 22]spent about six dollars, and handed the man behind the counter a twenty dollar bill. Obviously, I was a little unused to American money, but I naturally expected to get back fourteen dollars. The man gave me four one dollar bills, then about six smaller bills with twenty-five written on them, and prepared to bow me out. I looked at the change and saw that the poor fellow had given me too much. Deciding to be honest I returned to him and said, "You have given me wrong change." He looked unconcerned, and going to the cash register subtracted ten more one dollar bills. I was still more astonished and once more examined my change. Then I understood that the small bills were coupons, and the clever gentleman, realizing that I was a stranger and a little worried, had endeavored to make money. Honesty in this case proved the best policy.

I enjoyed these days. I met but few American people. I was very much overcome with admiration for New York, and I told this to an American friend. He seemed pleased, but commenced to point out certain drawbacks. He said that the high buildings were rather awkward things, and that people walking about on the pavement below were sometimes nearly blown off their feet during a gale. They formed cañons. He said that the lighting problem presented difficulties, too, and that he thought the health of the people might suffer a little if their days were spent in [Pg 23]artificial light. Still he unwillingly admitted that he loved New York.

The stores where soft drinks are sold are very charming. The drinks are wonderful and varied, and one sees what appear to be women of quality perched up on stools drinking what look to be the most delicious drinks. I should like to test them, and I will some day when I find out their names.

One day I was walking down Fifth Avenue, it was very hot, so I entered what appeared to be a "sweet" shop. Buxom, handsome young women were behind the long counter, so I approached one and humbly asked for a "lemon squash." "Wotsat?" she barked, and looked annoyed. "A lemon squash," I repeated. She seemed to think that I was insulting her, and her friends gathered around. Finally I said: "Give me anything you like as long as it is cool." "Got yer check?" she replied. I begged her pardon. Looking furious, she indicated a small desk behind which another young lady sat, and I went over and confided in her. She smiled and explained that I really wanted a lemonade or a lemon phosphate. I denied any desire for a lemon phosphate. Are not phosphates used for agricultural purposes? This young lady was awfully decent and said, "How do you like York?" but before I could reply she said, "York! It's the finest place in the world." I said I liked it very much indeed, but of course there were [Pg 24]other places, and what sayeth the text, "One star differeth from another star in glory." All was going well until "Peanut," a tall animated straw I had known on the ship rushed in laughing like a jackass. He seemed to regard New York as something too funny for words, and giggled like an idiot.

Now I am sure that these young ladies must be very nice, gentle, tame creatures to people who know them, but they frighten me. I desire only to please, but the more pleasantly I behave to them the more I seem to insult them. Some day I am going to enter one of these stores and bark out my order and see what happens.

I have now been in Bethlehem about two weeks. P——, a sapper subaltern, conducted me down to the great steel town. With Jack and all my luggage we left New York at nine o'clock.

In order to get to Bethlehem it is necessary to cross the river to Jersey City. We got on board the ferry boat at West Twenty-third Street, and after a ten minutes' ride in the large, capacious boat we reached Jersey City. The trip was very interesting. Arriving at Jersey City, we had a good deal of trouble with Jack, but finally got him safely stowed away in a baggage van, and succeeded in finding our chairs in the Pullman. This was my first experience of American trains. The thing I was most conscious of was the terrific heat. The windows were open but gauze [Pg 25]screens made to keep the dust out succeeded only in keeping most of the fresh air from entering. I do not like these American trains. One may not smoke in the coach, but anyone desiring to do so must retreat to the end part of the carriage and take a seat in a rather small compartment. The thing that one is chiefly conscious of on entering this compartment is the presence of several spittoons. We lunched on the train, and here I may say that the food arrangements on the American trains are excellent. One may order almost anything, and the service is very good. It is impossible to order anything stronger than lemonade, ginger ale, root beer, and the like; however, one can get ices and cool things generally and, of course, "Bevo," which looks, smells, and tastes like beer, but it "hab not the authority," as the coloured porter said.

After a little over two hours' journey we reached Bethlehem. One's first impressions of the town are extremely depressing. Upon alighting from the train one sees old bits of paper lying about, banana skins, peanut shells, dirt, dust, everything unpleasant and incidentally a very untidy looking station building. The whole appearance around the place is suggestive not merely of newness, but worn-out newness. I felt that life in Bethlehem, judging by the look of the station, would be extremely depressing.

We arrived at the Inn, while our luggage came on [Pg 26]in a wagon. I decided to stay for a time at the Eagle Hotel. I registered and asked for a room "with." That means that I wanted a private bathroom. The clerk on this occasion was a good-looking boy of about nineteen, assisted by a tall very pretty dark young lady.

After getting settled in the room I then thought of Jack, and a negro boy offered to take him and lock him up in the garage behind the hotel. This was done and as P—— and I walked away from the hotel we could hear fierce barking and yelping.

At the Steel Office, I met one or two of the Steel Company officials and members of the British Inspection Staff. We walked about throughout the plant and P—— introduced me to quite a number of the men. Later on I shall tell a deal about this great Steel Company, so I will not go into detailed descriptions now.

These first days were strange and ought to have been interesting, and they were in many ways. Bethlehem is a strange sort of town. It seems to be divided by a wide, shallow stream called the Lehigh. On one side the place is almost suggestive of the East, or Southern Europe. There seem to be many cheerful electric signs about, and the streets are mostly in the form of avenues.

I think that I will not describe towns and places, but rather tell of the people I meet and the [Pg 27]impressions I glean of their characteristics. Of course, when I give you an impression it will be a purely local one. In the same way that it is impossible for a stranger in England to judge us from the writings of Arnold Bennett when he places all his characters in the five towns, so what I say about Bethlehem will merely tell a little about the people living in a small town, and a town that has suddenly grown from importance as a religious centre to the insignificance of a great steel city, for it must be the products of this city that will interest the people at large. Now I have lived before in similar cities in our country, and I know that the attendants upon great steel furnaces are not at all insignificant, but possess all the interesting qualities that man is heir to.

I had a scene with the hotel keeper upon my first return from the steel plant. He hated my dog and told me that the dog and I together made an impossible combination for his house, and that I might stay if I insisted, but not with the dog.

There was nowhere else to go so I decided that Jack would have to leave me. I hated it, but finally came to the conclusion that for a person seriously inclined to serve his country in America, a dog approached being a nuisance. The petty official American people don't seem to treat a dog with a great amount of respect.

Fortunately, a friend—one of the steel officials—[Pg 28]offered to look after him. Jack will guard the steel official's house and will have a happy home; so that is all right.

Opposite the Eagle Hotel is a large square sort of building with a low tower. From the base of the tower rise about eight pillars which support the belfry above, thus forming an open platform.

At an early hour, one morning, I was awakened by an extraordinary noise. At first it reminded me of a salvation army band being played, not very well. As I awoke the music seemed familiar and my mind at once jumped back to New Zealand days when I belonged to a Bach Society in which we found great difficulty in singing anything but the chorales, owing to the smallness of our numbers. I got up and going to the window saw a number of men standing on the platform blowing trombones with some earnestness. They played several of Bach's chorales and then ceased. The general effect was pleasing.

After breakfast I asked the landlord what the building opposite was, and he said it was the Moravian church. He told me that the Moravians had been in Bethlehem for a long time, and agreed that they were a sect of sorts. I had often heard of strange sects generating in America like the Mennonites and Christian Scientists; the Moravians must be a similar sect.

I am feeling a little lonely here. I never meet [Pg 29]any of my countrymen. I suppose that they are very busy with their families, and B——, who has been showing me much attention, is away at the Pocono Mountains with some friends. I heard to-day that most of the people were returning from summer resorts quite soon, so perhaps they may prove interesting. I have met quite a number of the steel men. L—— has very kindly allowed me to have a desk in his office. He seems a decent sort of chap. I feel, however, that I may be in his way, but he does not seem to mind, so I suppose it is all right.

On Friday morning last, while I was dressing I heard a band approaching and completing my toilet I stepped out on to the balcony and saw an extraordinary sight. First of all appeared two men riding horses with untidy manes, but wearing an important aspect. Following them came a band playing a stately march, but cheerful. Then came a wonderful procession of gentlemen wearing spotlessly white breeches, white blazers edged with purple, straw hats with a purple band and parasols made of purple and white cloth. Each quarter of the umbrella was either white or purple. They marched in open formation keeping perfect time. The whole effect was extremely decorative. There were several hundred of them. I have heard since that they are the Elks, a sort of secret society, and they were having a demonstration at Reading.

[Pg 30]The tradesmen, and indeed all the people in Bethlehem, love to process. (I realize the vulgarity of the verb "process," but I have got to use it.) Each Elk looked thoroughly happy and contented. I suppose the climate of this place is telling on the people. It would be difficult to imagine our tradesmen and business men doing a similar thing. I believe the idea is to keep up enthusiasm. American men realize the tremendous value of enthusiasm and they seek to exploit it. They know, too, how we humans all love to dress up, and so they do dress up. The people looking on love to see it all, and no one laughs. I don't quite know what the Elks exist for, but I suppose they form a mutual benefit society of sorts. I was thrilled with the performance, and hoped that similar processions would pass often.

My work at the office, and throughout the shops keeps me very busy. It is all very new and I feel in a strange world. However, everywhere I go I am met with the most wonderful kindness imaginable.

The people seem very interested in the war. It is difficult to get a true viewpoint of their attitude here. I was not deceived when a fat looking mature man said with a hoarse laugh that the United States definition of neutrality was that "They didn't give a hang who licked the Kaiser first." Another American observed bitterly, "As long as Uncle Sam hasn't got to do it." So far as I can see, the more careless [Pg 31]people are perfectly content to carry on and are not very interested except to regard the war as a rather stale thrill. People of this type regard a decent murder or a fire in the same way.

The more thoughtful are not quite sure. They have studied history and want to stick to Washington's advice in regard to entangling alliances. They feel that we will be able to lick the Boche all right, and they are with us in the struggle. The entirely careless and futile persons take different attitudes each day. They sometimes "root" for us, especially France, whom they regard as very much America's friend. At other times they take a depressed view, and think that the Boche will win the war. They sometimes wax rude and make that peculiarly insulting statement about the British fighting until the last Frenchman dies.

I have not met many women here, but the few I have met seem to regard us as fools to fight over nothing. Nevertheless, they sympathize with our sufferings, as women will. I met one lady last night who seemed to think that America would be drawn into the war owing to French and British intrigue, and she expressed thanks to a good Providence who had made her son's eyes a little wrong so that she would not lose him. She thinks that he will not be able to do much shooting. They are all very nice to me, and everywhere I go it seems impossible for the people [Pg 32]to show too much kindness. I am astonished at the beauty of the houses here. They are all tastefully furnished and one misses the display of wealth. The houses don't seem to be divided into rooms quite like English houses. Portiéres often divide apartment from apartment, and upon festive occasions the whole bottom floor can be turned into one large room. The effect is pleasing, but one perhaps misses a certain snugness, and it must be difficult for the servants not to hear everything that goes on. Perhaps the American people think it is a good idea to let their servants hear the truth, knowing that they will find out most things in any case.

On the other side of the river and around the steel plant the people seem definitely foreign, and it is quite easy to imagine oneself in a Southern European town. The shops have Greek, Russian, Italian, Hungarian, and German signs over their doors. It is unnecessary to look into the store in order to find out what is being sold. One need only look into the ditch running beside the pavement. Masses of rotting orange and banana skins will show a fruit store. Much straw and old pieces of cardboard with lengths of pink tape will indicate a draper's. Tufts of hair and burnt out matches will show where the barber shop is.

The people all spit about the streets in this part of the town. I suppose the streets are cleaned [Pg 33]sometimes, but never very well. At any rate, the whole mass is mixed up together in the mud and slush which accumulates, and when this dries it is blown into the air and any citizen passing breathes it. The roads in this part of the town are full of shell craters and one is bumped to pieces as one motors along. I have been told that this cannot well be helped.

The steel plant has caused a terrific influx of people and it is impossible to house them all. A doctor chap tells me that in many large rooming houses a bed has always at least two occupants during the twenty-four hours. When the man goes off to work in the morning, the fellow who has been working on night shift takes his place. I believe that soon the two parts of this town are going to join and that then they will form a city which will be able to borrow enough money to keep the place in first class order. The people are not poor and indeed there are sometimes quite thrilling murders, I have heard, for the ignorant foreigners keep all their money in a chest under their beds or hidden in some way. I hear that this was caused by clever German propaganda. The Boche envoys went about and suggested to the people that if the United States entered the war they would soon be strafed by the fatherland, and that in any case, the Government would pinch all of their money.

Opposite the steel works office there are two photographic studios. All the people photographed [Pg 34]are of Southern European blood. One sees happy brides, merry babies, and last, but not least, many corpses surrounded by sad but interested relatives. When one of these foreigners dies things change for him at once. He is placed in a beautiful coffin, lined with the most comfortable looking fluffy figured satin. His head rests on a great big cushion. The side of the coffin, called here a casket, is hinged and falls down, thus forming a couch, on which the dead person rests. Before the funeral, all the friends, and whoever can get there in time, group themselves around the corpse and are photographed. If the coffin is not a very convenient type, it is raised, and one sees the corpse, dressed in his best clothes, with a watch chain across his waistcoat, surrounded by all his friends who, I am sure, are looking their best. Sometimes a sweet wee baby can be seen in the picture, lying in its expensive coffin, while the father and mother and the other children stand near. It is a funny idea and a little horrible, I think. These gruesome photographs are exposed in the front window. It is a curious thing that the more ignorant amongst us seem to enjoy a good funeral.

I expect, that within a couple of years, this town will be a beautiful city with parks and good roads. The climate is certainly good and the hills around are fine. The steel company now dominates the place, business has taken charge of the people here, [Pg 35]but the natural beauty of this spot can never be changed. Let me quote from the writings of a man who arrived here many years ago. He was very much impressed with the beauty of the hills:

"The high hills around Bethlehem in the month of October present a scene of gorgeous beauty almost beyond description. The foliage of the trees contains all the tints of the rainbow, but is even more beautiful, if that is possible, because the colours are more diffused. Some trees, the pine, the hemlock, and the laurel still retain their vivid green; the sycamore its sombre brown; the maple, the beauty of the wood and valley, is parti coloured; its leaves, green at first, soon turn into a brilliant red and yellow; the sturdy oak is clothed in purple, the gum is dressed in brilliant red; the sumac bushes are covered with leaves of brightest crimson; the beech with those of a delicate pale yellow almost white; the chestnut a buff; while the noble hickory hangs with golden pendants; the dogwood has its deep rich red leaves and clusters of berries of a brighter red."

In spite of the great steel plant, Bethlehem still nests in a very lovely valley, and during the autumn the hills are just as gorgeously beautiful as when John Hill Martin, the writer of the above, visited the town.

[Pg 36]



Bethlehem, December 20, 1917.

A Country Club seems to be an American institution. We don't seem to have them. They are primarily for the folk who live in towns. American folk like to get together as much as possible and to be sociable. Please remember that all my friends here are steel people and generally rich. Some belong to quite old families, but whatever they are they have all got something attractive about them.

It would be quite possible for most of them to build huge castles in the country, and to live there during the summer, away out from the noise and dirt; but they don't. They like to be all together, so they build beautiful houses quite close up to the street, with no fences around them. Pleasant and well kept lawns go right down to the road, and anyone can walk on the grass. A single street possibly contains the houses of several wealthy families. They all rush about together and give wonderful dinners. As their number is not great, the diners ought to get a little tired of one another, but they don't seem to. I have had the honour of attending many of these dinners. They are fine. The women dress beautifully, and often [Pg 37]tastefully and the dinner goes merrily on, everyone talking at once. We are all fearfully happy and young. No one grows up here in America. It's fine to feel young. We start off in quite a dignified fashion, but before the chicken or goose arrives we are all happy and cheerful.

It is impossible to be bored in Bethlehem at a good dinner. I suppose the object of a hostess is to make her guests happy. Most men here in Jericho work fearfully hard. Men in England often go to Paris or London to have a really hilarious time. In Bethlehem a man can be amused at home with his own wife and friends, and he certainly is. He may be fifty and a king of industry, but that does not prevent him from being the jolliest fellow in the world and brimming over with fun.

Perhaps Bethlehem is a little different from most towns in this country. A man here becomes rich; he has attained riches generally because he is a thundering good fellow—a leader of men. That is the point. One used to think of a wealthy American man as a rather vulgar person with coarse manners. American men have good manners, as a rule. They have better manners than we have, especially towards women.

Now the folk like to be in the country at times, but they don't care to be alone in enjoying it. Also, they like golf and tennis, so a club is [Pg 38]established about six miles out from a town. The actual building is large and tastefully decorated. It displays American architecture at its very best. There are generally three large rooms with folding doors or portiéres, and beautifully carpeted. The whole floor can be turned into a dancing room with tables all around, so that one may both dance and eat. Dinner starts off mildly; one gets through the soup, looks at one's partner and mentally decides how many dances one will have with her. She may be fat, slender, skinny, beautiful; she may be old, middle aged, or a flapper, but whatever she is she can dance. It is all interesting. If one's partner is nineteen or twenty she can dance well, and it behooves a new man to be careful.

I can dance the English waltz, I believe, but I can't at present dance anything else but the one-step. I find this exhilarating, but I have to confine myself to ladies of thirty-five and upwards, who realize the situation, and we dash around in a cheerful manner, much to the annoyance of the débutante. I have not danced with any very young people yet. I would not dare.

If you are a particularly bad dancer, after the first halt, caused by the orchestra stopping, a young male friend of hers will "cut in" on you, and you are left, and your opportunity of dancing with mademoiselle for more than one length of the room is gone. [Pg 39]American young men will never allow a débutante to suffer. In any case she arranges with a batch of young friends to "cut in" if you are seen dancing with her. It is all done very gracefully. To dance with an American débutante requires skill. She dances beautifully. Her body swings gracefully with the music, her feet seem to be elastic. At all costs you must not be at all rough. You must let your feet become as elastic as hers and delicately and gently swing with the music.

Although the fox-trot and the one-step are now in vogue, there is nothing that is not nice about these dances when danced by two young people. If your partner is a good dancer it is impossible to dance for very long with her. A sturdy swain approaches with a smile and says to you, "May I cut in?" She bows gracefully and you are lost. At all costs this must be taken cheerfully. The first time it occurred to me I replied, "Certainly not." I now know that I was guilty of a breach of etiquette.

If you are dancing with an indifferent dancer, there is no danger of being "cut in" on. If your object in dancing with a lady is purely a matter of duty, you shamelessly arrange with several friends to "cut in" on you, meanwhile promising to do likewise for them. Ungallant this, but it ensures the lady having a dance with several people which perhaps she would not otherwise get, and she understands. [Pg 40]Generally speaking there are no "wall flowers." They retire upstairs to powder their noses.

There is the mature lady, fair, fat and forty, who dances about with a cheery fellow her own age. Enjoyment shines from their faces as they one-step, suggesting a quick stately march let loose. The lady wears a broad hat suitably decorated and a "shirtwaist" of fitting dimensions. A string of pearls encircles her neck. One sees charming stockings, and beautiful shoes covering quite small feet. This must be a great compensation to a woman at her prime—her feet. They can be made charming when nicely decorated. The face is generally good looking and sometimes looks suitably wicked. It is well powdered, and perhaps just a little rouged. One sees some wonderful diamonds, too.

Perhaps I have seen things just a little vaguely owing to American cocktails. We can't make cocktails in England as they do in America, and that is a fact. The very names given to them here are attractive: Jack Rose, Clover Club, Manhattan, Bronx, and numerous others. They are well decorated, too.

The really exciting time at a country club is on Saturday night. In Bethlehem where there are no theatres, all the fashionable folk motor out to the country club for dinner. Generally the dancing space is fairly crowded and a little irritating for the débutantes. Still they are quite good-natured about it [Pg 41]and only smile when a large freight locomotive in the form of mama and papa collides with them.

After about fifteen minutes, while one is eating an entrée, the music starts, and if your partner consents, you get up and dance for about ten minutes and then return to the entrée, now cold. This goes on during the whole dinner. I wonder if it aids digestion.

After dinner we all leave the tables and spread ourselves about the large rooms. The ladies generally sit about, and the men go downstairs. This presents possibilities. However, most of one's time is spent upstairs with the women folk. Dancing generally goes on until about midnight, and then the more fashionable among us go into the house of a couple of bachelors. Here we sit about and have quite diverting times. Finally at about two o'clock we adjourn to our respective homes and awake in the morning a little tired. However, this is compensated for by the cocktail party the next day.

What pitfalls there are for the unwary!

One night, during a party at the club, a very great friend of mine asked me to come over to her house at noon the next day. I took this, in my ignorance, to be an invitation to lunch, and the next morning I called her up and said that I had forgotten at what time she expected me to lunch. "Come along at twelve o'clock, Mac," she replied. I found crowds of people there and wondered how they were all going [Pg 42]to be seated at the table, and then I understood. I tried to leave with the others at about twelve forty-five, but my hostess told me that she expected me to stay for lunch. Of course, she had to do this, owing to my mentioning lunch when I called up. Still it was a little awkward.

About cocktail parties—well, I don't quite know. I rather suspect that they are bad things. They always seem to remind me of the remark in the Bible about the disciples when they spake with tongues and some one said: "These men are wine bibbers." I rather think that cocktail parties are a form of wine bibbing. Still they play an important part in the life of some people, and I had better tell you about them. As a matter of fact, quite a large number of people at a cocktail party don't drink cocktails at all, and in any case, they are taken in a very small shallow glass. The sort one usually gets at a cocktail party is the Bronx or Martini variety. The former consists, I believe, largely of gin and orange juice and has a very cheering effect. People mostly walk about and chat about nothing in particular. They are generally on their way home from church and nicely dressed.

It is unpleasant to see girls drinking cocktails. Our breeding gives us all a certain reserve of strength to stick to our ideals. A few cocktails, sometimes even one, helps to knock this down and the results [Pg 43]are often regrettable. People talk about things sometimes that are usually regarded as sacred and there are children about, for the next in power after madame in an American household is the offspring of the house. Still quite nice American girls drink cocktails, although nearly always their men folk dislike it. In Bethlehem, however, I have never seen a girl friend drink anything stronger than orangeade. That is what I love about my friends in Bethlehem. Some of them have had a fairly hard struggle to get on. They don't whine about it or even boast, but they are firmly decided in their effort to give their daughters every opportunity to be even more perfect gentlewomen than they are naturally. Still some quite young American girls drink cocktails and then become quite amusing and very witty, and one decides that they are priceless companions, but out of the question as wives.

When a Britisher marries a French or a Spanish girl, there are often difficulties before she becomes accustomed to her new environment. Neither American people nor English people expect any difficulties at all when their children intermarry. And yet they do occur, and are either humourous or tragic, quite often the latter. So I would say to the Britisher, if you ever marry an American girl, look out. She will either be the very best sort of wife a man could possibly have, or she will be the other thing. [Pg 44]It will be necessary for you to humour her as much as possible. Like a horse with a delicate mouth, she requires good hands. Don't marry her unless you love her. Don't marry her for her money, or you will regret it. She is no fool and she will expect full value for all she gives. The terrible thing is that she may believe you to be a member of the aristocracy, and she will expect to go about in the very best society in London. If you are not a member of the smart set and take her to live in the country she may like it all right, but the chances are that she will cry a good deal, get a bad cold, which will develop into consumption, and possibly die if you don't take her back to New York. She will never understand the vicar's wife and the lesser country gentry, and she will loathe the snobbishness of some of the county people. In the process, she will find you out, and may heaven help you for, as Solomon said: "It is better to live on the housetop than inside with a brawling woman," and she will brawl all right. I have heard of some bitter experiences undergone by young American women.

There is, of course, no reason in the world why an English fellow should not marry an American girl if he is fond of her and she will have him. But it is a little difficult. Sometimes a Britisher arrives here with a title and is purchased by a young maiden with much money, possibly several millions, and he takes her back to Blighty. Some American girls are [Pg 45]foolish. The people perhaps dislike her accent and her attitude towards things in general. He does not know it, of course, but she has not been received by the very nicest people in her own city, not because they despise her, but merely because they find the people they have known all their lives sufficient. You see it is a little difficult for the child. In America she has been, with the help of her mother perhaps, a social mountaineer. Social mountaineering is not a pleasing experience for anyone, especially in America, but we all do it a little, I suppose. It is a poor sort of business and hardly worth while. When this child arrives in England she may be definitely found wanting in the same way that she may have been found wanting in American society, and she is naturally disappointed and annoyed. When annoyed she will take certain steps that will shock the vicar's wife, and possibly she will elope with the chauffeur, all of which will be extremely distressing, though it will be the fellow's own fault. Of course, she may love him quite a lot, but she will probably never understand him. I am not sure that she will always be willing to suffer. Why should she?

[Pg 46]



Bethlehem, December 20, 1917.

I am steadily becoming a movie "fan," which means that when Douglas Fairbanks, or Charlie Chaplin, or other cheerful people appear on the screen at the Lorenz theatre at Bethlehem I appear sitting quite close up and enjoying myself. It is all very interesting. One sort of gets to know the people, and indeed to like them. The movies have taken up quite a large part of our lives in this burgh. One has got to do something, and if one is a lone bachelor, sitting at home presents but few attractions. The people in film land are all interesting.

There is the social leader. I always love her. Her magnificent and haughty mien thrills me always, as with snowy hair, decent jewels and what not, she proceeds to impress the others in film land. I am not going to talk about the vampire.

Film stories can be divided into three classes—the wild and woolly, the crazy ones, as we call them here, and the society dramas with a human interest; and, I forgot, the crook stories.

The wild and woolly ones are delightful. John Devereaux, bored with his New York home, and his [Pg 47]gentle and elegant mother, decides to visit a friend out west. He arrives in a strange cart which looks like a spider on wheels driven by a white haired person wearing a broad brimmed hat and decorated with several pistols or even only one. He seems to find himself almost at once in a dancing hall, where wicked-looking though charming young ladies are dancing with fine handsome young fellows, all armed to the teeth, and with their hair nicely parted. In the corner of the room is the boss, sinister and evil looking, talking to as nice looking a young person as one could possibly meet. The dancing seems to stop, and then follows a "close up" of the nice looking young person. (A little disappointing this "close up." A little too much paint mademoiselle, n'est ce pas, on the lips and under the eyes?) Then a "close up" of the boss. This is very thrilling and the widest possibilities of terrible things shortly to happen are presented to us fans, as we see him chew his cigar and move it from one side of his mouth to the other. They both discuss John Devereaux and then follows a "close up" of our hero. He is certainly good looking, and his fine well-made sporting suit fits him well and shows off his strong figure.

But wait till you see him on a horse which has not a good figure, but an extremely useful mouth that can be tugged to pieces by John Devereaux as he wheels him around. I am going to start a mission [Pg 48]to movie actors in horse management, and I am going to dare to tell them that to make a horse come round quickly and still be able to use him for many years, it is not necessary to jag his dear old mouth to bits. I am also going to teach them how to feed a horse so that his bones don't stick out in parts even if he is a wicked looking pie-bald. I am also going to teach them that if you have twelve miles to ride it is an awful thing to jag your spurs into his flanks and make him go like hell. I suppose they will enjoy my mission, and it will have the same success that all missions have—but this by the way.

John Devereaux is a very handsome chap, and I like him from the start, and I am greatly comforted when I know that the charming young person will throw her fan in the face of the boss, pinch all his money and live for a few sad days in extremely old-fashioned but becoming clothes (generally a striped waist) with another worthy but poor friend, and then marry our hero. I come away greatly comforted and retire, feeling that the world without romance would be a dull place.

I love the crazy ones, I love to see fat old ladies taking headers into deep ponds. I love to see innocent fruit sellers getting run into by Henry Ford motors. I love to see dozens of policemen massing and then suddenly leaving their office and rushing like fury along the road after—Charlie Chaplin. Give me crazy movies. They are all brimming over with [Pg 49]the most innocent fun and merriment. It is a pity that they are generally so short, but I suppose the actors get tired after a time.

The society pictures must impress greatly the tired working woman; a little pathetic this, really. Perhaps I am ignorant of the doings of the four hundred, but if they live as the movie people live it must be strangely diverting to be a noble American. The decorations in their houses must supply endless hours of exploration, and the wonderful statuary must help one to attain Nirvana. I've heard of ne'er-do-well sons, but I did not know they had such amusing times.

In the society drama, the son leaves his beautiful southern home with white pillars and his innocent playmate, very pretty and hopeful and nicely gowned, and finds himself at Yale or Harvard. I wish Cambridge and Oxford presented the same number of possibilities. Here he meets the vampire, horrid and beastly, and falls for her and never thinks of his innocent father and mother solemnly opening the family Bible and saying a few choice prayers, while the playmate worries in the background, praying fervently. It is all very sad and becomes heart-rending when the pretty playmate retires to her room, puts on the most lovely sort of garment all lace and things, and after praying and looking earnestly at a crucifix, hops into bed, never forgetting to remove her slippers. Then the scene stops and she probably [Pg 50]curses the fellow working the lights if he has not got a good shine on her gorgeous hair while she prays. But don't worry, she marries the son all right. The vamp dies, probably punctured by a bullet from an old "rough neck" accomplice, or a married man.

The court scenes present wonderful possibilities for the services of some dear old chap as judge. He is an awful nice old fellow.

They are all the same and bore me stiff unless a rather decent sort of chap called Ray appears in them and he has a cleansing influence. There is also a lady called Marsh whom I rather like. Besides being good looking she can act wonderfully and is always natural. I can stand any sort of society drama with her in it. Sometimes the heroes are peculiarly horrible with nasty sloppy long hair, and not nearly as good looking as the leading man in the best male chorus in New York.

The crook stories are fine. They take place mostly in underground cellars. I love the wicked looking old women and fat gentlemen who drink a great deal. However, there are hair-breadth escapes which thrill one, and plenty of policemen and clever looking inspectors and so on.

Seriously, the movies have revolutionized society in many ways. People like Douglas Fairbanks are a great joy to us all. The people who write his plays have learnt that it is the touch of nature that counts most in all things with every one. And so he laughs [Pg 51]his way along the screen journey, and we all enter into movie land, where the sun is shining very brightly and the trees are very green, and we all live in nice houses, and meet only nice people with just a few villains thrown in, whom we can turn into nice people by smiling at them. He changes things for us sometimes. Rhoda sitting next to Trevor sees him through different eyes and she gives his hand a good hard squeeze. He is a sort of Peter Pan, really.

Mothers in movie land are always jolly and nice. Fathers are often a little hard, but they come round all right or get killed in an exciting accident. Generally they come round. The parsons worry me a little. Being a zealous member of the Church of England, I object strongly to the sanctimonious air and beautiful silvery hair displayed by ministers in movie land. They marry people off in no time, too, and a little promiscuously, I think.

Except at the Scala, where the pictures used to be good and dull, most of the movie theatres are a little impossible in Blighty. I wonder why. In New Zealand there are fine picture theatres and in Australia they are even better, but if you venture into one in London you want to get out quick. Here in America they are ventilated, and there is generally a pipe organ to help one to wallow in sentiment. Often it seems well played, too, and, at any rate, the darkness and the music blend well together and one can get into "Never Never Land" quite easily and comfortably.

[Pg 52]



Bethlehem, U.S.A., January 25, 1917.

On the twenty-second day of last month, I was preparing to spend a comparatively happy Christmas at the house of some friends who possessed many children. Unfortunately, I met the Assistant Superintendent of Shop No. 2, who, after greeting me in an encouraging manner, said, "Lootenant, I am very glad to see you, I want your help. We are held up by the failure of the people in Detroit to deliver trunnion bearings. Would it be possible for you to run out there and see how they are getting on, and perhaps you could get them to send a few sets on by express?"

That Assistant Superintendent never did like me.

Now Detroit is a long way from Bethlehem, and at least twenty-four hours by train, so it looked as though my merry Christmas would be spent in a Pullman. I'd rather spend Christmas Day in a workhouse, for even there "the cold bare walls" are alleged to be "bright with garlands of green and holly," and even bitterly acknowledged by many small artists reciting that "piece" to help to form a "pleasant sight." But Christmas Day in a Pullman! And [Pg 53]worse still, Christmas night in a sleeper, with the snorers. Mon Dieu!

If a person snores within the uttermost limit of my hearing, I must say good-bye to sleep, no matter how tired I may be. It is a strange thing how many otherwise nice people snore. Travelling in America has for me one disadvantage—the fact that one has to sleep, like a dish on a Welsh dresser, in the same compartment with about forty people, six of whom surely snore. There is the loud sonorous snore of the merchant prince, the angry, pugnacious bark of the "drummer," the mature grunt of the stout lady, and the gentle lisp-like snore of the débutante. You can't stop them. One would expect "Yankee ingenuity" to find a way out.

I think that there ought to be a special padded Pullman for the snoring persons. It ought to be labelled in some way. Perhaps a graceful way would be to have the car called "Sonora." Then all people should carry with them a small card labelled, "The bearer of this pass does not snore," and then the name of a trusted witness or the stamp of a gramaphone company without the advertisement "His Master's Voice." You see a person could be placed in a room, and at the moment of sinking into somnolence, a blank record could start revolving, and be tried out in the morning.

Or perhaps the label would read, "The bearer [Pg 54]of this card snores." Then the gramaphone company might advertise a little with the familiar "His Master's Voice." It would be awful to lose your label if you were a non-snorer, and then to be placed in the special sleeper. Perhaps there might be a "neutral" car for the partial snorers.

I slept in a stateroom on a liner once next to a large man and his large wife, and they were both determined snorers. They used to run up and down the scale and never started at the bottom together. It was a nice mathematical problem to work out when they met in the centre of the scale.

As a matter of fact, I don't mind the snoring on a Pullman when the train gets going, because you cannot hear it then, but sometimes in an optimistic frame of mind you decide to board the sleeper two hours before the train starts. Your optimism is never justified, for sure enough, several people start off. It is useless to hold your hands to your ears; you imagine you hear it, even if you don't. So possessing yourself with patience, you read a book, until the train starts. Asphyxiation sets in very soon, but, alas, the train develops a hot box, and you awake once more to the same old dreary noises. I hope that soon they will have that special car. If they don't, the porter ought to be supplied with a long hooked rake, and as he makes his rounds of inspection, he should push the noisy people into other positions. This would look very interesting.

[Pg 55]However, on this journey to Detroit I boarded the train at Bethlehem on its way to Buffalo and no hot boxes were developed, so I enjoyed a very peaceful night, although I was slightly disturbed when a dear old lady mistook my berth for hers, and placed her knee on my chest, and got an awful fright. That is one of the advantages of taking an "upper" over here. You have time to head off night walkers because they have got to get the step-ladder, the Pullman porter is not always asleep, and you hear them as they puff up the stairs. Although I prefer the little stateroom cars we have in England, I must admit that the beds in a Pullman are very large and well supplied with blankets and other comforts.

I arrived at Detroit, and after a long chat about the war with the man who counted most, I suggested that he would be doing us all a great favour if he sent a few trunnion bearings on by express at once. He said, "Sure!" I love that American word "Sure." There is something so intimate, so encouraging about it, even if nothing happens. Detroit is a wonderful city and the people whom I met there awfully decent.

I went through several factories, and I must admit that I have seen nothing in this country to compare with them. There are vaster plants in the East, but for the display of really efficient organization, give me Detroit. I liked the careful keenness displayed. There is something solid, something lasting [Pg 56]about Detroit, that struck me at once in spite of its newness. It is always alleged in the East that the Middle West is notoriously asleep in regard to national duty, but I rather suspect that if the time arrives for this country to fight, it will be towns like Detroit, towards the Middle West, that will be the rapid producers.

Of course, Henry Ford has his wonderful motor car factory here where he lets loose upon an astonished world and grateful English vicars of little wealth, his gasping, highly efficient, but unornamental, metal arm breakers called by the vulgar "flivvers," and by the more humorous "tin Lizzies." Having heard so much about this plant, I denied myself the pleasure of going through it. I hear that it is very wonderful.

All these remarks are merely offensive impressions and carry but little weight even in my own mind. Still I definitely refuse to regard the Middle West as asleep to national duty.

I left Detroit or rather tried hard and finally succeeded in leaving that fair city; and still dreading to spend Christmas day in a Pullman I made up my mind to spend the holidays at Niagara in Ontario. Incidentally, at Niagara I received a wire from Detroit in the following words: "Have sent by express four sets of trunnion bearings. A merry Xmas to you."

While I am glad to praise Detroit, and especially [Pg 57]its best hotel, I cannot for a single moment admire, or even respect, the time-table kept by the trains that ran through its beautiful station last month around Christmas.

I decided to leave by a train which was alleged to depart at twelve o'clock. I jumped into a taxi at eleven-fifty. "You're cutting things pretty fine," said the chauffeur, "but I guess we will make it all right." Hence we dashed along the road at a pretty rapid rate and I thought the driver deserved the extra quarter that I gladly gave to him. I placed my things in the hands of a dark porter and gasped: "Has the train gone?" My worry was quite unnecessary. In the great hall of the station there were about three hundred of Henry Ford's satellites going off on their Christmas vacation, as well as many others. The train that should have gone six hours before had not arrived. There were no signs of mine. It seemed to have got lost, for nothing could be told about it. Other trains were marked up as being anything from three to six hours overdue.

After waiting in a queue near the enquiry office for about an hour, I at last got within speaking distance of the man behind the desk marked "Information." He could tell me nothing, poor chap. His chin was twitching just like a fellow after shell shock. Noting my sympathetic glance, he told me that an enquiry clerk only lasted one-half hour if he were not [Pg 58]assassinated by angry citizens who seemed to blame him for the trains being late. He denied all responsibility, while admitting the honour. He said that he was the sixth to be on duty. The rest had been sent off to the nearest lunatic asylum. At that moment he collapsed and was carried away on a stretcher, muttering, "They ain't my trains, feller." Never was such a night. I made several life long friends. All the food in the buffet got eaten up and the attendant women had quite lost their tempers and quarreled with anyone who looked at all annoyed.

After waiting about five hours, I became a little tired. I was past being annoyed, and expected to spend my life in that station hall, so I sought food in the buffet. As I approached the two swinging doors, they opened as if by magic and two good looking, cheery faced boys stood on each side like footmen and said: "Good evening, Cap."

"Ha!" thought I to myself, "what discernment! They can tell at once that I am a military man," so I smile pleasantly upon them and asked them how they knew that I was an officer in spite of my mufti. They looked astonished, but quickly regaining their composure, asked what regiment I belonged to. I told them, and soon we got very friendly and chatty. They introduced me to several friends who gathered round, and fired many questions at me in regard to the war. Amongst their number was a huge person of kindly [Pg 59]aspect. One of my early friends whispered that he was the captain of their football team and a very great person. He said but little. They explained that they were members of a dramatic club, and that they had given a performance in Detroit. We chatted a great deal, and then a fellow of unattractive appearance, and insignificant aspect remarked: "You British will fight until the last Frenchman dies." He laughed as he said it. He used the laugh which people who wish to prevent bodily injury to themselves always use when they insult a person. It is the laugh of a servant, a laugh which prevents a man from getting really annoyed. I am glad to say that the rest turned upon him and I merely said lightly: "There are many fools going about but it is difficult to catalogue their variety until they make similar remarks to yours."

The large football player was particularly annoyed with that chap and the others remarked that he was a "bloody German." We were much too tired and weary to talk seriously, but I gathered from these youths that they were very keen to get across to the other side, to fight the Boche.

We discussed Canada. It almost seemed that they wanted to sell Canada so great was the admiration they expressed. They envied the Canadians their opportunity to fight the Germans. They praised the country, its natural resources and beauty. They admired the Englishness of their neighbors. This is [Pg 60]an interesting fact: all Americans that I have met cannot speak too highly of the Canadians. I have heard American women talking with the greatest of respect about our nation as represented by our people in Canada and Bermuda.

After a couple of hours these fellows went off, expressing a desire to take me with them. In fact, two of them tried hard to persuade me to go to Chicago in their special. Evidently they had had a good supper. I hope that I shall meet the large football chap again.

At about seven in the morning my train at last appeared, and as the sun was rising, I climbed into my upper berth while the fellow on the lower groaned, stating that he had the influenza, called "the grip" over here. This sounded encouraging, for I expected to breathe much of his air.

I at last arrived at Niagara in Ontario and sought the Inn called Clifton. It is run very much on English lines and suggests a very large country cottage in Blighty, with its chintz hangings. All around was a wide expanse of snow and the falls could be heard roaring in the distance. I had seen them before, so I promptly had a very hot bath and lay down and went to sleep in my charming little bedroom with its uneven roof.

I am not going to describe the Falls. They are too wonderful and too mighty for description, but [Pg 61]they are not too lovely and not too wonderful as a great beauty gift from God to prevent us humans from building great power houses on the cliffs around, and so marring their beauty.

I spent a happy Christmas at this house and met several Canadian men with their women folk who had come down to spend a quiet Christmas. They were very kind to me and I liked them all immensely. One lady remarked that it was a very good idea to want to spend Christmas with my own people. This was astonishing and pleasing, for most of my friends who had gone over to Canada to do harvesting during the long vacations from Oxford and Cambridge had hated it. It told me one great thing, however, that the Canadian people had grown to know us better, and had evidently decided that every stray home-made Briton was not a remittance man, but might possibly, in spite of his extraordinary way of speaking English, be a comparatively normal person possessing no greater number of faults than other mortals. I found these people very interesting, and one very charming lady introduced me to the poetry of Rupert Brooke. She had one of his volumes of poetry containing an introduction detailing his life.

I read this introduction with much interest. It spoke about the river at Cambridge, just above "Byron's Pool"—a very familiar spot. I had often plunged off the dam into the cool depths above and [Pg 62]had even cooked moorhens' eggs on the banks. I will admit that my ignorance of Rupert Brooke and his genius showed a regrettably uninformed mind. I can only murmur with the French shop keepers "c'est la guerre." These people made me very much at home and they all had a good English accent—not the affected kind, but a natural sort of accent.

American people then came in for their share of criticism. The Canadians are learning many lessons from us. I think, of course, that America ought to be in this war, but I do know that all my American men friends would give their last cent to make the President declare war, and I have learnt not to mention the subject.

They were very sympathetic about my having to live with the Yankees. One very nice man said with a smile, I fear of superiority: "And how do you like living with the Yankees?"

I was at a loss to know how to reply. I hate heroics, and I distrust the person who praises his friends behind their backs with too great a show of enthusiasm. It is a kind of newspaper talk and suspicious. Besides, I desired to be effective, to "get across" with praise of my American friends, so I merely stated all the nice things I had ever heard the Americans say about Canada and the Canadians. This took me a long time. They accepted the rebuke like the gentlefolk they were. Still, I thought the feeling about America was very interesting.

[Pg 63]Upon my return to the States, I mentioned this to a friend and he said that he knew about the feeling, but he explained that it was really a pose, and was a survival of the feeling from the old revolution days when the loyalists took refuge in Canada. I then gathered that my Canadian friends were merely "high flying after fashion," like Mrs. Boffin in "Our Mutual Friend."

I went to church on the Sunday and enjoyed singing "God Save the King." The minister spoke well, but like the American clergy, he preached an awfully long sermon. Everything seems to go quickly and rapidly over here except the sermons.

I went to a skating rink filled with many soldiers and was asked by a buxom lass where my uniform was, and why was I not fighting for the King. I felt slightly annoyed. However, I enjoyed the skating until a youth in uniform barged into me and passed rude remarks about my clothing generally.

This was too much for my temper, so I strafed him until he must have decided that I was at least a colonel in mufti. He will never be "fresh" to a stranger again, and he left the rink expecting to be court-martialled.

The next day I had influenza, and I remembered my friend in the train at Detroit. However, I went to Toronto and endeavored to buy a light coat at a large store. I am not a very small person, but [Pg 64]evidently the attendant disliked me on sight. After he had tried about three coats on me he remarked pleasantly that they only kept men's things in his department, so I strafed him, and left Canada by the very next train. I felt furious. However, I recognised a man I knew on the train whom I had seen at Popperinge near Ypres. He had been a sergeant in the Canadian forces, so we sat down and yarned about old days in "Flounders." He was the dining-room steward. He healed my wounded pride when I told him about the coat incident and said: "Why didn't you crack him over the head, sir! Those sort of fellows come in here with their 'Gard Darm'—but I don't take it now. No, sir!" Still it was fine to visit Canada and I felt very much at home and very proud of the Empire.

Now in the days of peace I should have come away from Canada with a very firm determination never to visit the place again, but the war has changed one's outlook on all things. Still I longed to get back to my Yankee and well loved friends who don't mind my "peculiar English twang" a bit.

I was urged one night at a country club to join a friend at another table—to have a drink of orangeade. I showed no signs of yielding, so my friend—he was a great friend—said, "Please, Mac, come over, these fellows want to hear you speak." They wanted to listen to my words of wisdom? Not a bit! It was my [Pg 65]accent they wanted. But there was no intention of rudeness; the fellow was too much my friend for that, but he wanted to interest his companions. Sometimes I have apologised for my way of speaking, remarking that I could not help it, and at once every one has said, "For the love of Mike, don't lose your English accent." Perhaps they meant that as a comedian I presented possibilities.

It might be a good idea to give you a few impressions of the folk in Bethlehem. Obviously they can be little else than impressions, and they can tell you little about Americans as a whole. The people of Bethlehem divide themselves roughly into six groups—the Moravians (I place them first), the old nobility, the new aristocracy, the great mass of well-to-do store-keepers and the like, the working class of Americans, largely Pennsylvania Dutch, and the strange mixture of weird foreigners who live in South Bethlehem near and around the steel works.

But let me tell you about the Moravians; they have been awfully good to me during the four months I have lived with them. Just to live in the same town with them helps one quite a lot.

It is possible that some of my statements may be inaccurate, but I have had a great deal to do with them, and I don't think that I shall go very far wrong.

Anne of Bohemia married King Richard II of [Pg 66]England. Obviously large numbers of her friends and relations visited her during her reign. Wycliff became at this time fashionable, and these tourists, being interested in most of the things they saw, doubtlessly had the opportunity of hearing Wycliff preach. A man of undoubted personality, otherwise he would not have lived very long, he must have impressed the less frivolous of Anne's friends, including John Huss who was a very religious person. The whole thing is interesting. These Bohemians saw numbers of the aristocracy thoroughly interested in Wycliff. Possibly they did not understand the intrigue underlying the business, but they could not have regarded Wycliff's movement as anything else but a fashionable one.

John Huss returned to Bohemia and established a church, or reorganised an older church. For the benefit of those members of the Church of England and the members of the Episcopal church of America who regard a belief in Apostolic succession as necessary to their souls' salvation, it might be well to add that the first Moravian bishop was consecrated by another bishop. After a time they ceased to be regarded with favour by the Church of Rome in Bohemia, in spite of their fashionable origin, so they grew and multiplied.

Still their struggles were great, and one wonders whether they could have continued to thrive if it had [Pg 67]not been for a friend who appeared upon the scene to act as their champion. The friend was a certain Count Zinzendorf, a noble German. He allowed them to establish a small settlement upon his estates at Herenhorf.

If they were anything like my friends, their descendants in Bethlehem, he must have loved them very much. One can easily picture the whole thing. They were normal persons; they displayed no fanaticism; they had a simple ritual, and they must have had among their numbers members of the best families in Bohemia. This would help the count a little. They had some quaint customs. The women dressed simply but nicely. A young lady after marriage wore a pretty blue ribbon around her neck. Before marriage she wore a pink one. I have seen some priceless old pictures in the archives of the church here in Bethlehem of the sweetest old ladies in the world, mostly wearing the blue ribbon. The artist must have been a Moravian himself. The figures are stiff and conventional; the hands dead and lifeless with pointed fingers—you know the sort of thing—but the faces are wonderfully drawn. They have all got something characteristic about them. Sometimes a slight smile, sometimes they look as though they were a little bored with posing, and one can perhaps get an idea of their respective natures, by the way they regard the artist. I felt that I should like to adopt them all as grandmothers.

Of course, Count Zinzendorf got very much [Pg 68]converted, and, possibly knowing William Penn, he obtained permission for the Moravians to settle here in Bethlehem. I have skipped a lot of their history. I don't know much about their early life in America, but they chose the sweetest spot in this valley for their home. They settled on the north side of the Lehigh River, a pleasant stream which with several tributaries helped them to grind their corn. They converted the Indians largely. At any rate, if you go into the old cemetery you will see the graves of many of the red-skins. The last of the Mohicans, Tschoop, lies in this cemetery. I sometimes stroll through this sacred square and read the weird old inscriptions on the tombs. One dear old lady has her grave in the middle of the pathway so that people passing may be influenced just a little by the remarks made by those who knew and loved her. A weird idea, isn't it? I could write pages about the Moravians, but time and the fact that I may bore you, and so kill your interest in my friends, prevent me from saying very much.

Trombones mean almost everything to a Moravian. To be a member of the trombone choir is the highest honour a young Moravian can aspire to. Perhaps interest will die out, perhaps the influence of the huge steel works now taking complete control of Bethlehem will prevent the boys from regarding the thing as a terrific honour.

[Pg 69]A member of this choir has much to attend to. When a sister or a brother dies, the fact is announced to the brethren by the playing of a simple tune. At the hour of burial the trombones once more play. All announcements are made from the tower with the aid of the trombone choir. I cannot say they always play well. I am afraid I don't mind very much, but the thing in itself is very interesting.

I was spending a very enjoyable evening at a man's house on the last day of the old year. At five minutes to twelve I left a cheery crowd of revellers and rushed along to the Moravian church. A large clock was ticking out the last minutes of the closing year. A minister was talking, thanking God for all the good things of the past years and asking His help in the coming year. He seemed sure that it would be all right, but we all felt a little fearful of what the next year would bring. I remembered my last New Year's Eve at the front—it was getting a little depressing. Finally there were left but two seconds of the old year. We were all trying to think. The year closed. A mighty burst of music crashed through the air. The trombones were playing "Now Thank We All Our God." We all jumped to our feet and commenced to join in. Depression vanished as in stately fashion we all sang the wonderful hymn.

I went back to the party. Most of the people were still there. They were a handsome crowd of men and [Pg 70]women, great friends of mine for the most part. They seemed happy and cheerful. I wondered what the year would bring for us all. I wondered if America would be drawn into the war, and I wondered which crowd of people would be better able to bear the strain of war—the folk in the Moravian church, or the people at the cheery party. I think I can guess. The cheery folk represent the type who will get depressed and unhappy. They will be the spreaders of rumours. They will be the people who will learn to hope most quickly. They will regard every small victory as a German rout, and every reverse as a hopeless defeat. Some amongst them will, of course, find a new life opening up for them. Still I wonder.

But the Moravians will take things as they come. They will be the folk who will encourage and help. They will be able to stand anything—sorrow and joy, and treat them in the same way. They will give their sons willingly and gladly, and their men will make the very best kind of soldiers. Perhaps it is wrong to prophesy, but I think that if the United States should enter this war, amongst the certain quantities of this country, the Moravians will have an important place. They are mostly of Teutonic origin, but at the moment their sympathies are all with us. They like England and the English, and when I say England and the English I mean Britain and the Britons. George II was kind to them, I believe, and they live a great deal in the past.

[Pg 71]I have the honour of knowing several of the trombone choir. I must tell you about Brother L——. I suspect he is the leader or the conductor of the trombone choir. He is a dear old chap, rather small and has a black pointed beard. He is getting on in years now, and always suggests to my mind that picture of Handel as a boy being found playing the harpsichord in the attic. You may find it difficult to see the connection. I am not sure that I do myself. One always feels, however, that hidden away in that little body of his, there is a divine spark that ought to have had a bigger opportunity. Perhaps the connection lies in the fact that I first met him after he had just finished giving Mrs. U——'s son a lesson on the trombone. Mrs. U——'s husband is not a Moravian, but the wife is equal to at least two of them, so that makes things equal. Brother L—— is employed at the steel works, and as I was getting into an automobile one afternoon early, intent upon visiting a pond near by to do some skating, I saw brother L—— waiting for a trolley car. I offered him a lift which he accepted. Now, he had timed the trolley car to a minute, so that by getting off at Church Street he would reach the cemetery, his destination, at just the right moment, for an old sister was being buried. My car went pretty fast, and I remember leaving him standing in the snow at least eight inches thick. I fear he must have got frozen, for he had to wait ten [Pg 72]minutes. Strangely enough he has never forgotten the incident, and I am sure that there is nothing in the world he would not do for me. It is a funny and strange thing that when one tries to do big things for people, often there is little gratitude shown, but little things that cause one no trouble often bring a tremendous reward far outweighing the benefit.

Now Brother L—— is an American and we who dare to criticise our cousins never meet this type abroad. He, with many of his brother and sister Moravians, are my friends. To me they form a tremendous argument why I should never say an unkind word about the children of Uncle Sam. I have no desire to become a Moravian, but I like them very much. Before I finish wearing you out with these descriptions of my friends I must tell you all about the "Putz."

One night I was the guest of a local club. It was early in December and we were spending an extremely amusing evening. At about eleven o'clock, all the women folk having departed, one fellow came up to me and said: "Say, Captain, we have a barrel of sherry in the cellar, would you like a glass?" A small party had collected near me at the time, so we all descended to a sort of catacomb where a small barrel of sherry was enthroned. I took a glass and found it very dry, and not very nice. I was offered another but refused. It is difficult to refuse a drink [Pg 73]offered by a good looking American boy, so finally I held the glass, took a tiny sip, and then decided to shut the door of the cellar, deftly spilling the sherry as the door banged. I rather like a glass of sherry with my soup, but to drink it steadily was an unknown experience. Glass after glass was given to me and I managed to appear to drink all their contents. They must have wondered at my sobriety. There were several present who had no desire to spill theirs and among these was a tall, good-looking youth who was fast becoming a little happy. He came towards me with an unsteady step, and succeeded in spilling my fifth glass of sherry, thus saving me the trouble of shutting the door, and said: "Say, Cap., will you come and see my p—utz?" I was a little bewildered. He repeated it again and again and then I decided upon a counter bombardment and said: "Pre—cisely what is your p—utz." He looked comically bewildered and then a fellow explained that a Putz was a decoration of German origin. At Christmas time in South Germany the people build models of the original Bethlehem, representing the birth of our Lord. It suggests a crêche in a Roman church. I said therefore: "But yes, I shall be glad to." I gathered that a similar custom prevailed in Bethlehem.

Most Moravians have a Putz in their houses at Christmas time. A house containing one is quite open [Pg 74]to all. Wine and biscuits are alleged to be served. I did not get any wine, but saw the biscuits. So at Christmas time small parties accumulate and go from house to house looking at the Putzes. Sometimes they are a little crude, and where there are small boys in the family, model electric tram cars dash past the sacred manger. One nice boy cleverly got past this incongruity, for, after building an ordinary model village with street lamps, and tram cars dashing round and round, he had the stable and manger suspended above amidst a mass of cotton wool, and he explained that the whole thing was a vision of the past. But let me tell you about the Putz that belonged to my friend of the club catacomb.

With Mrs. U—— I knocked at the door and entered. The house was dimly lighted and we found ourselves in a darkened room, quite large. At first we could hear the gentle ripple of water, and then we seemed to hear cattle lowing very softly. Soon our eyes grew accustomed to the darkness and we found ourselves looking across a desert with palm trees silhouetted against the dark blue sky. Camels seemed to be walking towards a small village on the right. The village was of the usual Eastern kind with a synagogue in the centre. Soon we noticed that the synagogue was being lighted up quite slowly and gradually and after an interval gentle singing could be heard. It was all very soft but quite distinct. [Pg 75]The music stopped for a second and then dawn seemed to be breaking. Finally a bright star appeared in the sky, and showed us shepherds watching their flocks, but looking up towards the sky. More light came and we saw angels with snowy white wings above the shepherds. At this moment men's voices could be heard singing in harmony "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," and the music was certainly coming from the wee synagogue. The star seemed to move a little, at any rate, it ceased shining on the shepherds and we became unconscious of the angels, but soon it shone upon a stable in which were Mary and the babe lying in the manger. There were the wise men of the East also. Some more light shone upon the village and the little brook made more noise. Someone in the darkness near me repeated: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass which the Lord made known unto us! And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it [Pg 76]wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

It was a woman's voice speaking, softly and sweetly. To me it seemed the outcry of womenkind all over the world.

I wanted to be home for Christmas very badly, but I must admit that of all places in the world apart from home I think Bethlehem presents most possibilities for a really enjoyable time. We had plenty of snow and consequently plenty of opportunities for tobogganing. People also gave many charming parties. I went to a bal masqué after returning from Detroit, dressed as a Maori warrior. I had much clothing on, but one arm and shoulder was exposed. Several women friends who usually wore quite abbreviated frocks, suggested that I was naked. I merely observed "et tu Brute!" but they did not understand. Women are inconsistent.

[Pg 77]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., February 28, 1917.

So William of Hohenzollern the war lord, the high priest of God, has decided that this extremely unpleasant war shall cease. Over here we all agree that nothing would suit us better; only we are quite certain that we do not want the war to end in the particular way desired by His Imperial Highness. We admit, of course, that his methods display a high state of efficiency in every direction, and that his organization of men and things is perfectly wonderful, but, fools that we are, we have become attached to our own muddling ways and we don't want to change. In other words, we rather enjoy our freedom. We admit that we ought to like His Imperial Highness since he is so very much the intimate friend of God, but possibly our souls have fallen so far from grace that when we examine our minds we find there nothing but contempt and dislike mixed with just a little pity. We cannot be altogether arch sinners because we are unable to muster up a decent hatred, no matter how hard we try, because William seems to us a poor sort of creature.

[Pg 78]I cannot understand the Prussian point of view. It was quite unnecessary to drag Uncle Sam into the war. His nature is so kindly that he is always willing to give the other man the benefit of the doubt, but there are limits to his good nature. The threat to sink the merchant ships of America without warning is well beyond the limit of his patience. The Germans must have forgotten the travail that accompanied the birth of this great nation. To them, Uncle Sam would seem to be merely a very wealthy merchant prince, with but one object—to get rich as quickly as possible; a merchant prince without honour where his pockets are concerned. If they had decided that he was merely enjoying a rather nice after luncheon sleep they would have been a little nearer the truth. They would then have avoided waking him up. As it is, he is now very wide awake, and he is also examining his soul very carefully and wondering just a little. His eyes too are very wide open and he can see very plainly, and one of the things he can see is a very unpleasant little emperor over in Germany daring to issue orders to his children. He also realizes that since God has given him the wonderful gift of freedom, it is his duty to see that other people are allowed to enjoy the same privileges. As a child, it was necessary for him to avoid "entangling alliances," but he is now a man with a man's privileges and a man's duties.

[Pg 79]So he has called across the water to France: "I'm coming to help you, Lafayette," and he has shouted across the water to Great Britain: "John, I have never been quite sure of you, but I guess you're on the right track, and if you can wait a little I expect to be able to help you quite a lot."

Of course, Germany expects to starve Great Britain into subjection before Uncle Sam is ready to do much. She also, in her overwhelming pride, believes that her own nationals in the States possess sufficient power to stultify any great war effort. She also believes that the American people are naturally pacifists and that the President will have a big job in front of him. And indeed he might have had a difficult job, too, for great prosperity tends to weaken the offensive power of a democracy and there were many men here who disliked intensely the idea of sending an army of American men to France to fight side by side with England, but his job has become child's play since Zimmermann's wily scheme to ally Mexico and Japan against the States has been exposed. This exposure united the people as if by magic. The people began to scent danger, and danger close at home, and they saw at once that the only enemy they possessed was Kaiser William. When the Kaiser dies, and I suppose he will die some day, it would be interesting to be present (just for a second, of course) when he meets his grandfather's great [Pg 80]friend, Bismarck. One would not desire to stay long on account of the climate but it would be interesting nevertheless. Would Bismarck weep or laugh?

Of course, the Zimmermann scheme counted for very little with the great minds at the helm of state here, but it did rouse the ordinary people and settled many arguments.

So the war lord is going to drown thousands of sailors in order that a million lives may be saved on the battlefields of Europe! What a pity that we inefficient and contemptible British, American, and French people cannot agree with him. What fools we all must seem to him to prefer death a thousand times rather than to spend a single second in the world with His Imperial Highness as our lord and master.

Thank heaven we can see him as he is really—just a mad chauffeur with his foot on the accelerator dashing down a very steep hill with not a chance in the world of getting around that nasty turning at the bottom. The car he is driving to destruction is a very fine machine, too. It is a great pity. Perhaps it will break down suddenly before he gets to the bottom and the mad chauffeur will come an awful cropper, but there will be something left of the machine.

I have now left the hotel and am established in a very happy home. It was difficult to get lodgings, [Pg 81]but I applied to J—— C—— for help and he sent me down to Harry's wife. Harry is the butler of a friend of mine, one of the head steel officials. Anyone who applies to J—— C—— for help always gets it. He is an Irishman who has not been in Ireland for half a century, but he has still got a brogue. I called on Harry's wife and found a sweet faced English girl with a small young lady who made love to me promptly. I decided to move as soon as possible, and now I am perfectly happy. Harry's wife will do anything in the world to make a fellow comfortable and "himself" keeps my clothes pressed in his spare time. They both do nice little things for me. I can do precisely what I please and I know that the two of them are very interested.

One night, four cheery people came in; one seized a mandolin, another a guitar, while a third played the piano. It was quite late and I wondered what my gentle landlord and his lady would think. While the music was still going on I stole out to reconnoitre and saw the two of them fox-trotting round the kitchen like a couple of happy children, just loving the music. Harry's wife's father and her brothers are all soldiers and she was brought up at Aldershot. When I write things for magazines she listens to me in the middle of her work while I read them and she always expresses enthusiasm. When the ominous package returns she is as depressed as I am about it.

[Pg 82]A friend offered me what he alleged to be a well-bred Western Highland terrier in Philadelphia, and I, of course, fell, for Becky, Harry's little girl, wanted a dog. My friend called up his daughter and told her to send one of the puppies along. I observed that I wanted a male puppy and he said: "Yep." Communications must have broken down somewhere, for a tiny female puppy arrived in a pink basket. The person who said that my puppy was a Western Highland terrier was an optimist, or a liar. I fear that her family tree would not bear close inspection. However, she hopped out of the basket and expressed a good deal of pleasure. She ought to have been at least another month with her mother. We gave her milk and she at once grew so stout in front of our eyes that we all shuddered, wondering what would happen next. She couldn't walk, but after a time her figure became more normal. She had very nice manners on the whole, and had a clinging disposition and would worm her way right round a person's back under his coat and emerge from under his collar close up to his neck. In a few days she became perfectly nude and Jack, calling, mistook her for a rat, but was disappointed. She mistook him for a relation and too actively showed her affection. He refused to look at her, placed both feet on my shoulders, looked with astonishment at me, and left the house. He has refused to enter ever since. Sally, as we had named her, [Pg 83]got even more nude, so I got some anti-eczema dope and rubbed her with it. This had the desired effect and her hair grew again. I wish you could see her and her young mistress together, mixed up with six rabbits.

Sally refuses to look like a Western Highland terrier, and follows me about looking like a tiny rat. A man pointed to us one day and said: "Wots that?" His friend, thinking he meant an automobile that was passing said: "Just a flivver." So we have decided upon Sally's breed and she is called a flivver dog. Like all dogs of mixed breed she is wonderfully intelligent, and her young mistress and her mistress's mother would not sell her for a million dollars. She has more friends throughout this town than we can ever have. Her greatest friend is a fat policeman who lives opposite. I took her to a picnic once and she buried all our sausages which they call "Frankfurters" here. We saw her disappearing with the last one almost as big as herself.

I am very lucky to have secured such a wonderful home in Bethlehem. No woman enjoys having strange men ruining her carpets and making themselves a nuisance generally, and as the Bethlehem people are mostly well off, few of them desire to take in lodgers. Harry's wife has taken me in because she has soldier blood and royal artillery blood in her veins and she wants to do her bit.

[Pg 84]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., April 25, 1917.

In the days of the Boer war we used to sing a patriotic song which commenced with the words "War clouds gather over every land." War clouds have gathered over this land all right, but they haven't darkened the minds of the people in any way. With a quickness and a keenness that is surprising, the people have realized that the war clouds hovering over the United States have a very beautiful silver lining, and they haven't got to worry about turning them inside out either, because they know the silver lining is there all right. Of course, the womenfolk are very worried, naturally. I don't blame them, when I look at their sons.

I think that Uncle Sam's action in deciding to fight Germany is a golden lining to the very dark cloud of war in England. I am hoping that the folk over here will realize all our suffering during the past three years. I know that soon they will understand that the so-called "England's mistakes" were not mistakes really, at least not mistakes made since August, 1914, but just the great big composite mistake of unpreparedness. It seems to me that Uncle [Pg 85]Sam was just as guilty. He himself believes that he was much more guilty because he did have nearly three years to think about the matter.

He will realize that we could not save Serbia, because we simply had not trained men or the guns to equip them with. He will know that the Dardanelles business, although apparently a failure, was an heroic effort to help Russia since she needed help. He will realize that right from the start we have been doing our "damnedest." He knows, of course, that, like the United States, we are a democracy, a form of government which was never designed with the object of making war outside its own council chamber. I dare say he will understand the whole thing finally; I hope that he will grow to understand us as a nation and that we will learn to understand him. It is about time that we did.

It is very interesting over here to watch the development of popular feeling. Before the United States broke with Germany the President, of course, came in for his share of criticism. Now the man who says a word against Mr. Wilson gets it "in the neck." All the people realize that he is a very great man and both Democrats and Republicans are united in one object—to stand by the President. This is not mere war hysteria, but the display of common sense. While the country was at peace the two great parties enjoyed their arguments, and I dare say after the war [Pg 86]they will once more indulge in this interesting pastime, but not until Mr. Hohenzollern is keeping a second-hand shop in a small street in Sweden somewhere.

All my men friends have rushed off from Bethlehem to become soldiers. It is a fine thing to think of these American fellows fighting beside us. You will realize this when you discover that an American belies absolutely his British reputation of being a boaster, with little to boast about. However, there is one phrase that I wish he would not use and that is "in the world." It causes misunderstanding often. I believe that the American fellow that I meet will make a wonderful soldier when he has learned a few things. It seems to me that we British had to learn quite a lot of things from the Germans in the way of modern warfare at the start.

I hate to think of an anæmic German with spectacles turning his machine gun on these fellows, as with much courage and much inexperience they expose themselves, until they learn that personal courage allied to inexperience make an impossible combination against the Huns. But one sees them learning difficult lessons for their temperament, and finally being as good soldiers as our own. I can also see them willing to acknowledge that they are no better.

We have discovered that Count Bernstorff was [Pg 87]rather an impossible person, although plausible, and altogether it is quite unsafe to be a German sympathizer here these days. I am a little afraid of German propaganda, which will surely take subtle steps to interfere with the friendship that can be seen arising between us and our brothers over here. I dare say England will be very severely attacked in all kinds of cunning ways. Will she take equally subtle steps to combat it?

The Russian revolution is rather a blow. The Slavs ought to have stuck to the Czar and made him into an ornamental constitutional monarch for the people to gape at and to be duly thrilled with. The trouble is that Germany will have a wonderful opportunity during the birth of constitutional rule in Russia, and I dare say she will try to arrange to have Nicholas once more on the throne. Germany dislikes revolutions close to her borders, and a Russian republic next door will be very awkward for her if not dangerous. Perhaps in this revolution lies a little hope for the rest of the world. Perhaps the German people may catch the "disease" and we may have peace some day. The revolutionary spirit is very "catching."

Marshal Joffre and Mr. Balfour have arrived and both of them have made a wonderful impression over here. It is interesting to know that British genius could reach such heights as to choose such a very [Pg 88]proper gentleman as Mr. Balfour for the job. Some of my friends are a little apologetic because more attention seems to be paid to the great French general than to Mr. Balfour, but I say: "Lord bless your soul, why we sent Mr. Balfour over here to join in your huzzahs to Marshal Joffre. He will shout 'Vive La France!' to Joffre with any one of you."

Thank heaven that our folk realized that the American people want our very best sent over to them, and that they love very dearly that type of old world courteousness and gentility that Mr. Balfour represents. It is good thing that they did not send a "shirt-sleeved" politician. Altogether I know that Mr. Balfour's mission will help to form a foundation stone to a lasting friendship between America and ourselves. He has belted knights and all kinds of superior officers with him. They are very decorative, and, of course, very useful to the folk over here, since they are armed with much information that will surely help; but if Mr. Balfour had arrived on an ordinary liner alone and had walked down the gangway with his bag of golf clubs, his welcome would have been just as fervent, and the effect he has already produced just as great; for the thing that America fell for was his calm simplicity and gentleness. I wish that the American people could know that Mr. Balfour represents the type of British gentleman that we all hold as an ideal. Of course, we [Pg 89]cannot all possess his personality, nor his brilliant intellect, but I am certain that we could try to copy his method of dealing with our cousins over here.

Sometimes I think that before a representative of our Empire is allowed to land in this country he should be forced to pass an examination held by the best humourists who work for the London Punch. An entente cordiale with America would then be perfectly simple. Perhaps it would be a good thing if our folk realized that they don't know anything about this country.

When American people see two Frenchmen and a couple of Englishmen misbehaving themselves, and treading on people's toes—not an unusual sight, especially in regard to the last named—they don't shrug their shoulders and say: "These Europeans, aren't they perfectly awful?" They merely remark: "English manners." Unfortunately that seems to be enough.

American people do not seem to understand what they call our "class distinctions." However, I am sure that they have not the slightest difficulty in understanding the type represented by Mr. Balfour. Christ died in order that we should be neighbourly. All nations have been affected by Christianity to a greater or to a less degree; in fact, at the back of all our minds there is still the Christian ideal of gentleness. When a man has attained that state of [Pg 90]mind which prevents him from offending another by thought, word, or deed without decent provocation; and when by self discipline and training he has attained what Mathew Arnold called "sweet reasonableness" to me it seems he has approached very closely to the Christian ideal.

And so the word "gentleman" denotes something which cannot be in the least affected by birth or class distinctions. The only thing is that people of birth and fortune are able to study up the question a bit more thoroughly, and having time to read, they are influenced by the thousands of "gentlefolk" who have left their record upon the pages of history. Still amongst the very poor of Whitechapel and Battersea I have met some wonderful gentlemen and gentlewomen who would find great difficulty in reading even the editorial page of the New York Journal.

We are certainly living in thrilling times over here. Great Britain has a tremendous opportunity methinks. I hope that she will seize hold of it. It will be fine to have a great big strong friend beside us throughout the coming centuries. At the moment John Bull is a little puffed up with pride and so is Uncle Sam. Neither possesses much humility, but after the war they will both be a little thinner and the matter ought not to be difficult, though there will still be a few difficulties in the way.

Of course, to talk like this may seem a little [Pg 91]strange when the British flag is flying all over America side by side with the Stars and Stripes. But flag waving and the bursting forth of sentimental oratory mean nothing, really. It is the foundation of a structure that counts, and the foundation of Anglo-American friendship must be a firm one. Perhaps one or two bricks in the present foundation could be removed with good results. I'm not going to talk about the American side of the business, but I do think that if some of the Britishers who arrive here would realize that they have got extremely irritating manners it might be a good thing.

If we are going to criticise our cousins, we should spend at least three years in their country; that would allow us to spend about a month in each state. Frankly, I believe that after a little experience here, if we should be normal persons wanting to find out things, all desire to criticise unkindly would leave us. At any rate we should take an intelligent line. We might learn a little, too. This would be a great help. Of course, the "Colonel's lady" would still perform surgical operations but she would do her work cleverly. Of course, America with its mighty size and variety of climates has been long enough inhabited to allow the formation of differing groups of people.

In England the people have a vague idea that a member of the Four Hundred, with a mansion on [Pg 92]Fifth Avenue, represents a typical American. Tell that to a lady with a long list of polite ancestors and quite a lot of money who lives in Maryland. Tell it to an aristocratic New Englander whose ancestors braved the elements in the Mayflower. Mention it casually to some of the people living not too far from Rittenhouse Square, and then expect another invitation to dinner. You won't get one. The Mayflower business is very interesting. Some pretty funny people arrived in England with the Conqueror, judging by their descendants. His followers were very prolific, I am sure; but they had very small families when compared with pilgrims who arrived in the Mayflower.

I don't know very much about Washington, but I went to a party there not long ago which I shall never be able to forget. It was marvellous, and the most wonderful part about the function was my hostess, whose diamonds would ransom a king, but her jewels formed merely a setting to her own charming natural self. That's what I thought, at any rate, as I sat and chatted to her about the island in the west of Scotland from where her children's forebears came.

Like us and the Chinese, American people sometimes worship their ancestors, but they never burn this incense in front of their own folk, as far as I can see, except, of course, when they are related to the [Pg 93]great Americans of the past. Some have wonderful crests of which they seem a little proud, and, of course, a good looking crest is a great help on the whole, especially in matters that don't count a scrap.

To the ordinary snob, things over here are a little difficult because you simply cannot place a person in his or her social sphere by studying the accent. In Great Britain we have this worked out in the most perfect manner so that from the moment of introduction almost, we can tell whether the person introduced is guilty of the terrible crime of being a "provincial," poor chap!

Frankly, I am going to dare to say that I think it would be a jolly good idea if some of the people I know and love did worry a little more about the way they pronounce their words, because a lot of them are simply too lazy to worry. However, the things they say are awfully nice and that is what counts in the long run, so I suppose it doesn't matter very much.

Talking about ancestors, a great friend of mine here in Bethlehem was faintly interested in his forebears, and visiting the place from where his father came he inquired from the lady of the inn if there were any Johnstones living in those parts. She replied: "Did you come up to the house in a hansom cab?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Well, that was a Johnstone that drove ye."

"Are there any others?" he asked.

[Pg 94]"Yes, but they're all thieves."

She told him the story of a man wandering through the village seeking a "ludgin," and being exhausted, finally shouted: "Isn't there a 'Chreestian' living in this toon?" Up went a window, and a woman's voice shrieked: "Do ye no ken that there are only Johnstones and Jardines living in the place, ye feckless loon!" Down went the window.

[Pg 95]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., July 23, 1917.

A stray Englishman dropped in to see me the other night in New York. I know rather well the girl he had hoped to marry. He seemed rather depressed, and told me that she had written in reply to his proposal of marriage that if he thought that Providence had brought her to her by no means inconsiderable numbers of years especially to be reserved for him, it was obvious that he must regard as extremely shortsighted the Supreme Being guarding the lives of us poor mortals. He seems to have become very depressed and regarded all women as hard hearted tyrants. This lasted for some days and the moving pictures with a love-interest lost all their wonted charm. It was very sad because the lady is an extremely nice girl and very good looking, although she has been to Girton.

I don't know anything about the Cambridge women but I have seen a perfectly priceless suffragette from Girton, it was alleged, addressing a crowd in the market square at Cambridge, while a large throng of undergraduates looked at her with much admiration. I remember a low townee fellow said [Pg 96]"rats" to one of her statements. She replied with the sweetest smile in the world: "That's an intelligent remark," while a large football player took revenge on the chap.

From all this you will gather that I know but little about the womenfolk of Blighty. I have never thought very much about them nor studied their habits. However, over here in America our countrywomen are well known by their female cousins. The American girl does not think much about the English girl, except to admire and like her accent, but the mature American women who thinks at all wonders a little at the docility towards their men folk shown by our women. I love to tease them about it. An American man observed to me once that England was "heaven for horses, but hell for women."

Yesterday I was coming from New York in a train with a lady from a small and very charming American town. We talked about many things and then about our women. I told her some "woppers" and she became steadily furious. I said to her that all women really liked "cave men," that they liked a man who could control them, someone big and strong and fine. I said that women were a little like horses; they invariably got rid of the fellow who could not control them, and that this explained the number of divorces in America. I pointed out, however, that the really brutal man was equally [Pg 97]useless; but the fellow a woman liked best was the chap who took complete control and loved her an awful lot as well. "You know yourself that you love to do little things for your husband, to light his study lamps for him—perhaps when he is tired after a day's work while you have been to an interesting tea, to place his slippers by the study fire ready for him to put on before he dresses for dinner," I continued. The conversation became dangerous for she thought I was serious. Perhaps I was a little. But I could not have been altogether serious for I know nothing about the subject. However, I do remember once, years ago, staying at a country parsonage. The vicar was not at all poor. I was sitting in his study awaiting his return. As darkness commenced to creep over the countryside my hostess came in and removed from the chimney piece two large lamps which she proceeded to trim and finally to light. She then brought in and placed by the fire two soft house-shoes, and then examined the cushions on his chair. I wondered a little for there seemed an awful lot of servants about, but she explained that she had done the same thing for twelve years and liked to do it. "The poor boy is often so very tired after he returns from visiting, and servants never seem able to do these little things really well," she said. Then the vicar arrived and I was not at all astonished at the devotion shown by his wife.

[Pg 98]But the lady from the little town, a very fashionable little American town, could not understand this at all. She got a little excited as she said: "If my husband were ill and could not walk I would gladly get his slippers for him": and across her face there crept a resigned and helpless look as though her husband were already ill. Of course, I was merely joking with her, but it was all very interesting and I got her point of view.

Now far be it from me to say a word against the girls of America. I think that they are perfectly wonderful. But why do they whiten their noses? That is a settled habit. However, it is interesting to study their habits. I think it is a fact that they do really control their husbands, and it seems to me a very good thing, too. I should not like to be controlled by a lady from New England, however, of the superior working class. One tried to control me once and I hated it, and used to thank a merciful Providence that she was not my wife. I would have committed suicide or escaped or something.

But let me tell you about Miss America as I see her. The subject is a dangerous one for a mere man to attempt, but I have a bon courage as a French lady once said after I had spoken much French.

Just after America broke off diplomatic relations with Germany we were all waiting for an "overt act." A fellow at lunch said that the only overt act that [Pg 99]would stir the American heart to its depths would be the shelling of Atlantic City and the consequent death of all the "chickens." "Is Atlantic City the great poultry centre of the States?" I asked innocently. Everybody yelled at once, "Yes, Mac"; and then they all laughed. I wondered that if the great American heart could be stirred by the death of many hens what on earth would happen if the Boche shelled Broadway? But there seemed more in it than met the eye. I have since learnt what a "chicken" is.

When a girl of the working classes dresses herself particularly smartly (and, believe me, the American girl knows how to turn herself out very well), and also powders and paints her pretty little face, and then goes about the city seeking whom she may find she is then called a "chicken." She is not necessarily an immoral person as far as I can see. There is something fluffy and hop-skip-and-jumpy in her deportment. She believes that the world was made to enjoy one's self in and she thinks that necessarily to wait for an introduction to every nice boy one sees about is a waste of opportunities. I rather agree with her. So she does her very best to look charming. I hate the word, but she develops "cuteness" rather than anything else. Her shoes (white shoes, high heeled) are generally smartly cut and her frock well up to the fashion; but it is generally her hat that gives her more opportunities to display her powers. There is a [Pg 100]tilt about it, something, I don't quite know what, that catches the eye. She seems to develop a hat that will agree with her eyes which are often very pretty and lively. Sometimes a curl or a wisp of hair just does the trick. She rather loves colours, but I think she knows how to make the very best of her appearance. One can imagine her spending hours at home making her own frocks and trimming her own hats. She often appears more smartly turned out than her sister higher up, the social leader. You see her by the hundreds in New York. I rather admire her attitude of mind. She certainly decorates the streets. At first I thought that a chicken was really an immoral young person, but as far as I can gather she is not necessarily more immoral than any other woman in any other class. I cannot tell you whether she is amusing or not. American men seem to find them very diverting.

The other type of hard working American girl I like very much. She works fearfully hard, and although her wages may be good, living in this country is relatively high. Unfortunately it is a little difficult for me to tell you very much about her. She can seldom understand my effort at English and she thinks I am a fool mostly, or an actor. When I have finished my business and have turned my back to go out she joins her friends and laughs. I find this offensive, but I suppose she means little [Pg 101]harm. Even if she has to support a poor mother she will never let you know it by her personal appearance, which is never dowdy but always smart. She is very competent and clever, as far as I can see, and shoulders her burden with a fine spirit. I have at least four great friends in a store in Philadelphia whom I not only admire, but like very much. You see I am falling into the error of judging the women of a huge nation by the few persons I have met.

If I have not actually said so, I have nevertheless perhaps suggested to your mind that I regard Madame America as the survival of the fittest in domestic relations. Monsieur America has enough battles to fight in the business world without bothering about domestic politics and so Madame reigns supreme. You see, when a fellow over here seeks a wife he doesn't enjoy the process of courting unless he has to strive. A girl has got to be "rushed." I believe that there must be fewer women than men over here because every nice girl I know has several admirers. However, he has really a hectic time and has got to be very humble. Now in England I will admit that a fellow has also to be humble unless he is a conceited ass or very handsome, but his humility ends with the honeymoon and he assumes his position as lord of creation. This is expected of him. But Madame America refuses to regard her husband as anything else but her lover or her slave and she takes [Pg 102]the necessary steps to keep him in his proper place. Sometimes she loses her intelligence and takes the pathetic attitude but no more often than her cousin in England does. This is very effective and causes some husbands to take a drink when they are more easily though less satisfactorily kept in subjection. Perhaps they develop a love for bowling alleys and other vices, and spend most of their time at the club.

More often Madame America succeeds by her efficiency in every direction. She refuses to grow old and lets her husband see that her affection and friendship are still worth striving for. She also sees that her household is run on thoroughly efficient lines and that the cooking is always satisfactory. I don't quite know how to describe it, but the very appearance of an American woman suggests fitness. By Jove, she certainly dresses well. I think that she expects to be amused rather than to amuse and in this she loses a little of woman's greatest power. I fear I am on dangerous ground. However, in my experience over here most of the married folk I have met seem just as happy as married folk anywhere else. Still I think that the woman in America is very much the head of the house. She has attained her position through her efficiency, so I suppose she deserves to maintain it. Politically it has interesting results. In some ways it may explain America's former peaceful attitude [Pg 103]towards the Germans at the beginning of the war. Women don't like war outside their own houses, and they hate losing their sons. I would not dare to say it myself, but it has been alleged by someone or other that women have their sense of sympathy more developed than their sense of honour. They certainly are very loving persons and it does not matter to them whether the Kaiser insults the nation as long as he does not hurt their boys. I rather think that they would have not the slightest objection to fighting themselves if the flag were insulted. I suspect that they might enjoy it almost, but in regard to their sons they are indeed veritable cowards by proxy.

When an American man is away from his wife, I care not how respectable he be or how happily married, a change seems to creep all over him and he becomes at once the most boyish, lively, cheery person imaginable, even if he is sixty. He is not a dull person with Madame, but when he gets off by himself things begin to move. We British get hopelessly married, and our clubs never strike me as being particularly hilarious or buoyant sort of places. They always seem a little dull. I have been put up at a famous club in Philadelphia. Here mere man is supreme. No women may enter its sacred portals, no matter who she may be. Let me tell you about its habitués. Of course, it is impossible to say what sort of club it is in peace time; but, at the moment, all its [Pg 104]members are well on the wrong side of thirty. The others have gone long ago.

The war has caused a great deal of depression amongst the remaining men of this club. When war broke out all the members from fifty downwards were thrilled. At last they were going to get a chance to fight for their country. Were they not all members of the City Troop? Certainly some of them needed pretty large horses to carry them, and some indeed found it difficult to button all the tiny buttons on their tunics. Still this would soon be made all right. Gee! it was fine to get a chance to fight those Huns.

Alas, the cold blooded doctor failed to pass some of them and the joy of belonging to the City Troop has left them. It is useless for the doctor to explain that unless a man is in the pink of condition it is impossible for him to last long in trench warfare. He collapses. They say that they don't object to this a bit, and then he has got to say brutally that a sick man costs the country at the front more money and more trouble than a single man is worth. So they are now convinced, but they hate it and go about helping all they can, but sadly. One day I was sitting in the club talking to three interesting men who were endeavouring to get as many horrors of war out of me as possible, when a cheery-faced gentleman appeared coming over towards us. The elderly man next to me brightened up and said: "Here comes [Pg 105]a ray of sunshine down the cañon." He certainly was a ray of sunshine as he commenced to say quick, rapid funny things.

At this club there is a beautiful swimming pool with Turkish baths and other fancies attached. On the banks of the pool, so to speak, there are comfortable lounges and one can order anything one requires. There are generally several others there. On these occasions I always think that this world would have fewer wrecked homes if we went about dressed like Fijians. Just outside the pool is the dressing room with cubicles. It is a good idea to treat with respect all the members one sees here dressed in towels, especially during these military days.

But to return to the ladies—we had an interesting young person attached to our battery in France once. I'd like to tell you about her. Unfortunately she was merely a dream, an inspiration, or perhaps a rather vulgar, good-natured fairy who came from the "Never Never Land" to amuse and to interest the small group of officers living in the Vert Rue not very far from the city called by Thomas Atkins "Armon Tears."

One night after dinner the major, Wharton the senior subaltern, Taunton the junior subaltern, and I were sitting around the mess table in our billet. Suddenly in a thoughtful manner the major read [Pg 106]aloud the following notice from one of the small batch of antique copies of the London Times which had been sent to him by a kindly wife: "Lady, young, would like to correspond with lonely subaltern. Address Box 411, London Times." After looking round at the three of us he remarked: "That seems to present possibilities; I think that Taunton had better answer it." The major, a wily person and one who never missed an opportunity to get something for his beloved battery, saw in the advertisement some amusement, and an opportunity to exploit kindness of heart on the part of some romantic young person. Taunton, young, good looking, nineteen, and woefully inexperienced in les affaires de cœur was obviously the man.

So the major commenced to dictate what seemed to us at the time to be a rather amusing letter. Taunton wrote rather slowly, as well as badly, so the major seized the pen and paper and did the job himself. As far as I remember the letter ran as follows:

"Dear Friend:

"The mail arrived this evening at the small hamlet from where my guns endeavour to kill and disturb the horrid Germans. I cannot, I fear, give you the exact geographical location, but you will doubtlessly regard our position as what 'our Special Correspondent, John Fibbs,' so originally calls 'Somewhere in France.'

[Pg 107]"The mail arrived in a large canvas bag, and soon its sacred contents were safely deposited upon the ground by a gentle corporal, who seemed but little disturbed by the impatience displayed by sundry officers, as he endeavoured to sort the letters. Of course, I was there. I always am, but as usual there was nothing for me. Although I am hardened to such disappointments I felt my loneliness more keenly than ever to-night. I don't quite know why. Perhaps it was the obvious glee displayed by Sergeant Beetlestone as he unfolded a package of what he described as 'Tabs.' (You, dear friend, would call them cigarettes.) Perhaps it was the happiness on the face of Corporal Warner as he shared an anæmic meat pie with two friends.

"However, after dinner I sat disconsolate while the others, I mean my brother officers, held joyful converse with many sheets of closely written note paper. It is true that I was eating some frosted fruit sent to the major by his loving wife. Very near me on the table stood a large box of green sweets called "Crême de Mint," but they were sent to Wharton by his fiancée. I was very sad, and my mind rushed back to that famous picture of an aged lady twanging a harp with her eye fixed upon the portrait of her dead husband.

"Suddenly a look of hope must have crept over my features, as my eyes became fixed upon the table [Pg 108]cloth, for thereon I read your charming notice. We always prefer the London Times as a table cloth. The paper is of good quality. One officer we had seemed to prefer the Daily Telegraph, but he got badly wounded and so prevented the recurrence of many arguments.

"You can have no idea what that little notice meant to me. It was the dawn of hope. A lady, young, desired to correspond with me; yes, with me. No longer should I stand alone and isolated during the happiest five minutes of the day, when the mail bag arrived from dear old England. No longer should I enjoy the sweets and candy purchased by another man's loved one. No longer should I be compelled to borrow and wear the socks, sweaters, mufflers, and mittens knitted by hands uninterested in me. All would soon be changed. Oh, the joy of it!

"Dear friend, I hope that soon I shall receive a photograph of your charming self so that my dugout may become a paradise. I intend to write regularly to you and I expect you to prove likewise constant.

"When the sun starts to sink from my sight,
When the birds start to roost 'neath the eaves,
There's one thing that's to me a delight—
The mail bag from Blighty.

"Already, you will see, I am breaking into verse, but when I receive your photograph I may even write [Pg 109]a sonnet. And now I will close my letter and retire to my dugout buoyed up with hope and confidence.

"Yours very sincerely,
"Hector Clarke-Stuart."

The major seemed to like the letter and we agreed that it ought to produce results. None of us dared to acknowledge our ignorance in regard to the famous picture he had described. Our major was a fashionable person who went to the opera always and had even been known to attend the Royal Academy.

At this moment I had an inspiration and confided it to Wharton. We both knew the major's wife well. Among many charms she possessed a sparkling sense of humour, both active and passive. I correspond with her regularly. I wrote a long letter upon this evening.

The next day the major took Taunton and a couple of guns to a position several miles away to prepare for the battle of Loos, so he was not at the battery when two letters arrived addressed to Lieutenant Clarke-Stuart, Wharton and I therefore retired to a dugout with the two letters and steamed them open. One was from a very respectable English miss who lived in a south coast town. She described her daily life with some detail and the view from her bedroom window "across the bay," but when she remarked that she and her brothers had always "kept themselves to themselves," thereby [Pg 110]showing consideration for others but a mean spirit, we decided to kill her for the time being. Wharton, very respectable, and a typical Englishman, had certain doubts but we carried on.

The other letter was delightful and ran as follows:

"Dear Mr. Clarke-Stuart:

"I was indeed glad to receive your charming letter and to know that my little notice had cheered the aching heart of a lonely subaltern. I am now learning to knit and soon, very soon, I shall send you some socks which will have been knitted by a hand, an inexperienced hand, alas, but one that is interested in you. I have not as yet made any cakes, but indeed I will try, and most certainly I will send you a photograph of myself. I am a blonde with blue eyes but am not very tall, in fact, I am but five feet two inches high. Are you fair or dark? Something seems to tell me that you are very dark with brown eyes. Am I right? I am sure that you are tall and slenderly though gracefully built.

"I should be awfully glad to receive a photograph of you. Officers' photographs lend tone to a girl's rooms these days, even if one does not know them.

"Up to the present my life has been an empty one, consisting of teas, dinners, theatre parties, and so on; but now with you to look after I am sure that things will change.

[Pg 111]"I was interested in your little verse. It reminds me very much of the great poet who contributes verse to the London Daily Fog each Saturday. You perhaps know him. I shall look forward with interest to your sonnet.

"Yours very sincerely,
"Rosalie De Silva."

Rosalie's letter was written on pink paper and was enclosed in a large pink envelope with a large "S" on the top right hand corner. We therefore sent her letter on to the major and Taunton by a special orderly.

It would take me a long time to tell you of the correspondence that ensued. Wet cakes, dry cakes, pink socks, green socks, purple socks, as well as a photograph arrived in quick succession. The photograph was mounted on a large cardboard and was always regarded with great interest by the officers who dropped in to see us. All our friends knew about the correspondence, and they had all been taken into the confidence of Wharton and myself except Taunton and the major.

One day the photograph came unstuck and we discovered written upon the back of it the following words: "This is a true photograph of Miss Iris Hoey."

"I knew she was merely a Scivvy," remarked Taunton, when this happened. The maids are called [Pg 112]"Scivvies" at Taunton's school. The major thought that she was really a lady's maid. I remarked that I thought Rosalie must be a very amusing and delightful lady. The major was going home on leave in a few days.

He returned from leave and my first glimpse of him was while I was inspecting my men at the nine o'clock parade. I was a little nervous. Senior officers become even more rude than usual after they return from leave. He gave me one look, and in spite of the stateliness of the occasion we both collapsed, much to the surprise of my men who had never seen the major really hilarious before. He might have been angry for he had lost five guineas to Tich, a gunner captain who lived near us. Tich had bet the major that he would take lunch with Rosalie De Silva during his leave. He had had six lunches with Rosalie De Silva, for his wife spent the whole six days leave with him. Rosalie De Silva may have been merely a myth, but she supplied us all with an unlimited amount of fun.

[Pg 113]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., August 5, 1917.

When a number of gentlemen form themselves into an organization the object of which is the production of munitions of warfare, it is obvious that their customers will be nations, not mere individuals. A nation is distinctly immobile. It cannot come over to a plant and order its goods so it chooses from amongst its people representatives of more or less intelligence who settle themselves upon the organization and form themselves into a thing called a "commission," whose object is inspection. As representatives of a foreign nation, they are treated with much courtesy by the elders of the city, mostly steel magnates, and have no end of a good time. They are put up at the best clubs and if their nation still retains the ornamental practice of having kings they are usually suspected by the dowagers (local) of being dukes and viscounts in disguise. This is enjoyable for all concerned. These gentlemen naturally have no need and little desire to climb socially; upon their arrival they are placed on the very top of the local social pinnacle. I will admit that they do topple off sometimes, but generally they are received in [Pg 114]quite the best society. They consist often of an extremely interesting and delightful crowd of people.

An American seems to like a title, not in himself perhaps, but in others, and so Sergeant Aristira, becomes Captain Aristira, and, after getting exhausted contradicting the promotion, finally believes himself to be a general in embryo.

In the main office of a big steel plant there are several dining rooms where the foreign commissions lunch. If the commission is a large one its members generally dine alone, except for the presence of certain lesser, though important, steel officials who sit at the same table and exhibit quite stately manners. When I arrived first, I thought my own countrymen's dining room interesting and savouring of an officer's mess at its worst; so, accepting the invitation of a steel company friend, I decided to dine with him. It was a good move and I have never regretted it.

In our dining room we are distinctly mixed. Often there are representatives of at least six different lesser countries. The smaller nations, especially during these times of stress when the warring nations form the big customers, are generally represented by but one man each. He has, however, his attendant steel official so one gets a kind of sandwich made up of many strata. For instance, Sweden is represented by one man, and Eddy Y—— looks after him. Great Britain's production department [Pg 115]and France's inspection department are looked after by Captain L——. We had Greeks for a time. Then there are Chileans, Russians, Peruvians, Argentineans, Spanish, Italian, and men of all kinds from the regions about the Amazon River. The whole thing is interesting and one sighs for the gift given to the apostles when they spake with tongues.

In addition to these foreigners there sit at our table steel officials of sufficient importance to be kept within call of a telephone. The very big men of the steel company dine alone except when someone very important calls upon them.

But let me tell you about our dining room. At the beginning we had a wonderful girl to look after us called Sadie. She was priceless and worked automatically. People with more courage than decency sometimes said thrilling things to her but merely received a kindly gentle smile in return, which was very effective. We were all very fond of her, but she married and left us. Now we have Mary to wait on us. Mary has been a waitress in the steel company for five years. She is, I should think, about twenty-six years old. Why she has never married I am unable to state. I have seen many beautiful women in my day on the stage, on Fifth Avenue, in the park in London, but never have I seen anyone quite so good looking as Mary; she is a perfect type of Madonna-like beauty. She wears a simple blue frock [Pg 116]and a large white linen apron which ends at her throat in a starched collar. I suggested to her that she should train as a hospital nurse, for she would work wonders with sick persons of both sexes. The idea did not strike her favourably.

As the representatives of some of the smaller nationalities sometimes go to New York and other diverting resorts, there are often but four steel men, one Frenchman, a Chilean, a Swede and myself. This presents possibilities and we have a wonderful time. The representative of Sweden is a ripping chap. He is about six and one-half feet tall, and if he has to engage an upper berth in a sleeper he has no difficulty in persuading the person occupying the lower to change places—the lower person obviously having for his or her motto "safety first." From this you will gather that my friend is a little large. I remember that when I first met him at the club, we chatted about international relations, and he remarked that if a man were a gentleman it did not matter a damn whether he came from Paraguay or China. We call him lovingly Peter Pan. He is a naval officer and looks it. Amongst the many friends that I have made over here I can place him very near the top of the list. He is just brimming over with fun and sympathy, and will enter into any joke that happens to be organizing.

Then there is the head steel inspector. He dis[Pg 117]likes English people, he thinks; but, between you and me, he likes most people who are decent. I fear he will finally become a misanthropist, but I am not very sure. He is an interesting type of American and disbelieves in kings and dukes and can never understand what we mean by the thing he calls a "gentleman." However, he is "from Missouri" on this point, and of course I cannot convince him. I am not sure that I want to.

Then there is Eddy Y——. He refuses to grow up. He is at least fifty and looks forty, but is brimming over with energy and enthusiasm. He loves tragedies, and fires, and thrills and ought to have been a novelist like the Baron Munchausen. I believe he is really a foreigner, a Bromoseltzian by absorption, I have heard. He caused me some trouble once, all over Jones' baby. Let me tell you the story as Eddy told it. He himself believed it.

"Did you hear about poor Jones last night on his way to the big dinner? Very sad! He is in an awful state over it all. One baby died this morning and the mother doesn't expect the other to live through the day. Joe told me about it. Gee! it is awful the way those kids run across the road in front of cars. Jones tried to stop the car but he hadn't a chance, and he hit the bigger child right on the neck and the child's head bounced off and bruised Jones' nose. Gee! it's terrible."

[Pg 118]We were all thrilled and very sorry for Jones. Now I know that to sympathize with a man when by accident he has killed two children is the worst possible form. Still being egotists, most of us, and regarding ourselves as specialists in the issuing of the sympathy that heals, we mostly fail. I resisted the temptation for a long time until Mr. Jones passed through my office looking very sad. I looked for the bruise on his nose, but it had healed. He stopped to chat, and I commenced to sympathize, not mentioning any details. He didn't seem very worried and I thought him hardhearted, so I went into more details and asked when the child would be buried. Mr. Jones' eyes grew wide and he said: "What the devil are you talking about?" I explained, and he roared. His mud-guard had tipped the knee of a small boy, but very slightly, and he expected to see him running about again in about two days.

Eddy has been to Russia and has had a very hectic time so we always refer to him when the subject of Russia comes up. Russia must be some place; and the women, Ma foi!

We are all very great friends and I like every one of them, especially those who can speak English. It is awkward when we all talk at once, especially if the more foreign have friends lunching with them. One day, two Greeks yelled to one another across the table in Greek, a couple of Russians seemed [Pg 119]interested in the revolution, a Chilean spoke in a huge voice in what he regarded as English, the Swede gurgled, the Americans laughed, and I alone spoke English (sic.). Having mentioned this last fact to the man from Missouri, in other words, the chief inspector of the steel company, he looked and said: "Yesterday I thought that at last you had convinced me what a 'gentleman' really was, and you have put me back at least six points." A good "come back!" N'est ce pas?

Then there is Harry M——, one of the finest men that I have met. He is very clever and has one big thing in his life—devotion to his wonderful country which is tempered by a decent appreciation of other people's. We are great friends, but we jeer at one another a great deal, and always end up better friends than when we started. He has forgotten more than most of us know, but he loves to be insulted if it is done in fun. Then he girds himself for the combat.

Once I endeavoured to get a rise by saying that I did not believe there were any Americans at all, except the red Indians. "Eddy here is a Bromoseltzian," I remarked. "Pat and his son are Irish, Dnul is a Dane, Weiss is a Dutchman, and you, Mr. M——, are an Englishman; there ain't no such animal as an American." The last bullet in my rain of shrapnel told. He was speechless, and then, in desperation, he said: "And how, may I ask, do you [Pg 120]regard this huge nation, with its history and Patrick Henry and George Washington, and all that sort of thing?" "Oh, as just an interesting conglomeration of comic persons," I replied. Then we all laughed and dispersed to our respective offices. I have learnt that if you are once a friend of an American you can jest and laugh with him as much as you like. Having become his friend, you have no desire in the world to say anything that will hurt him.

I have long and interesting chats with Mr. M——. He told me once that during the early days of the war, at the end of August, 1914, when Americans knew the full extent of the disaster to the French army and of our own retreat from Mons, several important members of the steel company, mostly of English descent with a little German blood mixed with it, had a meeting in our lunch room. They were very worried about us all over in England and France. They were also worried about their own sons because they knew that America would not stand by and see England and France crushed. All these men themselves, if possible, would have at once gone over to help; and they discussed plans. They also knew, and I know now, and have known all along, that if England had ever reached the stage when she needed American help it would have been possible to raise an army of several millions of Americans to fight for England. Yes, to fight for England!

[Pg 121]I would not dare to say this to some of my American friends because they would know, as I knew, that underlying their criticism of England there is often a very deep devotion to the British Empire. The Germans have known this all along, and we can thank fortune that it still exists in spite of our failure to foster it. We established an entente cordiale with France our hereditary foe, thank goodness, and we succeeded because many of us are bad at French and consequently unable to insult the French people. We have never seriously attempted the same thing with America. It is the underlying devotion of many Americans for the home country, as some of them still call our land, which has prevented the rudeness of some of our people from doing permanent harm. The Germans have tried to remove this devotion, but they have not succeeded amongst the educated classes, because, like us, intelligent American people don't quite like the Boche until he has settled in the country for over a hundred years.

But they have succeeded with the poorer classes, who sometimes dislike us intensely. The average American working man regards his brother in England as a poor fool who is ground down by the fellow who wears a high hat. He also regards John Bull as a wicked, land-grabbing old fellow—America's only enemy.

I share an office at the moment with a couple of [Pg 122]American boys, both married. At first I shared Dnul's office with him, but as it is necessary for him to keep up diplomatic relations with all inspectors I felt that I would be in his way, so I retired, against his will, to the office next to him. It is better so.

The boys with me are interesting. One was a National Guard captain and looks the part. He was a Canadian once, so cannot be president of the United States. It is a great pity. The other is very clever at drawings and although only twenty-seven has made the world cheerier by being the father of eight children. I have arranged to inspect them some day and he is getting them drilled. He witnessed my signature to the publisher's contract for my first book on the day of his last baby's birth. Books and babies have always been mixed in my mind since I first heard the story of St. Columba's quarrel over the manuscript belonging to some other saint which he had copied. You remember the story. The archbishop or some very superior person looked into the matter, and said: "To every cow belongs its own calf." I believe that I am quoting correctly. I hoped that this friend's signature would be a good omen.

The other fellow, he of the National Guard, has but one baby. I manage to get along very well with them both.

There are an awful lot of stenographers about; a [Pg 123]galaxy of beauty. I hear that they are very well paid, and judging by their very smart appearance they must be. I think that they are even better looking and more smartly turned out than the young ladies employed in the machine tool department at the Ministry in London.

I met old Sir Francis N—— one day going up the stairs at the Hotel Metropole in London after it became Armament Hall, and he said that really one did not know these days whether to raise one's hat or to wink when one met a young lady on the stairs. I always maintain a sympathetic neutrality. It is better thus.

I found, at first, letter writing a little difficult. One dictates everything and one must never forget to file one's letters. In business it is considered an awful thing to insult a person in a letter. Insult him to his face, by all means, if necessary; but never write rude things. I found it difficult to distrust firmly the intelligence of the person receiving the letter. Everything must be perfectly plain and you have to imagine that the person receiving the letter knows nothing about the subject. If writing a business letter to a friend I invariably became too personal. Cold blooded though polite things are business letters. They are immortal, too, and live in files for centuries and are liable to strike back at any moment like a boomerang. If you are insulting a third person it is [Pg 124]always good to put before your more cutting statements, "In my opinion, I think." This will save you much trouble because it is taken that you are humble, and that your opinion is not worth very much. Nevertheless it will cause the person to whom you are writing to look into the matter, whereas if you say straight out, and crudely, that Jones is an entirely useless person or that Biggs is inefficient (it is better to say inadequate, since it means the same), the person receiving the letter will at once mutter, "Newspaper talk," and will forget the matter, although he may look into your own actions with a coldly discerning eye.

It seems to be different in the army where people write most unpleasant, suggestive things to one another. I don't think that they keep files so well in the army. However, I am learning fast and am very careful.

There are many wonderful contrivances over here for the saving of labour. They do not always save time, it is true, but many of them are useful, nevertheless. It is sometimes an interesting thing to see a fellow waiting several minutes for an elevator to take him down one flight of stairs. People seldom walk anywhere, as far as I can see; but this fact does not seem to affect the national physique which is usually splendid.

Quite large numbers of men wear spectacles, not [Pg 125]your intellectual-looking gold-rimmed pince-nez, but great horn-rimmed goggles that certainly give a man a whimsical look. It all depends upon the appearance of the fellow. If he is thin and wiry these great goggles make him look like a polite tadpole. The theatrical folk realize this and in every comic show one of the comedians generally appears in these spectacles.

Desiring to use a swimming pool open only to the students of Lehigh University, I decided to take a course of lectures on metallurgy. I shuddered when I heard that these lectures took place from eight until nine A.M. How would one fit in breakfast? However, I arrived one Monday morning and found myself with twenty other fellows sitting at the feet of a large St. Bernard dog, and a very learned professor. I looked with interest at the men around me. They all seemed pale and haggard and "By Jove, these American students must work hard!" I thought. However, after several weeks I felt very much the same on Monday mornings, because many of the fellows became my friends and we spent our week ends together in fervent study at more than one extremely diverting country club. Perhaps, however, this is unfair.

The American university man is alleged to be a hard worker. He certainly has some very stiff examinations to pass. As a matter of fact, the man [Pg 126]who desires to get on well in the business or intellectual world has to work jolly hard at the university over here. It is possible for a man, I have heard, to work his way through college without receiving a penny from his father. A fellow may even earn money by collecting laundry from his fellow students. The glorious part about this lies in the fact that his men friends do not supply him with kindly pity, but they sincerely admire him. If he is a good sort, that's all that matters.

As far as I can glean, the average American varsity man is a great hero worshiper. One is constantly meeting fellows who are regarded by their friends as regular "princes," and the thing that draws the greatest amount of admiration is well developed personality which in America is generally allied to kindliness. These "princes" are always humble, and invariably the same in their treatment of both ordinary people, and, what we called at Cambridge "rabbits" or undergraduates of the dormouse breed.

Sometimes people over here have pointed out to me that it is impossible for an undergraduate to work his way through our older universities. I have, of course, told them that while it would be very awkward to have a fellow undergraduate calling for one's soiled linen in England, still we had a way whereby a man could work his way through any university and [Pg 127]especially the older ones. I told them that at my college there were always at least twenty men who received no money from home, but by comparatively hard work they were able to win scholarships and exhibitions. So that really things are much the same, the only difference lying in the fact that as our colleges are much older, people have had time to die in greater numbers and consequently there have been more bequests. I cannot say that I have had much opportunity to study the person called here a "lounge lizard." Like his brother in England, he at once joined up and is now learning to be a soldier.

I must admit that the American university man is very like his brother in England, just as irresponsible, just as charming and often possessed with the same firm determination to do as little work as possible under the circumstances. The only difference lies in the fact that after leaving college he is sucked into a whirlpool of exciting business and sometimes he finds himself floating down a strong flowing river of wealth wondering if it has really been worth while.

"You know how to live in England," they often say to me. "We don't. We work too hard, and we play too hard, and we haven't the remotest idea how to rest." Perhaps they are right, but it seems to me that a little American vim introduced to an English graduate would be an excellent thing; for after he has left college and is making an ass of himself in the city [Pg 128]he has to learn that while a Cambridge or an Oxford hall mark is an excellent thing in the vicarage drawing room, it causes its possessor some sad moments in the business world of London or of anywhere else.

Perhaps this is a bit rough on the graduate from Oxford and Cambridge; but I think most of them will admit that there is a certain amount of truth in what I say. Of course, in my experience throughout the Empire I have found the varsity man a magnificent type of Britisher, but it is obvious that he has got to learn a few lessons, and lessons are sometimes hard things to learn.

[Pg 129]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., August 30, 1917.

The other day Dicky C—— and I went to Atlantic City for the week end. So many of my Bethlehem friends go to this place every year, that I felt my American experience would not be complete without a visit. We left this town at about three o'clock; we ought to have left sooner. The chauffeur developed caution to an almost unlimited extent and this worried Dicky, a furious driver himself. He told me with some pride the number of times he had been arrested on the White Horse Pike. The caution of the chauffeur was responsible for our arrival at our destination at about ten o'clock at night.

Being Saturday night, of course, it was impossible for a time to get either rooms or food. At the hotel where Dicky usually stopped we were turned down. His Majesty, the clerk, disliked the shape of our noses or our clothing or something. We spent one dollar fifty in telephone calls trying to get some hotel to take us in.

We started with the good ones, but even the fifth class houses were full. I therefore approached the clerk and explained that I was a British officer with nowhere except the sands upon which to sleep. This worked like magic.

[Pg 130]We were shown into what was called a club room near the top of the building, where twelve beds were arranged hospital fashion. Our fellow guests were not there then, so we decided to sleep on the balcony in case any of them snored. The building is a beautiful one, having wonderful sort of battlements, and we fixed our beds out on one of these.

Then we sought food. We tried one fashionable place, but the head waiter was not impressed. He certainly looked at our noses and at our clothes. About these clothes—I had on a very good sort of golf kit. I almost know the sheep on the Island of Harris off of which the wool forming the material came. My stockings were thick and home made in the Highlands, and my brogues were made by Mr. Maxwell in Dover Street. Dicky was turned out similarly and being a big handsome sort of chap looked fine. Perhaps if we had given that waiter ten dollars as his usual patrons do, we would have been ushered in with much bowing, but we preferred to starve rather than to give him a cent.

We sought restaurant after restaurant, but could get nothing, not even a poached egg. Dicky was getting crabby. After an hour we at last got into a hot cheery sort of cabaret and drank small beer and ate all sorts of grills, also clams. After this Dicky became brighter, and I also felt more kindly, so we hired a comfy chair on wheels and spent an hour on [Pg 131]the Board Walk, while the chairman told us with much enjoyment of all the sin and wickedness existing in Atlantic City. His stories, very lurid, were mixed up with automatic "pianners" into which one put a nickel.

Upon returning we found most of our fellow guests of the club room in bed, so we stole out on to the battlement and soon were sound asleep.

I awoke in the morning to find a terrific sun shining on my head threatening to melt my brain. I looked up towards the hotel and noted that we were sleeping on a balcony above which were roughly about eight stories. Immediately above us stretched a line of windows marking a staircase, and out of each window looked a head. It was really a study in black and white. There were black maids, and white maids, and they were all interested in Dicky as he lay there with the sun turning his light coloured hair into gold. I awoke him, and we both got inside and dressed.

After breakfast, and as it was a table d'hôte we were not at all sparing in our choice of food, we sat for a time on a charming balcony overlooking the Board Walk. It was interesting to watch the people. I made a tremendous discovery, which was perhaps a little disappointing. I had always hoped that the British Empire contained the lost tribes of Israel. It does not. The United States of America has that honour.

[Pg 132]We then sought a dressing room, and after removing our clothes and donning "fashionable bathing things" we sought the sand. It was all very thrilling and I was further confirmed in my discovery. There was a continuous procession of persons clad in bathing things, thousands of them. Few went into the water. There was much that was really beautiful. There were men burnt a rich shade of copper, beautifully built, with clean cut, good looking faces, walking along enjoying their youth. There were some priceless looking girls well decorated. I dislike women's bathing suits. They are theoretically meant for bathing in, but why on earth should they wear those extraordinary hideous garments: They look awful when they return from the water. Their stockings are all dragged round their legs and if they are shoeless the toe part of the stockings seems to escape and hangs over. However, most of the ladies had no intention of swimming. Their faces were often powdered and painted and their hair arranged in a most engaging way. Still many were delightful to look upon, notwithstanding their attire. I believe there are very strict rules about women's costumes at Atlantic City. My landlady assures me that she has seen the policemen measuring the length of a girl's swimming skirt!

I saw some magnificent looking fellows walking along. American men's dress often seems designed to [Pg 133]spoil a fellow's appearance. His breeches are sometimes a little tight and the sleeves of his coat are short, displaying a good looking silk shirt; and sometimes as the breeches are low at the waist, the shirt sticks out in an untidy bulge. When he places on his good looking head the felt hat in vogue the destruction of his personal appearance is quite complete. But on the beach at Atlantic City all this is changed, and one realizes that the standard of manly physical beauty in this country is a very high one.

The bathing suit here in America is exactly like the kit we wear for Rugby football. Perhaps it would be better for swimming if it were lighter, and in one piece, but as much time is spent promenading, it is obviously better that it should be as it is.

Of course, quite a number were not beautiful to look upon. There were thousands of men and women who had reached the unlovely stage of their existence. Large portly men walked about unashamed and women with large stout legs encased sometimes in green stockings could be seen. As one walked along the beach the society seemed to change. Towards the poorer part of the town the people were a little older and less interesting. We came to one section where most of the bathers and promenaders were coloured people. I must say at once that the effect was singularly diverting. The young coloured ladies and gentlemen were smartly turned out. These [Pg 134]American negroes look like awfully nice people. One would see a young coloured lady with an expensive and sometimes a beautiful swimming suit walking beside a fine handsome coloured boy. They seemed so happy. I was thrilled with the little ones as they dashed about with their strong little limbs. Unfortunately we had little time for observation because Dicky had seen a huge fat man at another part of the beach in a bathing costume, the sort of fellow that one sees at a country fair, and he insisted upon returning to have another look. This fat man sat there with his huge fearful limbs partially exposed while a crowd stood and looked at him. He seemed to like it, too. Human egotism is truly wonderful. The whole morning was enjoyable. I loved the open air, the sea breezes and all that sort of thing.

I had heard a lot about the Board Walk. As a thing of use it is delightful. One can walk for miles along its length, seeing a strange procession of human beings, but its new look, the fact that it is made of wood, tends to give Atlantic City an uncertain and unstable foundation. It spoiled the effect of our hotel with its magnificent architecture. Still it provides a very restful way to walk, and I suppose it has its uses. I am a little astonished that Americans should come to this strange place and turn themselves into money fountains and, upon running dry, return to business; though of course it is fine to be with a crowd of cheerful people.

[Pg 135]I have never visited any of our seaside resorts during the summer season, so I cannot well compare Atlantic City with any of them. I don't think that a similar place would be popular in England. Of course, we were there at a rather difficult time. I have been told that prices go up about twenty-five per cent. or even more during August.

Atlantic City seems to be a long thin town stretching for several miles along the Atlantic coast. The hotels are truly beautiful. Apart from their architecture they are beautifully decorated inside. Our hotel has a place called the Submarine Grill. The idea the artist wishes to convey is that the diners are spending a hectic time at the bottom of the sea. The general effect is rather lovely and the colouring suggests the inside of a very rich Mohammedan mosque, in spite of the sea idea. Perhaps the mermaids of Atlantic City make up for this; and there are many. However, we all go down, pay the head waiter a large sum for three bows and a continuous smile and are ushered to the best seats, under the circumstances. The food is beautifully cooked, but the bill grows very large, and one leaves quite happy but poorer.

Dicky and I had had about fifty dollars between us, but the price for our sleeping places had been small, and it looked as though we would return with about two dollars between us, until we met the chauffeur, and asked him for his expense account. Having [Pg 136]paid it—it was one dollar more than my bill at the hotel, we possessed about three shillings, or seventy-five cents. This obviously left us but little money for food at Philadelphia upon our return, but we went into a mysterious automat eating house and managed to subtract a little nourishment from its shelves. We returned to Bethlehem owing the chauffeur about three dollars. I must say that I enjoyed the whole thing, but I have no intention and no desire to return.

It was the touch of nature that made the day enjoyable for me—the people, black and white, and the sea. But I objected to the hardly-veiled begging displayed by the numerous lackeys. I suppose they have got to live, "mais je n'en vois pas la necessité," as some philosopher remarked.

When passing through the hotel on the Saturday evening I saw a lady quietly but beautifully dressed. She looked about twenty. I was certain that I knew her well, had met her in Washington or somewhere. I went over and said: "How d'ye do." We chatted for a time, but in spite of all my efforts I could not place her. Having rejoined Dicky, I remembered. She was the prim demure little lady from whom I have bought my "movie" tickets for the last six months. American girls are truly wonderful. We arrived at Bethlehem at about midnight.

[Pg 137]



There is one phrase over here that one is constantly hearing—"Rule for the people by the people." Of course, Abraham Lincoln, our great American, now beloved by all, used it on the occasion of his famous speech at Gettysburg. As far as I can see, Lincoln gave that thing called democracy a great big lift. He evidently fought a big spiritual battle for the United States, and won.

Of course, I did not come to the United States to learn about Abraham Lincoln. In my childhood's memory, he, George Washington, King Arthur, King Alfred, and the great figure called Gladstone are all safely enshrined. These were all mixed with Moses and the prophets, but Lincoln's log cabin seemed a reality. Away out in New Zealand I learnt about Abraham Lincoln from an old, old soldier who had fought the Maoris, and had seen the first two sparrows arrive in a cage from England. I wish they hadn't.

Since my arrival in America I have heard a great deal about Lincoln. He and his words are held up as a shield against all potential enemies outside the United States. Always are the words "Rule for the [Pg 138]people by the people" hurled from the lips of that type of orator who talks about "red blooded Americans," and who contrasts the red blooded with him of yellow blood. But only are these wonderful words hurled against enemies without. No one ever applies them to the more deadly type that lurks within the national household. And so Lincoln's great words sometimes seem to be wasted upon all our cousins who are not newspaper editors.

Let me explain: The American people don't rule the country as far as I can see. Things go along smoothly and the mob spirit is kept at bay because, owing to the greatness of the country, its happy climate, its wonderful natural resources, the opportunities for expansion supplied to all the people, no one gets sufficiently worked up to accomplish any foolishness. The country seems to be ruled by a certain set of men who make politics their business.

I have never yet met a young man under twenty-five who was in the faintest degree interested in the rule of his country. He has so many other things to think about. Although I don't think he works harder, really, than his cousin in England, his hours spent at business are very long and there don't seem to be more than about two holidays in the year. His life is tense. He starts school with games that bring out all his enthusiasm. He dislikes cricket. Baseball suits his temperament. Even football has developed into a form of [Pg 139]trench warfare, sometimes not without frightfulness. Then he enters business with one object—to get on, to push ahead. So his life is spent thinking out business schemes. In the evenings he is called upon by all kinds of seedy looking gentlemen who put up to him schemes of insurance and what not. He must have a car of some sort, though a Henry Ford suits him well. He never seems able to rest, at work or at play, and so he carries on, brimming over with enthusiasm. One is always seeing it.

Here in Bethlehem we wanted money for a bridge. It was essential that the people should subscribe, so a week was spent in what amounted to a "drive." There were processions, alarums, and excursions. Men rushed about in dirty looking automobiles and made quite willing people subscribe. Luncheons were held each day. The collectors were divided into small companies, each with a captain and a separate table. The tables vied with one another in their efforts to collect the most money. It was a wonderful scheme and it worked well. I rather loved it. One heard young men, old men, fat men, thin men all worked up bursting into song. Even the church helped. Of course, we got the money all right. If a man wants to accomplish anything he must arouse enthusiasm.

So the life of a decent American boy is often one long exciting tense existence. Now I think in some ways that this is admirable, but this enthusiastic [Pg 140]existence has formed a national trait. A man must get there. He doesn't always, but he must think he is getting there. He does not care if the day coach he is riding in on a train is ugly and often dirty; it is nothing to him if the locomotive is not spotlessly clean as long as it draws him along. He is not concerned for more than five minutes if the railroad company dashes locomotives through his city killing a few people en route because they have not time or inclination to raise their road or sink it in order to avoid deadly level crossings. It has not occurred to him to realize that a dirty locomotive uncleaned by careful hands will not get him there really. Seldom is an American train on time. Some are, of course, but I have often waited from an hour to several hours for a train.

So the men who make politics their business take advantage of this—not wickedly, I think, but nevertheless they appeal to this national enthusiasm, and they get away with it. No man is perfect, and politicians always seem to me the least perfect of men. The results are obvious. The political machine works in jumps and often breaks down at a critical moment. It is not the machine's fault really. It is the fault of the people who refuse to supervise its work. The people have responded to the political enthusiasm around election time and then they are finished. Of course, I think it is all wrong.

[Pg 141]One looks for the guiding hand of the people and one cannot find it. It ought to be displayed in the press, but of all powerless institutions the American press is the most powerless. It can rage against a politician until it is hoarse, but it accomplishes little. And yet the American press is truly very fine. I read every word of the New York Times, the New York Sun, and the Public Ledger every day and they are entirely admirable. I meet the editors, sometimes, of leading papers and they are delightful people. They combine often the delightful American boyishness with the sober mien of men of learning. Still they know the national characteristic of enthusiasm, and if they are to sell their papers they must appeal to it; so even the papers I have mentioned often display flamboyant headings about nothing in particular.

At election time, of course, the papers have a wide influence, but during the time when the laws of the country are being made they always seem to me to be entirely ineffective. They ought to be the leaders of the people. A cabinet with the disapproval of the press ought not to last a week. They try, of course, valiantly, but if they display disapproval, backed up with proofs, no one believes them. It is merely described as "newspaper talk."

And then the police! You know as well as I do that if a mere suspicion is breathed against an English [Pg 142]policeman by a good newspaper, the thing is thoroughly investigated and if the charge is well founded the policeman disappears. The police in England are our friends and we look after them, but they must do their duty well. I don't quite understand the system here, but, as far as I can gather, the police official of rank is appointed by the mayor. The mayor is elected, not soberly and carefully, but in the most hectic manner imaginable. He has a regular campaign for his position. Of course, there is no objection in the world to this, but the decisions of the people are given in moments of enthusiasm. They are worked up to a high pitch by the satellites of the prospective mayor. The newspapers help him or they don't; but whatever they do, they do it in a flamboyant manner. Charges are sometimes brought against a prospective mayor that would cause an English newspaper to be suppressed for libel. As far as I can see, the head police officials are dependent for their positions upon the retention of the mayor in office. A mayor may be a clever, good, conscientious man, but you know as well as I do, that the tribe spirit is merely dormant in us mortals, and the very best of us like to help our friends. And then the police officials are always being criticised by the newspapers. Sometimes they are praised in a most extravagant manner, and, a few weeks after, they get slanged to bits. Criticise your members of parliament, [Pg 143]tear to pieces the character of the prime minister, but surely it is foolish to criticise the cop.

I am not going to talk about graft amongst the police because I don't know anything about it. But one hears very strange stories.

If the people ruled this country, instead of allowing their national trait of enthusiasm to rule them, I suppose it would be all right. As a matter of fact, things go along quite smoothly. The American folk are awfully good natured and never worry about anything in particular. Hence they don't mind if Broadway continues to suggest a particularly unpleasant line of trenches in Flanders. They don't mind if the telephone lines in a small town all collapse during a storm, not because of the fury of the elements, but because the telephone company has laid its wires carelessly and untidily.

An American young man sometimes does not even know the name of his congressman—he never reads what the said gentleman says before the House. He just doesn't care. He fails sometimes to realize his duty as a citizen of a very great nation whose men have died for the privilege of ruling their own country. When anyone expresses annoyance with a particularly bad road, he remarks: "These damn politicians!"

It is a pity in some ways. He builds his bridge. It will carry him and his family well. The next man [Pg 144]finds it wanting, so he patches it. A concourse of persons passing over soon afterward all fall into the elements below. Someone else then arrives and builds another one just as flimsy, just as weak and just as beautiful to look upon as the first fellow's effort. And an American thinks he is "getting there."

These remarks, perhaps a little unfair, do not apply to the West or the Middle West.

And, of course, he does get there, but it all is owing to the great big background to his character which he inherits from his ancestors, and his natural efficiency allied to good health.

Of course, some will urge that this country is still a melting pot. That may be true, but as far as I can see the immigrant of the first generation has little influence. Great big things are ahead for this country, but the people will have to suffer a great deal first. I can see millions of young men returning from the war in Europe with an inquiring mind. These men will have realized the value, the effectiveness of discipline, and they will apply it to their servants, the gentlemen in Washington. The press will be the mouthpiece. The police will also be their servants, not their masters, and a cop will not have to worry about elections and rude remarks in the papers unless he deserves them.

The open air life, the freedom of the battlefield, the time supplied for reflection will mould the national [Pg 145]character. Things will then change for hotel clerks, head waiters, and all the million other satellites, that prey upon the wonderful good nature and kindliness of our cousins.

Americans will also become a little more lazy and will realise that it profits a man nothing in this wonderful world if he gains five million dollars and gets a nervous breakdown. An American man never seems able to be elegantly lazy. I suppose it is the climate. Slow country life bores him to desperation; he cannot enjoy the supervision of a large estate until he has reached a great age.

Criticism is so easy. If my friends read this they would say: "Et tu Brute; are you so perfect?" I could only reply: "We are a good deal worse, but our confounded papers guard us a little and we do stand by our cops. Go thou and do likewise."

[Pg 146]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., September 30, 1917.

I am now awaiting my orders to return to my regiment. Towards the beginning of the month I felt that it would be a good idea to try and see some fellows I knew. Things were getting impossible here, and I was feeling a little lonely, so I asked my chief in New York if he would allow me to visit some friends for a few days. He agreed and so I decided to visit the commodore and his wife on the "Reina Mercedes" at Annapolis. The "Reina Mercedes" was captured by the American Navy at Santiago. Her own crew sank her hoping to block the channel at the entrance to the bay. She was easily raised and now all snowy white, possessing an absurd little funnel, and a couple of thin masts, she acts as a receiving ship at the Academy. She suggests a beautiful houseboat, and the captain possesses very comfortable quarters for his wife and family.

I left Bethlehem at 3 P.M., arrived at Philadelphia somewhere around five o'clock and decided to get into uniform sometime during the evening before catching the midnight train for Washington.

While the kit of a mounted officer in the British [Pg 147]army has certain attractions for the wearer in England and France, its leather field boots, Bedford cord breeches, and whip cord tunic make one feel very hot and uncomfortable on a warm midsummer's night in Philadelphia. At eleven o'clock, with still an hour to wait for my train, an iced drink became a necessity, so I descended to the café and suggested to the waiter that he should supply me with an iced drink as large as possible. I thought that orangeade might meet the case, but the waiter mentioned a mint julep. The drink was unfamiliar, but it sounded good, and American people make the most wonderful soft drinks in the world. The very word "mint" suggested coolness, and the fragrant smell of the upper river at Cambridge on a summer's day came back to my mind as I sat behind a large column in the café. Hence I said: "Right O! Bring me a mint julep." He did, curse him! With a large chicken sandwich it arrived. The glass was all frosted, filled with mushy ice, while a dainty little bunch of green mint with its stems piercing the ice floated on the top. I was more thirsty than hungry, and I was very hungry.

I drank the mint julep at once. It was delicious, a trifle dry perhaps, but delicious. For a soft drink the effect was decidedly interesting. My first sensation was a nice singing, advancing sound in my head. I felt myself to be drifting along a smooth stream with overhanging willows and masses of mint growing on [Pg 148]the banks. I felt that delightful sensation that one feels when a tooth has been removed with the aid of gas and one is just returning to consciousness. It is a jar to one's nerves when the dentist's voice is first heard and the attending lady in the uniform of a nurse hands one a glass of water, and the world, with all its troubles and dentists returns to one's consciousness.

This pleasing feeling continued for a little while, and then I could see the panelled walls of the room, and I heard what seemed a still small voice talking in extremely bad French to the waiter who answered in what must have been good French. The voice using the bad French was very familiar and then I realized that it was my own. I promptly switched to English, but the voice was still far distant. Finally full consciousness returned, also a realization of the situation. Then the voice in the distance said: "Waiter, your d—— mint julep has gone to my head and I must catch a train in exactly half an hour." The waiter's voice expressed sorrow and suggested much water and more sandwiches. I drank water and I ate sandwiches, and the vision of Mr. Pickwick in the wheelbarrow came upon me with full force. I was thankful that, in spite of all, I could see my watch; but if the waiter had not been firm I should have missed my train. The water and sandwiches were successful. A faint knowledge of Christian Science [Pg 149]picked up from my chief in New York helped and in a perfectly stately manner I walked out of the hotel and along the road and caught my train.

I would advise all foreigners arriving in America to avoid mint juleps. I am not going to say that the experience was not pleasurable. It was extremely pleasant, almost delightful, but a mint julep taken several hours after a meal when one drinks but little at any time is extremely potent. I have been told since that just after a meal a mint julep is comparatively harmless and that it is not a soft drink. Frankly I will never touch one again as long as I live. There were too many possibilities lurking in its icy depths.

I arrived in Washington safely and found that my uniform acted as a wonderful talisman. Every officer of the U. S. A. that I met desired to show kindness in some way. It was impossible to pay for a meal.

I put up at a hotel and, with the aid of the telephone, commenced to accumulate friends from certain officers' training stations around. Most of them had not had time to buy uniforms of their own, but were dressed in the sort supplied by the quartermaster's store—good material, but badly fitting. However this fact could not in the slightest alter the effect produced by the glowing health that seemed to characterize all of them.

[Pg 150]Their eyes were clear and bright like the eyes of a thoroughbred in perfect condition. One or two had lost a little weight, with some advantage perhaps. In a word, good looking, handsome fellows though they had been before the war, military training, plain good food, and an entire absence of mint juleps had worked magic.

We had all lived together in Bethlehem and coming so recently from that town that both they and I had grown to love, we commenced that form of conversation which consists of many questions and no answers. You know the sort—everybody pleased with everybody else and everybody talking at once. I forgot most of it, but as far as I remember it consisted of, "Gee! Mac, but you do look fine in the English uniform. Have you been over to see Lucy lately? How's Lock? Are 'yer' getting your guns a bit quicker? How's 'Sally?' Does Curly still serve funny drinks? We're all on the wagon now even when we get the chance. It makes you feel fitter. We hope to get over soon. Don't forget to let us have those addresses soon. Gee! but we'll all have some parties in London some day. We've got to work awful hard, but its fine, and we've never felt better in our lives."

Finally we all rushed out to buy equipment and uniforms. Young officers always get smitten with a very pleasing disease which makes them rush about [Pg 151]any city buying every conceivable form of equipment and uniform. They'll buy anything. They'll extract from a pleased though overworked tailor promises that he can seldom keep. If he does keep them he ought to spend many hours in bitter remorse for supplying clothing and uniform that would have been spurned by a well turned out Sammee or Tommy in the days of the great peace.

It is part of the fun of the thing, this disease. We all had it in England in the latter days of 1914 and the early days of 1915. We also caused expressions of horror and dismay to creep over the well-bred faces of the regular officers we found at our barracks.

However we all rushed about Washington enjoying the process of being saluted and saluting. We assaulted a department store and descended to the basement, where a worn-out clerk and his employer, especially the latter, did what he could for us. He was interested in what he called the "goods" which formed my tunic. He regretted that Uncle Sam had not adopted our uniform with its large pockets and comfortable collar. I've often wondered about this myself, but I suppose that stiff collar looks smarter, although I am sure that it must choke a fellow.

These fellows are going to make wonderful officers, I am sure. The whole thing brought back to me the wonderful early days of the war when we were [Pg 152]all longing to get over to have a whack at the Boche. We still enjoy fighting him since he is such a blighter, but nowadays it is slightly different. It has become a business minus mad enthusiasm, for we know what we are up against.

Of course when you first get over there the chances of getting knocked out seem one in fifty, but after six months it becomes "fifty-fifty." After nine months or a year the chances of getting scuppered seem to grow greater, and the deadly monotony becomes unbearable. It is then time to get a "Blighty" and a rest in hospital.

A visit to Washington on a Saturday afternoon is well worth while, merely to see the young officers going about. They are very careful about saluting. I suppose war is a bad thing from every aspect, but it seems bearable in the capital city, when one sees the effect of military life on the many men walking about the streets.

One thing seemed unusual to me, and that was the number of junior officers who were over thirty. It would seem that this in America were a good thing. I wonder. The respect and affection shown to the young junior officer by his men is a very fine thing. We find in our army that the subaltern of immature age gets this much more easily than anyone else. Affection is more powerful than respect, and when it comes to the actual difficult, dangerous work, the [Pg 153]leading of a charge, for instance, the youngster can sometimes carry it off with less effort than the older man. Of course, he has not the same sanity of judgment possessed by the older chap. Possibly he will attempt the most impossible kind of stunts. However, time will tell and it is useless to compare British experience in this respect with American.

In our army it is only the subaltern and the field marshal who can afford to be undignified. A little lack of dignity on the part of both is often effective. A man just over thirty is apt to overdo dignity. He is like a second year man at a university—just a little difficult to manage. In our army, the men seem to take a fatherly interest in their platoon commander and will follow him to hell, if necessary. Of course, when you become a captain or a major or something equally great, then it is a different matter, but the subaltern has so much personal intercourse with his men, that if you can introduce a personal feeling of love and affection to this relation it is a great help on a nasty, rainy, miserable night in the trenches. The subaltern forms a connecting link between the men and the more superior officers, and that link becomes very strong when the junior officer is an enthusiastic youth who makes a few unimportant mistakes sometimes, but with all is a very proper little gentleman, who understands when a fellow makes a break occasionally. There's nothing greater in this world than [Pg 154]love, and in my experience there's nothing finer over there in France than the affection, and protective interest shown by the dear old British Tommy for the youth, not long out of school, who is his "orficer" and a "proper torf" into the bargain, or what the Sammee would call a "reg'lar feller."

After dining at the hotel I had to leave my friends, and catching a slightly unclean trolley car found myself dashing along to Annapolis.

At the academy gates I was met by a coloured steward who, after feeling the weight of my bag, asked if I were going to stay a week. Secretly I hoped so, but merely laughed lightly. At the "Reina" I was received cheerily by the commodore and his wife, and their two nieces R—— and M——. They are both ripping girls of entirely different types. R—— is what we would call in England a typical American girl—original, bright, happy-go-lucky, a delightful companion; while M—— represents an international type of young womanhood; sympathetic, the sort of girl that makes a priceless friend, as the newsboy says: "One wat knows all abawt yer and yet likes yer."

The next day after lunch, dear old Eddy came on board full of enthusiasm and witty remarks, that would come out, in spite of his efforts to keep them back, or to reserve them for more fitting occasions. I was very glad to see him. His father, a naval officer [Pg 155]of rank, had lived at Annapolis during his son's boyhood. Here Edward established a reputation for being the "baddest" boy in America. He was brimming over with mischief and was the terror of the young midshipmen who had attained sufficient seniority to be allowed to walk out with young persons.

He is still full of mischief and loves to tease people, but the person being "ragged" always enjoys the process. I met him first at a large steel plant. For two years he had worked very hard, practically as a laborer, refusing to go about with the young people of the town. Finally, however, he got promotion and found himself in the sales department. He now burst upon our local society and no party was complete without him. He is very much a man's man. He says more witty, droll things in one week than most people say in five years.

As soon as war broke out he joined the Navy as a "gob," in other words an ordinary seaman. However, he got a commission, and was soon sent to Annapolis for a short course of intensive training.

We all chatted for a time and then walked round the city of Annapolis. Annapolis is very like Cambridge, apparently quite as old fashioned, and has numbers of nice old red brick houses rather like Queen Anne houses in England. It seemed sound asleep.

We sought a movie show, and went in to see some star alleged to be good looking, playing in a piece [Pg 156]called "The Snake's Tooth." There were no serpents, and the star seemed to me to be a little fat and bourgeois looking, but she wore some stunning frocks for her more agonizing scenes. There was a handsome looking fellow moving about the screen very well dressed. I tried to sleep, but couldn't because the chair was not meant for sleeping in.

After the show we went to a party given by one Peter, which was a great success. We were the first to arrive, but soon numbers of other people came in. I enjoyed this party very much and fell in love with both my host and hostess. Mademoiselle, Peter's sister and our hostess, told me that she loved my countrymen; and I told her that it would be impossible for all my countrymen not to love her, which remark seemed to please her. They've got a ripping little house all filled with old china, prints, and daintily wrought silver. We were a very cheery party. All the men were in uniform and everybody knew everybody else and I was quite sorry when we had to return to the "Reina Mercedes" for dinner.

However, after dinner we went to the local inn and danced, but unfortunately, I wounded a lady's frock with my spurs so we sought the grill room, an underground place suggesting the vault of a royal prince in a fashionable mausoleum.

The next day we all set off in launches to visit some friends who have a charming country house on [Pg 157]the Severn. There were about twenty of us and we decided to form a club called the Reina Club. There are no rules or regulations to our club but as we form a mutual admiration society it is impossible to remain a member unless you like or are liked by the other members. We made the Commodore president and his wife vice-president.

We had a wonderful day which consisted of golf, swimming, boating, dancing, and all sorts of other amusing things. Our host and hostess had engaged the services of a darky band which seemed to follow us about everywhere even while we were all swimming. I have never tried to swim to music before.

The Severn is a beautiful wide river. I have heard people in Australia boasting about Sydney Harbour; I have heard New Zealanders singing the praises of the Waitemata; I have heard Tasmanians observing that there is no place in the world like the Derwent River; but I have never yet heard an American say a great deal about the Severn River. And yet I cannot imagine anything more lovely than this wide stream which winds its stately way through the low lying hills of Maryland.

The few houses that appear amidst the foliage help to add beauty to the whole effect, and when the stream reaches the grounds of the academy, with first the hospital buildings, then the pretty wee cemetery, and finally the main group of buildings, the effect is [Pg 158]just wonderful. You should be there on a summer's afternoon when the river is literally covered with the sailing craft in which the midshipmen practice seamanship. Some of them man long-boats and dash past with long sweeps crashing into the blue water, keeping perfect time. They all wear little round caps edged with white, a superior edition of the head-gear worn by the ordinary seaman.

Sometimes larger craft will pass, manned by gentlemen wearing the ordinary naval officer's caps but dressed in khaki shirts and breeches. They are naval reserve officers and are out with the fell purpose of laying mines of a harmless nature, and when they pass M——, R——, and I give up enticing the wily crab to fix itself to the piece of mutton we have dangling at the end of a string, and have a good look to see if we can recognize any of our club members. Sometimes we see J——, sometimes we catch a glimpse of B——; often J—— is at the helm, so we all wave, but they are much too serious about their work to notice us, so we return to the job of catching crabs for to-morrow's dinner. This crab catching is rather fun, but R—— is very bad at it for as soon as a crab has been tempted to fix its great big claws to the bait, she gets very excited and the crab gets suspicious and lets go.

One day Eddy and I called on the superintendent and had tea, and I am perfectly certain that we [Pg 159]stayed too long, but we hated leaving, because our hostess and host were so amusing, and in any case, it was their fault. There were several midshipmen present; third year men, I believe. That academy training would make a man out of any "rabbit."

At the end of the week, all my friends of the naval reserve graduated, and we all went to see the ceremony. The superintendent made a short speech, every sentence of which was of value—short, brisk, bright, inspiring. The Secretary of the Navy then addressed the men and presented them with their diplomas. We all cheered as our friends went up and returned with their certificates. K—— got a particularly enthusiastic reception. He is a youth of great size, a mighty man before the Lord, a fine type of American manhood. He now commands a submarine destroyer and my great hope is that the Boche sea soldiers won't get him.

After the ceremony we all parted feeling a little miserable in spite of the fact that we were all going to meet in New York, a few days later, at a party given by a very charming American lady who had invited us to be her guests in New York.

The New York party was a great success. I occupied an apartment at the hotel which the Duke of Plaza Tora would have been proud to live in. We went to theatres together and also visited the Midnight Frolic.

[Pg 160]The very name "Midnight Frolic" suggests sin and wickedness, but the show is not at all wicked, really. If you want to be particularly devilish, the thing to do is to engage a table right underneath a glass gallery where a few chorus ladies walk around. This struck me as being a little curious, because it could either be impossibly revolting or merely futile. It must obviously be the latter, but I dare say certain men feel themselves to be "reg'lar fellers" as they look at these ladies from an impossible angle. I wonder why they have it, but I suppose the people running the show realize that it takes lots of people to make up this funny world, and that quite a large portion of humanity, while hating to be really nasty, likes at times to appear fearfully wicked to others. I guess that they are merely "showing off" like the people at the Sunday school exercises in Tom Sawyer. This world would be a very puritanical place if folk showed themselves to be as good as they really are.

The next night we went to a musical comedy which had some bright spots marred a little by the leading actor who possessed the supreme courage to imitate a rather more clever person than himself—Billy Sunday. Of course, if Billy Sunday is a knave then the actor chap is doing the right thing to expose him, but quite numbers of people have been made a little better by the Reverend William and the evidence seems to show that he is sincere and just as capable [Pg 161]of making men better as of being able to play a jolly good game of base ball. "Voilá!"

A few days after this I visited two members of the Reina Club who are married to each other and who live on Long Island with a tiny wee baby. I loved the baby especially. She had a bad cold and her wee nose was all red at the corners and her tiny eyes were watering, but that did not prevent her from being a profound optimist. She looked at me doubtfully for a moment while she wondered if I would respond to the great big smile she threatened to give me. I got the smile all right.

And now I am back in Bethlehem, but my mind refuses to think about guns and gun carriages, but rather persists in soaring sometimes down to Annapolis, sometimes down to Norfolk, often across the ocean to the Irish channel, at all of which places I have warm friends amongst the sailors of Uncle Sam.

[Pg 162]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., October 30, 1917.

I want to tell you about an interesting race of people called "inspectors." If you are merely a footslogger, and know nothing about guns and carriages, I had better give you a slight idea of the things that happen to a simple gun and carriage before it reaches the comparative rest of the battlefield.

Now the word "inspector" at once suggests someone who inspects. I've had to inspect my men in order to prepare myself and them for the visitation of the major, who in turn awaits the colonel. But the inspection of a gun is a very different matter. As a mere person who is responsible for the firing of the thing, and also the unwilling target of the people who desire to destroy the gun and its servants, I was always wont to call the whole thing, including the wheels and all the mechanism, a "gun." But this showed remarkable inaccuracy. The gun is just the tubes of steel, with the top or outside one termed the jacket, that form what a layman would call the barrel, and a properly trained recruit "the piece." All the rest is the carriage. If you are dealing with inspectors be very careful about this. They are [Pg 163]generally awfully good at mathematics, and can dictate letters by the yard without winking. They can work out fearful things called curves. I believe this has something to do with strain, and suggests to my unmathematical mind the dreadful thing I had to draw in order to get through my "little go."

Now the manufacturer of a gun and carriage doesn't just make the thing, and then after a few trial shots hand it over to the inspector saying: "Here's your gun. Now go and shoot the Germans, I don't think it will burst during the first preliminary bombardment and kill a few men." No sir! The inspector is responsible to his government, that every inch of that gun and carriage is according to specification. I should think that on an average each complete gun and carriage requires at least five pounds of correspondence, three lesser arguments, four greater arguments, two heated discussions and one decent fight. I have been present at a fight or two and have come to the wholesome conclusion that both sides were right—so what can you do?

Now inspectors can be easily divided into two classes—the thorough mechanic who knows more than the manufacturer about the production of the piece he is inspecting, and the other. The first chap only requires to use the five pounds of paper, and seldom or never has the arguments, unless he lacks a sense of humour. I know an inspector of whom a shop [Pg 164]foreman boasted: "That ther koirnel could condemn every bit of woirk in the shop without making a single enemy." Now in these times of stress the fellow above described is a rare blessing, so the men on the job have got to do their very best. Still inspectors are strange and interesting people.

Before I came out here, I toured all the great munition factories in England. I had a wonderful time, but never met an inspector. Now that I come to think of it, I do remember having seen sitting at the table at lunch one day some gunner officers, but I thought that they were anti-aircraft fellows. They must have been inspectors.

In peace time, I suppose the job is an entirely different proposition. The firm that manufactures artillery and shells probably gets an order for half a dozen equipments and I suppose the contract time is liberal. Then the inspector's job and the manufacturer's is simple. The inspector must have rigid attention to specifications, and the manufacturer, possibly, only has his best men doing the work. I should think then that things would run smoothly.

In these days of stress the contract time is cut down to the shortest possible, and instead of getting orders by the dozen, a manufacturer gets them by the hundred, sometimes by the thousand. The result is that all his men are on the job. Also many other munition firms are doing the same sort of work and [Pg 165]really good workmen become scarce. Then again the inspection staff is multiplied tremendously, and it naturally takes years to make a really good inspector. Still the fellows I know do their very utmost to make things go smoothly. But let me tell you just a little about things as I see them, and of course I see them through inexperienced eyes.

A manufacturer decides to make a gun and some money, thereby proving himself to be an optimist. Of course, he may succeed in making the gun. Poor fellow! He ought to be allowed to make the inspector, too. But he cannot, and so commences a strife in comparison to which the great war is a mild performance.

An inspector is ordered to inspect the production of guns at a given munition plant. He arrives, and meets the officials of the company, and the first hour is spent in social amenities. But the inspector is not deceived. He knows that all manufacturers are nice villains, so he must be on his guard. If, however, he is a villain himself, and I deny, of course, the existence of villainous inspectors, the matter should be easy and simple; the whole process is delightful and the manufacturer will make much money and his optimism will be justified. If the manufacturer is an honest gentleman and, strangely enough, all the manufacturers I have met are honest gentlemen, a villainous inspector will have a hectic time. Some honest manufacturers [Pg 166]are comparatively intelligent, and of course the villainous inspector, if he existed, would soon leave a rope behind him upon which he could be safely hanged. Upon an occasion like this if it should happen, I, as a Briton, would sing "God Save Our Gracious King," and an American would doubtlessly sing "The Star Spangled Banner," if he could only remember the words and had a voice of sufficient mobility. However, the whole position is difficult. There are boundless opportunities for an inspector to develop "frightfulness."

But let us trace the history of a simple gun and carriage. Its opportunities for frightfulness and a frightful mess end only when it reaches the firing line. It has really reached paradise or Nirvana when it is issued to the battery.

The manufacturer gives orders to the steel mill to make certain steel ingots. The inspectorial eye watches the billets. They must be of sufficient length so that the frothy part of the ingot at the top will not form a vital part of the forging. Generally speaking, the intelligence of the steel man prevents this from happening so that the inspector merely gives this a little attention.

The steel is then forged into what eventually will be tubes, breech rings, and jackets. You see a gun is generally made in at least two parts unless it is a very small one. They are shrunk together. The [Pg 167]inspector ignores these forgings until they have been "heat-treated." It is sufficient to say that the forgings are placed in the hands of the gentleman in charge of the treatment department. After treatment, a portion of the steel is cut off. This portion enters the laboratory and here it is placed in a machine which pulls it apart. The machine displays a sort of tug of war and the inspectors watch. The steel has got to stand a certain strain. At a certain strain it should stretch; this is called the elastic limit. At a greater strain it should break, this is called the ultimate limit. If the steel fails to pass, the gentleman in charge of the treatment department has failed us all, and a feeling of exhaustion creeps over the man in charge of production, for he knows that he must worry the life out of the fellow until he gets it through again. In these times of stress when all munition factories in America are endeavouring to work above their capacity the man in charge of production has a rotten time of it.

However, the steel sometimes gets through and finally reaches a machine shop. Generally speaking, the foreign inspector doesn't worry very much about the actual gun until it has been proof-fired. If the manufacturer has been clever he will have caused his own inspection staff to watch closely every inch of the steel as the machine work gradually exposes the metal. If he is wise he will immediately condemn the [Pg 168]whole thing if it is very bad. If the fault is trifling he will have several arguments and a heated discussion including an appeal to the production man, who will sympathize but do very little. Perhaps the inspector will decide to let the work go on. Inspectors are sometimes bad at deciding. They ponder and ponder and ponder until the production man decides that they are fools and the manufacturer's man decides that they are villainous and officious, and possess any amount of damnable qualities. It is all very difficult. I seem to be wandering on and on about inspectors, but it is interesting when you think that in a comparatively simple gun and carriage there are at least three thousand parts, and every part contains the possibility of an argument.

Why doesn't this wonderful country give titles to its kings of manufacture? It would simplify matters considerably. You see Mr. Jones in the position of an inspector, or even Lieutenant Jones, or possibly Major Jones of the Terriers regards himself as much superior to any "damned Yankee," and takes a vastly superior attitude. This can be displayed in an argument. Now if Mr. Beetles, president of the Jerusalem Steel Company, could only be Lord Rekamnug or the Duke of Baws, believe me, our national snobbishness would prevent Mr. Jones in the position of an inspector, or even Lieutenant Jones, or possibly Major Jones of the Terriers minus a sense of humour, from [Pg 169]taking the futile attitude of superiority which could only be displayed by the wives and daughters of the more elegant clergy and smaller country gentlemen in "Blighty."

Of course, as a production man, it is my duty to regard inspectors as effete. Still I will be a traitor and say that a certain inspector who was at one time the manager of a large ordnance factory not many miles from Leamington did a great deal for our country over here during this time of trouble. I wish I could mention his name, but I fear the censor. He was the "koirnal who could condemn any amount of work without making a single enemy." He had personality—that colonel.

An inspector obviously should be a specialist. He must know his job thoroughly. He must know as much about manufacture and metallurgy as the average officer in a mounted regiment thinks he knows about horses. As I said before, the whole matter was perfectly simple in the days of peace. Now it is different. It is impossible to get sufficient men in these days for the job, so we have got to take what we can get. The most dangerous form of inspector is the fellow that knows just a little and pretends that he knows an awful lot. His very ignorance allied to his sense of duty will make it impossible for him to decide when a part is serviceable, although not absolutely up to specifications. This man causes delays and trouble.

[Pg 170]Then there is the chap who knows quite a lot, but alas, possesses no sense of humour! This type is called an obstructionist. He is very difficult, well nigh impossible. He has much fighting spirit and thoroughly enjoys a dispute with the manufacturer. He also enjoys his autocratic position. Quite often he gives in all right, but he lacks "sweet reasonableness." The longer one lives, the more one sees the value of personality in every branch of life.

An essential quality in a good inspector is personality. This never exists minus a sense of humour. An inspector has to condemn masses of work—work that has had hours and hours of patient machining and fitting. If he could only do it nicely! Quite often, he uses a large axe when a fine surgical instrument would save a lot of trouble. In America it ought not to be difficult, for in my humble opinion the American manufacturer is generally "sweetly reasonable." It always seems to me a good thing if you honestly disapprove of a man or a nation, moreover, in dealing with that man or nation to hide your thoughts, or forget them, if possible. Take the "wisest fool" in Christendom's advice to the Presbyterians at the Hampton Court conference—"Pray, gentlemen, consider that perhaps you may be wrong."

In every organization there is always a definite procedure which has got to be adhered to. The big man and the fool will take a short cut sometimes and [Pg 171]they often get away with it. Of course, they do not always and there is trouble, but the big man takes his punishment. The mediocre man will always stick to the beaten tracks, with the crowd.

It has always seemed to me that during these distressful times all short cuts should be taken. The guns have got to get to France and that is all about it. If they are thoroughly serviceable that is all that matters.

But talking about short cuts and fools, I remember an awful thing that happened to me once in the early days of the war while we were training in England. I, as a fellow from the cavalry, was given the charming job of teaching the N.C.O.'s of two brigades to ride. It had to be done quickly, of course, so instead of taking the men into the riding school I used to take them across country. Of course, they fell off by the dozens. I commanded them to follow me and dashed down narrow tracks in the forest at a good smart trot. It meant bending down to avoid branches or getting swept off. All kinds of things used to happen but they learnt to stick to their horses. Sometimes I had not enough horses, and I am ashamed to say that some of my fellows pinched all the mounts from another battery. Quite selfish this, and when the officer commanding the battery whose horses had been pinched asked where his gees were, he was told that they had been pinched "by that [Pg 172]there lootenant who takes the sergeants out over the hills to see the German prison camps." Of course, it is well to say that I was ignorant of the whole proceeding and although all Battery D's horses had been taken they only numbered about twelve. Incidentally this officer said nothing to me about it, but he gave his own men hell for allowing the horses to be taken, showing himself thereby a clever man. However, I did not mind very much. My N.C.O.'s had to learn to ride and that was all about it.

One day I decided that as they had all attained a good seat it might be a good idea to put them through a short course in the riding school. It was important that I should get the riding school at the time I wanted it which was nine o'clock. I am ashamed to say that I had not read orders that morning otherwise I would have scented danger.

At 8.45 I sent three large Welsh miners up to the riding school to prevent others from getting there before me. I told them to hold the school against all comers. This thrilled them; our sentries were only armed with sticks in those days, so they procured large sticks and took up a position at the door of the riding school. I wish I had read orders that day.

At nine o'clock I advanced to the door of the school, and to my horror I saw a gentleman on a large horse with a red cap and many decorations being held at bay by my three Welshmen. I nearly beat a [Pg 173]strategic retreat, but it was difficult so I advanced in much fear. He rode up to me looking purple and said: "Did you put these men here to hold the riding school?" I saluted and replied meekly: "Yes, sir!" "Why, may I ask?" "Well, sir," I replied, "I have never had a chance to use the riding school and every time I come I find it already full." He looked bitterly at me and said: "Boy, do you ever read orders?" This silenced me. Then he started to move off but turning round asked me my name, and then he said: "Never put sentries at the door of a riding school; it isn't soldiering."

It was all very terrible but Providence looks after fools and I had my hour in the riding school. When lunch time came I rushed to the mess and looked at orders. My heart sank. They showed that a staff officer had arranged to inspect a certain battery's equestrian powers that morning. The men under a sergeant had arrived, but being impressed by the formidable appearance of the Welshmen had decided to go somewhere else. The colonel then arrived and found my sentries. A staff colonel was nothing in their lives, but I as their "lootenant" was very much so, and they knew that they would get into trouble if they failed to do what I had ordered. I was very pleased with them, but knew there would be trouble for me. I had only been an officer three weeks and it looked very bad.

[Pg 174]At lunch time I sat as far away as possible from the staff officer. My own colonel, a topping chap, who had left his charming old country house to help to make us all soldiers sat next to him. Elderly colonels are sometimes a little deaf and they shout as a rule. I was very worried until I saw my own colonel looking down at me with a grin. A moment after, he gave the staff colonel a smack on the back and said: "Timkins, you funny old top, fancy being kept out of the riding school by one of my subalterns!" I felt safe after that and looked for promotion.

Of course, I would not recommend that sort of thing to any one. After a time, I learnt better and discovered that at regular intervals during the week I had the right to use the riding school. It appeared in orders. However, I learnt a great lesson, i.e., that if you want a thing badly enough there are always ways of getting it if you are willing to take risks. However, it is a good idea to know the extent of the risk.

In this life you must be honest, of course, but there is nothing like a little wiliness to help out occasionally. My major was the wiliest person I have ever met, also the best officer. He knew more than most people did in the brigade because he had been wounded at the Marne, though slightly, so that in the early days of training he was the only officer of rank who had seen service.

[Pg 175]One day he sent me off to the ordnance stores with about one hundred men, because he alleged that the "emergency caps" supplied to the men did not fit. They did fit all right, but the major had hopes. These emergency caps were made of nasty blue serge and were the variety that are placed on the side of the head and that are shaped like the boats you make for children out of a square of paper. They suggest a section of the bellows of a concertina.

Now the way to get stores from the ordnance depot is to write out a requisition. It is sent off by the Q.M.S., and returns in a day or two, because he has not filled out the form correctly. However, after many weeks the things arrive but half of them may not fit, and there is trouble and worry. Upon no consideration, do you send your men to the stores to have the caps and tunics fitted. This is obviously impossible. However, off I went with my hundred men to Aldershot, eight miles distant. They were a funny bunch, I will admit. We arrived at the department where caps were kept. We marched in fours, myself at the head, and then came into line in front of the building. It had never occurred before and astonishment was displayed on the faces of the sergeants and others, who wondered what should happen next. I sought the officer in charge and the sergeant took me to his office. On the way I took some shameless steps with the sergeant and made him my friend for life.

[Pg 176]The officer in charge, a ranker captain, was not very pleased, but I talked a lot and made him regard himself as vital to my earthly happiness. I painted in vivid colours the smallness of my men's caps; how they fell off when they doubled, and what confusion ensued in the ranks as they all stooped to pick them up. He grew more friendly, and slightly amused, and said he would do what he could. We started to go out to the men, the sergeant helping me wonderfully, but, alas, we met an old man with a red cap and of furious mien who stood looking at my brave soldiers in the distance with much displeasure. He came to me and gave me blazes and ordered me to get out of it. He disliked intensely the fact that my major regarded him as a shop keeper, he, the "D.C.O.S." or something equally dreadful! I explained that the caps did not fit, and that we were desperate men. He said: "They do fit." "Well, sir, will you have a look?" We had to go round, in order to avoid a platform from which stores were loaded into wagons G. S. I jumped this place and quickly told the sergeant to make the men put their caps on the very tip of their heads, to change some, to do anything, but to do it quickly. The men were fools—they took the matter as a joke and commenced exchanging one anothers' caps, laughing and affecting a certain cunning which seemed fatal to me. The general, of course, caught them in the very act, appreciated the [Pg 177]situation and roared with laughter. After that it was not difficult. All of my men were supplied, not with new emergency caps, but with beautiful field service khaki caps and they took away with them one hundred extra caps for the men at home. When this operation had finished the general said: "Now is there anything else that you want, for I'm damned if I will have you coming here again in this manner?" It was all wrong, hopelessly wrong, but we were proud soldiers as we marched back into the barracks at Deep Cut, each man wearing a perfect cap and carrying another. Of sixteen batteries, we were the only people who could boast of "caps, service field."

The major, of course, was pleased but if it had not come off I should have been the person to get strafed, and not he.

There are always short cuts, even in the inspection of guns and carriages.

I sometimes wonder how I have managed to get along out here possessing so much ignorance of business. It has been comparatively simple. I had no intention of being clever, even if it were possible, and from the start I took a perfectly honest line, and placed all my cards on the table. I found that this was a fairly unusual manner of doing business and it worked well. I also made the discovery that, instead of being cunning knaves, the American manufacturers of my experience were honest gentlemen. In any case, [Pg 178]I decided that if they were cunning the heights of my cunning would never reach theirs, owing to my lack of experience. I also endeavoured to learn from them a "good approach." This helped. I just put it up to them. "Here am I out here to get work from you. We must have it. We've got to strafe the Germans somehow and it is up to you to help me." And they have, bless them, especially the big men. At any rate, I can safely say that anything I have wanted I have got.

I think that I realized the situation. Not only had they mostly "bitten off more than they could chew," but they had not realized the difficulties they were up against. Of course, one had to use a little common sense. During my time here in America one has learnt a great deal, and, indeed, one has met some villains. They were not "Yankee manufacturers."

Do you remember Lady Deadlock's lover in "Bleak House," and the street boy's eulogy after his death, "He was very good to me, he was"? That is how I feel towards the men I have met during my time here. They have been very good to me, all of them. I suppose that if I had been an inspector the matter would have been different. Perhaps I have laughed a little at inspectors, but my job has been child's play compared with theirs.

The average American, like other folk, enjoys a decent fight, but he dislikes killing people by [Pg 179]machinery; hence the machinery of war has never been manufactured to any great extent over here. The American is impatient of delay. He wants to get going. When held up, he sometimes fails to see the inspector's point of view. He is an optimist, but optimism in gun and carriage manufacture will often bring some bitterness of heart, and when an optimist develops bitterness, it's awful.

[Pg 180]



Bethlehem, U. S. A., November, 1917.

I have grown steadily to love the American people. English people I have met in this country have helped me so much. Contrasta!!

I went to Cambridge after life in New Zealand, where a spade is called a spade—and that's all about it; where, if you are strong enough, you knock a man down if he calls you a liar. At Cambridge, I discovered that no one had any desire to call anyone else a liar. Lying persons, and those who told unpleasant truths, were not on your list of acquaintances and as far as you were concerned they did not exist. "Napoo," as Tommy says.

But the people one did know and like, one studied and endeavoured to understand. One also tried to act accordingly so that even if they behaved in a peculiar fashion one avoided allowing them to even suspect disapproval.

So our older universities try valiantly to turn out, not necessarily educated persons, but persons who have a faint idea how to behave themselves when they are away from home. This does not mean merely the use of an elegant accent called here [Pg 181]with a little amusement "English." It means that the fellow who takes a superior attitude towards anyone is merely a stupid bounder. It means also that the fellow who thinks himself, as a member of the British Nation, to be better or in any way superior to any other nation is a fool. He may be superior, of course, but the mere thought of this superiority entering his mind ruins him at once, and, as I said before, turns him into a bounder.

In other words, "Love your own country intensely and beyond all other countries, but for Heaven's sake don't let anyone suspect that you regard yourself as a good specimen of its human production." If, unfortunately, you discover, not only that you love yourself, but also that it is owing to you and your like that the British Empire is great, climb the Woolworth Building, not forgetting to pay your dime, and then drop gracefully from the highest pinnacle. You will save your nation and your countrymen much suffering and a good deal of embarrassment.

No one has ever given this advice before, I am quite sure: that probably accounts for the fact that Britishers do suffer and are embarrassed when they meet some of their fellow countrymen over here, for it is quite un-British to be a bounder, and it is quite un-Christian to be a snob. Which is a strange fact, but true nevertheless: yet, who would suspect it.

[Pg 182]I used to think that an American was a hasty person, constantly talking about the finest thing on the earth, which he deemed everything American to be; that his wife was a competent, rather forward person, who delighted to show her liberty by upsetting our old notions of propriety. I have often heard people telling the story of the American lady who thought it funny to blow out some sacred light that had never been extinguished for centuries—and all that sort of thing. In fact, anything outrageous done in England or on the continent by a woman is at once put down to an American. We had some charming specimens of Britons on the continent in the days of peace.

And yet we sincerely like the American people. We don't mean to run them down really, but we assume a superior air that must be perfectly awful. I have been just as guilty. I remember feeling quite faint at St. John's College, Oxford, where they seemed to have the unpleasant habit of breakfasting in hall, when I heard two Rhodes' scholars talking. They were very friendly to the waiters, who hated it, and their accent disgusted me. They seemed isolated, too. At the moment, having lived for a year in America, I wonder how on earth one's attitude could have been such. Frankly, there seems no excuse: it is merely rude and unpardonable. Still, perfectly nice people have this attitude. I wish that we could change, because the [Pg 183]effect over here is most regrettable. One would like the Americans to know us at our best, because we are not really an unpleasant people.

Of course, the sloppy individual seeking a fortune arrives "over here" and burns incense to the "Yankees," as he calls them, but they are not deceived. Some of us used to look upon the folk over here as fair game. All Americans are hospitable, even the very poor, and a stray Englishman comes in for his share of kindness. But he invariably assumes a superior attitude, although unconsciously.

The American people have mostly been with us all along in our efforts to fight the Germans. The well educated people definitely like us, but the great mass just don't. The Irish element hates us, or poses that way. People don't know this.

In England we don't seem to realize the Irish question. We regard the Irish as a delightful and amusing people. Most of our serious experience has been with the Irish gentry, really English and Scotch, who through years have assumed the delightful mannerisms of the people with whom they have lived. We also shoot and hunt with the real Irishman and find him delightful and romantic. His wonderful lies and flattery please us, but we don't for a single instant take him seriously. The great mass of people here think that we ill-treat the Irish. This is interesting. An Irishman arrives here and finds wonderful [Pg 184]opportunities for expansion, and glorious opportunities to fight. He compares his present life with that of his former and the former looks black and horrible. An Englishman and a Scotchman of the same class feel the same way. The Irishman having been brought up on "Irish wrongs" blames the English for his past discomfort. I have heard fairly intelligent people speaking of Irish wrongs, but when asked in what way the Irish treatment differs from that meted out to the average Englishman they are unable to answer. The thing seems a little bit involved.

During this time of war there have been, of course, large numbers of Englishmen over here on duty. Their attitude varies a little, but on the whole, it is a little difficult to understand. Lieutenant Jones arrives, having been badly wounded and is unfit for further service. The folk here at once give him a wonderful time. They listen to his words and entertain him very much. So much incense is burnt to him that his head becomes pardonably swelled. Representing his government and the buyer of huge supplies he has interviews with great men, who treat him with vast respect. They ask him to spend week-ends at their houses.

The great captain of industry has risen to his present position by one of two things—either by brutal efficiency, or by terrific personality, but mostly the latter. The subaltern finds him charming and, [Pg 185]mark you, very humble. Temporary Lieutenant Smith likes the Americans.

Millionaires and multi-millionaires are often his companions. He is receiving, possibly, three hundred dollars a month, but he seldom has to entertain himself. Familiarity breeds contempt, and he feels that he himself ought really to be a millionaire. His advice is often taken and a certain contempt for the intelligence of his friends creeps into his mind. He thinks of after-the-war days and he endeavours to lay plans. He perhaps lets a few friends know that he wants a job after the war, though I have not heard of any one seeking a millionaire's daughter.

Now arrives plain Mr. Jones who has not been to the front. American society tries him out, and, finding him wanting, to his astonishment drops him. In American society you must have something to recommend you. You must amuse and interest. The mere fact of your being a representative of Great Britain won't save you. You must also be a gentleman and behave accordingly. If you even think that the American people are rather inferior and a little awful you are done. I know several British people in America who are not known in polite society, and who seem to have fallen back upon their Britishness and spend diverting hours discussing the "damn Yankees." That is, of course, the whole trouble. People never seem to realize that the tongue is not the [Pg 186]only method of communication. Our feelings can be communicated without a word spoken. So some of us over here talk fairly and courteously to the American people, while regarding them as something a little terrible and quite impossible socially. Our hosts realise this at once and like children they are fearfully sensitive. It either amuses them or makes them furious, generally the former.

When we visit France or Spain and endeavour to learn the language of either country, we regard ourselves as peculiarly clever persons if we can manage to cultivate the French or Spanish idioms and manners. We even return to England and affect them a little, in order that people may see that we are travelled persons. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose; but never do we imitate the Americans, or even affect their manners while here. To illustrate. In Bethlehem, and indeed in other parts of America, it is de rigeur to say that you are pleased to meet a person when introduced. It is done by the best people. In England, a person who says he is pleased to meet you is suspected of having some ulterior motive. It is not done.

I spent a happy day in Washington with some members of the Balfour mission and I noticed that one fellow, an Oxford Don, invariably said when introduced to American people: "I'm very pleased to meet you." He explained that it was the custom of [Pg 187]the country and had to be followed. It is not wonderful that one noticed how well these fellows got on with the folk here.

Americans have a profound dislike for gossip. They seldom "crab" people. Of course, a conversation is never so interesting as when someone's reputation is getting smashed to pieces, but this is not done here. If a party of British people with their wives (and emphasis is laid on the wives) get together there are sure to be some interesting happenings. Each wife will criticise the other wife and generally there will be a certain amount that is unpleasant. In England we understand this, and expect it. The picture of people of the same blood squabbling together in a foreign country is quite diverting and interesting to Americans. One English woman will criticise another English woman, and will do so to an American who promptly tells her friends. I have heard some very interesting tales.

Frankly, my fellow countrymen have shown me many wonderful qualities amongst our cousins, and I have realized a big thing. The American people must get to know us and they must get to like us. I wonder if we shall bother to like them?

[Pg 188]



I get slightly annoyed with the newspapers and indeed with some of my friends over here when they pass rude remarks about the King of England. The people don't seem to understand why we keep a king and all that sort of thing. They all admit that the British Empire is a successful organization, but they cannot quite see that an empire must have an emperor. When one thinks of India without its emperor! Still the point is that the majority of British citizens of every colour prefer to have a king and that is all there is about it.

When the news of the Russian revolution broke upon the world, people of this country commenced to discuss the possibility of similar occurrences in other European countries. It was said by some that Germany and Austria-Hungary would soon follow suit, and that even England would give up her childish, through ornamental practice of having kings in golden crowns, and noble lords riding in stately carriages. In other words, the rest of the world, realizing the advantages of the United States form of government, would sooner or later have revolutions of more or less ferocity and change into republics. And it is easy [Pg 189]to understand this. A monarchy seems totally opposed to common sense.

It was very interesting to see the remarks in the newspapers of this country when his Majesty King George of England attended the service in St. Paul's, London, on America's Day.

They were kindly, of course, as befits the American characteristic of kindliness. One paper likened the king to a national flag which England kept as an interesting antique. He was also described as an "Emblem of Unity," whatever that may mean. One leading New York paper, in saying that England was doing very well as she is in that she is keeping the flame of democracy burning, remarked that "George's" sole contribution to the war was the banishment of wine from his table. I suppose the writer of this article must be intimately acquainted with the king when he can call him by his Christian name. Always Americans seem to think that Great Britain is a democracy in spite of the monarchy. We of Great Britain know that she is a democracy and a great empire because of the monarchy. Some day America will realize more fully that the things of the spirit are greater than the things of the flesh. Then she will understand why we love our King; and do you know, we do love him quite a lot.

I am going to try to explain, a difficult task, why a monarchy is for us the most effective form of [Pg 190]government. A nation is, I suppose, a group of persons bound together for self-preservation. In order to make self-preservation effective it is essential that there should be unity and contentment. In England, where there is really a surplus population, this is difficult. So a government will take into consideration all the needs of the people over whom it is placed. Nothing must be forgotten, or sooner or later there will be trouble. With us the task is a difficult one. With her vast empire it is marvellous how Great Britain succeeds. She succeeds because she realizes that men will follow the dictates of their hearts rather than their minds. The world was astonished when at the hour of her need men of every color came from every corner of the earth to give if necessary their lives for the empire because they loved it so dearly. The things of the spirit are greater than the things of the flesh. Our monarchy is really a thing of the spirit. Take it away from us and surely you will see the British Empire crumble and decay. The world would be poorer then. We Britons have irritating faults; of course we have. Our insular snobbishness must be very irritating to American people. Still we try to be fair and just in our muddling way. God knows we have done some rather curious things at times. They say we were atrocious to the Boers, yet the Boers to-day are loyal to the empire of which they are now an important part. We don't force this loyalty; it just grows.

[Pg 191]So we British beg of the American people not to suggest taking our king from us. It is difficult to explain this patriotism which produces such results; but go to New Zealand and you will find that it is the boast, and the proud boast of many, that they have seen the king. Go to Australia, where the working man rules the country, and hear the national anthem played, or watch the flag being saluted in the schools, and if you are courageous pass a rude remark about the king. Go to any part of the empire, and you will find something inexplicable, something unexplainable, which always points to Buckingham Palace and the little man there. Americans look upon this with good-natured condescension. I wonder why? It is not far to Canada, but you will find it there, too, where they ought to be more enlightened since they live next to the greatest republic. Always is it the empire, and always is "God save the King" the prayer of the people. Perhaps we are a little bit mad, we British, but I daresay we will continue being mad, since madness binds together a mighty throng of people who in perhaps a poor sort of way stand for fairness and decency. We all know how much of the child remains in us, even when we are old. We look back to the days when we believed in fairies, and sometimes when we are telling stories to our children we let our imagination have full play, and gnomes and fairies and even kings and princesses once more people our minds.

[Pg 192]Is there anything more obnoxious than a child who refuses to believe in fairies or who is not thrilled at Christmas time at the approaching visit of Santa Claus? He misses so much. He hasn't got that foundation to his mind that will make life bearable when responsibility brings its attendant troubles. Take away our monarchy and we Britons become like children who don't believe in fairies. We won't know what to do. The monarchy supplies a wonderful need to us.

There is also a more practical reason for the retention of the monarchy. We hold that a constitutional monarch is necessary to a properly decentralized form of government. Party politics reign supreme in England. The government passes a bill amidst the howls of the opposition party and the opposition press. Then the bill is taken to the King and he has the right to veto it. He knows, however, that he must rule in accordance with the wishes of his people, and so the bill receives the royal signature and becomes law. A subtle change occurs. The press, wonderfully powerful in England, becomes less bitter and the opposition ceases to rage a little. Soon the law settles down into its right place. So the king's signature is effective in that it makes the issuing of a new law gentler and sweeter.

Is it not true that a king of great personality can have tremendous power for good? Most people recognize now the power of our late King Edward, [Pg 193]some know the influence of our present monarch. All through this present war we feel that the king is sharing our troubles and suffering. You know we are suffering awfully in Great Britain. Even our insular snobbishness does not help us a bit. It seems to have gone somehow.

The king is a gentleman, and can't possibly advertise himself, but it is true that very little goes on without his knowing all about it. He has been working hard reviewing troops, visiting the sick and wounded, helping in a thousand ways. Then he is so fine in his encouragement of individuals. A few words from him to a keen officer helps that officer for the rest of his life.

And so the king sweetens our national life. We love him; of course we do, and we can't help it. Possibly we are fools, but we glory in our foolishness.

A young English officer received the D. S. O. and the Military Cross and finally died at Loos, getting the V. C. He, of course, went to the palace to receive both the D. S. O. and the Military Cross. His father, an old man with snowy white hair, went to get the V. C. The king gave him the medal with a few conventional words, and then, while shaking hands, whispered to the old man to remain. The king, upon finishing the distribution of medals, took the father into an anteroom and then said very quietly: "I say, Mr. K——, I am awfully sorry for you! I've been interested in this boy of ours and remember him [Pg 194]well." Then the old man sat down and told the king all about his son, and went away comforted greatly and very proud of his son.

This is just a little thing, but it is the kind of thing that supplies our need.

You know we don't want a republic. Why should we have one? We have a king.

If American people want to understand us they must take this into account. When they talk in terms of good-natured deprecation of our king it hurts. I once spent a week-end with one of the greatest men in this country and was surprised to hear him praising the monarchy merely from a business point of view, and he knew what he was talking about. He had wandered around London listening to the people talk and had studied the whole thing from the coldly commercial side. Perhaps I am talking from an idealistic point of view, and yet my life spent in many parts of the world has been a practical one. It is, of course, quite possible that the world's civilization may collapse and fall to pieces for a season. Human passions are queer things; the cruel spirit of the mob still exists, and it only becomes rampant where the things of the flesh have become greater than the things of the spirit. This war has made us suffer so much that in spite of cheery optimism we are almost benumbed in Great Britain. I was in a large division that was reviewed by the king on Salisbury Plain [Pg 195]the day before embarkation, and as we marched past the king on his pretty black Arab he looked at each one of us with that humble expression of a father looking upon his son, and through many weary months in France and Flanders that look was with us, and it helped and encouraged. Even my big charger seemed to know that the king was inspecting him, for he kept time to the march from "Scipio," and we gave the very best salute we could muster up. Possibly none of the men of that division are together to-day.

The king saw more than one mighty throng of cheery men marching so gayly over the beautiful plain of Salisbury. He saw those men, young and beautiful, for they were of the first hundred thousand, going out to face the disciplined German army. He saw them spending fearful days and awful nights in the trenches, being fired at and having little ammunition to return the fire. He saw the first casualty lists coming out and realised the suffering that he would share with many a mother, father and sweetheart. Yet he was proud to be King of England that day, and we were proud of him as our king. We couldn't possibly be proud of a president. We are fearful snobs in England and the biggest snobs among us are the working classes. We of England admire the United States form of government. At present it seems the right thing over here. It would never do for us.

[Pg 196]



October, 1917.

I went to Philadelphia the other day, and putting up at the hotel at once called up M——, who said that as she was a member of the Motor Messenger Corps it behooved her to show herself at a large meeting that Corps had decided to arrange for getting recruits for the Navy. She said that she had a box; so I suggested delicately that I might help her to occupy the said box. Nothing would give her greater pleasure, but as she had several girls with her, she suggested that I might feel awkward unless she got another man. Having assured her that, on the contrary, nothing would give me greater pleasure, I was then asked to accompany her, so at eight o'clock, dressed in a strange imitation of a badly turned out British officer, she dashed up in her Henry Ford and took me to the demonstration.

The box was well exposed and there I sat with two ladies, disguised as officers, in the front seats, and two more behind. There were several hundred blue jackets decorating the stage, all armed with instruments, and the programme stated that the said blue jackets were the band of Sousa.

[Pg 197]Dressed in the uniform of a lieutenant in the U. S. Navy the great conductor marched on to the stage, bowed to the audience a little, mounted a stand, gave one beat, and Hey Presto! off went the band. Of course it was wonderful, made even more thrilling by the dress of the performers.

He played piece after piece and then a gentleman in evening dress walked on followed by a rather nervous looking Admiral of the British Navy. The gentleman promptly commenced to eulogize the Admiral, who must have felt rather terrible, but he stepped forward, Sousa meanwhile breaking into "God Save the King." The Admiral commenced. He was obviously nervous; however, his lack of power as an orator was very effective, and he spoke a little about destroyers, and then stopped. Sousa then played, rather too quickly and without much feeling, "Rule Britannia." I felt militantly British and was very proud of the Admiral's entire lack of oratorical power.

We had some more wonderful music from Sousa and after some flattering remarks from the gentleman in evening dress, General W—— stepped forward and said a few well chosen words. They were very effective and to the point. He looked every inch a soldier, and was faultlessly turned out: we all liked him. After that we had some more music and then the gentleman in evening dress with more complimentary remarks ushered in a man dressed as a British [Pg 198]officer in "slacks" which did not fit well. He was a tall youth with a very good looking face, brown curly hair, and an engaging smile showing a set of good teeth. The gentleman in evening dress commenced, as we thought then, to torture him about his gallantry in action and all that sort of thing, and then the officer started.

He said some big things. He remarked that he had heard it said in America that the British were using Colonial troops to shield their own men. Incidentally I have often heard this said, but anxiously, as though the speaker could not believe it but wanted to be reassured. I have always laughed at this statement and remarked that to use one man to shield ten or twelve was too difficult a proposition for the "powers that be" in England. To deny it on my part, as a British officer, seemed too ridiculous; besides, the whole thing is so obviously German propaganda.

However, I was interested to hear how this Australian chap would deal with the thing, so I listened carefully. He went on to explain what he had heard and then said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, as an Australian officer, I want to tell you that it is a Damned Lie." He brought the thing out with much feeling. He then endeavoured to explain the Gallipoli campaign and denied its being a failure.

A little blood commenced to flow about the stage [Pg 199]at this time and he was getting worked up. I have heard similar oratory in Sydney. Perhaps he was getting too eloquent, but he had the crowd with him, and I know that quite a number of young ladies felt cold shivers down their spinal columns.

He said in stirring phrases that Australia and the Australians were not in any way annoyed with the home government about the Gallipoli business. They ought to be a little, it seemed to me, but I was thrilled by his loyalty to the homeland. He then convinced us all of the wonderful discipline prevailing in the Australian army. I am sure that he helped us. The American people liked to hear about Australia, and were glad to hear that we British were not poltroons. The few of us there felt proud to have such a fellow standing up for us, and even we were a little thrilled by the gory stories that he told. He certainly dismissed from the minds of those present any idea of a breaking up of the British Empire.

So far he had spoken wonderfully, but after three-quarters of an hour he waxed very eloquent and, throwing out his arms, he commenced using just a little too often the words "Men and Women of America," smiling sadly the while and getting a little like a parson.

He now attacked the pacifists in that clever and abusive way which I have only heard once before, when the editor of a flamboyant Sydney paper gave [Pg 200]a lecture in the old City Hall at Auckland. The said editor being rather a noted character, the mayor had refused to occupy the chair, and he was abused impersonally, but viciously and cleverly. In like manner, the pacificists in Philadelphia were called "pestiferous insects" a rather unpleasant sounding term and hardly descriptive. I wish that he hadn't used that phrase. Still he was effective and I am certain did a great deal of good.

I have one complaint to make, however. This Australian seemed to express a terrific hate for the Germans and spoke about their atrocities. He mentioned seeing men lying dead in No Man's Land until their eyes were eaten out and all that sort of thing. He grew furious with the Boche, and carried the audience with him. He spoke of women getting "desecrated." Groans and angry mutterings could be heard throughout the hall and I awoke to the strange fact that a British officer was sowing in America a feeling of savage hatred towards the Germans and succeeding. One thought of Punch's picture depicting a German family enjoying their morning hate. Perhaps you will say "And why not, the blighters." Perhaps he was waking up the country a little and was quite right, but the thing interested me and I wondered.

Isn't it true that we are fighting Germany because she is a hater? Isn't it true that Germany has been [Pg 201]guilty of such filthiness that she is slowly but surely cutting her own throat? Isn't it a fact that we have always tried to fight clean, no matter what our enemy may be like? Isn't it true that Uncle Sam came into this war really because of the sinking of the Lusitania and the fact that the Germans were such blighters in Belgium? Isn't it true that in warfare, to be successful, you must be cool and calm and steady? Isn't it true that, in boxing, the chap who loses his temper runs some awful risks? In a word, don't you think the Germans are getting licked badly because of their futile and mad hatred?

I know you can't stop the men from seeing red in an attack. It helps them a little and makes them better fighters, but it is really a form of Dutch courage. I want to see America going into this war as the champion of manliness, decency, purity, goodness,—all that sort of thing. She is bound to hate a little. She'll catch that disease quick enough from the Boche, but if she learns to hate as the German's hate, she is beaten, licked to pieces, no matter what the issue of the war may be.

As you know, I spent the best part of a year in France and Belgium, and I can honestly say that during that time I never saw hate displayed, except towards the supply people who wouldn't believe in our "strafed" cycles. I have heard of Tommies getting furious and the officers who have told me have [Pg 202]spoken about it as a little amusing, but they don't seem to have felt it themselves at all. I had a bedroom in a billet next to a kitchen where Mr. Thomas Atkins used to take his refreshment, and I have heard some wonderful stories, a little lurid; but quite often I have heard Fritz admired.

I remember one day during the battle of Loos chatting to the Major, while awaiting orders to fire, and regretting that our men should get atrocious, as I had heard they were. The Major, an old campaigner, out with the original expeditionary force, smiled a little, but merely observed that it was very natural.

Past our battery position there was passing a few prisoners and a procession of wounded—but mostly "blighties"; and I saw one sergeant with a German helmet. I wanted to buy it as a "prop" for lurid stories on leave, so went over to him. He had four bloody grooves down his face, and he told me that he had had a hand-to-hand fight. He seemed a nice chap, and he described the combat, in which he had evidently been getting the worst of it, for the four grooves were nail marks from the German. Fortunately he got his bayonet. "And you killed him," I broke in. "Oh no, sir," he replied; "I just gave him a dig and the Red Cross people have got him now. There he is, sir, I think,"—as a German prisoner, lying on a stretcher and smoking a woodbine went by. I returned without the helmet and told the story to [Pg 203]the major, and he said, "Oh no; I shouldn't believe all you hear about Tommy Atkins."

Perhaps our men have got nasty and very furious with the Boche. One can hardly blame them. I am willing to believe that sometimes when the Germans have done dirty tricks with our prisoners revenge has been taken, but I just don't believe for a single instant that the chaps I knew and loved in France could behave in any way but as decent, hard fighting, hard swearing, good natured fellows. I don't believe either, and no one I knew in France during my year there believed, that the Boche were always dirty in their tricks, though I will admit that they show up badly as sportsmen.

Frankly, I want to see this country putting every ounce of power into the combat. I want them to realize fully that Germany requires a lot of beating. I want them to know that a victorious Germany would be a menace to the liberty of the world, and all the other things that the newspapers say.

But I dislike intensely this savage hate propaganda that is being affected here. It is stupid, useless and dangerous. Didn't some philosopher say that if he wanted to punish a man he would teach him how to hate. The Germans deserve it; of course they do, but we must be stronger than they. Also, you cannot exterminate them, unfortunately, so you have got to try to make them decent, by some means or other. A famous member of my clan, David [Pg 204]Livingstone, went about amongst the most savage tribes of Africa, unharmed and unarmed. It was just because of the love that emanated from him. I fear it will be difficult to like the Germans very much after all they have done, but we Britons must not let Uncle Sam think for an instant that we have learnt from the Germans how to hate in their own commonplace savage way. Of course it is not true. We have a sense of humour and the Americans have a wonderful sense of fun, and these two things cannot walk together with that stupid, vulgar thing called hate.

The other night I had to speak at a club meeting. There was an infantry officer there, and I felt that for a gunner to talk of the discomforts of war in the presence of an infantry officer would be a little humorous. However, these fellows wanted thrills, so I tried to give them some, though, as you know, warfare is a commonplace amusement mostly, and if one is limited by facts, it is difficult to thrill an audience.

The infantry officer spoke afterwards. It was very thrilling. He told me seriously later on in my rooms that he was a godson of Nurse Cavill, that he had seen the Canadians crucified, that he had walked along the top of the parapet for half a mile with a machine-gun playing on him in the moonlight, that he enjoyed patrols and loved sticking Germans in the back in their listening posts, that he had discovered a German disguised as a gunner officer behind [Pg 205]the lines, that he had remained with six wounds in his body for eight days in No Man's Land, that he had been wounded six times, that he had often been right behind the German lines at night, that he had overheard an interesting conversation between two German staff officers in a German dugout, that he was in the second battle of Ypres, Neuve Chappelle and Loos, that he had been a private in the Gunners years ago, and many other adventures——!

And the extraordinary thing to me is that intelligent Americans, big men, listen and believe these things. Later, when their own boys return they will know that the chap who has been through it will tell them—nothing. It is fine for us British here these days. We are heroes, wonderful heroes. But strange people seem to be arriving and I wonder if they are all taking the right line. I realise at once that it is very easy for me to talk like this. A gunner subaltern, with his comfortable billet to return to, even at the end of an unpleasant day, seldom comes face to face with the Boche. Still I can only repeat that during my service I saw nothing of common, vulgar hatred displayed by any infantry officers I have met. It is not worth while: they are too great for that.

Of course I may have missed it. But there was Taylor, for example, a horse gunner I believe, who was attached to the trench "Mortuaries." He was at Haylebury with Taggers. He used to come into [Pg 206]the mess at times. Once during the battle of Loos while we were attacking he took several of his cannon over into the Boche trench which we had succeeded in capturing. Unfortunately something went wrong on our flank and Taylor with the wonderful Second Rifle Brigade was left in this trench surrounded by Boches in helmets with spikes in them. They were jammed tight in the narrow, well-formed German trench and only a bomber at each end could fight. We had plenty of bombs, however, and the Germans had little fancy for jumping over the barricade they had made in their own trench. Their officers attempted to lead their men and one by one were bombed or shot. Taylor could see the spikes on their helmets. There was a delay and then a German private with a cheery "Hoch!" jumped up on to the barricade trying to entice the others to follow. They did not, but the private received a bullet and lay there rather badly wounded. He gave a slight movement, perhaps he seemed to be stretching for his gun, so the bomber let him have one and ended all movement.

These men of ours were in a very awkward position, almost hopeless, and no chances could be taken, but Taylor was annoyed with the bomber for killing him, although there was nothing else to be done. He seemed too brave to die. Taylor also told me, when he was in our dugout at the battery position dead beat, that he saw a German badly wounded being [Pg 207]attended by one of our R. A. M. C. men. The German was begging the Red Cross chap to let him die for his country.

I am merely telling you these things in order to let you see what impressions I got. I hope that you will not think that I am becoming a pacifist. But even if the Germans have taught our men to hate, I hope that we will not be responsible for teaching the fellows over here that sort of thing. Many of them will learn soon enough. Besides, I am not sure that it is advisable for us to do it.

The next day I met the Admiral and took him out to my friends at Chestnut Hill. M——'s mother, a hopeless Anglophile, fell for him at once. He amused us all at dinner, and then we asked him to go with us to the hotel to dance. He came and stayed with us until midnight. A—— liked him very much and spent the whole evening, or what was left of Saturday night, talking to him, ignoring the wonderful music that was enticing us all to dance. On Monday he came with me to Bethlehem. I took him home to tea, and my landlady, an English girl, was very thrilled, and was perfectly overcome when he bowed to her, and shook her warmly by the hand. She brought tea up, and stayed to gossip a little, and they commenced discussing Yarmouth or some other place that they both knew.

I discussed the "hate" business with the Admiral, but he seemed to think that it could not be helped and [Pg 208]that perhaps the men made better fighters if they felt furious. So perhaps after another dose of France and "Flounders" I may feel the same.

At the moment in Bethlehem the people are preparing for a trying time. They are convinced that something is going on in France about which they know nothing. They are sure that the boys are in it. They are appreciating to the full the wonderful work being done at Ypres by our men. Having been ordered to wear uniform I am astonished at the number of people who greet me. As I walk along I am constantly greeted with "Good evening, Captain." What charming manners the American working man has when you are not employing him!

Yesterday I was going up the street in uniform when two small boys stopped making mud pies and, after looking at me with great pleasure, one said "Hello, Horn Blow Man!"

I hope that I am not entirely wrong about the hate business, but I always feel that in the same way that you hide love from the rest of the world because you are proud of it, so you hide hate because you are ashamed of it.

If a Frenchman developed hate for his theme in propaganda he'd get away with it. But American people know that we are merely like themselves, too lazy and good natured to develop a really efficient form of hatred.

[Pg 209]



November, 1917

I am developing into a regular stump orator these days. Of course it is not at all difficult. One has plenty of information about the war, and the more simply this is given the better it seems to me. However, it is all very interesting and I am supplied with the opportunity of meeting hundreds of American men. They are all awfully kind to me. I generally speak at club luncheons and dinners.

One night I had to speak at a splendid dinner given by the neighbourhood club of Bala-Cynwyd, a suburb of Philadelphia. Of many delightful evenings spent in America I think this night was the most enjoyable. My turn came towards the end of the programme. There had been many fine talks by famous Philadelphians as well as by other British officers, and I felt very diffident about saying any thing at all. However, I stood up and saw several hundred cheery men all looking up at me with kindness and encouragement shining from their faces. I told them a few funny stories and said that I liked them an awful lot; that I liked them so much that [Pg 210]I wanted them to like my countrymen. I forget exactly what I did say.

A few days afterwards I received a letter from the secretary of the club, which I shall always keep, for it assures me of their friendship and affection.

I do not think that the American people have done their duty by us. When the early Christians were given a big thing they started missions which had for their object the conversion of the heathen. Why has not America realised her responsibility to us? Why hasn't she sent a mission to England, with the object of converting middle-aged and elderly Britons to that attitude of mind, so prevalent here, which makes every American man over thirty desire to help and encourage enthusiastic young men? At the moment, the meeting of American enthusiasm and British conservatism always suggests to my mind the alliance of the Gulf Stream with the Arctic current. There is an awful lot of fog when these two meet and some shipwrecks.

Quite often I talk at Rotary Clubs. Every city or town has a Rotary Club over here. The members consist of one man from each of the leading business houses in the town or city. They meet at lunch once a week and endeavour to learn things from one another. One member generally talks for twenty minutes about his particular business, then an alarm clock goes off; and sometimes an outsider gives an [Pg 211]address. I rather love the Rotarians. The milk of human kindness flows very freely, and the members behave to one another like nice people in decent books. At any rate many cordial remarks are made, and it always seems to me that the thought, even if it is an affected one, which produces a decent remark helps to swell the amount of brotherly love in the world. The Rotarians are keen business men and are obviously the survivors of the fittest in the business world.

Sometimes I have spoken for the Red Cross at large public meetings. I even addressed a society affair in the house of a charming Philadelphia lady. This was very interesting. There were about one hundred people present and my host, an adopted uncle, endeavoured to introduce me in a graceful manner with a few well chosen words, but he forgot his lines. At this function one felt one's self to be present at a social gathering described by Thackeray. There were many men and women present with the sweetest and most gracious manners in the world. They were all descendants of the people who lived in Philadelphia before the Revolution, and something of the atmosphere that must have prevailed in a fashionable drawing-room or "Assembly" during those romantic days seemed to be in the air.

Of course my first experience of public speaking was in Bethlehem. It happened at the Eagle Hotel. [Pg 212]One of the Vice-Presidents of the Steel Company called me up and said. "Mac, will you give us a short talk at the Red Cross luncheon to-day?" "But yes, Mr. B——, I'll be delighted, though I am no orator."

So I found myself decked out in uniform on my way to the Eagle in Mr. B——'s car. With tact he urged me to be careful. "Y'know, Mac, the people in this burgh have not quite realised the situation. Many are of German origin and there are some Irish, and one or two are not fond of England. They are a fine crowd of men and are working like Trojans to get money for the Red Cross."

"May I damn the Kaiser, Mr. B——?" I meekly asked. "Sure! Sure! Mac; give him hell. Every mother's son will be with you in that."

After lunch, Mr. B——, as General of the Army of Collection, stood up. (He is a ripping chap, a little embonpoint perhaps, as befits his age. He is about forty-five and looks thirty. He has a round, cheery face, hasn't lost a hair from his head, and when he talks, suggests a small boy of twelve successfully wheedling a dime from his mother for the circus.)

He said: "We have had with us in Bethlehem men of the Entente Allies, men who have heard the whi——stling of the shrapnel, and who have seen the burs——ting of the high explosives, and to-day one of these heroes will address you."

[Pg 213]The "whistling of the shrapnel" thrilled me. It brought back to my mind a night in an Infantry dugout in France, when dear old Banbury of the Rifle Brigade was wearying me and three other subs with a story of one of his stunts in "No Man's Land." We heard a bounding, whipping sound and then a massed chorus of whistling, and we all breathed a sigh of relief as Banbury jumped up, and grabbing his gun muttered, "Whizz bang," and disappeared up the dugout steps. That was all. He switched on to cricket when he returned. And yet they call the Boche frightful.

Then the "bursting of the high explosives." I hate high explosives. They are so definite, and extremely destructive; and so awkward when you're up a chimney and it hits somewhere near the base, and you slide down the rope and burn your poor hands.

I stood up, feeling like ten cents, and commenced to tell my audience about the Red Cross à la guerre. Whenever I tried to thrill them they all laughed, and then I guessed that my accent was the cause of all the trouble. I tried to talk like an American, I thought, with some success. I called the Kaiser a "poor fish," but when I discussed America and the war and said "By Jove, we need you awful badly over there," they all collapsed and I sat down.

Afterwards they came up, fine chaps that they are, and all shook hands.

[Pg 214]It seems to be an art developed by certain persons to be able to introduce speakers. If you are the fellow who has got to talk, the chairman gets up and commences to praise you for all he is worth. A fellow told me at a dinner the other night that while visiting his home town he had been compelled to address the townsmen. The deacon mounted a small platform and commenced to eulogize. He had only got the first versicle of the "Te Deum" off his chest, when his set of teeth fell out and landed on the bald head of my friend, giving him a nasty bite. This was a great help.

About this eulogizing—my Highland blood helps me to understand; my English education tells me that it is—well, displaying all your goods in the front window, and I'm not sure that it "is done." Eddy Grey says "Hector, it is just 'slinging the bull.'" It is. Some of these eulogising gentlemen talk for ten minutes each time, but they are generally good looking people turned out in quite nice evening things.

I went to a "coming-out party" yesterday and ate some interesting food, chatted with some amusing girls, and then rushed into John Wanamaker's to help to sell Liberty Bonds. I stood at the base of a bronze eagle and harangued a large audience, but not a soul bought a bond. However, a lady whose father was English was partially overcome and fell [Pg 215]on my chest in tears. She was about fifty. I should liked to have hugged her, but I did not know her very well, although the introduction was vivid.

I manage generally to hold the interest of my audience, but I wish I were Irish. I always love to talk to American men. They make a fine audience. Having found it difficult in England to grow up, my growth towards a reverend and sober mien has been definitely stunted during my year in America. Americans don't "grow up." An American possesses the mind of a man, but always retains the heart of a child, so if you've got to speak, it is quite easy to appeal to that great, wonderful Yankee heart. Of course, my greatest opportunity came on the Fourth of July, 1917. I realise more and more every day what a tremendous honour was paid to me by my friends of Bethlehem.

Towards the middle of June, the town council of Bethlehem met to discuss the annual municipal celebration of America's Independence. They discussed the choice of an orator and unanimously decided that it would be a graceful act of courtesy to ask a British officer to do the job. The lot evidently fell upon me, and the local Episcopal parson waited upon me, and put the request, admitting that only judges, ex-governors, colonels, and big people like that had been asked in previous years. I said "Right, O!" And then began to reflect upon the great honour shown to [Pg 216]my country and me. As I have told you before, the population of Bethlehem is largely of Teutonic descent and there are quite a large number of Irishmen here. Never in the history of the United States had an Englishman in full uniform delivered the Independence Day oration. I was a little frightened. You see the folk thought it would be a nice thing to do; a sort of burying the hatchet.

Many days before, I wrote out a series of speeches, and wondered if I should get stage fright. I felt that the job might prove too difficult for me.

The Glorious Fourth arrived, ushered in by the banging of many fireworks, making it difficult, and a little dangerous for law abiding and humble citizens. I cleaned and polished up my uniform, slung a gas mask and wallet round my shoulders, and awaited the automobile that should take me to the campus. It came at last, and I found myself standing surrounded by two bands and about three thousand people.

The children were firing all kinds of infernal pistols and crackers, and I wondered how I should be able to make myself heard by the large throng of people. The National Guard lined up, and the band commenced to play various tunes. After a time silence was called, and the band broke into "The Star Spangled Banner" while the National Guard and I saluted. The people then solemnly repeated the [Pg 217]oath of allegiance to the Republic, while the flag was solemnly unfurled on a huge flagstaff. It was all very solemn and inspiring, and became more so when a clergyman read a Psalm. Then the bands played "America" which seems to have the same time as "God Save the King" while we endeavoured to sing the words. The Chief Burgess then addressed the throng, but being an elderly man, his inspiring address was heard by only a very few.

Soon it was my turn to speak, and in fear and trembling I mounted a little stand improvised for the occasion. I looked at the old building beside me in which our wounded of the Revolution had been cared for by the gentle Moravians. I looked at the people around me, thousands of happy faces all looking with kindliness and friendship towards me. I don't know exactly what I said, but perhaps the spirits of the poor British Tommies who had died fighting for their king in the old building behind helped a little, for I know that during the half hour I spoke every face was fixed intently upon me, and when I finally got down, there was a mighty cheer that went straight to my heart. At any rate I had that thing which is greater than the speech of men and of angels, and without which the greatest orator's speech is like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals—Love. I had a very great love for my friends of Bethlehem, a love that refused to differentiate [Pg 218]between Anglo-Saxons and Teutons, and they knew it, consequently they listened with a great patience.

After the band had once more played, and a clergyman had said a prayer, hundreds and hundreds came forward and shook hands. There were veterans of the Civil War who threw their chests out and offered to go back to France and fight with me. One old gentleman with snowy hair said "Lad, it was an inspiration." Then exiles, mostly women from England, Ireland, and Scotland, came up, some weeping a little, and said "God Bless you." One darling old Irish lady said "Sure Oirland would get Home Rule if you had any power in England."

Sometimes I think that we humans are a little too fond of talking. Perhaps it might be a good idea to remember at this time the words of the great chancellor: "Great questions are not to be solved by speeches and the resolutions of majorities but by blood and iron." I suppose for the Allies it gets down to that finally, but they all do an awful lot of talking.

[Pg 219]



December, 1917.

I have just returned from a tour of Pennsylvania with a senator, and have come back to Philadelphia possessing much experience, and a profound love for my senator as well. We traversed several hundred miles, stopping only to talk at important, though in some cases out-of-the-way, towns in the great commonwealth. Our object was to help the people to realise the present situation. At times it was hard going, at times our experience was altogether delightful. We visited Allentown, Sunbury, Lock Haven, Erie, Pittsburgh, Washington, Altoona, Johnstown, Huntingdon, and Harrisburg.

At Allentown we were met and greeted by a warm-hearted Committee of Public Safety, and spoke to a tired out audience of Pennsylvania Dutchmen and many yawning chairs, as well as a few officers from the Allentown Ambulance Camp. I found talking difficult and I fear my audience was bored. My senator did his best, but the Allentown people have many soldiers of their own, and besides they realise the situation. They are Pennsylvania Dutchmen, and that stands for fervent Americanism which is [Pg 220]more real, I think, on account of the stolidness they display.

At Sunbury the folk were awfully glad to see us. Sunbury is a charming place with a beautiful large park in the centre of the town, disturbed a little by the locomotives that seem to rush through its very streets, heedless of whether they kill a few careless Sunburyites on their journey. We spoke to a large and delightful audience of kindly people, who saw all my poor jokes, and sympathised quite a lot with my country in its struggles. I left them all warm friends of the British Empire, I hope. The whole town is sympathetic and we met the niece of the chap who discovered oxygen. I loved the old houses and the quiet restful feeling in the air. The people of Sunbury are with us in the job of finishing the Boche even unto the last man.

At Lock Haven, a fine old town with a great past as a lumbering centre, and with also a fine old inn, we met some nice folk, but things had gone wrong somewhere, and the attendance was very small. It was difficult to gather the attitude of the people.

We left Lock Haven very early in the morning, and commenced a long journey to Erie on a local train, which behaved like a trolley car, for it seemed to stop at every cross roads. Although it lasted eight hours I enjoyed the journey very much, but a journey on an American train, especially in [Pg 221]Pennsylvania, presents no horrors for me, since I always find several old friends, and make a few new ones on the way.

I had had to talk to a large crowd of travelling men one Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. They were a fine audience, in spite of the fact that they were all in a state of "afterdinnerness," and the room was full of smoke, which was hard on my rather worn-out throat.

A "travelling man" is a commercial traveller, called by the vulgar, a "drummer"—a little unkindly I think. Until this meeting, and its consequences, I had never understood American travelling men. Now I do. I believe that these men form a kind of incubator for some of the keenness and determined-doggedness that is so marked in the American character.

And so upon the long journey I met several friends. One was travelling for corsets, I believe. The corsets did not interest me,—I'm not sure that they interested my friend very much, but they gave him scope for his profession, as well as an opportunity to bring up a family. I learnt a great deal from these two men, and the many conversations that had bored me a trifle while travelling, came back to my mind.

These fellows have to apply every device, every trick, to carry off their job. Their numbers are [Pg 222]great and their customers are always on the defensive, so they've got to know more about human nature than about their wares. They have to overcome the defenses of the men they deal with. Their preliminary bombardment has to be intense. They've got to make an impression; either a very good one or an evil one,—both are effective, for an impression of their existence and what they stand for must be left upon the minds of their opponents. I heard two discussing their tactics on this long journey to Erie. One chap spoke of a merchant whose reputation as a notorious bully was well known to travelling men. He was a nasty red-headed fellow, and was overcome in the following way.

The drummer approached the desk and delivered his card. The merchant looked at it and said "What the hell do you mean by wasting my time? I don't want yer goods, what have yer come for?"

The drummer merely said, "I haven't come to sell you anything."

"Well, what the hell do yer want?" replied the merchant.

"I've merely come to have a good look at as mean a looking red-headed son-of-a-gun as exists on the face of this earth. I collect photographs of atrocities."

The merchant looked furious and then angrily said, "Come in!" So the drummer entered with [Pg 223]certain fears. The red-head seated himself at his desk, and commenced his work, keeping the drummer standing. The drummer, fearing defeat and ignoring the notice "No Smoking," lit a foul cigar, walked over to the desk and commenced blowing clouds of smoke all over the merchant. The "red-headed son-of-a-gun" looked up and grinned. It was not difficult after that.

Finally, at about three-thirty, we reached Erie. We addressed a rather small audience in the court house, and afterwards spent a diverting hour in a local club.

At three-thirty A.M. we left for Pittsburgh and spent the rest of the early morning in a Pullman sleeper, getting duly asphyxiated. At Pittsburgh we addressed a large crowd of business men called "The Pittsburgh Association of Credit Men." They formed a delightful audience and listened with apparent interest to our story. The trouble is, that men these days, want to hear about atrocities. They like one to tell them about Belgium women getting cut up into impossible pieces and all that sort of thing. I don't see the use of it at all. Besides my job is not to amuse, nor to appeal to the side of a man's character which appreciates newspaper stories of tragedies, but rather to place before him actual conditions as I saw them. It always seems to me that the greatest atrocity of the war was the initial use of [Pg 224]poisonous gas by the Germans, and the tragedy lay in the fact that human nature became so unsporting as to resort to such methods.

Certain people, talking at dinners and meetings these days, definitely take up a line of speech which chiefly concerns itself in detailing German atrocities. They find it perfectly easy to gain round after round of applause by saying something like the following: "That fiend of hell, the Kaiser, spent years and years plotting against the peace of the world. He massacred little Belgian children, and raped systematically Belgian women. 'One week to Paris, one month to London and three months to New York,' he shrieked. But the American eagle prepared to fight, the British lion roared, and France, fair France, clasped her children to her breast and called for aid across the ocean to the sons of Uncle Sam to whom she had given succor in the dark days of '76."

Now I will admit that talk like that is quite effective and stirs a fellow up quite a lot, but I rather think that ten years hence it will be described as "bull." What American men and American women want is cold facts that can be backed up with proof, convincing proof. Of course there is not a shadow of doubt that the Germans had designs upon the rest of the world, but I have one object in my talks—to endeavor to foster a firm and cordial understanding between my country and America. My objects [Pg 225]cannot be attained by detailing horrors, so I allow the newspapers to thrill and amuse them, and I try to tell them things as I myself saw them. Strangely enough I find cold facts "get across" much better than all the British bull dog screaming and eagle barking in the world, which reminds me of the man who said that he only knew two tunes and that he got these mixed up. When asked what the two tunes were he replied, "God save the weasel" and "Pop goes the Queen."

And then we arrived at Washington, Pa. Washington, Pa., will never be forgotten by this British soldier. We found ourselves on a platform looking at as cheerful and delightful a crowd of people as I ever hope to talk to. They were all smiling and gave us a wonderful welcome. I told the children present, that the boys and girls in my country were all taught about George Washington in their schools and sometimes even in the Sunday-schools. I told them that sometimes they mixed him up a little with Moses and the prophets, but, in any case, it was not until they became highly educated that they realized that he was an American. They were a delightful audience, and after I had spoken for about an hour they gave me an encore, so I sang them a comic song. I hated leaving Washington.

Then we arrived at Johnstown and heard about the flood, and the story of the man who was drowned [Pg 226]there and who bored all the saints in Paradise with a reiteration of his experiences in that memorable tragedy, although he was interrupted frequently by a very old man sitting in a corner. The Johnstown saint was annoyed until it was explained to him that the old man was Noah who, it may be remembered, had some flood of his own.

It snowed when we arrived at Huntingdon and consequently the audience in the "movie" theatre was small.

We had a wonderful meeting at Altoona. The people were very enthusiastic and I met some fine warm-hearted Americans afterwards. Sometimes a chap would say, "I've got a Dutch name, Lieutenant, but I'm an American and I'm with you."

Our train caused us to be too late for the meeting at Harrisburg, so we returned to Philadelphia. I hated parting with my senator. The thing I loved best about our tour was the cordial feeling displayed towards me by the hundreds of men I met after the close of the meetings.

I was a little tired, but nevertheless quite sorry when our journey ended.

I have grown to hate the very idea of war and I hope that this will be the last. Still I wonder. What a futile occupation war is when one comes to think of it, but, of course, we could not allow Germany to give a solo performance. Yet there must be an antidote.

[Pg 227]Some years ago, on a very warm Sunday afternoon in New Zealand, a number of men from a small college decided to bathe in a rather treacherous looking lake near by. They had all been to chapel that morning, not only because chapel was compulsory, but because the service was usually cheery and attractive and some of them were theological students. Unfortunately one man, little more than a boy, was drowned. The circumstances were distressing because he had just got his degree and was showing promise of a useful life.

I can see it all now; his great friend—for men become great friends in a college—working his arms endeavouring to bring back life long after he was dead; the solemn prayer of the master; the tolling of the chapel bell as the sad procession moved up to the college; and then the friend solemnly deciding to devote his life to the dead boy's work. It was all very sad, but something had been introduced to the whole thing which made the more frivolous amongst us think. We felt different men that night, when one of our number lay dead in the college building. Some of us who knew, felt a great comfort when we saw the friend decide to take up the dead boy's work. We felt that friendship had won a great fight.

The papers were full of it. The aftermath of a tragedy followed. All of us who had been swimming [Pg 228]received anonymous P. C's. from religious persons. Mine, I remember, commenced in large letters: "UNLESS YE REPENT YE SHALL LIKEWISE PERISH." Then followed stories of Sabbath breakers upon whom the wrath of God had fallen. It depressed us slightly, but we recovered. The friend, a fine chap, took up the boy's work; and we have since learned that his death has proved more glorious than his life could have been.

When the war broke out in Europe, there were not wanting in England persons who sought to find a cause for the expression of God's wrath as they deemed the war to be. England had sinned and God was about to punish her. God was angry and the beautiful youth of England had to be sacrificed to His wrath. One by one, and in thousands, God would kill them, until we should repent, and then all would be well, until we should once more be steeped in worldliness. Isn't the idea terrible; the yearning of the mother for her boys whom she only thinks of now as children when they played around her and confided their every trouble, the loneliness of the friend who has lost a wonderful thing, friendship—all part of God's punishment! And the people who go to church place above the chimney piece in the servant's hall, "God is Love"—and sometimes even in the day nursery.

I once saw five soldiers killed by one unlucky shot [Pg 229]from a whizz-bang. The place was unhealthy, so I did not wait long, but I had just time to think of the feelings of mothers and sweethearts when the official notification should arrive. They lay there as though sleeping, for men newly killed don't always look terrible. I can't blame God for it. You can't.

Now that we know what war is we are all seeking for an antidote—trying to find something that will prevent its recurrence, and we haven't found it yet. Leagues of nations are suggested, which is quite an old idea and one practised by the Highland clans. General disarmament comes to the fore again. Who is going to disarm first? Can the nations trust one another? Of course they can't. Peace of long duration will, of course, follow this war. The disease will have run its course and the patient exhausted will have a long convalescence and then—God! what will the next war be like?

History seems to teach us that war is a kind of disease that breaks out at regular intervals and spreads like an epidemic. Hence we must find some serum that will inoculate us against it.

Like all obvious things the antidote is around us, staring us in the face. We feel it when we look upon the mountains clothed in green with their black rocks pointing to the God who made them. We see it in the pansy turning its wee face up to the sun until its stalk nearly breaks, so great is its devotion. [Pg 230]We can see it when by accident we tread upon the foot of a favourite dog, when, with many tail waggings, in spite of groans difficult to hold back, he approaches with beseeching eyes, begging that the cause of all the trouble will not take it too hardly. We see it on the face of a mother; it is the thing longed for on the face of a friend; it was on the face of Jesus when he said to the prostitute, "Neither do I condemn thee." It is the greatest thing in the world, for it is love.

The very remark "God is Love" at once suggests church. We see at once the elderly father, all his wild oats sown, walking home from church with stately tread, followed by the wife who is not deceived if she stops to think. The old tiresome remark, "He goes to church on Sunday, but during the week—Mon Dieu," at once springs to our minds. Why is it that quite a number of healthy young men dislike church so much? Watch these same young men playing with a little sister or a favourite dog. See the cowboy, not on the movie screen where a poor old bony hack gets his mouth pulled to bits by certain screen favourites, but the real thing. See the good wheel driver in the artillery, especially if he is a wheel driver, sitting back when no one is looking and preventing his gees from doing too much work, or the centre driver giving the lead driver hell when the traces in front are hanging in festoons, [Pg 231]at once showing that the leaders are not doing their work. It is all love. But in its home, the church, of a truth, it is stiffly clothed, if it is not taught by a person whose vocation is really a candy store. Yet if we are to prevent war from recurring we have got to introduce love into the world. It is truly our only chance.

Do you see, this world is the product of love. There seem to have been applied but few rules and regulations. The mountains are not squares, the hills are not cubes, the rivers don't run straight. They are all irregular and they are all lovely. So man, the product of love, is hopelessly irregular at times. He just cannot live according to rules or regulations, but he can love if he is allowed to.

Of course, no one will believe this. It is just a wallow in sentiment I suppose, but I learnt about it on the battlefields of France and Flanders—a strange place to learn a strange lesson.

Some dear old lady will say, "How beautiful"; and some old fellow with many a cheery party to his credit, not always nice, will say as he sits back, "Very true, but how hopelessly impracticable."

And so this thing that I am daring to talk about is the life-buoy thrown out to us, and it seems so ridiculous, even to write about it. Just imagine a statesman searching for an antidote for war and after careful consideration deciding to apply the [Pg 232]antidote I have suggested. In three days he would be placed in a lunatic asylum. And yet it could be done. Perhaps it could be applied in America.

"There are many things in the commonwealth of Nowhere which I rather wish, then hope, to see adopted in our own," wrote Thomas More after finishing Utopia. Yet America has approached very close to Utopia, according to reports. America will learn a great lesson from our struggles and suffering. War is a rotten sort of occupation. Just imagine all the men who have been killed in this war marching down Piccadilly. Even if they marched in close formation it would take an awfully long time. Yet the whole thing is Love's inferno, but of course we are not going to change, but rather we will continue to build huge battleships, equip huge armies, fight, die, live unnaturally and take our just deserts, and we will get them.

Philadelphia, January, 1918.

I am now definitely employed by Uncle Sam to go about the country giving talks about the war. He must have been pleased with the result of our first effort in Pennsylvania. At any rate it has become my job to go from county capital to county capital, in every state, giving addresses in the Court Houses.

We started off on Wednesday the 15th at 9.15 A.M. in the Lehigh Valley Railroad's charming train [Pg 233]called the "Black Diamond." Our party consisted of my senator, an ex-congressman of Irish extraction, a British Tommy camouflaged as a sergeant, and myself. The British Tommy's job was to bag any Britishers who desired to enlist. Strangely enough everybody wanted him to talk, but he was told not to do any talking. I should have had no objection to his obliging our American friends if he had had anything to say, but he had never been to the front, much to his own disappointment, and I disliked the responsibility.

We arrived at a little city called Towanda sometime after lunch and dined in state with the members of the local committee. They all seemed to be judges, so far as I can remember. This may have been owing to the beauty of architecture displayed in the local Court House. We spoke to a fairly large audience. The proceedings were opened by a young lady who advanced with tightly clenched lips, and an air of determination, to a large black and handsomely decorated piano. She struck a chord or two and then a choir of maidens, assisted by some young men, commenced to sing some patriotic airs. They sang very well and then my senator, having been fittingly introduced by one of the leading citizens, addressed the people. I came next, and enjoyed myself thoroughly, for none of my jokes missed fire. Then the congressman spoke and none of his jokes missed fire. [Pg 234]At the end of this meeting a suspicion commenced to possess my mind. I began to wonder whether it were not true that the folks living in the country towns were more awake to the situation than their brethren in the cities.

I loved the congressman's effort. The lovely part about his remarks lay in the fact that all the time he felt that he ought to be careful not to introduce too much about Ireland's wrongs.

After the meeting we retired to the hotel and in the night a party of young people returned from a sleighing expedition and commenced to whisper in the room next to mine, which was a sitting-room. They succeeded in waking us up but, by merely whispering, refused to satisfy any curiosity that we possessed. It is a curious thing that ill-bred curiosity seems the predominant quality in a man when he is awakened at night and cannot go to sleep.

The next day we arrived at Tunkhannock, a charming little town, and we addressed a meeting in the Court House. It was freezing, and the ground was covered with snow, but that did not prevent the place of meeting from being crammed with eager, earnest people. I suggested to the congressman that we should talk from the bench, as it gave one more control over the people who were crowded close up to where we were sitting. He looked at me with a twinkle in his Irish eyes and said, "Yes, quite [Pg 235]so—the old British spirit coming out again. If you get up there on the bench, in ten seconds you'll have me in the dock." Of course, amidst laughter, he confided the whole thing to the audience. The people were fine, as keen as mustard. They were all possessed with a firm desire to get along with the job.

That same evening we arrived at Wilkes-Barre and addressed a fairly large meeting in the Y. M. C. A. auditorium. I must honestly admit that I missed the wonderful spirit displayed at Towanda and Tunkhannock. This may be owing to the fact that the city is a large one, and visited a good deal by war lecturers. However, the men we met impressed us greatly, as we all chatted after the meeting in the local club.

The next morning we took a trolley car for Scranton. Scranton! If every town in France, England, Italy, and the United States possessed the spirit displayed by the citizens of Scranton, the war would go with a rush. I had friends in Scranton,—a boy and a girl married to one another, and now possessing a wee friendly baby, and they insisted upon my staying with them. At 7.45 we motored down to the Town Hall, towards which a great stream of people was advancing.

I mounted the platform and found my senator and the congressman safely seated amidst a number of officials and ladies. At eight o'clock some members [Pg 236]of the Grand Army of the Republic took their seats well up to the front, amidst cheers. They were fine looking men, hale and hearty. I wish public speakers would not address these soldiers by telling them that their numbers are dwindling, and so on. They always do it, and the veterans are patient; but when I am eighty I shall object very strongly to anyone suggesting to me that soon I shall descend into the grave. The mere fact that their numbers are dwindling is true, alas, but they have faced death before, and even now they must feel the same irritation with public speakers that Tommy feels when, just before a charge, a chaplain preaches to him about the life to come. However, the ladies feel sobs in their throats and I daresay the soldiers don't mind very much. They have got hardened to it.

At this meeting there were three choirs numbering in all about six hundred voices. An energetic gentleman stood on the stage and commanded the singing, which all the people liked; and smilingly obeyed him when he urged different sections of the audience to sing alone.

Of course we sang the "Star Spangled Banner," and at the chorus one of the men of the Grand Army of the Republic stepped forward, like the soldier he was, and waved a beautiful heavy silk flag gracefully and slowly. The effect was fine.

After some remarks on the part of the chairman, [Pg 237]in which he said that the "peaks in the distance shone with a rosy light," my senator spoke. He introduced a remark which I liked very much but had not heard before. It was something about his great-grandfather dying in New York on a British pest ship. His idea was of course to bring out a contrast in regard to the present friendship for Great Britain. I spoke for over an hour, and when I had finished the whole vast audience of nearly four thousand men and women rose to their feet and sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." I felt a little miserable but very proud. It was all very easy, really. The war is a serious business to the Scranton folk and they wanted to hear about things: they have all got a sense of humour, and I have lived with the British Tommy.

The next day we arrived at Mauch Chunk and addressed a wonderful audience of people, some of whom I believe were Pennsylvania Dutchmen and consequently my friends. I wish I could pronounce the name of their town. The local clergyman showed me an application form he had filled in for admittance to the U. S. A. in which he remarked that he was a citizen of the United States by birth, talent and inclination. He is about sixty years old, but he will be a soldier of some sort before this war is over, I am quite sure.

That evening we addressed the citizens of Easton. [Pg 238]Apparently the audience consisted of mostly workmen. After the meeting I went to a reception at the house of some people of consequence. The very rich folk of Easton were all here and beautifully dressed. They were awfully nice folk, but I suspect that they ought to have been at the meeting, for, of course, it was arranged by the men keenly interested in the war. I daresay that they felt that they knew all that was to be known about the war, but it seemed to me that they ought to have seized this opportunity to let the folk with fewer opportunities see that they were keenly interested. As a matter of fact, they all knit a great deal and do what they can. Actually, the outstanding fact is this: There were two meetings in Easton. One took place in a school auditorium and was filled with men and women keen as far as one could judge to "carry this thing through." The other took place in a very charming house which was filled with men and women in full evening dress, also keen to "carry this thing through." It is a pity that they could not have met.

We returned to Philadelphia, very tired, but buoyed up with enthusiasm which had been given to us by the people who live in the Susquehanna and Wyoming Valleys. There are other beauty spots in this world, but the man who follows the trail of the Black Diamond up the Wyoming and Susquehanna Valleys sees much that he can never forget.

[Pg 239]People in Philadelphia sometimes say that the country is still asleep to the situation. They speak vaguely of the outlying counties. The folk there may be asleep, but to my mind they are giving a very effective sleep-walking performance and I should shrink from waking them up.

After a day's rest in Philadelphia we once more started off and addressed audiences in court houses all crammed to overflowing at York, Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Carlisle, Lewistown, and Middleburg. It would be difficult to say which of these towns displayed the most enthusiasm.

York is a fine town with some beautiful buildings, and an excellent hotel. I lunched with a friend who lives in a country house, a little way out. The landscape was covered with snow but it had rained during the morning, and the thaw had been followed by a sudden frost. The water therefrom running along the branches of the trees became glistening ice. The effect in the sunlight was beautiful as we motored along the chief residential street,—an avenue called after one of the kings of England.

The next day we boarded a local train that carried us to Gettysburg. It was drawn along by one of those beautiful old locomotives that must have dazzled the eyes of children forty years ago. It reached Gettysburg five minutes before its time. I had hoped to spend some time viewing the battlefield, but there [Pg 240]were several feet of snow, so it was difficult. However, we drove to the cemetery and saw the many thousands of graves occupied by the young men who fought and died in a great battle. The weather was bad but the Court House was crammed with people, including some soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The next day I met the Roman Catholic priest, who had been present, and he told me how he had liked my remark about the Tommies thinking it "rather cute" of the little French children to be able to speak French.

Chambersburg was our next stopping place and here my senator rejoined us, for business had compelled him to go to New York during the first days of the week. The congressman had found it impossible to come with us and we missed him a great deal. Chambersburg seems a bustling community and the Committee of Public Safety had aroused much enthusiasm: the large Court House could not hold all the people who desired to enter.

The next day we arrived in Carlisle. Carlisle is precisely like an English country town. It possesses a Presbyterian church which was built before the Revolution. We were entertained by some friends of the senator. During the day we motored out to the Carlisle School for the American Indians. This was interesting to me since I have read so many stories around the Red Indians. The school forms a pleasant group of buildings.

[Pg 241]We approached a large drill hall or gymnasium and at the moment of our entrance a band broke into "God Save the King." In the hall the braves were drawn up on one side and the squaws on the other. I had the honour of inspecting them and later I spoke a few words to them, but my effort seemed stilted and weak compared with the things that filled my mind.

The meeting in Carlisle showed the same enthusiasm that had marked all the meetings throughout the week. I felt at home a little, for the inhabitants are all alleged to be Scotch Irish. The town is sweet and pretty and we regretted that more time could not be spent walking about its streets and examining the quaint old houses, but we had to get on to Middleburg.

The suspicion that had possessed my mind at the beginning of this my last tour of Pennsylvania that the people in the small country towns are very wide-awake to the situation became more insistent after my visit to Middleburg. The temperature was several degrees below zero, and the ground had at least a foot of snow on its surface. The meeting was held at 12.30 but by the time we were ready to start there was not a vacant seat in the whole building and people were standing at the back of the hall. They "wanted to know." It was quite unnecessary to catch their interest by telling them amusing stories. They desired strong meat. To me there seemed in [Pg 242]this charming little community the spirit of the men of Valley Forge who drilled with blood-stained feet in order that the British Empire might gain its freedom. They didn't know that they were fighting for us. They might even have spurned the idea. It is true, nevertheless, and I told the folk at Middleburg this, and they believed me. They believed me, too, when I told them that once more the British people and the American people were allied with the same purpose in view—the downfall of futile autocracy.

The old determined spirit of '76 still exists in America. It lives in the cities where it is difficult for the traveller to see, but in little towns like Middleburg even a Britisher can see it and a feeling of pride creeps over him when he makes the discovery.

How clever our cousins are when it comes to the actual pinch. They were in a criminal state of unpreparedness, just like ourselves; but when they established their Committees of Public Safety throughout the length and breadth of this huge country they showed us something that we might do well to copy. The heart of the organization exists at the capital. Arteries run to the big cities, smaller blood-vessels tap the towns, and little capillaries go out even to the small villages where local orators address the people in the tiny schoolhouses. Hence the people will know about everything; their loyalty and keenness will be kept at the right pitch and the [Pg 243]Government will then have a certain quantity to base their plans upon.

At the moment the men at the head of affairs are getting the criticism that is so good for them, but no one seems to realise as yet that all mistakes at the moment are not really new mistakes but part of the great big composite mistake of unpreparedness.

I am able to observe the feelings of the people as I go from town to town and I am possessed not merely with a knowledge that we are going to win in our fight against Germany (that is a foregone conclusion), but that the friendship that can be seen arising between my country and this is going to be a wonderful help to us.

I can see this country travelling over some very difficult ground during the next few months, but as the gentleman said at Scranton, the "peaks in the distance shine with a very rosy light."

And so to my own countrymen I can say, "Criticise the American statesman if you desire, since you are well practised in the art; laugh at Uncle Sam's mistakes if you dare, but trust the American boy!" Your trust will not be in vain, for with your own British Tommy, the French Poilu, and the Italian soldier (I don't know what they call him), he will be there, smiling and good-looking, and glad to see the gratitude and love for him too which you will not be able to prevent from appearing on your face when the people of the world can cry at last, "Victory!!!"

Transcriber's Note

Some inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document has been preserved.

Typographical errors corrected in the text:

Page      9  Day's changed to Days'
Page    16  traveling changed to travelling
Page    85  damndest changed to damnedest
Page  115  Chilians changed to Chileans
Page  116  Chilian changed to Chilean
Page  118  fall changed to fail
Page  119  Chilian changed to Chilean
Page  128  possesser changed to possessor
Page  197  woud changed to would
Page  201  German's changed to Germans
Page  214  eulogise changed to eulogize
Page  215  eulogising changed to eulogizing
Page  231  stronge changed to strange
Page  242  traveler changed to traveller

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Over Here, by Hector MacQuarrie


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