Thursday, 23 October 2014

Socks and Shillings

From the Glasgow Herald, 23rd October 1914.

Socks and Shillings


Experience Unnecessary.

A popular song in one of the London “revues” tells us that “Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers.” Sister Susie as a needlewoman is not a success.  It seems that “some soldiers send epistles, say they'd sooner sleep on thistles than in the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers Sister Susie sews.”  Shirts, socks, knitted helmets, and the rest call for a certain amount of skill in the making, and probably the soldiers in their epistles will not confine their criticism to the handiwork of Sister Susie.  With the best intentions we cannot become experts at sewing or knitting on short notice.  Skill is required for most things connected with the conduct of the war.  Inexperience cannot direct armies, cannot shoot straight, cannot dig trenches, cannot care for the wounded.  But while inexperience may bungle nearly everything it touches, there is one thing it can do as well as the best.  It can give.  Every man who can put his hand into his pocket can serve his country in so doing.  Money has been called “the sinews of war.” It holds the national framework together.  It not only makes a great army possible; it sees that the soldier’s dependants at home are well fed and well housed.  The “Herald” Shilling Fund is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.  Go on knitting socks by all means, but try also to spare a shilling or two.

If you cannot knit or sew, you can find the way to your pocket.  The sad stories of the war must have already convinced you of great need.  Let the hand speak for the heart.  

Among several interesting contributions appearing in our list to-day is that from the captain, officers, engineers, and others of Messrs R. Mackill and Co.’s steamship Tweeddale—770 shillings—a sailor-like recognition of the faithful watch that is being kept by their colleagues of the fighting side of our great sea service.

Subscription sheets can be had on application.

All Subscriptions should be addressed to
(National Relief Fund),
Buchanan Street,

[List of subscriptions follows, beginning: “Amount previously acknowledged  517,818½ shillings”, i.e. £25,890 18s 6d. 

The lyrics of the song quoted are below.]

Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers
  (Hermann E. Darewski and R.P. Weston, 1914)

Sister Susie's sewing in the kitchen on a Singer,
There's miles and miles of flannel on the floor and up the stairs,
And father says it's rotten getting mixed up in the cotton
And sitting on the needles that she leaves upon the chairs.
     And should you knock at our street door, Ma whispers "Come inside"
     Then when you ask where Susie is, she says with loving pride:

Sister Susie's sewing shirts for soldiers,  
Such skill at sewing shirts our shy young sister Susie shows!
     Some soldiers send epistles, say they'd rather sleep in thistles
     Than the saucy soft short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.

Lots and lots and lots of shirts she sends off to the soldiers,

But sailors won't be jealous when they see them, not at all,
And when we say her stitching will set all the soldiers itching,
She says our soldiers fight best when their backs are 'gainst the wall,
     And little brother Gussie, he who lisps when he says, "Yeth",
     Says, "Where's the cotton gone from off my kite, oh I can gueth!"

I forgot to tell you that our sister Susie's married,
And when she isn't sewing shirts, she's sewing other things,
Then little sister Molly says, "Oh Susie's bought a dolly,
She's making all the clothes for it with pretty bows and strings."
     Says Susie, "Don't be silly" as she blushes and she sighs,
     Then mother smiles and whispers with a twinkle in her eyes.

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