Brittain, Vera, Diary, 24 September 1916

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
24 September 1916
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


us into the distance, instead of our moving away from it, Stella grew very silent and I think her heart ached at this farewell to home. But I myself felt no especial pang when I saw England disappear; it was all part of the hard path which I have assigned to myself to tread. So that my chief sentiments were much those of Roland's verse written from my point of view (how truly prophetic He did not know) & which came into my mind as I stood on the boat deck --
I walk alone, although the way is long,
And with gaunt briars & nettles overgrown;
Though little feet are frail, in purpose strong
I walk alone.
And again I had that very strong feeling that in spit of the long distance that there was to be between me & all the people I loved, I was not really going very far away, and that no separation, so long as those who were separated were still on earth, could be so very great.
After dinner Stella & I stood again on deck, more or less oblivious of one another, & yet very thankful of each other's company. We remained there a long time watching the sunset & the green & red of the ship's lights reflected in the foam that the great liner ploughed up beside us as she sped swiftly along the Channel, going West. We seemed to sail right into a sunset of most lovely mauve & pink, the colour of one's dreams. We could not see the Needles distinctly as it was getting dark, but we passed not far from the Great Lighthouse there, & could see it flashing miles & miles away long after the darkness had completely fallen. After sunset we watched the orderlies singing & dancing on the deck below; it looked quite like the stage of a theatre seen from the dress circle. One man had a violin, which he played most