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Home Fires in France   By: (1879-1958)

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HOME FIRES IN FRANCE

By DOROTHY CANFIELD

Author of "The Bent Twig," "The Squirrel Cage," "Hillsboro People," etc.

NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1918

COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE U. S. A.

THE QUINN & BODEN CO. PRESS RAHWAY, N. J.

DEDICATED TO GENERAL PERSHING

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This book is fiction written in France out of a life long familiarity with the French and two years' intense experience in war work in France. It is a true setting forth of personalities and experiences, French and American, under the influence of war. It tells what the war has done to the French people at home. In a recent letter, the author said, "What I write is about such very well known conditions to us that it is hard to remember it may be fresh to you, but it is so far short of the actual conditions that it seems pretty pale, after all."

CONTENTS

Notes from a French Village in the War Zone

The Permissionaire

Vignettes from Life at the Rear

A Fair Exchange

The Refugee

A Little Kansas Leaven

Eyes for the Blind

The First Time After

Hats

A Honeymoon ... Vive l'Amérique!

La Pharmacienne

HOME FIRES IN FRANCE

NOTES FROM A FRENCH VILLAGE IN THE WAR ZONE

Perhaps the first thing which brought our boys to a halt, and a long, long look around them, was the age of the place. Apparently it has the statement is hardly exaggerated always been there. As a matter of historical fact it has been there for more than a thousand years. On hearing that, the American boys always gasped. They were used to the conception of the great age of "historical" spots, by which they meant cities in which great events have occurred Paris, Rome, Stratford on Avon, Granada. But that an inconsiderable settlement of a thousand inhabitants, where nothing in particular ever happened beyond the birth, life, and death of its people, should have kept its identity through a thousand years gave them, so they said, "a queer feeling." As they stood in the quiet gray street, looking up and down, and taking in the significance of the fact, one could almost visibly see their minds turning away from the text book idea of the Past as an unreal, sparsely settled period with violent historical characters in doublet and ruff or chain mail thrusting broadswords into one another or signing treaties which condemned all succeeding college students to a new feat of memory; you could almost see their brilliant, shadowless, New World youth deepened and sobered by a momentary perception of the Past as a very long and startlingly real phenomenon, full, scaringly full of real people, entirely like ourselves, going about the business of getting born, being married and dying, with as little conscious regard as we for historical movements and tendencies. They were never done marveling that the sun should have fallen across Crouy streets at the same angle before Columbus discovered America as to day; that at the time of the French Revolution just as now, the big boys and sturdy men of Crouy should have left the same fields which now lie golden in the sun and have gone out to repel the invader; that people looked up from drawing water at the same fountain which now sparkles under the sycamore trees and saw Catherine de Medici pass on her way north as now they see the gray American Ambulance rattle by.... "And I bet it was over these same cussed hard heads!" cried the boy from Ohio, trying vainly to ease his car over the knobby paving stones.

"No, oh no," answered the town notary reasonably. "The streets of Crouy were paved in comparatively recent times, not earlier than 1620."

"Oh, the Pilgrim Fathers!" cried the boy from Connecticut.

"And nothing ever happened here all that time?" queried the boy from California incredulously.

"Nothing," said the notary, "except a great deal of human life."

"Gee! what a lot o' that!" murmured the thoughtful boy from Virginia, his eyes widening imaginatively... Continue reading book >>




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