to their poor human kindliness, to their simple and motherly compassion.
I shall deal more briefly with the other episodes.
The second, " Baptism of Fire " (Feuertaufe), is long, perhaps too long, but full of pity and of pain. Almost the whole scene is played within the soul of Captain Marschner, a man of fifty, who is leading his company to the front-line trench under the enemy's fire. He is not a professional soldier. As a young man he had been an officer, but at the age of thirty he had gone to school again, wishing to quit the trade of war and to become a civil engineer. Now the war had brought him back to the army. He had been in Vienna only the day before yesterday. His men were fathers of families, stonemasons, peasants, factory hands, and so on. None of them had any patriotic enthusiasm. He read their minds, and felt ashamed of himself because he was leading to certain death these poor fellows who trusted him. Beside him marched Weixler, a young lieu- tenant, cold, ruthless, inhuman as one so often is at twenty years of age " when one has had no time yet to learn the value of life." The hardness of this man (an irreproachable officer) arouses in Marschner mingled anger and suffering. By degrees a fierce but unspoken feud arises between them. At the very end, just when open war is about to break out between the two, a huge shell bursts in their trench and both are buried under the wreckage. The captain comes to himself with a shattered skull. At a few paces' distance lies the implacable lieutenant, his entrails trailing on the ground beside him. They exchange a last look. Marschner sees a face that is almost strange to him, pale and sad, with timid eyes. The whole expression is gentle and plaintive ; there is an unforgettable air of tender, anxious resignation.
" He is suffering ! " flashed through the captain's mind. " He is suffering ! " Marschner is transported with joy. And therewith he dies.