Wednesday, 30 March 2016


From The Times, 29th March 1916.


Sir,-I began this letter to beg space to say that now the warm weather is upon us the season for sweaters had better come to an end--but was obliged to stop to clear my chimney of snow.  Still, these returns to winter cannot be more than transient, and so far (and so far only) as this small venture is concerned, kind knitters will be well advised to store their comforts till the autumn.  I ventured on this date last year to suggest that the knitting habit should not allowed to lie down.  I can foretell nor war nor weather, but again make the easy prophecy that anyone with a good store of sweaters in the autumn of this year will find a use for them.  It may be said that the trifling 18,000 your readers have sent me (17,787 - 13,191 other comforts, to be precise) won't go far in an Army counted by millions in three continents and a Navy omnipresent as the sea itself.  But they have, I am told, stopped a few gaps, through which the wind has whistled shrilly, in equipment probably without parallel.  Financially, the undertaking, owing to the kind help given; has been no burden whatever.

 A little venture of this sort is never long without its humours.  May I protest, with all the emphasis I can, that it is the field-glasses which go back to Lady Roberts at the end of the war and not the sweaters to me?  Also, will the lady in the train who charged me, not without asperity, "to send those things (the sweaters I was carrying home) to Mr. Pergamoid who writes for them to the papers" believe that they did get to the right place?  Sic exeunt iterum sweaters.   I carry off, for my guerdon the pleasantest recollection of the gibes, criticism, and kindness of countless unknown civilian friends, and, yet more highly prized, a bale of annotated receipts from all ranks of the Army.

Yours faithfully,
8, Kings Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C., Mar. 28.

[The latest appeal from John Penoyre for sweaters.  The previous one appeared in January.   He was also involved in an appeal for field-glasses, headed by Lady Roberts.  Field glasses (i.e. binoculars) for officers were in short supply, and officers had to provided their own.  The appeal asked the families of killed or wounded officers to lend their relative's field-glasses to the appeal for the duration of the war. 

As usual with John Penoyre's letters, some of the language is  obscure.  Google Translate turns the Latin into "So the sweaters go". "Guerdon" means "reward".]

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