IN DECEMBER 1912 I had a letter from General Winslow who was one of the vestrymen of the Church in Paris and who was in this country as Chairman of the Committee for filling the Paris vacancy, asking me if I could go to Paris. As the letter was somewhat indefinite in its terms, I took the letter to Bishop Leonard in Cleveland and asked his advice as to what it was best for me to do about it. He said, "I think that you ought to go; you know Europe; you are familiar with France and with French; I would suggest that you telegraph General Winslow, as he wants to return very shortly, and tell him that you will meet him in New York to talk the question over." As a result of this advice I went to New York, and on the 10th of December I met General Winslow at the house of his old friend, General Porter, former American Ambassador to France. After an hour's talk I accepted his proposition, conditionally, on the following terms, that I would come over in the following February and take the work provisionally until the meeting of the General Convention in the following autumn. General Winslow sailed immediately for Paris, and shortly after he landed I had a cablegram from him urging my coming to take up the work immediately, as Bishop Jaggar who had been in charge of the church had broken in health and was not able to continue the work longer. The result of this was that we sailed from New York on Christmas Eve of 1912 on the Lusitania, in company with Myron Herrick our Ambassador to France; and it was from him, on shipboard, that we got our first welcome to our new post of duty. On reaching Paris we went to the Hotel Lotti for a few days, and then went down to Hyères in the South of France for a breathing space, as we were both fatigued by the parting and the journey. After a short rest there we returned to Paris, and my first official act in the ministry there was to take the services on Sunday, January 12, 1913.
The American Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris was in reality a one-man creation, a creation of a man who had loved it, who had given for it and to it all that he was and all that he had. He was my immediate predecessor, the Rev. Dr. John B. Morgan, for more than forty years Rector of the Church in Paris. It was one of my privileges to dedicate to his memory the beautiful Cross which we erected in the garden between the church and the rectory, as also the Tablet which is set in the wall at the street end of the cloister.
Dr. Morgan was a man of wealth when he came to Paris to live and work. He personally saw to the raising of the money for the building of the church and of the spire; the lovely Te Deum windows were his thought, as was also the Tryptych over the altar, which was Edwin Abbey's last great work; the rectory which Mr. Ferris Thompson gave in memory of his mother was meant for Dr. Morgan's occupancy; and the Mortuary Chapel, which has been such a blessing to so many hundreds of Americans bereaved in a foreign land, grew out of Dr. Morgan's personal experience of the pathetic need for such a shelter. When there was lack of money to carry on construction work in the material fabric of the plant, Dr. Morgan either saw that it was provided or else gave it himself. He paid the deficits for current expenses when the income was lacking for carrying on the church---which often happened; and at the time of his passing from earth he left little in the way of money; he had used it all for the church; and in that church this thought must always be present in the minds of those who knew him or knew of him, "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice."
To follow a man like that, and above all to succeed to a ministry like that---forty years of ties between minister and people, and often people of two generations; forty years of filling all the church's needs from the gifts of personal friends or from an ample personal purse---it was a task not lightly to be undertaken. And it is no wonder that I hesitated to commit myself to it permanently, and that I asked to make a trial of it first. So, when I came to Paris it was with the understanding that I might be free to return to America in October 1913, should I so deem it best. In the spring of 1913 I asked General Winslow, who was my closest friend on the Vestry, what arrangements were being made to carry on the work when I should leave in the autumn. His reply was that the Vestry desired me to stay; and on my still saying that it was my intention to return to America, he asked my reasons. My reply was that the financial situation of the Church was impossible from my point of view; that if I were to undertake the work it would mean taking on an accumulating indebtedness, in face of the fact that there was an annual deficit constantly being incurred, the necessary expenses exceeding any possible income by many thousands of francs annually; that while I would not shrink from a task just because it was hard, yet I was not willing to pre-pay failure which was bound to come through no fault of mine; and that I could plainly foresee that I could not carry the financial burden as Dr. Morgan had done---I had no such private fortune as he had, and I had no rich friends who could be interested in maintaining the Church in Paris. General Winslow's response was to ask if I would be willing to keep on with the work if a guarantee were arranged for covering all financial deficits for a period of two years. "By that time," he said, "you will be firmly in the saddle, and the future will take care of itself." To this proposition I agreed: and the following letters tell the story:
General Winslow to Mr. Henry White, New York:
"Reverend Dr. Watson having been chosen Rector by the unanimous vote of the Vestry of Holy Trinity, Paris, will occupy the Clergy House in June."
General Winslow to the Bishop of New York:
"When Dr. Watson had been here four months the Vestry with unanimity and pleasure chose to elect him as Rector. The members had then, and have now no doubt of the wisdom of their choice.
"Dr. Watson has an excellent knowledge of the routine and details of Church matters, and is an able administrator. He has a fluent command of French. His conduct of the services is dignified and most satisfactory. He can be called an excellent preacher, and he is a well equipped, cultivated, cultured man and scholar. . . He is in the opinion of his friends at home and of those who really know him here a deeply religious man. In social life and outside the duties of his place he is a pleasant and agreeable companion . . . . Within a period, short and rapidly passing, nearly all of those who constitute the class contemporary with Dr. Morgan (some of them his admiring friends) will have followed him into a future existence. In other words, the congregation is now and will be composed of men and women almost if not quite new to this Church.
"When Dr. Watson came to Paris he inherited a number of things or affairs which had been troubling the late Rector. Dr. Watson, coming here without having associations here, has had the courage of his convictions, happily for the progress of the church in Paris. Several of these questions or affairs have already been satisfactorily disposed of by Dr. Watson; in all of which he has had the sympathy and co-operation of the Vestry."
I want here to pay a tribute of gratitude and affection to General Edward F. Winslow. His keen intelligence, his wide experience in administrative work, his intimate acquaintance with the American Colony, together with his generous devotion to the Church and its interests made him an invaluable aid and counsellor to a newcomer like myself; while his personal devotion to me and mine have made me his grateful debtor. Whatever of worth I was able to do in Paris was made possible by the co-operation and guidance which General Winslow so spontaneously brought to me. The day that we heard in Paris of his death in America we shadowed his onetime seat in the church with gifts of flowers which were but a faint tribute to the honour which we paid him in our hearts.
The following record should also find a place here; it is dated the 18th of April, 1913:
"Whereas; It is our earnest desire that the relations now existing between the Reverend S. N. Watson, D.D. as Rector of Holy Trinity Church, and the Vestry and Congregation of the Church, be made permanent:
"Therefore; Resolved that we do hereby request Dr. Watson to withdraw the reference to a termination of the Rectorship on October first, as it appears in our agreement now on record: and that we ask him to continue to hold permanently the Office of Rector of Holy Trinity Church, and to discharge the duties of this Office; pledging him at the same time, our hearty cooperation in the advancement of such plans as we may mutually decide are for the best interests of the Church and its work.
"(signed by the Clerk of the Vestry)"
The Clergy House referred to in General Winslow's letter to Mr. Henry White was in process of erection when we arrived in Paris. It was designed by the same architect who built the church, and he was a wonderful builder of churches; but, in building the rectory he had this idea primarily in mind that the house should correspond architecturally and exteriorly with the church itself; and secondarily his idea was that the house should be what the name Clergy House implies, a residence for a clerical staff, rather than a home for a family. The house was constructed in England, so far as its materials were concerned, and was brought over to France to be set up; it was English and all the fittings were English, even to the kitchen range which was not a French fourneau de cuisine but a massive British affair designed for Cardiff coal to be bought at less than half the price one would have to pay in France for the local kitchen fuel. Our preliminary experience with this kitchen range had its amusing as well as its embarrassing side. Madeleine, our cuisinière, and a wonderful one too, was a little widow from the Côte d'Or country, and in all the Decalogue there was no commandment which weighed so heavy in her life as, "Waste not; Want not." On finding that oven things would always come to the table insufficiently cooked, I was deputed to interview Madeleine on the subject; who told me that the trouble was the fourneau de cuisine; that it simply would not marche. I then hunted up the entrepreneur who had installed it and told him of our difficulties and appealed to him, for the Honour of Old England, to find out what was the trouble. After a brief investigation he let me know that the trouble was the cook's economy; that she simply would not use coal enough to heat up a big heavy range like that; it would be folie, gaspillage, she said to use such an amount of coal. He was an Englishman by birth but had lived in France some time and spoke fluent French, and so he explained to Madeleine all the why's and the how's, and the in's and the out's of an English range. Then after time enough had elapsed for a normal cooling off of the cook's disturbed prejudices, I went to the kitchen again, and said, "Well, Madeleine, the man has told you all about the range, I suppose; how it works; why it is built as it is; and all its differences from the ones you have been accustomed to." "Oui, Monsieur." "Well, it's all satisfactory now, isn't it?" "Peut-être, Monsieur. Cette affaire-là est bien construite, sans doute; elle durera longtemps, on verra; mais, pour le moment, Monsieur, évidemment elle n'est pas pratique."----("Perhaps, Monsieur, that affair there is well made, without doubt; it will last a long time; we shall see; but, Monsieur, it is plain to see that for our present use it is simply not practical.") Pratique, practical---What a keynote to much of the French character Madeleine struck in that word pratique! Above all else the Frenchman is practical; you may advance all the pretty theories you please, and he'll give them no credence in advance; you must show him that they will work French fashion, and if he cannot see that they will work he will have nothing to do with them. Much of the present failure of other peoples to understand the attitude of France in the present condition of world affairs is due to a total lack of understanding of her (what the French call) préoccupations, the racial background of her thinking; what she means and why. Madeleine was a real Frenchwoman when she said in the name of her country as well as for herself, "mais, pour le moment, évidemment ce n'est pas pratique."
The rectory being some months from completion we took advantage of the gracious offer of Mrs. Stannard Wood and Miss Margaret Gordon to let us have their apartment at 10 Avenue d'Eylau for a time during their stay on the Riviera. They left with us their maître-d'hôtel Baptiste and his staff to take care of us. One evening I heard a great crying of "Extra" on the street, and I sent Baptiste out to get a paper; he brought it in a few minutes and handed it to me saying, "C'est rien du tout, Monsieur; C'est chute du ministère." This was my first introduction to French politics---fall of the Government; that was nothing unusual, and nothing to get excited about. One hears frequent unfavourable comment in America on what is called the "instability of the French Government"; an opinion based on the oftentimes rapid changes in the Ministeries. This is simply a misunderstanding of the rôle which the Cabinet, called the "Conseil" plays in governmental affairs in France. The permanent element in the French Government is the President of the Republic on the one hand and the Directors of the various Ministries on the other; the President is the essential element, he maintains the continuity; Ministries may come and go, sometimes in rapid succession, and it looks to the uninformed like disintegration; but it is nothing of the kind; it is simply a striking evidence of the responsiveness of the Government to the will of the people. The Parlement is the expression of that will, and if the Government of the moment does not satisfy that will, why, Chute du Ministère. It arrives in this way: a question comes up on an appropriation; or a deputy announces that at a certain time he will interpeller the Government on some matter, and these questions are often not of great importance; the Government demands a "vote of confidence"; it is refused; and "out they go"; the Government resigns, which means that the Président du Conseil (something like Prime Minister) calls together the Council of Ministers, and they go to the Elysée and present their resignations to the President of the Republic. "But if all these Ministers, Foreign Affairs, Finance, War, Interior, Public Instruction, and all the rest quit all at once, does not that entail some cessation of continuous direction in these departments?" is the American query. Not at all: there is a permanent Directeur du Contrôle, or some other similar permanent official who has probably been at the head of the practical functioning of his department for years, and who has every detail of its business at his fingers' ends, and who knows so much about it that when a new Minister steps in, the first thing he must do is to go to this seasoned official to learn "what it is all about." When such a chute du Ministère occurs, the President gets in touch with the leaders of the dominant parties and after consultation with them he commissions one of them to form a Government, which means that as Prime Minister, or Président du Conseil as he is called, he tries to get together a Cabinet who will be competent, in his opinion, to swing a majority vote in the Parlement. He then presents this Cabinet to the President, who, as a matter of form, accepts them; they then prepare what we would call "a Platform"; and with this Platform they go before Parlement seeking a vote of approval. If they fail in obtaining Parlement's approval the same procedure must be repeated until a ministry is consolidated which will stand. Frequently it is the same Premier who tries to form a new ministry, and often the new Cabinet contains many of the men which were part of the old one which was rejected; which gives point to the proverb often repeated, Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Each department of the Government is a self-contained machine running by itself; and the change of the Minister, who is really simply the Government's representative in what concerns his Bureau before the people, does not retard the functioning of the office in any serious way. Chute du Ministère then simply means warning given to the Cabinet that the people are not satisfied; that there is something which is not right and that it must be made right. The Cabinet in France is wholly different from what is called by that name in our American method of government---or lack of government. In Paris while the President theoretically appoints the Cabinet, it is actually the Parlement which appoints them; the Cabinet represents the people and not the President. In France they say of us here in America, "You are a republic in name, but in fact you are an oligarchy; you give your President full and uncontrolled power in the appointment of the men who form the Cabinet, and you turn yourselves over to that group and to a Congress over which you have almost as little control for a period of four years, without recourse; and while the ballot gives you an ultimate control, within the limitations of politics, of another Congress than the one which you have, yet until the four years limitation expires, you are tied, you can do nothing; our Government in France," they say, "is immediately responsive to the people's will; it is really and in actuality what you call your American Government, a 'government of the people, by the people, for the people.'"
It was at 10 Avenue d'Eylau that we gave our first official dinner. The guests were Ambassador and Mrs. Herrick; General and Mrs. Winslow; Mr. Mather of Cleveland and his daughter, Constance; and Mrs. Richard Crane and her mother, Mrs. Hutchinson. Mrs. Stannard Wood's apartment was a treasure house of most beautiful glass and china and plate; and we had instructed Baptiste to put it all away carefully and to lock the doors of the cabinets in which it was kept, as we did not wish that any possible breakage of these beautiful things should take place during our occupancy. But when the evening of this ceremonial dinner arrived the table was royally decked with all this glory; and when we reminded Baptiste (with due compliments for his thoughtfulness) that our instructions had been not to use all those glories, the good old French serviteur---and proud he was to be a serviteur---replied: "I did it for the honour of my patronne, Monsieur; I knew what she would have wanted me to do; she put all her treasures in my charge, so I, alone, am responsible."
That fact of the pride which a Frenchman takes in his work explains a great deal in their life; and it also contributed much to the ease of life in France for us when we first went there to live. A good butler desires nothing more than to be the best kind of a butler; and if he has a son, he desires nothing better for his boy than that he may do the same. There are classes in France, but there are no envies as between class and class, no desire to imitate, no striving for a change of place or position. To do one's work well and then learn how to do it better is the Frenchman's ideal. There is no restless dissatisfaction on the part of Jacques until he can have all that Monsieur Millefrancs has---radio, electric washer, one automobile and then a more expensive one; all of contentment for him is not based on an imitation in things and the ownership of things; and black gloom does not settle on the household because Suzette cannot go to the Cinéma whenever she gets it into her little head that she wants to, or as often as Mademoiselle de l'Avocat does. I am often asked how France could come back after the War as she did; where that wealth came from which gave her a store of gold, second only to that held in America; her provinces to the North and the East devastated and their towns and villages destroyed and the trade of that which was her chief industrial section wholly ruined---where, in a word, did she get all that money? And my reply is that that wealth came from the only source from which wealth can never come in reality, from INDUSTRY and from ECONOMY; from hard and unintermittent work and from constant joyous saving. Wealth is natural product enhanced and multiplied in value by human labour, and it is the returns of that labour and of that product of industry saved, and not spent as fast as it comes in, or faster. It has been said to me: "You would not want the working man and the working woman in America to work as do French men and women, and to cut themselves down to the scale of living of the French paysan or ouvrier?" My reply has been: "That is not the question at issue; it is wholly beside the point; you asked how it was possible that a country invaded and a third of whose most productive territory had been the battle ground of contending armies which she had been compelled to support, a support which took the very bread of life out of the mouths of her women and children, how it was possible that the forty millions of French people could have to-day more gold per capita than the one hundred and twenty-five millions of an uninvaded America?" And I have given the answer which is, WORK, and then more WORK, and economy, and patience, and the being willing to put up with less of things and less of luxuries. I am not saying what Americans should do; I am only making it clear that they make their choices, these two peoples; and that each has what it is willing, or unwilling to pay the price for. The French have a proverb, on ne peut pas être et avoir été; which is another way of saying, You cannot eat your cake and have it too.
It was at that dinner at Avenue d'Eylau that the Ambassador said to me: "Doctor, Washington's Birthday falls on a Sunday this year: is it your plan to mark the Day especially at the American Church?" I told him that we had planned some special music, that the Colours would be massed in the chancel, and I asked him if the Embassy would be willing to have a part in the Celebration. To this he most readily agreed; and then he added, "I would like to have all the diplomatic representatives of the South and Central American countries present in the Church on that Day, if you will invite them." I said that I would be glad to arrange for it and that I would provide seats of honour for them, as was customary, and then I asked him how would be the most fitting way for me to invite them to come. Mr. Herrick replied: "I have thought of that; it is my custom to give a Diplomatic Breakfast on Washington's Birthday, and the Day falling on a Sunday this year, the Breakfast will be on the previous day. I will invite you to be one of the guests, and then after I have made my address of welcome, and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps has made his reply, I will give you an opportunity to explain the meaning which the Day has for all of us as Americans, why we are celebrating it in the Church, and you can then invite these representatives of larger America to be present." I replied, "That is very thoughtful on your part, Sir; but my difficulty would be that I do not speak either Spanish or Portuguese, and most of these gentlemen do not speak English." "Well," said the Ambassador, "talk to them in French; they all understand French." "But I never made a speech in French," I said, "I can speak enough French to get by socially; and I can speak hotel French, and travel French, but to make a public address of importance is a horse of another colour, or at least of another shade." "Oh, well"; said Mr. Herrick, "you can do it; just prepare a speech in advance." Which I did in this way; I put in six weeks in intensive study of French and in preparing that speech; for I was really more concerned about doing the Ambassador credit than I was about the speech, for I knew that I would "get by" with that somehow. There was in Paris at that time a teacher of French, Mademoiselle Alice Blum, whose book, Oral French Method, is just what she describes it to be, "a system for rapidly acquiring facility in the speaking of French," (and as far as that may be had from a book, this is the best book of the kind that I know of). I have a copy of her book in which she has written, "A Monsieur le Docteur Watson; hommage de respectueuse admiration." In six weeks Alice Blum taught me to make that speech, and a lot beside about the use of a language not my own; for facility in public speaking means not so much knowledge as it means confidence; it is not the knowing how, it is knowing that you can do it. And many times in after years when I had to speak in French in public, I realised that my debut as orateur in France on that 22nd of February 1913 was the door to much in the way of privilege which came to me then.
When we left the Avenue d'Eylau it was to go to the apartment which was kindly placed at our disposal by Mrs. Jaffray in the Rue de Longchamps. I am told that the Avenue d'Eylau is no more; like Rue Pierre Charron, and Cours la Reine, and Quai de Billy, and saddest of all for me, Avenue de l'Alma, it has been re-named. Once, when the fashion was for trying to get rid of saints in France, they changed the name of St. Germain en Laye to Mont de Bon Air; but descriptively good as that name was, the old name came back. And I am wondering if perhaps the passage of the years will not show the impulsive Parisians that there is history and charm and romance and treasure in the old names of their streets; and that it is taking away the children's heritage to throw in the discard such names as Bac and Cherche Midi and Faisanderie and Vieux Colombier, to replace them with names of moderns soon to have neither interest nor historic meaning. Mrs. Jaffray's apartment was a most hospitable home for us until the rectory was ready for our occupancy; and it was there that Marion Andrews came to make us a visit.
It was in June 1913 that we moved to Avenue de l'Alma as the first occupants of the rectory which had been built on the narrow bit of ground beside the church. The gift of this rectory was wise, thoughtful and generous. During his lifetime Mr. Thompson had paid many of the bills for the construction of the building, and in his will he had made ample provision for the completion of the building; with the result that when his estate came to be distributed there was a considerable sum of money remaining of this bequest after the rectory had been paid for; and this money his family placed at the disposal of the church for the furnishing of the rectory, thus obviating the necessity for a rector who must come from America of bringing his household goods with him: an almost impossible proposition for more reasons than one: for the rectory was a most exigeante house as to furnishings; and this we found out when we came to the choosing of the furniture. "But, what fun!" you will say; "to be in Paris to live; to have an empty house given you, and with it thousands of dollars at your disposal to buy furniture with!" It sounds like it; doesn't it? and we would have liked nothing better than to have taken all that money, and browsed around the different Quartiers, finding a bit here and a bit there which we would love to live with, and having a year or two of artistic delight in matching and acquiring treasures. But, why didn't we do just that? For two reasons: the house was needed for immediate use, the work of the Church needed it, we needed it, and the Vestry urged its occupancy at the earliest possible moment; and in the second place, one could not have found in all Paris period furniture to harmonise with that demandful house; and, even if that could have been done, the amount of money to be expended had its limits, for all that the gift was so generous. In all this matter of the furnishing of the rectory we had the counsel and aid of General and Mrs. Winslow. We had the house studied by artists, and sketches made of the furniture needed to correspond to the lines of the architecture of the building and the rooms; these designs were sent to the Saint Antoine Quarter where the furniture was built by skilled artisans; even the clocks were built for the house, the old Maison Charles Hours sent designers who copied the leadings of the windows for the frames of one of the clocks; the carpet for the salle à manger and the tapestry above its wainscotting were made and dyed in reproduction of an old piece of sixteenth century stuff; with the result that we were at home and receiving far sooner than could otherwise have been possible. The advantage of this is easily seen. We were newcomers, and we had to make a social place for ourselves, and for that a residential background was needed; next, the rectory of the Church in Paris was a sort of little Embassy where hospitality must be offered to constantly coming visitors; and, as the Church was in large measure dependent on the casual gifts of American visitors to Paris, the hospitality of the rectory was an important element of the work. Before the War there would often pass weeks when we would rarely sit down to a meal in the salle à manger by ourselves; for le petit déjeuner was never served as a meal, but was brought up to us on a tray.
As I look over the records of those first years in Paris, I am amazed at the way in which baptisms, marriages, burials followed each other in quick succession, and chiefly burials; I officiated at the last rites for so many of that old Colony of Americans in Paris, so fine in meaning, and now almost all gone. The first funeral ceremony at which I officiated was that of the Comtesse de Montsaulnin who was of the line of my Morris family, and whose daughters, the Comtesse du Luart and the Comtesse de Gourcuff, were friends of the after days; there was Madame Sorchan, of whose family was Mr. Horace Binney who came from the line of the descendants of William Montgomerie of Upper Freehold; there was Madame d'Hauteville, and the Grand d'Hautevilles were of the Morris line of my family---the list is a long one. The old American Colony had already begun to pass on when I began my work in Paris; there are but few of them left now. It was the second time that I had been part of the going of an older culture and a witness of the coming of a new. That old American Colony in Paris, which 1 knew, were men and women of distinction, of culture, and above all of ideals; they held themselves as each of them standing in an ambassadorial relation on behalf of America to the people of another race and country; they had traditions, national traditions and traditions of family and of breeding; they upheld those traditions with dignity and with firmness; and I would here render them a tribute of honour and respect.
On April 14, 1913 I delivered the Commemorative Address at the Memorial Service which was held in Holy Trinity for Mr. Pierpont Morgan. There were three of these services, one in New York, one in Westminster Abbey in London, and the other in our Church in Paris. I have a most beautiful silver plaque which was the gift of the Morgan family, and which had been struck in commemoration of the head of the family, his life, and his achievements. On July 7, 1913 I officiated at the funeral of Mr. Henry Ridgway. There was a wonderful dignity about Mr. Ridgway's passing, about the last rites, and all the attendant events. On the evening of the 2nd of July I was just about to enter the rectory on my return from Moret-sur-Loing, where I had officiated at the interment of Miss Grace Lee Hess, when the young Comte de Ganay came to ask me to come at once to his uncle's bedside; at the entrance to the house I was met by the dignified and gracious courtesy of Mrs. Ridgway (née Munroe). The Princess d'Hénin came in while I was still there; she was a strikingly beautiful picture, in dinner dress, with a strand of white hair laid back over her dark hair (she was née de Ganay). And on the 7th of July the final rites were said: at the house in a chapelle ardente erected in the entrance to the courtyard, in order that all the personnel might pay their tribute there; and at the church where the tower entrance was vaulted with black draperies lit by a great silver lustre with candles; the whole picture is full of reverent memory. As I let recollections of those years enter, I remember the funeral of Mr. Iselin; of Mr. Moorhouse who was one of our vestrymen; of Mrs. Bertha Barnes Clinch-Smith; of Mrs. Le Roy, one of the older members of the Colony and a woman of strong personality; of Mrs. Sanderson, the mother of Sybil Sanderson; of Mr. Stellwag; and of General Macdougal. Especially marked in memory is the funeral service for Mr. John H. Harjes. Mr. Harjes had written me a beautiful letter of appreciation of the Morgan Memorial Service and of the address which I had made commemorative of his former partner in the banking business, a letter written with his own hand in days when failing eyesight made it most difficult for him to write, which made his courtesy all the more touching. Then there was the funeral of Mrs. Theodore Evans, a remarkable type of the old Colony; her figure as she came to church with her long velvet cloak was most striking; she was of the family who aided the Empress Eugénie to escape from the Tuileries. On July 29, 1914 I officiated at the funeral of a very dear friend, a noble gentlewoman, Mrs. Augusta Hunt Gray; she and her daughter Alice Hubbard were amongst our dearest friends. On June 20, 1914 was laid to rest in the cemetery of Saint Germain-en-Laye the body of Mr. Charles Singer, whose daughter was the Princess Ghika. The rain was falling heavily when we left the church for the long drive to the cemetery on the hill at St. Germain, a spot hallowed as the resting place of the bodies of so many Americans, that it was spoken of as the American Cemetery. While we were on the road between Chatou and Le Pecq, travelling as rapidly as possible to get ahead of an approaching thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning struck a telegraph pole and threw it in blazing bits across one side of the road. The fourgon carrying the body was the first car in the procession, and it just escaped being struck by the pole. My car was next, and my chauffeur Gabriel, seeing the thing coming, put on both foot and emergency brakes, and we skidded sideways, stopping just alongside the burning fragments of the pole. There was room enough on the left side of the road for cars to pass, and we went by and reached the cemetery gates at St. Germain in safety. But the rain was then falling in such torrents that we could not proceed with the service of interment; so the gardien came to the door of his little house and asked us to come in there and wait until there was a break in the storm. After a time there was a letup in the downpour, and we made ready to walk to the grave. The wife of the gardien said at once that Madame la Princesse could not possibly go through those paths streaming with water with nothing on her feet but thin suede shoes; then she disappeared to return with her own best pair of boots, and kneeling down, and asking the permission of the Princesse, took off Madame's little suede things and put in their place her own high bottines which she begged Madame to wear. I am telling this here not only to make record of the gentle courtesy of this little woman, but also as a tribute to the French woman of the ordinary walks of life, to whom such an act of courtesy would be instinctive.
There are three christenings which I remember so well: one that of the handsome little son of Herman Harjes and his beautiful wife who was Frederica Berwind. At one time when Mrs. Harjes was expecting a baby's arrival, she came to America in order that the child's American citizenship should be assured, and reached New York but a few hours before the baby came. When Mr. Herrick heard of the safe arrival of mother and child, with his ready wit he cabled: "Congratulations! Next time take an aeroplane." Another christening was that of the lovely little daughter of Dr. Hally-Smith; she went that day to the hospital for an appendix operation.
I was out at the American Ambulance Hospital one day as Chairman of the Board of Managers, and while I was away from the house a gentleman called at the rectory to see me; and on being told that I was at Neuilly he asked to see Jeannette. She was at the Church House, busy with the work of the large Ouvroir which she managed, and coming back to the house in response to the summons sent her by the maid she found a gentleman who called her by name but of whose identity she was not sure; she thought at first that it was a brother of our good friend James H. Andrews, so great was the likeness. After a few minutes conversation the visitor said suddenly, "Mrs. Watson, do you think that Dr. Watson could baptise me to-morrow morning?" Her reply was that she did not know what my appointments were, but that she had no doubt but that it could be arranged. "My telephone number," he said, "is ; it is a private number, and is not in the Directory; will you ask the Doctor when he returns to telephone me at that number?" Then with ready quickness, Jeannette said, "To make it perfectly certain in case I should not remember the number, will you kindly write the number on the paper on the desk, together with your message, and I will see that the Doctor gets it as soon as he returns." He took pencil and wrote, and signed his name "J. G. Bennett"; and thus began an interesting and valued friendship. Myron Herrick, our Ambassador, was witness at the baptism, and in his Autobiography he writes: "I went with James Gordon Bennett to the Church to-day and quietly helped to baptise him. I think that I am getting along very well. I passed the plate on Sunday; baptised Bennett to-day; and to-morrow shall assist at his wedding. He faces matrimony and the invasion of the Germans with equal fortitude." The marriage of Mr. Bennett was one of the notable ones whose records were made in the sacristy of the church during my days there. They had been devoted friends for a long time, he and the Baroness de Reuter; and their marriage, in War time, meant much to their friends as it did to us, for the hospitalities which they showed us, both in Paris and at their place at Beaulieu on the Riviera.
Mrs. Bennett's graceful courtesy as a hostess, and her ready wit made it a great pleasure to be her guest; and Mr. Bennett held a place in American life abroad which no other man could rival. He was a man of brilliant mind, independent, fearless, of broad spiritual vision, and his influence was world-wide. The New York Herald of Paris was not only his paper; he was the paper. He asked me to write the editorial for the issues of The Herald of Sunday, the fourth of July, 1915; this I did; it was printed in the Paris edition and cabled over for the New York edition. I have Mr. Bennett's office proof of this article marked with his characteristic blue pencillings. Later Mr. Bennett asked me to take on the Sunday morning editorial for the New York Herald as a regular duty; but, much as I would have liked to do this, I had to tell him that I could not accept his offer; that I was already overworked, and that I could not in justice to the tasks already on hand accept any new responsibilities which were avoidable. His offer was a personal courtesy from a friend to a friend; and it was also a tribute from a great editor which said more than the words in which the offer was couched. It was on the 14th of September, 1914 that we went to déjeuner at Mr. Bennett's house, 37 Avenue d'Iéna; the other guests were the Ambassador and Mrs. Herrick; the German offensive of September was on, and Paris was very tense. Just before we rose from the table Mr. Bennett pushed back his chair and gave the clearest definition of the issue that was on, which was ever made by any one, to my knowledge; he talked for a quarter of an hour. This War, he said, is not a fight of men and arms, nor will its issue be decided by material forces; it is a combat of spirituals, a struggle for the saving of ideals; and the meaning of the struggle is to be found in what has been the motive force of civilisation's rise. Mrs. Bennett and I are the only two who remain of that company which was so thrilled by Bennett's words.
When I left Paris in 1918, too worn to carry on any longer, Mr. Bennett was in the Midi; he passed away before I could see him again; but on the Sunday morning after my leaving Paris there was an editorial from his pen in The Herald entitled "Au Revoir; but not Good-Bye," in which he paid his tribute to me and to my work. Shortly after my reaching America, while I was at White Sulphur Springs for treatment for a weakened heart, I received a telegram from the editor of The Herald of New York, asking me to come to New York to make the address at the Commemorative Service for Mr. Bennett which was to be held there, and which took place in Grace Church, where it was my privilege to pay my homage to the memory and the work of a great American.
One day when we were lunching at his house in Paris, Mr. Bennett said that he was seriously considering abandoning, at least for a time, the issuing of the Paris edition of The Herald. Jeannette urged him most strongly not to do this because of what the paper stood for in Europe. She stressed the fact that it was vital to the courage and the spirit of Americans abroad for it stood for what no other print in Europe did; that it was an encouragement to France and to the Allies to see the brave front which The Herald displayed; that it was his own personal organ and his means of sharing his vision and his convictions with the world; and then she naively added, "And, Mr. Bennett, if you stop The Herald now, you will break the continuity of my Wartime files; I have every copy of The Herald since the War began but one, and I am still hunting everywhere for a copy of that issue." Mr. Bennett's surprise and pleasure at this were marked. "What is the date of the missing number?" he asked; "I'll see if I can find a spare copy at the office"; we knew that he could not do so, for we had already tried to get one there. Some days afterward came a note from Mr. Bennett, "Here is the copy of The Herald that you need"; he had had the entire paper reset and the copy run off especially. The complete file is now in THE WATSON COLLECTION at Stanford University; -and The Herald did not suspend publication.
And now for more marriages. In 1913 I officiated at the marriage of Mrs. Emily H. Crane and Francis T. A. Junkin; the wedding reception, which was held at Hotel Crillon was a notable gathering of Chicago folk. In the same year occurred the marriage of Miss Helen McLean and Major Herbert V. Ravenscroft of the British Army. In 1914 I performed the marriage of Jeanne Rosen to Jean Pierre Maurice Magre. Mademoiselle Rosen's brother was a prominent New York banker; and Monsieur Magre was an author and playwright well known in France in those days, and who has since won fame in his profession.
Maurice Magre once gave us the manuscript of one of his poems, of which one of the verses reads:
|"Vous vivez sous la terre anonyme toujours,
O Morts! vous aurez chaud durant les nuits glacées:
Nous avons fait avec la trame des pensées
Des Lits de souvenirs et des berceaux d'amour."(2)
One of the loveliest of the weddings of Paris days was that of Marion Deering to Chauncey McCormick, which took place at the house of Mr. James Deering; Mr. Charles Deering, the bride's father, coming to Paris from his Château en Espagne to be present.
An international marriage which interested me much was that of a Swiss girl, who came to Paris bringing me a note from Mrs. Herman Duryea---the Duryeas had won The Derby a short time before-and in the note Mrs. Duryea said: "This note will be brought to you by my Swiss maid Mademoiselle ------; she speaks no English; she is to be married to one of the grooms of my racing farm in France; he is an Englishman and speaks no French. I will count it a personal favour if you will facilitate this marriage in any way possible." I explained to the girl the ceremony and its wording; she had already filed their notice at the Mairie, according to the Laws of France, and was provided with the Certificat de Mariage duly attested, without which no marriage may take place. I then said to her, "Do you wish the service to be said in French or in English, Mademoiselle?" "In French, of course, Monsieur." "But the groom, does he know French?" I asked. "Oh, I'll teach him enough so that he can say, 'Yes,' at the right place"---and she did just that. Trust the canny Swiss for rising to an emergency, especially a lingual one! It was a little group that came to that marriage; most of the men were poilus or British soldiers on leave of absence. The nave of the church was too vast, so I had the sacristans seat them all in the choir stalls; and I remember few marriages which appealed to me more than that one.
Frequently Americans would come to Paris and expect to have a marriage performed as is done in America---get a license and run around the corner and find a minister, and the operation is all over in one day. When they found that that could not be done in France, there was an explosion of righteous indignation: "But, why not? we are Americans; this is the American Church!" And I would have the task of trying to explain the French laws regarding marriage; sometimes with poor results so far as satisfying my unsympathetic countrymen was concerned; and often with the characteristic comment on their part: "Hang such a country! Why can't they do things as we do them in America!" For my part, I think that the French way as to marriage ceremonies is the better one. France considers a marriage an affair of the State; it is a matter where property is involved; wherein protection for the woman and for possible children must be provided in advance; and where the whole underlying structure of society is at stake: it is not "easy come, easy go," as it is so often here. Furthermore, in France the Church may not usurp the rights of the State, as it does in America. From the standpoint of Society---and the Family is the foundation of Society, and hence of the State itself---marriage is a contract, involving rights upon which the State may one day have to pass judgment. Neither the State nor the Church makes a marriage; the State authorises the marriage and registers the contract; the Church may ask God's blessing on this new venture of life; but, so far as the man and the woman are concerned it is neither the State nor the Church which marries them; they marry themselves. Marriage is primarily, essentially, a spiritual fact, a union of more than bodies and more than material values; it is a union of life motives and life principles; and if it is not considered and treated as such by the contracting parties, it is a "house built upon the sand." I never say "I married so-and-so"; for I did not; and when asked, "Will you marry us?" my only rightful reply should be, "I will ask God's blessing on your marriage." This may seem like an over-nicety in details; but it is just our sloppiness about such important details, which is one of the lethal defects of our American Society and State. It is a condition which has lasted on as a "hang-over" from pioneer days, when there was no settled Society, when a minister of any name or kind or a justice of the Peace over the corner grocery was the only factor available for the regularising of a life union of man and woman; and that same loose point of view with regard to the marriage contract and relation is with us to-day.
Here in this country we have a mixed civil and ecclesiastical arrangement in marriage matters, which I think is bad: the Church assumes the prerogative of saying whether or no a marriage may be entered into, whereas the Church has no possible right to interfere in what belongs to the State as the civil authority and the legal guardian of constituted Society. As a result of this muddled manner of acting, a judge may celebrate a marriage, a Police Court officer may celebrate a marriage, or the parties concerned may have recourse to the services of a minister who may never have seen either party before; and that is held to be all the validation of a marriage which is needed; and it is poor protection for all the interests of Society which are involved. It is my judgment that every marriage, as a contract between man and woman involving the most vital meanings of human Society, should be entered into by a civil ceremony duly registered and sanctioned in a Court of Law; and that it should be definitely decided and recognised that it is the State and the State alone which decides who are qualified to enter the marriage relation. Then, if the contracting parties desire that the marriage shall be celebrated ecclesiastically and religiously, either as a vitally necessary sacrament, or as a benediction of lives in God's name, the man and wife may ask for that sacrament or benediction---which is just that, a sacrament or a benediction and not a marriage---the marriage is made by the consent of the man and the woman. The State authorises and registers it and the contract involved; it is then for the Church, in God's Name, to say, "May the Eternal bless and keep you!"
It is dangerous for the institution of marriage as a function of human Society, this American custom of running into the first minister's house which may be handy, and known or unknown to him, having a few words said out of hand and calling it a marriage, and having it accepted by Society as not only valid but as all that is worth-while. And this usurping by ministers of religion of the rightful functions of the State weakens the whole stabilising influence of the Civil Government in this most essential of Society's foundations. It also detracts enormously from the esteem in which the function of the minister with regard to marriage should be held. The minister who officiates at such a ceremony is often considered, just as the justice of the peace on the corner is held, as simply an unavoidable intermediary for the securing of legal sanction for what the participants intend to do, without any regard to what the invoking of the Name of God means and without any intention of carrying into life what the benediction asked for implies. The only remedy for this situation is that the churches and their ministers shall demand that a civil ceremony before a recognised Court shall precede any religious ceremony at which they consent to officiate. It is so in France. The contracting parties must make declaration of their intention at the Mairie of their Arrondissement in writing; such papers are posted on the doors of the Mairie for ten days before the ceremony; they set forth the names of the parties to the proposed contract together with the names of their witnesses; before the ceremony at the Mairie, papers must have been signed by the parties to what is called a Contrat de Mariage, and these papers provide for either community of goods, separation of goods, or a mixed relationship financial; they also provide for the protection of children and for the disposition of property in the case of a death of either party or in the case of a divorce. Then on the day set for the ceremony, the parties appear before the Maire with their witnesses, and the Maire wearing his Scarf of Office addresses the couple who are seated in two gold and scarlet chairs in front of him, and legally declares the State satisfied as to the marriage; he then gives them a Certificat de Mariage which they may take to any church or minister which they may choose. I have known a marriage ceremony to be performed for the same couple at two different churches on the same day, at our Church in the morning and at the Greek Church in the afternoon: it is not being married twice, as an American would say; it is simply having the marriage twice blessed.
One other marriage calls itself to my memory especially---the marriage of Suzanne Lalique to Paul Haviland of Limoges. Suzanne Lalique was as exquisite in her beauty as the lovely things which her father, René Lalique does in metal and in glass; Monsieur Lalique's house on the Cours la Reine has a façade of his designing which is a fairy dream. And as I remember Suzanne on the day of her wedding, she was the most charmingly pretty daughter of France whom I ever knew.
On May 15, 1913 was held at Geneva in Switzerland, the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe; and at this meeting I was elected President of the Council of Advice of the Jurisdiction. It was a position of some importance in times like those of the Great War. It was impossible to have frequent meetings of the Convocation; and there being no direct episcopal supervision of the American European Churches, and, as during the War, no official Visitation by a Bishop for a long period of time, many questions would have to be settled by the President of the Council. For instance, there came to me at one time the representatives of four congregations in France, who were using for their public worship the official translation of our Prayer Book in the French language, and who were calling themselves l'Eglise Episcopale Française; and they desired some sort of official recognition on our part, either by federation or otherwise. One of these congregations was ministered to by a former Lutheran pastor, and two others were cared for by men who had been at one time French Catholic priests. My decision on this question was given in accordance with a principle which I had established for myself early in my work in France. It was this: Our American Churches in Europe are foreign churches, established and maintained for service to Americans living abroad; they are in no sense indigenous to the country where they exist, and they have no normal relationship to the people of that country; they are there by courtesy, to minister to American visitors or to Americans who, for some reason, are residing abroad. This decision was taken in line with the established policy of the Church of England, our sister Church, which began Prayer Book Services on the Continent of Europe long before we began any work there. The Church of England, for example, has no bishop resident in Northern or Central Europe, thus recognising the fact that these are Christian countries with bishops of their own; their Churches in Europe are called chaplaincies, their ministrants are chaplains, and the "assistant bishop for North and Central Europe" is a suffragan to the Bishop of London, on the accepted theory of the English Church that the Bishop of London has all travellers in his charge: he is at present the Bishop Suffragan of Fulham. In my time it was Bishop Bury who ministered Confirmation for me during the War and who rendered me many other gracious services. There is a bishop of the Church of England for the South of Europe, the Bishop of Gibraltar; for Gibraltar is British-owned. The Church of England has abstained, with the wisdom of years, from ever making any semblance of intrusion or claiming a See or a jurisdiction where its rightful setting-up might fairly be questioned; and hence has limited its episcopates to British owned territory, or to what would be called "heathen lands," lands with no Christian Church or Bishop of their own. In line with this established policy of the Church of England, it seemed to me right and wise to make clear both by word and act that our Church in France was not there as a Mission; that we gratefully recognised that the people of France were a Christian folk and that for the greater majority of them the French Catholic Church with its bishops in every large centre of population was the Church of the people; and must therefore be for me the representative of the Catholic Episcopate.
I made this clear in an article entitled "IL VA NAITRE," which was published in LA REVUE HEBDOMADAIRE. Further, it was perfectly in accord with ecclesiastical usage and comity, and met the fullest approval of the Catholic authorities abroad that we should minister to our own people, Americans, wherever they might be, with fullest sacramental and ceremonial ministrations as being a foreign Church without any claim to jurisdiction in France, which was a Christian country with a Church and bishops of its own, and with an intelligent Christianity, and not one of a degraded type, such as has been set up as an excuse for our intrusion into the field of other Catholic Churches in other countries. Therefore for me the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris was the Bishop in all that pertained to France and the Christianity of her people; and the American Church of the Holy Trinity never gave the Church of the people of France cause to think that we, as the American Church in France, made claim to place of title, which might be considered by any one as the setting up of dual régime. Many a time French Catholics and French Protestants who were attracted by the beauty of our services, who felt the bareness of the Protestant forms of worship, or who were impatient of the rigidity of dogma in their own Catholic Church, have come to me to ask about being received as members of our Church in Paris. My reply was always the same, namely, that it would be an unwise step for them to take; that they were French people and should remain with a French Church; that ours was an American Church solely for Americans as foreigners in a foreign land; that in the event of a War between France and the United States, their position as members of such a Church would not only be anomalous but would be hopeless. If they were Catholics, I made the matter stronger by telling them that in such a case they might be altogether cut off from a bishop; that our American Churches in Europe are under the jurisdiction of an American Archbishop whom we call Presiding Bishop; that the Bishop who came abroad occasionally for Confirmations and for general supervision was not a Bishop in France nor for France, and could not be such, and made no claim to be such, as he could have neither title nor See in Europe, where the United States possessed no territorial jurisdiction. My position in this matter, both as to proselyting and as to the place which I accorded to the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, made my relations with the Cardinal himself as well as with the French Catholic Church in general most cordial; and my attitude was fully appreciated. Mr. Robert H. Gardiner, Secretary of "The World Conference on Faith and Order" wrote me:
"Bishop Brent tells me that it is to you that we are indebted to a great extent for the attention which the French Cardinal has given to the World Conference on Faith and Order. I am very greatly obliged to you."
When questions like that of l'Eglise Episcopale Française came up, I thought it was wise to communicate the facts to the Cardinal Archbishop, and the method of communication would be this: a French Catholic friend of mine would invite me to luncheon and would have as another guest a Benedictine Abbot who was persona grata at the Archevèché; the matter in question would be brought up and talked over, and in due time I would receive a reply if any were needed; and communications would come to me in the same manner; in other words the diplomatic procedure of use would be observed. I had the deepest reverence and personal regard for Cardinal Amette; I have a charming letter of thanks from him; he was a great Frenchman and a noble, large-visioned, large-hearted Churchman. In the first occasion when the French Catholic friend, of whom I have spoken, invited me to luncheon with the Benedictine Abbot, my host asked me if I would consider it entirely courteous if he should ask the Abbot to say the Grace; this was done, and the Abbot with due regard to my supposedly militant Protestant proclivities prayed a long extempore prayer in French. When it was over and we had a chance to begin the convivialities, I said to the Abbot that I was both surprised and disappointed. "At what, Monsieur le Recteur?" he asked. "That you did not use the conventual Benedictine formula, Benedictus Benedicat, Amen!" "Then," I added, "we would have been spared that long Protestant exordium which you evidently would have willingly escaped; and we could have gotten to meat the sooner." The Abbot roared with laughter, as did the company at the table; and the way to diplomatic procedure was much abbreviated and softened by that interchange of amenities.
I was once asked by a witty French lady, "Monsieur l'Abbé, just what Religion do you belong to?" "I call myself a Catholic, Madame," was my reply. "Is it so?" she said. "Yes, Madame," I replied, "I have sat beside Monseigneur Amette in the choir of his Cathedral of Nôtre Dame on the occasion of a solemn vespers for the commemoration of the birthday of King Albert, when Père Janvier was the preacher; I have sat in the bema of the Protestant Temple of the Rue de l'Oratoire at a service of the Culte more than once; I have sat beside the Grand Rabbin in the seats of the Elders in the Synagogue of the Rue de la Victoire on an eve of a Sabbath, when a congregation of some thousands of Jews were assembled there to pray for the souls of their young men who had fallen in battle; and for several years I have had an office amongst the Libres Penseurs at the Ministère de l'Instruction Publique. I think that the record entitles me to be called a Catholic in the largest sense of the word." They asked some clever questions at times, those witty French ladies. One day a French girl, whose family were friends of mine, asked if she might bring one of her girl friends, the daughter of a French General, to see the church at some time, when I would be free to show them about. So I made an appointment for a Friday morning after Litany, when I would be sure to be there. On the day set the two girls came to Litany, then after the service was ended they came to the sacristy and I showed them all the treasures-that sacristy is a veritable Musée d'objets d'Art anciens, I had Narcisse open the vestment cases and show them the embroideries; then I opened the safe and took out that glorious chalice all encrusted with jewels; then we walked about the church to study its beauties and to look at the altar from a distance and to get the perspective of the triptych above the altar; and when they had seen it all and admired it all, the General's daughter said to me with a naive smile: "Eh bien, Monsieur l'Abbé, quelle espèce de religion est celle-ci,---Est-ce un mélange?"---("Please, Monsieur l'Abbé, what kind of a religion is this? is it a medley?")
Of all my relations with Latin Catholics none was a truer index of what we made our own Church to mean to them, and none is a more gracious memory to me than a visit which I had from a high dignitary from Rome, who came to see me one day. The Princesse Caraman-Chimay, who was my next door neighbour on the Avenue de l'Alma, sent me word saying that her uncle, the Prince Giovanni di Borghèse, would like the pleasure of an interview with me. He came in that afternoon and stayed two hours; then came the next day and stayed as long. He said that we might talk in either Italian or French; I chose French; and it was fascinating to listen to his masterful use of that precise and wonderful medium for definition and discussion; at times it was fencing between us, at times it was an exchange of confidences. He said that they had heard in Rome of this American Church which ministered to all needs, regardless of creeds ecclesiastical; which gave to the Cardinal's especial Charity, to the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, to Les Filles de la Sagesse in Brittany, to the Deaconess Houses maintained by both French Protestants and Lutherans; which sent portable altars to aumoniers at the Front, and harvesting machines to the maires of country villages; which helped maintain crèches under the direction of Jewish ladies; and which furnished shoes for the needy children who were shepherded by the Grand Rabbi of France. They wanted to know the point of view of this type of American Christianity, which had been said to be a species of propaganda but which they well knew was not; and he would be glad if he might be considered courteous if he asked me many and plain questions; to which I willingly agreed with the request that I might be free also to be as frank as he. At the close of the second interview, the Prince stood, a tall slender figure in frock coat, thanked me, then with his long graceful hands he took my hands in his, his face radiant with sympathetic understanding, and said: "Monsieur le Recteur, entre vous et moi les mots Catholique et Protestant n'existe plus; nous ne sommes que des frères."---("Monsieur le Recteur, between you and me the words Catholic or Protestant no longer exist; we are just brothers.")
Among my memories of friends made in France, which I hold dear, is that of my acquaintance with Bishop George Kinsolving, "Texas George" as he humorously called himself. Among my books there is a volume of Kinsolving Sermons entitled Memorials of Special Events, and on the flyleaf is this inscription, "For the Rev'd Dr. Watson, in memory of May 28th, 1913." This was the date of the ordination of the Bishop's son, the Rev. W. O. Kinsolving. I received a telegram one day from Rome from Mr. Kinsolving, asking if he might be ordained to the priesthood in Holy Trinity, Paris; and that his father was coming to Europe for the express purpose. It was so agreed, and the Bishop came. There were some canonical provisions to be arranged, (and dis-arranged), but Europe is a sort of extra-canonical region; so I officiated as examining chaplain, and presenter, and associate in the laying on of hands at the ordination, which was a most solemn and affecting service, the father in the flesh saying the words of the Great Commission, as Father in God, above the bowed head of his son. He was a great man and a great Bishop, was George Kinsolving.
On the Fourth of July of 1913 I pronounced the Annual Commemorative Address at the tomb of Lafayette in the Cimetière Picpus; that little burying ground hidden away behind an old Convent near the Place de la Nation. The man in Paris, to whom the memory of Lafayette meant most among all the Americans who lived there, was Mr. Cleveland Coxe, a son of a former Bishop of Western New York. He was a lawyer and an ardent American; and I am indebted to him for many courtesies not the least of which was the bringing to me the privilege of welcoming the Marquis de Lafayette at my house.
In the spring of 1913 Aurilla Brigham came to France again to brighten the house with her presence, and she was our companion when we went to Châtel-Guyon for the baths and for the waters. Châtel-Guyon was a lovely place that summer. From our apartment we could look up a deep valley lined with firs, so blue that they looked black in the dusk; and the nightingales began their songs and ended them with such regularity that one could set one's watch by them. La Fête Dieu occurred while we were there, and a French girl who lived in the village asked us to come to the apartment of a friend to witness the procession from its balcony which overhung the main street through which the procession must pass. As far as one could see in either direction the street was a carpet of green; the people had gone to the woods and had brought in cart-loads of moss which they had spread on the cobbles of the roadway; the walls of the houses which were all of them flush with the street were hung with their choicest embroidered linens and decked with flowers and religious emblems; along the way of the procession there were altars built (reposoirs) at intervals, and these all bore candles ready to light. Afar in the distance there was the sound of singing; then the head of the procession appeared; first a guard of Suisses; then the Master of Ceremonies; then a group of acolytes with censers and baskets of rose petals which they scattered in the pathway of the Holy Sacrament; then a choir of men, most of them wearing old, old vestments, copes so stiff with embroideries of gold that they would stand alone, and singing from old horn-books; then some priests; then the Bishop under a canopy borne by four men, and four more holding cords attached to the four corners of it. The Bishop carried a Monstrance in which was the Host, and when he reached one of the Reposoirs he mounted the steps of the altar, the candles were lit, and he placed the Sacrament on the Altar, said the ritual prayers, and then turned with the Host in his hands and blessed the people who were all of them kneeling in the street; as far as one could see, long, long lines of kneeling people. To a devout soul it mattered little whether one were a Catholic or not, the thrill of sharing a tremendous emotional experience when the souls of a people were upborne to God in moments of mystic reverence beckoned the soul of the silent witness of the scene: one felt the unearthly power of the heart of all religion. I wrote these words once about Religion in France:
"C'était dans une grande église ou les ombres allaient et venaient; je l'ai vu entrer un jour, lui, un homme du peuple. Il portait sur son dos une hotte pleine de laitues et de chicorée; et il alla droit s'agenouiller devant la statue de Jeanne d'Arc, et il cacha sa figure dans ses mains. Longtemps il resta la absorbé dans ses méditations, et quand il sortit il y avait une sorte de rayonnement sur son visage. Que faisait-il là? Priait-il la statue? Rêvait-il de Dieu? Peu importe. Le fait essentiel est que seul ou dans une foule c'est l'âme du peuple en contact avec Dieu. Car l'univers entier n'est qu'un temple; et tout ce qui existe n'est qu'un symbole; et le spirituel est le fait essentiel qui explique tout; et les églises et les images et les autels et les lumières et les cérémonies et les mots des rites ne sont rien que la suggestion d'un 'Il y avait une Fois' dans la communion de notre coeur avec Dieu; et la fondation de tout dans notre vie humaine est ceci: 'Un seul Dieu, le Père, de qui procèdent toutes choses, et nous sommes pour Lui'; et la religion de ce peuple français n'est que le coeur enfantin de l'homme auprès du grand coeur paternel de Dieu leur Père. Comme la Pucelle à Domrémy qui parlait aux anges parmi les arbres de son jardin, ils parlent à Dieu comme un homme parle à ses familiers. Et ils connaissent bien d'autres qui connaissent Dieu: les Saints sont leurs amis, et les Saints sont les amis de Dieu: et Dieu, c'est un homme qui souffrait, et qui avait une mère humaine qui l'aimait; et ils lui parlent, à elle aussi. (3)
This mystic element in the religion of a simple people is to me Religion at its highest; so that I have often longed to be like them. Its fruiting is an abiding reverence for some Infinite which is all that they can dream of love and care and beauty and power; a childlike trust in the Spirit of Life; a reverence for old age and for child life which will not permit that they should go uncared for; a glad willingness to help the helpless; a simple honesty in all that pertains to a trust or to a word once given. These are qualities which I have seen so many times in the simple folk of France. What more can life mean of nearness to the Divine?
From Châtel-Guyon we went to Bex in Switzerland, and from our balcony terrasse at the Grand Hotel des Salines we saw a morning and an evening miracle, the majestic Dent du Midi painted in all the colours of the Aurora by the rising and the setting sun. Soon a telegram recalled me hurriedly to Paris and I left Jeannette and Aurilla at Bex. On their way back to Paris, Jeannette was taken very ill and had to leave the train and remain in Lausanne until well enough to travel again. In the meantime Aurilla came up to Paris for school days were at hand; and I arranged that she should follow a course of regular French schooling at the Cours Victor Hugo in the Rue Benjamin-Godard.
On leaving Paris for the cure at Châtel we left the house in charge of a Swiss couple who had been butler and housemaid; but on my return I found it necessary to make a change of personnel, and with masculine helplessness I turned to a woman for help. Miss Mary Montana was an American girl who had lived in France for a long time; she had been of great assistance to us in finding the furnishings for the house; she knew where to find everything needed, and was expert in making le meilleur marché. So to her house I went, and we looked through the morning papers till we found a ménage who seemed desirable; the next day I met the two at Miss Montana's; then and there I engaged Alexis Jacquin and Louise his wife, Alexis to be maître d'hôtel, and Louise to be bonne; and I "called it a day," and a great day it proved to have been, for their devotion was hors du prix. Later in the summer Jeannette came back to Paris, health restored; and life took on its normal.
Among Aurilla's friends of whom we saw much were Alice Marre, a niece of our Akron friend Mr. Saalfield; and Laddie Eaton, a San Francisco girl and a niece of Mrs. Morton whose collection of carved elephants was unique. In the spring of 1914 America called Aurilla back; it was a call which made it possible for her to return before the War broke upon us.
On June 11, 1914 I was in Spain. The American Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Joseph E. Willard, had asked me to come to Madrid to officiate at the marriage of his daughter, Belle Wyatt Willard, to Kermit Roosevelt. The Spanish Ambassador in Paris had most kindly given me a Laissez Passer, to make the crossing of the frontier from France into Spain easy and to free me from all annoyance and complications at the Douane, and so to facilitate the transfer of my trunk containing my ecclesiastical paraphernalia; a like courtesy was extended to me by the French Ambassador in Madrid for my return to France. The marriage took place in the Chapel of the British Embassy in Madrid, which was most courteously offered by the British Ambassador, Lord Harding. The Chapel was a quaint old building of stone at the rear of the garden; its ceiling was of beams of age old oak; and its walls were hung with precious old rose damasks; on the side of the altar there were great six foot flambeaux of wood gilded and carved. The official witnesses to the marriage were Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph E. Willard. In order that official record might be made of this marriage -there being no possibility of such record being made in Spain---I had cut from the Register of Marriages which was kept in the safe in the sacristy of the church in Paris the page necessary and had taken it with me to Madrid, where the President, the Ambassador, and the other members of the bridal party signed it in due form, and I then took it back with me to Paris and inserted it in its proper order in the Register. At the ceremony I wore the hood of my Doctorate of Divinity degree, the colours of which are scarlet and gold. At the reception which followed the ceremony, two Spanish Grands came to me, and said, "You are from Paris, Monsieur; are you not?" On my saying that I was, they said, "We thought that you must be, for we had remarked your thoughtful courtesy in wearing the colours of Spain on your vestments."
On the way back to Paris I had expected to have a compartment in the Wagon-Lit, which I had been told would be arranged for me by the Embassy; but on reaching the train I found that the compartment which my ticket evidently called for was not available, and I was shown to another which I shared with a very friendly young gentleman, whom I found to be one of the secretaries of the American Embassy in London. On the long day ride from Madrid to Paris, President Roosevelt asked me to his compartment and I was deeply impressed with the scope and the depth of his thinking, with his largeness of views on world affairs; and his genial comradeship lightened in large measure the tedium of a dusty journey. At Angoulême we left the train for a walk on the station platform; which gave an opportunity for the reporter for the Excelsior, an illustrated Paris daily paper, to take photographs of the President and myself in company; Excelsior published the photograph the next morning, and I still have a copy of it. Before we reached Paris, one of the newspaper writers who was on the train---I think it was Mr. Wile---said, "Doctor, it will interest you to know why the reservation made for you on this train at Madrid did not hold good. You had been assigned one of the compartments next to Mr. Roosevelt's; but just before leaving both the compartments next to his were ordered occupied by Secret Service men; this arrangement was made by the Spanish Government too late to change your assignment; I think that it is a courtesy to all concerned for me to tell you just how it happened; no one neglected anything; but the change simply could not be helped."
On July 2, 1914, I officiated at the interment at St. Germain of the body of my valued friend the Rev. Harry W. G. Mesny, who had been the assistant of my predecessor, the Rev. Dr. Morgan, and who was of inestimable aid to me, a newcomer, when I came to Paris to take the Church there. The highest tribute that I can pay him would be none too much; he was always forgetful of self; always ready to serve others. His long association with the Church in Paris had placed him au courant with all the details of the administration, and with all the relations of the Church to individuals in that most individualistic of congregations. All this be shared with me, and more. He had married a Miss Atterbury; and it is to her and to her family that the splendid work of "Concordia" in Paris is due. When Mr. Mesny's strength began to fail, the Vestry offered him a leave of absence; he went to Leysin, Switzerland, where he passed away.
The Rev. Dr. Isaac Van Winkle was at this time the devoted pastor of St. Luke's, the Chapel in the Latin Quarter for American students living on the Left Bank; he remained at this post until the War came on, and the income for supporting the work there vanished so that St. Luke's had to be closed temporarily. Dr. Van Winkle then returned to New York, to which Diocese he was canonically attached; and his going was deeply regretted by many friends in France.
Two necessities were upon us before Mr. Mesny's death; both of them correlated. One was the finding of a Head for the Choir School, and, if possible one who should be at the same time assistant minister at the Church. The Choir School was a unique institution. In order to provide music fitting the services in that great Gothic Church, it had been thought necessary to have a choir of men and boys, the tones of whose voices would be harmonic with the massive dignity of the building. But boys who could sing the services in English, (there were no services in the French language except the occasional offices) meant American boys, and there were none; or else it meant bringing boys over from England. In order that English boys might be allowed to come to France, it was necessary that provision be made that they should have the equivalent of an English Board School education, so that when they should go back to England after their voices began to break, they would not be handicapped educationally. This all meant the establishing of a choir school in Paris; which Dr. Morgan established, and I inherited. Positions in this school were eagerly sought for, for they meant free scholarships and the chance to learn French; and the filling of vacancies as they arose was made dependent on the outcome of competitive examinations which were held in England. For a long time the school had its quarters in an old building on the Rue de la Tour; the Head of the school was an old-fashioned English schoolmaster; and the school itself was a refined edition of Dotheboys Hall. When the old Master who had been head of the school was retired, advertisements were put in the Church Times and in the Guardian, stating that it was desired to find a man in Holy Orders, who would be qualified to direct both the educational work and supervise the boys' musical education, and who would also take a place as assistant minister of Holy Trinity. Applications came in by the score in answer to these advertisements; we thinned them down to two; and these two were asked to come to Paris to see me. Of the two, one was an outstanding man, and he was chosen. He was the Rev. E. H. Williams-Ashman, now Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Mr. Ashman was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of a Church of England clergyman. When his family returned to England, he was placed in an English choir school; and from that school he was one of the boys who gained one of the competitive places in Holy Trinity Choir School in Paris; hence he knew French, and he knew the school. One might say, How fortunate! I would say, Another guiding of Providence. After having decided in my own mind that Mr. Ashman was the man for the place, I told him that I wanted him to be fully satisfied that he would find working with me wholly satisfactory; that it was my custom to give a colleague free scope in his own allotted field, only asking of him that the work be done; that if he had any pet notions as to ritual or other similar matters which were essential to him, it was better that all such questions were discussed in advance. Then I asked him as to St. Peter's, Paddington, which was the church to which be was at the time attached: and his reply was, "Well, Rector, I can answer all your questions by telling you a story. At one time the Bishop of London, who was then Bishop Creighton, sent a letter to all the London churches, saying that in his opinion incense should not be used at the regular morning service. With this request most of the churches complied, St. Peter's, Paddington among them, as incense had never been used there at any time. A few of the churches however held out; so the Bishop sent for the rectors of these recalcitrants and laid the case before them as a matter of counsel from the Ordinary, to whose opinion they might be expected to defer. "But, my Lord," said one of them, "with me, this is a matter of conscience." "Agreed," said the Bishop, "but you may well, I think, subordinate your individual conscience in such a minor matter to the corporate conscience of the Bishop and the Diocese." "But, my Lord," said another, "I must insist that I have a cure of souls." "Yes," said the Bishop, "and I have often noticed that gentlemen of your opinions seem to think that souls, like herrings, cannot be cured without smoke." A man with as ready a sense of humour as that story evidenced must have, I thought, the capacity of adaptiveness, which would be most valuable in our Paris work. So Mr. Ashman came; did wonderful work; and was with me all the time of my stay in France, and often at the price of real hardship for himself. His devotion to the work and to me personally knew no limits. When I left France, he returned to England and was a master at Rugby for a time; then he was made Chaplain of the British Embassy Church in Brussels,---what was known as the Edith Cavell Church; and he left that attractive post at the call of his University (Cambridge) to become Warden of the Universities Mission in London Docks and Vicar of Christ Church, Rotherhithe.
Next, by appointment of the Lord Mayor and Council of London, he became Vicar of St. Peter's Church, Bethnal Green; and his work there has won him such recognition that he was made Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. He has a devoted wife and two children, and his boy Guy is my godson.
IN JULY 1914 we went to England, thinking to get some much needed rest. Our destination was Cromer on the Norfolk Coast, and there I took up golf again for the first time since leaving America; and as my clubs were in storage in Akron with my household goods, I got the "Pro" at the Royal Golf Links Club House to fit me out with a bag of clubs. One thing which we noticed at this hotel which was perched up on the cliffs overlooking the North Sea was the fact that the personnel of the house were mostly Germans, with the exception of the head porter; and that the manager was a German gentleman, evidently a person of distinction. One morning when I was out on the Links digging away with my niblick in a sand-trap, a ball whizzed perilously near my ear, and after a short wait the owner of the ball came over the crest and proved to be a German gentleman who suggested, as I was alone, that we might do the round together; which we did. That same evening in the lounge before the fire, we talked on various subjects and I improved the occasion to refresh my German which was very rusty. We made an appointment to play golf again on a succeeding morning; but on coming down to breakfast on the day appointed I found a note on crested paper by my plate from my acquaintance (a German nobleman and officer), regretting having to break the appointment to play, and saying that he had been suddenly recalled to the Continent, but that he hoped we might meet again in happier times. Just what "happier times" indicated I did not then realise, although we had plainly noticed that the service in the hotel was becoming disorganised apparently, and that things were not running smoothly. The world had so long refused to take trouble in the Balkans as meaning any general European danger, that it seemed difficult to believe that this War talk on the Continent might possibly develop anything definitely serious. However as the situation did not quiet down, we packed up and went up to London.
There rumours were so disquieting that we decided on an immediate return to Paris and the post of duty. To facilitate travel I went to the Morgan Bank in London, to which I had been accredited, and asked to exchange some English money for French money, only to be told that they could not let me have any French money, as they had no idea what it was worth, face or nothing; but they gave me the address of a broker to whom they had telephoned on my behalf and who said that he would let me have some French money. I went to his office and got the money, at a considerable premium, and mostly in large bills, while what I wanted was small money for local expense and travelling tips. However, I had a little French gold in reserve and I kept some English gold, knowing that gold was good money whatever happened. Then I went to the shipping offices to arrange for our passage to France; there I was told that they would sell me the tickets but that I must take my chances on getting any kind of a place on the boat, as crowds were hurrying back to France while it was still possible to go. I then took up the matter with the Travel Bureau in the lobby of the hotel where we were staying and asked to have a cabin reserved for me. The man in charge said that he would do his best but that he was doubtful of results. Knowing what the Channel boats would be like in case of a crowd, I told him that if he succeeded in getting me the accommodations I had asked for, there would be a half a sovereign for him, and that he could tell the agent at the Folkestone pier that there would be a guinea for him if I got a room. On coming down stairs on the morning of my proposed departure for France, I was met by the agreeable information that the cabin on the boat had been arranged, and as evidence the man handed me a slip of paper which was a copy of the telegram which he had received from Folkestone So, we started for Paris leaving behind us a London boiling with uncertainty, and with hotels crowded with Americans in a panic, all trying to get accommodations for a homeward sailing. "Mobilisation" had been ordered in France; War seemed imminent. On our way down to Folkestone in the Pullman car, Jeannette called my attention to a gentleman and a lady who were seated opposite to us, and said, "Those people are Americans; they are going to Paris, I heard them say. Don't you think that you should tell them what they are going into; they do not seem at all to realise what is going on." Despite the fact that I had personally met the man who had made his fortune by attending to his own business (there was once one such person), I let good nature overmaster discretion, and I made the acquaintance of our vis-à-vis. They were very attractive people, from Cincinnati; they had that American idea of aloofness from all world concerns in general which seems characteristic of us; their tickets called for a trip from New York to Paris and return; and they could see no reason why those tickets should be invalidated by what might be going on in Europe. So we all reached Folkestone. On going aboard the boat which was already crowded, I gave my name to the steward who came to take our bags and told him that I had a reservation of a private cabin. He consulted the list which was posted beside the entrance to the saloon; then said that he was very sorry but that there must have been some mistake somewhere, as my name did not appear on the list of cabin reservations. Well, I thought, we are here, and we'll make it somehow; and if my half-sovereign to the chap in London is gone, at least I have saved the guinea to the purser. In a short time, however, back comes the steward followed by the purser who most politely asked us to follow him, and we were shown to a large cabin with settees on two sides, and two large windows looking out on the deck. In the mirror above the lavabo there was a card which read "This Cabin is Reserved for the Duchess of Westminster." At once I called the purser's attention to it and said, "Have you not made an error in the number of the room, Purser? this cabin is evidently meant for some one else." "No, Sir; No, Sir; not at all, Sir" said the purser: "You are the Duchess of Westminster, Sir: it was the only way that we could put the reservation through, Sir." So, the Duchess of Westminster set sail for France; and, for what seemed to be war.
When we had pulled out from the dock I set out to find our friends from Cincinnati, and after a time I found the gentleman and asked him where his wife was, and had she found a comfortable place. She was up forward sitting on a pile of rope and almost in collapse from faintness due to the press of the crowd. She was too overcome to walk, so he and I made a chair by crossing hands over wrists, and with difficulty we got her down to my cabin, literally over the heads of the crowd which was one close packed mass of wretched humanity, already overcome by the tossing of the Channel. On reaching Boulogne I took the two ladies to the gate which closed the entrance to the train sheds, and by the judicious manipulation of a Five Franc silver dollar, I secured an entrance for them to the waiting cars where they might sit in some comfort until we could get the bags past the Douane. On the train they told me that they were going to the Grand Hotel in Paris; by this time I knew that it would be useless to ask them why it must be the Grand Hotel; so I did my best to help them on their downward path. At the station in Paris my good Gabriel met us with the car; I told him who our companions were, and asked him to go out and get them a taxi. "But, there are no taxis, Monsieur," he said. "There is no one to drive them; this is the eve of mobilisation, and all the men have gone to their depots." Mobilisation in France means that every man of military age must report at his depot which is usually the chef-lieu of his Department of origin; he may be living in Lyons but if his depot is Lille, then to Lille he must go to get his equipment and report for service at the Front. "But, Gabriel," I said, "I've seen several taxis go by; get one for these friends of mine; they must have one even if you have to buy it; these people are not well, and they must get to the Grand Hotel where they have their rooms engaged." Gabriel still objected: "it is not safe, Monsieur; these taxis which you have seen are not driven by Frenchmen; the Company is taking any kind of a foreigner whom they can get." But our friends were equally insistent, and in the course of time a taxi came and they were put in it with strict injunctions to pay nothing to the driver but to wait till they came to the Grand Hotel, and even then to assure themselves that it really was the Grand Hotel; then to leave the matter of payment to the man in royal livery who would come to the door to meet them. A few days later the two wanderers came to the rectory, looking the very picture of despair. They told me that the cooks and waiters at the Hotel had all vanished; that they had divided one soft boiled egg between them for breakfast; and they ended by saying: "You were good enough to get us here: now, for heavens' sake help us to get out!"
After having seen our American acquaintances off from the station---destination unknown---it was time to look after our trunks and have them strapped on the back of the car and to make our way to Avenue de l'Alma. So leaving Jeannette in the car, Gabriel and I went back to the gate leading to the platform where we had landed from the train, only to find it locked, and a sentry standing there who refused us admission to where the trunks should be, saying most politely but most insistently, "Consigne formelle, Messieurs!" And in reply to our questions where we might find the trunks in the morning, if we did not get them that evening, he admitted that he did not know any more about that than we did. What to do? Gabriel, always resourceful as to methods for peacefully avoiding the oftentimes disturbing regulations of police and military, suggested seeing the Chef de Gare. So to the far end of the station I went; climbed up a circular iron stairway, and found myself in the sleepy but august presence. He was a tired but complaisant man, this Monsieur Ronde-de-Cuir, and he asked me drowsily what he could do for me. I had expected politeness, but I was wondering all the way up the stairs how I would manage it to get something more; and all of a sudden I bethought me of some papers which I had in my pocket. I always carried with me in travelling a case of soft leather, which was the gift of Mr. William Hogan, a friend who did me many favours, and which held my miscellaneous assortment of papers, official and semi-official. In response to the query of the Chef de Gare, and to his tacit enquiry by look as to why I was coming up there disturbing his well-earned repose, I handed him the diplomatic papers which the Spanish authorities had given me for easing my crossing of the frontier on my recent trip to Madrid. Spanish "was all Greek" to him. A blank look came over his face, "And what are these, Monsieur?" In as lofty a tone as I could command my weary voice to assume, I replied: "They are credentials from the Government of Spain, Monsieur le Chef de Gare." Instant awakening; in what way could he serve me? The answer was easy; "Would he please write an order to the planton at the gate down there, instructing him to go with my chauffeur to get my trunks." No sooner said than done; and in due course we were on our way to what we hoped would be supper, and what we knew would be bed.
It is now time to introduce to the honourable company a typical Frenchman, one of the truest of friends and one of the most faithful of companions, who went everywhere with me in all my wanderings in France and in and around the capital---Monsieur Gabriel de la Houplière. I first made his acquaintance in 1910 when he was driving a car which was kept at the disposal of the guests of the Hotel Ste. Anne, on the Rue Ste. Anne in Paris, and he was my conductor, guide, and interpreter in my first year of explorations in and about Paris. In 1911 and 1912 the acquaintance ripened, so that by the time I needed a car for my work it was to Gabriel that I turned naturally. At the beginning of my work in Paris I had the use of a fine landau and horses which were put at my disposal by the kindness of Mrs. Johnson; but time soon came when an automobile was necessary, and I made arrangements with the garage where Gabriel was employed that I should have him as driver with a car which they would furnish. Our first car was a Delahaye; and the next one was a Delaunay-Belleville; but always with Gabriel as chauffeur. Then came the War; all cars in the garages in Paris were requisitioned, which meant that I would have to buy a car. Through the courtesy of Mr. William Hogan I was able to get a 20/30 Renault Phaeton which had belonged to Mrs. Rutherford Stuyvesant, and Gabriel came with me then as chauffeur. Technically, perhaps, Gabriel was a servant as so regarded in France and as the word means in French usage; but to me he was helper, companion, counsellor and friend; and that relation of affection and friendship still exists between us, as witness the fact that I have regularly letters from him which show that I am still part of his life. "Monsieur, où allons-nous aujourd'hui?" The day before had been a hard day's run, and I had found my bed at the Hotel de la Poste at Beaune so attractive that it was now 11:00 o'clock in the morning, and I had just come downstairs and had stepped into the courtyard to look at the weather, and there I found Gabriel telling two petits garçons some of the virtues of our Renault 20/30,---("which could easily run 70 kilomètres the hour, but we did not usually go over 50 as we did not wish to hurt the roads.") That "Monsieur, where are we going to-day?" which was Gabriel's question, is a commentary on our relationship; that allons-nous, that "we" associated him with my interests; it was meant to tell me confidentially that my interests were his; that we were working together; that life was a co-operation; that it made no difference in essentials that one might be master and one might be servant, if so be that it was good master and good servant, for the work of each was necessary in order that the other should do good work. Again also there was in the familiar form of his question that sort of half-affectionate comprehension expressed, which is a charming reality in the intimate relation which is created between oneself and a French servant of the good old type. I was le patron, it is true, and officially I was several kinds of Monsieur le Président; but, for all that, Gabriel felt himself a very real part of all that I was doing, officially or otherwise. His attitude was like that of the little nephew of the curé who was running home from the Church one morning when some one hailed him: "Jacques, Où est Monsieur l'Abbé?" "Il est à l'Eglise, Madame; nous venons de célébrer la messe"; said the boy: (WE have just celebrated Mass). My work took me very often, sometimes daily, to the various government offices, and Gabriel came thus to know all their concièrges and to hear all the gossip that was passing in the outskirts of officialdom; which made him feel all the more a part of public affairs. One morning coming out of my house I found Gabriel waiting for me with the car; and I noticed that he had a sort of apologetic air as if not quite certain whether he had committed sacrilege or not. I saw several persons just going away from where he was standing, and I said, "Who were those people? did they come to see me?" Gabriel explained to me it was a curé from the village of Montdidier, who had come with several of the villagers to express their thanks for an American harvester-binder which I had sent up there to help in getting in the grain from the fields of the widows just back of the Front; and he said that he hoped that he had not exceeded what was proper in the matter, but knowing that I had an appointment at the Ministry of the Interior, he had said to them, "I beg of you to excuse us this morning, Messieurs; mais nous sommes dans les ministères ces jours-ci jusqu'au cou. (We are up to our necks these days in work at the ministries.) And he made his refusal courteous by including himself in the excuse. I could write a book on Les bons mots de Gabriel.
I wrote an article in French at the request of a French diplomat which was published in LA REVUE HEBDOMADAIRE under the title "IL VA NAITRE." It appeared in the issue of May 22, 1915; and its purpose was to give my impressions of the spiritual and religious attitude of France in time of war; it was later translated into Spanish and was used in Spain by the Foreign Affairs as favourable evidence for a France which had been maligned as an irreligious nation; and a preface to the article speaks of it as "a tribute rendered spontaneously to the religious idealism" of France. On the evening of the day of the appearance of this article in print, I drove to Rue Garancière and brought home with me a number of copies of the Revue, and on dismissing the car for the day I gave a copy to Gabriel. When I came out of the house in the morning following I found him reading it. With a quizzical air he said, "Monsieur, Who wrote this preface to your article in the Revue Hebdomadaire?" I replied, "It was written by Monsieur Alfred Dumaine, the Ambassador of France at Vienna, when the War broke out." "Ah, c'est ça," said Gabriel, "j'ai cru reconnaître le style chatié du Quai d'Orsay." (I thought I recognised the meticulous style of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.) I received countless letters soliciting money, and one of them ended by saying, "You ought to grant my prayer, Monsieur, for I too, am a saint." I took this letter out and showed it to my counsellor, and said "Gabriel, just what does one mean in France by 'a saint'?" "Why, for my part, Monsieur," he said, "the saints are all dead, I think." He had unlimited confidence in my ability to do the impossible, had Gabriel.
One day on starting for my work in the City with a leather briefcase, (what Gabriel called "votre serviette de servitude") stuffed with papers under my arm, I found him talking with a wounded soldier whom he introduced to me by name. The soldier asked me to get him some word from his wife and daughters, whom he had not seen since the War began; they were all in a village in the North when mobilisation called him to his Depot in the Midi; the battle line had swept between; his village had been in the hands of the enemy; and he was terribly anxious to know that no harm had come to his family there. I told him that I would do what I could; although I had not the faintest idea what that would be; but it turned out that I succeeded well. One day at the Château de Pontault Combault where I was at luncheon, the daughter of the house, Mlle. Leon, brought in to see us a little girl who had been separated from her family for three years and had been cared for all that time by the enemy who occupied their village; the attack came hurriedly; she was at school and her home was on the other side of the village from the school; the family ran one way and she ran another, and she was left alone, hiding in a cellar. They were good to her, those rough soldier men; she was but a little thing; and in those three years she had forgotten all her French; she spoke only German; she had even forgotten her family name: but, in the end, Mlle. Leon found the family. She was occupied with a fine work in Geneva, the interchange of postal cards between people in the North of France behind the German Front and their relatives in France; and she also did the same service for those who were in concentration camps in Germany. I told her what the wounded soldier had asked of me, and she said that she would try and get the word desired; and some weeks later she sent me a post card signed by the soldier's wife and daughter, saying that all was well with them. I had Gabriel bring the man to see me, and when I gave him the card, his pent up emotion broke bounds, and he fell on his knees and kissed my hand. I said to him, "But tell me, my friend, why did you ask such an apparently impossible service of a foreigner?" "Oh! Monsieur, it was your chauffeur, Monsieur Gabriel, who told me to do it; he said, 'You just ask my patron to do it for you; asking him is like asking the good God himself.'" Gabriel de la Houplière is now in the employ of the Hôtel Ambassador, Boulevard Haussmann.
On reaching Paris on the eve of mobilisation I found that my assistant, Mr. Ashman, was not there; he was off on holiday, as he thought. So little idea did one have in Paris that war was so imminent that he left Paris the last week in July to go to Hamburg to visit his sister. On crossing the frontier of France he saw every evidence of military preparation on the German side of the line, and on reaching Cologne where he left the train and tried to return to Paris, he was told that the frontier was closed and that there was no possibility of going back; so he continued his journey to his sister and her family. And here is one of those tragedies which war brings. His sister, an English girl, had married a graduate of the University of Cambridge who was manager of the London-Shanghai Bank in Hamburg; he was born in Germany but he went to England as a boy; was educated there; grew up in English life; married there; his children said their prayers in English; and now, just overnight as it were, the whole family becomes German in Hamburg because of the father's parentage. Mr. Ashman tried to get to England by sea, going aboard a small steamer in the Hamburg harbour which was freighted for Hull; but the steamer was seized and he was arrested as an enemy subject. After some months of waiting he was exchanged and came back to Paris.
Three serious situations faced me when War broke out in Europe. The first and the most pressing was the condition of American travellers who were stranded there. Most of them arrived in Paris without baggage or even a change of clothing; many of them were without money; a moratorium was on at all the banks, and drafts and letters of credit were valueless; cultured, well-dressed women were without money to pay a taxi fare, and often I saw them sitting on a bench beside the street holding their shoes in their hands, too lame and tired to walk farther: and it was so that they often came to the Rectory. The next question was as to how to house and feed these waifs together with quantities of other Americans, in case of a sudden swift enemy advance on the City, or a possible siege. For the housing I arranged for beds to be placed in the Parish House and in the nave of the Church if they should be needed; but the question of food was a more serious one; for hoarding of food on any one's part was strongly protested by the citizens. I went to see the manager of a large provision shop on the Left Bank; it was difficult to get entry to the store; the iron grilles at the front were open but a foot or two and were guarded by police so that the store could not be rushed, and but a few people were allowed in the store at a time. (Those who remembered what the siege of '70 was like and what food conditions were then could easily become desperate on the slightest sign of shortage.) When I finally reached the manager, presented my card, and made myself known, I told him that what I wanted was to make a food provision in case of an emergency for stranded Americans, and that I was prepared to pay cash. He offered me anything which he had in stock, and gave me an order to the police to pass my car into the area at the rear of the store. We then filled the car with all the dry provisions which the balance of my vacation money would buy-some $200 worth-and under cover of the dusk, with the aid of Jean and Narcisse, our two sacristans on duty at the time, Gabriel supervised the storing of the supply in the downstairs hall closet at the rectory.
Later on, after the rush of the Marne was past, these provisions were given as need might arise to hungry people who came to the Ouvroir at the Parish House.
Next in urgency came the outfitting of travellers who reached Paris having lost their baggage on the way. The sister of one of our Bishops reached us without hat or even a handbag; her head wrapped in a black lace scarf. She took with her on leaving for England a steamer trunk well supplied with just the things she needed; it had belonged to a lady who could not take it with her in the rush of departure and who had sent trunk and contents to us. That was what often happened; Americans with a plentiful supply of belongings and strictly limited as to what they could take on trains simply sent trunks and all to us, and we distributed the contents and gave away the trunks as need arose.
The Ambassador soon made arrangements by which the Morgan Bank would cash personal checks of Americans, who carried letters of credit or who possessed other evidence of financial responsibility; and I was told that less than 5% of the obligations so created were defaulted.
Having a car, and being known in Paris, made it possible for me to render many services to my compatriots who were eager to get away to America. Most grateful letters came from many of them after they had gotten away. One of them reads: "God bless you for the help given. We have our passports and are off for England." Bishop Lines wrote: "It was our good fortune to come home on the S.S. Celtic. ---You, dear Dr. Watson, have filled out the ideal of a great public servant at this time." Dr. Milo Gates, now Dean of the Cathedral in New York, wrote in a printed article: "The Rector of our Church in Paris has performed a service as remarkable as that of any man in the field." As this is history, no apology need be made here for what might, otherwise, seem to be self-laudation.
The most urgent and serious situation which the breaking out of War presented for solution to me, as Rector of Holy Trinity, was the maintenance of the Church and of its services, for all guarantees expired with the outbreak of hostilities; and if the financial situation of the Church was precarious in ordinary times it became infinitely more so now. Normally, in those days, and as I found it, the maintenance of that great Church in a foreign city was a three-legged stool; one leg was pew rentals, and before the War was on many months a large proportion of the pews had been given up; another leg was the offerings at the Sunday services, and by 1915 these had diminished tremendously---75 to 100 people was a large congregation by the time that June 1915 arrived; the third leg was the gifts of generous Americans who once were there as travellers and who were there no more; European travel had ceased. When it became a question as to whether it would be financially possible to keep the Church open for the services, the Duchesse de Talleyrand offered me the use of the building in the Rue Pierre Charron, which was known as The Miller-Gould Foundation which could easily have been arranged for our use; and in addition to the use of the building she offered to provide all costs of maintenance, such as heat, light, and caretaker. But soon money enough began to come in for the use of the Church, specifically, and I saw that we would not have to close the Church's doors. I have by me a pile of receipts which I have kept, which cover amounts sent in in those War days by friends in America for the support of the Church in Paris, and I am amazed as I read the figures. Here are some of them: "Ten Thousand Francs for Church Maintenance---One Thousand Francs---Twenty-six Thousand Nine Hundred Francs---Ten Thousand Francs---Twenty Thousand Francs-Eight Thousand and Ninety Francs-Two Thousand and Fifty Dollars---One Hundred and Fifty-five Dollars-Five Hundred Dollars---Four Hundred and Eighty-four Dollars---Ten Thousand Francs;---and then I find this one---Five Thousand Dollars for the shortage in Church Receipts for 1918. These and similar gifts made my task of keeping the Church's doors open possible of accomplishment. All these receipts-with the exception of a few which were signed by H. H. Harjes or by Mr. James or Mr. Laurence as Treasurer of the Church-were signed, "G. Schlatter, Ass't Treasurer"; and as I write that name a wave of gratitude comes over me, for Georges Schlatter meant everything to me in all this financial work which came upon me, both for the Church and for Charity and Relief. Georges Schlatter was a man of Swiss birth; he was one of the tellers of the Morgan Bank, and while Mr. Harjes was the Treasurer of the Vestry, it was Mr. Schlatter who paid the bills and saw to the general financing. There was nothing too much for him to do for me. Every gift for the Church itself and every contribution for Relief or Charity which came to me passed through Mr. Schlatter's hands; every sum which I received for these purposes was paid over to him and by him deposited in the Bank to an account marked, "Special"; and all sums drawn from this account were drawn through his intermediary; and I owe his name and his memory this tribute of gratitude.
The possibility of my personally remaining in Paris to carry on the work became a serious financial issue for me. The necessary expenses of the Rector's office were large, too large for me to cover from any income which I had. In this emergency there were generous friends who came to the rescue; and chief among them were Mr. Edward Tuck, the Duchesse de Talleyrand, Mr. James Stillman, Sr. and Mrs. Herman Frasch. But for them this story would not be written.
The enforced absence of Mr. Ashman, while a prisoner in Hamburg in the early weeks of the War, created a need for immediate additional help in the Church, and for a time this need was wonderfully met by the presence in Paris of the Bishop of Tennessee. Bishop Gailor had known me from my student days when I was in his classes at Sewanee. He was in Paris with his family when War broke out, and he found all of a sudden that the little hotel where he had been staying was about to close its doors, and they were setting out his trunks for removal. The Rectory most gladly opened its doors to him, and the Bishop, and Mrs. Gailor, their two daughters, and Frank Hoyt Gailor their son were all our guests for a time. The Bishop said to me, "You can leave the routine work at the Church all to me; I will take the daily services, see all callers, and I will preach for you on Sundays." And for the three weeks of their stay with us the Bishop was a strong right arm of power, both physical and spiritual. In an article which he wrote for publication, the Bishop said: "I am profoundly impressed with the variety of the Rector's responsibilities here, and with the exceptional wisdom and ability of his administration; in this time of peril he has given the Church a recognised leadership in the work of relief and comfort. Two of the leading business men said to me the other day, 'We find your Rector a tower of strength to us all. It takes high courage for there are no available funds, and the Church's charities and its offices of mercy are freely distributed to all classes of society and to all who have need.'"
On the morning of the third of August Bishop Gailor and Gabriel and I took Alexis, our maître d'hôtel, to the train on his way to his Depot. Alexis belonged to the famous Regiment of the Cent-Trente-Trois; and I think that his going was harder for him---apart from his parting with Louise---because of his thought of who would look after us, and who would do his work. I had told him that as long as we remained we would look after his wife, and that he could feel that Louise was in our care; that he would be my representative at the Front for I would pay Louise his regular wage monthly and that she could keep it for him until he returned. When we came opposite to the Railway Station Gabriel stopped the car; we all got out and stood for a brief moment of parting; then Alexis kneeled on the pavement and Bishop Gailor laid his hand on Alexis' head in blessing; then the Bishop took off his hat and waving it called out to the watching crowd, "Vive la France!" then we went back again to our waiting tasks. After some days longer the Bishop and his family left for their homeward voyage; and from London the Bishop wrote: "We shall never forget the gracious hospitality of the Rectory, and the loving kindness of Mrs. Watson and yourself; it will be a lasting and a gracious memory."
Alexis was gone fourteen months before he had his first permission, and could come back to the house for a rest. I asked him what was the first duty of his day as a soldier, and he said: "It is I, Monsieur, who serve the men with their petit verre." (Each soldier has the right to a little glass of brandy the first thing in the morning.) "Well, you are in luck," I said. "How is that, Monsieur?" "Why, you have the bottle." "But Monsieur knows that I never touch the stuff." "But what do you do with your portion? you do not throw it on the ground, I suppose." "No, Monsieur, I friction my hair with it." And it was perfectly evident that something had worked a change: when Alexis went to the Front he had very little hair on top; and now a fine soft black thatch was making its appearance. As soon as Alexis had been to a Turkish bath after arriving from the Front, he came to see me in the salon. I told him that I had made arrangements that he should have the day off with the car, and that Gabriel would take him and Louise wherever they might want to go. "But, Monsieur, I do not want to go anywhere, I want to stay here. And, Monsieur, just look at the stair carpet; it is getting all worn on the edges of the stair treads with the way Monsieur has soldiers and everybody coming up here to see him; I must change that carpet before I go back. And then my silverware; has Monsieur looked at it? It too needs my care; I must polish it." Again I urged that he take a rest and go out; but he insisted that the streets of Paris would be no treat to him; what would rest him most and help him best to put out of mind for a time what he had been through would be his familiar occupations, the little duties of the household---mon service, Monsieur. I love to think of it and of the fine spirit of the man. It is so characteristic of the Frenchman; his joy in little things, and his love of doing them all well.
I had invited the Minister of War to dinner on one of the evenings while Alexis was at home, not knowing at all in advance that Alexis was coming; and I had told Louise to engage one of the concièrges of the neighbourhood to come in and help her with the table service at the dinner. Most of these neighbourhood concièrges were former butlers, who had graduated into that enviable position, the throne from which a concièrge rules both the immeuble and its locataires.
"Monsieur," said Alexis, "Louise tells me that you are having distinguished company to dinner, and that you have asked her to get un maître d'hôtel provisoire to help her with the dinner service; but, Monsieur, now that I am here, it will be permitted me to take my service as usual, will it not?" Again I suggested that he take a rest from work while he was en permission; but his reply was that his work in the house would be the best kind of rest for him; and then he added: "If it is on account of my moustache that Monsieur hesitates to let me serve the dinner, I will cut it off, if Monsieur wishes."---He had grown a moustache while he was at the Front, and he had the well trained butler's thought that it was not good form for a butler to wear a moustache; in fact, he said to me at one time, "Monsieur, is it possible that the War has done this to us, that the butlers in Paris wear moustaches?" It goes without saying that Alexis served the dinner, and several times I caught a look in the eye of the Minister of War which seemed to ask why this man was not at the Front; so I told Monsieur Painlevé, who Alexis was, and what was the number of his Regiment, and how long he had been at the Front before he had his first permission. The Minister then asked if I would have Alexis come in at the close of the dinner and serve him personally a liqueur; and when this was done he stood and put his arm about Alexis' shoulders and with a winning smile like that of a frank good-natured boy, which was one of Paul Painlevé's greatest charms, he asked us all to lift our glasses to this enfant de France; then he lifted his own glass to his lips and then passed it to Alexis that he might share it with him. It is that camaraderie between the great and the small, which is the bond of union between Frenchmen, especially in the Army. There, your Captain may have been your coiffeur in civil life, but you are both enfants de la Patrie; and the Colonel will take the arm of a petit poilu (a private soldier in the ranks) and will call him mon vieux; and there will be neither breach of etiquette nor any risk to the formality of other occasions in his doing so. Alexis was mobilised on the 3rd of August, 1914; he received the Croix de Guerre in September, 1915, his Citation reading: "a man of rare courage; as Agent de Liaison on the 12th and 13th of September despite an intense bombardment and violent machine-gun fire he traversed the barrage three times to carry important messages"; and his Colonel certifies also that "the Lions of the 133rd" won the right to wear the fourragère by their heroism. When we came home from France, Alexis was still with the Army of Occupation in the North along the Belgian Line, and from there he wrote: "If Monsieur and Madame can find a place for Louise and me in their country, we will go to the ends of the earth to serve them."
While I feel an especial tenderness for Alexis and Louise, that does not mean that I appreciate any the less the personal devotion of Gabriel and Madeleine and Corinne and Jean and Narcisse. And I write their names here in this page as a part of the Roll of Honour of those who served the American Church so well, and in doing so served France also.
In time it seemed necessary for reasons of forced economy to close the Choir School and to send the boys back to their homes in England. That move hurt us deeply for it meant the disbanding of a wonderfully fine choir and one which was peculiarly fitted to the architectural meaning of the great church itself. With the sole exception of the choir in the Temple Church in London, I have never heard a church choir which was its equal. There were two occasions when the Choir did work which was memorable. One was the welcome which the boys gave to the King and Queen of England when they came to Paris to open an Exhibition of Textiles in the Pavillon Marsan in the Louvre. I had had a note from the Minister of Fine Arts, saying that they planned to have the British National Anthem sung as a welcome, just as the King and Queen came under the great arch which was the entrance to the Pavillon, but that the French pronunciation of "God Save the King" was an insurmountable barrier, so far as French singers were concerned; and would I come to the rescue of the Government and have our Choir Boys there to greet their Majesties royally and nationally. This was most gladly arranged; and after the entrance ceremony and the singing, the boys, with Mr. Ashman, came down to the farthest alcove in the Pavillon where I was waiting for them. When their Majesties reached the alcove on the opposite side from where we were standing, the Queen looked across and recognised the British look of the Eton jackets which the boys wore, with their bowler hats tucked under their arms; then she came straight across and asked me who the boys were. I told her that they were English boys from the Choir of our American Church in Paris, and that they were the ones who sang the welcome when their Majesties came in. Without further ceremony the Queen called to the King and asked him to come and see the English boys. There was but one comment from them both, which was that they thought that the exquisite music which they heard on entering was just one glorious mezzo voice. You could have knighted those boys and they would not have been happier than they were over the friendly courtesy of their Sovereigns; who had asked each boy individually what his name was, where in England he came from, and had a personal word for each one of them. British Royalty, as exemplified in King George and Queen Mary, is an admirable and lovable rulership, and "God Save Our Gracious King" is tribute which comes well from the hearts of their people.
Another time when the Choir Boys did lovely work was on Christmas Eve of 1917. The French Government had arranged a Ceremony of Gratitude at the Sorbonne, in recognition of the help which had come from abroad for the relief of the Orphans of the Great War, and our Choir was asked to take part, and the touching way in which they rendered with exquisite enunciation and musical feeling, Ceux Qui pieusement Sont Morts Pour la Patrie, left but few dry eyes in that great amphitheatre of the Sorbonne, which was packed with thousands of the people of the city, in those days when there was hardly a family which did not mourn some one of their own who had died at the Front.
This last remembrance means that the Choir Boys were back in Paris again. After the enemy retreat at the Marne and the dangers of the first wild rush on Paris was past, my good friend Mr. Edward Tuck, asked me if it would be possible to have the boys back at the Church again; and on my expressing an earnest wish that that might be brought about, he said that he would send a cheque each month to supply the difference between the cost of the Choir School and the indifferent mixed Choir which we had installed as a temporary measure. So the boys came back, and they stayed on until the increasing bombardments at night broke their nervous equilibrium down and sleep and digestion began to be affected; and then their parents urged their coming home. So back across the Channel they went again; and the doors of that fine school closed definitely. The records made by many of the boys of the Choir School are an honour and credit to the School's meaning and purpose. Many of the old boys are in positions of responsibility in England and in the Colonies; more than forty of them were in the Great War; one of them was on The Black Prince when she went down; one of them was killed at Ypres; and another of the boys, who was originally in the Merchant Marine on one of the Atlantic Transport ships which was converted into a cruiser for war service, had his ship torpedoed under him twice, and was in a third ship of this Line when she went on the rocks off the shores of Crete.
This is emphatically and purposedly not a War Book; and wherever in the book mention of the War is made, it is solely for the purpose of picturing individuals and happenings as the War revealed them. As to War itself 1 shall speak positively, and from the standpoint of one who was a participant as well as an onlooker. I saw it all in the very beginning, both in France and in England. I saw the utter and absolute unpreparedness of England, and I saw the peasants coming in from their fields in France, scythes on their shoulders, and wearing the old red trousers and the familiar képi of other days. Armaments and Preparedness did not cause the War. That nations so unprepared for war, as were France and England in 1914, should have purposely or willingly brought on that War is beyond any possibility of imagining; it was not armaments or preparedness, on the part of France or England, which did it. In any event armaments are not the inciting cause of strife: two boys may stand making faces at each other and shaking their fists at each other (the boys are the newspapers), but there will be no fighting until the first overt act of violence occurs. War is caused by the nation which strikes the first blow. And again Treaties of Peace have no influence in determining whether there shall be war or no. Never was there a treaty with terms more plainly defined than was the Treaty which guaranteed the Neutrality of Belgium and which was signed by all the Great Powers; but that Treaty went the way that all treaties will go IF a seeming military necessity calls for their violation.
I have no faith in the League of Nations, as originally constituted, as being essentially a Peace move; the very name League is a confession of its inherent weakness. A League is but another name for a Balance of Powers; and whenever any one nation or any group of nations in a League considers itself sufficiently strong or sufficiently justified to break the conventions of the League for purposes of its own, then those conventions will be broken; and the further weakness of the League is shown in this that in such a case there is no remedy which the League can apply except that of Force, either open force by arms, or disguised force in the form of a boycott, material or diplomatic. A Family of Nations I emphatically believe in, but I have no faith in Leagues. On the Fourth of July, 1915, in Paris, I made open appeal for a Family of Nations; for that is the divine ideal. I consider the League of Nations to be a worth-while experiment; another praiseworthy gesture was the Pact of Paris, so-called; but no League and no Pact nor any other Treaty agreement will ever prevent war, if war is in the hearts of peoples. Peace is not secured by treaties, nor is war caused by armaments. Peace is a matter of good will between nations; and disarmament is essentially and compellingly an economic question, whose ethical relation is secondary in result though primary in initial motive. Between the United States and Canada lies an undefended frontier; no treaty could make peace between our peoples more secure than it is; no armaments on either side would incite us to war one upon the other BECAUSE WE HAVE A WILL TO PEACE. I believe absolutely in Disarmament as an economic move, and one necessary to prevent and stop a wholly unproductive waste. I believe in the Pact of Paris and in every other like gesture of good will, as being a token of what we want to create in the hearts of human kind; but I consider the faith which is placed by many in such moves to be misplaced confidence.
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