War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about War and the future.
that will increase and become a fruitful and permanent understanding between the allied peoples.  Neither the English, the Russians, the Italians, nor the French, to name only the bigger European allies, are concerned in setting up a legend, as the Germans are concerned in setting up a legend of themselves to impose upon mankind.  They are reality dealers in this war, and the Germans are effigy mongers.  Practically the Allies are saying each to one another, “Pray come to me and see for yourself that I am very much the human stuff that you are.  Come and see that I am doing my best—­and I think that is not so very bad a best....”  And with that is something else still more subtle, something rather in the form of, “And please tell me what you think of me—­and all this.”

So we have this curious byplay of the war, and one day I find Mr. Nabokoff, the editor of the Retch, and Count Alexy Tolstoy, that writer of delicate short stories, and Mr. Chukovsky, the subtle critic, calling in upon me after braving the wintry seas to see the British fleet; M. Joseph Reinach follows them presently upon the same errand; and then appear photographs of Mr. Arnold Bennett wading in the trenches of Flanders, Mr. Noyes becomes discreetly indiscreet about what he has seen among the submarines, and Mr. Hugh Walpole catches things from Mr. Stephen Graham in the Dark Forest of Russia.  All this is quite over and above such writing of facts at first hand as Mr. Patrick McGill and a dozen other real experiencing soldiers—­not to mention the soldiers’ letters Mr. James Milne has collected, or the unforgettable and immortal Prisoner of War of Mr. Arthur Green—­or such admirable war correspondents’ work as Mr. Philip Gibbs or Mr. Washburne has done.  Some of us writers—­I can answer for one—­have made our Tour of the Fronts with a very understandable diffidence.  For my own part I did not want to go.  I evaded a suggestion that I should go in 1915.  I travel badly, I speak French and Italian with incredible atrocity, and am an extreme Pacifist.  I hate soldiering.  And also I did not want to write anything “under instruction”.  It is largely owing to a certain stiffness in the composition of General Delme-Radcliffe is resolved that Italy shall not feel neglected by the refusal of the invitation from the Comando Supremo by anyone who from the perspective of Italy may seem to be a representative of British opinion.  If Herbert Spencer had been alive General Radcliffe would have certainly made him come, travelling-hammock, ear clips and all—­and I am not above confessing that I wish that Herbert Spencer was alive—­for this purpose.  I found Udine warm and gay with memories of Mr. Belloc, Lord Northcliffe, Mr. Sidney Low, Colonel Repington and Dr. Conan Doyle, and anticipating the arrival of Mr. Harold Cox.  So we pass, mostly in automobiles that bump tremendously over war roads, a cloud of witnesses each testifying after his manner.  Whatever else has happened, we have all been photographed with invincible patience and resolution under the direction of Colonel Barberich in a sunny little court in Udine.

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War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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