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the midst of the opposing currents of war"; and His Majesty's Minister expressed on behalf of the wounded their gratitude for the Swiss hospitality.
The soldier quickly detects if the dominant idea of the "Padre" is to bring glory to his church, and not a passion for doing good to all men irrespective of their communion. The noblest motive is the public good, and I must candidly avow that while I love my church, here I forgot to what church soldiers belong, nor do I care what their denominations are if only they care for my friendship. This has its disadvantages in sometimes creating jealousy in the hearts of some who make a god of their church, but the fact that Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Non-Conformists, are my friends, will always be a deep joy to me. The other day the Catholic priest and I met in the prison in the course of our duties, and we agreed how foolish it would be to bring our ecclesiastical notions into this place where kind words and kindly encouragement might be spoken to all, irrespective of their ecclesiastical communion. Among soldiers the religion without label is the most respected. It is a distinct advantage to value at a minimum these petty divisions, and I entirely agree with the large-hearted MacLean Watt of the Scottish church that to bring them into the work among men who have been brought near to Death, the Grave, and that vast Forever is a "sin against the Holy Ghost" and a "crowning iniquity."
This then is the spirit in which to go about work here.
MY DEAR A.:
Now that the men are somewhat recovered from the fatigue of their journey there arises the need for some place where they may meet each other in those hours while free from the military machinery, however indispensable that is in the life of a soldier. They live in hotels given up to them and they may not visit each other without leave. I have been seeking, in conjunction with a lady deeply interested in the same scheme, a suitable building where all the men may gather. We found both building and funds in a few days, and we have received official sanction for this new venture. Let me tell you what we propose to do. We shall fit up and furnish with tables and chairs our Home; here the men can meet during their free time, write their
letters, have tea, bread and butter, and cakes— at cost price-read newspapers and books, listen to music, vocal and instrumental, and join in debates and smoke. We shall have no rules but trust the honor of the men never to require to call in military aid. We would like a Home without the savor of monastery or asceticism in order to capture and charm these broken men, where they can sing a jovial song for mere merriment; an institution where even the ludicrous has its place, for Christ Himself objected only to sin, not to natural enjoyment. We shall try to convince the men that the best life is the Christian life by seeking to sanctify ourselves for their sakes, but we hope to present Christ as seeking them perhaps more than to press them to seek Him.
MY DEAR A.:
Since writing you last much water has flowed under the bridge. The Home I told you of is helping the men to use their leisure hours to good purpose, instead of finding attraction in the cafés that abound. The sun has shone on our efforts. Another scheme for the men's good is well under way, that is, to provide brass and string instruments for an orchestra. Among the men are musicians and a good bandmaster, and instruments have flowed in. A way has been found by a generous donor of sending out four Scottish kilts and sporrans and a pair of bagpipes, so we hope to keep the men interested. The Orchestra plays twice a week in the Home, and we are very proud of the progress they are making, and it becomes evident to us that these efforts are appreciated by the "Boys." At the home the number of cups of tea increases from day to day, till perhaps we may find it necessary to enlarge the building, which can be done at no great expense.
Apart from these schemes the men have formed a British Interned Variety Company to give concerts, with the laudable object in view of building a small chalet for the use of poor children, to remain for the Swiss as a remembrance of the time they spent here.
I half expected your question about what we were doing for the men on spiritual lines. I almost grudge entering into details about this because it necessarily refers to what I do as a Presbyterian minister, and it had been a joy to deal with men not as church-goers, not as members of a Bible-class, but as men, common men with human needs.
The Sunday morning service held in the big Hall is our main service for Presbyterians, and is well attended. We have twelve soldiers at Rougemont, six miles off, and a few at Rossinieres, so on Sunday afternoon I go to the former, alternating with the latter. The Senior British Officer here, an Anglican, is one of those spiritual men who take an interest in the well-being of their men, and he kindly comes with me to the afternoon services to read the lessons. Another feature of our work is to bring the cripples to church in a brake from the different hotels. But this does not meet the needs of all the invalids. I hold "miniature services" on the balconies where the invalids are stretched, too ill to move. The origin of these may interest you. An Anglican lady told me she visited an invalid soldier on his balcony who told her how much he enjoyed the singing of a hymn and the offering of a brief prayer by a Salvationist who visited him. She suggested that a short service would be acceptable to the men, and for this purpose I was fortunate enough to be presented with a baby harmonium. With this little organ, carried by two soldiers, we go to the invalids' balconies and there hold brief services. The men choose their hymns. The first Sunday I was keeping strictly to the Presbyterians when one invalid shouted: "Come here also, Padre, and sing to us, though we are not on your list!" I felt rebuked. We find this service very popular and joined in by some who are not invalids. Sometimes an amusing element creeps in. One invalid, who thought his comrade getting the choice of too many hymns, called out "Come along, Jock, give us a chance,-'Rock of Ages' One of them asked me the other day if he might take the whole service. "Certainly" I said, though I wondered what was up. A phonograph was produced, and the record had a whole service on it. It was very interesting, and that was our miniature service for the day.
Some soldiers write me about their religious ideas, and some of the letters are terrors: full of wise and yet wild ideas about religion, church, ministers, and yet full of respect for divine things. These show me that the thought that soon they might be lying beside some of their comrades on French soil or on other unknown spots made them pause. Fear of death is not usual. Prayer was uttered in widely different circumstances. What worried
them was not the prospect of death, but the thought that their loved ones were overanxious about them, and prayer rose for the comforting of those dear ones left behind. I could fill a letter on the subject of a soldier's religion.
You need scarcely be reminded that though naturally I speak only of the "bit" some of us are doing, others are racking their brains night and day also to devise ways of helping the soldiers. There are many modes of being frivolous and not a few of being useful. The Senior British Officer is arranging to have a classification of the different trades represented by the men, for example a group of tailors, cabinet-workers, cabinet-workers, shoemakers, printers, etc. They will also be taught photography, motoring, bookbinding, the French language, and so This is an excellent idea. Some one has said: "It might please God to keep me poor, but I trust it will never please him to keep me idle." Before the idea came into form I discovered one day a soldier who is a tailor by profession, who said that if only he had a sewing machine he could spend his time mending his chums' clothes. I mentioned this to a friend, who immediately sent a Singer sewing machine; imagine the delight of the tailor!
MY DEAR A.:
On Thursday last arrived the first conducted party of sixteen Tommies' wives. It was a great day among the men. The Red Cross, is responsible for bringing the wives out in parties of a dozen to twenty at a time. Many husbands went down to meet them, so that several couples stepped from the train together. Some of us wondered whether one of them would be terribly upset to find her man battered and bruised by bullets. However we realized once more that permanent beauty lies in the soul, and this good wife saw no disfigured face, only a soul of love, and the two after a touching meeting walked away arm in arm. German shrapnel cannot destroy love. It was a comfort to hear a wife say when I sympathized with her having only fourteen days' visit here: "Yes, but I would have come if only for an hour."
The reception of the soldiers' wives by the Swiss was as thoughtful and considerate as in the case of the soldiers. To us onlookers, invited to join them at tea, was given a difficult part to play. One could see tears falling,
perhaps, when the couples attempted to touch on their homes. One wife was overheard to say: "The bairns think I have gone to fetch their Daddy home; I just let them think it." One could not help being much moved to see how soldiers rejoice in each other's joys and sorrow in each others' sorrow. One could see at the station how these shy men tried to hide their deepest emotion by hurling jokes at their happier comrades.
A sergeant who was at tea along with his fellows told me he had a little girl of two and a half years who could not remember him, so the mother makes her kiss his photo every night and hold it in her hand while she says her prayers. Many of them have little children looking forward to seeing them again, and they are always longing for their home letters. Who could help loving these men? Their Their quick-wittedness, their power of measuring up the Germans, their irrepressible humor, even when in pain, are perfectly wonderful. When hit with rifles they only laughed in the faces of their tormentors, to the complete bewilderment of the latter. The Germans evidently cannot comprehend the British mentality. Always merry and bright, seemed to be the motto of our men. "Are we down-hearted?-No!"
In the winter, one told me, when they were short of blankets and had little to eat, they would get up a concert to the astonishment of their captors, who wondered if they were off their heads. A certain fine looking fellow assured me that he was one of sixteen captured who were put up against a wall and fired at. All were killed but himself, and he was left for dead for two days, and when found the enemy dragged him for over a mile at the back of a machine gun, and yet there he was "as jolly as a nigger." It is surprising that their sufferings have not stolen away their cheerfulness. An officer who has lost an arm had a visit from his wife and boy; the loss of his arm was naturally a great shock to his wife, but the boy, struck with his father's cheery face, said: "That doesn't matter. Father is as jolly as ever!"
Speaking of parcels sent out to them in prison, one soldier gave me the following account: He got a parcel from home containing a woolen shirt, a tin of meat, a tin of sardines, and tin of jam. The Germans in examining the contents pierced each tin, then rolled. them all up in the shirt,-and lo! a coat of many colors!
MY DEAR A.:
It will interest you to learn that an arrangement has been completed between the British and the German governments permitting the return to their respective countries of the first wounded Interned Prisoners of War. This is a very happy event. From Murren, Leysin and Château d'Ex, the three centres, trains have brought through Lausanne the men of whose lives I have given you a description in my former letters. This closes an epoch-making period in these men's lives. There are 600 waiting in Constance to take their places, and it is very sweet to hear the men going home say: "We are glad to be going home, not so much for our own sakes though that is a delightful thought, but because it will leave room for wounded comrades." Rumors are afloat that the men to take their places are in an even more pitiable plight than those who have been with us for fifteen months now. If that is so one almost shrinks from going to see their arrival. But when one thinks of the improvement in physical appearance and mental power of those who have left Switzerland one can only hope that a like transformation will take place in those who are coming.
The trains carrying the happy warriors home waited for about 20 minutes at Lausanne station, and the crowds that assembled to say farewell filled the platform. From their windows the men chatted with those they knew, who have been kind to them during their sojourn here. What a happy contrast for some poor fellows who fifteen months ago lay on couches in the train, the mark of wounds on face and limb!
A Summary of a Cable Received from France of Great Activities Covering a Short Period of Time
City of Paris. This means adding 1,000 beds, to those now available for tuberculosis patients.
Is making arrangements on a large scale to help refugee families through the winter with clothing, beds and shelter, and for this work the entire devasted district of France has been divided into six districts with a resident Red Cross delegate in each, and warehouses have been established at four points to which are shipped the necessities of life.
Is carrying on repair work in four villages. in the devastated region to enable returned families to stay throughout the winter.
Is supplying portable houses for the use of the families which have returned to this region.
Is providing barracks to assist in the work of training disabled soldiers.
Is organizing extensive work for relief of Belgians, both children and grown people. Is aiding the Queen of Belgium in her work for the children, and assisting in the support of hospitals.
Is bringing a certain number of children from occupied Belgium into France where they may be cared for.
Has established large central warehouses in Paris, and distribution warehouses at important points from the sea to the Swiss border.
Has a warehouse capacity of 100,000 tons, and a warehouse personnel at present numbering 125 men, most of whom are volunteers and men not eligible for military service. Maintains a transportation department, with a personnel of about 400, which handles supplies and furnishes automobiles. It has an organized force at every port in France, and is able to handle about 350 tons of supplies daily.
Is preparing to operate a motor bus line through Switzerland from Germany to the French border to aid in transportation of repatriated and exchanged prisoners. Operates seven garages and makes all repairs on its own cars.
TEN MILLION RED CROSS MEMBERS BY NEW YEAR'S!
America's Christmas Gift to Our Army and Navy and to Humanity
H. N. MACCRACKEN
(President of Vassar College and Executive Secretary of the National Committee for Christmas Membership)
America has awakened to what this war means in personal service and sacrifice. What their country needs Americans will give. Through their American Red Cross they have already given much that will make the hard, dangerous life "over there" more endurable. But now the hour for half-measures is over. Nothing that can be done for the comfort and safety of "Our Boys" must be left undone. We call America en masse to join us and create a Greater Red Cross.
Continental America has over one hundred million inhabitants. Some five million have joined the Red Cross. That is well, but it is only a good start. There should be twenty million members, and it is the present purpose of the Christmas Drive of the Red Cross to enroll at least ten million members.
Now that our sons, brothers, husbands, are laying down their lives for us, we are behind them with "all that we have and are.' The Red Cross exists to turn our desire to comfort and aid them into swift practical measures of service. America is ready. Your Red Cross is ready. Fall in! "Let a Greater Red Cross be your Christmas gift to 'Our Boys' and suffering mankind!"
(Signed) HENRY P. DAVISON,
Chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross.
E SHALL have a new kind of Christmas this year. There will be less of the personal, more of the national, in it. In many and many a family one vacant chair will make us want at times to say as little as possible about Christmas. "Peace on earth, with loved ones at war?" we shall ask, bitterly. Yet Yet this Christmas season will draw us all together as a great national family, more closely than any Christmas ever did before. One common hope for humanity; one common faith that justice will win; one common willingness for sacrifice and self-denial. These national aspirations will make this Christmas memorable.
But feelings such as these must have concrete expression, and the American Red Cross provides the way. It asks for ten million Christmas members by Christmas Eve. Is it an impossible dream? That depends on the Christmas spirit of America.
The week from December 17 to Christmas Eve will tell the story. At that time there will be observed in millions of homes the Christmas ceremony of placing a lighted candle behind the Red Cross service flag. On each flag will be added a smaller cross for every ad
ditional member of the family who joins in this great national service.
It is no time for extravagant gifts and reveling. We are a sobered nation. Our gifts must mean something this year. The son, the lover, the husband, the young father has made the gift of his life to his country. What shall our gift be? Why not Christmas memberships in the Red Cross for yourself, your family, and your friends?
Why not? The American Red Cross is a National institution. It has been endowed by Congress and by the Cabinet, with special privileges of ministering relief to the army and navy, and with control of the shipping space outside of military needs. It will bring to suffering humanity the Christmas ministry of good will and help, just as far as you will let it.
Have you a right to stand outside it? It is your messenger of kindness and help. It has called thousands of workers to its tasks They have responded nobly. Scientists and famous physicians, social workers and skilled nurses, competent minds and hands in every profession and trade are giving willing service to the Red Cross. When we wanted a chairman of our National Committee for this