(follow up from Hospital Bed)
As several kind readers have sent me generous contributions towards the above, I propose giving a few particulars of my plan for raising money.
When the scheme for a Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service was started last year, I was asked if I could not send money towards it from my own neighbourhood. This was impossible owing to other urgent demands at the time. But this summer I thought of organising an autumn sale of farm and garden produce for the fund, to be held in September.
Unfortunately a church bazaar (of which I had not known) was fixed for that month, and a little town cannot support two big sales in the same month; therefore it had to be put off. October is the month of Harvest Thanksgivings, when every little church is busy with its teas, and sales, and concerts, and lectures, all energies bent towards getting as much money as possible for Church funds.
Therefore, our sale had to be fixed for the winter month of November. Meanwhile, I began gathering a bit of money from drawings on a few pretty and useful articles, the only one of which I need mention being a very fine white shawl which I knitted in hours and weeks of enforced leisure: nearly two yards square, and so fine, I think, it would go through a wedding ring if it were tried.
When I showed it to my friends, they cried, “Oh, I’ll give you sixpence for that!” or “I’ll take a few tickets for that!” or “I must have a try for that shawl!”
Among women it is at present one of the accepted ways of contributing towards a war fund, just as selling a sheep at auction over and over again is the farmer’s way of supporting the Red Cross.” It occurred to me that some of my women friends among our readers might be willing to help me with their mite. An appeal to a personal friend is rather unfair.
To invite guests to tea, and then ask them for sixpences, makes one feel horribly mean; yet I have been doing it. I did worse the other day. I went out to lunch and tea, and then begged from my hostess and displayed my tickets, coming home richer (for the fund) by one and ninepence.
I have horrible qualms of conscience, and fits of painful diffidence, and then recover my equanimity when I remember that they do the same with me, and that our joint sixpences are all going the same way. But, if I ask through this page, there is perfect freedom, and no one will give who does not wish to.
As I said in my letter last week, I will make acknowledgment by one or more shawl tickets, and from time to time let my readers know what success I have in general with the whole. Some who do not feel able to give towards the fund might be willing to donate a small article for sale next month.
A few more pounds have been received, and the fund now stands over £60 and there are a few books of tickets out. I will not send this additional sum until donations entirely cease, and possibly, it would be best to hold it in hand to see if there is any practicable suggestion for raising a fund for a motor ambulance.
With a motor car in the heart of Scotland, I could manage it perhaps, but as things are, it is too big for my small powers. It is safe for me to say now that my own people told me I would never get £50 merely by asking for it in print. They did not know I had so many good friends among our readers.
I must not omit to give the history of one pound note which reached me. The donors, anxious to help, and yet not feeling able to send much, raffled a bag of potatoes and a fowl, upon which they raised 20 shillings.
I wish I could have had leisure to write to the many who sent me kind and friendly letters; but that was impossible. Will they be good enough to accept my thanks through this column, and believe that the tiniest kind word is more helpful to me than they can possibly understand?
I hope I have not overlooked any letter or any donation. Only one has drawn my attention to an apparent oversight, and in this case she had failed to recognise the initials she gave me for publication. I began by giving names and addresses too fully and, in deference to the general wish of donors, I have ended in giving too meagre identification.
Here is a letter of thanks from Brown-Eyes, who is at The Schoolhouse, Keswick: “Thank you very much for putting me five shillings in that fund. It is very cold here to-day. We play Carlisle Grammar School tomorrow. There are four Belgians in this school now. You will be wanting to know what I want for my Birthday. I want a flash-light. I have no news this week. “Hugh.”
Often I have thought the birthdays followed each other too closely in the winter months. And now I reproach myself for the ungenerous thought. There is one birthday less this year.
As with The Scottish Farmer Bed, so with the “Egremont;” my friends all told me I’d never get the money, and in fact, washed their hands of it. We’re going to see next week on Tuesday, the 23rd….. I forgot to say above that I will let my readers know when I see their £50 acknowledged in the pages of The Common Cause.