Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The War and the Future

thinking selfish weight of prejudice and privilege keeping things in the old ruts and the old grooves laid down by the foreign king a century and a half before.

And yet, with it all, there was immense virtue in the land. Work was well done. English goods were well made. And we were not afraid to let any nation compete with us in the open market. The nations could sell their goods in our markets on equal terms. We had no quarrel with any one. We wished to show that we had no quarrel with any one. During the years before the war, we increased our Navy, so that no enemy should attack us with impunity, but we reduced our tiny army by some divisions, and our auxiliary army by an army corps.

People say now that we were wrong. We may have been. At any rate, we did the generous thing, and I don't know that the generous thing is ever wrong. And in any case, we have paid the price.

In the first week of July, 1914, I was in an old house in Berkshire, a house built eight centuries before by the monks, as a place of rest and contemplation and beauty. I had never seen England so beautiful as then, and a