It was naturally a year of strong partisanship. A year of violent feelings violently expressed; and amidst them, and because of them, Sabre found with new certainty that he had no violent feelings. Increasingly he came to know that he had well expressed his constitutional habit, the outstanding trait in his character, when, on the day of that talk in the office with Nona, he had spoken of his disastrous inability—disastrous from the point of view of being satisfactory to single-minded persons, or of pulling out that big booming stuff called success—to see a thing, whatever it might be, from a single point of view and go all out for it from that point of view. “Convictions,” he had said, and often in the welter of antagonistic convictions of 1913 thought again, “Convictions. If you’re going to pull out this big booming stuff they call success, if you’re going to be satisfactory to anybody or to anything, you must shut down on everybody’s point of view but your own. You must have convictions. And narrower than that—not only convictions but conviction. Conviction that your side is the right side and that the other side is wrong, wrong to hell.”
And he had no such convictions. Above all, and most emphatically, he had never the conviction that his side, whichever side it might be in any of the issues daily tabled for men’s discussion, was the right side and the other side the wrong and wicked and disastrous side.
He used to think, “I can’t stand shouting and I can’t stand smashing. And that’s all there is. These newspapers and these arguments you hear—it’s all shouting and smashing. It’s never thinking and building. It’s all destructive; never constructive. All blind hatred of the other views, never fair examination of them. You get some of these Unionists together, my class, my friends. They say absolutely nothing else but damning and blasting and foaming at Lloyd George and Asquith and the trade-unionists. Absolutely nothing else at all. And you get some of these other chaps together, or their newspapers, and it’s exactly the same thing the other way about. And yet we’re all in the same boat. There’s only one life—only one living—and we’re all in it. Come into it the same way and go out of it the same way; and all up against the same real facts as we are against the same weather. That fire the other night in High Street. All sorts of people, every sort of person, lent a hand in putting it out. And that frightful railway disaster at Aisgill; all sorts of people worked together in rescuing. No one stopped to ask whether the passengers were first class or third. Well, that’s the sort of thing that gets me. Fire and disaster—those are facts and everybody gets to and deals with them. And if there was a big war everybody would get to and fight it. And yet all these political and social things are just as much facts that affect everybody, and all anybody can do is to shout and smash up the