The Burning Spear eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 180 pages of information about The Burning Spear.

“Ah!” cried Mr. Lavender, “I see that I move you, gentlemen.  Those have traduced you who call you unimpressionable.  After all, are you not the backbone of this country up which runs the marrow which feeds the brain; and shall you not respond to an appeal at once so simple and so fundamental?  I assure you, gentlemen, it needs no thought; indeed, the less you think about it the better, for to do so will but weaken your purpose and distract your attention.  Your duty is to go forward with stout hearts, firm steps, and kindling eyes; in this way alone shall we defeat our common enemies.  And at those words, which he had uttered at the top of his voice, Mr. Lavender stood like a clock which has run down, rubbing his eyes.  For Blink, roaming the field during the speech, and encountering quadruped called rabbit, which she had never seen before, had backed away from it in dismay, brushed against the farmer’s legs and caused his breeches to fall down, revealing the sticks on which they had been draped.  When Mr. Lavender saw this he called out in a loud voice Sir, you have deceived me.  I took you for a human being.  I now perceive that you are but a selfish automaton, rooted to your own business, without a particle of patriotic sense.  Farewell!”



After parting with the scarecrow Mr. Lavender who felt uncommonly hungry’ was about to despair of finding any German prisoners when he saw before him a gravel-pit, and three men working therein.  Clad in dungaree, and very dusty, they had a cast of countenance so unmistakably Teutonic that Mr. Lavender stood still.  They paid little or no attention to him, however, but went on sadly and silently with their work, which was that of sifting gravel.  Mr. Lavender sat down on a milestone opposite, and his heart contracted within him.  “They look very thin and sad,” he thought, “I should not like to be a prisoner myself far from my country, in the midst of a hostile population, without a woman or a dog to throw me a wag of the tail.  Poor men!  For though it is necessary to hate the Germans, it seems impossible to forget that we are all human beings.  This is weakness,” he added to himself, “which no editor would tolerate for a moment.  I must fight against it if I am to fulfil my duty of rousing the population to the task of starving them.  How hungry they look already —­their checks are hollow!  I must be firm.  Perhaps they have wives and families at home, thinking of them at this moment.  But, after all, they are Huns.  What did the great writer say?  ’Vermin—­creatures no more worthy of pity than the tiger or the rat.’  How true!  And yet—­Blink!” For his dog, seated on her haunches, was looking at him with that peculiarly steady gaze which betokened in her the desire for food.  “Yes,” mused Mr. Lavender, “pity is the mark of the weak man.  It is a vice which was at one time rampant in this country; the war has made one beneficial change at

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The Burning Spear from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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