The Toys of Peace, and other papers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about The Toys of Peace, and other papers.
to listen to the tramp of battalions that were bigger and bolder and better skilled in war-craft than he had deemed possible in that quarter; his eyes had to read in the columns of his accustomed newspaper a warning to the Grossmachte that they had something new to learn, something new to reckon with, much that was time-honoured to relinquish.  “The Great Powers will have not little difficulty in persuading the Balkan States of the inviolability of the principle that Europe cannot permit any fresh partition of territory in the East without her approval.  Even now, while the campaign is still undecided, there are rumours of a project of fiscal unity, extending over the entire Balkan lands, and further of a constitutional union in imitation of the German Empire.  That is perhaps only a political straw blown by the storm, but it is not possible to dismiss the reflection that the Balkan States leagued together command a military strength with which the Great Powers will have to reckon . . .  The people who have poured out their blood on the battlefields and sacrificed the available armed men of an entire generation in order to encompass a union with their kinsfolk will not remain any longer in an attitude of dependence on the Great Powers or on Russia, but will go their own ways . . .  The blood that has been poured forth to-day gives for the first time a genuine tone to the purple of the Balkan Kings.  The Great Powers cannot overlook the fact that a people that has tasted victory will not let itself be driven back again within its former limits.  Turkey has lost to-day not only Kirk Kilisseh and Kumanovo, but Macedonia also.”

Luitpold Wolkenstein drank his coffee, but the flavour had somehow gone out of it.  His world, his pompous, imposing, dictating world, had suddenly rolled up into narrower dimensions.  The big purses and the big threats had been pushed unceremoniously on one side; a force that he could not fathom, could not comprehend, had made itself rudely felt.  The august Caesars of Mammon and armament had looked down frowningly on the combat, and those about to die had not saluted, had no intention of saluting.  A lesson was being imposed on unwilling learners, a lesson of respect for certain fundamental principles, and it was not the small struggling States who were being taught the lesson.

Luitpold Wolkenstein did not wait for the quorum of domino players to arrive.  They would all have read the article in the Freie Presse.  And there are moments when an oracle finds its greatest salvation in withdrawing itself from the area of human questioning.

THE CUPBOARD OF THE YESTERDAYS

“War is a cruelly destructive thing,” said the Wanderer, dropping his newspaper to the floor and staring reflectively into space.

“Ah, yes, indeed,” said the Merchant, responding readily to what seemed like a safe platitude; “when one thinks of the loss of life and limb, the desolated homesteads, the ruined—­”

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The Toys of Peace, and other papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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