Part 7 out of 8
"God grant that Canada may see its duty clearly," said Mr. McPherson.
"God make us strong to bear His will."
They hurried back to their island, each busy with his thoughts,
seeking to readjust life to this new and horrible environment.
Mrs. Murray met them at the dock. "You are back, Dr. Brown," she
cried. "Did you forget something? We are glad to see you at any
rate." Then noticing the men's faces, she said, "What is the
matter, James? Is there anything wrong?"
"We bring terrible news, Mother," he said. "We are at war."
Mrs. Murray's' mind, like her husband's, moved swiftly. She was a
life partner in the fullest sense. In business as in the home she
shared his plans and purposes. "What about the block, James?" she
"I wired Eastwood," he replied, "to stop that."
"What is it, Mother?" inquired Isabel, who stood upon the dock
clinging to her mother's dress, and who saw in the grave, faces
about her signs of disaster.
"Hush, dear," said her mother. "Nothing that you can understand."
She would keep from her children this horror as long as she could.
At lunch in the midst of the most animated conversation the talk
would die out, and all would be busy fitting their lives to war.
Like waves ever deepening in volume and increasing in force, the
appalling thought of war beat upon their minds. After lunch they
sat together in the screened veranda talking quietly together of
the issues, the consequences to them and to their community, to
their country, and to the world at large, of this thing that had
befallen them. They made the amazing discovery that they were
almost entirely ignorant of everything that had to do with war,
even the relative military strength of the belligerent nations.
One thing like a solid back wall of rock gave them a sense of
security--the British Navy was still supreme.
"Let's see, did they cut down the Navy estimates during the last
Parliament? I know they were always talking of reduction,"
inquired Mr. Murray.
"I am afraid I know nothing about it," said Dr. Brown. "Last week
I would have told you 'I hope so'; to-day I profoundly hope not.
Jane, you ought to know about this. Jane is the war champion in
our family," he added with a smile.
"No, there has been no reduction; Winston Churchill has carried on
his programme. He wanted to halt the building programme, you
remember, but the Germans would not agree. So I think the Navy is
quite up to the mark. But, of course," she added, "the German Navy
is very strong too."
"Ah, I believe you are right, Jane," said Dr. Brown. "How
completely we were all hoodwinked. I cannot believe that we are
actually at war. Our friend Romayne was right. By the way, what
about Romayne, Jane?"
"Who is he?" inquired Mr. Murray.
"Romayne?" said Dr. Brown. "Oh, he's a great friend of ours in the
West. He married a sister of young Gwynne, you know. He was an
attache of the British Embassy in Berlin, and was, as we thought,
quite mad on the subject of preparation for war. He and Jane hit
it off tremendously last autumn when we were visiting the Gwynnes.
Was he not an officer in the Guards or something, Jane?"
"Yes," replied Jane, fear leaping into her eyes. "Oh, Papa, do you
think he will have to go? Surely he would not."
"What? Go back to England?" said Dr. Brown. "I hardly think so.
I do not know, but perhaps he may."
"Oh, Papa!" exclaimed Jane, the quick tears in her eyes. "Think of
his wife and little baby!"
"My God!" exclaimed Dr. Brown. "It is war that is upon us."
A fresh wave of horror deeper than any before swept their souls.
"Surely he won't need to go," he said after a pause.
"But his regiment will be going," said Jane, whose face had become
very pale and whose eyes were wide with horror. "His regiment will
be going and," she added, "he will go too." The tears were quietly
running down her face. She knew Jack Romayne and she had the
courage to accept the truth which as yet her father put from his
Dumb they sat, unschooled in language fitted to deal with the tides
of emotion that surged round this new and overwhelming fact of war.
Where next would this dread thing strike?
"Canada will doubtless send some troops," said Dr. Brown. "We sent
to South Africa, let me see, was it five thousand?"
"More, I think, Papa," said Jane.
"We will send twice or three times that number this time," said Mr.
And again silence fell upon them. They were each busy with the
question who would go. Swiftly their minds ran over the homes of
their friends and acquaintances.
"Well, Doctor," said Mr. Murray, with a great effort at a laugh,
"you can't send your boy at any rate."
"No," said Dr. Brown. "But if my girl had been a boy, I fear I
could not hold her. Eh, Jane?" But Jane only smiled a very
doubtful smile in answer.
"We may all have to go, Doctor," said Mr. Murray. "If the war
lasts long enough."
"Nonsense, James," said his wife with a quick glance at her two
little girls. Her boy was fifteen. Thank God, she would not have
to face the question of his duty in regard to war. "They would not
be taking old men like you, James," she added.
Mr. Murray laughed at her. "Well, hardly, I suppose, my dear," he
replied. "I rather guess we won't be allowed to share the glory
this time, Doctor."
Dr. Brown sat silent for a few moments, then said quietly, "The
young fellows, of course, will get the first chance."
"Oh, let's not talk about it," said Ethel. "Come, Jane, let's go
"And me, too," cried Isabel.
"And me," cried Helen.
Ethel hesitated. "Let them come, Ethel," said Jane. "We shall go
An exploration of the island was always a thing of unmixed and
varied delight. There were something over twenty-five acres of
wooded hills running up to bare rocks, ravines deep in shrub and
ferns, and lower levels thick with underbrush and heavy timber.
Every step of the way new treasures disclosed themselves, ferns and
grasses, shrubs and vines, and everywhere the wood flowers, shy and
sweet. Everywhere, too, on fallen logs, on the grey rocks, and on
the lower ground where the aromatic balsams and pines stood silent
and thick, were mosses, mosses of all hues and depths. In the
sunlit open spaces gorgeous butterflies and gleaming dragon flies
fluttered and darted, bees hummed, and birds sang and twittered.
There the children's voices were mingled in cheery shouts and
laughter with the other happy sounds that filled the glades. But
when they came to the dark pines, solemn and silent except when the
wind moved in their tasselled tops with mysterious, mournful
whispering, the children hushed their voices and walked softly upon
the deep moss.
"It is like being in church," said Helen, her little soul
exquisitely sensitive to the mystic, fragrant silences and glooms
that haunted the pine grove.
On a sloping hillside under the pines they lay upon the mossy bed,
the children listening for the things that lived in these shadowy
"They are all looking at us," said Isabel in a voice of awed
mystery. "Lots and lots of eyes are just looking, looking, and
"Why, Isabel, you give me the creeps," laughed Jane. "Whisht!
They'll hear you," said Isabel, darting swift glances among the
"The dear things," said Jane. "They would love to play with you if
they only knew how." This was quite a new idea to the children.
Hitherto the shy things had been more associated with fear than
with play. "They would love to play tag with you," continued Jane,
"round these trees, if you could only coax them out. They are so
Stealthily the children began to move among the bushes, alert for
the watching eyes and the shy faces of the wild things that made
their homes in these dark dwellings. The girls sat silent, looking
out through the interlacing boughs upon the gleam of the lake
below. They dearly loved this spot. It was a favourite haunt with
them, the very spot for confidence, and many a happy hour had they
spent together here. To-day they sat without speech; there was
nothing that they cared to talk about. It was only yesterday in
this same place they had talked over all things under the sun.
They had exchanged with each other their stores of kindly gossip
about all their friends and their friends' friends. Only yesterday
it was that Ethel for the twentieth time had gone over with Jane
all the intricately perplexing and delightful details in regard to
her coming-out party next winter. All the boys and girls were to
be invited, and Jane was to help with the serving. It was only
yesterday that in a moment of quite unusual frankness Ethel had
read snatches of a letter which had come from Macleod, who was out
in a mission field in Saskatchewan. How they had laughed together,
all in a kindly way, over the solemn, formal phrases of the young
Scotch Canadian missionary, Ethel making sport of his solemnity and
Jane warmly defending him. How they had talked over the boys'
affairs, as girls will talk, and of their various loves and how
they fared, and of the cruelties practised upon them. And last of
all Ethel had talked of Larry, Jane listening warily the while and
offering an occasional bit of information to keep the talk going.
And all of this only yesterday; not ten years ago, or a year ago,
but yesterday! And to-day not a word seemed possible. The world
had changed over night. How different from that unshaded, sunny
world of yesterday! How sunny it was but yesterday! Life now was
a thing of different values. Ah, that was it. The values were all
altered. Things big yesterday had shrunk almost to the point of
disappearance to-day. Things that yesterday seemed remote and
vague, to-day filled their horizon, for some of them dark enough.
Determined to ignore that gaunt Spectre standing there, in the
shadow silent and grim, they would begin to talk on themes good
yesterday for an hour's engrossing conversation, but before they
were aware they had forgotten the subject of their talk and found
themselves sitting together dumb and looking out upon the gleam of
the waters, thinking, thinking and ever thinking, while nearer and
ever more terrible moved the Spectre of War. It was like the
falling of night upon their world. From the landscape things
familiar and dear were blotted out, and in their place moved upon
them strange shapes unreal and horrible.
At length they gave it up, called the children and went back to the
others. At the dock they found a launch filled with visitors
bringing news--great news and glorious. A big naval battle had been
fought in the North Sea! Ten British battleships had been sunk, but
the whole German fleet had been destroyed! For the first time war
took on some colour. Crimson and purple and gold began to shoot
through the sombre black and grey. A completely new set of emotions
filled their hearts, a new sense of exultation, a new pride in that
great British Navy which hitherto had been a mere word in a history
book, or in a song. The children who, after their manner, were
quickest to catch and to carry on to their utmost limits the
emotions of the moment, were jubilantly triumphant. Some of them
were carrying little Union Jacks in their hands. For the first time
in their lives that flag became a thing of pride and power, a thing
to shout for. It stood for something invisible but very real. Even
their elders were not insensible to that something. Hitherto they
had taken that flag for granted. They had hung it out of their
windows on Empire Day or on Dominion Day as a patriotic symbol, but
few of them would have confessed, except in a half-shamed, apologetic
way, to any thrill at the flapping of that bit of bunting. They had
shrunk from a display of patriotic emotion. They were not like
their American cousins, who were ever ready to rave over Old Glory.
That sort of emotional display was un-Canadian, un-British. But
to-day somehow the flag had changed. The flag had changed because
it fluttered in a new world, a new light fell upon it, the light of
battle. It was a war flag to-day. Men were fighting under it, were
fighting for all it represented, were dying under its folds, and
proudly and gladly.
"And all the men will go to fight, your father and my father, and
all the big boys," Ethel heard a little friend confide to Isabel.
"Hush, Mabel," said Ethel sharply. "Don't be silly."
But the word had been spoken and as a seed it fell upon fertile
soil. The launch went off with the children waving their flags and
cheering. And again upon those left upon the dock the shadow
settled heavier than before. That was the way with that shadow.
It was always heavier, thicker, more ominous after each interlude
It was the same at the bonfire in the evening at the Rushbrookes'.
The island was a fairy picture of mingling lights and shadows. As
the flaming west grew grey, the pale silver of the moon, riding
high and serene, fell upon the crowding, gaily decked launches that
thronged the docks and moored to the shore; upon the dark balsams
and silver birches hung with parti-coloured gaudy Chinese lanterns;
upon the groups of girls, fair and sweet in their white summer
camping frocks, and young men in flannels, their bare necks and
arms showing brown and strong; upon little clusters of their
fathers and mothers gravely talking together. From the veranda
above, mingling with the laughing, chattering voices, the alluring
strains of the orchestra invited to waltz, or fox trot. As the
flame died from the western sky and the shadows crept down from the
trees, the bonfire was set alight. As the flame leaped high the
soft strains of the orchestra died away. Then suddenly, clear,
full and strong, a chord sounded forth, another, and then another.
A hush fell upon the chattering, laughing crowd. Then as they
caught the strain men lolling upon the ground sprang to their feet;
lads stood at attention.
"Send him victorious,"
some one sang timidly, giving words to the music. In one instant a
hundred throats were wide open singing the words:
"Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save our King."
Again the chords sounded and at once the verse from the first was
"God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save our King,
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save our King."
As the last note died Ramsay Dunn leaped upon a huge boulder, threw
up his hand and began,
"In days of yore, from Britain's shore."
A yell greeted him, sudden, fierce, triumphant, drowned his voice,
then ceased! And again from a hundred throats of men and women,
boys and girls, the words rang out,
"There may it wave, our boast and pride,
And joined in love together,
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwine,
The Maple Leaf forever."
Again and again and once again they followed Ramsay in the quick,
shrill Canadian cheer that was to be heard in after days in places
widely different and far remote from that gay, moonlit, lantern-
decked, boat-thronged, water-lapped island in that far northern
Canadian lake. Following the cheers there came stillness. Men
looked sheepishly at each other as if caught in some silly prank.
Then once more the Spectre drew near. But this time they declined
not to look, but with steady, grave, appraising eyes they faced The
Thing, resolute to know the worst, and in quiet undertones they
talked together of War.
The bonfire roared gloriously up through the dark night, throwing
far gleams out upon the moonlit waters in front and upon the dark
woods behind. The people gathered about the fire and disposed
themselves in groups upon the sloping, grassy sward under the
trees, upon the shelving rocks and upon the sandy shore.
But Mr. Murray had business on hand. In company with Dr. Brown and
the minister, Mr. McPherson, he sought his host. "Would it be
possible, Mr. Rushbrooke," he said, "to gather a number of business
men here together?"
"What for?" inquired Rushbrooke.
"Well, I may be all wrong," said Mr. Murray apologetically, "but
I have the feeling that we ought without delay to discuss what
preliminary steps should be taken to meet with the critical
conditions brought on by the war."
"But, Mr. Murray," cried Mrs. Rushbrooke, who was standing by her
husband's side, "they are all so happy it would seem a great pity
to introduce this horrible thing at such a time."
"Do you really think it necessary, Murray?" said Mr. Rushbrooke,
who was an older man than Mr. Murray, and who was unwilling to
accede to him any position of dominance in the business world of
Winnipeg. "There's really nothing we can do. It seems to me that
we must keep our heads and as far as possible prevent undue
excitement and guard against panic."
"Perhaps you are right, Mr. Rushbrooke. The thought in my mind was
that we ought to get a meeting together in Winnipeg soon. But
everybody is away. A great many are here at the Lake; it seemed a
good opportunity to make some preliminary arrangement."
"My dear Mr. Murray," said Mrs. Rushbrooke, "I cannot help feeling
that you take this too seriously, besides there can hardly be need
for such precipitate action. Of course, we are at war, and Canada
will do her part, but to introduce such a horrible theme in a
company of young people seems to me to be somehow out of place."
"Very well, Mrs. Rushbrooke, if you say so. I have no desire to
intrude," said Mr. Murray.
"But, Mr. Rushbrooke, the thing has to be faced," interposed Mr.
McPherson. "We cannot shut our eyes to the fact of war, and this
is the supreme fact in our national life to-day. Everything else
"Oh, I do not agree with you, Mr. McPherson," said Mrs. Rushbrooke,
taking the word out of her husband's mouth. "Of course war is
terrible and all that, but men must do their work. The Doctor here
must continue to look after his sick, Mr. Murray has his business,
you must care for your congregation."
"I do not know about that, Mrs. Rushbrooke," said the minister. "I
do not know about that at all."
"Why, Mr. McPherson, you surprise me! Must not my husband attend
to his business, must not the Doctor look after his patients?"
A number of men had gathered about during the course of the
conversation. "No," said Mr. McPherson, his voice ringing out in
decided tones. "There is only one 'must' for us now, and that is
War. For the Empire, for every man, woman, and child in Canada,
the first thing, and by comparison the only thing, is War."
That dread word rang out sharp, insistent, penetrating through the
quiet hum of voices rising from the groups about the fire. By
this time a very considerable number of men present had joined
themselves to the group about the speakers.
"Well, Mr. Murray," said Mr. Rushbrooke, with a laugh, "it seems to
me that we cannot help it very well. If you wish to discourse upon
the war, you have your audience and you have my permission."
"It is not my intention to discourse upon the war, Mr. Rushbrooke,
but with your permission I will just tell our friends here how my
mind has worked since learning this terrible news this morning. My
first impulse was to take the first train to Winnipeg, for I know
that it will be necessary for me to readjust my business to the new
conditions created by war. My second thought was that there were
others like me; that, in fact, the whole business public of
Winnipeg would be similarly affected. I felt the need of counsel
so that I should make no mistake that would imperil the interests
of others. I accepted Mrs. Rushbrooke's invitation to come to-
night in the hope of meeting with a number of the business men of
Winnipeg. The more I think of it the more terrible this thing
becomes. The ordinary conditions of business are gone. We shall
all need to readjust ourselves in every department of life. It
seems to me that we must stand together and meet this calamity as
best we can, wisely, fairly and fearlessly. The main point to be
considered is, should we not have a general meeting of the business
men of Winnipeg, and if so, when?"
Mr. Murray's words were received in deep silence, and for a time no
one made reply. Then Mr. Rushbrooke made answer.
"We all feel the importance of what Mr. Murray has said. Personally,
though, I am of the opinion that we should avoid all unnecessary
excitement and everything approaching panic. The war will doubtless
be a short one. Germany, after long preparation, has decided to
challenge Great Britain's power. Still, Britain is ready for her.
She has accepted the challenge; and though her army is not great,
she is yet not unprepared. Between the enemy and Britain's shores
there lies that mighty, invisible and invincible line of defence,
the British navy. With the French armies on the one side and the
Russian on the other, Germany can not last. In these days, with the
terrible engines of destruction that science has produced, wars will
be short and sharp. Germany will get her medicine and I hope it
will do her good."
If Mr. Rushbrooke expected his somewhat flamboyant speech to awaken
enthusiastic approval, he must have been disappointed. His words
were received in grave silence. The fact of war was far too
unfamiliar and too overwhelming to make it easy for them to compass
it in their thoughts or to deal in any adequate way with its
After some moments of silence the minister spoke. "I wish I could
agree with Mr. Rushbrooke," he said. "But I cannot. My study of
this question has impressed me with the overwhelming might of
Germany's military power. The war may be short and sharp, and that
is what Germany is counting upon. But if it be short and sharp,
the issue will be a German victory. The French army is not fully
prepared, I understand. Russia is an untrained and unwieldy mass.
There is, of course, the British navy, and with all my heart I
thank God that our fleet appears to be fit for service. But with
regard even to our navy we ought to remember that it is as yet
untried in modern warfare. I confess I cannot share Mr. Rushbrooke's
optimistic views as to the war. But whether he be right or I, one
thing stands out clear in my mind--that we should prepare ourselves
to do our duty. At whatever cost to our country or to ourselves, as
individuals, this duty is laid upon us. It is the first, the
immediate, the all-absorbing duty of every man, woman and child in
Canada to make war. God help us not to shrink."
"How many in this company will be in Winnipeg this week, say to-
morrow?" inquired Mr. Murray. The hand of every business man in
the company went up. "Then suppose we call a meeting at my office
immediately upon the arrival of the train." And to this they
The Rushbrooke bonfire was an annual event and ever the most
notable of all its kind during the holiday season at the Lake.
This year the preparations for the festive gathering had exceeded
those of previous years, and Mrs. Rushbrooke's expectations of a
brilliantly successful function were proportionately high. But she
had not counted upon War. And so it came that ever as the applause
following song or story died down, the Spectre drew near, and upon
even the most light-hearted of the company a strange quiet would
fall, and they would find themselves staring into the fire
forgetful of all about them, thinking of what might be. They would
have broken up early but Mrs. Rushbrooke strenuously resisted any
such attempt. But the sense of the impending horror chilled the
gaiety of the evening and halted the rush of the fun till the
hostess gave up in despair and no longer opposed the departure of
"Mr. McPherson," she said, as that gentleman came to bid her good-
night, "I am quite cross with you. You made us all feel so blue
and serious that you quite spoiled our bonfire."
"I wish it were only I that had spoiled it, Mrs. Rushbrooke," said
Mr. McPherson gravely. "But even your graceful hospitality to-
night, which has never been excelled even by yourself at the Lake
of the Woods, could not make us forget, and God forgive us if we do
"Oh, Mr. McPherson," persisted Mrs. Rushbrooke, in a voice that
strove to be gaily reproachful, "we must not become pessimistic.
We must be cheerful even if we are at war."
"Thank you for that word," said the minister solemnly. "It is a
true word and a right word, and it is a word we shall need to
remember more and more."
"The man would drive me mad," said Mrs. Rushbrooke to Mr. Murray as
they watched the boats away. "I am more than thankful that he is
not my clergyman."
"Yes, indeed," said her husband, who stood near her and shared her
feelings of disappointment. "It seems to me he takes things far
"I wonder," said Dr. Brown, who stood with Mr. Murray preparatory
to taking his departure. "I wonder if we know just how serious
this thing is. I frankly confess, Mr. Rushbrooke, that my mind has
been in an appalling condition of chaos this afternoon; and every
hour the thing grows more terrible as I think of it. But as you
say, we must cheer up."
"Surely we must," replied Rushbrooke impatiently. "I am convinced
this war will soon be over. In three months the British navy
together with the armies of their allies will wind this thing up."
Through a wonder world of moonlit waterways and dark, mysterious
channels, around peninsulas and between islands, across an open
traverse and down a little bay, they took their course until Jim
had them safely landed at their own dock again. The magic beauty
of the white light upon wooded island and gleaming lake held them
in its spell for some minutes after they had landed till Mrs.
Murray came down from the bungalow to meet them.
"Safe back again," she cried with an all too evident effort to be
cheery. "How lovely the night is, and how peaceful! James," she
said in a low voice, turning to her husband, "I wish you would go
to Isabel. I cannot get her to sleep. She says she must see you."
"Why, what's up?"
"I think she has got a little fright," said his wife. "She has
been sobbing pitifully."
Mr. Murray found the little thing wide awake, her breath coming in
the deep sobs of exhaustion that follows tempestuous tears.
"What's the trouble, Sweetheart?"
"Oh, Daddy," cried the child, flinging herself upon him and
bursting anew into an ecstasy of weeping, "she--said--you would--
have--to--go. But--you won't--will you--Daddy?"
"Why, Isabel, what do you mean, dear? Go where?"
"To the--war--Daddy--they said--you would--have--to go--to the
"Mabel. But--you--won't, will you, Daddy?"
"Mabel is a silly little goose," said Mr. Murray angrily. "No,
never fear, my Sweetheart, they won't expect me to go. I am far
too old, you know. Now, then, off you go to sleep. Do you know,
the moon is shining so bright outside that the little birds can't
sleep. I just heard a little bird as we were coming home cheeping
away just like, you. I believe she could not go to sleep."
But the child could not forget that terrible word which had rooted
itself in her heart. "But you will not go; promise me, Daddy, you
will not go."
"Why, Sweetheart, listen to me."
"But promise me, Daddy, promise me." The little thing clung to him
in a paroxysm of grief and terror.
"Listen, Isabel dear," said her father quietly. "You know I always
tell you the truth. Now listen to me. I promise you I won't go
until you send me yourself. Will that do?"
"Yes, Daddy," she said, and drew a long breath. "Now I am so
tired, Daddy." Even as she spoke the little form relaxed in his
arms and in a moment she was fast asleep.
As her father held her there the Spectre drew near again, but for
the moment his courage failed him and he dared not look.
THE TUCK OF DRUM
In the midst of her busy summer work in field and factory, on lake
and river, in mine and forest, on an August day of 1914, Canada was
stricken to the heart. Out of a blue summer sky a bolt as of death
smote her, dazed and dumb, gasping to God her horror and amaze.
Without word of warning, without thought of preparation, without
sense of desert, War, brutal, bloody, devilish War, was thrust into
her life by that power whose business in the world, whose confidence
and glory, was war.
For some days, stunned by the unexpectedness of the blow, as much
as by its weight, Canada stood striving to regain her poise. Then
with little outcry, and with less complaint, she gathered herself
for her spring. A week, and then another, she stood breathless and
following with eyes astrain the figure of her ally, little Belgium,
gallant and heroic, which had moved out upon the world arena, the
first to offer battle to the armour-weighted, monstrous war lord of
Europe, on his way to sate his soul long thirsty for blood--men's
if he could, women's and little children's by preference, being
less costly. And as she stood and strained her eyes across the sea
by this and other sights moved to her soul's depths, she made
choice, not by compulsion but of her own free will, of war, and
having made her choice, she set herself to the business of getting
ready. From Pacific to Atlantic, from Vancouver to Halifax,
reverberated the beat of the drum calling for men willing to go out
and stand with the Empire's sons in their fight for life and faith
and freedom. Twenty-five thousand Canada asked for. In less than
a month a hundred thousand men were battering at the recruiting
offices demanding enlistment in the First Canadian Expeditionary
Force. From all parts of Canada this demand was heard, but nowhere
with louder insistence than in that part which lies beyond the
Great Lakes. In Winnipeg, the Gateway City of the West, every
regiment of militia at once volunteered in its full strength for
active service. Every class in the community, every department of
activity, gave an immediate response to the country's call. The
Board of Trade; the Canadian Club, that free forum of national
public opinion; the great courts of the various religious bodies;
the great fraternal societies and whatsoever organisation had a
voice, all pledged unqualified, unlimited, unhesitating support to
the Government in its resolve to make war.
Early in the first week of war wild rumours flew of victory and
disaster, but the heart of Winnipeg as of the nation was chiefly
involved in the tragic and glorious struggle of little Belgium.
And when two weeks had gone and Belgium, bruised, crushed, but
unconquered, lay trampled in the bloody dust beneath the brutal
boots of the advancing German hordes, Canada with the rest of the
world had come to measure more adequately the nature and the
immensity of the work in hand. By her two weeks of glorious
conflict Belgium had uncovered to the world's astonished gaze two
portentous and significant facts: one, stark and horrible, that the
German military power knew neither ruth nor right; the other,
gloriously conspicuous, that Germany's much-vaunted men-of-war were
On the first Sunday of the war the churches of Winnipeg were full
to the doors. Men, whose attendance was more or less desultory and
to a certain extent dependent upon the weather, were conscious of
an impulse to go to church. War had shaken the foundations of
their world, and men were thinking their deepest thoughts and
facing realities too often neglected or minimised. "I have been
thinking of God these days," said a man to Mr. Murray as they
walked home from business on Saturday, and there were many like
him in Canada in those first days of August. Without being able
definitely to define it there was in the hearts of men a sense of
need of some clear word of guiding, and in this crisis of Canadian
history the churches of Canada were not found wanting. The same
Spirit that in ancient days sent forth the Hebrew Isaiah with a
message of warning and counsel for the people of his day and which
in the great crises of nations has found utterance through the lips
of men of humble and believing hearts once more became a source of
guidance and of courage.
The message varied with the character and training of the
messenger. In the church of which Reverend Andrew McPherson was
the minister the people were called to repentance and faith and
"Listen to the Word of God," cried the minister, "spoken indeed to
men of another race and another time, but spoken as truly for the
men of this day and of this nation. 'Thus saith Jehovah, thy
Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am Jehovah thy God, which
teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou
shouldst go. Oh, that thou wouldst hearken to my commandments!
then would thy peace be as a river, and thy righteousness as the
waves of the sea. . . . There is no peace, saith Jehovah, to the
wicked.' Echoing down through the centuries, these great words
have verified themselves in every age and may in our day verify
themselves anew. Peace and righteousness are necessarily and
eternally bound together." He refused to discuss with them to-day
the causes of this calamity that had fallen upon them and upon the
world. But in the name of that same Almighty, Holy God, he
summoned the people to repentance and to righteousness, for without
righteousness there could be no peace.
In the Cathedral there rang out over the assembled people the Call
to Sacrifice. "He that saveth his life shall lose it; and he that
loseth his life for My sake shall find it." The instinct to save
life was fundamental and universal. There were times when man must
resist that instinct and choose to surrender life. Such was the
present time. Dear as life was, there were things infinitely more
precious to mankind, and these things were in peril. For the
preserving of these things to the world our Empire had resolved
upon war, and throughout the Empire the call had sounded forth for
men willing to sacrifice their lives. To this call Canada would
make response, and only thus could Canada save her life. For
faith, for righteousness, for humanity, our Empire had accepted
war. And now, as ever, the pathway to immortality for men and for
nations was the pathway of sacrifice.
In St. Mary's the priest, an Irishman of warm heart and of fiery
fighting spirit, summoned the faithful to faith and duty. To faith
in the God of their fathers who through his church had ever led his
people along the stern pathway of duty. The duty of the hour was
that of united and whole-hearted devotion to the cause of Freedom,
for which Great Britain had girded on her sword. The heart of the
Empire had been thrilled by the noble words of the leader of the
Irish Party in the House of Commons at Home, in which he pledged
the Irish people to the cause of the world's Freedom. In this
great struggle all loyal Sons of Canada of all races and creeds
would be found united in the defence of this sacred cause.
The newspaper press published full reports of many of the sermons
preached. These sermons all struck the same note--repentance,
sacrifice, service. On Monday morning men walked with surer tread
because the light was falling clearer upon the path they must take.
In the evening, when Jane and her friend, Ethel Murray, were on
their way downtown, they heard the beat of a drum. Was it fancy,
or was there in that beat something they had never heard in a drum
beat before, something more insistent, more compelling? They
hurried to Portage Avenue and there saw Winnipeg's famous historic
regiment, the Ninetieth Rifles, march with quick, brisk step to the
drum beat of their bugle band.
"Look," cried Ethel, "there's Pat Scallons, and Ted Tuttle, and
Fred Sharp, too. I did not know that he belonged to the
Ninetieth." And as they passed, rank on rank, Ethel continued to
name the friends whom she recognised.
But Jane stood uttering no word. The sight of these lads stepping
to the drum beat so proudly had sent a chill to her heart and tears
to her eyes. "Oh, Ethel," she cried, touching her friend's arm,
"isn't it terrible?"
"Why, what's the matter?" cried Ethel, glancing at her. "Think of
what they are marching to!"
"Oh, I can't bear it," said Jane.
But Ethel was more engaged with the appearance of the battalion,
from the ranks of which she continued to pick out the faces of her
friends. "Look," she cried, "that surely is not Kellerman! It is!
It is! Look, Jane, there's that little Jew. Is it possible?"
"Kellerman?" cried Jane. "No, it can't be he. There are no Jews
in the Ninetieth."
"But it is," cried Ethel. "It is Kellerman. Let us go up to
Broadway and we shall meet them again."
They turned up a cross street and were in time to secure a position
from which they could get a good look at the faces of the lads as
they passed. The battalion was marching at attention, and so rigid
was the discipline that not a face was turned toward the two young
ladies standing at the street corner. A glance of the eye and a
smile they received from their friends as they passed, but no man
turned his head.
"There he is," said Jane. "It is Kellerman--in the second row,
"Sure enough, it is Kellerman," said Ethel. "Well, what has come
"War," said Jane solemnly. "And a good many more of the boys will
be going too, if they are any good."
As Kellerman came stepping along he caught sight of the girls
standing there, but no sign of recognition did he make. He was too
anxious to be considered a soldier for that. Steadiness was one of
the primary principles knocked into the minds of recruits by the
The girls moved along after the column had passed at a sufficient
distance to escape the rabble. At the drill hall they found the
street blocked by a crowd of men, women and children.
"What is all this, I wonder?" said Ethel. "Let us wait here
awhile. Perhaps we may come across some one we know."
It was a strange crowd that gathered about the entrance to the
drill hall, not the usual assemblage of noisy, idly curious folk of
the lighter weight that are wont to follow a marching battalion or
gather to the sound of a band. It was composed of substantial and
solid people, serious in face and quiet in demeanour. They were
there on business, a business of the gravest character. As the
girls stood waiting they heard far down Broadway the throbbing of
"Listen, Ethel," cried Jane. "The Pipes!"
"The Pipes !" echoed Ethel in great excitement. "The Kilties!"
Above the roll and rattle of the drums they caught those high,
heart-thrilling sounds which for nearly two hundred years have been
heard on every famous British battlefield, and which have ever led
Scotland's sons down the path of blood and death to imperishable
A young Ninetieth officer, intent on seeing that the way was kept
clear for the soldiers, came striding out of the armoury.
"Oh, there's Frank Smart," said Ethel. "I wish he would see us."
As if in answer to her wish, Smart turned about and saw them in the
crowd. Immediately he came to them.
"I didn't know you were a soldier, Frank," said Jane, greeting him
with a radiant smile.
"I had almost forgotten it myself," said Frank. "But I was at
church yesterday and I went home and looked up my uniform and here
"You are not going across, Frank, are you?" said Ethel.
"If I can. There is very strong competition between both officers
and men. I have been paying little attention to soldiering for a
year or so; I have been much too busy. But now things are
different. If I can make it, I guess I will go."
"Oh, Frank, YOU don't need to go, said Ethel. I mean there are
heaps of men all over Canada wanting to go. Why should YOU go?"
"The question a fellow must ask himself is rather why should he
stay," replied the young officer. "Don't you think so, Jane?"
"Yes," said Jane, drawing in her breath sharply but smiling at him.
"Do you want to go in?" asked Frank.
"Oh, do let's go in," said Ethel.
But Jane shrank back. "I don't like to go through all those men,"
she said, "though I should like greatly to see Kellerman," she
added. "I wonder if I could see him."
"Yes, he's Jane's special, you know," said Ethel. "They ran close
together for the German prize, you remember. You don't know him?
A little Jew chap."
"No, I don't know him," said Smart. "But you can certainly see him
if you wish. Just come with me; I will get you in. But first I
have got to see that this way is kept clear for the Highlanders."
"Oh, let's wait to see them come up," said Ethel.
"Well, then, stand here," said Frank. "There may be a crush, but
if you don't mind that we will follow right after them. Here they
come. Great lads, aren't they?"
"And they have their big feather bonnets on, too," said Ethel.
Down the street the Highlanders came in column of fours, the pipe
"Aren't they gorgeous?" said Smart with generous praise for a rival
battalion. "Chesty-looking devils, eh?" he added as they drew
near. "You would think that Pipe Major owned at least half of
"And the big drummer the other half," added Ethel. "Look at his
sticks. He's got a classy twirl, hasn't he?"
Gorgeous they were, their white spats flashing in time with their
step, their kilts swaying free over their tartan hose and naked
knees, their white tunics gleaming through the dusk of the evening,
and over all the tossing plumes of their great feather bonnets
nodding rhythmically with their swinging stride.
"Mighty glad we have not to fight those boys," said Frank as the
column swung past into the armoury.
The crowd which on other occasions would have broken into
enthusiastic cheers to-night stood in silence while the Highlanders
in all their gorgeous splendour went past. That grave silence was
characteristic of the Winnipeg crowds those first days of war.
Later they found voice.
"Now we can go in. Come right along," said Smart. "Stand clear
there, boys. You can't go in unless you have an order."
"We ar-r-e wantin' tae join," said a Scotch voice.
"You are, eh? Come along then. Fall into line there." The men
immediately dropped into line. "Ah, you have been there before, I
see," said Smart.
"Aye, ye'er-r-r right ther-r-re, sir-r-r," answered the voice.
"You will be for the Kilties, boys?" said Frank.
"Aye. What else?" asked the same man in surprise.
"There is only one regiment for the Scotchman apparently," said
Frank, leading the way to the door. "Just hold these men here
until I see what's doing, will you?" he said to the sentry as he
passed in. "Now, then, young ladies, step to your right and await
me in that corner. I must see what's to be done with these
recruits. Then I shall find Kellerman for you."
But he had no need to look for Kellerman, for before he returned
the little Jew had caught sight of the young ladies and had made
his way to them.
"Why, how splendid you look, Mr. Kellerman," said Ethel. "I did
not know you were in the Ninetieth."
"I wasn't until Friday."
"Do you mean to say you joined up to go away?" inquired Ethel.
"That's what," said Kellerman.
"But you are--I mean--I do not see--" Ethel stopped in confusion.
"What you mean, Miss Murray, is that you are surprised at a Jew
joining a military organisation," said Kellerman with a quiet
dignity quite new to him. Formerly his normal condition was one of
half defiant, half cringing nervousness in the presence of ladies.
To-night he carried himself with an easy self-possession, and it
was due to more than the uniform.
"I am afraid you are right. It is horrid of me and I am awfully
sorry," said Ethel, impulsively offering him her hand.
"Why did you join, Mr. Kellerman?" said Jane in her quiet voice.
"Why, I hardly know if I can tell you. I will, though," he added
with a sudden impulse, "if you care to hear."
"Oh, do tell us," said Ethel. But Kellerman looked at Jane.
"If you care to tell, Mr. Kellerman," she said.
The little Jew stood silent a few minutes, leaning upon his rifle
and looking down upon the ground. Then in a low, soft voice he
began: "I was born in Poland--German Poland. The first thing I
remember is seeing my mother kneeling, weeping and wringing her
hands beside my father's dead body outside the door of our little
house in our village. He was a student, a scholar, and a patriot."
Kellerman's voice took on a deeper and firmer tone. "He stood for
the Polish language in the schools. There was a riot in our
village. A German officer struck my father down and killed him on
the ground. My mother wiped the blood off his white face--I can
see that white face now--with her apron. She kept that apron; she
has it yet. We got somehow to London soon after that. The English
people were good to us. The German people are tyrants. They have
no use for free peoples." The little Jew's words snapped through
his teeth. "When war came a week ago I could not sleep for two
nights. On Friday I joined the Ninetieth. That night I slept ten
hours." As he finished his story the lad stood staring straight
before him into the moving crowd. He had forgotten the girls who
with horror-stricken faces had been listening to him. He was still
seeing that white face smeared with blood.
"And your mother?" said Jane gently as she laid her hand upon his
The boy started. "My mother? Oh, my mother, she went with me to
the recruiting office and saw me take the oath. She is satisfied
For some moments the girls stood silent, unable to find their
voices. Then Jane said, her eyes glowing with a deep inner light,
"Mr. Kellerman, I am proud of you."
"Thank you, Miss Brown; it does me good to hear you say that. But
you have always been good to me."
"And I want you to come and see me before you go," said Jane as she
gave him her hand. "Now will you take us out through the crowd?
We must get along."
"Certainly, Miss Brown. Just come with me." With a fine,
soldierly tread the young Jew led them through the crowd and put
them on their way. He did not shake hands with them as he said
good-bye, but gave them instead a military salute, of which he was
apparently distinctly proud.
"Tell me, Jane," said Ethel, as they set off down the street, "am I
awake? Is that little Kellerman, the greasy little Jew whom we
used to think such a beast?"
"Isn't he splendid?" said Jane. "Poor little Kellerman! You know,
Ethel, he had not one girl friend in college? I am sorry now we
were not better to him."
The streets were full of people walking hurriedly or gathered here
and there in groups, all with grave, solemn faces. In front of The
Times office a huge concourse stood before the bulletin boards
reading the latest despatches. These were ominous enough: "The
Germans Still Battering Liege Forts--Kaiser's Army Nearing
Brussels--Four Millions of Men Marching on France--Russia Hastening
Her Mobilisation--Kitchener Calls for One Hundred Thousand Men--
Canada Will Send Expeditionary Force of Twenty-five Thousand Men--
Camp at Valcartier Nearly Ready--Parliament Assembles Thursday."
Men read the bulletins and talked quietly to each other. They had
not yet reached clearness in their thinking as to how this dread
thing had fallen upon their country so far from the storm centre,
so remote in all vital relations. There was no cheering--the
cheering days came later--no ebullient emotion, but the tightening
of lip and jaw in their stern, set faces was a sufficient index of
the tensity of feeling. Canadians were thinking things out,
thinking keenly and swiftly, for in the atmosphere and actuality of
war mental processes are carried on at high pressure.
As the girls stood at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main waiting
for a crossing, an auto held up in the traffic drew close to their
"Hello, Ethel! Won't you get in?" said a voice at their ear.
"Hello, Lloyd! Hello, Helen!" cried Ethel. "We will, most
certainly. Are you joying, or what?"
"Both," said Lloyd Rushbrooke, who was at the wheel. "Helen wanted
to see the soldiers. She is interested in the Ninetieth but he
wasn't there and I am just taking her about."
"We saw the Ninetieth and the Kilties too," said Ethel. "Oh, they
are fine! Oh, Helen, whom do you think we saw in the Ninetieth?
You will never guess--Heinrich Kellerman."
"Good Lord! That greasy little Sheeney?" exclaimed Rushbrooke.
"Look out, Lloyd. He's Jane's friend," said Ethel.
Lloyd laughed uproariously at the joke. "And you say the little
Yid was in the Ninetieth? Well, what is the Ninetieth coming to?"
"Lloyd, you mustn't say a word against Mr. Kellerman," said Jane.
"I think he is a real man."
"Oh, come, Jane. That little Hebrew Shyster? Why, he does not
wash more than once a year!"
"I don't care if he never washes at all. I won't have you speak of
him that way," said Jane. "I mean it. He is a friend of mine."
"And of mine, too," said Ethel, "since to-night. Why, he gave me
thrills up in the armoury as he told us why he joined up."
"One ten per, eh?" said Lloyd.
"Shall I tell him?" said Ethel.
"No, you will not," said Jane decidedly. "Lloyd would not
"Oh, I say, Jane, don't spike a fellow like that. I am just
"I won't have you joke in that way about Mr. Kellerman, at least,
not to me." Few of her college mates had ever seen Jane angry.
They all considered her the personification of even-tempered
"If you take it that way, of course I apologise," said Lloyd.
"Now listen to me, Lloyd," said Jane. "I am going to tell you why
he joined up." And in tones thrilling with the intensity of her
emotion and finally breaking, she recounted Kellerman's story.
"And that is why he is going to the war, and I am proud of him,"
"Splendid!" cried Helen Brookes. "You are in the Ninetieth, too,
Lloyd, aren't you?"
"Yes," said Lloyd. "At least, I was. I have not gone much lately.
I have not had time for the military stuff, so I canned it."
"And we saw Pat Scallons and Ted Tuttle in the Ninetieth, too, and
Ramsay Dunn--oh, he did look fine in his uniform--and Frank Smart--
he is going if he can," said Ethel. "I wonder what his mother will
do. He is the only son, you know."
"Well, if you ask me, I think that is rot. It is not right for
Smart. There are lots of fellows who can go," said Lloyd in quite
an angry tone. "Why, they say they have nearly got the twenty-five
"My, I would like to be in the first twenty-five thousand if I were
a man," said Ethel. "There is something fine in that. Wouldn't
"I am not a man," said Jane shortly.
"Why the first twenty-five thousand?" said Lloyd. "Oh, that is
just sentimental rot. If a man was really needed, he would go; but
if not, why should he? There's no use getting rattled over this
thing. Besides, somebody's got to keep things going here. I think
that is a fine British motto that they have adopted in England,
'Business as usual.'"
"'Business as usual!'" exclaimed Jane in a tone of unutterable
contempt. "I think I must be going home, Lloyd," she added. "Can
you take me?"
"What's the rush, Jane? It is early yet. Let's take a turn out to
But Jane insisted on going home. Never before in all her life had
she found herself in a mood in which she could with difficulty
control her speech. She could not understand how it was that Lloyd
Rushbrooke, whom she had always greatly liked, should have become
at once distasteful to her. She could hardly bear the look upon
his handsome face. His clever, quick-witted fun, which she had
formerly enjoyed, now grated horribly. Of all the college boys in
her particular set, none was more popular, none better liked, than
Lloyd Rushbrooke. Now she was mainly conscious of a desire to
escape from his company. This feeling distressed her. She wanted
to be alone that she might think it out. That was Jane's way. She
always knew her own mind, could always account for her emotions,
because she was intellectually honest and had sufficient fortitude
to look facts in the face. At the door she did not ask even her
friend, Ethel, to come in with her. Nor did she make excuse for
omitting this courtesy. That, too, was Jane's way. She was honest
with her friends as with herself. She employed none of the little
fibbing subterfuges which polite manners approve and which are
employed to escape awkward situations, but which, of course,
deceive no one. She was simple, sincere, direct in her mental and
moral processes, and possessed a courage of the finest quality.
Under ordinary circumstances she would have cleared up her thinking
and worked her soul through the mist and stress of the rough
weather by talking it over with her father or by writing a letter
to Larry. But during the days of the past terrible week she had
discovered that her father, too, was tempest-tossed to an even
greater degree than she was herself; and somehow she had no heart
to write to Larry. Indeed, she knew not what to say. Her whole
world was in confusion.
And in Winnipeg there were many like her. In every home, while
faces carried bold fronts, there was heart searching of the
ultimate depths and there was purging of souls. In every office,
in every shop, men went about their work resolute to keep minds
sane, faces calm, and voices steady, but haunted by a secret
something which they refused to call fear--which was not fear--but
which as yet they were unwilling to acknowledge and which they were
unable to name. With every bulletin from across the sea the
uncertainty deepened. Every hour they waited for news of a great
victory for the fleet. The second day of the war a rumour of such
a victory had come across the wires and had raised hopes for a day
which next day were dashed to despair. One ray of light, thin but
marvellously bright, came from Belgium. For these six breathless
days that gallant little people had barred the way against the
onrushing multitudes of Germany's military hosts. The story of the
defence of Liege was to the Allies like a big drink of wine to a
fainting man. But Belgium could not last. And what of France?
What France would do no man could say. It was exceedingly doubtful
whether there was in the French soul that enduring quality, whether
in the army or in the nation, that would be steadfast in the face
of disaster. The British navy was fit, thank God! But as to the
army, months must elapse before a British army of any size could be
on the fighting line.
Another agonising week passed and still there was no sure word of
hope from the Front. In Canada one strong, heartening note had
been sounded. The Canadian Parliament had met and with splendid
unhesitating unanimity had approved all the steps the Government
had taken, had voted large sums for the prosecution of the war, and
had pledged Canada to the Empire to the limit of her power. That
fearless challenge flung out into the cloud wrapped field of war
was like a clear bugle call in the night. It rallied and steadied
the young nation, touched her pride, and breathed serene resolve
into the Canadian heart. Canadians of all classes drew a long,
deep breath of relief as they heard of the action of their
Parliament. Doubts, uncertainties vanished like morning mists
blown by the prairie breeze. They knew not as yet the magnitude of
the task that lay before them, but they knew that whatever it might
be, they would not go back from it.
At the end of the second week the last fort in Liege had fallen;
Brussels, too, was gone; Antwerp threatened. Belgium was lost.
From Belgian villages and towns were beginning to come those tales
of unbelievable atrocities that were to shock the world into
horrified amazement. These tales read in the Canadian papers
clutched men's throats and gripped men's hearts as with cruel
fingers of steel. Canadians were beginning to see red. The blood
of Belgium's murdered victims was indeed to prove throughout Canada
and throughout the world the seed of mighty armies.
At the end of the second week Jane could refrain no longer. She
wrote to Larry.
A NEUTRAL NATION
The first days of the war were for Larry days of dazed bewilderment
and of ever-deepening misery. The thing which he had believed
impossible had come. That great people upon whose generous ideals
and liberal Christian culture he had grounded a sure hope of
permanent peace had flung to the winds all the wisdom, and all
justice, and all the humanity which the centuries had garnered for
them, and, following the primal instincts of the brute, had hurled
forth upon the world ruthless war. Even the great political party
of the Social Democrats upon which he had relied to make war
impossible had without protest or division proclaimed enthusiastic
allegiance to the war programme of the Kaiser. The universities
and the churches, with their preachers and professors, had led the
people in mad acclaim of war. His whole thinking on the subject
had been proved wrong. Passionately he had hoped against hope that
Britain would not allow herself to enter the war, but apparently
her struggle for peace had been in vain. His first feeling was one
of bitter disappointment and of indignation with the great leaders
of the British people who had allowed themselves to become involved
in a Mid-European quarrel. Sir Edward Grey's calm, moderate--sub-
moderate, indeed--exposition of the causes which had forced Britain
into war did much to cool his indignation, and Bethmann-Hollweg's
cynical explanation of the violation of Belgium's neutrality went
far to justify Britain's action consequent upon that outraging of
treaty faith. The deliberate initiation of the policy of
"frightfulness" which had heaped such unspeakable horrors upon the
Belgian people tore the veil from the face of German militarism and
revealed in its sheer brutality the ruthlessness and lawlessness of
that monstrous system.
From the day of Austria's ultimatum to Servia Larry began to read
everything he could find dealing with modern European history, and
especially German history. Day and night he studied with feverish
intensity the diplomacy and policies of the great powers of Europe
till at length he came to a somewhat clear understanding of the
modern theory and world policy of the German state which had made
war inevitable. But, though his study made it possible for him to
relieve his country from the charge of guilt in this war, his
anxiety and his misery remained. For one thing, he was oppressed
with an overwhelming loneliness. He began to feel that he was
dwelling among an alien people. He had made many and close friends
during the months of his stay in Chicago. But while they were
quick to offer him sympathy in his anxiety and misery, he could not
fail to observe on every hand the obvious and necessary indications
of the neutral spirit. He could expect nothing else. In this
conflict America had decided that she was not immediately concerned
and she was resolute to remain unconcerned. A leading representative
of the Chicago press urged Americans to be careful not to "rock the
boat." The President of the United States counselled his people "to
keep calm" and to observe the strictest neutrality. Larry
discovered, too, an unconfessed, almost unconscious desire in the
heart of many an American, a relic of Revolutionary days, to see
England not destroyed or even seriously disabled, but, say, "well
trimmed." It would do her good. There was, beside, a large element
in the city distinctly and definitely pro-German and intensely
hostile to Great Britain. On his way to the office one afternoon
Larry found himself held up by a long procession of young German
reservists singing with the utmost vigour and with an unmistakable
note of triumph the German national air, "Die Wacht Am Rhein," and
that newer song which embodied German faith and German ambition,
"Deutschland Uber Alles." When he arrived at the office that
afternoon he was surprised to find that he was unable to go on with
his work for the trembling of his hands. In the office he was
utterly alone, for, however his friends there might take pains to
show extra kindness, he was conscious of complete isolation from
their life. Unconcerned, indifferent, coolly critical of the great
conflict in which his people were pouring out blood like water, they
were like spectators at a football match on the side lines willing
to cheer good play on either side and ready to acclaim the winner.
The Wakehams, though extremely careful to avoid a word or act that
might give him pain, naturally shared the general feeling of their
people. For them the war was only another of those constantly
recurring European scraps which were the inevitable result of the
forms of government which these nations insisted upon retaining.
If peoples were determined to have kings and emperors, what other
could they expect but wars. France, of course, was quite another
thing. The sympathy of America with France was deep, warm and
sincere. America could not forget the gallant Lafayette. Besides,
France was the one European republic. As for Britain, the people
of Chicago were content to maintain a profoundly neutral calm, and
to a certain extent the Wakehams shared this feeling.
In Larry's immediate circle, however, there were two exceptions.
One, within the Wakeham family, was Elfie. Quick to note the signs
of wretchedness in him and quick to feel the attitude of neutrality
assumed by her family toward the war, the child, without stint and
without thought, gave him a love and a sympathy so warm, so
passionate, that it was to his heart like balm to an open wound.
There was no neutrality about Elfie. She was openly, furiously
pro-Ally. The rights and wrongs of the great world conflict were
at first nothing to her. With Canada and the Canadians she was
madly in love, they were Larry's people and for Larry she would
have gladly given her life. Another exception to the general state
of feeling was that of Hugo Raeder. From the first Raeder was an
intense and confessed advocate of the cause of the Allies. From
personal observation he knew Germany well, and from wide reading he
had come to understand and appreciate the significance of her world
policy. He recognised in German autocracy and in German militarism
and in German ambition a menace to the liberties of Europe. He
represented a large and intellectually influential class of men in
the city and throughout the country generally. Graduates of the
great universities, men high in the leadership of the financial
world, the editors of the great newspapers almost to a man,
magazine editors and magazine writers untinged by racial or
personal affinity with Germany, these were represented by Raeder,
and were strongly and enthusiastically in sympathy with the aims of
the Allies, and as the war advanced became increasingly eager to
have their country assume a definite stand on the side of those
nations whom they believed to be fighting for the liberties and
rights of humanity. But though these exceptions were a source of
unspeakable comfort to him, Larry carried day by day a growing
sense of isolation and an increasing burden of anxiety.
Then, too, there was the question of his duty. He had no clear
conviction as to what his duty was. With all his hatred and
loathing of war, he had come to the conviction that should he see
it to be the right thing for him, he would take his place in the
fighting line. There appeared, however, to be no great need for
men in Canada just now. In response to the call for twenty-five
thousand men for the First Expeditionary Force, nearly one hundred
thousand had offered. And yet his country was at war; his friends
whether enlisted for the fighting line or in the civilian ranks
were under the burden. Should he not return to Canada and find
some way to help in the great cause? But again, on the other hand,
his work here was important, he had been treated with great
consideration and kindness, he had made a place for himself where
he seemed to be needed. The lack of clear vision of his duty added
greatly to his distress.
A wire had informed him in the first days of the war that his
brother-in-law had gone to rejoin his old regiment in the
Coldstream Guards. A letter from Nora did not help much. "Jack
has gone," she wrote. "We all felt he could do nothing else. Even
poor, dear Mother agreed that nothing else was possible. Kathleen
amazes us all. The very day after the awful news came, without a
word from Jack, I found her getting his things together. 'Are you
going to let him go?' I asked her, perfectly amazed at her
coolness. 'Let me go?' said Jack, who was muddling about her.
'Let me go? She would not let me stay. Would you, Kathleen?'
'No,' she said, 'I do not think I would like you to stay, Jack.'
And this is our pacifist, Kathleen, mind you! How she came to see
through this thing so rapidly I don't know. But sooner than any of
us Kathleen saw what the war was about and that we must get in.
She goes about her work quietly, cheerfully. She has no illusions,
and there is no bravado. Oh, Larry dear, I do not believe I could
do it. When she smiles at the dear wee man in her arms I have to
run away or I should howl. I must tell you about Duckworth. You
know what a dear he is. We have seen a good deal of him this year.
He has quite captivated Mother. Well, he had a letter from his
father saying, 'I am just about rejoining my regiment; your brother
has enlisted; your sister has gone to the Red Cross. We have given
our house to the Government for a hospital. Come home and join
up.' What a man he must be! The dear boy came to see us and,
Larry, he wanted me. Oh, I wish I could have said yes, but somehow
I couldn't. Dear boy, I could only kiss him and weep over him till
he forgot himself in trying to comfort me. He went with the
Calgary boys. Hec Ross is off, too; and Angus Fraser is up and
down the country with kilt and pipes driving Scotchmen mad to be at
the war. He's going, too, although what his old mother will do
without him I do not know. But she will hear of nothing less.
Only four weeks of this war and it seems like a year. Switzer has
gone, you know, the wicked devil. If it had not been for Sam, who
had been working around the mine, the whole thing would have been
blown up with dynamite. Sam discovered the thing in time. The
Germans have all quit work. Thank God for that. So the mine is
not doing much. Mother is worried about the war, I can see,
thinking things through."
A letter from Jane helped him some. It was very unlike Jane and
evidently written under the stress of strong emotion. She gave him
full notes of the Reverend Andrew McPherson's sermons, which she
appeared to set great store by. The rapid progress of recruiting
filled her with delight. It grieved her to think that her friends
were going to the war, but that grief was as nothing compared to
the grief and indignation against those who seemed to treat the war
lightly. She gave a page of enthusiastic appreciation to
Kellerman. Another page she devoted to an unsuccessful attempt to
repress her furious contempt for Lloyd Rushbrooke, who talked
largely and coolly about the need of keeping sane. The ranks of
the first contingent were all filled up. She knew there were two
million Canadians in the United States who if they were needed
would flock back home. They were not needed yet, and so it would
be very foolish for them to leave good positions in the meantime.
Larry read the last sentence with a smile. "Dear old Jane," he
said to himself. "She wants to help me out; and, by George, she
does." Somehow Jane's letter brought healing to his lacerated
nerves and heart, and steadied him to bear the disastrous reports
of the steady drive of the enemy towards Paris that were released
by the censor during the last days of that dreadful August. With
each day of that appalling retreat Larry's agony deepened. The
reports were vague, but one thing was clear--the drive was going
relentlessly forward, and the French and the British armies alike
were powerless to stay the overwhelming torrent. The check at the
Marne lifted the gloom a bit. But the reports of that great fight
were meagre and as yet no one had been able to estimate the full
significance of that mighty victory for the Allied armies, nor the
part played therein by the gallant and glorious little army that
constituted the British Expeditionary Force.
Blacker days came in late September, when the news arrived of the
disaster to the Aboukir and her sister ships, and a month later of
the destruction of the Good Hope and the Monmouth in the South
Pacific sea fight. On that dreadful morning on his way downtown he
purchased a paper. After the first glance he crushed the paper
together till he reached his office, where he sat with the paper
spread out before him on his desk, staring at the headlines, unable
to see, unable to think, able only to suffer. In the midst of his
misery Professor Schaefer passed through the office on his way to
consult with Mr. Wakeham and threw him a smile of cheery triumph.
It was a way Schaefer had these days. The very sight of him was
enough to stir Larry to a kind of frenzied madness. This morning
the German's smile was the filling up of his cup of misery. He
stuffed the paper into his desk, took up his pen and began to make
figures on his pad, gnawing his lips the while.
An hour later Hugo Raeder came in with a message for him. Raeder
after one look at his face took Larry away with him, sick with rage
and fear, in his car, and for an hour and a half drove through the
Park at a rate that defied the traffic regulations, talking the
while in quiet, hopeful tones of the prospects of the Allies, of
the marvellous recovery of the French and British armies on the
Marne and of the splendid Russian victories. He touched lightly
upon the recent naval disaster, which was entirely due to the
longer range of the enemy's guns and to a few extraordinarily lucky
shots. The clear, crisp air, the swift motion, the bright sun,
above all the deep, kindly sympathy of this strong, clear-thinking
man beside him, brought back to Larry his courage if not his cheer.
As they were nearly back to the office again, he ventured his first
observation, for throughout the drive he had confined his speech to
monosyllabic answers to Raeder's stream of talk.
"In spite of it all, I believe the navy is all right," he said,
with savage emphasis.
"My dear chap," exclaimed Raeder, "did you ever doubt it? Did you
read the account of the fight?"
"No," said Larry, "only the headlines."
"Then you did not see that the British ships were distinctly
outclassed in guns both as to range and as to weight. Nothing can
prevent disaster in such a case. It was a bit of British stupidity
to send those old cruisers on such an expedition. The British navy
is all right. If not, then God help America."
"Say, old chap," said Larry as they stepped out of the car, "you
have done me a mighty good turn this morning, and I will not forget
"Oh, that is all right," said Raeder. "We have got to stand
together in this thing, you know."
"Stand together?" said Larry.
"Yes, stand together. Don't you forget it. We are with you in
this. Deep down in the heart America is utterly sound; she knows
that the cause of the Allies is the cause of justice and humanity.
America has no use for either brutal tyranny or slimy treachery.
The real American heart is with you now, and her fighting army will
yet be at your side."
These sentiments were so unusual in his environment that Larry
gazed at him in amazement.
"That is God's truth," said Raeder. "Take a vote of the college
men to-day, of the big business men, of the big newspaper men--
these control the thinking and the acting of America--and you will
find, ninety per cent. of these pro-Ally. Just be patient and give
the rest of us time. Americans will not stand for the bully,"
added Raeder, putting his hand on Larry's shoulder. "You hear me,
my boy. Now I am going in to see the boss. He thinks the same
way, too, but he does not say much out loud."
New hope and courage came into Larry's heart as he listened to the
pronouncement of this clear-headed, virile young American. Oh, if
America would only say out loud what Raeder had been saying, how it
would tone up the spirit of the Allies! A moral vindication of
their cause from America would be worth many an army corps.
The morning brought him another and unexpected breeze of cheer in
the person of Dean Wakeham straight from Alberta and the Lakeside
Farm. A little before lunch he walked in upon Larry, who was
driving himself to his work that he might forget. It was a
veritable breath from home for Larry, for Dean was one who carried
not only news but atmosphere as well. He was a great, warm-hearted
boy, packed with human energies of body, heart and soul.
"Wait till I say good-morning to father," he said after he had
shaken hands warmly with Larry. "I will be back then in a minute
But in a few minutes Mr. Wakeham appeared and called Larry to him.
"Come in, boy, and hear the news," he said.
Larry went in and found Dean in the full tide of a torrential
outpouring of passionate and enthusiastic, at times incoherent,
tales of the Canadians, of their spirit, of their sacrifice and
devotion in their hour of tragedy.
"Go on, Dean," said Raeder, who was listening with face and eyes
"Go on? I cannot stop. Never have I come up against anything like
what is going on over there in Canada. Not in one spot, either,
but everywhere; not in one home, but in every home; not in one
class, but in every class. In Calgary during the recruiting I saw
a mob of men in from the ranches, from the C. P. R. shops, from the
mines, from the offices, fighting mad to get their names down. My
God! I had to go away or I would have had mine in too. The women,
too, are all the same. No man is getting under his wife's skirts.
You know old Mrs. Ross, Larry, an old Scotch woman up there with
four sons. Well, her eldest son could not wait for the Canadian
contingent, but went off with Jack Romayne and joined the Black
Watch. He was in that Le Cateau fight. Oh, why don't these stupid
British tell the people something about that great fighting retreat
from Mons to the Marne? Well, at Le Cateau poor Hec Ross in a
glorious charge got his. His Colonel wrote the old lady about it.
I never saw such a letter; there never was one like it. I motored
Mrs. Gwynne, your mother, Larry, over to see her. Say, men, to see
those two women and to hear them! There were no tears, but a kind
of exaltation. Your mother, Larry, is as bad, as good, I mean, as
any of them now. I heard that old Scotch woman say to your mother
in that Scotch voice of hers, 'Misthress Gwynne, I dinna grudge my
boy. I wouldna hae him back.' Her youngest son is off with the
Canadians. As she said good-bye to us I heard her say to your
mother, 'I hae gi'en twa sons, Misthress Gwynne, an' if they're
wanted, there's twa mair.' My God! I found myself blubbering like
a child. It sounds all mad and furious, but believe me, there is
not much noise, no hurrahing. They know they are up against a
deadly serious business, and that is getting clearer every minute.
Did you see that the Government had offered one hundred and fifty
thousand men now, and more if wanted? And all classes are the
same. That little Welch preacher at Wolf Willow--Rhye, his name
is, isn't it? By George, you should hear him flaming in the
pulpit. He's the limit. There won't be a man in that parish will
dare hold back. He will just have to go to war or quit the church.
And it is the same all over. The churches are a mighty force in
Canada, you know, even a political force. I have been going to
church every Sunday, Father, this last year. Believe me, God is
some real Person to those people, and I want to tell you He has
become real to me too." As Dean said this he glanced half
defiantly at his father as if expecting a challenge.
But his father only cleared his throat and said, "All right, my
boy. We won't do anything but gladly agree with you there. And
God may come to be more real to us all before we are through with
this thing. Go on."
"Let's see, what was I talking about?"
"Yes, in Calgary, on my way down this time, the Archdeacon preached
a sermon that simply sent thrills down my spine. In Winnipeg I
went with the Murrays to church and heard a clergyman, McPherson,
preach. The soldiers were there. Great Caesar! No wonder
Winnipeg is sending out thousands of her best men. He was like an
ancient Hebrew prophet, Peter the Hermit and Billy Sunday all
rolled into one. Yet there was no noisy drum pounding and no silly
flag flapping. Say, let me tell you something. I said there was a
battalion of soldiers in church that day. The congregation were
going to take Holy Communion. You know the Scotch way. They all
sit in their pews and you know they are fearfully strict about
their Communion, have rules and regulations and so on about it.
Well, that old boy McPherson just leaned over his pulpit and told
the boys what the thing stood for, that it was just like swearing
in, and he told them that he would just throw the rules aside and
man to man would ask them to join up with God. Say, that old chap
got my goat. The boys just naturally stayed to Communion and I
stayed too. I was not fit, I know, but I do not think it did me
any harm." At this point the boy's voice broke up and there was
silence for some moments in the office. Larry had his face covered
with his hands to hide the tears that were streaming down. Dean's
father was openly wiping his eyes, Raeder looking stern and
straight in front of him.
"Father," said Dean suddenly, "I want to give you warning right
now. If it ever comes that Canada is in need of men, I am not
going to hold back. I could not do it and stay in the country. I
am an American, heart, body and soul, but I would count myself
meaner than a polecat if I declined to line up with that bunch of
"Think well, my boy," said his father. "Think well. I have only
one son, but I will never stand between you and your duty or your
honour. Now we go to lunch. Where shall we go?"
"With me, at the University Club, all of you," said Raeder.
"No, with me," said Mr. Wakeham. "I will put up the fatted calf,
for this my son is home again. Eh, my boy?"
During the lunch hour try as they would they could not get away
from the war. Dean was so completely obsessed with the subject
that he could not divert his mind to anything else for any length
"I cannot help it," he said at length. "All my switches run the
They had almost finished when Professor Schaefer came into the
dining hall, spied them and hastened over to them.
"Here's this German beast," said Dean.
"Steady, Dean. We do business with him," said his father.
"All right, Father," replied the boy.
The Professor drew in a chair and sat down. He only wanted a light
lunch and if they would allow him he would break in just where they
were. He was full of excitement over the German successes on sea
and on land.
"On land?" said Raeder. "Well, I should not radiate too freely
about their land successes. What about the Marne?"
"The Marne!" said Schaefer in hot contempt. "The Marne--strategy--
strategy, my dear sir. But wait. Wait a few days. If we could
only get that boasted British navy to venture out from their holes,
then the war would be over. Mark what happens in the Pacific.
Scientific gunnery, three salvos, two hundred minutes from the
first gun. It is all over. Two British ships sunk to the bottom.
That is the German way. They would force war upon Germany. Now
they have it. In spite of all the Kaiser's peace efforts, they
drove Germany into the war."
"The Kaiser!" exclaimed Larry, unable any longer to contain his
fury. "The Kaiser's peace efforts! The only efforts that the
Kaiser has made for the last few years are efforts to bully Europe
into submission to his will. The great peace-maker of Europe of
this and of the last century was not the Kaiser, but King Edward
VII. All the world knows that."
"King Edward VII!" sputtered Schaefer in a fury of contempt. "King
Edward VII a peacemaker! A ----!" calling him a vile name. "And
his son is like him!"
The foul word was like a flame to powder with Larry. His hand
closed upon his glass of water. "You are a liar," he said, leaning
over and thrusting his face close up to the German. "You are a
slanderous liar." He flung his glass of water full into Schaefer's
face, sprang quickly to his feet, and as the German rose, swung
with his open hand and struck hard upon the German's face, first on
one cheek and then on the other.
With a roar Schaefer flung himself at him, but Larry in a cold fury
was waiting for him. With a stiff, full-armed blow, which carried
the whole weight of his body, he caught him on the chin. The
professor was lifted clear over his chair. Crashing back upon the
floor, he lay there still.
"Good boy, Larry," shouted Dean. "Great God! You did something
Silent, white, cold, rigid, Larry stood waiting. More than any of
them he was amazed at what he had done. Some friends of the
Professor rushed toward them.
"Stand clear, gentlemen," said Raeder. "We are perfectly able to
handle this. This man offered my friend a deadly insult. My
friend simply anticipated what I myself would gladly have done.
Let me say this to you, gentlemen, for some time he and those of
his kind have made themselves offensive. Every man is entitled to
his opinion, but I have made up my mind that if any German insults
my friends the Allies in my presence, I shall treat him as this man
has been treated."
There was no more of it. Schaefer's friends after reviving him
led him off. As they passed out of the dining hall Larry and his
friends were held up by a score or more of men who crowded around
him with warm thanks and congratulations. The affair was kept out
of the press, but the news of it spread to the limits of clubland.
The following day Raeder thought it best that they should lunch
again together at the University Club. The great dining-room was
full. As Raeder and his company entered there was first a silence,
then a quick hum of voices, and finally applause, which grew in
volume till it broke into a ringing cheer. There was no longer any
doubt as to where the sympathy of the men of the University Club,
at least, lay in this world conflict.
Two days later a telegram was placed upon Larry's desk. Opening
it, he read, "Word just received Jack Romayne killed in action."
Larry carried the telegram quietly into the inner office and laid
it upon his chief's desk.
"I can stand this no longer, sir," he said in a quiet voice. "I
wish you to release me. I must return to Canada. I am going to
"Very well, my boy," said Mr. Wakeham. "I know you have thought it
over. I feel you could not do otherwise. I, too, have been
thinking, and I wish to say that your place will await you here and
your salary will go on so long as you are at the war. No! not a
word! There is not much we Americans can do as yet, but I shall
count it a privilege as an American sympathising with the Allies in
their great cause to do this much at least. And you need not worry
about that coal mine. Dean has been telling me about it. We will
see it through."
THE MAJOR AND THE MAJOR'S WIFE
When Larry went to take farewell of the Wakehams he found Rowena
with Hugo Raeder in the drawing-room.
"You are glad to leave us," said Rowena, in a tone of reproach.
"No," said Larry, "sorry. You have been too good to me."
"You are glad to go to war?"
"No; I hate the war. I am not a soldier, but, thank God, I see my
duty, and I am going to have a go at it."
"Right you are," said Hugo. "What else could any man do when his
country is at war?"
"But I hate to go," said Larry, "and I hate this business of saying
good-bye. You have all been so good to me."
"It was easy," said Rowena. "Do you know I was on the way to fall
in love with you? Hugo here and Jane saved me. Oh, I mean it,"
she added, flushing as she laughed.
"Jane!" exclaimed Larry.
"Yes, Jane. Oh, you men are so stupid," said Rowena. "And Hugo
helped me out, too," she added, with a shy glance at him.
Larry looked from one to the other, then rushed to Hugo. "Oh, you
lucky beggar! You two lucky beggars! Oh, joy, glory, triumph!
Could anything be finer in the wide world?" cried Larry, giving a
hand to each.
"And, Larry, don't be a fool," said Rowena. "Try to understand
your dear, foolish heart, and don't break your own or any one's
Larry gazed at her in astonishment and then at Hugo, who nodded
wisely at him.
"She is quite right, Larry. I want to see that young lady Jane.
She must be quite unique. I owe her something."
"Good-bye, then," said Larry. "I have already seen your mother.
Good-bye, you dear things. God give you everything good. He has
already given you almost the best."
"Good-bye, you dear boy," said Rowena. "I have wanted to kiss you
many a time, but didn't dare. But now--you are going to the war"--
there was a little break in her voice--"where men die. Good-bye,
Larry, dear boy, good-bye." She put her arms about him. "And
don't keep Jane waiting," she whispered in his ear.
"If I were a German, Larry," said Hugo, giving him both hands, "I
would kiss you too, old boy, but being plain American, I can only
say good luck. God bless you."
"You will find Elfie in her room," said Rowena. "She refuses to
say good-bye where any one can see her. She is not going to weep.
Soldiers' women do not weep, she says. Poor kid!"
Larry found Elfie in her room, with high lights as of fever on her
cheeks and eyes glittering.
"I am not going to cry," she said between her teeth. "You need not
be afraid, Larry. I am going to be like the Canadian women."
Larry took the child in his arms, every muscle and every nerve in
her slight body taut as a fiddle-string. He smoothed her hair
gently and began to talk quietly with her.
"What good times we have had!" he said. "I remember well the very
first night I saw you. Do you?"
"Oh," she breathed, "don't speak of it, or I can't hold in."
"Elfie," said Larry, "our Canadian women when they are seeing their
men off at the station do not cry; they smile and wave their hands.
That is, many of them do. But in their own rooms, like this, they
cry as much as they like."
"Oh, Larry, Larry," cried the child, flinging herself upon him.
"Let me cry, then. I can't hold in any longer."
"Neither can I, little girl. See, Elfie, there is no use trying
not to, and I am not ashamed of it, either," said Larry.
The pent-up emotion broke forth in a storm of sobbing and tears
that shook the slight body as the tempest shakes the sapling.
Larry, holding her in his arms, talked to her about the good days
they had had together.
"And isn't it fine to think that we have those forever, and,
whenever we want to, we can bring them back again? And I want you
to remember, Elfie, that when I was very lonely and homesick here
you were the one that helped me most."
"And you, Larry, oh, what you did for me!" said the child. "I was
so sick and miserable and bad and cross and hateful."
"That was just because you were not fit," said Larry. "But now you
are fit and fine and strong and patient, and you will always be so.
Remember it is a soldier's duty to keep fit." Elfie nodded. "And
I want you to send me socks and a lot of things when I get over
there. I shall write you all about it, and you will write me.
Won't you?" Again Elfie nodded.
"I am glad you let me cry," she said. "I was so hot and sore
here," and she laid her hands upon her throat. "And I am glad you
cried too, Larry; and I won't cry before people, you know."
"That is right. There are going to be too many sad people about
for us to go crying and making them feel worse," said Larry.
"But I will say good-bye here, Larry. I could go to the train, but
then I might not quite smile."
But when the train pulled out that night the last face that Larry
saw of all his warm-hearted American friends was that of the little
girl, who stood alone at the end of the platform, waving both her
hands wildly over her head, her pale face effulgent with a glorious
smile, through which the tears ran unheeded down her cheeks like
rain on a sunny day. And on Larry's face, as he turned away, there
was the same gleam of sunshine and of rain.
"This farewell business is something too fierce," he said to
himself savagely, thinking with a sinking heart of the little group
at Wolf Willow in the West to whom he must say farewell, and of the
one he must leave behind in Winnipeg. "How do these women send
their husbands off and their sons? God knows, it is beyond me."
Throughout the train journey to Calgary his mind was chiefly
occupied with the thought of the parting that awaited him. But
when he reached his destination he found himself so overwhelmed
with the rush of preparation and with the strenuous daily grind of
training that he had no time nor energy left for anything but his
work. A change, too, was coming swiftly over the heart of Canada
and over his own heart. The tales of Belgian atrocities, at first
rejected as impossible, but afterwards confirmed by the Bryce
Commission and by many private letters, kindled in Canadian hearts
a passion of furious longing to wipe from the face of the earth a
system that produced such horrors. Women who, with instincts
native of their kind, had at the first sought how they might with
honour keep back their men from the perils of war, now in their
compassion for women thus relentlessly outraged and for their
tender babes pitilessly mangled, consulted chiefly how they might
best fit their men for the high and holy mission of justice for the
wronged and protection for the helpless. It was this that wrought
in Larry a fury of devotion to his duty. Night and day he gave
himself to his training with his concentrated powers of body, mind
and soul, till he stood head and shoulders above the members of the
Officers' Training Corps at Calgary.
After six weeks of strenuous grind Larry was ordered to report to
his battalion at Wolf Willow. A new world awaited him there, a
world recreated by the mysterious alchemy of war, a world in which
men and women moved amid high ideals and lofty purposes, a world
where the dominant note was sacrifice and the regnant motive duty.
Nora met him at the station in her own car, which, in view of her
activity in connection with the mine where her father was now
manager, the directors had placed at her disposal.
"How big and fine you look, Larry! You must be pounds heavier,"
she cried, viewing him from afar.
"Twenty pounds, and hard as hickory. Never so fit in my life,"
replied her brother, who was indeed a picture of splendid and
"You are perfectly astonishing. But everything is astonishing
these days. Why, even father, till he broke his leg--"
"Broke his leg?"
"There was no use worrying you about it. A week ago, while he was
pottering about the mine, he slipped down a ladder and broke his
leg. He will probably stay where he belongs now--in the office.
But father is as splendid as any one could well be. He has gripped
that mine business hard, and even Switzer in his palmiest days
could not get better results. He has quite an extraordinary way
with the men, and that is something these days, when men are almost
impossible to get."
"And mother?" enquired Larry.
"Mother is equally surprising. But you will see for yourself. And
dear old Kathleen. She is at it day and night. They made her
President of the Women's War Association, and she is-- Well, it is
quite beyond words. I can't talk about it, that's all." Nora's
voice grew unsteady and she took refuge in silence. After a few
moments she went on: "And she has had the most beautiful letter
from Jack's colonel. It was on the Big Retreat from Mons that he
was killed at the great fight at Landrecies. You know about that,
"No, never heard anything; I know really nothing of that retreat,"
"Well, we have had letters about it. It must have been great. Oh,
it will be a glorious tale some day. They began the fight, only
seventy-five thousand of the British--think of it! with two hundred
guns against four hundred thousand Germans with six hundred guns.
They began the fight on a Saturday. The French on both their
flanks gave way. One army on each flank trying to hem them in and
an army in front pounding the life out of them. They fought all
Saturday. They began the retreat on Saturday night, fought again
Sunday, marched Sunday night, they fought Monday and marched Monday
night, fought Tuesday, and marched Tuesday night. The letter said
they staggered down the roads like drunken men. Wednesday, dead
beat, they fought again--and against ever fresh masses of men,
remember. Wednesday night one corps came to Landrecies. At half-
past nine they were all asleep in billets. At ten o'clock a
perfectly fresh army of the enemy, field guns backing them up
behind, machine guns in front, bore down the streets into the
village. But those wonderful Coldstreams and Grenadiers and
Highlanders just filled the streets and every man for himself
poured in rifle fire, and every machine gun fired into the enemy
masses, smashed the attack and then they went at them with the
bayonet and flung them back. Again and again throughout the night
this thing was repeated until the Germans drew off, leaving five
hundred dead before the village and in its streets. It was in the
last bayonet charge, when leading his men, that Jack was killed."
"My God!" cried Larry. "What a great death!"
"And so Kathleen goes about with her head high and Sybil, too,--
Mrs. Waring-Gaunt, you know," continued Nora, "she is just like the
others. She never thinks of herself and her two little kids who
are going to be left behind but she is busy getting her husband
ready and helping to outfit his men, as all the women are, with
socks and mits and all the rest of it. Before Tom made up his mind
to raise the battalion they were both wretched, but now they are
both cheery as crickets with a kind of exalted cheeriness that
makes one feel like hugging the dear things. And, Larry, there
won't be a man left in this whole country if the war keeps on
except old McTavish, who is furious because they won't take him and
who declares he is going on his own. Poor Mr. Rhye is feeling so
badly. He was rejected--heart trouble, though I think he is more
likely to injure himself here preaching as he does than at the
"And yourself, Nora? Carrying the whole load, I suppose,--ranch,
and now this mine. You are getting thin, I see."
"No fear," said Nora. "Joe is really doing awfully well on the
ranch. He practically takes charge. By the way, Sam has enlisted.
He says he is going to stick to you. He is going to be your
batman. And as for the mine, since father's accident Mr. Wakeham
has been very kind. If he were not an American he would have
enlisted before this."
"Oh! he would, eh?"
"He would, or he would not be coming about Lakeside Farm."
"Then he does come about?"
"Oh, yes," said Nora with an exaggerated air of indifference. "He
would be rather a nuisance if he were not so awfully useful and so
jolly. After all, I do not see what we should have done without
"Ah, a good man is Dean."
"I had a letter from Jane this week," continued Nora, changing the
"I have not heard for two weeks," said Larry.
"Then you have not heard about Scuddy. Poor Scuddy! But why say
'poor' Scuddy? He was doing his duty. It was a patrol party. He
was scouting and ran into an enemy patrol and was instantly killed.
The poor girl, Helen Brookes, I think it is."
"Helen Brookes!" exclaimed Larry.
"Yes, Jane says you knew her. She was engaged to Scuddy. And
Scallons is gone too."
"And Smart, Frank Smart."