Rilla of Ingleside HTML version
XXI. "Love Affairs Are Horrible"
Ingleside 20th June 1916 "We have been so busy, and day after day has brought such
exciting news, good and bad, that I haven't had time and composure to write in my diary
for weeks. I like to keep it up regularly, for father says a diary of the years of the war
should be a very interesting thing to hand down to one's children. The trouble is, I like to
write a few personal things in this blessed old book that might not be exactly what I'd
want my children to read. I feel that I shall be a far greater stickler for propriety in regard
to them than I am for myself!
"The first week in June was another dreadful one. The Austrians seemed just on the
point of overrunning Italy: and then came the first awful news of the Battle of Jutland,
which the Germans claimed as a great victory. Susan was the only one who carried on.
'You need never tell me that the Kaiser has defeated the British Navy,' she said, with a
contemptuous sniff. 'It is all a German lie and that you may tie to.' And when a couple of
days later we found out that she was right and that it had been a British victory instead
of a British defeat, we had to put up with a great many 'I told you so's,' but we endured
them very comfortably.
"It took Kitchener's death to finish Susan. For the first time I saw her down and out. We
all felt the shock of it but Susan plumbed the depths of despair. The news came at night
by 'phone but Susan wouldn't believe it until she saw the Enterprise headline the next
day. She did not cry or faint or go into hysterics; but she forgot to put salt in the soup,
and that is something Susan never did in my recollection. Mother and Miss Oliver and I
cried but Susan looked at us in stony sarcasm and said, 'The Kaiser and his six sons
are all alive and thriving. So the world is not left wholly desolate. Why cry, Mrs. Dr.
dear?' Susan continued in this stony, hopeless condition for twenty-four hours, and then
Cousin Sophia appeared and began to condole with her.
"'This is terrible news, ain't it, Susan? We might as well prepare for the worst for it is
bound to come. You said once--and well do I remember the words, Susan Baker--that
you had complete confidence in God and Kitchener. Ah well, Susan Baker, there is only
God left now.'
"Whereat Cousin Sophia put her handkerchief to her eyes pathetically as if the world
were indeed in terrible straits. As for Susan, Cousin Sophia was the salvation of her.
She came to life with a jerk.
"'Sophia Crawford, hold your peace!' she said sternly. 'You may be an idiot but you
need not be an irreverent idiot. It is no more than decent to be weeping and wailing
because the Almighty is the sole stay of the Allies now. As for Kitchener, his death is a