New Year’s Eve, 1916


Percy was ready for the New Year: he had boughfrontispiecet himself a new pocket diary, a leather-bound, gilt-edged “Crown” Diary No. 51, with a sheath along the spine which held (still holds) a “Straker and Crane’s Diary Pencil” topped with a metal cap. It cost two shillings.



The weather improved somewhat at Witley, where the soldiers saw the old year out in various ways: some went drinking in Godalming; the poker fiends played their game, and even after lights-out, defiant gunners sang and made merry in Archie’s hut until midnight struck.(1)

At home in Canada, it was hard to make merry as the New Year arrived:

“This is the third year that has come in since hell broke loose upon earth,” wrote Lucy Maud Montgomery. “Surely – surely it will be the last New Year of war. I look forward to it with dread. Some things will certainly be dreadful.” (2)

Or in the words she gave to the teenaged Rilla of Ingleside, “Oh, nineteen-seventeen, what will you bring?” (3)

(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 3: 123-124 December 31, 1916 and January 1, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(2) Montgomery, Lucy Maud. The Selected Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Vol. II: 1910-1921. Ed. Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston. 1987. 200.(3) Montgomery, L.M. Rilla of Ingleside. (1920). 1987. 203.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

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