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Paul Guilland


Harrogate Herald - 31st January 1917

Paul Guilland writes :

Dear Mr Breare, Allow me to address you that way, same as so many patriotic boys from Harrogate and the surrounding district are doing every day, and so doing, too, from so many and so far apart fronts in that terrific struggle now devastating the old world. Through the Herald every week I can see all these modest heroes conveying to you their appeal (according to circumstances) of help, distress, or hopes with such fervid feeling of thankfulness and gratitude too, that it seem to me that you have for all of taken the place of their absent mother in the still - more absent - fireplace of their folklore dreams! It was rather a big talk, wasn't it, Mr Breare, that you undertook the day you resolved to put yourself at the disposal of the gallant fellows (going away to defend their country) for anything - messages or requisites - they could need; and to become not only their interpreter, but the connecting link between them, their friends and families at home! Yes, it was! and you have done it with such punctuality and devotion, too, that you may be proud of the result attained by your goodwill and benevolence. It's very doubtful that the good you have done so deliberately to the relief of your good fellow- citizens will ever bring to you the recognition it deserves from the High Spheres, but you may be sure that the one of the peoples you have been helping so generously shall never cease, because "gratitude for a kind act always increases with time, instead of coming to an end", so was it said by our good old philosopher Rabelais. Seeing what you have done, Mr Breare, induced me to look amongst the newspapers of France to see if any of them could be said to have emulated your kind example. Very sorry to say that I did not find any instance that they had done it. Editors of newspapers in my sweet country, I daresay, seem to profess very independent views about the duty of the Press in wartime; every day they send to pillory anyone that increases the price of any article of living, and they not only have doubled the price of their papers, but have reduced it to two pages instead of four, and, moreover, use sheets of paper so thin that it's impossible to wrap in it a pen'orth of "taters". Excuse me for this letter, sir. The idea came to me to write it when I saw in the last number of the Herald the talking you had with my good landlord, Jack Schollet. [Probably John Schollitt of 2 Montpellier Square] He is one of the fellows that would certainly have had a better time at home in the midst of his nice family than on the Front, but he never hesitated a minute when he saw that it was his duty to go.