Author: Ian Hay
Release Date: April 2, 2005 [EBook #15523]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK Getting together ***
Produced by Rick Niles, Jeannie Howse and the Online
Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net).
Author of “The First Hundred Thousand,”
“A Safety Match,” etc.
Copyright, 1917, by
Ian Hay Beith
All rights reserved, including that
translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian
For several months it has been the pleasant duty of the writer of the following deliverance to travel around the United States, lecturing upon sundry War topics to indulgent American audiences. No one—least of all a parochial Briton—can engage upon such an enterprise for long without beginning to realize and admire the average American’s amazing instinct for public affairs, and the quickness and vitality with which he fastens on and investigates every topic of live interest.
Naturally, the overshadowing subject of discussion to-day is the War, and all the appurtenances thereof. The opening question is always the same. It lies about your path by day in the form of a newspaper man, or about your bed by night in the form of telephone call, and is simply:
“When is the War going to end?”
(One is glad to note that no one ever asks how it is going to end: that seems to be settled.)
The simplest way of answering this question is to inform your inquisitor that so far as Great Britain is concerned the War has only just begun—began, in fact, on the first of July, 1916; when the British Army, equipped at last, after stupendous exertions, for a grand and prolonged offensive, went over the parapet, shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers of France, and captured the hitherto impregnable chain of fortresses which crowned the ridge overlooking the Somme Valley, with results now set down in the pages of history.
Having weathered this conversational opening, the stranger from Britain finds himself, as the days of his sojourn increase in number, swept gently but irresistibly into an ocean of talk—an ocean complicated by eddies, cross-currents, and sudden shoals—upon the subject of Anglo-American relations over the War. Here is the substance of some of the questions which confront the perplexed wayfarer:—