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.

The realities were evil enough without any rumours.  Over various dinner-tables Mr. Britling heard this and that first-hand testimony of harshness and spite.  One story that stuck in his memory was of British prisoners on the journey into Germany being put apart at a station from their French companions in misfortune, and forced to “run the gauntlet” back to their train between the fists and bayonets of files of German soldiers.  And there were convincing stories of the same prisoners robbed of overcoats in bitter weather, baited with dogs, separated from their countrymen, and thrust among Russians and Poles with whom they could hold no speech.  So Lissauer’s Hate Song bore its fruit in a thousand cruelties to wounded and defenceless men.  The English had cheated great Germany of another easy victory like that of ’71.  They had to be punished.  That was all too plainly the psychological process.  At one German station a woman had got out of a train and crossed a platform to spit on the face of a wounded Englishman....  And there was no monopoly of such things on either side.  At some journalistic gathering Mr. Britling met a little white-faced, resolute lady who had recently been nursing in the north of France.  She told of wounded men lying among the coal of coal-sheds, of a shortage of nurses and every sort of material, of an absolute refusal to permit any share in such things to reach the German “swine.” ...  “Why have they come here?  Let our own boys have it first.  Why couldn’t they stay in their own country?  Let the filth die.”

Two soldiers impressed to carry a wounded German officer on a stretcher had given him a “joy ride,” pitching him up and down as one tosses a man in a blanket.  “He was lucky to get off with that."...

“All our men aren’t angels,” said a cheerful young captain back from the front.  “If you had heard a little group of our East London boys talking of what they meant to do when they got into Germany, you’d feel anxious....”

“But that was just talk,” said Mr. Britling weakly, after a pause....

There were times when Mr. Britling’s mind was imprisoned beyond any hope of escape amidst such monstrous realities....

He was ashamed of his one secret consolation.  For nearly two years yet Hugh could not go out to it.  There would surely be peace before that....

Section 7

Tormenting the thought of Mr. Britling almost more acutely than this growing tale of stupidly inflicted suffering and waste and sheer destruction was the collapse of the British mind from its first fine phase of braced-up effort into a state of bickering futility.

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