(Sunday Morning)                                                                             D.B. Bearman

                                                                                        Friends War Victims Rlf. Cttee.

23rd Nov: 1919                                                                                 53 Rue de Rivoli

    I enclose the 5 fr.                                                                                      1.ere  Arrondissement

    Piece of embroidery                                                                                                 Paris,  France

                                                                                                               Or Paris 1.ere


Dear Père,

          I hesitate to use the A.P.O.(Army Post Office) as I realize that it is run by the soldiers & therefore tends to keep them in the army when their usefulness as such, even in this direction, is only apparent. I had thought this ’A.P.O’ was only a section of the usual government service, or even only a name like ’Service de Santé’. But after a discussion with Charles I made enquiries & found that the post is taken & handed over to the military. The ’Service de Santé’ also has just been can not be used as at is now withdrawn.

When you have little to write, why not make it one of your special Post Cards? You can write two and a half P.C.s for the price of one letter.

            I am now at the Rue de Sèvres again. I was just a week away – Tuesday midday to Tuesday midday! I suppose you received my 14 page letter from Grange? I found yours (& Toms) & Mr T’s awaiting me in Paris thanks – yours was of the 13th.

            As I sit here Hubert Richardson has been playing over some Hymn tunes from my Fellowship book – very unusual with these chaps. What depths of passivity & inaction there are in much of our religious sentiment!!! I feel an impulse a strain of youthfulness wandering in & out among my thoughts, produced & sustained by my more active living lately, & quickening in its turn a sympathy with earlier youth. The impulse of childhood to do things and play at things is wholly right & our conventional religious sentiment today is very largely a power for evil in our development. Fortunately youth is strong & when so right, must win through somewhere to the open sky & to the vital creative activity of Nature. But action is so committal –

              ’a motion’ of a muscle this way or that

               ’Tis done, & in the after vacancy

               ’We wonder at ourselves like things surprised’

& and when out of accord with the forces and experiences which should teach it true discipline, it too often damns the idealism of youth before that idealism has matured. Myself in comparison, have grown up in the safe & sluggish school: & I feel as guilty of my success which is no success as any of those could feel who take life by storm & fall therein. Religious sentiment is good – sublime: but it must be ’wedded’ to all that is vitally active & creative within us. And so the active playful, joyful impulses of youth are not to be supressed nor even disciplined, but wooed & wed, by the more permanent & enduring impulses and sentiments.

            Sunday was very beautiful. The snow was fresh & deep upon everything & the sun shone. West, Lansdell (?), Charles & I (all English) set out soon after 10 am. through the white-robed forest. Our feet in places sunk a foot into the soft snow & the silent trees from time to time would drop on us a load of noiseless snow. It was quite a fairy land. We climbed the ridge which runs from Clermont to Brizeaux & walked along its narrow crest. On the further side we could see the valley of Beauchamp (whence the Mission at Grange drew their drinking water all the summer) & later the larger valley of Les Islettes. On the Grange or East side stretched the almost level plain towards Yarennes Etc. Coming down we passed a deserted orchard. The apples were cased in iced but a yellow variety made excellent eating.

           That evening we had a discussion with David Gourlay in our room on anarchism. In the afternoon we went & had tea at Clermont. In the night it is very cold to dress & go for a walk through the snow to the conveniences.

           Monday I stayed over specially to go to some of our Equipés in the Ardenne region. Tom Phillips was driving Miss Hammer in the co-op collecting car – a Ford & took me. We made the quick cut to Yarennes across the plain through Bourneville & Neuvilly & stayed about an hour, which I spent partly with Roy Calvert & partly with Miss Dorothy Brown. Thence we crossed again the famous bridge where Louis XVl & Marie Antoinette were caught & leaving Véry & Montfaucon on our right passed Montplainville, Chatel-Chelery (the latter, where Miss Russel had been, is now closed ie. Our Equipé) & Aprimont on our left, until the wooded hills of the Ardenne forest began to open before us. Then we passed through St. Juvin & down into Grandpri nestled against the Ardenne hills. From Varennes to here we had practically followed the course of the Aire, crossing onto the right bank at Varennes & recrossing it now over a bridge which had cost practically a man for every plank to build in 1918. This region was occupied by the Germans during the war & deemed impregnable by the French but was taken at great cost by the Americans at the last. Grandpré (about 1000 inhabitants pre war) is riddled with & smashed by shells, but differs from the other devastated villages in not being burnt. Varenne was bigger, but there remains only a few bricks. Here we had lunch, crossed & recrossed once more the wooden bridge to the co-op shop & then set off for Buzancy. We picked up an old woman en route who was trudging the snow from our co-op shop back to her village. She said the mission shop had saved them from starving, said two of her sons had been killed & one son was now on a ’mission’ (!) in Russia. At Buzancy we spent some time with Miss Broome. We have rooms in a fine old house, on the first floor, the landing of which forms a gallery overlooking the hall below. On the other side of the landing the house is quite destroyed & one can stand on the floors of the rooms that once were & overlook the gardens & country round. Returning I found it very cold. We picked up & conveyed two women & a load of purchases bought by them at our Grandpa’s (?) shop as far as St. Jervin. We picked up an

 American (Ratcliffe) at Varennes & I received some appels (?) there & we had a long night ride home.

      That night I slept at Clermont in a little canvas partitioned dormitory with an alarm clock. At 4.30 I got up, drank some cold coffee & stepped out into the dark. It was thawing and sleet was pouring down & the ground was slushy. How I managed not to fall on the half frozen road I can’t tell, but I reached the station just as the 5.34 train came in. I reached Paris at 12.45, having had to wait less than an hour at Chalons.

      Wednesday I listened to Howard Branson ’s reading Oscar Wilde’s ’House of Pomegranites’.

Thursday we had an At Home. Miss Elwes, the two French twins & a lady representative of the Manchester Guardian were there.

       Friday evening I went to the YW again & played a kind of Blind man’s Buff, where my reach caused some concern, but where I had to descend on to my knees so that our actress friend of the other Friday could bandage my eyes. I must be brief: but Mlle Foulkes who superintends all the girls, is worth much description. She is a little dwarf, slightly hunch-back lady, with a great capacity for music & for organisation. She seems to have quite a genius for her work with young people.

        Saturday two ladies of our London Cttee. Came to lunch at Rue de Sèvre – Miss Albright & Mrs Bigeland – both well known workers for the Cos. (?) Mr Cracken & I went with them & a small party to the concert Touche (?) where we heard an excellent programme.

         Well I must close now. How is Mère keeping? & how is Elsie? I shall almost certainly come home for a time at Xmas, probably arriving on Xmas Eve & staying over the weekend. Charles Owen & I thought we might manage a short holiday in France at the end of our nine months work here if we only take a week at Xmas.

               I hope you have banished & forgotten your cold.


           Love to all,