This will be a better world for the poor man when all is over. We must forget our dreams, what our own individual lives would have been, and with dash, and cheer, and courage, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, set our jaws and go forward. The devil is in the saddle and we must pull him down, or else he will rule the world,—and you are to have a tug at his coat. And I envy you. I’d take your place in a minute, if I could. Remember that you are an individualist, not a collectivist naturally, but individuals are of no use now. The war can be made only by great groups who conform. The free spirit of man will have its way once more when this bloody war is done.
I am glad you wrote me, and I want you to feel that you always can write me, whatever is in your heart, and I will give you such answer as my busy days will permit. There is only one way to look at life and get any satisfaction out of it, and that is to bow to the inevitable. We all must be fatalists to that extent, and once a course has been determined upon, accept it and make the best of it. The life of the old gambler does not consist in holding a big hand but in playing a poor hand well. You and I are no longer masters of our own fortunes. All that we can do is to abide by the set rules of the game that is being played. I would change many things, but I am powerless, and because I am powerless I must say to myself each day, “All that God demands of me is that I shall do my best,” and doing that, the responsibility is cast upon that Spirit which is the Great Commander. I like to feel at these times that there is a personal God and a personal devil, and there has been no better philosophy devised than that. God is not supreme, He is not omnipotent, He has His limitations, His struggles, His defeats, but there is no life unless you believe that He ultimately must win, that this world is going upward, not downward, that the devil is to be beaten,—the devil inside of ourselves, the devil of wilfulness, of waywardness, of cynicism, and the devil that is represented by the overbearing, cruel militarism and ruthless inhumanity of Germany. You are a soldier of the Lord, just as truly as Christ was.
I send you my affectionate regards, and with it goes the confidence that you will, with good cheer and resolution, play your part. Sincerely yours,
This boy died in France. Lane wrote to his father of him:—
To Frank Lyon
Washington, [November 16, 1918]
Dear frank,—Have just heard. Dear, dear Boy! I was so fond of him. He had a brave adventurous spirit. Well, he has gone out gloriously. There could be no finer way to go and no better time.
I know your own strength will be equal to this test—and the wife, poor woman, she too is brave. My heart goes out to you both very really, wholly. With much affection.