“Don’t you believe that the war will stop?”
“Not until we’ve thrown the full force of our fighting men into it—at what a sacrifice.”
“Can’t God make it stop?”
“He can, but He won’t, not if He’s a God of justice,” said this staunch old patriot, “until America has brought them to their knees—”
“Will they say they are sorry then?”
“It won’t make very much difference what they say—”
But Teddy, having been brought up to understand the things which belong to an officer and a gentleman, had his own ideas on the subject. “Well, I should think they’d ought to say they were sorry—.”
The end of April brought much rain; torrents swept down the smooth streets, and the beauty of the carefully kept flower beds in the parks was blurred by the wet.
The General, limping from window to window, chafed. He wanted to get out, to go over the hills and far away; with the coming of the spring the wander-hunger gripped him, and with this restless mood upon him he stormed at Bronson.
“It’s a dog’s life.”
“Yes, sir,” said Bronson, dutifully.
“It is dead lonesome, Bronson, and I can’t keep Jean tied here all of the time. She is looking pale, don’t you think she is looking pale?”
“Yes, sir. I think she misses Mr. Derry.”
“Well, she’ll miss him a lot more before she gets him back,” grimly. “He’ll be going over soon—”
“I wish I were going,” the old man was wistful. “Think of it, Bronson, to be over there—in the thick of it, playing the game, instead of rotting here—”
It was, of course, the soldier’s point of view. Bronson, being hopelessly civilian, did his best to rise to what was expected of him. “You like it then, sir?”
“Like it? It is the only life. We’ve lost something since men took up the game of business in place of the game of fighting.”
“But you see, sir, there’s no blood—in business.” Bronson tried to put it delicately.
“Isn’t there? Why, more men are killed in accidents in factories than are killed in war—murdered by money-greedy employers.”
“Oh, sir, not quite that.”
“Yes, quite,” was the irascible response. “You don’t know what you are talking about, Bronson. Read statistics and find out.”
“Yes, sir. Will you have your lunch up now, sir?”
“I’ll get it over and then you can order the car for me.”
“But the rain—?”
“I like rain. I’m not sugar or salt.”
Bronson, much perturbed, called up Jean. “The General’s going out.”
“Oh, but he mustn’t, Bronson.”
“I can’t say ‘mustn’t’ to him, Miss,” Bronson reported dismally. “You’d better see what you can do—”