This dire precipice
July 21st, 1917
Letter from Captain Branwell Browntrout to Major Horace S. Browntrout
Understand in no uncertain terms that if you allow mother to join a Volunteer Aid Detachment I will never speak to you again. It is absolutely unthinkable that she should be in harm’s way—and unnecessarily so! It is YOU who has led our family to this dire precipice. Were it not for your insatiable wanderlust, mother might not have become infected with worry for the both of us. Had you stayed home, she would still be there too. Are you not aware that the VADs work perilously close to the front? That many of them are caught in the shelling? Mother will have no control over where she is assigned. In addition to the casualties from shelling, the hospitals are rife with disease. In any case, I hold you personally responsible for her health and safety. There may still be time to dissuade her before her papers are signed. I’ve done my utmost to set her head right, with absolutely no luck. Hold her back before this family is rent apart forever. If you do not, don’t expect to hear from me ever again.