Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
11
The War and the Future

little company of lovely friends was there. Rupert Brooke was one of them, and we read poems in that old haunt of beauty, and wandered on the Downs. I remember saying that the Austro-Serbian business might cause a European war, in which we might be involved, but the others did not think this likely; they laughed.

Then came more anxious days, and then a week of terror, and then good-bye to that old life, and my old home in Berkshire was a billet for cavalry, and their chargers drank at the moat. I saw them there. And the next time I saw them they were in Gallipoli, lying in rank in the sand under Chocolate Hill, and Rupert was in his grave in Skyros.

We were at war. We were at war with the greatest military power in the world. We had an army of about 180,000 men, scattered all over the world, to pit against an army of five or six millions of men, already concentrated. We had, suddenly, at a day's notice, with the knife at our throats, to make an army of six or seven million of men, and we had perhaps trained officers enough for an army of 300,000. We had to enlist, house, tent, train and officer that army. We had to buy its horses and