Puslapio vaizdai

working in our munition factories today, all kinds, from the highest to the lowest; peers' daughters, and daughters of cabinet ministers, of professional men, of rich merchants, — all working side by side twelve hours a day, with brief intervals for meals, living together in little villages, which have had to be built close to the factories, in order to solve the housing problem. They are not segregated, but live the communal life, side by side, sharing the family life in dining-rooms, recreation rooms, in all respects living as one family; and it has had a wonderful effect on them all. The upperclass women have learned something from their working sisters. They have gained a broader outlook, a more candid sincerity, and a great many other things which are going to be of much value. The same thing holds good of the other side. They have learned refinement of speech and behavior. In fact, they have come to understand each other, and ignorance is the cause of so much sorrow and misunderstanding that we welcome all this wonderful new fusion in our national life. Please God, when the anguish of these days is over, it is going to be a splendid factor in our reconstruction.

In addition to the women working in munition factories, they have had to take the place of men in commercial houses, in stores, banks, - everywhere where young manhood was formerly employed, and they have given much satisfaction to all concerned. Everywhere one hears the same story of how they have given of their very best; they are so industrious, they are so uncomplaining, so conscientious in all matters, that they very seldom have to be found fault with. It is surprising how little inefficiency there is in our depleted occupations because of the splendid way the women have stepped into the breach. We have thousands engaged

in driving all kinds of conveyances, and as conductors on buses and on trains. They even clean the streets, and act as porters at the railway stations.

Then we have a land army of about half a million, taking the place of men on the farms. That has been one of our most difficult tasks, because we have found our farmers to be a very conservative body of men, who wanted no changes of any sort; they thought that they should be specially favored as they were food-producers, and should be allowed to keep all the men they wanted; but they have had to take a certain number of women on the land. No man is asked to take a woman helper until she has had some training. One old farmer in my country brought forward a very extraordinary objection. He said, 'Women on the land! What do they know about land? They ain't any good on the land! Just look what Eve did in Eden!' I could not remember that she did very much to the land there. My recollection was merely that she picked the apple and passed it on.


Then we have a very large legion in France. The women began about eighteen months ago to relieve the men in the camps when the need of men became very insistent. There are some who work in the cook-houses and prepare the men's food, and others who act as orderlies, and as waiters in the different messes. They relieve men as clerks and storekeepers. They take care of and distribute the stores, and drive them to different places as required. In fact, they have relieved every man available for fighting, and they are always being reinforced from the battalions sent out from training. Part of their work is to clean the men's uniforms, and sole and heel their boots; and the latest thing they have taken over is the mending of rifles. Thus there has been a great economic saving by the employment of women. It is

hard work, and they are kept in their own cantonments under strict military discipline. It says a great deal for their patriotism that they are so willing to stay so far from their homes. They are really serving their country in a way that we can never be sufficiently grateful for.



We come now to our last reserve of the great company of homekeepers; and, believe me, their hearts are just as full of fire as the others'. They are obliged to stay within the four walls of the house because homes must be kept together, the children cared for, and the fires kept burning for the boys when they come home and for the men who are working at civilian occupations. They would love to be in outand-out war-service, and they get no medals or stripes of honor of any kind. They are simply carrying on the everyday drudgery which we women know so well, forgetful that it is the very foundation of a nation's strength and fineness. Now there has passed into the hands of these women, in the most extraordinary way, the greatest opportunity to serve their country. It has arisen out of the food-shortage, and requires them to serve by putting on very cheerful faces in the face of extraordinary difficulties, and by bringing all the resources of mind and body to bear on the solving of problems not easily solved, the preparation of meals out of poor and scanty ingredients. I am overjoyed to say that they are standing up splendidly to their job and are making the very best of everything at their disposal.

I suppose you are aware that that is not very much. We are getting to be very hungry in England. The shortage has come bit by bit, very gradually, just as it is going to come to you. My

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housekeeper said to me one day about a year ago, 'Do you notice every day there is something we cannot get?' And that is exactly how it happened. One day one thing lacking, and another day another; and at last, like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard, our larder has become very empty indeed. Our shortage of flour is very great that is the string that is always being harped upon, that 'you must save the wheat flour for us.' I have seen many kinds of war-bread in this country, but nothing quite so unpalatable as ours. It is just made of any old thing on hand at the moment. We have been able to keep up the quantity so far. We always have three and a half pounds of bread per person a week, or its equivalent; but it is not allowed to be sold until it is twelve hours old, on the theory that stale bread goes further than new bread. When you get this, with a thin scraping of margarine, you don't go very far with it. I am very sorry for our bakers, because they get such conflicting orders. In many places in this country I hear much grumbling about continual changes in the orders from Washington.

Now I want to assure you that you are just at the very beginning of things, and that you will continue to get these new orders as time goes on, until you won't know whether your head or your heels are uppermost. But what I want to say most emphatically is this: that the true patriot will accept these orders in the spirit of the soldier, and he will fall in line at once without grumbling. Be assured that the government is not sending out these orders without good reason for the changes; and I hope that every one will fall in line and be as cheerful as possible about them.

Our meat-supply varies greatly according to the amount of success that the U-boat has on the seas. One week we may have a little more than the

last, but we never get more than our allowance of one pound a week per head. Large families get along not so badly, because they have the one big joint in the week, and they can spread it over into respectable meals; but the smaller familes have more difficulty. It takes all the ingenuity of the housewife to make meals out of such slender ingredients. Unfortunately, it is the essentials that we are so short of. In my last letter from my housekeeper she said, 'We have had no fat in the house for a week.' Now I put it to you housewives of America - how would you like to go into your larder to-morrow morning and find no fat of any sort to bake or cook with in any form? It takes all one's courage and cheerfulness to tackle the problem.

Milk we were very short of in the winter, owing to the cows being killed because of scarcity of fodder. You cannot buy a glass of milk anywhere in a hotel or restaurant unless you have a child with you. Householders are supposed to take milk only for the sick or for children. Eggs also are scarce and were a dollar and a half a dozen when I left England; but probably, as summer comes on, the situation as regards both milk and eggs will be relieved to some extent, because everything is easier in the summer.

These are the food conditions so far as I know them at the moment. They have been improved somewhat by the introduction of the card system of rations. It came into operation' some time last month, and I hear is giving great satisfaction. It does not, of course, increase the quantity, but it does insure equal distribution. It is a curious thing, that food seems to be the supreme test of human nature. People will give up all kinds of things: they don't mind last year's clothes; but when it comes to food, it is a very different proposition. Food is not a very

inspiring subject to write about, but it is very wonderful how inspiring it can become when there is none of it.

I was at a strange little meeting in Ohio, - a pro-German community,and just before the meeting a woman came up with a very stern expression on her face and said, 'I am just going to tell you this. I had to give my boy. He was drafted and I had no choice. But I won't give up my food for anybody.' It sounded as if her food was of more value to her than her boy. 'But won't you please come to the meeting and hear what I have to tell you about how it is over there?' I asked. She came; and after the meeting she came to me and said, 'I am just going to tell you that I am going to change my mind. I will go without some of the things.'

It is the supreme test. There is no doubt about it.

Every kind of voluntary ration broke down in England, and it was the people to whom we looked for counsel and advice who were convicted of hoarding on a very large scale. They were very promptly discovered and exposed by the newspapers, and fined or imprisoned, so it did not do them much good. Our women as a whole, however, have been splendid. I am sorry to have to say that it was the men who made the most trouble. The men you know are conservative, especially about food. They like the straightforward things that they know about. In the old days, when we used to have tremendous dinner-parties, two soups, two entrées, etc., etc., it was very interesting to see who sampled the new dishes. It never was the men. They like the straightforward things. They don't like substitutes of any sort. A woman said to me in the street one day, 'I don't mind substitutes, and the children don't, but Harry don't like messes.'

I wonder whether you American

men, when the test comes, are going to live up to your very high reputation. As husbands you are considered to have no equals on the face of the earth. When little jars occur; as they do in the best households, we have been known to tell our lawful spouses that we wished we had married American husbands. Even now, I suppose, you have to eat things that you don't particularly want. The true patriot is the man who can eat an imitation beefsteak, with a smile on his face, and tell the woman who prepared it that it is as good as the real thing.

These are the food conditions, and they are very difficult. The supreme test has come to us after we have grown a little war-weary, and after we have lived through three and a half years of unexampled strain and sorrow and anxiety. I think it is not quite understood in this country, how big a part of England now is as truly the war-zone as where the actual battles are being fought. We have had a great deal of airraiding, and during the last year the attacks have become much more frequent and much more violent, just as in every department of the war things have become more quick and poignant and active.

The air-raids have increased, in particular. We have no Zeppelins now, because we brought down so many of them: these monsters cost a tremendous amount of money, and the damage they did was so small as not to be worth their while. But they have another kind of machine which can do a great deal more damage. It is called a Gotha. It is a very quick-flying aeroplane. A Zeppelin has to stand still before beginning operations, so that it made a splendid target for our guns; and that is why we had so much success in bringing them down. But this particular ship which has been over us this winter drops bombs while fly

ing, and a rapidly moving object is much more difficult to attack from below. They do much damage, and destroy a tremendous amount of private property. They come over the coast in large numbers now, anywhere from twelve to twenty-five or thirty ships, and they often split up at the coast. They come up the Thames valley, where there are many things they would like to destroy: Woolwich Arsenal for instance, with its twenty-mile circumference of war activity. But they have never once got what they could call an objective of military importance. Neither have they found any of our splendid buildings in London, our historic monuments, the Parliament buildings, and the like. They have succeeded only in destroying a great quantity of small property, and killing poor people who never did them any harm.


I am so tired of telling this story of how my own house was destroyed.

In October, 1915, the Zeppelins' visits began to be very serious. They had made other visits before, and we were much interested in them. We always ran out like children to watch them. A Zeppelin may be six or eight hundred feet long. The last ones we know were eight hundred, because we saw one come down near where we lived. Made of beautiful shining material, so exquisitely woven, it was a joy to look at. When you see a shape outlined against a dark blue sky on a starless night, it is like a fairy picture; but when it starts to do its deadly work, you forget about its beauty; and when you hear the grinding of its engine, you have nothing but terror in your heart.

My daughter, who had been working for over three years in the French War Zone, was at home for her first leave that night. She was very anxious to see

an airship. (Both the boys and the girls feel that this war is a great adventure. If they had the real fear and hatred of it that we older people have, whose souls have been seared by the suffering and anguish, they would never be able to do the things they do. We ought to rejoice, and we do, that they have the spirit that sends them when necessary 'over the top.') When I told her that I thought the Zeppelins were out, we went into the garden. We don't venture out any more, for many were killed by falling shrapnel. I have even heard it pattering on my roof like hail. The boys back from the front don't like it.

We all stood there in the garden, listening. Suddenly the engine stopped; following that there was another sound, quite familiar to us because we had heard it in the distance before. It was the explosion of a very large bomb; and that was followed by another and another, in such rapid succession that we were quite stunned. We had no time to be afraid. It was such a wonder to us. It was terrifying in a way. We never spoke a word during the four or five minutes in which this rapid and fierce bombardment took place. In our old town, which had kept its one thousandth birthday shortly before, strangelooking things kept dropping, which proved to be incendiary bombs, intended to set fire to the buildings of which the explosive bombs had begun the destruction. The air was filled with strange, sulphurous, smoking fumes. Above the noise of the bursting bombs could be heard the cries of the wounded. It was as if the mouth of hell had been opened.

We soon saw the evil thing above us. On the lawn was a wonderful old cedar tree, which had stood for four hundred years. This was split by the concussion, and had afterward to be taken down. When it was over and comparative quiet restored, the man who stood

by us said, 'I think now we can go into the house.' And so we walked across the terrace, and tried to go in. There was a French window opening on the terrace, and it was unbroken; but when we tried to open it, we found there was no house. The entire front had been blown up, and the noise was so great, and the concussion being outward, not toward us, we did not know that it had happened. Books, pictures, furniture, walls, roof, everything was down in one inextricable heap. We could look into the street, where were a few flashing lights.

What happened to me that night, and to a number of other people, is the sort of thing that is happening all the time in our country in the war zone, which is increasing in size every day. They are building more and more airships, and they are going farther and farther into the interior. We don't talk very much about it. This war is such a stupendous thing. We just don't think about our own possessions. Why, we don't seem to belong to ourselves any more. You can always get another house, you know, but there is only one country. After all, for the things that alone make life worth living there is no sacrifice too great. You are willing to give, and give again— to give life itself if only it will help in winning the victory.

Another night I came very near to the Zeppelin danger. My job has been a talking job for a long time. I have talked to munition workers in factories, etc., etc. All women who work on munitions need encouragement. It is not women's work. If you could see the heads bent over the work women's heads, such pretty heads!you would rebel as I did. But they are dedicated to this service because there is one thing worse than war, and that is dishonorable peace. I think our women will not have any such peace. Just

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