Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/69

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57
The War and the Future

civilian peoples, flouted, insulted, and taken unawares, are banded together to make that conception of life to fall.

Last April I was in a dirty little town in France. On my right there was a ruined factory containing a pile of smashed sewing machines, on my left there was a casualty clearing station, in what had once been a rather nice house. Just outside the hospital there was a little old French woman selling newspapers; and dozens of soldiers were buying newspapers and talking about the news. One of the soldiers shouted out, "Hooray, America has declared war," and another, who was older and more thoughtful, said, "Thank God, now we may have a decent world again."

War in one way is very like Mrs. MacGregor.

The poet Swinburne, when he was a young man, was very fond of impassioned conversation and of whisky. One night he met a friend, and suggested that the friend should come to his lodgings for a talk. On their way Swinburne bought a bottle of whisky and with an air of satanic cunning hid it in his tail pocket, and said, "I must be very careful; my landlady is a very troublesome woman." When they