from the book
'Paris Waits'
by M.E. Clarke (1915)


In and About the Paris Hospitals





IN an amazingly short space of time after the war broke out, Paris bristled with hospitals and ouvrairs. Almost all the hotels and schools flew the Red Cross flag and a great many luxurious private houses were put at the disposition of the Government. The directors of the magasins de nouveautés and the dressmakers also followed in the same wake, and half the women in the city inscribed themselves as members of the Red Cross societies, and willing to serve 'at the front.' Arm bands and Red Cross uniforms were worn by all sorts and conditions, until the military authorities had to interfere and make strict rules on the subject.

It was generally supposed that the Red Cross societies were well equipped to meet the demands of war, and in the early days, before there was any rush of wounded, it looked as if their plans were working well. Ambulances went to the front with all the eagerness and despatch of the troops themselves; and every one said that there would be none of the difficulties of 1870 to contend with, as the country was prepared with the necessary hospital appliances. Briefly, the story of the French Red Cross societies is this.

The Societé de Secours aux Blesses Militaires was founded in 1866, the Association des Dames Francaises in 1879, and the Union des Femmes de France in i88i. All these societies are recognised by the military authorities, as well as by the civil administrations; and the good work they do is beyond question. They are united under a central committee, and the President of the Republic is president-in- chief; but they each work separately and have their own officers. The Societé de Secours aux Blesse's Militaires, which has its central office in the Rue Francois Premier, is recognised as the most aristocratic of the three branches, and its president is the Comte de Vogue', with the Comtesse d'Haussonville as president of the ladies' committee. The Dames Francaises expresses the Government milieu, and has five presidents Mme. Casimir-Périer, Mme. Féllx Faure, Mme. Loubet, Mme. Fallieres, and Mme. Poincaré. The central office is in the Rue Gaillon. The Union des Femmes de France was founded by Mme. Koechlin-Schwartz, who is the president of the society. The central office is in the Rue de la Chausse'e d'Antin, and among the ladies who work actively on the committee are many well-known Parisiennes of the rich bourgeoisie. Inevitably there is a good deal of snobbism connected with these societies, and political intrigue is not without its importance in their ranks. But in spite of such drawbacks, the work done by all three branches is good, and without them the needs of to-day would have been infinitely greater. They are very rich, and they have provided a stupendous amount of material for the soldiers during the war. Their hospitals and their ouvroirs are everywhere; and their nurses and stretcher- bearers have found death by their devotion in several instances since the war began.

It is under the protection of the Red Cross that all the auxillary Paris hospitals have been opened under the patronage of one or other of the three branches. For many weeks Paris might have been called a Red Cross city; for there was not a street or an avenue which did not proclaim itself as the proud possessor of at least one hospital, ouvroir, or storehouse for soldiers' comforts. The Champs Elysées, the Rue de Rivoli, the Place Vendome, are still great hospital centres. Most of the hotels have at one time or another taken in wounded, and some of them are likely to be hospitals until the war is far advanced. The Astoria is an important British Red Cross hospital which is also militarised and has more than 500 beds. The Majestic has been busy; Claridge's has been run by women doctors from London Meurice's, the Continental, the Ritz, were all occupied at one time by wounded; and the Bristol, where kings and diplomats have been used to dine and discuss, has been run as a most luxurious 'ambulance' by Mme. Ida Rubenstein, the actress.

The lycées have also been used a great deal as hospitals and one of the most perfectly equipped for the purpose is the Lycée Pasteur at Neurny, which is run entirely by the Americans in Paris. It was given over to them by the French Government early in the war, and within three weeks they converted it into a model modern hospital. It is interesting to note that in 1870 the American ambulance was quoted as doing the best work among the wounded, and in 1914 it has not gone back on its traditions. The hospital could if necessary take in 1000 patients, and it is provided with a full staff of doctors, nurses, and officers of all kinds. It is no form of speech to say that 'money is no object' with the Arnericans who run the American ambulance: for they have spent it lavishly and wisely, at the same time.

Two dressmakers only were ambitious to turn their carpeted salons into hospital wards and their vendeuses into nurses; but many of these rich commercants converted their rooms into ouvroirs and employed their workwomen to sew for the soldiers, thus rendering admirable service to the army and the State at one and the same time. The big shops also worked well for the same cause; and it was a curious sight to see the Printemps, the Louvre, the Bon Marché and other huge stores turned into sewing-rooms. Haversacks, bandages, cholera belts, shirts, were turned out in thousands in those early days, and the hum of the sewing-machines was mighty. A great many ground-floor shops were turned into ouvroirs where the women were paid from one to two francs for the afternoon's work. Piles and piles of hospital materials were emmassed by these means, and the distribution is still going on.

As long as Paris was in danger of investment very few wounded came in, but once the city was looked upon as comparatively safe the hospitals filled up rapidly. Terrible stories have been told of the miseries the wounded have been forced to endure through the failure of the services sanitaires to transport them quickly from the field of action to a hospital. Tetanus and gangrene have killed far too many of our soldiers, and they have all too often lost limbs through the same causes. It is undeniable that the wounded have been put into cattle-trucks, more or less clean, on to straw that is full of germs, that they have lain for days on end with no food, no drink, no surgical help. Some have travelled the length of France when they should have been sent to the nearest hospital with the utmost possible speed; others have been left on the battle-field because it was a human impossibility for the number of doctors and stretcher-bearers on the ground to get them away in time; others, again, have been put into cold damp churches, waiting for the help that came too late. And yet there are whole armies of men and women ready to risk anything and everything to help in the bettering of this state of things. Much has been done, much is still being done; but we must allow that red tape (the term is all-enveloping) has hindered the march of events in the right direction, and an immense amount of good material has been wasted through lack of mobile administration and personal adaptability.

My own experience has allowed me to see the chaos which has reigned in all branches of the transport ambulances in and around Paris; but I should prefer to quote a French authority on the subject and give here extracts from articles written by M. Maurice Barrés on the subject in the Echo de Paris.

Barrés has waged continual war against faulty administration in the services sanitaires in a perfectly loyal and unprejudiced way, and by means of bringing information to the Government he has succeeded in getting many mistakes corrected. In an article, written at the beginning of November, he says: 'Men, women, doctors, wounded, a whole host of people I know nothing of, have implored me to voice their complaints. They tell me to go here, to go there, and to look for myself.' M. Barre's went, and the result is he has not ceased to wage war against officials who fail in doing their duty; and with firm courtesy he has forced them to examine his complaints and correct them. He gives a graphic picture of field ambulances as they are in theory, and as they might be in practice. In theory, a civilian doctor describes the field hospital thus: 'A large room, warmed and aired, everything ready to receive the wounded. Hot water in various vessels, from the steriliser to the foot-bath and the tub. Each patient placed on a bed and carefully washed, put into clean clothing, all of which is first sterilised. Two or three surgeons then examine the extent of the wounds with nurses in attendance, and operations are done with every modern appliance.

The serious cases are kept and the mild cases, after being dressed, are sent away in automobiles waiting for the purpose.' Some one asks where such a room with all its appliances could be found or erected near to the battle-field! And some one else breaks in with: 'That is not my idea at all. Here is the perfect ambulance-it can be put up and taken down in four hours. It follows the troops wherever they go. It takes all the serious cases; and it should be duplicated many times, for a great number will be needed. It should not belong to any particular military division, but should be placed according to geographical position on account of the water supply. Water is the great essential of a surgical ambulance and it must be possible to have it in many states-hot, cold, in steam, sterilised, etc., etc. To provide this we should need --' But here comes another interruption and this time from a man who has just come back from the front. 'You have been out there, you know what it is like,' he says to M. Barres, 'the great thing is not to lose a moment in war, the fighting is the most important thing. Save the wounded! Yes, but first and foremost there is the army. Leave the roads clear for the guns and the stores. Don't try to take with you the Faire de Neuilly. On the battle-field of to-day any sort of hospital will be in the way. What we want to do is to get our wounded away as quickly as possible. We cannot hope for perfection, but we can try to be quick. We want a great number of light ambulance cars, such as those used by the American and English hospitals. These will carry our wounded, with hastily dressed wounds, to the nearest hospitals or the nearest station where trains should be ready. The sanitary trains we hear about do not seem to be working; let us then have clean luggage-vans with stretchers, not straw, male nurses and a refreshment car where hot water and warm drinks can be provided. Let the trains go straight to the nearest and best equipped hospitals, and do not let them be shunted on to sidelines waiting for something, or nothing, or for a mere administrative freak. Let the journey be as short as possible and let it be comfortable; although, no matter what happens, you will never hear the soldiers complain. They are magnificent!'

Another article by M. Barres is devoted to a request that the men should be supplied with litfie phials of iodine and a dressing, so that they may avoid the risk of germs getting into their wounds before they are found by the stretcher-bearers. Yet another plea is for more doctors on the field and more stretcher- bearers. And an idea is suggested for a side-car stretcher, which one man could work once the wounded soldier was placed on the stretcher. As a case in point, of the way men suffer through bad organisation,

M. Barrés quotes that of a man who was wounded on September 25 at Peronne. He remained three days in the ambulance; then he is sent to Montrouge, in Paris, where he stays half a day; from there he goes to Niort, where he stays three days; from there to Marseilles, where he remains three hours; from there back to Paris, and finally he is sent to the Cochin hospital where, in spite of everything, he is getting better.

According to M. Barrés, and also to personal experience, there seems to have been everywhere a most alarming waste of good material; and above all, the right men have not been found in the right places. The best surgeons in the world have offered their services to the army, the French hospitals alone have provided a host of capable men of the first and second ranks; yet it is indisputable that through disorganisation-or rather, through the hide-bound stupidity of red tape-many hundreds of men have suffered hours and days and weeks of unnecessary pain; and in some cases they have needlessly lost their limbs and their lives. Individual instances of mastery over administration are not wanting; but the majority of men are forcibly made to observe the rules of inactive bodies of theoretical minds, the result of which is always deplorable.

The same writer has made known many cases where the sisters belonging to religious societies have proved their devotion and capability in hospital work during this war, and it is well known that the average French soldier would rather be nursed by a religieuse than any one. He feels comfortable and at his ease when a bonne soeur is looking after him, and he is not always so when his attendant is 'une dame quelconque.' With our men it is different. They are used to professional nurses in the ranks of the army sisters; and although they sigh patiently under the kind offices of some of the auxiliary helpers and would be thankful if well-meaning visitors did not think it necessary to talk to them and cross-question them, they nevertheless support the attentions with cheerful philosophy and are often heard to make remarks which add to the gaiety of the ward when they have come through the ordeal of a visit.

The question of the trained or the untrained nurse has been and still is a burning one in Paris. Friction between the professionals and the amateurs was inevitable, and toleration (of other people's opinions) not being a human virtue, there has been a good deal of bitter feeling. The difficulties have not been by any means peculiarly feminine. On the contrary, men workers in the ambulance corps have shown exactly the same human frailties as the women. National prejudice has also been a stumbling-block and always and everywhere the soldiers have suffered when these things have happened. Even the greatest war in history has failed, so far, to cleanse administrations of their prejudices and individuals of their intolerance.

A brighter side of the picture is to be found in the wards where the men are daily making their way back to health. No matter whether it be a gorgeous salon in a modern hotel, a sculptured hall in some millionaire's palace, a bare class-room in a college, or a regular ward in a military hospital, the scene is much the same. Rows of beds, and men in different phases of illness and convalescence lying in them. The way in which the bedclothes are arranged explains more or less whether the man has been wounded in the leg or the arm, and there is no need to ask about wounded heads. But although the percentage of men who have lost one limb or more is heavy, the spirit of the wards is extraordinarily cheerful. In the English wards there is generally singing going on to the accompaniment of the gramophone, and the favourite song is still 'Tipperary.' The Tommies never seem to tire of it, and the piou-pious have begun to sing it too. A blue curl of cigarette smoke rises from most beds, newspapers lie on the lockers, magazines and books are less popular; for the men all like to read of the war, nothing else interests them very much. A sister in one of the hospitals was heard to say that the Englishmen are very particular about the clothes they wear, and she declared that a whole lot of very ugly pyjamas she had in stock were useless because none of the men would put them on. The Frenchmen are not so particular, and lie quietly in any sort of a sleeping suit. Beards give them a fiercer look than our shaven men, but they are in reality gentle, courteous, and most remarkably plucky. They dislike visits from strangers more than our men do, and they strongly resent being questioned. Talk with them and it is all right, talk to them and they are bored, but question them and they are frankly defiant. In the summer, the Paris convalescents were supremely happy in being able to lounge on the balconies overlooking the streets, and the sight of piou-pious, Turcos, Zouaves, in all sort of costumes, with bits of their own uniform to guide you as to what they were, hung over the iron or stone balustrades smoking, laughing, talking, criticising with a pleasurable air of recreation. The khaki uniforms were also busy doing the same thing and what struck some of the Englishmen when they first came to Paris was the number of men to be seen in the streets who looked as if they should be fighting. Now that the winter has come, this out-of-door pleasure, as well as that of being sent out to Versailles to regain health in the gardens of some great hotel or private park, is over, and the wards are the only recreation grounds.

The food in the hospitals is good and plentiful, in some of the private ones it is epicurean. Delicate dishes contrived by chefs, wines from cellars of renown, and always the most beautiful fruits. 'Do stop and have tea with us !' said a man I went to visit. 'We get a splendid tea. It is given by some awfully pretty French lady, who comes herself to pour out for us and talks English perfectly.' The case was common in the sitting-rooms of convalescent officers, and there was nothing to grumble at in the fresh bread and butter and good tea which was handed round in the big wards.

A story is told that the cuisine francaise failed to please the English soldiers who were recovering in one of the most luxurious hospitals in the city, and they politely but firmly refused to eat some of the daintiest dishes, or the bread and butter with café au lait which was given them for breakfast in the morning. 'But you must eat!' said a nurse to one of them. 'Thank you, but I don't care for that sort of breakfast.' 'What sort of breakfast would you like, then ? A bit of bacon, for instance,' said the soldier. 'And the soup! You don't seem to like that.' 'No, we like pea soup,' said the soldier a little stiffly. The only thing they really seemed to enjoy was the ragout. It reminded them of Irish stew, and Tommy is very conservative in his tastes. He does not like French veal either, and when he was told that his colonel was eating of the same joint and enjoying it, he merely said: 'I dare say, but I expect he has travelled.'

Quite a special place among the Paris hospitals is due to the little Hertford British Hospital which has been alluded to in a previous chapter. As was then mentioned, it practically grew out of the events of 1870 and in 1914 it has held the position of head hospital of the British Red Cross. Sir Richard Wallace, the founder, with whose money it has since been run, would have rejoiced to see the good work it has done during this war, although he would have certainly made that work more important had he been alive. As it stands, this little hospital can only take about forty soldiers, but the successive forties which have been treated in the wards there have had no cause for complaint. It was ready when the other hospitals were not, and it was in its wards and gardens that many of the men recuperated after the great retreat. When the war is over, this little hospital will again be used for the British poor in Paris; but it is to be hoped that its war services will be remembered and its coffers be replenished, so that its sphere of usefulness may extend and not diminish, as there seemed to be a possibility of their doing before the war broke out.




November - every day is a jour des morts for us in these present times, and life is of no more consequence than a ripe cherry in full season. Yet, for all that, the Jur des Morts of 1914 will be long remembered by the French people, and by the English too; for alongside the graves of the French soldiers lie those of Englishmen who have died for the same cause. In nothing are they so much allied as in their death, for they have all met it with the same courage and simplicity. For two days the Parisians filed out to the cemeteries round the city, loaded with flowers, and very many of them wearing mourning. The cemeteries of Bagneux, Ivry, and Pantin are the ones which have been chosen for the temporary burial-grounds of the soldiers, and it was to these that the mass of people went.

Both days (All Saints, and the 'Day of the Dead') were marked by beautiful weather, a very unusual occurrence; for it is almost a tradition that it rains on these days. 'Un vrai temps des morts' is what the people say when November comes in wet and foggy, and the second-hand-umbrella man considers it as safe to count his pennies beforehand as the artificial-wreath man does to count his. But this year no one bought umbrellas on the Jour des Morts. You felt sorry for the umbrella man, because he looked so thin and shabby; but you rejoiced in the beautiful weather for the sake of the thousands of sad people who were thronging through the gates all day from early morning until dusk. Even such an unlovely place as a French cemetery looked fair on All Saints Day this year. The trees in the long straight avenues waved golden branches over paths that were carpeted with fallen leaves of red and russet-brown; the sky was blue overhead and the graves of the soldiers were mounds of flowers, out of which rose slender crosses of wood, each bearing the soldier's name, age, and the regiment to which he belonged. There were so many of them, and they were all so young! Round the square of ground set apart for the soldiers was a flower-bed, freshly planted with white and yellow chrysanthemums; and from the trees round the enclosure were suspended garlands of evergreens attached to the trunks with tricolour ribbons. At the entrance to the military graveyard stood a green monument, hung with the flags of the Allies, at the foot of which flowers were laid in heaps. A service of police was organised to prevent the crowd from any undue crushing; and it was a very slow and orderly p?ocession which passed all day before those newly made graves, each covered with flowers and wreaths and tender inscriptions. In the early morning they were visited by General Gallieni, who paid his tribute of flowers and admiration with the rest of the world. Quite apart from the French and English, lie the Germans, each with his cross and inscription and a smaller reed of flowers. Very silently the crowd passed by the German, graves and one or two women dropped flowers as they passed. 'Ils sont forcés de partir comme chez nous' was the murmured excuse of one, as she knelt to place her chrysanthemums on a grave that was nameless.

'Un vrai pélerinage' is what a French woman of the people once called the visit to the cemeteries on the first and second days of November. More than ever was she proved right this year, and more than ever did one realise what a very human thing a pilgrimage is. In the multitude of people which made its way to the graves this year there was not one man or woman who did not honestly suffer at the thought of that mysterious power which cuts us off from those we love. Many faces were worn with grief and swollen with tears at the memory of a recent loss; and many more showed the fear that they might soon be mourning those who were, as far as they knew, still living, fighting, and suffering, in some unknown spot. Yet so strong is the power of actual life that in the midst of all the grief the most incongruous things were done and said, and even magnificent death was not able to give to common life a foretaste of its dignity. People bustled and bargained their way along; and the vendors of the many dreadful souvenirs of grief with which the populace covers its graves were bent on doing a thriving trade. Cabmen exacted the uttermost farthing of their fares, and the owners of chars-a-bancs profited by the occasion to do a good day's work. The driver of a taxi might be heard to crack a joke with the driver of an antiquated fiacre, and the woman conductor of the brake had been careful to adorn her head with imitation-diamond combs for the occasion. Down the sordid avenue leading to the cemetery gates the stall-holders cried their wares with voices as lusty as those we have heard at the Ham Fair, and the vendor of paper whirligigs vied in craftiness with the salesman of bead- and-wire wreaths and wax frames with texts inside. Nougat and brioches were offered for sale alongside tombstones, and patriotic flags and postcards were as much in request as chrysanthemums and pots of evergreens. It was the most amazingly incongruous scene imaginable, for it was an unvarnished picture of life.

Paris is getting busier and more normal every day. The boulevards are crowded every afternoon and the cafe's are no longer deserted. A new motor-bus ran a trial trip one day and aroused false hopes; but no more has been seen of it, and we use the old four- horse char-a-banc which plies its way at irregular intervals between the Bastille and the Madeleine. The tea-shops, as well as the cinemas, are opening one by one, Residents are coming back to their winter quarters, and schools and colleges are now more or less in working order. The big shops are much busier than they were, and there is more animation in the public ways generally. Only at night is Paris still a very quiet and sober city, for the cafes continue to close at eight o'clock and the restaurants at 9.30. The streets are darkened, and the searchlights maintain their activity. During the early days of the month we had the most wonderful moonlight nights, which made of Paris a city of beautiful mysteries; and to stand on the Pont Neuf and look down the river to the towers of Notre-Dame, past the Conciergerie, the Palais de Justice, and the Sainte Chapelle, was like looking at a Whistler nocturne. The moonlight turned the mists to silver, and the rare lights round the landing-stages glimmered like fallen stars in the river. The towers and spires and turrets rose like fairy structures to the skies, and the unusual silence over everything accentuated the unreal beauty of the whole.

There is very little life on the boulevards after ten o'clock, and the by-streets are even more deserted. Policemen in pairs patrol the city, but their duty has never been lighter; and so accustomed to orderliness have they become that a butcher-boy driving his horse at a mad gallop through the silent streets towards the Halles causes them to hide in the shadow of a house to avoid arresting him.

The news from the front continues to be good. Every day we read that the Allies are progressing at a snail's pace but surely; and every day we learn how terrible has been, and still is, the slaughter. From England we have had news of an attempt of the German Navy to bombard Yarmouth and that shells have actually fallen on the beach. French people no more believe in the invasion of England than they believe in Socialism being of any account in English politics. They look upon us as a people essentially conservative; and our Navy is, to them, invincible. English people in France do not feel quite so happy about things. We are inclined to think that England may have a few lessons to learn; and a great many Englishmen rather viciously hope that a Zeppelin will drop bombs on London to make the nation realise what it is to be in actual danger of attack.

No more Taubes have managed to throw bombs on Paris since their generous distribution in October; but it is not from the lack of trying. Every day, almost, they fly in our direction-only to be driven back by the French airmen who now police the air with great effect. The airmen are, it is said, very much annoyed that they have been recalled from the fighting line to fulfill this dull and inglorious task; but it has to be done, so they make the best of it. We saw the ascent and descent of a biplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux the other day, and heard, on our return, that a machine from the same district had met with an accident after we left which caused the death of two first-class airmen. Both had been out at the front doing dangerous work for weeks, and they came back without a scratch only to meet death on a peaceful autumn day in the midst of their own people. There have been many cases like that in the flying corps, as well as in the army; and it is being continually brought home to those who must stand aside and watch the war from the very back of the theatre, how glorious some of those inglorious deaths have been.

In the same way we have realised how worthy is the task of the soldier who belongs to the second and third fighting line, the man who guards the bridges, the railway lines, the commissariat store-houses, and the forts that are not very likely to be called upon for defence. Instead of the excitement and danger of the fighting line, they are asked to endure the appalling monotony of uninteresting manual labour, and not enough of that in many cases to give them the consolation of an immense fatigue such as sometimes acts as a drug. They are herded together, irrespective of class, and their lives are stripped of most of the things which civilisation has taught them to value. We went out to see a man we know who is in the fort artillery and who is stationed in the neighbourhood of Paris. This particular fort is the smallest of a nest of forts and its full complement of men is five hundred, all of whom are supposed to lodge in the fort and to feed in the canteen. Each room is arranged to sleep fifty-seven men, and the planks upon which every man stretches his sleeping-sack lie very close together. The ventilation, as may be supposed, is not of the best, and uneasy lie the heads which in the day-time carry those smart little artillery fatigue caps so jauntily. The days are wearisome and the nights are attended by many nightmares! There are not a few vacant planks among the fifty-seven; for as many as can and dare, arrange to sleep outside in rooms they hire for themselves. They escape to their lodgings by various methods and are on duty in the morning at the appointed hour. In some forts no leave is given to men living near Paris, and those who visit the city run the risk of earning fifteen days of prison.

Needless to say, the risk is run fairly often; for to be near Paris and not visit it would be a sacrifice not one Parisian in a thousand would be capable of making. The surrounding country is the greatest consolation for the deadly monotony of their existence, for it is beautiful, fertile, and health-giving. In summer, the gardens were loaded with fruits and vegetables which the soldiers either bought, begged, or stole; and now that the autumn has arrived, they benefit by the moonlight nights to poach rabbits and wild duck. Food is the one absorbing topic after the war, and some of the men are excellent cooks. Their domestic duties are weightier than their military ones, and the lack of all other occupation is felt very keenly. Those who know how to seize their opportunities get special work which lifts them out of the worst of the monotony and accords them some extra liberty. Our friend, for instance, is deputy postmaster, and his duties allow him to live outside the fort in more or less comfortable lodgings shared with a barrister friend who has been named infirmier to the hospital by applying for it in the nick of time. They do their own cooking, spend their evenings in playing cards and reading old newspapers or re-reading old books, to an eternal accompaniment of cigarette smoking. But they are among the lucky exceptional cases, and we heard of many very unhappy fathers of families who were obliged to put up with the sleeping-sack, the crowded room, the canteen, and a very mixed society; and they are men who, in times of peace, are used to comfortable homes and a society which, if not exactly intellectual, is at least very different from that of the canteen at the fort. The admirable thing about it is, that with all its drawbacks, the men are supporting this life patiently and philosophically. There is practically no drunkenness, no insubordination, and comparatively little grumbling. They make no pretence at being martial in spirit and they will be very glad to get back to their business, their profession, or whatever may be their civil lot in life; but in the meantime they are perfectly willing to give their time to the country, and they are immensely proud of General Joffre.

Another friend of ours is among the most humble of France's little piou-pious; and he, too, is holding steady far behind the fighting line. He has been guarding railways and stores ever since the war began and he is bored to death, but quite resigned. ' If only they would send me two hundred kilo-metres from Paris I should not care, but to be so near and not to be able to go inside the gates is sometimes almost more than I can bear.' That is the true little Parisian of the boulevards. The world, for him, is Paris. Outside the gates is the desert. To make an excursion into the wilds of Versailles and St. Germain is all very well, but to stay there for months on end is purgatory. He showed us his quarters, and we had to confess that they were not luxurious. A stable, which stabled six horses in peace time, was converted into a sleeping-room for twenty- nine men. Wooden frames, with wire netting stretched across them, lay side by side on the ground; and on these, softened by a straw mattress and rolled in a rug, they dreamed away the nights and a good many of the afternoons when they were not on duty. Round the stalls they had hung their various possessions in perfect neatness and order, their washing hung outside and their writing-desk was a slanting bit of wood, propped up on two staves, with a very small stump of a tree, as a seat, in front of it. The kitchen consisted of a fire and a stove-pipe; and chestnuts, picked up in the woods, were roasting over it. All round them were the woods dressed in autumn glory. The weather was perfect, fine, warm, yet with a touch of crispness in the air, and the great Palace of Versailles cast its shadow over their cantonment. Of all the beauty and all the grandeur our piou-piou would acknowledge nothing. He was too bored, and he was homesick for his beloved Paris which lay just over there, but beyond his reach. 'The only permission we can get is to go to church, and then we are regarded with favour. So we ask all the time, and sometimes we go and sometimes we don't.' I pointed to his sabre : ' C'est dangereux?' 'Mais pas du tout!' And he produced an ancient weapon which he said dated from i868. ' It is very useful to peel potatoes!' he said with a gay little laugh. Apparently they were waiting for new arms, as theirs had been taken away for immediate use and in the meantime they were fitted out with rifles and sabres of ancient pattern.

It is inspiriting to get proof from all quarters of how the country is appreciating the splendid qualities of General Joffre. He is the hero of the nation, not only as a soldier and a great general, but as a man. The whole of France lauds his generalship and pays tribute to his solid qualities. A thorough-paced bourgeois de Paris said to us this week : 'I have never interested myself in politics before, but since the war I have followed things closely. It appears that the Government has given us nothing, while the army has given us Joffre.' But for General Joffre, they all agree, Paris would not have been defended, and France might have been humiliated. A little greengrocer of great merit and much dignity found out with delight that a friend of mine was English and not American, and concluded that therefore she must be more interested in the war, 'because you have Kitchener and we have Joffre.' Every day he holds long conversa- tions with her and discusses the situation with the keen intelligence of a certain type of Frenchman, no matter what his class. 'We owe much to the English and we owe une bonne chandelle au roi Albert,' said another man, 'but as to the Government-well, we shall see!'

November 12.-The struggle is still going on round Ypres. All the strength of Germany in the north of France and Belgium is being massed at that point in the hope of breaking our line and thus making a way to Dunkirk and Calais. We are repeatedly assured that the effort will be in vain, and every day we read of the almost superhuman valour and resistance of the Allies. They attack and defend with the same courage and gaiety as they did in the early days, but they are paying an appalling price, and we at home do not realise a hundredth part of the horrors they are experiencing every hour. If we did it is doubtful if we could hold steady as we do, much less could we live the calm everyday existence which is our lot. We read terrible stories and we hear worse, but we do not look on any of these things with our own eyes. The nurses m the hospitals see the men come in mangled, ill, dying; and some of them will carry the memory of such things with them for a long while, but in the business of helping to cure those who suffer, or of administering to them the last rites of earthly comfort, they have no time to allow such impressions to become actively harmful to their work. I called to see a friend of mine this week who had been spending a month in a fortified town very near to the fighting line. She had lived in the continual sound of cannon, she had stood for two hours on end to watch the wounded come in, a never-ceasing procession which went on day after day. She had watched the wives and mothers and daughters of the soldiers trying to succour and save their menkind; and, to put it briefly, she lived, for a month, in 'the valley of the shadow of death.'

A cheerful event of the month was the celebration of King Albert of Belgium's name day. A service was held in Notre-Dame and half Paris went to hear Monseigneur Amette preach. The Duc and Duchesse de Vend6me were in the congregation, and the Duchess, as King Albert's sister, showed that she was deeply moved at the many proofs of his popularity in France. The Hotel de Ville was decorated for the occasion and distributions of comforts for the refugees marked the event. But better than all the public exhibitions of admiration and gratitude to the King of the Belgian people were the many private proofs of appreciation of the heroic role which has been played by their King. All sorts of people sent postcards direct to His Majesty and some of them expressed the sender's wishes in the most original terms. One woman told him frankly that she hoped that very soon he would come and be notre roi; and when some one protested that her wishes were scarcely patriotic, she merely shrugged her shoulders and retorted that she liked kings and she above all liked brave kings. Another French subject, also feminine, suggested that she would much have liked to see him king, but that as France had General Joffre there could be no question of it. It is obvious that all France recognises the splendid resistance which the Belgian nation made against Germany and ardently sympathises with its losses, but it is King Albert and Queen Elizabeth who have captured that fugitive thing called French sympathy.

Another week has gone by and the struggle is still going on in Flanders and Northern France while our hopes still play at see-saw between the western and the eastern battlefields. In Paris, there is very little sign of relaxation from anxiety. The city is necessarily fuller than it was in the summer and early autumn, but beyond the everyday duties no one does anything, and life is extremely monotonous. The Government is still at Boraeaux, in spite of several false alarms about its return. We are quite content with military government and it is the fashion to profess an immense distrust in all things governmental. It is true that M. Caillaux has been sent to South America on a vague commercial mission and Madame Caffiaux has gone with him. The papers were eloquent on the subject chiefly by the blank spaces they showed in their columns, the result of the censor's eliminating finger, and the public is unanimous in its relief that this stormy politician has been banished temporarily from France. Many stories are told of both M. and Mme. Caffiaux and the parts they have played, or have tried to play since the beginning of the war. One tells that Mme. Caillaux was running an ambulance but could get no wounded; another that she was wandering from place to place in search of some philanthropic work which she could not find; and it is reported that M. Caillaux was cavalierly treated by English officers and received anything but a welcome from the military authorities of his own country. General Gallieni is said to have sent him back to his post with more dispatch than consideration when he sought an interview with him in Paris; and even his friends, of whom it is known there are still a goodly number in France, are beginning to be friendly in a discreet and silent fashion. For the moment, at any rate, the Caillaux star is dim on the political horizon and France is breathing more freely in consequence.

But politics, like pleasures of the ultra-Parisian kind, are merely superficial elements in the French national character; and for the moment France has opened her innermost doors and we are seeing her as she is at heart. That is to say, we are seeing her steadily serious and essentially religious. Carlyle said that Frenchmen possessed 'thought without reverence,' but this war has proved Carlyle to be wrong in more instances than one. The whole attitude of France to-day is unquestionably reverent, not in any pharisaical fashion, but in a sincere, courageous manner which it is splendid to see. We have heard so much of the anti-clerical France, the free-thinking France, and the France that mocks at all things. But anyone who knows France knows also that all these things are not France at all. France is irrevocably and innately Catholic, and the war has proved her to be so. She will probably be narrowly so for a time, because the reaction after the struggle between Church and State is sure to be strong and the priests have, generally speaking, behaved so splendidly throughout the whole war that their influence over the people is likely to be great. Whether as soldiers or clerics, they have done their duty magnificently, and in many cases their attitude has compared well with that of civil officials. Monseigneur Amette has declared within the last few days that the majority of the soldiers fighting show strong religious proclivities and during the mobilisation it was common for men to make their confession before leaving for the front. In all the hospitals, in all the military stations, the same spirit is still to be found. It is also noticeable in the world of civilians in a hundred different ways: by the articles they like to read in the daily papers, by the avoidance of all irreverent allusions in the illustrated comic papers, by an access of reverence towards the dead, and above all by the habit of going to church. Never have the churches been fuller than they are in these days, and never have the men and women who fill them gone with such single purpose to pray. Even in daily intercourse this spirit of reverence permeates, and the spirit of mockery is no longer heard. To generalise on any subject is dangerous, but it is safe to say that the entire French nation to-day is living at its best. Where the discords come in, the harmonies are all the more to be prized in comparison, and the harmonies to- day have almost silenced the discords.

A notable effect of the war is its effect upon the modern woman. With one accord the Frenchwomen, even the ultra-feminists, seem to have united in one great effort for the good of the country. In one way or another every Frenchwoman is doing something for France. They have all sent their menkind to fight; they are all paying in money, work, or self-denial; a great number of them are already mourning the loss of those dearest to them in the world, and from highest to lowest they are carrying on their difficult tasks with courage, dignity, and determination. Their great consolation is their religion and the instinctive way in which each woman turned to that source for comfort was in itself a proof that, whatever else in her nature might be factitious, this at least was real. Even among the most free-thinking social sets the women have turned to the Church for consolation. Many of them seek for a modified expression of the faith they were born to; but all acknowledge the necessity for religion of some sort; and many of them think that the Roman Catholic religion is the one most fitted to the Latin temperament. A natural companion to this sentiment is the one which acknowledges the importance of family ties; and I have heard women who have broken every tie that family can create declare during these last three months, that la famille, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, is the great force and the only strength upon which France can rely, excepting, and putting first always, her religious convictions. They sum up, with the lucidity in which they excel, all the failures which liberty of thought, as expressed by recent Governments, has brought about; and although they have been in the most forward and most feminist of movements, they allow that, to-day, they are back at the place from which they started. It is certain, however, that their excursions into foreign, forbidden, realms of thought have widened and purified their judgments on humanity; and even if, for a time, they renounce their own cause and take up that of the nation, coming generations must benefit by their recent struggles. Nothing so vital as the feminist movement can possibly die, although its fruits may be quite different from those which the planters premeditated.

Another thing which proves the sober temper of the Parisians is the half-hearted way in which they are welcoming the reopening of the theatres. Permission has been granted to the theatres to reopen, under a long list of regulations and restrictions. The chief reason for reopening them is the necessity to employ the actors, actresses, musicians, and all the many underlings who go to make up the theatrical world. But even under these conditions and with the incentive of charity performances for the soldiers and the Belgian refugees to give them an air of propriety, the public is looking coldly on the project. The Comedie Francaise is giving a Sunday matinee, and the Opera Comique opens on the same day. Needless to say the censor keeps an eye on all programmes and the music-halls, which are also to open soon, will be under the strictest supervision. It is a perfectly honest mental attitude which prevents the French people from taking up their old habits and pleasures, and it proves that the heart of France is in the trenches. Everywhere it is the same story: 'I am almost ashamed to go to bed when I remember that the men la-bas are lying cold and wet in the trenches, or are fighting in the open, or maybe are lying wounded on the battle-field.' Many people go so far as to impose unpleasant tasks on themselves in their desire to share in some way the miseries of the soldiers at the front. The spirit of self-denial is strong upon them and they are happiest when they can deny themselves little comforts, even necessaries, and they do it all with a natural simplicity which is altogether lovable. Not a day goes by but some story of a soldier's bravery, or some instance of a woman's courage, comes my way to prove to me how right was the man who broke off in the middle of a lamentation on the awfulness of the war to say: 'Mais, mon Dieu, qu'elle est belle, cette guerre !'

Not the least admirable thing about the war is its anonymity. With the exception of General Joffre and one or two very popular generals on his staff, no names are mentioned, unless in the case of some decoration being given. Yet we know from private letters that deeds of splendid heroism are being done every moment and men die as they do them, or they live never to tell the tale. From the highest of the officers to the most obscure of the piou-pious, the Frenchmen are doing their duty in such a way that it is impossible to think of them without a thrill. We have it brought home to us a hundred times in a week, as we go about our life here, how many men the country has called upon to fight; and in every letter that comes back from the front we learn that, no matter how hard the task, they are all doing it to their utmost. Everywhere you go now the gaps are visible. There is no trade, no administration, but is crippled for the want of men. Greybeards, bald heads, and beardless chins alone are to be seen in Paris nowadays, and whichever way we turn the scarcity of masculine labour is felt. To get a water- or gas-pipe mended is very difficult, locksmiths are at a premium, coal-heavers are almost as rare as autumn leaves and there are very few bakers and butchers, so that we get nothing but pain de menage and very little freshly killed meat. Bootmakers are also rare, and it takes a full month to get a pair of shoes made. As to gardeners, carpenters, glaziers, chimney-sweeps and all those useful, unobtrusive people who provide us with so many comforts in times of peace, they are not to be found without much searching; and even when found, they are too busy to do what is needed. All these inconveniences are the fruits of enforced military service, yet no one grumbles, no one even remarks on such things; on s'y habitue, that is all. But with such a crippled everyday existence it is not surprising that life in Paris does not open out and become normal.

The death of Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, during his visit to the Indian troops in France, was one of those impressive happenings which leave the world divided between sorrow and an extraordinary sense of the fitness of things. It would be superfluous for me to speak of England's grief at the loss of her great soldier, and the tribute of admiration that France has paid to him is well known; but a little incident which happened when the coffin was being carried away from General French's headquarters seems to have escaped notice. An English airman hovered for a moment over the procession, swept down as a salute in front of the bier, then rose again into the air and flew away to the front. It was an unexpected, graceful gesture, and the French people who saw it were much impressed.

Our Royal Family has quietly added to the prestige of our army in France this month; first, by the arrival of the Prince of Wales to join the staff of Sir John French, and finally by a visit of the King to the British Expeditionary Force. Not for 170 years has an English sovereign been with his troops in action, and never before has the King of England come to France as a friendly monarch in war. The French people are quietly but profoundly appreciative of King George's action, but there is no undue parade about it. The New France is essentially self-restrained, and neither King nor hero can move her to loud expressions of joy until the struggle for liberty and peace is finished and the Allies can claim a full and honourable victory.

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