Page:Patriotismchrist00tols.djvu/25

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PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

and maintained by the working-class, and who, in turn, deceive and prepare for it the worst disasters.

Always the same good-natured, foolish working-folk, who, yawning, showing their white, healthy teeth, childishly and naively pleased at the sight of admirals and presidents in full dress, of flags waving above their heads, and fireworks, and triumphal music; for whom, before they can look round, there will be no more admirals, nor presidents, nor flags, nor music; but only a damp and empty field of battle, cold, hunger, and pain; before them a murderous enemy, behind, relentless officers preventing their escape; blood, wounds, putrefying bodies, and senseless unecessary death.

While, on the other hand, those who have been made much of at Paris and Toulon will be seated, after a good dinner, with glasses of choice wine beside them and cigars between their lips, in a warm cloth tent, marking upon a map with pins such and such places upon which a certain amount of "food for powder" is to be expended—"food" composed of those same foolish people—in order finally to capture this fortified place or the other, and to obtain a certain little ribbon or grade.

VI.

"But nothing of the kind exists; we have no sanguinary intentions," it is replied. "All that has happened is the expression of mutual sympathy between two nations. What can be amiss in the triumphal and honourable reception of the representatives of a friendly nation by the representatives of another nation? What can be wrong in this, even if we admit that the alliance is significant of a protection from a dangerous neighbour who threatens Europe with war?"

It is wrong, because it is false—a most evident and insolent falsehood, inexcusable, iniquitous.

It is false, this suddenly begotten love of Russians for French and French for Russians. And it is false, this insinuation of our dislike to the Germans, and our distrust of them. And more false still is it that the aim of all these indecent and insane orgies is supposed to be the preservation of the peace of Europe.

We are all aware that we neither felt before nor have felt since, any special love for the French, or any animosity towards the Germans.