To Miss Genevieve King
Washington, March 16, 1918
My dear miss king,—These are times of terrible strain and stress, and we cannot easily fall back upon those sources of power which seem so distant and unavailing. I like to think of you as in our last talk in the Millers’ drawing room, where you had a much better opportunity to express yourself than in the one that we later had out on the porch. You then seemed to live your thought and to have the capacity for its expression. I think of you, too, up on that beautiful mountainside, where things like war and guns and bandages and hospitals and men without arms and the lack of ships, the need for saying goodbye, are so remote.
We still keep up a semblance of social life by going to dinners every night. It is the one relief I have, and yet each time I go I feel ashamed at what appears like a waste of time, and yet I know is not, and the waste of good food which is needed by others so much more than by us. Still the people have come down to a strict and modest diet with surprising firmness. There is little evidence of what you would call luxury or extravagance, excepting in the way a few people live. The place is filled with soldiers of many colors, breeds, and uniforms.
... Anne is busy every day at her work, and I see little of anyone who does not come to me on business. The country seems strongly with the President, and while his spirits are not gay, his purpose is high and his determination is strong. We will do better, and increasingly better, as time goes on, I believe. With warm regards, as always sincerely yours,
Lane was a member of the Executive Council of the Red Cross, with whom his wife was working during the war. He characterized its symbol as,—“The one flag which binds all nations is that which speaks of suffering and healing, losses and hopes, a past of courage and a future of peace—the flag of the Red Cross.”
Washington, March 16, 1918
My dear John,—It is only now after a month’s delay, that I have an opportunity even to acknowledge your letter of the 17th of February.
... The whole war situation seems to be so big that it overwhelms the minds of men. ... But we are grinding on and going surely in the right way. Not everything has been done that could be done, but we are getting our step. This thing will be longer than we thought. But as the President says, it is our job—our job is cut out for us, and we are going to see it through. Russia has taught us what happens to a nation that is not self-respecting. We are hard at work, every one of us, big and little. The nation never was as united, and while we do not realize just what war is, yet we will realize it more from day to day and harder will our fibre grow.