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WILL WAR BABIES BE AN ASSET OR A CURSE?
, BIG PROBLEM STARES ENGLAND IN FACE
; BY MARY BOYLE O'REILLY
London, England, June 23. "Hon
est, Liz, I was a duffer, not to know.
It's all my fault If anyone says it
isn't I'll come back to do him in. Poor
old girl. God, don't I feel mean!
Say, Liz, I can't get home, you can't
come out here. Ask that Lady if we
can be married decent and right by
proxy you back there and me out
here. I'm ready. Honest. Your,
Thomas Wilkins, Bombardier."
From "Somewhere in France" Tom
has written to the girl he left behind
him for her letter telling him that
there was a little "War Baby" coming
into the world had, by some lucky
chance, reached him in the trenches.
His letter in answer and his sig
nature had been formally witnessed
by a junior lieutenant
But there are other "Toms" fight
ing in the trenches who do not write
back thousands of them who will
never come back because they have
been piled into shallow graves
"Somewhere in France" or Belgium.
And meanwhile England is about to
be invaded by an army of unknown
size. An army of "War Babies"
and already England is terrified at
the prospect Here is the truth about
"War babies? Yes, and they are
going to occupy a prominent position
in the social problem of the near fu
ture," declared the founder of the
War Babies' league, as she seated
herself to another day's work.
I sat near by, a neutral, taking
notes. For pharisical England ve
hemently protests the very existence
of the War Baby.
County councils confess in vain
that the total number of illegitimate
children shortly to be born is very
Mrs. Helen Bast, chief scout of the
arriving army, knows 200 expectant
mothers in one Sussex Tillage, 400 in
small Surrey .town, 2,500 about
London who are already receiving
food, clothing or work.
Roland McNeill, member of par
liament, steps up to testify.
"I know one country borough
where there are over 2,000 cases.
And this is not exceptional.
"All over England, where large en
campments have been, a great num
ber of unmarried girls will, within the
next few weeks, become mothers."
"But I tell you the War Baby is a
fraud," protested the typical West
End lady of fashion. Last year she
was dancing the tango, next month
she may be nursing for the Red
Cross. Just now she is trying to find
"I simply will not believe in the
nythical War Baby. Mobilization and
enlistment on a large scale did not
take place until November-December.
This is May. The Great Baby Rumor
is a legend. Still " her troubled
glance wavered to her purse. "Still,
in case there should be something in
it " She laid $25 upon the table.
"Women may at least help wom
en," observed the London lady. We
sat, an unofficial committee of three,
to consider a problem more import
ant to the England of tomorrow than
the long threatened German inva
sion. "The War Baby and its mother
cannot be dealt with under hard and
fast rules," mused the founder of the
league. "The mothers of our sol
diers' children must not be allowed
to pose as heroines, neither can they
be treated with scorn and dishonor."
A girl entered, broken by her sor
row. One thin hand clasped the
leather case of a great military deco
ration. "The war office sent it home," said
the toneless voice. "Ned never knew.
His aunt said I should have it I've
read everything I could find about
Hill 60, but somehow it doesn't seem
H-f y- -- " "f