"An Intimate Picture of Wilfred Campbell"

by Faith L. Malloch


 

Chapter VII


Wilfred Campbell was unable to establish himself in England as he had hoped to do, and was forced to come back to Canada as his leave had expired. It was difficult to get a passage as there were so many people returning from the Coronation and the Colonial Conference. He managed to get one passage for himself, but Margery, our cousin Katharine Bruce, and I had to wait for a time before we could return to Canada. Katharine and I stayed in London, and Margery stayed with Miss Grey at Moreton Pinkney Manor. During the summer of 1911 there was a political crisis in England and the Poet who was a conservative, and was living in an ultra conservative atmosphere among his friends there, imagined that England was in danger in the hands of the Liberal Government. He had hoped that he might be a source of warning and help to the people by imbuing them with Conservative ideas, and his love for the British Empire. If he had concentrated all his energy on one definite idea, he might have succeeded, but he was full of dreams of going back to church and preaching, or running for Parliament, or any means by which he could get the ear of the people. If he had been able to be transferred to London to the High Commissioners Office by the Canadian Government, he might have given lectures, but it was not to be.

During the next two or three years Wilfred Campbell kept up a lively correspondence with his friends in England, but gradually realized he must live in Canada, and as he now had four grandchildren living with him he decided to but a place in the country and settle there. His dreams of Empire building were not dropped but were being nursed for a more favourable opportunity. There had been, and there were rumours and prophecies of war by the old soldiers and statesman. Roberts was to be proved a true prophet for the great war was then looming over the horizon. The old Conservative party had felt it coming, bur there were those who laughed at them, and this was the haunting strain that permeated my fatherís love of Britain. He with his quick sensitive perception had foreseen it all. This is expressed in "Peace Chorus" written some time before war was declared and in "Roberts."