If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 462 pages of information about If Winter Comes.
can see for themselves that only the Navy can defend their shores?  What are they going to do when the war comes?  Are they going to lynch these bloody politicians who haven’t told them they’ve got to fight for their lives?  Are they going to turn around and say they never knew it so they’ll be damned if they’ll fight for their lives?  Are they going to follow any of these politicians who will have betrayed them?  Do you suppose any man who’s been party to this betrayal is going to be found big enough to run a war?  I tell you that’s another thing.  Do you suppose a chap who’s been a miserable vote-snatcher all his life is going to turn round suddenly and be a heaven-sent administrator in a war?  You can take your oath Heaven doesn’t send out geniuses on that ticket.  What you’ve lived and done in fat times—­that’s what you’re going to live and do in lean.  Heaven’s chucked stocking divine fire.”

“I’m with you there,” Sabre said.  He did not believe half this intense man said, but he conceived a sudden and great admiration for his intensity.  And he had had no idea that a soldier ever thought so far away from his own subject—­which was sport and one chance in a million of fighting—­as to produce aphorisms on habit and development.  “But you know, Otway,” he said, “it’s jolly hard to believe all this inevitableness of war stuff that chaps like you put up.  Do you read the articles in the reviews and the quarterlies?  They all pretty well prove that, apart from anything else, a big European war is impossible by the—­well, by the sheer bigness of the thing.  They say these modern gigantic armies couldn’t operate, couldn’t provision themselves.  And there’s the finance.  They prove you can’t fight without money and that credit would go and the thing would stop before it had begun, pretty well.  I don’t know anything about that sort of thing, but the arguments strike me as absolutely sound.”

Otway was waiting with fidgety impatience.  “I’ve heard all that.  I don’t give a damn for it.  Of course you don’t know anything about it.  No one does.  Least of all those writing chaps.  It’s all theory.  Every one thought that with modern this, that and the other you were as safe on the last word in liners as in your own bedroom.  Then comes along that Titanic business in April, and where the hell are you with your modern conditions?  Fifteen hundred people done in.  I tell you it isn’t that things that used to happen can’t happen now; it’s simply that they’ll happen a million times worse.  What’s the good of theories when you’ve got facts?  Look at the things there’ve been with Germany just this year alone.  Old Haldane over in Germany in February for ’unofficial discussions’, Churchill threatening two keels to one if the German Navy law is exceeded.  That was March.  In April the Germans whack up their Navy Law Amendment, twelve more big ships.  That chap Bertrand Stewart getting three and a half years for espionage in Germany; and two German spies caught

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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