February 1st, 1916
I foresee miserable conditions when the spring attack begins. There will be inevitably at times a lack of everything. If you knew the moral support I derive from the thought of those boxes that are already on the road! As I told you, I simply couldn’t go on doing with nothing as before in a place and season when conditions generally warranted otherwise, and the most exasperating part of it is that the people here don’t seem to understand the lacks. “It is war,” and that covers all irregularities, faults of management, and all the rest of it. Not for the first time that misplaced philosophy has caused dire results. But this does not prevent me from always loving and appreciating more the French people – their spirit, their sweetness, their dignity, which, though not the Anglo-Saxon variety, is none the less determined.
And since we’re on the psychological side, and as you asked it, I have had one revelation since I have been here of the nobility of the priesthood. It was the aumonier we had at the time of the September attack and he stayed until November, when he applied to be sent to the trenches. At that time there were deaths repeatedly, night and day, but no surgeon or nurse in the Ambulance worked liked M. le Cure. He knew every blesse in the Ambulance; he went constantly from bed to bed with a kindly word for each, so that his presence in the salle, instead of bringing an ominous savour of extreme unction, was always a bright event for nurses and patients alike. His experience was so wide that he knew better than anyone when the end was approaching, and one never had to summon him – he was always there. Night after night he never went to bed, and when the drive was at its height for over a week he was never off duty, snatching a few minutes’ sleep on the floor beside the patient. I used to give him often sandwiches and little cakes for his night-watches, and he received them humbly and gratefully, reminding me of St Francis. He has probably been killed by an obus or overwork by this time, and has merited a “large place” in Paradise. Since his departure, with the exception of the silver-haired Cure of Vitry who saved the town at the moment of invasion, and who occasionally pays a fleeting patriarchal visit, a priest rarely darkens our door.
No copyright found- see below.
Volume: Vol. 98, Ser. 5, Vol. 32, Pt. 2
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Phillips & Hunt
Call number: 31833017365757
Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive
Book contributor: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Notes: No copyright page found. This is a digital copy of a photocopied book.
Full catalog record: MARCXML