The Forerunners (Romain Rolland)/XXV

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"Le Populaire" asked Romain Rolland to write an article on the occasion of President Wilson's arrival in France. Romain Rolland, who was ill at the time, wrote from Villeneuve as follows.

Thursday, December 12, 1918.

Dear Longuet,

YOUR letter of the 6th inst. did not reach me until to-day, of course after being opened by the military censorship. It finds me in bed, where I have been for a fortnight, suffering from an obstinate attack of influenza. It is therefore impossible for me to write the article you want.

All that I will say is that, during the last fortnight, the news from France has often made me more uneasy than my fever. The Allies believe themselves victorious. In my view (if they fail to pull themselves together) they are vanquished, beaten, infected, by Bismarckism.

Unless there is an extensive turn in events, I foresee a century of hatreds, of new wars of revenge, and the destruction of European civilisation. Let me add that the destruction of European civilisation is hardly to be regretted if the victorious nations prove thus incapable of guiding their destinies.

It is my hope that, amid the intoxicating but deceptive triumphs of the present, they may regain the consciousness of their crushing responsibilities towards the future! It is my hope that they will remember that every one of their mistakes or their sins of omission will have to be paid for by their children and their children's children!

Excuse these lines, scribbled by a convalescent, and believe me, my dear Longuet,

Yours as always,

Romain Rolland.

"Le Populaire," Paris, December 21, 1918.