24 DECEMBER 1904, Page 14


Sin,—May I ask your help on behalf of an effort I am making to provide a Soldiers' Institute, with two trained ladies in charge, at Sialkote, one of the many cantonments in this far-off diocese, which contains ordinarily a larger number of British troops than any other diocese in the Empire?

Each year it is, I think, being increasingly felt how immensely, important it is, on a great variety of grounds, that every possible effort should be made to raise the level of life in our army in India, and to do all in our power to alleviate the difficult con- ditions under which, in any case, the men have to live, especially during the long hot-weather days in the plains, and to protect them from some of the coarser temptations by which they are beset.

It is also becoming almost universally recognised that in few ways can this be better done than by providing pleasant and homelike places, outside regimental lines, where men can go in the evening to get a little change from the monotony and routine of life in the barracks, and spend a few hours rationally and pleasantly, playing billiards or other games, looking at the papers, having their supper, &c. Further, I am myself convinced that if in such places the men can find themselves in touch with sensible and kindly ladies who really understand a soldier's life, and are ready to give their lives to help him in making the best thing he can of it,—this brings to them what nothing else can. All experience shows that nothing gets at the best side of the men quite in the same way, and develops their courtesy, self- respect, and all their better qualities, as to be in contact with ladies of this sort.

We have already more than one such home in this diocese worked on these lines, and Lord Roberts, among many others, has given emphatic expression to his recognition of their value both to myself in writing and in various public utterances. I want now to build another at Sialkote. A start was made in the matter of funds by one of the chaplains of the diocese placing 4350 at my disposal as a nest-egg for the purpose, and since then other contributions have come in fairly well. I still, however, need about .2500—over and above a grant which I fully hope that I may obtain before very long from the Church of England Soldiers' Institute Association at home, which so greatly helps me in connection with all work of this sort—before I can actually begin to build, which I much wish to do during the course of this cold weather, so as to be ready for the men by the commence- ment of the summer. I shall be most grateful for any contribu- tions, large or small, which may be sent for the purpose to my commissary, the Rev B K Cunningham, Farnham, Surrey, who will acknowledge all moneys received. The sum I ask for is not large. May it be speedily forthcoming !

—I am, Sir, &c., G. A. LAHORE.

Bishopsbourne, Lahore.

[The work described by the Bishop of Lahore is clearly one deserving of support.—En. Spectator.]