Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/58

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Earl Curzon of Kedleston

tarism that overhangs the Continent like a cloud, and to build up a new Europe that shall once again be free.

Thank God, we have certain advantages on our side. We are fighting under conditions more favourable than we had any right to expect. Our Navy is intact; we have loyal, valiant and capable allies. The spirit of our country is sound, and the courage of our soldiers incontestable. When the Kaiser issued his famous proclamation about the "contemptible little army" of Sir John French, which the Germans were so easily to "walk over," I was reminded of an anecdote that was told at Balliol in my time. The Master of the College before Jowett was Dr. Jenkins, who also had a reputation for quiet humour and incisive speech. One day an undergraduate who had been guilty of some offence was sent for by the Master to be rebuked. On leaving the house, he met a friend outside, who asked him what had happened. "Oh," he said, "that little ugly devil has given me the usual rowing." Just at that moment a dulcet voice was heard to murmur from the open window above: "Little I am, ugly I may be, devil I am not." May not the British Army, in the same way, retort to the Kaiser: "An army we are, little we may be, contemptible we are not!" But we have not our own spirit or our army only to count upon. The whole Empire is for us; it has rallied to our defence. You may defeat the British Army, but you cannot defeat the British Empire. And the British Empire has behind it in this war the sympathy of the civilized world.

In conclusion, may I give you some words of advice? I shall not tell you what to do, because you know it as well as I. I will tell you what not to do. When I went out to India as Viceroy an English paper published a long series of "Don'ts" for my edification. I put it in my pocket, and from time to time I would take it out in India and see how I was obeying my secret instructions. I will give you twelve similar "Don'ts" to-night:—

1. Don't think that the war does not affect you individually; it touches every one of us; it touches every man, woman and child in this country.

2. Don't be overjoyed at victory; don't be downhearted at defeat.

3. Don't be unnerved by personal or family bereavements.

4. Don't be frightened at the casualty list, so long and sometimes so distressing, that you see in the newspapers.

5. Don't think that you know how to wage the campaign