Mr. Britling Sees It Through eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 523 pages of information about Mr. Britling Sees It Through.

Section 15

In this fashion it was that the great war began in Europe and came to one man in Matching’s Easy, as it came to countless intelligent men in countless pleasant homes that had scarcely heeded its coming through all the years of its relentless preparation.  The familiar scenery of life was drawn aside, and War stood unveiled.  “I am the Fact,” said War, “and I stand astride the path of life.  I am the threat of death and extinction that has always walked beside life, since life began.  There can be nothing else and nothing more in human life until you have reckoned with me.”

BOOK II

MATCHING’S EASY AT WAR

CHAPTER THE FIRST

ONLOOKERS

Section 1

On that eventful night of the first shots and the first deaths Mr. Britling did not sleep until daylight had come.  He sat writing at this pamphlet of his, which was to hail the last explosion and the ending of war.  For a couple of hours he wrote with energy, and then his energy flagged.  There came intervals when he sat still and did not write.  He yawned and yawned again and rubbed his eyes.  The day had come and the birds were noisy when he undressed slowly, dropping his clothes anyhow upon the floor, and got into bed....

He woke to find his morning tea beside him and the housemaid going out of the room.  He knew that something stupendous had happened to the world, but for a few moments he could not remember what it was.  Then he remembered that France was invaded by Germany and Germany by Russia, and that almost certainly England was going to war.  It seemed a harsh and terrible fact in the morning light, a demand for stresses, a certainty of destruction; it appeared now robbed of all the dark and dignified beauty of the night.  He remembered just the same feeling of unpleasant, anxious expectation as he now felt when the Boer War had begun fifteen years ago, before the first news came.  The first news of the Boer War had been the wrecking of a British armoured train near Kimberley.  What similar story might not the overdue paper tell when presently it came?

Suppose, for instance, that some important division of our Fleet had been surprised and overwhelmed....

Suppose the Germans were already crumpling up the French armies between Verdun and Belfort, very swiftly and dreadfully....

Suppose after all that the Cabinet was hesitating, and that there would be no war for some weeks, but only a wrangle about Belgian neutrality.  While the Germans smashed France....

Or, on the other hand, there might be some amazing, prompt success on our part.  Our army and navy people were narrow, but in their narrow way he believed they were extraordinarily good....

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Mr. Britling Sees It Through from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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