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A Minstrel in France   By: (1870-1950)

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[ILLUSTRATION: frontispiece Harry Lauder and his son, Captain John Lauder. (see Lauder01.jpg)]


First 8th, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders Killed in France, December 28, 1916

Oh, there's sometimes I am lonely And I'm weary a' the day To see the face and clasp the hand Of him who is away. The only one God gave me, My one and only joy, My life and love were centered on My one and only boy.

I saw him in his infant days Grow up from year to year, That he would some day be a man I never had a fear. His mother watched his every step, 'Twas our united joy To think that he might be one day My one and only boy.

When war broke out he buckled on His sword, and said, "Good bye. For I must do my duty, Dad; Tell Mother not to cry, Tell her that I'll come back again." What happiness and joy! But no, he died for Liberty, My one and only boy.

The days are long, the nights are drear, The anguish breaks my heart, But oh! I'm proud my one and only Laddie played his part. For God knows best, His will be done, His grace does me employ. I do believe I'll meet again My one and only boy.

by Harry Lauder

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Harry Lauder and His Son, Captain John Lauder

"I did not stop at sending out my recruiting band. I went out myself"

"'Carry On!' were the last words of my boy, Captain John Lauder, to his men, but he would mean them for me, too"

"Bang! Went Sixpence"

"Harry Lauder preserves the bonnet of his son, brought to him from where the lad fell, 'The memory of his boy, it is almost his religion.' A tatter of plaid of the Black Watch. on a wire of a German entanglement barely suggests the hell the Scotch troops have gone through"

"Captain John Lauder and Comrades Before the Trenches in France"

"Make us laugh again, Harry!' Though I remember my son and want to join the ranks, I have obeyed"

"Harry Lauder, 'Laird of Dunoon.'" Medal struck off by Germany when Lusitania was sunk"


Yon days! Yon palmy, peaceful days! I go back to them, and they are as a dream. I go back to them again and again, and live them over. Yon days of another age, the age of peace, when no man dared even to dream of such times as have come upon us.

It was in November of 1913, and I was setting forth upon a great journey, that was to take me to the other side of the world before I came back again to my wee hoose amang the heather at Dunoon. My wife was going with me, and my brother in law, Tom Valiance, for they go everywhere with me. But my son John was coming with us only to Glasgow, and then, when we set out for Liverpool and the steamer that was to bring us to America he was to go back to Cambridge. He was near done there, the bonnie laddie. He had taken his degree as Bachelor of Arts, and was to set out soon upon a trip around the world.

Was that no a fine plan I had made for my son? That great voyage he was to have, to see the world and all its peoples! It was proud I was that I could give it to him. He was but it may be I'll tell you more of John later in this book!

My pen runs awa' with me, and my tongue, too, when I think of my boy John.

We came to the pier at Dunoon, and there she lay, the little ferry steamer, the black smoke curling from her stack straight up to God. Ah, the braw day it was! There was a frosty sheen upon the heather, and the Clyde was calm as glass. The tops of the hills were coated with snow, and they stood out against the horizon like great big sugar loaves.

We were a' happy that day! There was a crowd to see us off. They had come to bid me farewell and godspeed, all my friends and my relations, and I went among them, shaking them by the hand and thinking of the long whiles before I'd be seeing them again. And then all my goodbys were said, and we went aboard, and my voyage had begun.

I looked back at the hills and the heather, and I thought of all I was to do and see before I saw those hills again. I was going half way round the world and back again... Continue reading book >>

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