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.
are but obverse and reverse of the medal of ill-adjusted human relationships.  Was there no Greater Peace possible; not a mere recuperative pause in killing and destruction, but a phase of noble and creative living, a phase of building, of discovery, of beauty and research?  He remembered, as one remembers the dead, dreams he had once dreamt of the great cities, the splendid freedoms, of a coming age, of marvellous enlargements of human faculty, of a coming science that would be light and of art that could be power....

But would that former peace have ever risen to that?...

After all, had such visions ever been more than idle dreams?  Had the war done more than unmask reality?...

He came to a gate and leant over it.

The darkness drizzled about him; he turned up his collar and watched the dim shapes of trees and hedges gather out of the night to meet the dismal dawn.  He was cold and hungry and weary.

He may have drowsed; at least he had a vision, very real and plain, a vision very different from any dream of Utopia.

It seemed to him that suddenly a mine burst under a great ship at sea, that men shouted and women sobbed and cowered, and flares played upon the rain-pitted black waves; and then the picture changed and showed a battle upon land, and searchlights were flickering through the rain and shells flashed luridly, and men darkly seen in silhouette against red flames ran with fixed bayonets and slipped and floundered over the mud, and at last, shouting thinly through the wind, leapt down into the enemy trenches....

And then he was alone again staring over a wet black field towards a dim crest of shapeless trees.

Section 9

Abruptly and shockingly, this malignity of warfare, which had been so far only a festering cluster of reports and stories and rumours and suspicions, stretched out its arm into Essex and struck a barb of grotesque cruelty into the very heart of Mr. Britling.  Late one afternoon came a telegram from Filmington-on-Sea, where Aunt Wilshire had been recovering her temper in a boarding-house after a round of visits in Yorkshire and the moorlands.  And she had been “very seriously injured” by an overnight German air raid.  It was a raid that had not been even mentioned in the morning’s papers.  She had asked to see him.

It was, ran the compressed telegraphic phrase, “advisable to come at once.”

Mrs. Britling helped him pack a bag, and came with him to the station in order to drive the car back to the Dower House; for the gardener’s boy who had hitherto attended to these small duties had now gone off as an unskilled labourer to some munition works at Chelmsford.  Mr. Britling sat in the slow train that carried him across country to the junction for Filmington, and failed altogether to realise what had happened to the old lady.  He had an absurd feeling that it was characteristic of her to intervene in affairs in this manner.  She had always been so tough and unbent an old lady that until he saw her he could not imagine her as being really seriously and pitifully hurt....

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