The Illustrious Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Illustrious Prince.
men, all of them.  I myself saw them face death by the hundreds, but the lust of battle was in their veins then, the taste of blood upon their palates.  We do not claim to be called world conquerors because we overcame these men.  If one could have seen into the hearts of our own soldiers as they marched into battle, and seen also into the hearts of those others who lay there sullenly waiting, one would not have wondered then.  There was, indeed, nothing to wonder at.  What we cannot make you understand over here is that every Japanese soldier who crept across the bare plains or lay stretched in the trenches, who loaded his rifle and shot and killed and waited for death,—­every man felt something beating in his heart which those others did not feel.  We have no great army, Mr. Haviland, but what we have is a great nation who have things beating in their heart the knowledge of which seems somehow to have grown cold amongst you Western people.  The boy is born with it; it is there in his very soul, as dear to him as the little home where he lives, the blossoming trees under which he plays.  It leads him to the rifle and the drill ground as naturally as the boys of your country turn to the cricket fields and the football ground.  Over here you call that spirit patriotism.  It was something which beat in the heart of every one of those hundreds of thousands of men, something which kept their eyes clear and bright as they marched into battle, which made them look Death itself in the face, and fight even while the blackness crept over them.  You see, your own people have so many interests, so many excitements, so much to distract.  With us it is not so.  In the heart of the Japanese comes the love of his parents, the love of his wife and children, and, deepest, perhaps, of all the emotions he knows, the strong magnificent background to his life, the love of the country which bore him, which shelters them.  It is for his home he fights, for his simple joys amongst those who are dear to him, for the great mysterious love of the Motherland.  Forgive me if I have expressed myself badly, have repeated myself often.  It is a matter which I find it so hard to talk about, so hard here to make you understand.”

“But you must not think, Prince, that we over here are wholly lacking in that same instinct,” the Duke said.  “Remember our South African war, and the men who came to arms and rallied round the flag when their services were needed.”

“I do remember that,” the Prince answered.  “I wish that I could speak of it in other terms.  Yet it seems to me that I must speak as I find things.  You say that the men came to arms.  They did, but how?  Untrained, unskilled in carrying weapons, they rushed across the seas to be the sport of the farmers who cut them off or shot them down, to be a hindrance in the way of the mercenaries who fought for you.  Yes, you say they rallied to the call!  What brought them?  Excitement, necessity, necessities of their social standing, bravado, cheap heroism—­any

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The Illustrious Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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