Ruth Gaines

Helping France.
The Red Cross in the Devastated Area

E.P. Dutton, New York, 1919

 


PREFACE

A FRENCH newspaper correspondent was conducted one day through the Paris offices of the American Red Cross. He was vastly and courteously impressed both by what he saw and by his guide. "But," he writes, "I cannot name to you the person who showed me about because he was an officer, and I suppose that in America as in France the uniform fosters and expresses the wish for a loss of identity." It was charmingly put, delicately imagined. Best of all, it is true.

Our American Red Cross in France, accused by some of aggressiveness, practicality and all the pushing faults of our young democracy, has nevertheless the innate shyness of its youth and of its singleness of purpose. All its hope is that it may have helped to alleviate suffering and advance the hour of victory.

For this reason, no names of Red Cross workers will be found in the pages of this book. They have acted merely as the representatives of our Red Cross in France and are by their own request anonymous.

The author regrets only that thanks can not be given where due to the many colleagues--- and many of them in inconspicuous positions--- whose help has made this record possible.

THE AUTHOR.
PARIS,
February, 1919.


CONTENTS

 I. HOME SERVICE
 II. TO WIN THE WAR
 III. THE FIELD OF OPPORTUNITY
 IV. THE PLAN: ORGANIZATION
 V. THE PLAN: ADMINISTRATION
 VI. THE PLAN: COOPERATION
 VII. COOPERATION IN PRACTICE
 VIII. DIRECT INTERVENTION
 IX. POLISHING THE TARNISHED MIRRORS
 X. BEHIND THE BRITISH LINES
 XI. THE PERSONAL TOUCH
 XII. OUR PRESENCE WITH THE TA
 XIII. THE ROAD TO VERDUN
 XIV. THE PREFECT OF THE FRONTIER
 XV. THE FLAGS OF VICTORY
 APPENDIX


ILLUSTRATIONS
[not scanned]

Refugee from Hazebrouck, aged 92, Frontispiece ---A. M. UPJOHN
In Front of the Church at Saint-Cernin ---GEORGES WYBO
A Poor Village of France ---JEAN PERRIER
Old Fortifications at Antibes ---GEORGES WYBO
A War Orphan of Brittany---A. M. UPJOHN
Noyon, in April 1917---GEORGES WYBO
A House in Noyon ---ARMAND GUÉRITTE
Notre Dame, From St. Julien-le-Pauvre ---GEORGES WYBO
Bridge at Tours---GEORGES WYBO
The Son of a Soldier, Paris---A. M. UPJOHN
Public Fountain at Noyon---GEORGES WYBO
Ruins of Contalmaison, Somme---PAUL MANSARD
Municipal Offices at Urrugne---GEORGES WYBO
The Château, Ham---ARMAND GUÉRITTE
A Street in Guiscard, Onvillers Church, Santerre ---GEORGES WYBO
Laon Cathedral---GEORGES WYBO
The Mill on the Somme, [Ham]---ARMAND GUÉRITTE
A Street in Ham, House on the Luce Plateau (near Amiens)---GEORGES WYBO
Lowland Farm (near Soissons)---GEORGES WYBO
Street in Fontenoy---GEORGES WYBO
Born in Flight from Lens, 1914---A. M. UPJOHN
Village Hall at Fismes---GEORGES WYBO
Market at Montréjeau (Comminges)---GEORGES WYBO
Church of Flirey, Meurthe-Moselle---LUCY GABNOT
Saint-Cyr (near Dourdan)---GEORGES WYBO
Telegraph Corps Putting up Wires, Noyon---ARMAND GUÉRITTE
Map

Note on the illustrations

It has been the aim of the soldier-artists of France to publish to all the world the desecration of her ancient monuments and cherished soil. To this fact we owe the remarkable series of woodcuts, etchings and paintings of her ruins, from which we have drawn freely for this record. Here, as in every manifestation of life, the French have found beauty also. As M. Georges d'Esparbés writes in the preface to that rare album, "Noyon, Guiscard, Ham," by M. Armand Guéritte, "When I had under my eyes the aquafortes which M. Guéritte has portrayed of his countryside in the invaded territory, a great pity pierced me before that aspect of the motherland, of which these drawings showed me the wounds. I did not see beyond that: my country destroyed....

If this work is so lovely, it is because we divine that its purpose its, above all, to be of use, and that purpose renders it again lovelier; because its reason for being is perhaps the highest reason of art."

The same purpose, from a constructive point of view, has animated French architects. Plans for French reconstruction have kept pace with German destruction. Hence we have series such as that of M. Georges Wybo, from which, by permission, we have drawn our chapter headings: "Réflexions et Croquis sur l'Architecture au Pays de France." "In order to protect a patrimony which is dear to us," M. Wybo has drawn these examples of typical regional architecture. They will serve as an inspiration in rebuilding the ruins.

When our soldiers pass through the rural districts of France, they may see in the village halls, if they will, posters of welcome bearing the legends: "Peasants of France, salute the soldiers of free America who come by the millions to mingle their blood with that of our sons, to preserve us in the right to cultivate our fields, and to prevent the barbarians from depriving us of our hard-won liberties," or 'The Heart of America. In the interior, as with the armies, no suffering is a matter of indifference to the American Red Cross."

Conversely, American artists, such as Miss A. M. Upjohn, have made their contribution to France. The fidelity, the sympathy of her portraits are those not alone of the artist, but of the relief wordier who has lived among and loved the peasants of devastated France.


Chapter One