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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 245 pages of information about The Last Leaf.

As I pondered, I thought perhaps it is a necessity, since the world is what it is, that Europe should still be a place of discord.  America, however, is practically one, not a jarring company of nations repeating the protracted agony of the Old World.  We have no question of the “balance of power” coming up in every generation, settled only to be unsettled amid devastation and slaughter.  We can grow forward unhindered, with hardly more than a feather’s weight of energy taken for fighting from the employments of peace.  America stands indeed a nation blessed of God; and there is nothing better worth her while to pray for than that a happier time may come to her giant brother over the sea; that the strength of such an arm may not always waste itself wielding the sword; that the sensibilities of such a heart may not be crushed or brutalised in carnage that forever repeats itself; that the noble head may some time exchange the spiked helmet for the olive chaplet of peace.

CHAPTER V

A STUDENT’S EXPERIENCE IN THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR

We rememberers lie under certain suspicion.  “Uncle Mose,” said an inquirer, his intonation betraying scepticism, “they say you remember General Washington.”  “Yaas, Boss,” replied Uncle Mose, “I used to ’member Gen’l Washington, but sence I jined de church I done forgot.”  Not having joined Uncle Mose’s church, my memory has not experienced the ecclesiastical discouragement that befell him.  I humbly trust, however, it needs no chastening, and aver that I do not go for my facts to my imagination.  I am now in foreign parts dealing with personages of especial dignity and splendour and must establish my memory firmly in the reader’s confidence.

I was a student in Germany in 1870.  In the spring at Berlin, passing by the not very conspicuous royal palace on Unter den Linden, one day I studied the front with some interest.  The two sentinels stood in the door saluting with clock-work precision the officers who frequently passed.  A watchful policeman was on the corner, but there was little other sign that an important personage was within the walls.  With some shock I suddenly caught sight, in a window close at hand, of a tall, robust figure with a rugged but not ungenial face surmounted by grizzled hair, in uniform with decorations hanging upon the broad breast, who, as I glanced up, saluted me with an unlooked-for nod.  I knew at once it was the King of Prussia, who before the year was ended was to be crowned as Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse at Versailles.  I was thoroughly scared, as I did not know that it was the habit of the King to stand in the window and good-naturedly greet the passer-by.

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