16 APRIL 1921, Page 14


[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—The visit next week of M. Poincare and the representatives of the city of Verdun to London will be a fresh reminder to England of our debt of honour to France, whose richest provinces " suffered the long-drawn-out agonies of the war that our cities, villages, and fields should be safe and untouched."

Under the British League of Help about sixty of our towns are footing the bill, and have taken their " god-children " under their wing. Others are still considering. But time is going on. And short of the larger scheme of adoption, we can all do something at once, for the children at least. Your readers may like to know that a society has been at work for wine months with this object. It is called "The Guild of St. Christopher." Its present field of operations is the Depart- ment of the Ardennes, which was occupied for four years by the Germane. They looted the villages systematically, and when they were driven out in 1918 they destroyed them all, leaving every one in ruins. The Guild is organized in Rings each with its Ringleader. So far we are only able to deal with two Cantons, whiCh contain thirty-five villages and about 2,500 children. We are anxious to extend our work over the whole department, with -its 25,000 children, and my object in writing is to appeal for the formation of Rings all over the country. The machinery is very simple, and any lady can form a Ring among her friends. Subscriptions are from 2s. 6d. a year upwards, and members promise to give two summer and two

winter garments (old or new) ,every year- We ask also for toys, pictures, books. Those. poor children have nothing.. Our President is the Countess of Bessborough. And we have the very cordial help of the French Chamber of Commerce in the packing and dispatching of our goods. M. Braibant, the, originator of the Adoption Scheme, is our guide and counsellor in the Ardennes. The Hon. Secretary is Mrs. Penrose, and. Miss Clarke Jervoise, Caley House, Wimbledon` is Hon. Treasurer. Either of these ladies will be glad to send full information to anyone who would like to. help us in this effort to pay off part of our debt of honour, and to strengthen the Entente. Mothers and their school• boys and girls will soon be busy with " Wardrobe Week " before the holidays end. Will they remember the French boys and girls, living all. the. year round in poverty and amid the grass-grown ruins of their former homes:. and send them a share of their outgrown. clothes?" Boys' things are especially needed.

As I have twice visited the Ardennes since last April I can vouch for the reality of. the need, as well as for the pathetic gratitude of the villagers for these tokens of English goodwill. I think they are chiefly glad for this proof that, although they did not win fame in the battle areas of the war, but still have suffered so cruelly, they have.not been forgotten. Please let me insist that the Guild of St. Christopher is in no sense a rival to, or a substitute for, the British League of Help. We are only doing some small spade-work while the steam navvy is

getting up steam.—I am, Sir, Sze., (Rev.) dome T. PSNROSIL Tullaghquin, Wimbledon, S.W. 19.