Gideon was a Russian Jew on his father’s side, and a Harrovian. He had no decency and no manners. He made Juke, who was an Englishman and an Etonian, and had more of both, uncomfortable sometimes. For, after all, the rudiments of family loyalty might as well be kept, among the general destruction which he, more sanguinely than Gideon, hoped for.
But the twins did not bother. Jane said, in her equable way, ’You’ll be bored to death; angry, too; but come if you like.... We’ve a sister, more Potterish than the parents. She’ll hate you.’
Gideon said, ‘I expect so,’ and they left his prospective visit at that, with Jane chuckling quietly at her private vision of Gideon and Clare in juxtaposition.
But Socialist Cecily did not have a good sale after all. It was guillotined, with many of its betters, by the European war, which began while the Anti-Potters were at Swanage, a place replete with Potterism. Potterism, however, as a subject for investigation, had by this time given place to international diplomacy, that still more intriguing study. The Anti-Potters abused every government concerned, and Gideon said, on August 1st, ‘We shall be fools if we don’t come in.’
Juke was still dubious. He was a good Radical, and good Radicals were dubious on this point until the invasion of Belgium.
‘To throw back the world a hundred years....’
Gideon shrugged his shoulders. He belonged to no political party, and had the shrewd, far-seeing eyes of his father’s race.
’It’s going to be thrown back anyhow. Germany will see to that. And if we keep out of it, Germany will grab Europe. We’ve got to come in, if we can get a decent pretext.’
The decent pretext came in due course, and Gideon said, ‘So that’s that.’
He added to the Potters, ’For once I am in agreement with your father’s press. We should be lunatics to stand out of this damnable mess.’
Juke also was now, painful to him though it was to be so, in agreement with the Potter press. To him the war had become a crusade, a fight for decency against savagery.
‘It’s that,’ said Gideon. ’But that’s not all. This isn’t a show any country can afford to stand out of. It’s Germany against Europe, and if Europe doesn’t look sharp, Germany’s going to win. Germany. Nearly as bad as Russia.... One would have to emigrate to another hemisphere.... No, we’ve got to win this racket.... But, oh, Lord, what a mess!’ He fell to biting his nails, savage and silent.
Jane thought all the time, beneath her other thoughts about it, ’To have a war, just when life was beginning and going to be such fun.’
Beneath her public thoughts about the situation, she felt this deep private disgust gnawing always, as of one defrauded.