She even learned that she had to develop gun-making and shell-making at home, at the expense of those other industries which to some small extent might have helped her to keep going. And, just as in England such a state of affairs would lead to a cessation of the output of iron and coal in which England is rich, so in Russia, in spite of her corn lands, it led to a shortage of food.
She is Vjera, the shell-maker, invariably spoken of as "poor Vjera." Vjera, being interpreted from the Russian, means "Faith." There is an odd and pathetic irony in the name borne by the sickly girl. Faith faith in what? In shell-making? In Christian Fischelowitz? In Johann Schmidt, the Cossack tobacco-cutter, whose real name is lost in the gloom of many dim wanderings? In life? In death?
D. made something like 10,000, to the great assistance of certain new Government shops. Then the Government asked for a particular kind of gun. Mr. D. undertook 1,000, and has already delivered 400. Tools for shell-making are everywhere wanted in the rush of the huge demand. Mr. D. has been making them diligently.
Some of the big German shells cost as high as $500 each. In some kinds of shrapnel, holding 300 bullets, there are more than thirty pieces of mechanism. Within forty-eight hours after England declared war she had engaged the total output of an American manufacturer, whose machinery was an important part of the shell-making business.
It was six months after Lloyd George had taken control that I visited the Birmingham district, where I saw a new establishment for shell-work, a huge structure on the outskirts of the city planted where green grass was growing six months before, and under its one roof four thousand young women engaged in long lines at automatic lathes shell-making.