Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
HBHH9PPP'"WW'W - "mjiwsfji v.f tfv 7",r:wgr- 1 Out there in the war country, 1 strangers are rare. Very soon I dis covered that everyone wanted to talk to me. They were hungry for news from the world outside of trenches, the world they had not seen for over a year. So, after they had politely asked whether "Monsieur" would mind talking a bit, there followed one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had. In two tours of Eu rope, before and after the war, amongst all nationalities, including Germans slowly dying from French bullets, I have never, except once, met a person who did not love France. And among these plain soldiers, that night, was to be found the charm that accounts for this. In simple language, each unfolded his views of the war. They were not like the views of the non-fighters I had met in Paris. The most rabid haters and insane talkers were al ways those that had found some ex cuse to stay at home and sell sup plies to the government On each of these soldiers' minds, chastened by suffering, was the im press of France's thinkers. They all wanted the war to stop; they all wanted to get again onto the basis of friendship with the world, in sharp contrast to the vindictive spirit of the war writers that claim to represent French feeling. How I wished that some American crowds I've seen could be as broad and tolerant of an "enemy" people as these fellows were! But France is the home of new, daring thinking, especially of the modern cry that the whole world should contain but one people, with out kings and without wars. That was the starting point of the think ing of each of those soldiers in that cafe. As the evening wore on and the talk became more intimate, the heat from the red-hot stove and the mild red wine seemed to get the bet ter of the discretion of one of them. "The International for me," he said. And then he began to sing the French workingman's song, "The In ternational," the song they sing to . proclaim fraternity between all na tions, defiance of rulers, peace and co-operation. It is the song the po lice dread to hear in strikes, and it is absolutely forbidden in time of war. The other soldiers stirred uneasily. One got up and came over to the singer, saying, "It is not the time." They got about him and persuaded him to stop. But as I looked about at the faces of those men I saw in each that he, too, wanted to sing that song. I climbed absentmindedly onto a train for Nancy, and settled into a seat to dream about it. It was the finest thing that I had seen, the most hopeful sign that all civilization was not destroyed in this war, that prog ress was still possible. An officer was eyeing me curiously. He was very polite whenever I looked up sharply, his eyes would politely shift from my face. He gazed long and intently at my suit case in the rack above. As the train pulled into Nancy, he disappeared, and when I left the car I was arrested as a German spy. When they saw my papers and let me go, I examined my suit case to dis cover what had interested the officer. It was a fragment of an old steam ship sticker of long ago when I had made a voyage on the "Kronprinz Wiilielm," and barely visible was the word "Nordeutscher." o o Deer Missis Cause of Harry fall in' on his stummuck flat in the barn he woant bee going too scuul tooda. Lyke everthing hee is sik also soar ankel. Harry wil studdy hisn lessons to home also will appli linimint, also bandage. Yrs. Mrs. P. . Note received by a school teacher. o o Sir When Joe's mamma told him not to be so boisterous the other day, little sister Ethel piped up: "And I shan't he so girlsterous any more, ma." Peter B.