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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about The Next of Kin.

  “When men shall brothers be
  And form one family
    The wide world o’er!”

CHAPTER XV

LIFE’S TRAGEDY

  It often happens that people die
    At the hand of that they loved the best;
  One who loves horses all his days
    By a horse’s hoof is laid to rest!

  The swimmer who loves on the waves to lie
    Is caught in the swell of a passing boat,
  And the thing he loves breaks over his head
    And chokes the breath from his gasping throat.

  And the Christ who loved all men so well
    That he came to earth their friend to be,
  By one was denied, by one betrayed,
    By others nailed to the cursed tree!

  And more and more I seem to see
  That Love is the world’s great Tragedy!

Love is a terrible thing—­quite different from amiability, which is sometimes confused with it.  Amiability will never cause people to do hard things, but love will tear the heart to pieces!

It was because the people of Belgium loved their country that they chose to suffer all things rather than have her good name tarnished among the nations of the earth.  It has been for love, love of fair play, love of British traditions, that Canada has sent nearly four hundred thousand men across the sea to fight against the powers of darkness.  Canada has nothing to gain in this struggle, in a material way, as a nation, and even less has there been any chance of gain to the individual who answered the call.  There are many things that may happen to the soldier after he has put on the uniform, but sudden riches is not among them.

Some of the men, whose love of country made them give up all and follow the gleam, have come back to us now, and on pleasant afternoons may be seen sitting on the balconies of the Convalescent Homes or perhaps being wheeled in chairs by their more fortunate companions.  Their neighbors, who had an amiable feeling for the country instead of love, and who therefore stayed at home, are very sorry for these broken men, and sometimes, when the day is fine, they take the “returned men” out in their big cars for a ride!

There are spiritual and moral dead-beats in every community who get through life easily by following a “safety-first” plan in everything, who keep close to the line of “low visibility,” which means, “Keep your head down or you may get hit”; who allow others to do the fighting and bear all the criticism, and then are not even gracious enough to acknowledge the unearned benefits.  The most popular man in every community is the one who has never taken a stand on any moral question; who has never loved anything well enough to fight for it; who is broad-minded and tolerant—­because he does not care....  Amiability fattens, but love kills!

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