Listen to Bill Edward’s lively ragtime rendition of this well-known tune.
Red Cross VADs were usually gently-reared, upper-class girls who volunteered to help trained nursing “sisters”. Famous VADs included Agatha Christie, whose work at a dispensary gave her insight into poisons, which she used in her novels; Vera Brittain, who wrote a classic memoir about her experiences as a VAD; and Lady Diana Manners, the most beautiful debutante in England, whose aristocratic parents expected her to marry the Prince of Wales.
Tiffany stained glass is legendary. Here’s an example.
There is an excellent movie called Joyeux Noel, which depicts this true event. Here’s the short movie trailer, which conveys a good sense of that event.
The poem he’s referring to was by Pauline Johnson, a part Mohawk poet. It is used in the introduction to the novel.
from the collection, Flint and Feather
by E. Pauline Johnson
A stream of tender gladness,
Of filmy sun, and opal tinted skies;
Of warm midsummer air that lightly lies
In mystic rings,
Where softly swings
The music of a thousand wings
That almost tones to sadness.
Midway 'twixt earth and heaven,
A bubble in the pearly air, I seem
To float upon the sapphire floor, a dream
Of clouds of snow,
Drift with my drifting, dim and slow,
As twilight drifts to even.
The little fern-leaf, bending
Upon the brink, its green reflection greets,
And kisses soft the shadow that it meets
With touch so fine,
The border line
The keenest vision can't define;
So perfect is the blending.
The far, fir trees that cover
The brownish hills with needles green and gold,
The arching elms o'erhead, vinegrown and old,
Beneath me far,
Where not a ripple moves to mar
Shades underneath, or over.
Mine is the undertone;
The beauty, strength, and power of the land
Will never stir or bend at my command;
But all the shade
Is marred or made,
If I but dip my paddle blade;
And it is mine alone,
O! pathless world of seeming!
O! pathless life of mine whose deep ideal
Is more my own than ever was the real.
For others Fame
And Love's red flame,
And yellow gold; I only claim
The shadows and the dreaming.
Watch a bit of this footage to get a sense of these early planes.