FROM now on in my story, the War will be only a backdrop to throw in relief events of interest which I witnessed or people of note with whom I was associated.
Foremost the personalities who come into the picture is Myron T. Herrick who was our Ambassador to France in 1914. I count my intimate association with him as one of the great privileges of my life. Myron Herrick was more than a traditional holder of a diplomatic post by gift of Washington; he was essentially a statesman with a great vision, while being at the same time a diplomat of ready tact and remarkable wisdom. In the preface written by Raymond Poincaré, former President of France, to Colonel Bentley Mott's Souvenirs de Myron T. Herrick, Monsieur Poincaré says, "Il n'était point diplomate de carrière nous ne fussions pas nous-mêmes habitués à placer nos banquiers dans nos ambassades." (He was not a traditional diplomat . . . we ourselves have never been accustomed to the placing of bankers in our ambassadorial posts.) This comment brings into sharp relief the difference between the diplomacy of politics and the diplomacy of a statesman like Myron Herrick. There is an English bon mot, which says that, "an ambassador is a man who lives abroad for the good of his Country," which is paralleled by another, which said of a noted Prime Minister, "He lies in Westminster living, that he may lie in Westminster dead"; all of which means that Diplomacy in Europe is a game in which the play of the game transcends any normal moralities of life in the ordinary. The game played by the Chanceries is a contest of wits played all apart from the living life of peoples; the winning of the game is the sole end in view, and it is being played on a field delimited by inherited traditions and shadowed by monarchical pré-occupations. For the training of adepts in this game Schools of Diplomacy are maintained, and la Carrière (diplomacy) as a profession becomes the sole aim of those who enter on this pursuit, to such an extent that its followers live in a world of thought often isolated from the vital course of human movements or of normal human ethics; history and precedent are the bases of the rules of the game, and success in the battles of the Chanceries is the objective and the spur to action. Now the background of American political thinking is totally different both in principle and in fact from that of Europe, whose diplomatic mentality is either subtly or openly compelled by the inherited traditions of struggling and closely contacted States which once were monarchies; and the same may be said of the contrast between our American ideals of procedure and those of other nations non-European, which have an inherited monarchial tradition, with specific reference to all nations of Latin origin. Monsieur Poincaré's comment on the placing of "bankers" in ambassadorial posts is illustrative of this. The banquier is thought of in the old world as a man with a delimited mind; a man with a closed vision; it is the same picture as is often drawn of what we call "the small town banker---a village product sitting behind a closed wicket to keep the people from getting any of the bank's money; whereas a real banker is a man whose vision takes in the constructive needs of the life of community or nation, and who sees the bank and its trust of money as but a means to that end and its accomplishment. Myron Herrick was a banquier of this large-visioned mould, and he carried into his work as an American Ambassador that same dominating thought of the largest interests of humanity as his inspiration. Always courteously complaisant toward the traditions of diplomatic procedure, he used diplomatic methods as necessary tools of the trade while quietly but persistently refusing to be shackled by them. An instance in point is an occasion when a secretary urged him most strongly to submit a certain issue to the State Department before making his decision known, on the ground that his acting on his own initiative would be out of line with customary procedure. It was the statesman in Myron Herrick which replied, "Your comment is perfectly to the point, but I have already acted." There is a world of difference between a statesman and an international politician; and Myron Herrick was a Statesman; and so was Morrow, and so was Dawes, and so was Mellon: "bankers" all of them, but men of large vision, whose reality often found itself in collision with the artificialities of the Foreign Offices abroad.
Among the letters which I received from Mr. Herrick are these:
"Paris, April 15, 1913
"Just a line to tell you that I think the Memorial Service for Mr. Morgan was the most impressive of any that I have ever attended. Your remarks were exceptionally good and appropriate. I should very much like to have you send me a copy of them before Friday, that I may send them to Mrs. Morgan."
"Paris, May 19, 1913
"This extract from Colonel Satterlee's letter I am sure will interest you: 'I read to Mrs. Satterlee and her sister Mrs. Hamilton the remarks made by the Rev. Dr. Watson at the Memorial Service, and we all think they are very appropriate and dignified. More than that they are very eloquent. His English is really very beautiful. I am having copies made for Mrs. Morgan and the rest of the family.'"
"Paris, December 28, 1913
"It has been a great comfort to both Mrs. Herrick and myself to have you and Dr. Watson here. . . . I am sure that Dr. Watson does not in the least comprehend the big place that he is making for himself here. It is a great thing to be good and true, but when those admirable qualities are accompanied by unusual intellectual power, it is then that one becomes effective; and Dr. Watson has won such a place here that his good work will continue effective long after he has gone." (To Mrs. Watson.)
In the spring before Mr. Herrick's official return to Paris on his second tour of duty as Ambassador, I wrote him of my great satisfaction on hearing of it, and of my feeling that he could do in Europe at that time that which no one else could accomplish; and I had this reply:
"Beau Manor Farm, May 27, 1921
"I was both touched and charmed by your fine letter; touched by your evidence of real friendship, and charmed because you have been around the world, and comprehend its need in this hour of peril.
"I want you to have a larger place in the re-organisation. Let the meadow-moles make their little channels as they always have done without the knowledge of the sunshine which can be seen if only they were to push up their noses: but they always will and always must push on making the straight and narrow groove just beneath the light of day.
"How I would like to make you Bishop-at-large, and then let you select the place to preach the Gospel that the re-organised world will demand in order to mobilise the spiritual force that won the War, . . . for preserving for mankind that which was so dearly won.
"I'd like to have your reaction on Harvey's speech. Think you that America has no sentiment, no idealism?
"I sail July 7th, and shall be obliged to make several speeches in the two or three months after my arrival---
One, American Chamber of Commerce
One, Laying of Cornerstone at Rheims
One, Cornerstone at Louvain
One, Dedication Statue Aisne to Marne
One, Dedication Statue presented American Legion by Lorraine.
"I wonder would I be asking too much to have you suggest a few paragraphs for each occasion: I am driven to the limit with work, and shall be until I sail: . . . your letter is so fine and so broad that it will help me in my work just ahead. I must stop now, but hope that you will help me start.
"I am really enlisting, because I have the hope that I can aid countries that I love, and thus help the entire situation."
"Paris, July 10th, 1924
"It was with the greatest pleasure that I received your most interesting letter, for it awakened some of the dearest memories of my life; in which we were associated.
"I shall be delighted to have the copy of Mrs. Watson's latest book which you are so kind as to send me, and I will transmit the copy to Monsieur Poincaré with much pleasure.
"I am enclosing, confidentially, a copy of a cable which I sent to the Department with regard to Monsieur Herriot a week before his election as Prime Minister. I thought this would interest you as the prophecy, thus far does not seem to have been a bad one.
"I am deeply interested in what you say about making Santa Barbara your home. It is my hope that I may also own a home there later; and it would be most agreeable if in the afternoon of our rather eventful lives we might have the pleasure of 'sitting in the shade' together from time to time.
"With affectionate regards to both you and Mrs. Watson, I am as always,
"Your faithful and devoted friend,
"Myron T. Herrick."
Mr. Herrick knew of my admiration for Monsieur Herriot, and also of Monsieur Herriot's courtesies to me; and what he had to say about Monsieur Herriot's fine idealism as a man with relation to his work as Prime Minister might well be repeated at this later date.
On October 17, 1924 Mr. Herrick made a most telling speech on affairs in Europe at a luncheon which was tendered him by The National Security League in New York, a speech which was replete with a vision of broadest statesmanship; and on reading the printed quotations from this speech I wrote him my most enthusiastic comments. He replied to my letter, as follows:
"Cleveland, November 4th, 1924
"I have just received your letter in time to thank you for your kind expressions on my views in relation to the day's affairs, and I am greatly impressed by the ideas which you express. The speech in question was gotten up very hastily, but since you approve of my ideas I am enclosing herewith a copy for you.
"I am sailing on the 12th.
"With affectionate regards to you both, I am as always,
"Your devoted and admiring friend,
"Myron T. Herrick."
My association with Mr. Herrick in all that pertained to my work in the Paris Church was a source of constant strength to me; he was always ready to listen to my problems, and always sure to give wise counsel. All that an Ambassador could do for the work of the Church he did, as well as all that he could do for me personally. It has been said that one attentive and sympathetic hearer is audience enough for any speaker; and I remember with sincere appreciation how the presence of Mr. Herrick in the Ambassador's seat on a Sunday morning always gave me a feeling of uplift.
The two outstanding movements of American Relief during the War were both of them due to Mr. Herrick's initiative; they were the American Relief Clearing House, and the American Ambulance Hospital, which latter was the parent of the American Ambulance Field Service. The word ambulance in French has as its primary meaning a military hospital, a mobile unit of hospitalisation which follows the army; and from that came the secondary use of the word as meaning any military hospital, as also the vehicles used for the transport of the wounded. The permanent American Hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine with which so many Americans are gratefully familiar, with its fine buildings and beautiful gardens, was chartered by the French Government in 1906; and in 1913 it was chartered by Act of Congress of the United States. In August 1914 there was opened that great American gift to France which was announced as, "A large Hospital for the wounded of every nation"; it was the work of Ambassador Herrick at its start, and the first gifts toward it were made by Mrs. Herrick. At the outset it was under the aegis of the Board of Governors of The American Hospital, and the direct control of the Hospital was placed by them in the hands of a governing body to be known as The Ambulance Committee. This Board of Management as originally named were H. H. Harjes, L. V. Benet, Chas. Carroll, F. W. Monahan, L. V. Twyeffort, and S. N. Watson; and by the mutual agreement of all concerned I was named Chairman of the Ambulance Committee. The French Government assigned for the use of this Hospital the buildings of the Lycée Pasteur at Neuilly; and amongst my papers (now in the Watson Collection at Stanford University) there is a copy of the official acceptance of the Hospital by the Government addressed to me as Chairman of the Ambulance Committee, and signed by General Février as head of the Service de Santé. The vast buildings of the Lycée Pasteur which surrounded a hollow square were unfinished at the time that we took them over; there were no doors, windows, plumbing, baths, heating, electricity; there were no kitchens, and the floors in general were covered with plaster; such was the condition of the plant on the day that Charlie Carroll and I went there to locate the offices and to plan for the beginning of administrative work. In a wonderfully brief time we completed the buildings for hospital use, and installed our first floor beds. One evening shortly after this was accomplished there came a telephone call; "message of immediate importance from the Chef du Service de Santé for Monsieur le Président of the American Ambulance." "Yes, mon Général."---"You will please make ready to receive 300 wounded to-night."---"But, mon Général, we have but 100 beds as yet." And the reply came back, short and sharp---"Beds! who is talking about beds? it is wounded soldiers I am talking about; if you have not beds put them on straw on the floor." Here was an old campaigner talking, who knew all about war and wounded men who had been lying by the roadside for days, possibly, with no change in their first-aid dressings. (We saw plenty of that in the days which followed.) And we, only civilians as yet with our American ideas of what a Hospital should be, and of sanitary measures in times of peace, we were what the British would have called "a mite fussy" in those days; yet I believe that it was the result of just that attitude that the Ambulance Américaine de Neuilly became a model among the hospitals of the War, so that men and even generals asked to be sent there. I remember leaving the Hospital one evening after a meeting of the Executive Committee, to go home to dinner, when up drove a little red fiacre and out stepped a British General, very exhausted, his right arm in a sling, but still full of decision and pluck. I greeted him, and he asked if the Hospital could take him in and care for him. I told him that he was most welcome, and that if he had let us know we would have been glad to send an ambulance for him to any part of the Front. He said that they had started to evacuate him to some hospital or other, but that he wanted to come to the American Ambulance, so he took matters in his own hands and made his way by train and came to Paris, and then knowing that he needed a barber, he stopped on the way from the Gare to the Hospital and had a shave and a haircut. Think of the nerve of the man---compound comminuted fracture, and stopping at the barber's!
As for General Février's 300 wounded which we were asked to get ready for, we did just that, we got in the 300 beds that night; but they sent us only 80 wounded.
The method of administration of the Ambulance services for the wounded was through a Medical and Surgical Committee, of which I, being a graduate in medicine was a member. The Ambulance Committee met once each day to consider and authorise all new business and was represented during the intervals between sessions of the administrative body by one of its members who was designated Officer of the Day. I was also, by courtesy of the Board of Governors of The American Hospital, made Liaison Officer between the Board and the Ambulance Committee.
It was also my duty to arrange for religious services for the wounded, and for the last rites for the men in extremis.
We were most fortunate in being able to get the Abbé Klein as Chaplain for the Catholics. He was a man of generous culture, and an author of note; he had travelled in the United States, and his books, In the Land of the Strenuous Life, and, An American Student in France (this latter book being dedicated "To My Young Friends in Harvard and in the University of Chicago") are interesting reading for one who wishes an intimate insight into the French point of view. I have two of Abbé Klein's books written in French and both of them autographed by him with a personal dedication. One of them is La Guerre vue d'une Ambulance, and the other is Les Douleurs qui espèrent. In this latter there is inserted a card from Monsieur l'Abbé Klein which reads, "With his thanks and his most sincere congratulations on this Article so generous and so admirably Christian"; he is here referring to La Transfiguration des Nations, which I published in La Revue Hebdomadaire in its issue of March 24, 1917. For the British wounded we were most glad to obtain the co-operation of the Rev. Mr. Blunt, who was Chaplain of the British Embassy Church; and for the French Protestants and all others who were not Catholics or Church of England we secured the ministrations of the Rev. Merle d'Aubigné, who was Pastor of the French Protestant Church in Neuilly and who spoke English perfectly. With this provision made I thought that our religious needs were fully cared for; but religious needs are more difficult to satisfy than any other. One day on arriving at the Ambulance, I was told that call had been left at the office saying that a soldier in Ward ---, Second Floor, desired to speak to the Chairman; and on going up to see him, I found that it was the consolations of "releegion" that he was lacking; he said that he was a Scotchman, and that there was no Scottish minister there as Chaplain. Had he seen Mr. Blunt, who was a fine Britisher? Yes, Mr. Blunt had been to see him, and Mr. Blunt was "a varra nice mon," but he was Church of England. Well, the French Protestant Minister, Monsieur d'Aubigné, was a Presbyterian, and he spoke English. Yes, but he was not Scotch. Scotland was as important as any other part of the Empire, and the Scotch wounded should be permitted to see a "meenister" of their own. Explanations as to the difficulty of arranging additional military passes for entry and exit did not suffice; so, after considerable effort it was arranged that the minister of the Scottish Church in the Rue Bayard would come to the Hospital for periodic visits. After his first ministration there I was told that there was another call to go and see the Scotch soldier again, and I went expecting a visit of smiles and congratulations. Nothing of the kind. The "meenister" of the Scotch Church had been to see him, and he was a "varra nice mon"; but he wouldn't do; he was "Estaiblished," and our soldier was "Wee Free." I gave it up in regret, for short of importing a chaplain from across the Channel there seemed no way of meeting Wee Free's needs for a "meenister o' his ain."
We had arranged that the fine large Chemical Lecture Room of the Lycée should be the Chapel, and it was admirably adapted for the purpose. At one end of the room everything had been arranged so that Abbé Klein might say Mass regularly; and at the other end of the Chapel the British Embassy Chaplain had prepared an Altar for the rites of the Church of England. At a very early hour the Abbé would say Mass; and an hour later Chaplain Blunt would celebrate the Holy Communion; it was l'union sacrée in its most perfect form. On the 24th of September, 1914 the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Amette, came to visit the Hospital, and it was my privilege to welcome him and to go with him to inspect the buildings. I had never met His Eminence before, and he asked me where I was stationed in Paris; and when I told him that I was Rector of the American Church in the Avenue de l'Alma, he said, "Ah, I know it well, the Church with the most beautiful spire in all our City." When we came to the Chapel and its two Altars were called to his notice he expressed himself as deeply touched; and then he knelt for devotions at the footpace of each of the two Altars, and gave his benediction to the place. He was in every way a great man, was Cardinal Amette. I have a most gracious letter from him expressing his thanks for American help which had been given him for the maintenance of a farm, to which he sent boys from the streets that they might learn the beginnings of agriculture.
Many were the visitors who came to the Lycée Pasteur to see what an American Hospital for the Wounded was like, and greeting them was always one of the bright spots in my Hospital days. I remember especially the Prince of Monaco, the Duc and the Duchesse de Vendôme, the Duc and the Duchesse de Talleyrand, General Février, l'Amiral Bienaimé, the Marquis de Valtierra Ambassador of Spain, Herr Vedel Jarlsberg Minister of Norway, and Messrs. Aristide Briand, Denys-Cochin, and Charles Benoist.
On the 7th of September 1914 President Poincaré came to the Hospital, accompanied by General Galliéni and Monsieur Viviani. They were received by Ambassador Herrick and the members of the Ambulance Committee; and it was touching to witness the pride which Mr. Herrick took in the work of his compatriots in caring for the wounded of the Allies. The Hospital was very near his heart, and once when its existence seemed momentarily to be imperilled, he took immediate and vigorous action in its defence. I knew nothing of the inner side of the story till years afterward, though I had an active part in the events as they happened. It came about in this way. The Chairman received from the Chief of Orderlies each morning on his arriving at the Hospital a list of the wounded men taken in during the night, classified by nationality. On the 14th of September 1914 I received the following report:
That that report meant trouble for some one was the first thought which came to me when I saw it. It was an Auxiliary and not a Military Hospital that we were conducting, and we had had our orders from Headquarters of the Service de Santé that all enemy wounded must be sent to Val de Grâce Hospital; the reason being that though they were wounded men they were none the less prisoners of war to be kept under guard, for which we had no provision; and furthermore they must be kept isolated in order to prevent their communicating with any possible spies and thus revealing the location of troops. The head orderly, on being questioned as to the admission of these German wounded to our Hospital instead of sending them on to Val de Grâce, said that he had had no choice in the matter; that the men were brought in during the night by Mr. Robert Bacon, former Ambassador to France, who was one of the most devoted workers in and for the Hospital; that the Military Attaché of the Embassy came with him; and that the men were brought in the Ambassador's car. Here was a dilemma for the Chairman of the Committee to meet; so I went off post haste to the Chancery in the Rue de Chaillot to find out from the Ambassador just what the situation really was. I found Mr. Herrick most welcoming, as usual, but unusually non-communicative. I explained to him that the Ambulance Committee would be held directly liable for this violation of the orders received from the Service de Santé, and that whatever may have been the accident which brought German wounded to the Ambulance, it was my duty to call his attention to the matter at once. The Ambassador seemed to me to be secretly amused at something, instead of being disturbed as I was over what I had to report to him. He said that I need give the matter no further concern; that he would take all responsibility for the occurrence and for its possible consequences. And when I endeavoured to impress upon him the need that we should be assured by him that we were free to refuse any such unwanted guests, even if they were brought by his Military Aide, he simply put his arm about my shoulders and with that engaging smile of his which was enough to disarm all objection, he eased me out into the reception room and welcomed the incomer who was there waiting for him; and all that I could do was to drive back to the Ambulance and assure my colleagues that the Ambassador had assured me that the incident under discussion would be cared for by him. Those German boys had all the luck; they developed measles, of a very German type, and had to be finely cared for in our isolation ward instead of being packed off to Val de Grâce where they belonged.
In 1919 Mr. Herrick took luncheon with me at a cottage which I had rented in Montecito, on what are now the Biltmore grounds and which were then known as Montecito Park. After luncheon he said to me, "Doctor, I never treated you badly but once, did I? but I did so once, I know, and now that the story can be told I want you to know all about it. The Secretary of State, Mr. Bryan, was much exercised about that Ambulance Hospital of ours at Neuilly; he held that our maintaining and supporting it was an non-neutral act; that inasmuch as it was called a Military Branch of the American Hospital of Paris which latter was chartered by Congress, it was virtually an interference in the War by a recognised creation of the Congress of the United States; that it was therefore within the power of Congress to revoke the Charter of the American Hospital, and that then the Hospital would have to close. Whether this was merely a threat, or whether it had some reality behind it I did not know, but I made up my mind to take no chances on what the demonstrations of an ultra-neutral Administration might result in, so I said to my Military Attaché, 'I would like to have a couple of wounded German soldiers in our Ambulance at Neuilly; can it be managed?' 'Most easily,' he said, 'they are lying all along the road but a few miles away.' 'Good,' I said, 'when it is dark, take my car and go out and get two of them and take them to the Ambulance.' Robert Bacon was in the office at the time, and he said, 'I'll go with him.' They got their prisoners and brought them to the Ambulance and safely installed them there as you know; and when their report came to me that the deed of darkness had been done, I cabled the State Department, "Hospital neutral; have German wounded." That was real diplomacy.
One of the problems of the Ambulance was the care which had to be given to the soldiers who came originally from the French Colonies in Africa. France was a great success at colonisation, and many of the Algerians and the Soudanese and the Moroccans consider themselves as much a part of the Republic as if they dwelt on the mainland, Moi, français---, they would say. Now with some of these soldier folk the food to be served them was a matter of great importance, for to send up bacon on the tray of a Mohammedan who might eat it not knowing till later what it was would be a sacrilegious performance, and might well lead to a riot. Le petit déjeuner (early morning breakfast) at the Ambulance, as elsewhere in France, consisted of café-au-lait with bread and butter; and we found that some of our guests from Africa, not knowing what the little pats of butter were, put the butter in the coffee and drank it up. Comfort-bags had been sent to the Ambulance by rememberful ladies, and each bag had in it beside other articles a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste-these bags were hung on the foot of each bed; and some of our African guests after rummaging in the bags, found the tubes of toothpaste, opened them, smelled them, liked the perfume, and so proceeded to eat up the nice tasting pink contents with great gusto. (I wonder if I might not sell that story to the publicity department of C-----'s Toothpaste. "Is eaten and relished by Hospital patients: not a Pain in a Tubefull"). One day word came that a patient in Ward- had bitten a nurse; the man was a Soudanese and his name was Mouca. He had a badly fractured leg when he was brought in to the Hospital the evening before and could not be given the ritual bath, but was given temporary treatment by the interne on duty and by the orderly of the ward. In the morning the nurses came in to care for him, and when one of them started to turn down the sheet to change his dressings he resisted vigorously, and when she persisted he seized her arm and bit her. In order to quiet him, another Soudanese was brought in from a nearby ward and was given a bed beside Mouca. Maciga was his name, and Maciga spoke some French as well as some English, and he told his fellow-countryman all about the Hospital, and soon Mouca was like a well behaved baby. Then Maciga explained to the ward attendants what the trouble with Mouca was. It appeared that Mouca came from a tribe where no woman could give a man the personal attentions which bathing and dressing involved without losing caste. Mouca felt that it was a degradation for him to submit to such woman-handlings; so he bit; but within ten days he was sitting up in bed and knitting a scarf.
One more Hospital story is worth telling; it is the story of Fend-l'air. At the Gare d'Aubervilliers was a cantine where devoted women were on duty day and night, to give food and drink to soldiers passing through on the trains. Word was brought to the Ambulance Committee in session one evening that the Directrice of this Cantine d'Abervilliers desired to speak to some one in authority; and that she had a dog with her. This was her story-One evening a train of wounded men rolled in and out of a car, and they took a sergent de Zouaves who was followed by a dog, a beautiful red and white English setter. As the ambulance men lifted the soldier into one of the service cars attached to the American Ambulance, the soldier called out, "My dog! my dog! I want my dog with me." "But, my boy, we cannot take a dog to the Hospital in the ambulance"; but the soldier kept saying, "My dog! I want my dog!" "Go to the Hospital in peace, boy," said the Directrice of the Cantine; "I will take care of your dog, and when you are well you shall have him again." "Thank you, Madame; only be sure to tie him up securely or he will break away and follow the car." So they put a chain on his collar and kept him well tied; but the dog would not eat or drink; real tears kept running down his muzzle. Finally the ladies at the cantine decided to appeal to the authorities at the Ambulance to let the dog at least see his master. We put the case to the surgeon in charge; and he had the dog taken to the disinfecting room and thoroughly cared for there; then he was taken up to the big ward where his master lay. At the door of the ward the dog stood for a moment as if undecided, his beautiful muzzle pointing up and sniffing the air; then he gave one bound and was running down the ward to the cot where his master lay, and the Zouave and Fend-l'air mingled tears of joy. Every morning after that Fend-l'air was admitted to the ward, and after he had exchanged ceremonial greetings with his wounded friend, the dog would lie down quietly at the foot of the cot, content so long as he could watch the soldier with his eyes.
This is "The Story of the Dog," as the Zouave told it: "It was in Algeria that I first knew the dog; he belonged to an English gentleman who came to us for the shooting; and when he came over in 1914 he brought his hunting-dog with him, and I used to go with them as a guide. The dog could run so fast that we called him Fend-l'air, which means, 'Cleave-the-Air.' Then came the Call to Arms, and my English gentleman had to leave at once for England; and as there was no possibility of taking a dog with him at such a time, he told me to keep the dog for him, and that he would join us for the next season's shooting. Then it was I who must obey the Call to Arms; and when we started on our March to the Sea Fend-l'air followed beside the Company.
When we embarked for the Mediterranean crossing I bribed a coal-passer to hide the dog in the Coal-storage; and when we again started for the Front Fend-l'air went with me, and was my constant companion in the trenches. It was on the 12th of December that a marmite---a big black shell (the French called them marmites because of their resemblance to the soup-kettles which are on the hearth in every little home in the country)---burst just in front of the trench where I was standing and killed all my comrades and threw me to the ground unconscious, wounded, and almost buried me in the earth which came from the crumbled walls of the shelter. Alone and helpless, I would have given up but for Fend-l'air, who licked my face, scratched the dirt away from me, brought me back to myself again, and helped to recover my morale which was as badly shattered as were my legs; then we painfully crawled back to where some stretcher-bearers picked me up, and finally I came here to this Hospital; so it is no wonder that Fend-l'air and I are devoted to each other."
As Chairman of the Ambulance Committee an extraordinary duty devolved on me from the outset, viz., that of providing the current cash for the daily expenses of the Hospital. Large sums had been subscribed in Paris, and larger sums were coming over from America; and the Morgan Bank had been made the Depository. The Bank was accountable for the monies entrusted to it; the daily expenses had to be met day by day. Business was done by cheque in France in ordinary times only in a very limited degree. (Many a time I have seen the head usher of a business establishment come to the Bank and draw 50,000 or 60,000 francs in paper money, stuff the bills in his wallet which he carried by a strap slung over his shoulder, and walk out unconcernedly into the street.) But in time of War, when no one knew where he or any one else might be the next day cash was the only possible payment; as a consequence the money to pay the Hospital expenses in cash had to be provided. But the Bank was not covered by the legal status of the Ambulance Committee; we were not incorporated; the money was subscribed specifically for the American Ambulance and not for the American Hospital of Paris. And here again the diplomacy of the Ambassador came into play, and his influence with the Bank opened up a sway for us to pay our bills. The Morgan Bank had decided that while the monies subscribed and deposited with them could not be paid to the Ambulance Committee as not being a person in Law, they would pay such monies as were necessary for the maintenance of the Hospital to me personally, on my personal signature. As a result of this decision, I drew from the Bank in the Boulevard Haussmann, and personally signed for varying sums in the months of August, September, October, and November---the largest amount at any one time being 35,000 francs, and the smallest amount being 10,000 francs. I then put the money in bank notes of varying sizes in my pocket, walked out of the Bank, got in my car, and took the money out to Neuilly, by way of the Porte Maillot through all the crowd which gathered about the Gate in those days, some coming, others going, anti all of them delayed and milling about because of the winding way one had to go. Trenches were dug across the street on either side of the Gate and Zouaves were in the trenches trees were felled across the road with the ends of their branches sharpened to make wooden chevaux-de-frise---and there were steel chevaux-de-frise also; and one had to twist and turn one's car this way and that to make one's way past them and through them. All this because it was by way of the Avenue de la Grande Armée that a rush on Paris would come if it were made. Then there was the Octroi at the Gate which one had to stop for; and when I reached the Ambulance I turned over my pocketfull of money to a unbonded clerk in the Ambulance Office; and was I glad to be rid of it?
For what a crowd, what a mixture of human elements, foam and dregs, one passed through at the Sortie of the Porte Maillot in those days---people of all sorts and descriptions, good, bad, and otherwise! Strange sights I saw after the order had been given that all the villages and farms within the radius of the ring-forts about Paris must be evacuated and that all their inhabitants must take refuge inside the Fortifications: men, women, children, horses, donkeys, pigs, cows, and goats; and most pitiful sight of all, the little carts on which and in which the people had jumbled all their movable possessions. One day I saw a donkey-cart coming in, and on top of the load was a feather-bed, and from under the bed the head of the pig was poking out, and on the bed was sitting the grandmother---a little old woman holding in her arms the precious clock and candlesticks; she did not need to read Daudet's La Pendule de Bougival; she had a keen memory of her own of the clocks which went across the Rhine in 1870. As to all the money which I convoyed past the Porte Maillot, and as to my personal responsibility for the same, it weighed little on my mind in those days; I was covered, in a way, by the authorisation of Mr. Herrick; and then, more than that, I had in mind a comment which Robert Bacon once made in talking to me of another matter in connection with the Ambulance: "This is not business that we are engaged in; this is War; and war risks do not follow ordinary rules." However, for the consolation of my "heirs and assigns" I want to note here that after the Ambulance was duly and legally authorised to transact business on its own account and my functions as purveyor of the daily cash had terminated, I obtained from the Morgan Bank a statement of the sums which had passed through my hands in this way, the total sum from August 19 to November 23 being four hundred and fifty thousand francs; and I had this sum verified by the Disbursing Officer at the office of the Ambulance and duly receipted for by him; further recognition of the correctness of the statement being given by the signature of the Teller at the Bank through whom the business was transacted.
I have most vivid and touching memories of some of our volunteer workers at the Ambulance in those days. I think especially of Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt, Mrs. George Munroe, Mrs. Charles Carroll, Miss Florence Matthews, Mrs. Audenried, and Miss Grace Gassette. Especial mention must be made of two of the men who gave their lives to the service; Vally Blacque and Abe Ranney. Mr. Blacque was a striking figure of a man; a grandson of Dr. Valentine Mott. When the first funeral procession left the Ambulance bearing the body of a soldier who had been the first one within our walls to answer to the last roll call, it was Vally Blacque who took the place of chief mourner and who walked bareheaded just behind the fourgon which bore the body through the streets, till the Cimetière de Neuilly was reached; for the soldier had no family who could be present, and Vally Blacque took the place of the family. I have a picture of him as he walked behind the hearse; he is carrying a French flag and also the Stars and Stripes; and he said afterward, "I was so proud to be chief mourner at the funeral of that brave boy." Mr. Blacque simply gave his life away until there was no more to give; he passed away on the 9th of January.
Abram Nave Ranney was another "of ours," who freely offered his life in those first days of the great Struggle. His mother and his sisters were among our best of friends; and when he came and said, "Dr. Watson, what can you give me to do?" it was at a moment when he was greatly needed. He became Chief of Orderlies at the Ambulance; it was his hard task to meet the convoys of wounded at the door of the Hospital; to register the names of the men; to receipt for their valuables and papers; to arrange everything for that necessary first bath: it was a herculean task, and it was bravely done. For four months he kept at it; then, at Mr. Herricks' request he placed his knowledge of German at the disposal of the Embassy and took over the work of inspecting the Camps for German Prisoners of War: it was a short mission, for in January he too passed through the door to the beyond.
And I remember Mr. Stuart and Mr. La Chaise, and their ceaseless devotion to our work for the wounded.
Among American doctors who came over to help in this work, I recall especially Dr. Walton Martin and Dr. Richard Derby. And that recollection takes me in memory to a day when they came together to take déjeuner with us at Avenue de l'Alma; it was a day when they had been present at a ceremony at the Mairie which moved them very deeply; and the talk at the table that day revealed the fineness of the spiritual nature of those two men, and made me grateful again for the share which I had in the medical profession, and for the quality of the men whom America was sending over.
Our Service of Motor Ambulances which was attached to the Hospital kept on growing in size and in importance, until it outgrew its original intent and became The Field Service of the American Ambulance. Where so many men were so devoted and so efficient, it is possible only to make especial mention of a few who were the leaders in that work. Our former Ambassador Mr. Robert Bacon, first in every move to help France, was chief official sponsor for the Service; and to Mr. and Mrs. Bacon the Field Service owed a large share of its possibilities of usefulness. Colonel A. Piatt Andrew organised and directed this Field Service with the French Armies, which ultimately consisted of forty-four Ambulance and Transport Sections; and the devotion of the men in the Service to Colonel Andrew knew no bounds. Among the drivers whom we knew best were Lovering Hill, Charlie Baird, Frank Gailor, and Robert Redfield. The Story of the Field Service is all in print, and the copy which I have bears Lovering Hill's signature written in it on the day before he started for Salonica in command of an Ambulance Section. In the Section with him went Charlie Baird: they were under Orders "For the West Coast." This book bears also the signature of Elizabeth D. Hall; she was the mother of Richard Hall who was killed while on his Ambulance on Christmas Eve of 1915; she had come to France and had taken work in our American Ambulance at Neuilly. On May 27, 1917 an interesting ceremony took place in the fine old house at 21 Rue Raynouard which had become the Headquarters of the Field Service. Our Ouvroir at 23 Avenue de l'Alma outfitted this house with eight dozen sheets, eight dozen pillow slips, eight dozen towels, and other like supplies that were needed. On the day of the ceremony at the house, I said some words of benediction over a number of fine American flags which had been given by Mr. Clarence Mackay, and which were presented to the Field Service by our devoted friend Charles Carroll. It had been suggested that at this benediction I read some poem in French which was a tribute to the American Flag; but not finding any which seemed suitable I took my old friend Harry Bennett's "The Flag is Passing By," and put it into French verse. It reads:
LE DRAPEAU PASSE
Tout le long de la route s'avancent
Son de trompettes, roulement de tambours;
Eclat de couleurs sous l'azur;
Le drapeau passe!
Bleu et Blanc et Rouge il brille
Au-dessus des rangs serrés et bardés de fer;
Devant nos yeux les Couleurs flottent:
Mais, est-ce le Drapeau seul qui passe?
Combats sur terre, combats sur mer,
Combats féroces, combats suprêmes;
Luttes soutenues pour sauver l'Etat;
Etapes tuantes; navires sombrantes;
Hourras de victoire poussés des lèvres des mourants.
Jours de paix, jours d'abondance;
Croissance rapide d'un peuple fort;
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité pour tous;
Dignité, Honneur et Révérence:
C'est ça qui passe!
Emblème d'une nation grande et rude,
Forte contre tout agresseur;
Gloire, Fierté d'un peuple, Honneur;
C'est le Drapeau qui les maintient.
Tout le long de la route s'avancent
Son de trompettes, roulement de tambours,
Des coeurs loyaux battent en cadence:
Le drapeau passe!(4)
By March 4, 1915, the Hospital had more than a million of francs on deposit in the Bank; more than 500 beds had been installed; the Department of Facial Reparation with Doctor Hayes and Doctor Koenig as specialists was already making history. By that time I was convinced that my services would be equally effective for France, if I were to take some other lines of work which pressed for acceptance, and as a consequence I resigned at that time the position of Chairman of the Ambulance Committee. Captain Frank Mason was the next Chairman of the Ambulance; and that tour of duty was the last one which that brave old soldier took on; in a few months he laid down the load, and passed from Death into Life; and a few weeks later Mrs. Mason followed him.
While no words of appreciation would be too great in speaking of what the other members of the Committee did to carry on this work---Carroll, Monahan, Twyeffort especially---a place of first importance should be given in this record to Lawrence V. Benet. The Ambulance owed more for its continued efficiency, and the wounded men owed more for the effectiveness of the care rendered them, to Mr. Benet than to any other one man. He had had the experience of a military and a naval environment; he had long training as an executive; he was tireless in work, and unhesitating in his turn of command; and his devotion to the wounded soldier as well as to the Ambulance as a piece of war machinery has won him well merited recognition.
It was my custom on leaving the meetings of the Ambulance Committee to drive to the Chancery in the Rue de Chaillot and there to meet the Ambassador and to give him the news of the day from my end of the line, and to get his advice on the problems which faced me from time to time. Frequently he would propose that we walk together to the Embassy in the Rue François Premier; in which case Gabriel would follow along with the car at a discreet distance, and would then pick me up and take me back home for dinner. In those walks and talks I came to know the heart of this great man, whom a Paris newspaper one day in an Editorial Heading called, "le Bon Géant"---(the Good Giant). What his presence in the beleaguered city, his walking the streets of Paris unattended, his brave front and cheery greetings---what all these meant in the way of sustaining the morale of the populace, no words can tell. And when his official tour of duty came to an end and he was recalled from Paris by the exigencies of politics, it was a very hard day for us all. On Thanksgiving Day, 1914, the Ambassador and Mrs. Herrick gathered what they graciously called their official family for dinner at the Embassy; there was the same table, and the same men-servants, wearing a livery which I was next to see when from the Ouvroir at the Church we sent those good coats, minus insignia, to the Hospital at the Casino of La Baule in Brittany. On the following evening we were welcomed to a dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss at their house; and in the cold grey dawn of the following morning we were on the Quai d'Orsay Station platform, not to say "Good-Bye" but to breathe a lonesome au revoir, and to say a "God Bless You." Outstanding among us all were two of our French wounded, officers of the French Army from the Ambulance; one of them had lost his right arm, and on the other arm he carried a sheaf of roses tied about with the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge of France; these he brought to Mrs. Herrick saying, "Madame, I regret that I have but one arm with which to serve you; but all France serves you with her heart."
It was a fortunate thing for France and for us all that Robert Woods Bliss was still at the Chancery of the American Embassy; it was due to him most of all that in the change of Ambassadors there was no break in continuity in French and American relations, and no loss of touch with our American representatives in France on the part of the rest of us. Mr. Bliss was heartily conversant with the ways, the people, and the language of France. I use the word "heartily" advisedly; for while Embassy and Consulate were distinctly officially of the politics of the White House and of the Cabinet in Washington, official politics have no control over sentiments and feelings, and both Mr. and Mrs. Bliss were friends of France, and were sympathetic and understanding friends of all of us, who were openly in revolt against a Governmental order which required American citizens to be "neutral in thought and word and deed." If Mr. Herrick had not been with us at the outset, I do not see that the Washington Government could have refrained from taking unpleasant notice of the "thoughts and words and deeds" of some of us; and when Mr. Herrick left us it was a great satisfaction to know that we had a wise and constant friend in Robert Bliss. He carried heavy loads of work, yet he was never too busy to listen and to counsel. His knowledge of the French language, and his familiarity with diplomatic procedure made everything possible for the new Ambassador, Mr. Sharp, who came to France without European or diplomatic experience, at a time when the complications of an Ambassadorial post were most difficult. Mr. Sharp had my fullest sympathy from the outset. He came to France a political appointee, in accord with the Wilson-Bryan philosophy personally and also as a matter of political expediency. He knew the earnest desire of both France and Great Britain that Mr. Herrick be permitted to remain at the Paris post---a desire so plainly expressed that it could hardly be interpreted otherwise than as a wish that he, Mr. Sharp, should not come, at least at that time. Yet, in the light of his relations with the Washington Government, he could not do otherwise than take up the duties of the post which he had assumed. Mr. Sharp was a quiet, unassuming man; friendly and welcoming to all offers of co-operation. That he was not a type of man so perfectly fitted to understand and to be loved by the French people, as was Myron Herrick, cannot be reasonably held against him. In succeeding to an Ambassadorship wherein the love and devotion of a people like the French had been so fully acquired by his predecessor ---tributes from the heart of a people which could not be transferred from one man to another like Letters Credential---Mr. Sharp could not but feel the enforced strain of the situation. For all of us Americans abroad loved Myron Herrick also; we hated to see him go; we did not believe that his going was good statecraft nor good international diplomacy. It was rather the effect of routine political procedure, which in "piping times of peace" might sometimes work well, or again might work badly; but which in times of stress was utterly inadequate and hurtful. While I do not believe in the carrière method of conducting the business of diplomatic representation; while I believe that under ordinary circumstances a five year period is long enough for an American diplomatic representative---except in the consular service---to be absent from America; and while my opinion is that a longer absence tends to alienate a diplomat's thinking from American thought, and to make of him, perforce, something of a representative of the country to which he is accredited, and that to the detriment of his clearness of vision---(I have lived years abroad, and I speak en connaissance de cause); while I am convinced that our representatives in diplomatic service would feel a helpful renewal of spirit from being dipped anew in the vital waters of the natal spring; yet -and it is a very important "yet"---there are men in our Service abroad who are large enough and positive enough in character to invalidate this rule of general procedure, and who could wisely and with great profit to their country remain Ambassadors or Ministers in foreign posts, more especially so if they were changed occasionally from post to post, and from the habitudes of one environment to those of another. And furthermore I am certain that in a time of emergency, when one of our diplomatic representatives has shown his power to be of great service to America as well to the country to which he is our Ambassador or Minister, and when nothing real is to be gained for that international exchange of thought which is the purpose of a diplomatic service by a change of representatives, to insist at such a time on recalling a Minister or an Ambassador and sending another simply to comply with a noxious internal political barter, or to follow an antiquated rule of procedure which would be more honoured in the breach than in the observance, is to kotow to official etiquette to the derogation of American common sense.
The living in a land and amongst people whose habits and methods of thought are divergent from our own, and to whom we must always remain étrangers (foreigners), as in the case of all Latin or Oriental peoples, is a wonderful school in political geography. Americans are quick to learn; and Mr. Sharp had every desire to learn that he might be of better service; furthermore he had had long experience as a practical politician, and as a consequence, little by little his new shoes became easier, and he began to find his work a pleasure. It was a hard pull for him when Washington became non-neutral overnight, as it were; because that about-face of the home Government meant the necessity on his part of a complete reversal of attitude and of verbal expression; and Mr. Sharp was so frankly honest a man and so thoroughly consistent in his logical procedure, that the change from a Neutral coat yesterday to an Allied one to-day, simply because his Chief had decided that the Right and the Wrong had been reversed, must have been a real shock to his thoroughgoing consistency. Yet I think that he was relieved to escape from what must have been for him an anomalous situation; he had grown to love France; and at heart he was glad to be with us in her service; and we were glad to have him as an Ally.
I impersonated Mr. Sharp once, unwittingly, to my great amusement. The Conseil Municipal of Paris were giving a great reception, a champagne d'honneur, at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), in celebration of our new made alliance. First there was a ceremony and speeches at the foot of the Statue in the Place d'Iéna. Pol Plançon sang the Marseilles; the song was better than the speeches, and even the speeches were good. Monsieur Laurent, Préfet de Police of Paris, had sent me each year a coupe-file. Now a coupe-file is the most valuable document which you can have in the City; it is a little card which says to Police and to Military that you and your car have "right of way." So if you want to get in or out of a theatre or other public place, you do not have to wait until all the other cars in line have had their say, you can just drive up and show your Police Pass, and "but in" or "but-out" as you may please; and when you come to a street which is blocked by a line of Military because the King of Borrio-Boola-Gha is expected to ride down the Avenue shortly, you simply drive up to the line of soldiers and when the nearest specimen of officialdom rushes at you and says, "And How?", you simply wave your little card at him and say, "I am Monsieur Coupe-File, Thank You. Did you say something?", and then go on your way rejoicing. Well, on reaching the Place d'Iéna I said to Gabriel: "Take the coupe-file, and drive through the lines, and get our car as close as you can to that big grey limousine over there; that is the car of the Military and Naval Attachés of the American Embassy. Mr. Carroll and I will get out here and will stand here by the Statue till the shouting is over, and then we will come and get in the car, and as soon as the procession starts you are to follow that grey car as closely as you can, for the Ambassador's cars will have right of way; and so we will get through the jam and to the Hôtel de Ville without waiting all afternoon." All of which happened almost as indicated, but not exactly so. The fact was that the Ambassador's own car was missing, at the time when he was to leave the Embassy to come down to the speech-making at the Statue, and he had come down in a small car. After the ceremony he hurried back to the Embassy to find his own car there, and so missed being in the parade, with the result that when the procession got under way, it was Gabriel and Charlie Carroll and I who were following close after the big grey official car; and we all done up in frock coats and top bats, and the car with little American Colours on the headlights. It was thus that we came down the Cours la Reine, down the Rue de Rivoli, on to the Hôtel de Ville, passing through a narrow lane about thirty feet wide, with thousands and thousands of people on either side. As we passed some one cried, Vive l'Ambassadeur Américain! Vive l'Amérique! Vive les Etats Unis!; and then flowers were thrown at us; and Charlie said to me: "The Ambassador's car isn't here; they take us for the Ambassador. We'll have to make good!" So we began to respond, and to wave hands, and to wave top hats, and to smile benignantly like good Allies; and so we made our triumphal procession to the Champagne d'Honneur. On our return from the Hôtel de Ville it was the same thing. My big Renault car had been noted as the car which the crowd greeted before, and now the populo was more enthusiastic than before; it was Vive les Etats Unis! Vive l'Ambassadeur Américain! Vive son Excellence! All over again. As we moved more slowly on account of the crowd closing in more and more, a jolie petite gamine, a little street girl of about twelve years old, jumped on the running-board of the car and put her cunning little tousled head in the open window of the car, and called to Gabriel, "C'est bien l'Ambassadeur Américain que vous avez là, n'est-ce-pas? Eh bien, n'allez pas si vite; laissez le voir au moins"---(It's really the American Ambassador that you have there, isn't it? Well, don't go so fast then; let's have a look at him at least.)
At that reception at the Hôtel de Ville, I had an experience which gave me a thrill; it was meeting a man whom I had heard had been badly wounded, possibly crippled, possibly blinded, the Conseiller Municipal of the Hôpital St. Louis Quarter, Monsieur André Payer. I had come to know him in this way: one day Louise, my bonne at the Rectory announced a lady who had asked to see me; the lady came up; she was as pretty as a picture, and as gay as you like, or as I like. She told me that her husband was the representative in the Municipal Council of that poorest of Quarters, the Hôpital St. Louis Quarter of the City; that he was at the Front, and that she wanted to try and take his place in caring for the poor of the District; and could American aid be had? I was glad to help; and thus began an acquaintance which I valued. One day I saw in the Echo de Paris an account of the severe wounding of the Counsellor Payer; that he had been brought back from the Front, legs shattered with shrapnel, and the sight of one eye gone. He could have taken advantage of his privilege as Municipal Counsellor, but he would not, and insisted on taking his place with the Regiment of Heavy Artillery to which he was attached. Now that he was back from the Front, and wanting to get word of him, I asked Monsieur Ambroise-Rendu, also a member of the Council, what had been heard from our friend André Payer. "Why," he said, "here he is himself!"; and turning around I found myself warmly greeted à la Française by a tall man in a blue imperméable, bandage over one eye, walking with two canes. After the first word of greeting, I asked him if he and Madame Payer would come to déjeuner or to dinner with us at any time that they were free. His response was that he would be more than glad to do so, but that he was only back from the Front for two days, and that kinfolk of both their families had claimed all his free time. "But," I said, "you are not going back in this condition!" "I must," he said, "there are so few of us who are experienced in handling those heavy guns, and I am needed." "But, your eye, and your legs," I said. He answered, "As for the eye, the doctors tell me that it will come out all right in time; I can see some grey light with it; but the other eye is perfect; and as for the legs, there are a few pieces of bone to come out still, but there is an Ambulance a few miles back of the Front where I can have that attended to." All my pride of service was gone, as I realised what André Payer was doing. In my Livre d'Or de la Legion d' Honneur, there is a tribute signed André Payer, which I put in the front rank of those which I value most. It reads:
"La vraie récompense aux actions humaines est celle du droit accompli. Mais quand l'insigne d'honneur est souhaité et voulu par un peuple comme le peuple français pour un homme d'action qui a fait ses preuves de solidarisme et d'abnégation,---quand cette marque exprime les sentiments d'estime d'une nation qui se connaît en altruisme, elle s'accorde avec la sanction de la conscience; l'une embellit l'autre. Le bénéficiaire de cette marque est un élu auquel on a le droit de rendre l'hommage du Coeur. .
André Payer; Conseiller Municipal de Paris;
S. Lt. au 114 Reg't d'Artillérie Lourde" (5)
André Payer has written, so I have read, a volume of verse called Poèmes de l'Enfance. I have tried to get a copy of it but have failed: I trust that he may read this tribute of mine to our friendship, and that he will send me the book.
Here again is an instance of what I have so often noted in connection with men in public life in France. André Payer, Lieutenant of Heavy Artillery, Municipal Counsellor, soldier, politician, writes Poems of Childhood. So many Frenchmen in public life are scholars, artists, lovers of the beautiful in some of its many forms, scientists, literary men of note. Their patriotism is a wholly different sentiment from that of most of us; their love of France is akin to their love of beauty, just as the peasant's love of France is part of his love for his little corner of her earth which is his France to him. My best of friends in France, Monsieur Manuel Beaudouin, Premier Président de la Cour de Cassation, could write an entire orchestral score of his own composition. Monsieur Raymond Poincaré was not only a jurist of note but was also a writer and commentator of the first rank. Monsieur Herriot, Sénateur, Président du Conseil, Maire de Lyon, is a scholar, a literary man, an educator, and some of his books---I am thinking of one which describes the beauties of the forests of Normandy---are literary treasures. Monsieur Barthou was one of France's most cultivated writers. Monsieur Paul Painlevé, former Président du Conseil, War Minister, Minister of Public Instruction, was an authority in the field of Mathematics, Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Mathematics in the University of Lille. The way in which the really great men in France give themselves to the service of la Patrie strikes one hard, when once one comes to know France intimately; and they do it out of altruisme. As André Payer wrote for me of France, it is une nation qui s'y connaît en altruisme. And when I say that "there's nothing in it" for them, I think of my close association with Emile Ogier who was my Chief at the Ministry of the Interior. I said to him once: "In America a man of your ability would be getting $25,000. a year and more as the head of some great business"; with a quizzical smile he looked at me and said, "Where would he be the gainer?" He was a typical Frenchman, and the Frenchman does not expatriate himself easily; he is not at home where France is not; to him France is life, her joie de vivre, her homely pleasures; not forgetting his bottle of vin rouge, and the fromage which is his especial delectation. When the War broke on us, my friend the Directeur du Contrôle du Ministère de l'Intérieur was about to write a book on The Romance of Cheese. Once when I was about to start in the car for a long journey, he wrote out for me un itinéraire gastronomique. Here it is; it is probably as valuable to-day as the day it was written; try it on your next motor-trip in France:
ORLEANS (Loiret) Restaurant Jeanne d'Arc
ST. AVERTIN (près Tours) Restaurant Fouqueux (ne pas y aller le dimanche)
CHABLIS (Yonne) Hôtel de l'Etoile SAULIEU (Côte d'Or) Hôtel Picard TOURNUS (Saône-et-Loire) Hôtel du Sauvage (voir à l'Hôpital le Musée Greuze)
SAINT VALLIER (Drôme) Hôtel Terminus GRENOBLE Restaurant du Vautour
LA SAINTE-BAUME (Var), par St-Zacharie Hôtel fondé par le Père Lacordaire; très bon.
As the War grew longer, and the fish grew scarcer, and the meat grew "worse-r," we came to depend more and more on cheese. One day Monsieur Ogier said to me, "How are you getting on for food?" "Well enough," I told him, "except for bread and cheese, (the bread was a fright at times). "What cheese do you use?" he said. I told him that we used Gruyère often in place of meat or fish; but that our Crémerie could no longer supply us with it. "No," he said, "Gruyère has all gone to the Front; it must be ripened many months, and the supply of old Gruyère in the cellars is all exhausted, and there are no longer any men left in the Gruyère country to make any more; it will be some time before we get any good Gruyère again." The French have a saying that Gruyère is not good until "it has tears in its eyes"; the holes in the cheese they call "eyes," and the little drop of whey which collects in them during the ripening process is called a "tear." "But," said my friend, "have you tried Cantal? It is much like Gruyère in taste, and it is ripened in the same way." So we took to Cantal, and found it very good; but after a time Cantal joined its comrade Gruyère at the Front; and I said to Monsieur Ogier one day: "Well, Cantal is gone now." "At your Crémerie, perhaps," he said, "but I will tell you where to get it. Over near Père La Chaise there is a street called Rue de la Roquette, it is the Auvergnat Quarter; and as long as Paris stands the Auvergnat will have his cheese. Go over there, but stop your car at the foot of the street; don't go in yourself, let Gabriel do it; and he will find good Crémeries there where Cantal will always be on sale." And so it was as long as we were in Paris.
The Auvergnats are a peculiar people, a race apart as it were, with absolutely fixed ways and habits; and Cantal was one of them. They are mostly porteurs d'eau (water carriers), or marchands de ferrailles (junk dealers). In the old Quarters of Paris I have often heard them calling, A l'eau! Oh! Oh! Oh! A l'eau!; and if you want to read an amusing picture in words of the Auvergnat and his character, get Eugène Labiche's Le Misanthrope et l'Auvergnat. As for his cheese and how it is made, and also his country and its people, read Un Pâtre du Cantal, published by the Librairie Delagrave in Paris; it is a gem of a book.
My more intimate relations with Emile Ogier came about through The American Relief Clearing House, which was another child of Mr. Herrick's clear thinking. Speaking at the Sorbonne on November 3, 1916, Monsieur Millérand, at one time President of the French Republic, said, "The group that best synthetises America's charitable work, and constitutes its very nucleus is The American Relief Clearing House." Two facts moved Mr. Herrick to put this organisation in motion. One was that quantities of supplies of all kinds had begun to arrive, much of it addressed to The American Embassy, and the Embassy was in no position, either practically or diplomatically to enter directly into the work of Relief. The other fact was what the New York Herald humorously called "too much Committee." Committees of all kinds were being created both in Paris and in America, and as the French Government stood ready to provide transportation and Free Entry of Relief Supplies, it was evident that there must be some centralised responsibility both for rights of transportation and for authority to distribute. So in November, 1914 there was a meeting called at the Embassy, Rue François Premier, and at that meeting Mr. Herrick outlined his proposition. Order must be developed out of the hit-and-miss methods of shipping supplies; all Relief Organisations must have a central Bureau of receipt and issue; public confidence must be protected by assurance that gifts sent were duly received and rightly placed; the French Government must be aided by an American Committee which would control distribution, and must be helped by the establishing of one centralised authority in Paris which should be the agency for the regularising of free transportation and Free Entry; otherwise chaos would inevitably ensue. The outcome of this meeting was what was called "The Clearing House," which had its offices at the former American Embassy in the Rue François Premier, a building which was generously placed at the disposal of the organisation by its owner, the Comte de Ganay. Mr. Herman Harjes was made President of the Clearing House; and the work which he did was an essential factor in the success of the move. I was made a member of the Board of Directors, as also of the Executive Committee; I was the Chairman of the Relief Committee, afterward called the Distribution Committee; I was a member of the Publicity Committee. And the interests of the Clearing House in all that pertained to the War Orphans Relief was entrusted to Charles Carroll and myself; together we made what the Clearing House records call, "a most comprehensive investigation of welfare work for War Orphans, which resulted in a report which was a monument of conscientious research, and which was of immense value to the Clearing House." In the preparation of this report the aid given us by Premier President Baudouin was invaluable and essential.
At the daily meetings of the Distribution Committee, on whom lay the responsibility for the allotment of monies and of supplies, and at which I presided, there was presented a detailed inventory of supplies and of funds in hand for distribution. Order was then taken for meeting all needs which seemed immediate and that supplies sufficient were on hand; all demands not presenting sufficient data were referred to the Investigating Committee; and needs which presented special problems were brought before the daily meeting of the Board. Co-operating with the Clearing House there was a French Committee with Monsieur Gabriel Hanotaux as President; a Russian Committee with Monsieur Iswolsky as President, who was represented by Monsieur Sevastopoulo; a Belgian Committee with Monsieur Carton de Wiart as President; an Italian Committee with le Marquis Salvago Raggi as President; and a Roumanian Committee with Monsieur Lahovary as President. The War Relief Clearing House of New York, with Mr. Barton Hepburn as President, functioned as the American Relief Centre, with an Executive Committee composed of Messrs. Andrews, Baylies, Coffin, Greenough, Slade, Taft, Bangs, Preston, Vanderbilt, and others. This Committee centralised all Relief contributions whether in cash or in kind; arranged for warehousing and shipping; and provided the American publicity necessary to the carrying on of so vast a work. When I look at the figures of the completed Report I am simply amazed at what we did, and did without at all realising the enormous enterprise in which we were engaged. It was like all war, you fight in the smoke of the battle, often not seeing either objective or results; and it is only the far-off look which gives any idea of what the reality was. The Final Statement of the work of the Clearing House gives these tremendous figures, showing what our work of voluntary Relief for the Allies meant:
|Distributed in Cash||
|Valuation f goods in kind distributed||
or a total of more than Ten Millions of Dollars.
The question of the control of Distribution, to which I have referred as being one of the co-ordinate functions of the Clearing House, was a most important one for reasons which I will now give. It is difficult for an American to realise that relief, gifts, help could not be distributed freely in any country wherever need might be by any generous minded person, as and where he might see fit. It is beyond our point of view that either the United States Government or the State of California should interpose any let or hindrance to any generous minded Frenchman, who might come here in some time of need and start to give away $100,000. to Americans. We would let him do it in his own sweet way, and our only concern would be that we might get our share; but it is not so simple as this in France, and such a procedure in France in time of war is wholly impossible. France is a densely populated country; 40,000,000 people occupying a territory less in area than the State of Texas; you could put Texas down on France and if you were to trim the edges, as the cook used to trim the pie-crust round the dish in which she had made ready an apple pie, you would have enough of Texas left over to make a Holland, a Belgium, and a Denmark. The government of France is a popular government extremely sensitive to the will of the people, and the people are swayed by sympathies and by feelings which are deep and intense. There is no political indifferentism in France; feelings run high, and the Right and the Left, the Catholic and the non-Catholic, the Royalist and the Socialist, the advocates of the Public Schools and their opponents, the party of the Maire and the party of the Curé are always pulling for the advantage. Now take a Commune where the elections are in doubt and let a foreigner come in introduced by some person of prominence in the neighbourhood, so that this person could say, "It was I who got him to give you that Fcs. 40,000," and "pop" would go the ballots in his direction. The situation in the Parlement is so delicately balanced, in view of the fact that it is possible to "interpellate" the Cabinet on any question which may be brought up, and if enough popular feeling can be roused the Government might be defeated on a "Question of Confidence" at any time and this bring about a change of Ministries. It is easy for any one who knows anything of European politics to see, that foreigners, running around the country, giving away goods and money indiscriminately as good natured Americans, knowing nothing of what are the very political necessities of the State and certain to be influenced by social or religious trends, would be simply like small boys playing with fireworks on a haystack.
To meet this situation and to exercise this necessary Control of Distribution, the Comité Central Français des Secours Américains named a special Commission which was known as the Sous-Commission de Secours aux Civils, which met every Thursday morning at the office of the Directeur du Contrôle du Ministère de 'l'Intérieur. This Commission was composed of Monsieur Emile Ogier, the Directeur du Contrôle at the Ministry of the Interior, who was the Chairman of the Commission; Monsieur le Premier Président Baudouin, (Premier Président de la Cour de Cassation means Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as nearly as the French term can be put into American terminology); Monsieur Roman of the Court of Claims; Monsieur Jaray; Charles Carroll, and myself, (we two to represent specifically American interests). Our first principle of action in directing civilian relief was to help France to be herself. A word is due here as to the personality of Emile Ogier, who was a great Frenchman and a most admirable man. For many years the relief work of the interior government of France had passed under his supervision; later on be became Minister of the Devastated Regions; and when he passed away France lost one of her most devoted public servants. The Distribution of Relief in War time often meant of necessity "passes"; and that meant being accredited to the Ministry of War by some one in position of authority; for passes to go anywhere near the Front were necessarily sternly limited.
Here are two examples in point. A Committee doing Relief work for whom the Clearing House had cleared quantities of supplies had received passes for two ladies who were driving a small truck to go near the Front for the purpose of distributing relief to persons in that region; the ladies missed their road and found themselves near a front-line military telephone station; they stopped to make enquiries and to get road directions; were offered hospitality and invited into the hut where telephone messages were constantly passing from one secteur of the Front to another; the officers in question were to blame, without doubt, but the ladies driving the truck were also actually violating Military Regulations in a serious manner; no harm came of it for the lady truck drivers were perfectly loyal; but the fact of their having been in that telephone hut was discovered and was reported to Headquarters, and as their passes came through their being vouched for by the Sous-Commission de Secours aux Civils, the "chickens came home to roost," and we were "interpellated" on the matter of renewing the passes in question, as being the representatives of American Relief. Another case came up of a lady who was registered as an American and who had asked for passes for distribution of relief; the matter was referred to Mr. Carroll and myself as representing the Clearing House, and neither of us could give any further information than that we had heard her name. The Directeur rang for his huissier (ante-room officer, the source of our word "usher") who came in response to the call, dressed as usual in swallowtail coat and with a silver chain of office about his neck; the Directeur sent him for the records of La Sureté (Secret Police) covering this person's name: and in a few minutes we had the lady's complete history including the names of the persons present at her last dinner party and also the subjects of conversation at the table, and the names of all her associates in France and elsewhere in Europe.
I learned more of France and of her thinking in those Thursday morning meetings with Monsieur Baudouin and Monsieur Ogier than in all my other days beside. The whole situation of France and of the War was openly discussed; the meaning and the reasons of governmental actions was made clear; nothing was kept in the dark; Mr. Carroll and I might have been Frenchmen and things could not have been more open. In addition to this it was my custom to take Monsieur Baudouin in my car at the conclusion of our meetings at the Ministry of the Interior over to his office in the Palais de Justice, and on the way he would explain to me every thing which I did not at first grasp clearly. Further than that, he gave me lessons in French, in governmental French, in the French of politics which is an argot all by itself; so that in time when Frenchmen in the Government Offices talked of government as Frenchmen I came to know clearly what their real meaning was. One of the very interesting jobs which Civilian Relief had to face in War time was the receiving and the caring for and the re-routing of the répatriés (the French civilians who were either interned in Germany, or who were in the villages of France to the North of the battle line). They came down through Switzerland, and the good Swiss fed them; then they were sent to Annemasse, which was the gare de triage (sorting station) ; and from there some were sent home; many of the women who needed medical or surgical treatment were sent to Evian; and many women and children who had need of care for nose, ears, or throat were sent to the Château de la Trombière where a Hospital Service had been arranged. This Hospital was in charge of an American, Doctor Wollison, who had been the leading American Dentist in Petrograd. When the crash in Russia came he made his escape to the Southward, having provided himself with plenty of money for travel, but he was obliged to come away without passport or papers as he had been refused access to the place where he kept them in security. He made his way into France by way of Switzerland; offered his services to the French Government, and was placed at the head of La Trombière as he had studied in France. Often, prior to the débâcle in Russia, I had received remittances from Dr. Wollison to be used for the relief of women and children in France.
One day he was announced at my house in Paris and was shown into my reception room. With him was a wonderfully beautiful girl, an Irish girl with eyes of pansy blue which looked, as the Irish say, as if they had been "rubbed in with a dirty finger": and he told me that this lovely girl was his head nurse at La Trombière, and that they wished to be married and wanted me to officiate. The Director of the Hospital and his wife had been compelled to leave on account of a death in the family and an inheritance which resulted; so that the management of the Hospital in everything would devolve on Dr. Wollison and this lady who was with him. It was essential that they return to the Hospital as soon as possible, and they had come to Paris thinking that the Doctor's civil status might in some way be regularised by the French Government and that he might get some papers to serve in lieu of Passport and Birth Certificate, and that thus a marriage might take place at the American Church, (inasmuch as he was an American citizen) without complying with the French Law which required the filing of papers, and a long wait. I had to explain to him, regretfully, that I was without authority to act in the matter, as in matters of marriage I was under French Law, and I advised him to see the Ministry of the Interior, inasmuch as he was working for them in civilian relief, and to ask them to arrange for him some kind of papers which would cover him legally so far as a marriage ceremony was concerned. I told him that I would go to the Ministry myself later in the morning, and that if he would come back to see me on the following day we would confer further on the subject. When I went to Monsieur Ogier's office at the Ministry of the Interior I found that he was fully au courant with the matter, and that he was most sympathetic in his attitude. This was his advice: "We, on the part of the Government, can do nothing at this present in the matter of furnishing the papers which Doctor Wollison needs, but if you will prepare documents and perform a ceremony which will be binding under American Law, you can sign such papers and the necessary Certificate, and declare the couple to be married, and we will see that you are not troubled about the matter." It is a contravention of French Law entailing a heavy penalty to participate in such a ceremony if a Certificat de Mariage from the Maire has not been duly produced in evidence of regularity. So the next morning when the Doctor and the Nurse returned, I had documents ready for them to sign in which they expressed their purpose to take each other as husband and wife; and declared themselves as bound each to the other; and further declared their intention to have a ceremony of marriage performed in due and legal form as soon as that might be possible. These documents were attested under oath; signed and witnessed in duplicate, and sealed with the seal of the Church. I then gave one to the lady and retained the duplicate in the safe in the sacristy; asked God's Blessing on them, and bid them go on their way rejoicing. I learned that later, when requisite papers had been procured, a ceremony of marriage was performed for them in Switzerland.
One day when Monsieur Ogier told me that he was going to Annemasse that night to meet an expected convoi of 500 repatriés, I asked him what would give these poor folk the greatest comfort on arriving in France. He said that the possession of a little bit of French money would be a wonderful gift; so I went to the bank and with some discretionary funds at my disposal I got 500 bright new 50 centime silver pieces (about the size of our silver dime) and asked my friend to give one to each of the repatriés in the name of America. The pathos of the stories which he told me from time to time of the arrival in France of these longtime exiles from La Patrie was infinitely touching; and none more so than what he told me of the joy which he saw in their faces to hold in their hands a silver coin of France.
One question which demanded solution early in the story of Relief work was the need for artificial limbs, both legs and arms. A meeting was called of a special Committee at the house of Monsieur Gabriel Hanotaux the President of the French Section of the Clearing House at which Charles Carroll and I represented American interests. It was a memorable scene, that committee meeting. The brilliant background was Monsieur Hanotaux's library which was hung with old brocade, and there were books in bindings of blue and scarlet from floor to ceiling here and there. Those present were Monsieur Hanotaux who presided; Monseigneur Odelin Vicaire Général in his violet soutane, who represented the Cardinal; the Chief Justice of France, Monsieur Baudouin; the great surgeon, Doctor Tuffier; Monsieur Collin, the head of a firm of bandagistes (surgical instrument makers), who had occupied the same locale and who had handed on the business from father to son for more than six generations; a representative of another firm of surgical instrument makers; and Mr. Carroll and myself. The first question to consider was what was the pressing need and how to meet it. It was estimated that at that time France had need for a least 500 artificial legs a month, and that there was no possibility in sight of meeting the demand. France is a little country in extent of territory---that means few accidents in comparative number; then furthermore crippling accidents are not taken lightly in France; and while it is recognised that accidents are sometimes seemingly unavoidable, yet French opinion considers that usually in an accident some one is responsible, and that some one is held in law. As a consequence machines in factories are carefully safeguarded; and when railway accidents, which are uncommon, do occur, the blame is clearly fixed and the penalty is enforced; hence France had never had in recent times any need for large facilities for the production of artificial limbs. The makers of them who were present estimated that if all possible actual facilities were to be mobilised, the maximum output might be increased to 250 artificial legs a month. It was then asked of Monsieur Collin, "If the Government were to recall all your men from the Front, give you all the floor-space necessary, place at your disposal all material and money that you could use, would you undertake to supply the demand?" His reply was thoroughly characteristic: "I could not do it, for one principal reason; I would not put the name of 'Collin' on a factory product; each article which leaves my door is a piece of specialty work."
Monsieur Collin's reply was so typically French that I want to stress it as exemplifying the principal reason why France is not a commercial nation, and in my opinion, will never be one; and that reason is her fundamental individualism. To take a piece of work and to do it in the rough; then to go back and give it a touch here and a touch there; to adjust and perfect it until the workman is proud of what he is doing so that he feels it to be an expression of his own personality; and all that without counting time or labour or money---that is how the personality of a Frenchman expresses itself. Compare that way of life expression with the mass production process in which each man is but a part of a machine; doing his part but never knowing where what he does goes, and caring less; his chief interest being the least amount of time which he is obliged to give for the greatest amount of money. It is plain that this latter method lends itself to intensive output, and possibly to greater manufacturing profit; but, what does it do to the individual? what is its ultimate vital consequence for the people of whom the workman is a part? Back in the hills beyond Sceaux, on the outskirts of Paris, there was an artist living; he made porcelains and potteries; he lived there and worked there on his little property; he had his workrooms and his kilns there; his name was known to the world of Art, and his mark on a piece of clay or china was admitted evidence of artistic value. One day a visitor found him out in the sunshine beside his kiln; he was breaking to pieces with a hammer a whole benchfull of pieces of his work; most of them were beautiful, but had some slight defect; and when he was asked why he was destroying what he could sell easily at good prices, he replied that he would not let anything bear his name which was not the best that he could do. A representative of one of the great china works at Limoges came to see him one day and offered him a large salary, ten times what he could make financially by himself alone with his little kiln, if he would come to Limoges and take a position with them as chief designer; but he refused. His reply was, "Then Beauty as an essential would have passed beyond my reach."
The Latin's reaching out for Beauty is the keynote to his life; and this is most clearly in evidence amongst the people of France. From childhood the French people have been environed by evidences of beauty in colour and in design to such a degree, that a sense of being destined to be the guardian of Beauty has been ingrained in the national ideal. What the cruel attrition of the War will have done to that beauty concept of life's meaning; what the hard struggle for a place in the sun in an age whose method is that of competition and not of co-operation may ultimately do to French ideals, I do not know; I do not dare to foretell; but if I could be free to do it, and had the strength and the money to do it, I would most of all possible things in life like to make Myron Herrick's wish come true; "I would like to make you Bishop-at-large to preach the Gospel that the reorganised world will need to preserve for mankind that which was so dearly won." I would like to try to make the world see what a real Family of Nations, such as I pleaded for in 1915, would mean to the life of the world; I would like to show to peoples and their leaders that each nation has its own individual contribution to make to the life of the family, and that a garden is not at its best when it is all roses, nor yet when it is all cabbages; that life is a blend and that each separate part is needed to make up a perfect whole. Doubtless I would come to sudden end from heartbreak; but it would be worth-while to risk it, if only one could voice life's Beauty story tellingly. Each nation has a character of its own; each nation has that in it which no other nation has; something in each case which the world of human life needs, and which can best be developed in the life of the nation to whom that gift is entrusted. And in the Heart of France there is the feeling that she cannot die, that she must not be crushed, because in her crushed heart there would be wounded to the death that passion for Beauty which she enshrines there, and which no other people senses like the French.
Let us halt our Pegasus now while it is still possible to stop him.
At the meeting to consider the needs of the amputés, which took place in Monsieur Hanotaux's library, we had reached an impasse when a gentleman arose whom none of us knew. We had all seen him come in ushered in by the maid, and we all supposed that it was some one who had been invited by one of the other principal participants in the gathering. In the best French which he could muster (and its lameness might possibly be reasonably excused in a meeting in the interests of the crippled) he said that he had heard that this meeting was to be called, and that he had thought that possibly he might be of use; he explained that he was from the United States; that he represented a firm in America which manufactured artificial limbs, and that his firm had cornered the available supply of seasoned willow wood; that he was ready to furnish all the apparatus for the amputated soldiers which France might need; that the artificial leg which he proposed was so good that you could do anything with it that you could do with an original member; that you could run, climb a ladder, skate with it. And in order to demonstrate his point, what did our Young America do but there and then in Monsieur Hanotaux's salon dispose of his trousers so that he could display in full the sample leg which he wore (he had been amputated below the knee), and then proceed to hop about the room on one foot so that the gentlemen present could see for themselves just what he was offering. It was amazing, but it was not good business in that assembly.
This matter of the amputés brings to mind Dr. Antony Rodiet, who was at the head of the Military Hospital at Dun-sur-Auron (Cher), whom I had come to know through having been in position to supply some of the needs of that Hospital where there were a large number of amputated men. One day at the meeting of the Distribution Committee of the Clearing House, the reading of the list of supplies on hand showed "two cases of single shoes, manufacturer's samples"; and some one said, "That's a lot of junk for the French Government to pay freight on." Our people in America did send over a lot of queer things at times; but this 1t was not so bad. I said, "Would you like to turn those shoes over to me; I think that I can use them." The chorus was a unanimous, "Two Cases of unmatched single shoes to Dr. Watson at the Ouvroir Américain." I at once sent word to Dr. Rodiet asking him if he could use the shoes, and the answer was most enthusiastically in the affirmative. It was a great thing for him to have single shoes for his men, instead of having to buy a pair of shoes for a man with but one foot.
As I now look back upon it, my work for the Orphans of the War was the most interesting thing that I had the privilege of sharing. My connection with this work began in this way. I received a note one day from Monsieur Paul Painlevé, who was at the time Minister of Public Instruction, asking me if I could see him in his office on a matter of importance; and the matter of importance was La Fraternité Franco-Américaine, or, as it was known on this side, The Fatherless Children of France. The Minister proposed to me that I should become a member of the Executive Committee of La: Fraternité, and that I should in time be made Vice-President and Chairman of the Executive Board. It was as a result of this conference at the Ministry of Public Instruction that I took up the direction of this big work; and in this matter Charles Carroll was again my colleague. There was always a President of this important distributing Agency of American Relief for the Orphans who was a Frenchman; and at the time that I took on the work the President was Monsieur Louis Liard, Vice-Rector of the Sorbonne, and the practical head of all the work of Education carried on by the French Government: but the presidency was official and involved little in the way of the actual business management of the work. After the death of Monsieur Liard, the next President was Monsieur Lucien Poincaré, a brother of the President of the Republic; and his successor was the Maréchal Joffre. So it came about that in the Orphan Work I served under three famous chiefs.
Louis Liard was a great man; great in his character and ability; and great in what he did for Education in France. To understand at all the inner life of France, social and political, one must reckon with the Law of 1905-the Law of the Separation and its consequences. The Law of 1905 and the putting into effect of its provisions arraigned against the Government of the Republic of that time the sympathies of the larger part of the adherents of the old régime; for it involved not alone the putting of all religious cultes (sects) on an equality before the law, but what was more important than that, it made education an affair of the State and took it out of the control of the religious Orders, which had so largely been responsible for it in the past. The Law of 1905 provides that l'Etat ne reconnaît, ne salarie ni ne subventionne aucun culte (the State neither recognises nor supports financially nor gives grants to any religious sect). It declares that the relations of the State and the Church are from that time on severed, especially in all that concerns the Catholic Establishment; and it abolished the Concordat of 1801-1802, which had been signed between the Emperor Napoleon the First and Pope Pius the Seventh. This abrupt change in the educational life of a people, most of whom were Catholics in sympathy, croyants if not always pratiquants (the French Catholic who regularly observes his religious "duties" is a pratiquant; the others who are in general sympathy with the Church, but whose chief relations with the Church are for baptisms and marriages and burials are croyants) called for immediate and effective action on the part of the Government, and especially that branch of the Government called the Ministry of Public Education. It was "up to" the Government to put the Public School System throughout the entire country, not only the universities, the colleges, and the lycées, but the village schools also in condition to furnish a grade of education which should be at least the equal of if not the superior of that which had been furnished to the people by the schools under religious control; and that task had to be accomplished in the face of what was often an unavoidable hostility on the part of many of the people affected by the Law. Changes such as these, involving the abolishing of special privilege, could not but cause resentment against the authority which took away the privilege; and the putting into effect of the new régime meant that the carrying out of the provisions of the Law must be in the hands of men and women, including the teachers themselves, who were willing to take part in this work, and who might therefore be none too gentle or considerate in its execution. In creating France's new system of Public Education, and in providing for the people a scholastic institution, which for thoroughness and for intelligent comprehension of what the education of youth involves compares favourably with any other anywhere, Louis Liard was the effective and efficient motive power. My friend Emile Hovelaque, Inspecteur Général de l'Instruction Publique writes of his great chief: "Better than any other he (Liard) realised the necessity of adapting the old structure to the conditions of modern life; it is impossible to measure the importance of his work; whatever the future may have in store for our universities they will always bear Liard's mark." This sentence expresses most clearly my own recollections of Monsieur Liard. "There was in him at one and the same time the conquering enthusiasms of the old Normans from whom he sprang, and the careful prudence of Norman awareness." In his last hours he was still keen for his work; and a friend who saw him shortly before he passed from earth found him lying on a couch half propped up on his elbow and looking like un vieux lion couchant (an old lion recumbent).
In this matter of Education and the Law of 1905 I have touched on another subject which is of deep interest to me, and that is Religion in France. I was obliged to learn and to realise effectively what that word Religion stands for in the life of a people who are intense in all that pertains to the serious side of life. Among my other duties there was that of presiding at certain assemblies at the Sorbonne in the interests of the Orphans of the War; and with the exception of my colleague Charles Carroll, all others but myself were Frenchmen. It was a strange situation for a foreigner to be placed in the position of Presiding Officer in a French Assembly, and to have to say to a great man in France, "la Parole est à Monsieur Bergson"---(Mr. Bergson has the floor). My position might have been very difficult but for the considerate courtesy of my French colleagues, and the training in such a duty as that of presiding at a French Assembly which had been given me by my great and good friend le Premier Président Baudouin. It was chiefly his counsel which made the situation intelligible to me. He said to me once:
"A Frenchman is not only formed by his past: he IS his past: and in weighing what he says and its possible implications one must always take into account his pré-occupations (the background of his mentality). This man on the Right is still under the shadow of the Law of Separation; he is a Royalist by tradition; and while he probably never expects to see a King again in France, and possibly in his heart of hearts does not really want one, yet all his thinking is impregnated with that tradition. That man in the Centre cannot help judging men by their possible attitude toward l'Affaire (the Dreyfuss Case) and its implications. His next neighbour can never free himself from the historic memories of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the long struggle which the Protestants made in those days for life itself."
Not that these are living issues to-day, but rather that they are shadows from an unforgotten past in the life of an old man and an intense people who are irrevocably tied to their traditions.
The Confession known as "Catholic" numbers among its adherents the majority of the people of France, not so much because of the idea involved in the word "catholic" as because of old association in a time when Catholic and Christian meant much the same thing in France; and also because the outward form of the Latin rite is sympathetic to the native instincts of the French people, who are artistic by temperament, monarchical through long habituation; who love beauty and splendour and ceremony. And in all this the Catholic Church satisfies them. In actual fact the word "catholic" in France is an exclusive rather than an inclusive term; it stands for a method of faith rather than for an absolute content of the Faith. The word is commonly used by the people to mean what is regular, and what is as it should be. My chauffeur Gabriel would sometimes stop the car, get down and listen to the motor. I would say, "What is it, Gabriel?"; and his reply would be, "Eh, bien, Monsieur, il y a quelque chose ici qui n'est pas tout à fait catholique"; (Well, Monsieur, there is something here which is not quite catholic).
Like all else in Gaul, the Catholic Party in France is divided into three parts: there is the Right, which is ultramontane in sympathy and royalist in feeling; there is the Centre which is the conservative element; and there is the Left, which is not Left by choice but by necessity, having been forced into this position by the opposition of the Right. Of this Left Wing le Sillon was one of the expressions: a movement unlike the destructive Modernism of the Continent, but rather a movement of deep spiritual import, an effort of spiritual interpretation, a trying to explain the Catholic mind to the Catholic heart.
Then there is the Protestant element in France: a strong, cohesive body of people, with an influence all out of proportion to its numbers. (It must be borne in mind that in France there are no "57 Varieties," as there are in America.) Protestantism includes l'Eglise Réformée de France, the French Reformed Church, with its Calvinist wing, its moderate centre, and its Left wing which approaches more nearly the Unitarian point of view. Moreover, it is interesting to note that Protestantism in France is largely a matter of geographical distribution; there are Departments where there are scarcely any Protestants; and there are Departments where the Protestants far outnumber the Catholics; and so deep does French sentiment go that sect influence makes itself felt in little details of life. Monsieur Henri Bolanci writes of being in one of the towns of the Department of the Tarn-et-Garonne and one evening while he was looking in a shop window a passer-by said to him, "Are you a Protestant, Monsieur? for if you are I can direct you to a shoemaker of your Faith." "I am one of those," writes Monsieur Boland, "who find that the quality of his natal soil explains in some measure the man. There is a correlation between the people and that on which they tread and from which they gain their sustenance; there is an upward mounting of a sap from out the land apparently so movementless (yet which is in reality alive with movement), a sap which saturates the very being of those who are rooted in that land, who came from its dust; who must go back to it again." The story of Protestantism in France is written in those words. The Protestants, like Israel of old, are hillpeople; they were driven from the populous and rich centres of the seaboard, from the cities which were Royalist in sympathy, by the persecutions of the Religious Wars; they took refuge in the rocky valleys of the Centre, and they found cover in the purple shadows of the hills and vales; they forced an inhospitable soil to yield them unwilling sustenance; "the iron entered their souls"; there was nothing in their contact with Nature to soften the stern character so created, nothing in the shadows of the hills to brighten the austerity of their Credo. Yet time, the great healer, has done much for them. Great changes have come to the spirit of the Protestant Body in France; and among them there are some of the noblest of the sons and daughters to whom France has given birth.
And again, to understand the background of French life, the Jews of France must be taken into the reckoning; and it is in France, I think, that the Jew is at his best. I have often said to them that they are the better Frenchmen for being Jews, and the better Jews for being Frenchmen. There is a similarity of experience in the life struggles of Jew and Frenchman, as they have battled for centuries for the right to be themselves; and because intellectual achievement has been one of the doors open to him that he may live a life of proved worth to the community the Jew in France has become a factor to be reckoned with in the realm of thought and letters. One has only to cast a passing glance at the list of the intellectuals of France to recognise how many of them are of Jewish origin.
The picture is not complete without taking into the reckoning the Libre-Penseur: not that I would class the Libre-Penseur as being definitely a religious element in the life of France; yet his relations to France's religious life are very definite; for he is Libre-Penseur because of what the others are. The term Libre-Penseur can no way be rendered by the English term Freethinker, for the Freethinker of England and the Libre-Penseur of France are wholly unlike in origin and in meaning. There are Libre-Penseurs without doubt who are openly iconoclastic; yet the most of them are simply religious orphans. Jews they cannot be, for that is a matter of race and blood; Protestants they cannot be for the theology of French Protestantism is an intellectual impossibility for them; and as for being Catholics, the Catholic régime means to them Control from Without; and to them and to their forebears Ultramontanism and all that it stands for is a bitter memory. Hostile to religion they certainly are not; but they are unyielding opponents of any system which means the abnegation of any single portion of their intellectual or political heritage in La Patrie. One of them who was one of France's most devoted public servants once wrote me: "I believe with you that France is fundamentally religious at heart; but the 'merchants in the Temple' have tried to make of religion an instrument of Party gain; and it is against them and not against religion that France has rebelled."
When we remember that education in France, of necessity, on account of France's history and especially on account of the Law of 1905, involved the question of religion; that the education of the Orphans of the War was necessarily committed by the State to the Ministry of Public Instruction; that the Ministry of Public Instruction was of necessity, at the time when the Law of 1905 went into effect, largely manned and directed by Libre-Penseurs; that the whole question of the Public School system involved deep feelings and prejudices on the part of the traditional supporters of the monarchical idea, the idea of class and of a hereditary noblesse, on the one hand, and on the part of the opponents of this idea on the other hand; that France is a country where feelings run high, and that you cannot touch a public issue without needing to be on your guard against being used by conflicting elements in the life of this eager people: it is easy to see how in the conditions thus set forth all the elements are provided for a drama which might have in it some bitter scenes; and how necessary it was that a foreigner entering into this work of the education and care of the Orphans of the War should make use of both knowledge and caution. I had to know the elements of the popular life which entered into play in the educational question; and above all I had to know whom to trust. I was Vice-President of the Fraternité Franco-Américaine (Fatherless Children of France), and Chairman of its Executive Committee which arranged the distribution of the monies which came from America for the Orphans. I was a member of the Committee of the Secours National (National Relief) which distributed France's voluntary gifts for Orphan Relief. I was elected a member of the French Governmental Commission for the Distribution of the money voted by the Parlement from the National Treasury for the care of the Orphans of the War, as the result of a ministerial decree conforming to a parliamentary ruling of date of March 31, 1917. The question at once suggests itself, How did a foreigner, and especially one occupying my official position in Paris, come to be mixed up with so many seemingly governmental affairs? The prime reason was this; I was the only American there in an official position in 1914 (and the Rectorship of the Church in Paris was then a very official position), who was not obliged by the necessity of his post to be a neutral. Embassy, Consulate, whatever their personal feelings, had to observe the semblance of neutrality. I was free from any obligation of that kind, free to follow the dictates of my feelings and my judgment; my feelings were motivated by an attachment to France which was in part a matter of heredity; and my judgment was that Right lay on the side of a nation which had been attacked from without. At the outset of the struggle France wanted American sympathy far more than she wanted American aid; she wanted an American advocate before the bar of American public opinion; she wanted to put that advocate in position to know what France was doing and what France was suffering. My voice had been openly raised in France's behalf both there and in the American press; and James Gordon Bennett had given instructions that his New York News Service should reprint all that appeared over my name in American papers, or all that concerned my part in Relief Work in France. As a consequence it was but natural that I should have been drafted by the French Government into such positions as would render my advocacy the more effective; in fact, so much importance did the Government attach to that advocacy on my part that when I was promoted Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the Decree reads: "Who has given himself with utmost devotion to the work of the defence of France and her Allies." And the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Monsieur Pichon, wrote me later: "You have been amongst the foremost in taking up actively in the United States the defence of Right and of Liberty; and your influence in the intellectual circles of your country has been of strong effect in enlightening your compatriots." Furthermore, it was well known that I had always preserved an attitude of strict impartiality in all that pertained to France's internal affairs. (Mr. Herrick said to me, "For you as for me, the existing Government, whatever it may be, is France.") I had made it clear that in the administration of whatever Relief came under my own personal control and it was large-no question of religion or of politics had ever been allowed to influence a decision. At 23 Avenue de l'Alma we ministered to Catholic, Protestant, Jew and Libre-Penseur; to those of all creeds and to those of none; all that was asked was assurance of the existence of actual need; and never did any worthy cause present itself there without getting help of some kind. This certainty that I was alien to all of France's internal differences made me the better witness as to the impartiality of France's official Relief for her own, and was a chief reason why I was appointed to membership in Commissions which were wholly French.
No one who has not lived through a war at close quarters can realise what utter absence of perspective comes down on one like a cloud; how feelings normally intense blaze at such a time into unreasoning expression; how easy it was for Right or for Left to think that "their widows were being neglected in the daily ministration," or that Relief was being used as a leverage to deflect the Party loyalties of widows, or that education was being made a means of detaching the children from ancient alliances. Hence my presence as an active, voting and responsible member of these governmental agencies was, as it were, a hostage given by the Government to the people as an assurance that a just impartiality should prevail. Furthermore, my being chosen to preside at sessions of Orphan Relief Boards at the Sorbonne and at the Ministry of Public Instruction was an easy solution of the ever present Party question-the choosing of a foreigner as Presiding Officer, one who had no local or sectional allegiances, avoided the necessity of giving the preference to any one of the differing elements in French politics.
It was my constant practice to refer to Monsieur Baudouin the Chief Justice; and to Monsieur Ogier the Director of Contrôle at the Ministry of the Interior, all cases where I needed counsel or advice; and I never made any public utterance or put my name to any printed statement which involved France or French issues, without having it edited by the Chief Justice first. Monsieur Baudouin, in reply to my request for his advice whether I should accept a certain position which I had been urged to take, said, "We, (meaning the Government) are asking of you a great service in this matter; you can do nothing more helpful for France than to accept the post; it is a position of responsibility, and at times your decisions, given as they will be in line with your frank American habit of speaking and acting, may entail unpleasant opposition, and even hostility; but I will see that your position is sustained; and you may feel free to come to me at any hour with any problem which you find difficult." Without the constant counsel of the Chief Justice I could not have carried on; and when he passed away it left me with a feeling that my work for France was bereft of what was an essential element for its continuance; and that conviction was with me till the day that I resigned my post.
He lived in an old building where once lived the Comte d'Artois; and I well remember the many times that I went there to see him, always to find a ready welcome; sometimes to find him annotating a score of orchestral music, or busy compiling the statistics pertaining to the hundred or more of the volunteer Orphan Relief Committees which shared in the Government's aid; and always I would go away with my troubles lifted because of having been shared with one, whose shoulders were already bending beneath the weight of years and the sorrows of the War and the heavy responsibilities of a position unique in France. To me Manuel Baudouin was a prince amongst men.
My colleagues on the Fatherless Children of France Committee were all of them men of interesting personality. The Treasurer was an oil refiner and financier, Emile Deutsch de la Meurthe, one of the finest Jews whom I have ever known; and I knew him intimately. His personal generosities were known to few, but the Fatherless Children work could not have succeeded as it did but for him. One day we went to his Château des Boulains to take déjeuner. There were sixteen of his family present, children and grandchildren, and all of them spoke English with the exception of Monsieur Emile, as he was affectionately called by his associates, among whom he graciously permitted me to class myself. One day when I was going to a meeting of a Committee of Orphan Relief, I put in my pocket some cheques which had come in the morning mail and which I had endorsed to Monsieur Emile Deutsch as Treasurer. When I came in to the room, the Treasurer was telling those present of the serious shortage in funds with which he was faced at the moment. I drew out from my pocket one cheque and then another and handed them to him; he looked at them and then at me, and then he came behind me and put his arms about my shoulders affectionately and put his fingers in another pocket and took out another cheque and held it up to the view of our colleagues and said, "Il est tout cousu d'or, ce bonhomme." (He has his pockets full of money; this fine man.) Monsieur Emile telephoned me one day asking me if I would be good enough, if it were possible, to stop at his office when I came into the City. It was at a time when we had been trying to arrange for interested personal surveillance of the home care given the children whom we were helping; and to that end we had organised a Central Committee of French women, to be known as le Comité de Dames who would have correspondents in all the towns and villages and who would help us in maintaining the little homes of France. For our first object in Orphan Relief was to keep the child with its mother, and to that end to "keep the home fires burning"; and our little fifteen francs a month for each child did just that; it kept up the morale of the mothers by reminding them that they were not forgotten. And in order that it might be France which brought that monthly gift we sent it always in the form of a Mandat de Poste (Post Office Money Order, paid at the house by the Postman) so that the mother might see that it was France herself in the person of the carrier who brought the help. For this Comité de Dames we had need of an effective Madame la Présidente. Some of them wanted la Comtesse--------- who represented the noblesse and the Right; others wanted Madame -------who was the wife of one of the Députés of the Extreme Left; both of them were fine women, but too partisan in their interests to be generally acceptable. Our choice finally fell on a lady whom I had known in other Relief work, and who was representative enough to be acceptable to all. Monsieur Emile had not been present at the meeting when this choice was made; and when I greeted him at his office his first question was, "Monsieur le Président, who is this lady whom you have put in as Présidente du Comité de Dames?" I told him her name, and the names of some of her associates in other Relief; but that was not enough; he wanted to know just who she was in French life; and I told him that I could not answer that question. "Well," he said, "I can easily tell you"; and he pushed a button on his desk and a keen looking little gentleman came in who was introduced to me by Monsieur Emile as "mon Je-Sais-Tout,"---(I know everything). He told Monsieur Je-Sais-Tout the story, and then he said, "Now, who is she?" His aide turned to me and said, "Where does she live, Monsieur?" I told him the street and number. "Ah," he said, "now I can tell you what you wish to know, Monsieur Emile. Madame -------------- is the widow of a former President of the Conseil d'Etat"; then turning to me, "You do not know, Monsieur, I suppose, just what the Conseil d'Etat is?" "Yes," I replied, "I have even been present at a session of the Conseil d'Etat." "But you have not had any business to be judged by the Conseil d'Etat, I hope, Monsieur"---(The Conseil d'Etat has as one of its functions the adjudication of certain cases in Equity). "No," was my reply. "Alors," he said. "Je vous en félicite: car on dit qu'en France la Justice est boiteuse: mais je peux vous dire que le Conseil d'Etat n'a pas même de jambes." The bon mot is so perfect and the wit so keen that it must be set down here just as it was spoken; and the English of it is this: "Then I congratulate you; for they say that in France justice is lame; but permit me to say that the Conseil d'Etat has not even any legs."
One evening shortly before I left France I was taking Monsieur Emile with me in my car after a meeting of the Fatherless Children Committee in order to leave him at his house which was near where I lived, and he was telling me something of the Jew in France, and in answering him I said a few words in Hebrew. With a voice broken with emotion he said, "And you know that too " Then he said quickly, "Will you do our people a great honour? there will be a solemn ceremony to-morrow, the eve of the Sabbath, at our Synagogue in the Rue de la Victoire, when our people will be praying for the young men dead in battle. Will you come with me to that service and sit with me in the seats of the Elders of the Congregation?" I went; and the scene is still vivid in my memory: the great Synagogue with its thousands of worshippers; the wonderful chanting of the Canticles in Hebrew; the eloquence of the Grand Rabbin, who was an Alsatian, as shown in his accent (many of the Jewish people in France are Alsatians who left Alsace after the War of 1870); the women by themselves on one side, and the men on the other, all the women in black. And although by race I was a stranger I felt a wonderful nearness to those people there. There is an intense sense of the reality of the Divine in the Hebrew Faith and Ritual, which you go far to find elsewhere; and the deep emotion of that hour overwhelmed me; and I am grateful to Emile Deutsch de la Meurthe for the privilege which he shared with me a Gentile.
On the evening before I left Paris he came to my house; greeted me French fashion; and said, "I am so happy that these books came from the bindery in time, for I want you to carry them to America with you; they are a message to your heart from the heart of Israel in France." And he handed me a package which he had brought. The books are before me as I write, and on the title-page I read:
This is the most perfect translation of the Hebrew Scriptures ever made into any language; it was made by men to whom the Hebrew was as the breath of their life; it is a translation voiced in that most perfect of literary expressions, which is French at its best; it is the union of two loves, that French Hebrew Bible---the Jew's love of his racial meaning, and the Frenchman's love of Beauty. I must quote from it here; and whether the reader knows French or not, he will respond to the melodic rhythm of the words, and will feel how the beauty of expression transcends that of any other version:
L'Eternel est mon berger, je ne manquerai de rien.
Dans de vertes prairies il me fait camper, il me conduit au bord d'eaux paisibles.
Il restaure mon âme, me dirige dans les sentiers de la justice, en faveur de son nom.
Dussé-je suivre la sombre vallée de la mort, je ne craindrais aucun mal, car tu serais avec moi; ton soutien et ton appui seraient ma consolation.
Tu dresses la table devant moi, à la face de mes ennemis; tu parfumes d'huile ma tête, ma coupe est pleine à déborder.
Oui, le bonheur et la grâce m'accompagneront ma vie durant, et j'habiterai de longs jours dans la maison du Seigneur.
And it is with those words which he loved that I say 'Au revoir, mon ami! to Monsieur Emile Deutsch.
I have three other books on my shelves which bring back French memories of especial interest; three little volumes in red binding, Contes de la Gascogne,---Tales from the Midi. And this is how I came to find these rare treasures. A Gascon friend of mine was at dinner with us one evening; the candles on the table were our only light, for we were rationed in electricity. Over cigarettes and coffee he began telling stories heard in his boyhood, stories which his nourrice had told him, fascinating stories of days when that mystic side of life which now we only half sense at times was vivid; and I asked him if those stories had ever been put in print. He said that he had often thought that he would write them out for he knew that they ought not to be lost; but that his life was more than busy. I asked him if there was a book in print which contained similar tales; and he told me that years before a publisher in Paris had brought out a small edition of a book entitled Contes Populaires de la Gascogne, but that he did not think that the book could be had any longer; however he would give me the name of the publisher. At my first free moment I hunted up the Libraire whose name he had given me, only to find that the business had gone into other hands; but that information gave me another address to which I went, to find there that the owner was an old gentleman who lived in a little town where Jeanne d'Arc stopped on her way to Orleans; that his two sons were at the Front; and that all the books of his stock had been taken to his house in Paris. So there I went next to find the concièrge (perhaps I should say concièrgine) in charge; a fine looking handsome woman of the Midi with flashing black eyes; I talked with her but with small results; however I left a message for the patron and asked her to deliver it to him when next he came to town. Ten days later I went back to the house and she told me that the patron had been in Paris, that she had told him of my visit, but that he had left no word for me. Then some compliments passed, "from me to her," and she asked me to sit down in the loge and have a demitasse of coffee; and under that benign influence she asked me, "Just what is it all about, Monsieur, this matter of yours with the patron?" I told her who I was; where I lived in Paris; why I was interested in the folklore of the Midi; and that I would gladly buy the books for which I was looking, if her master would let me have them; and I told her the name of the books. And before I went on my mournful way there passed-not "over the tea-cups" but under a coffee-cup-----a five franc note with the plea that she would bring my affair to the patron's favourable attention. A few days afterward when I came home one evening, I was met at the door by Louise (the bonne), and I could see that she was visibly disturbed. She had a package in her hand done up in new paper wrappings, and she said, "Monsieur, there was a woman here just now, and she left this, and she said it was for you, and she wanted fifteen francs for it, and I did not want to give her the money, for Monsieur had not told me that any package was coming; and she said, 'You'd better take this and give me the money, or if you don't when your master comes home he will beat you': and she talked so fierce, Monsieur, that I was afraid, so I gave her the money; but if it is not all right with Monsieur, I will pay it myself, for it was my fault." In the package were three little books, the books for which I had been hunting; and the woman who brought them was evidently the concièrge of the house in the Quartier Latin.
Those books! they are a treasure of ancient story. In them I found "Puss in Boots," "The House that Jack Built," "The Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella," "Blue Beard," and many other tales "dear to my childhood"; but told in the original, told as the "folk" told them, not laced and furbelowed, but with all the crudities and Rabelaisian adornments of the simplest of times, and all in peasant talk. In this form they were the source of Grimm's Fairy Tales, and of Perrault's Contes de Fées; and the charm of them lies in the simple wit, the naïveté which is often half lost in the adornments and the broderies with which more artificial compilers have "dolled up" the plain speech of the peasant and the children's nurse of the Southern hills. One evening when Paul Painlevé was sitting in our salon after dinner with a little pot of black coffee by his side which Louise would fill whenever necessary, and smoking his cigarettes, I brought out my treasure-trove and showed them to the Minister. With his love of old France and his keen literary sense he was delighted to see my three little red books, and he asked me if it were possible to try and get a set of them for him. Some days later I went back to the House in the Latin Quarter; but whether it was that there was another concièrge, I cannot tell; suffice it to say that the one who met me did not know me, and she knew nothing-about books ---"Monsieur must surely be mistaken in the house."
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