The land of the trenches always seemed a land of mystery to us. The booming of the cannon every day told us where the trenches lay, but a nearer acquaintance with the front was well nigh impossible for a non-combatant. Everyone in the ambulance had his or her place assigned and was not expected to step out of it. As time passed restrictions became more stringent. Each one of us was supplied with a "carnet d'étranger" which contained our photograph and signature and specific directions as to all movements in the war zone and this book had to be shown on going to Paris and returning by train. Our friends at Neuilly in the earlier months could visit us by procuring a pass following a week's application. Later this was shut down on and it was extremely difficult to obtain permission to go to Juilly. The authorities could not afford to have Americans or anyone else running around in the war zone.
In the early months of the war it was perhaps feasible for some of the American surgeons to visit the front, but in our time the matter was so difficult that it was not even attempted.
However, I reasoned that, having worked a year for the French wounded, I might be entitled to a trip to the front as a sort of recompense. Then, too, having come from such a far distance and being so near the front for so many months, the regret of missing this experience would always be a keen one. It would do no harm to try, so forthwith a letter was written to the Surgeon General at Headquarters requesting permission. A courteous reply was received in a few days enclosing a pass to Châlons, either by rail or auto. I chose the latter in order to see more of the country and to be more independent.
Early on a sunny morning in June I started with Fabrice, our Italian chauffeur, in the Médecin-Chef's limousine. We took the well-known road to Meaux along an edge of the Marne battlefield. Leaving Meaux with its picturesque old mills in the river and its venerable cathedral we passed through beautiful woods until we reached La Ferté Jouarre, where we crossed the Marne.
Near Napoleon's monument on the outskirts of Montmirail our trip nearly ended disastrously for we discovered that the car was on fire. The hot gases emerging from a hole in the muffler had ignited the oil-soaked wood work and one side of the car was blazing merrily. After tearing out the loose boards, waste, rags, extra tubes and inflammable material and hurling them out of the way, we tried in vain to beat out the fire with our overcoats. If it had not been for some water in a wheel rut near by, our trip would have ended then and there and our car would have been reduced to cinders and scrap iron. The kindly shade of an elm tree kept the water from drying up by the sun's rays. Our caps answered for fire buckets to get the fire under control, and a peasant with a bucket of water did the rest. just at that time a military car came along at a great rate of speed, its wheels grinding into the very rut which had been our salvation. Another remarkable thing was that along all the 125 kilometres that we did that day no other rut with water in it was seen. We thanked our lucky star that the fire had not reached the gasolene tank, crawled into Montmirail with a careful watch alongside and, after some delay, found a mechanic who made the necessary repairs.
From there on to Châlons the road ran straight as an arrow and smooth as a billiard table---the kind of road one reads about in novels but hardly expects to ever enjoy. Red poppies mingled with the blue of the corn flower, grew in profusion, and only needed the white shine of the road to complete the tricolor.
No other accident stopped us, but we were halted at every railroad crossing by Territorials who examined our pass in a critical manner.
Châlons is famous historically for the defeat of Attila, the Hun, by the Romans and Goths in 451 A. D. The town was full of bustle and excitement for it is a great army center. The principal hotel with the strange name of L'hôtel Haute Mère Dieu, was full of officers at lunch time, and I managed to find an inconspicuous place in the dining room. It was an interesting sight to watch the officers of different types, from stout, white-haired generals to young dapper lieutenants. I thought I was the only American for miles around until I ran into A. Piatt Andrew, Director of the Field Ambulance Service, who was taking Will Irwin and Arthur Gleason to write up an American Field Service section for the instruction of the American public.
According to my instructions, I presented my credentials at the Service de Santé, and was courteously received by General Bechard, and a fine limousine was placed at my disposal with a colonel of the medical service as my conductor.
The General mapped out a plan of a three days' visit to the hospitals of Châlons and field hospitals toward the front and then asked if there was anything more he could do for me. I replied that "I wanted very much to go to the trenches." "Ah," he said, "that is a military matter and you can only obtain permission from military headquarters." This advice was not encouraging but was enlightening. So for the present there was nothing to do but enjoy the many interesting things to see and reserve a trip to the trenches for the dernier coup.
As Châlons is an important military center there are a large number of hospitals there, admirably organized and equipped. Among the number of hospitals visited was one for mental cases---for brains unbalanced by the strain of war. There were a variety of types of mental aberration-manias, melancholics, delusions fixed and fleeting, mutism in different forms. It was sad indeed to see what war had done to these young minds, but with it all there was hope that time, rest and quiet would work an improvement. There was not the hopeless depression one feels on entering a ward of blind soldiers.
A book could be written on the different phases of mental disorders caused by this warfare. I shall merely relate the features of the curious case of a young artist. He was a well-dressed, trim young chap, and whenever he saw any button unbuttoned, he took it on himself to button it. He never spoke a word and apparently did not hear anything, as he paid no attention to noises or to anything that was said to him. For amusement he painted pretty little views of the hospital garden or fanciful scenes of meadows, streams and willow trees. All efforts to get him to write his name or initials on any of his paintings failed. Curious that a mind that could produce a painting faithful to nature, should lose its identity to the extent of being unable to claim the authorship.
East of Châlons towards the front at varying intervals about 12 miles back of the trenches are located a number of ambulances which we visited. These field hospitals are a series of low, wooden buildings located usually in some hollow and further hidden from hostile aviators by branches of trees placed on the roofs. Here the wounded are received directly by automobile from the Postes de Secours or dressing stations. There are also bathing establishments where a regiment can be cleaned up in a day. The soldiers get a hot shower bath and a hair cut and have their clothes fumigated.
Beautifying the field hospitals are well kept flower gardens. There are band stands for occasional concerts, and reading rooms and small theatres are provided for the poilus. Near the entrance to one of the buildings was a large hole made by a bomb dropped a few days ago by a hostile aviator. Close at hand is always the little cemetery with the graves close together marked by white crosses. One of the ambulances occupies an old farm, and its old stone buildings, stables and box-stalls have been converted into a well equipped institution.
Of special interest was an automobile field hospital. This was well equipped and so arranged that everything could be packed in trucks and moved to any desired location. Electricity was furnished by a dynamo run by a truck engine and the X-ray apparatus was similarly supplied.
All these sights were very interesting but the proximity to the trenches made me all the more anxious to visit them. I interviewed my conductor on the subject and asked him why I couldn't get permission to go. He said "Because we don't want a shell to come along and take your head off." He added that he had not been to the trenches himself as the work there is done by the younger men. I then asked him if he would go to the Quartier-General and ask permission for me. He politely told me he would introduce me, but would rather that I spoke for myself. To my complaint that I could hardly speak French well enough to address a general he smiled and said that I could make myself well understood. I then prepared my speech and rehearsed it to the colonel on our way to headquarters. When we arrived at General Gouraud's Etat Major we were formally saluted by the sentinel on duty as we entered the modest brick building. We received word that General Gouraud was absent but that his Chief of Staff would see us. An orderly, after a short wait, ushered us into a plainly furnished room, the walls covered with maps, where we were received by the Chief of Staff, an elderly, dignified man. After being introduced by the Colonel I made my speech and thanks to my preparation got through it quite well. The General listened seriously to what I had to say and then told me that he would present my request to the Commanding General, who alone could give the necessary permission. An answer would be sent me to the hotel. That night about half-past nine, as I was sitting in the hotel dining room chatting with some officers, a soldier entered and presented me with a letter by hand, as he was instructed. I almost hesitated to open the letter, feeling sure that my request would meet a polite refusal. However, much to my joy the letter said that Capt. ----- would have the honor to call for me at half-past seven the next morning.
The next day was one of the most exciting of my life. The excitement started in at five o'clock in the morning when I was awakened by the noise of cannon rattling the window frames. I ran to the window and looked out and there, racing across the clear, blue sky, was a tiny black object. The cannon were firing at it and making the peculiar hollow sound they make when shooting in the air. The shells were exploding with their decisive little pop around the Taube and at once the rounded, white clouds appeared near the aeroplane. I counted twenty-seven of these rounded clouds, forming a track across the clear, blue heaven, but none of the shells hit the Taube, although they seemed to come very close to it. It was an interesting and spectacular sight. Three bombs were dropped by the German but did little damage. However, previous attempts had been more successful. On the main street near the hotel were the ruins of a house completely demolished by a bomb. Another bomb had dropped in the street in front of the cathedral and had broken some of the stained glass windows and peppered the walls of the adjacent buildings. Long before half past seven I was walking up and down before the hotel. Just at the hour a long, rakish, military car drove up and a trim officer jumped out and we introduced ourselves with the usual formalities.
In company with several officers we started off at a great rate of speed due North. One of the first things I noticed was a Winchester rifle strapped to the back of the front seat. On the outskirts of Châlons we were stopped by sentinels and our pass carefully scrutinized. Five miles from Châlons we came to the village of Lepine, completely burned by the Germans in their retreat after the battle of the Marne, with the exception of the remarkably beautiful church.
From there on a scene of great activity prevailed. We passed companies of troops coming back from the trenches---tired and dusty poilus. There were vehicles of most every description passing along the road---great ammunition camions, motor trucks laden with supplies, army wagons, cannon, armored cars, movable kitchens, water carts, motor cyclists and even a special motor truck for a carrier pigeon equipment. Along the road were well arranged water stations where the wants of man and beast could be supplied. From time to time we passed forges, where horses and mules were being shod and broken wagons and artillery carriages were being repaired. I wondered how the road stood all the traffic and was in such good condition until I saw several gangs of soldiers busily engaged in keeping it in repair. The little villages near the road were full of soldiers resting, washing their clothes, reading, talking and smoking. The activity of providing for a great army was everywhere apparent. There were great piles of hay along the roadside, stacks of timber ready for the trenches, barbed wire rolls heaped up in great piles, rows of shells, boxes of many kinds of stores. Away off in a corral was a herd of cattle which was to supply the army with fresh beef. Military cars passed us going at a great rate of speed and throwing up clouds of dust. Occasionally we met detachments of cavalry.
As we sped on our route over the thirty-five kilometres that separate Châlons from the front, we began to hear cannon boom in the distance ahead of us. A huge captive balloon, shaped like a sausage, could be seen miles away over the plateau. I knew it was huge, because although it was very high up, it looked enormous. I asked if it was French and was told that it was a German balloon over the German trenches but some distance back. This was my first sight of the German side and the reality of things began to be impressive. Off on the left towards Rheims three "saucissons" indicated to us where the French lines were. At the rapid rate of speed we travelled, we soon reached a little village sheltered behind a hill, where we dismounted from our automobile. Here we were received by the Major in charge and were equipped with steel helmets and masks. I asked if these things were necessary and was informed that there was no telling where a shell would burst and, as for the masks, the gas would travel five or six kilometres if the wind was favorable. There was some difficulty in finding a casque large enough to fit me. Finally after trying several, one was found which made a fair fit, but I found it heavy and uncomfortable. However, I was very glad to wear it. The gas mask was enclosed in a tin box and this I securely fastened to my belt. Thus equipped we started for Suippes, a short distance away. As we came in shell range and saw the freshly made shell-holes and heard the cannon's noise, now very loud, I must own to a feeling of fear, and I believe that the man who says he has no fear when he goes under fire for the first time is a liar. At the same time along with the fear there was a feeling of exhilaration and a desire to see it through.
We dashed through what was once the prosperous town of Suippes, now badly battered by shell fire and deserted. The only person to be seen on the long main street was a priest hurrying along on foot. He was clad in a black cassock and had a steel helmet on his head. We stopped on the outskirts of Suippes at a small château hidden in a grove of woods. Needless to say this was used as a hospital for badly wounded men, too badly damaged to stand further transportation. The cellar of the building was in readiness to be used in case the bombardment became dangerous. The Médecin-Chef received us cordially, and served champagne, tea and cakes in the garden. He said that an hour before two German shells had passed over the trees and fallen in the fields on the other side of the garden. The cannon at three miles from the trenches sounded pretty loud to me, but no one seemed in the least concerned. The officers chatted over their refreshments and asked me questions about the American Ambulance. I heard two officers having an animated discussion and thought that it must be news of a German attack ahead of us, or at least an account of a trench raid. When I listened to what they said I was relieved and perhaps disappointed to learn that they were discussing the merits of an aria of a recent opera!
In one of Gouverneur Morris' writings he brings out the attitude of the French soldiers to danger as illustrated by Dumas' famous character Athos. He may be excitable over the ordinary episodes of life, but when real danger comes his nerves are like cold steel. And so it seemed to me on my visit to the front. The expressed vivacity of the commonplace existence is replaced by a calmness and determination of spirit as danger is approached. It seemed as if every man from the day he was mobilized had devoted his life to his country and every day that he was spared meant one more day of grace. If death came, as it surely would to many of them, it would find them calm and ready.
After thanking our host for his hospitality, we climbed into another automobile which was protected to the extent of being roofed over and covered in on all sides with little windows in the walls. As we passed out of Suippes it was reassuring to see the peasants gathering their crops within shell-fire range. The road now ran straight as a die for the North. The roadway, partly lined with trees, some of them smashed by shells, was narrow and deserted. Between the tree trunks wires had been strung and interwoven with cut branches which partially hid from the enemy's vision any body of troops or vehicles. My eyes were glued to the little window and what I could see through the narrow aperture and through rifts in the protective barriers of branches looked something like this :
The great plain of Champagne stretched out before us. On the left the mountains of Rheims appeared in the distance. On the right the plateau stretched off into space as far as the eye could see. The country was almost flat. There were low rises of ground, hardly to be called hills. There was not a sign of a living thing except for one weary looking poilu, who was resting with his back against a tree along the wayside. Not a house or a tree was standing in the distance. The whole country looked as if it had been clawed by some immense giant in his rage. There were lines of trenches running in bewildering directions, barbed wire entanglements, great shell-holes. A little grass grew here and there---the rest was the grayish white clay of Champagne. Our car lost no time in covering the three miles, and before I realized where we were, we passed through the ruined village of Souain and stopped behind a protecting bank. Right at hand in the bank was a doorway and stairs leading to a "Poste de Secours." The Médecin-Chef received us and proudly showed us his subterranean hospital. It was more than a dressing station. It was a hospital where badly wounded men, especially abdominal cases, could be operated on right away without the damage of transportation and loss of precious time. The Major had a right to be proud of his institution, as it was splendid in every way. Deep in the earth, well protected from shells, were a series of corridors with rooms leading off from them with cement floors, walls of wood lined with tin painted white, and lighted by electricity and acetylene gas. There were operating rooms, X-ray room, wards for patients, kitchen and store rooms, all complete. Here the wounded are carried, walk or crawl from the firing trench by connecting trenches called "boyaux." Wounded that can be transported are sent to the rear by night in automobiles over the same road we had come. Dinner was being cooked when we arrived. The stove was large and burned charcoal, the fumes making their exit by a pipe leading through the roof and ending at the ground level. Charcoal gives no smoke and tells no tales. The night before as they were finishing some of the construction, two shells dropped near the entrance, the noise of the hammers having indicated the position sufficiently.
A fine spring of clear water was within easy reach of the entrance. Towards the rear was all that was left of the village of Souain. It was simply a disordered mass of stones in hopeless confusion, a relic of the great offensive in September, 1915.
When we climbed up on top of the bank along side the entrance and looked ahead we saw, 1200 metres away, a curving white line extending across the crest of a little rise in a wavy outline. This was the first line of German trenches. The French first line, nearer to us, showed the same white curved line---white because all the soil is a whitish clay. The "boyaux," also curving, led down to our station. As far as the eye could see the terrain was hopelessly clawed by pick and shovel and torn by shell explosions. A few stumps of trees remained here and there. There were booms of cannon at irregular intervals---French 75 and 105 and German 105. It was fascinating and thrilling. The day was bright and clear without a breath of air stirring, and between the cannon shots there was a death-like silence. One knew that within the range of vision there were thousands of men standing in those lines of trenches extended before us and which stretched over 500 miles long from the Swiss frontier to the North Sea. Yet there was not a sign of life movement, and had it not been for the unceasing explosions of the cannon one might have had the same feeling of solitude as when looking over the barren old lava flows of Hawaii. The artillery, so carefully hidden that it could not be seen at all, added to the mystery of it all. The earth and rocks thrown into the air by the shell explosions was the only sign of movement. As we looked out at the scene which to me was most fascinating and thought-producing, a cannon suddenly banged---it seemed right behind us. I looked around and could see nothing but the ruined village. They told me it was a soixante-quinze hidden in the ruins, but there was nothing to be seen of men, cannon or smoke. It seemed like a polite invitation to get down which we did at once. Just then the German cannon started up furiously with a different tone. "They are shooting at an aeroplane," said an officer without looking up. Sure enough, away up over the lines, was a French aeroplane with shells bursting around it. It seemed as if it must be struck, but it was not and sailed majestically back to the rear.
It had come time to depart but I did not want to leave. I was fascinated and at the same time bewildered. I wanted more time to take it all in and comprehend it. This was War as I had never seen it. For a year in hospitals I had cared for wounded, torn by shells and bullets, but here was where men were killed and lay unburied and rotted in the sunshine. A magnificent test of courage to stand up and face the foe with shells bursting and death hovering everywhere, but why should there be war? A curse on those who were responsible for it!
We thanked our host, climbed into our car and went back by the road we had come, past the ruined village, past the poilu still resting with his back against a tree. My eyes were glued to the small window as I looked out on the vast scene of desolation and thought of the brave boys lined up there in the trenches and of their mothers, wives and sweethearts anxious in their homes throughout the land. War seemed an unholy and wicked thing to me.
The sound of the cannon gradually became dimmer until as we approached Châlons we could hear it no more and our visit to the trenches was only a very vivid memory.
After a year's work among the wounded we came to feel very much as if we belonged there. Neutrality was only a form laid out by governmental decree. We were heart and soul with France in her struggle. Consequently the time of departure was a sad one. The night before we were to leave, we were called into one of the wards where all of the blessés who could move or be moved had assembled as well as the staff. At the end of the ward was a table draped with a French flag on which reposed a beautiful large silver cup and a bunch of roses. We were escorted down the ward to our seats at the table to the accompaniment of much handclapping. As soon as we were seated a sergeant read this speech so full of delicate French expression.
Monsieur le Médecin-Chef.
C'est le coeur serré,, que ce soir, je me permets de prendre la parole, au nom de mes camarades, pour vous faire nos adieux. Et pourtant, cher Docteur, je n'ai, ni la capacité nécessaire, ni les qualités d'un orateur, pour vous exprimer comme je le voudrais, comme je le ressens: notre reconnaissance.
Voici plus d'un an, que vous avez quitté votre patrie, votre maison, vos intérêts et que vous avez traversé les océans pour nous apporter vos soins éclairés. Rien ne vous y obligeait: Neutre, vous pouviez suivre le conflit, d'un oeil lointain. Mais votre conscience vous a indiqué un devoir plus haut et vous avez voulu payer de votre personne.
Quel joli geste! Aussi, Docteur, combien nous vous admirons.
Pendant un an, vous vous êtes penché sur nos souffrances, vous êtes intervenu pour les guérir. Combien d'entre ceux qui sont passés ici, vous doivent la vie!
En même temps, placé à la tête de cette importante formation, vous lui donniez une impulsion nouvelle et vous lui faisiez atteindre son rendement maximum.
L'Ambulance Américaine de Juilly a été pour nous une grande famille. Aussi, à côté des impressions horribles de cette guerre, qui ensanglante presque l'Europe entière garderons nous, de notre séjour près de vous, un souvenir très doux et ineffaçable.
Je ne voudrais point terminer sans exprimer à Madame Judd tout notre reconnaissance. Par ses bonnes paroles et son charme, Madame Judd savait nous réconforter, nous faisant oublier nos souffrances, physiques et morales.
Permettez-moi, Docteur, de vous offrir ce souvenir, au nom de tous.
C'est peu, en comparaison de ce que vous avez fait pour nous. Puisse-t-il, vous rappeler quelques fois, vos petits blessés de Juilly.
Dans quelques jours, cher Docteur, vous serez de l'autre côté le l'océan, mais soyez persuadé, que jamais nous ne vous oublierons et souvent notre coeur ira vous rejoindre dans cette Amérique que nous ne connaissons pas, mais que nous avons appris à aimer.
Vive La France.
He then presented us with the loving cup and roses. It was then my turn, but with such a lump in my throat, it would have been difficult to have responded in my native tongue. I got through it some way and tried to tell the three hundred French people present that America had not forgotten what Lafayette and his comrades had done for us in our dark days, that victory would come for the side of right and that Prance would fight on, as she had in the past, until the invader was driven out.
That we had come from the far-off islands of the Pacific to show our sympathy for the cause of France and to work for her brave wounded soldiers. Now that it had come time for us to depart we would carry with us priceless memories of our friends, the poilus.
During our last few hours at the ambulance we made our farewell call on the Mayor, and then shook hands and said goodby to every one of the poilus. As many as could accompanied us to the doorway where, as we entered our automobile, a farewell cheer was given us. There were tears too in many an eye and our eyes were not dry. We felt as if we were leaving a home and dear friends in a great struggle.
It is easier to get out of France than to enter it. Our American passports were viséd at the consulate, then at the Prefecture of Police our "permis de séjour" were taken up and permission to depart was authorized on our passports. There remained the trip to Bordeaux, with its charming views of the Loire valley, Cathedral of Orleans, Châteaux of Blois and Amboise.
About the only sign of war were husky, well-fed German prisoners working along the railway. At Bordeaux the passports had to be again stamped and we bade farewell to good French cooking by a dinner at the famous "Chapon Fin."
The "Lafayette" lay at a quai piled high with an endless amount of freight from America. We pulled out at midnight and by daybreak we were at the mouth of the Garonne and plunged at once into the swell of the Bay of Biscay. The green shores of France gradually faded away in the distance. No destroyers accompanied us. Our good ship's speed and the rough waters were our best protection. The ship was crowded and there were some famous people aboard. It was not a gay crowd and even the usual concert was omitted. Life preservers were kept handy and there was a general feeling of relief after the second day of our voyage was ended successfully. Nothing occurred to mark the trip until the last day out. When we were sitting out on deck in the afternoon we suddenly noticed that the sun, which had been shining in our faces, now shone over our shoulders. Looking astern we could see a wide curved streak made by the change in our course. At once rumors flew about the ship---"The Kronprinzessin Cecelie had escaped and was after us." "A woman passenger had received a wireless telling her to wear her life-preserver day and night." "A submarine had been sighted," etc. No information could be obtained from the officers. They maintained their usual imperturbability. The look-out men in the crow's nest were relieved frequently. The gun crew were constantly on the watch. We could not believe that danger threatened us right off our home port. There was nothing to do that night but go to bed with a feeling of uncertainty.
Early the next morning we were off Sandy Hook. When the pilot came aboard we learned then for the first time of the depredations of the U-53, of the torpedoing of passenger ships off our coast and of the rescue of women and children from the icy waters. We were thankful to have escaped a similar fate.
The city was hidden in a blanket of fog so that not even the unique sky line of the "scrapers" could be seen. The custom house examination is usually as disagreeable as officiousness and lack of courtesy can make it and this trip was no exception.
It was rather early in the morning and not one familiar face was to be seen on the dock. We were soon plunged into the roar of New York. How different everything seemed! There were no uniforms on the street and there were so many men! Everyone was hurrying about his business and the war might have been on another planet.
At night Broadway was ablaze with lights, with gay restaurants filled with people eating long course dinners. The hotels were turning away people and visitors had to seek accommodations in Jersey City or Brooklyn. Theatres and cabarets were jammed with gay and thoughtless crowds. Money was being spent like water. Much of this money was war profits---the tears and agony of Europe. I heard a well informed person say "The United States has made $20 per capita out of the war and has given less than 35 cents to France and Belgium."
Years of lack of education in our history and ideals combined with apathy and careless living had done its work.
The American people as a whole little realized the purposes of the war and the gravity of the situation. The idea that the Allies were fighting our war, for our principles of liberty and humanity and that America was imperilled by Germany's lust for world conquest had entered the heads of a very small proportion of our fellow citizens. Instead of that the active propaganda for the German language and "Kultur" in our schools, colleges and legislatures, combined with the activities of the German press and German organizations, had weakened the development of a national opposition to Germany's plan of world-empire. The pulpits were woefully deficient in presenting to the people the moral issues of the war, some pulpits even preaching a spirit of "peace at any price." Public writers, teachers and professors neglected their opportunity of bringing to the minds of America what the tragedy of Europe meant.
There were some brave spirits who kept America's soul burning as Theodore Roosevelt, Lyman Abbot, George H. Putnam and James M. Beck, and noble women in different parts of the land were working for the suffering humanity of Europe. The 50,000 or so Americans in the British Army, the Americans in the Foreign Legion, the American aviators, the Ambulance drivers, doctors and nurses all helped to keep alive in France a friendly feeling for the United States and bring closer to our people the cause they tried to serve.
We could not get used to the indifference and smug self-satisfaction in the atmosphere. Will America never wake up? Well, perhaps she will when more Americans are murdered on the seas by the pirate's submarines, and more of our rights are trampled on.
I listened impatiently one evening to a long argument of an eloquent young minister against military training. The gist of his argument was that we should not fight until we were attacked and then all the men could be called on. He failed to bring out what a happy slaughter these unprepared defenders would make for the Huns. The Pacifists at 3,000 miles away from the trenches talked glibly about peace on earth, but when it was proposed to them, none of them relished the idea of having their children spitted on a Prussian bayonet.
During several months in the East I spent some time raising money for ambulances. I found the Americans generous when the good work that our boys were doing at the front was brought to their attention. There was a woeful lack of understanding of the situation. If the American people were not ready to go into the war, it was largely because the facts had not been properly presented to them.
If the realization of what the war meant was feeble in New York, it faded away as one went West, until on the Pacific coast we found that the war was almost an unusual topic of conversation.
Again embarked on the ocean, this time with no fear of German submarines, we sailed the Pacific until our beloved islands came in sight and we were home again.
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