Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/70

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The War and the Future

reached the door Swinburne said, "We must go in very quietly; my landlady is a very troublesome woman." They opened the door and crept in on tiptoe, and were just creeping upstairs, when a door opened and a stern voice said, "Is that you, Mr. Swinburrrrrne? "Yes, Mrs. MacGregor," said Swinburne. Then the voice said, "Whattan is yon wee bottle in yeir bit pocket, Mr. Swinburrrne? "O," said Swinburne, "it's my cough-mixture, Mrs. MacGregor; I'm afraid I've caught cold." "Cough-mixture me nae cough-mixture," said Mrs. MacGregor; "yon is a bottle of whuskey. And ye'll give it heer, Mr. Swinburrrne. Didn't I promise yeir father ye shuld na touch the whuskey?" And she grabbed the bottle and disappeared, and Swinburne was left wringing his hands and saying, "She's a very troublesome woman."

That is a light story, but it reminds me of the war. Many and many a gathering of friends has been interrupted by that savage goddess. All over Europe, quiet, gentle, ordinary men, who were going, as they thought, to the enjoyment of delight, have been seized upon and robbed by her, not only of material things, but of love and leisure and of life itself.