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.
essentially we English were a world of indolent, pampered, sham good-humoured, old and middle-aged men. (So he distributed the intolerable load of self-accusation.) Why was he doing nothing to change things, to get them better?  What was the good of an assumed modesty, an effort at tolerance for and confidence in these boozy old lawyers, these ranting platform men, these stiff-witted officers and hide-bound officials?  They were butchering the youth of England.  Old men sat out of danger contriving death for the lads in the trenches.  That was the reality of the thing.  “My son!” he cried sharply in the darkness.  His sense of our national deficiencies became tormentingly, fantastically acute.  It was as if all his cherished delusions had fallen from the scheme of things....  What was the good of making believe that up there they were planning some great counter-stroke that would end in victory?  It was as plain as daylight that they had neither the power of imagination nor the collective intelligence even to conceive of a counter-stroke.  Any dull mass may resist, but only imagination can strike.  Imagination!  To the end we should not strike.  We might strike through the air.  We might strike across the sea.  We might strike hard at Gallipoli instead of dribbling inadequate armies thither as our fathers dribbled men at the Redan....  But the old men would sit at their tables, replete and sleepy, and shake their cunning old heads.  The press would chatter and make odd ambiguous sounds like a shipload of monkeys in a storm.  The political harridans would get the wrong men appointed, would attack every possible leader with scandal and abuse and falsehood....

The spirit and honour and drama had gone out of this war.

Our only hope now was exhaustion.  Our only strategy was to barter blood for blood—­trusting that our tank would prove the deeper....

While into this tank stepped Hugh, young and smiling....

The war became a nightmare vision....

Section 9

In the morning Mr. Britling’s face was white from his overnight brain storm, and Hugh’s was fresh from wholesome sleep.  They walked about the lawn, and Mr. Britling talked hopefully of the general outlook until it was time for them to start to the station....

The little old station-master grasped the situation at once, and presided over their last hand-clasp.

“Good luck, Hugh!” cried Mr. Britling.

“Good luck!” cried the little old station-master.

“It’s not easy a-parting,” he said to Mr. Britling as the train slipped down the line.  “There’s been many a parting hea’ since this here old war began.  Many.  And some as won’t come back again neether.”

Section 10

For some days Mr. Britling could think of nothing but Hugh, and always with a dull pain at his heart.  He felt as he had felt long ago while he had waited downstairs and Hugh upstairs had been under the knife of a surgeon.  But this time the operation went on and still went on.  At the worst his boy had but one chance in five of death or serious injury, but for a time he could think of nothing but that one chance.  He felt it pressing upon his mind, pressing him down....

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