1915 – January 13

The war is quite at a standstill here and one is tired of waiting for news. I have given up reading the papers. Be patient and some day we will hear something. We have plenty of troops, more than enough for our short line and I suppose Joffre and French are waiting for some particular moment to get on the move again. Meantime I am well paid and forget the war except when I meet a trainload of wounded or see in the papers that I have lost another of my very best and irreplaceable friends. The children had a nice Xmas with Granny and Bunker and their Mother at Green – now the party is broken up – the boys go back to school and we must find some quiet corner for Susanna. Daisie has settled down to her hospital work at Havre and I am happy in my family here with a nice Mlle. Germaine to give me a French lesson every evening. I am improving and hope soon to have quite a decent accent. We read Balzac “La Peau de chagrin.”

1914 – December 26

Cold and drizzly. This War goes on and on and is very exasperating. We must have patience. Old Joffre has heaps of men, he must be going to strike a blow somewhere, but where and when? I should like to say in the Alsace direction and soon. If only Italy would join in. Up in Flanders the Germans are so entrenched and have such depths of barbed wire that advance is almost impossible.

1914 – August 29

4.30 a.m. woken up by my French colleague in a panic to say that the Germans will soon be here and we must bolt. I cannot believe the Germans could be driving us in so fast, so I took the precaution of getting 3 engines for my 3 trains, lest he should bolt and leave us stranded. Then I went to see Gen. Joffre‘s Staff, and got a French Staff officer to come down and reassure my man. Left for Creil at 2 p.m. I should I not have liked the nice rations I took up, to fall into the hands of the Germans. Prepared to spend night at Creil when wired for to return to Rouen. Tried the civil trains – awful. Full of panic-stricken women and children – no wonder. I had charge of an escort of Cameron Highlanders with one German prisoner who they dressed in our uniform to save him from being torn to pieces by the French. Had to change at Beauvais and stay there all night.

France