Beautiful warm clear night and very smooth crossing leaving 12 midnight with all lights out to avoid sub-marines which are very active round Havre and have sunk a good many ships.
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.
The weather keeps fine and yesterday was sun all day. Things go well at the front though we lose heavily, our advance to North of the La Bassée is very important and helps us to get Lille which we want badly. A family walk in the country round St. Aigran at the rate of 1 mile an hour, very tiring. Mother Delaporte, her son and his wife and their 3 children and 2 nurses and Germaine and myself – such a row of us, we quite obliterated the landscape. Dollie has now gone to work with Daisie in No. 12 French hospital under Mrs. Gardner at Havre.
Such a squabbling over seniority to-day in my office with a view to succeeding me. First of all Major H.H., the Prince de Mahé came to see me before I was out of bed to point out that he was senior to Fernie. Fernie was a Lieutenant in the King’s Dragoon Guards and is now a temporary Major in the Yeomanry – each thinks he is senior to the other, and as I know nothing about territorials, volunteers, militia, yeomanry and Special Reserve I shall have to send it on to the War Office to settle. They both lost their tempers violently and I had to keep the peace. Daisie returns to Havre to-day – Are the Germans still sure of victory? Are the poor things at last convinced of the absolute certainty of their well-merited downfall? I do not think anyone in the world sympathises with them, though in the abstract it is heroic to see one nation fighting against the whole world and the utter destruction of a splendid empire.
I went to Havre on Saturday evening and returned this evening. Saw Daisie at work in her hospital looking very sweet as a nurse. Primroses all out along the line, so spring has really begun and winter 1914-15 has gone for ever and ever, a troublous winter, but a good one “out of evil cometh forth good” – No news yet about going home, but it is Gen. Maxse who has asked for me and that will be the 53rd, 54th or 55th of the 18th Eastern Division.
Daisie returned to Havre by the evening train. I am quite fit again, but flabby.
Dollie [sister-in-law] and Bettie arrived Friday night from Havre; it was very nice to see them. The Prince de Mahé drove me up in his car to meet them and we drove them to the Hotel de France where I left them. To-day they did some of the Churches in the morning.
It is easy enough to live cheaply in the trenches, but on the Lines of Communication life is very dear and prices rise.