This simple, every-day record of the experiences through which one French family has lived since August, 1914, may seem at first sight a charming, but not very important contribution to the literature of the war. But if we accept Henry Cabot Lodge's dictum that "one fact is gossip, and that two related facts are history," we shall realise in closing the book how much history we have absorbed in a Jourdainesque kind of ignorance. The curb at Mareuil, the little grandsons finding a German skull, the lawn sacrificed to potatoes, the roses rising triumphant over utilitarianism, the good-byes at the railroad-stations, the Christmas tree, the friendly talks ... all these may be trifles in one way; but they are making history. After all, we know more about the Lilliputians than about the Brobdingnagians, and they are more illustrative of Swift. This story of the past war months is like a rich fabric so cunningly woven that the rare and restrained touches of emotion stand out in brilliant relief against the neutral—no, that word has fallen into disrepute—against the sober tones of the daily background. And it is only in certain lights that one catches the gleam of the discreetly hidden threads of gold and silver which indicate the heroism of mother and wife. Ah, they are beautiful and sublime, these lives of French women! Son or husband at the front, while the children at home are cared for, the wounded, poor, and wandering helped, fields tilled, shops kept open, and everything done cheerfully, "all in the day's work," with no posing, no assumption of being above the ordinary. To those of us honoured by the author's friendship this book means a great deal. We have seen her brilliant in the world, tender and gay at home, helpful and widely charitable in her many duties, while all the time we divine that the mother's heart holds always the pride and the ache of which she writes so seldom.
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