But the word “sacrifice” is badly chosen. You do not make sacrifices, for you are strong and you are good. When you decide upon some new generous act you have only to appeal to your national pride, which will never allow an American undertaking to fail. You have the knowledge of the good that you are doing, and that, for you, is sufficient. You know that, thanks to your generosity, suffering is relieved, and you know that, thanks to the science of your surgeons, this relief is not merely momentary, but that the wounded man who would have remained a cripple if he had been less ably cared for, will be, thanks to you, completely cured, and that, instead of dragging out a miserable existence, he will be able to live a normal life and support a family which will bless you. Such men will owe it all to the persistence of your generosity.
I return always to that point, and it is essential. To give once is a common impulse, common to nearly all the world. It means freeing one’s self from the suffering which good souls feel when they see others suffer. But to give again after having given is a proof of reflection, of an understanding of the meaning of life; it is to work intelligently; it is to insure the value of the first effort; it means the possession of goodness which is lasting and far-seeing. That is a rare virtue. You have it. And that is why I express a three-fold thanks, for the past, for the present, and for the future—thanks that come from the bottom of the heart of a Frenchman.
By EDNA MEAD.
Look, Love! I lay my
wistful hands in thine
A little while before you seek the dark,
Untraversed ways of War and its Reward,
I cannot bear to lift my gaze and mark
The gloried light of hopeful, high emprise
That, like a bird already poised for flight,
Has waked within your eyes.
For me no proud illusions point the road,
No fancied flowers strew the paths of strife:
War only wears a horrid, hydra face,
Mocking at strength and courage, youth and life.
If you were going forth to cross your sword
In fair and open, man-to-man affray,
One might be even reconciled and say,
“This is not murder; only passion bent
On pouring out its poison”—one could pray
That the day’s end might see the madness done
And saner souls rise with the morrow’s sun.
But this incarnate hell that yawns before
Your bright, brave soul keyed to the fighter’s clench—
This purgatory that men call the “trench”—
This modern “Black Hole” of a modern war!
Yea, Love! yet naught I say can save you, so
I lay my heart in yours and let you go.
Stories of French Courage
By Edwin L. Shuman
[From THE NEW YORK TIMES, April, 1915.]