Soldiers in London (6 february 1917)
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Soldiers in London
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, — Is it not possible in any way to hold in cheek the vile women who at present prey upon and poison our soldiers in London ? A friend of mine who is a Special Constable in harlot-haunted district has described to me how these harpies carry off the lonely soldiers to their rooms, make them drunk often with the vile liquor which they keep there, and finally inoculate them, as likely as not, with one or other of those diseases which, thanks to the agitation, of well-meaning fools, have had free trade granted to them amongst us. Our present policy is to shut the museums — the most pitiful economy ever effected by a great nation — but to keep open the brothels. The lad from over the seas who has for the first and perhaps for the last time in his life a few clear days in the great centre of his race, cannot carry away any recollections of its treasures of art and antiquity, but is forced into contact with what is least reputable in our metropolitan life. All honour to the Union Jack Club, the Y.M.C.A., and all the other associations which try to mitigate this state of affairs, but it is a case for general legislation and not for sporadic individual effort. It will be a poor return for what our Colonies have done for us if we return their splendid lads the worse in body and in Soul.
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex.