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.
excursion.”  She had just sent out younger sons and surplus people, emigrants and expeditionary forces.  Her own soil had never seen any successful foreign invasion; her homeland, the bulk of her households, her general life, had gone on untouched by these things.  Nineteen people out of twenty, the middle class and most of the lower class, knew no more of the empire than they did of the Argentine Republic or the Italian Renaissance.  It did not concern them.  War that calls upon every man and threatens every life in the land, war of the whole national being, was a thing altogether outside English experience and the scope of the British imagination.  It was still incredible, it was still outside the range of Mr. Britling’s thoughts all through the tremendous onrush and check of the German attack in the west that opened the great war.  Through those two months he was, as it were, a more and more excited spectator at a show, a show like a baseball match, a spectator with money on the event, rather than a really participating citizen of a nation thoroughly at war....

Section 13

After the jolt of the food panic and a brief, financial scare, the vast inertia of everyday life in England asserted itself.  When the public went to the banks for the new paper money, the banks tendered gold—­apologetically.  The supply of the new notes was very insufficient, and there was plenty of gold.  After the first impression that a universal catastrophe had happened there was an effect as if nothing had happened.

Shops re-opened after the Bank Holiday, in a tentative spirit that speedily became assurance; people went about their business again, and the war, so far as the mass of British folk were concerned, was for some weeks a fever of the mind and intelligence rather than a physical and personal actuality.  There was a keen demand for news, and for a time there was very little news.  The press did its best to cope with this immense occasion.  Led by the Daily Express, all the halfpenny newspapers adopted a new and more resonant sort of headline, the streamer, a band of emphatic type that ran clean across the page and announced victories or disconcerting happenings.  They did this every day, whether there was a great battle or the loss of a trawler to announce, and the public mind speedily adapted itself to the new pitch.

There was no invitation from the government and no organisation for any general participation in war.  People talked unrestrictedly; every one seemed to be talking; they waved flags and displayed much vague willingness to do something.  Any opportunity of service was taken very eagerly.  Lord Kitchener was understood to have demanded five hundred thousand men; the War Office arrangements for recruiting, arrangements conceived on a scale altogether too small, were speedily overwhelmed by a rush of willing young men.  The flow had to be checked by raising the physical standard

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