Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/74

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The War and the Future

same irresponsible autocratic power to cultivate the fever for his own ends. And who held that power? The immense power and wealth of Spain were controlled by Phillip the Second, one old, miserly, stubborn dotard, a sort of a religious mule. The immense and ordered power of France was controlled by Louis Quatorze, one little man who wore high-heeled shoes and an immense wig to give himself some air of greatness. Afterwards it was held by Napoleon, of whom the French now say that he was as great as any man can be without principles. And who held the power of England? The elderly, pear-headed, self-willed German, often mad and always stupid, who wondered how the apple got inside the dumpling. And working with him were the few, corrupt and evil families engaged in the enslavement of the English poor.

Such were the four irresponsible autocrats who caused the greatest, longest and most evil wars of the past. But all the fever of their wars, multiplied ten-fold, would be as nothing to the fever of arrogance, blindness, wild and bloody thinking, and impious dealing, with which another irresponsible autocrat prepared the present war. No former autocrat took