April 21, 1916 was Good Friday, the beginning of the Easter holiday.
Percy, we know, had a leave — because there is a note in a diary to that effect: “Easter 1916, first leave.” That is all he has to tell us, and there is no record of how long he was away or what he did. Almost certainly he went to Joliette to see his brother, his sister-in-law, his two nieces — and Janie. Janie kept a page from the Ladies’ Home Journal for April 1916, which is full of stirring sentiments and good advice for married women, women anticipating marriage, and, as well, women who might never have the chance to marry.
There was also no doubt an Easter Sunday service, probably one conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hood, about whom I know nothing except that his address, a post box in Joliette, is written in a notebook.
Easter 1916 is also when “a terrible beauty is born,” to quote Yeats’s line about the Easter Rising, the revolt of Irish nationalists against the British government. The rising was quelled; the captured nationalists turned into martyrs. “Was it needless death after all?” asked Yeats. Ireland’s independence was eventually won. In 1916, however, Irish soldiers were dying in France in the service of His Majesty the King, whose government “MacDonagh and MacBride/ And Connolly and Pearse” were dying to overthrow.
The stained glass windows representing the Crucifixion on Good Friday and the Resurrection on Easter Sunday are in Christ Church, the Anglican Parish of Rawdon, Quebec. At one point, Joliette was part of this parish. The windows are memorials to nineteenth-century priests who served the parish.
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”