So I am not to get an English Brigade after all – a very great disappointment, but I have so much in life to thank God for and He knows that, I am as happy as ever.
The War Office offered me a Brigade, then they had to write to the India Office. Then the India Office woke up. And when people wake up they always say “No” – so did the India Office. So I am to go to India, what as, I do not know. The weather is splendid now but cold. On Thursday I had a trip on the river steamer with Germaine, violets, primroses and daffodils out. On Wednesday Mass for the Allies at the Cathedral. Mass was beautiful though pagan – might have been an old Roman ceremony in the days of Julius Caesar. But the sermon – oh the sermon – an hour of poor political twaddle from a Cardinal and not a word of religion or of anything spiritual just “Down with the Germans”. “They must be exterminated – they began the War!” and so on and so on ad nauseam for 1 hour! Ye gods! Never again, thank you.
Goodbye to Germaine and Madame Delaporte and goodbye to Rouen. I left by the evening express and left my Barnes behind lamenting – he was a good fellow. Arrived Havre and stayed with Daisie.
We learnt what French shunting is like last night and Barnes was nearly killed. I made him move from beneath a wall of bacon, 60 lb. boxes, which looked dangerous and brought him over my end of the truck. No sooner done than we had a tremendous bang and the whole lot of about 100 boxes turned over just where he had lain and part shot right across between us without hitting either but flattening my bucket like a pancake – it might have been my head. Arrived Melun 5 a.m. Got train emptied and started back at 4.30 p.m., with awful scallywags on board. 40 wounded horses, 120 bus drivers and labourers specially enlisted and mostly drunk. The station line is a sight. Ground covered with biscuits, bread, straw, filth, German uniforms, empty tins, drums of petrol, gun wheels, saddlery and harness, all just as a child throws its toys into a corner of the nursery. Arrived Villeneuve 10.30 p.m., 15 miles in 6 hours.
Ward and I searched around and at last found our servants and kits. It takes 3 trains a day to feed our small army. My servant is trooper Barnes of the 20th Hussars. He sleeps in my truck and has the most awful night-mares when he yells and strangles imaginary Germans. Got rid of my horse, handed back to remount. A wounded British soldier with arm shattered lying on ambulance. French lady comes up, empties her purse on him (unconscious) and kneels down to kiss his hands.