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are and the hills where Angres and Liévin display their red brick houses flaming in the light, great chalky slopes curve away from you; and there in rapid succession and at unexpected spots English guns flash, so quickly that the light is more a gleam than a lightning. Just beneath you German shells send up their black cloud, generally at settled intervals, every now and then in batches of five or six, pretending to be very clever and to take everybody by surprise. “He is very angry today, sir,” explains one of the Scottish voices, while the officer who accompanies me announces that we shall see shells bursting in that identical spot all day, as "he may be methodical, but he has no imagination."
Methodical or not, imaginative or not, the Boche is nowhere to be seen. The Lens chimneys are smoking, but strain your eyes as you will through the field-glass you see no trace of life in either Angres or Liévin: the scorching sun alone has the range of the red streets and of the gardens outside; nothing stirs along the straight roads which I see on the other side of the Vimy ridge stretching towards once familiar villages; and there are indications of any sort of activity between the sheets of water beside Swallow's Wood and the houses of Lens. Yet the enemy is there, he must be there; and when you ramble into the open and are told that “he sees you," you entertain no doubt that this is true. But modern warfare is carried on in solitude interrupted only by terrible encounters, and the strange tension of which one is conscious in the air through which shells and aeroThe New Witness.
planes and luminous messages and electric waves travel unceasingly is as terrible as anything one ever saw from the towers of a fortress.
Later in the day my guide and I tumbled on a battalion of Canadians snugly accommodated behind a spur where no eye can see, no shell can find them. There, on a narrow space but securely and happily, they lived the busy life which fills the days of soldiers when they are neither watching nor marching. I was under the spell which one domineering consciousness will frequently lay upon our minds, and enjoying that unique feeling of solitude which I had begun to cherish several hours before; but how grateful I was for meeting those men! how delightedly I exchanged the selfish pleasure I had found in the poetry of solitude and destruction for admiration of the brave souls I was introduced to! As you must seek the monk in his cloister and the artist in his studio, you must seek the soldier where he has just fought and expects soon to fight again. There will you hear simple speeches which can show you life and the world as you used to see them before words, gestures, and the multitudinous deceit of social existence made an accompaniment of falseness to them. There will you realize that it is better to be in danger of losing one's life than of losing one's soul. I have read most of the great books and listened to several men who have left great names.
Beautiful thoughts and beautiful words have not left upon me the impression which the ungrammatical English or the quaint French of these soldiers created.
BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE.
Food is probably the most serious subject that can be considered by an
Englishman, and far be it from us to treat the matter lightly. In the days of the Methuen Treaty we drank ourselves to victory in the mantling wines of Oporto, and if today we could only get to Berlin upon a diet of bracken fronds and rhubarb leaves, it might be less pleasant, but we should all do it. There is, however, some little danger of confused thought upon this subject, especially since the food question has been taken up by our old friends the Capitolian geese. We understand that at one time Lord Devonport had the advice of several eminent men of science; but one by one he showed them all the door, and took the daughter of the vine to spouse in the shape of Mr. Kennedy Jones, whose chief education has been in what we might call the Northcliffe laboratories. Since the advent of this gentleman the Ministry of Food has moved in its Pindaric way from one astonishing statement to another. Food has always been a favorite subject with the crank, for the disordered mind not infrequently proceeds from the disordered stomach, and in the present case it would seem as if all the Food cranks in the world had been concentrated in the Ministry and instructed to preach their doctrines to a helpless and bewildered nation. And the worst of it is that every statement made is hailed by the Northcliffe Press as if it were an established scientific discovery on which life and victory depend. If this goes on we predict that the digestion of the British people will be infallibly ruined, its youth stunted, and its life embittered.
Thus, for example, we see it stated that the nation could live on its waste, and the Northcliffe Press has been lashing itself into a fury over the fact that a slice of bread was recently found on Hampstead Heath. Now, as matter of fact, this subject of waste was very carefully investigated by Dr. Atwater, the greatest authority,
perhaps, in the world upon such subjects, and the results were published by the Agricultural Department of the United States. He found that the waste in the average family was quite small: in bread it amounted to about 12 per cent. Even in the British Army, where the waste of food used to be rather distressing, it was found on experiment to amount to only about 212 per cent. Then we are advised that we can do with half the amount of food if we only chew it double the time! We suppose that there may be some grain of truth somewhere in all the extravagances on this subject of mastication. But, generally speaking, custom and instinct are sound enough guides. Waste of time and energy in chewing will be the only result for most people who follow such advice. Where there is most waste is in fat, a very valuable food, because it clings to the plate; but the amount of fat which goes away with the gravy would not save the nation. As to bread rations, the Food Controller's allowance is probably sufficient for well-todo people who can afford to eat substitutes or lead sedentary lives; but we are informed on excellent authority that the ration contains only one-third of the sustenance which a working man needs and half what is required by boys and girls. Careful experiments show that the human machine is in this respect much like other machines: the work is in proportion to the fuel consumed. A brain-worker is at liberty to underfeed himself as much as he likes, and the poet may cultivate literature on a little oatmeal. But if you reduce the workingman's diet you reduce his output, and so the saving of food in his case is of doubtful utility. As for boys and girls their natural appetites are a guide to health, and we tremble to think what the plea of patriotism, added to the incentive of economy, may produce in the rising
generation. It will be a bad economy indeed to stunt the growth of our children.
Now we do not write this article to damp the national ardor in this matter. On the contrary, we think that much might be done if scientific minds were applied to the problem. Our warning is against the Capitolian clamor which in this case is only encouraging the enemy and bemusing the nation. The problem as it appears to us is largely a problem of substitution. It might almost seem as if Lord Devonport and Mr. Kennedy Jones had never sat down and thought the subject out. What is the position? England has become too much devoted to meat production. There are probably fifty million head of stock of all kinds and at least sixty milijon poultry in this country. This is not only an enormous reserve, but from the food point of view a somewhat wasteful reserve. It might be better to reduce our herds by killing at a younger age and dispensing with the ceremonial fattening, which adds a little to the quality of meat at a great expense of feeding stuffs. Lord Devonport, on the contrary, by his maximum prices for wheat, his meatless days, and his disastrous experiments in fixing the price of cattle food, has almost forced both the farmer and the public to
more cereals, the one to feed itself and the other to feed his cattle. We should rather encourage the killing of meat, and then there The London Post.
would be more cereals for human consumption. As to cereals, this country imports mainly wheat, of which it gets five million tons from abroad and grows 1.6 million tons; it produces one million tons and imports 600,000 tons of barley; it grows three million tons and imports 800,000 tons of oats; it grows 71/2 million tons of potatoes, 25 million tons of swedes, 10 million tons of mangels, and 260,000 tons of beans and peas; and it imports 212 million tons of maize and 100,000 tons of peas and beans. These figures show that there is no cause for alarm if the situation is handled with knowledge and good sense. gest that Lord Devonport is not the man for the job. His experience is the experience of a wholesale and retail grocer on a great scale: the concern with which he was connected is typical of Free Trade England. It is an example of the multiple shop: it imported wholesale from abroad and distributed through a vast number of retail stores. Lord Devonport thrived on Free Trade, but English agriculture did not thrive upon Lord Devonport. And to run such a system successfully did not require any knowledge of science, of agriculture, or of human nature. We suggest that this matter ought not to be entrusted to such hands: it is much too dangerous and delicate. What we need might obtain from our new Board of Agriculture.
THE SUPERB RECORD OF ITALY.
Everyone who wishes to see Germany beaten and brought to submission must rejoice without reserve at the glorious success of Italian arms. After the British and French offensives it was Italy's turn; and nobly has she risen to the occasion. The record of Italy has been exceptionally good
throughout this war, good from the moral, the intellectual, and from the military point of view; and we have not the least doubt that she will come out of the struggle one of the greatest and most respected of all World Powers.
To take first what we may call her
It was an heroic resolve, which must put her forever in the forefront of nations who have struck for right and justice regardless of the peril to themselves.
We say, “Bravo, Italy!" when we recall that grand decision of hers in May 1915. And Italians, we are sure, will understand it is no fulsome compliment we pay them in duty bound. There is a real and fervent enthu-' siasm over Italy's war record among her friends and admirers in this country. Those who feel about Italy here have not chosen to profess very loudly and often; yet they feel deeply:
Open my heart and you will see
conduct from the ethical or moral point of view. We must always remember that at the start of the war Italy was most awkwardly, even cruelly, placed. She was a member of the Triple Alliance, and her ties could not altogether be regarded as a dead letter in 1914. By this alliance she was necessarily entangled with Germany, and, besides, her trade and financial relations
with that country intimate and valuable. The German moved beneath the surface of things in large parts of Italy no less than he did in England. Moreover, Italy had in power at the start of the war a Government tinged with a pro-German element, guided by an extraordinarily astute manager of men and parties-an "old Parliamentary hand" if ever there were one, a balancer among balancers. By going in with the Central Powers in 1914 or 1915 Italy, it is certain could have secured pledges quite as ample as any the Entente could make her; and Germany, on the whole, was greatly in the ascendant in 1914 and 1915, it may
well have seemed "better business” to go in with the Central Powers than with the Entente. We know what Bulgaria decided in a like position. In fact, there were some astute Italians who doubtless desired this course, whilst there were many others who insisted that at least she should remain neutral-stand by and get what she could out of the war when the others were spent. The narrow view of self-interest and the obligation or tradition at least of the Triple Alliance urged that Italy should stand out altogether if she did not go in with the Central Powers. But Italy swept aside all such mean calculations and entanglements, and, despite the fact that her treasuries had been heavily drawn on lately by the warin Tripoli, she boldly went in on the side of the Entente at the close of May two years ago.
Then, intellectually, we know of no country better worth following today than Italy. We have not hidden our view that she has long been the most reasoning, cool-headed, safest authority and adviser in many matters relating to the Balkans. The Balkan question, scorned of the ignoramus and deadhead because of its complexity, is one of extraordinary charm and interest. Because we are bound to concentrate on the Western Front and reach a decision there it does not follow that the Balkans are not important, and Italy's attention to them is invaluable. People now see Italy, too, has been, on the whole, sound about Greece, though we shall not go into that question now. Nor can we resist the strong feeling that had the Entente adopted Italian views in this matter from the outset it would have saved men and saved money and saved prestige. The Entente has not done strikingly well in those regions, but for that we must not blame Italy.
Italy then, if examine her record, comes out of the struggle well on the intellectual as moral side. And today what a magnificent military feat is hers! Fighting
against some of the most difficult country for an offensive in Europe, and against the picked divisions of a proud old army which we all fell into the careless habit of belittling in the earlier phases of the war, the Italians have made amazing progress towards Trieste. Today they stand on the slopes of Hermada and menace the arms of the Central Powers on the Adriatic. The Austrians claim to have taken many prisoners, and we shall not question that the Army of General Cadorna has steeled itself to sacrifices.
But it has made a wonderful advance and is threatening the enemy in a most vital spot. Trieste is within ten miles, and beyond lies the great naval port of Pola! A glance at the country in which this has been done is enough to assure one that when Angelo started with his dagger to engage Weisspriess, the first swordsman of "the old army," he had scarcely a more desperate task than Italy when she hurled herself against Austria among these strongholds. More valor and more skill have not been seen since the war began.
We owe homage and gladly pay it to this great The Saturday Review.
Ally. The Adriatic has been a calamitous sea for the Allied cause, but now there is an earnest of Italy coming by her own, and the clouds begin to lift. We all know her goal and her just and inevitable claims. They were set forth in her demands to Austria so far back as December 1914, when she insisted that the cowardly and brutal invasion of gallant Serbia
under the operation of the seventh Article of the Triple Alliance, and they have been restated clearly enough lately in General Cadorna's official circular to his troops. They are based on no petty greed for "acquisitions." They include, no doubt, strategical positions, which, as Mr. Asquith has implied in speaking of the war generally, cannot be overlooked. These are supremely essential if we are to have peace in the future. We have not the least fear that Italy in her hour of triumph which is certainly coming, and in the Risorgimento that must crown it, will prove ungenerous towards any Ally of this country, including Serbia. All will be well whilst Italian arms prevail and when the resettlement of the Adriatic is effected.
MR. WILSON SPEAKS OUT.
Mr. Balfour's return to his own country after the most successful of Missions from one great people to another, is closely followed by a fresh proof of the unity of purpose between England and the United States. President Wilson has made a communication to the Russian Government which is in fact addressed to the common sense and to the conscience of every individual citizen of the Allied democracies. We trust that it will be spread broadcast and without delay amongst the great people to whose rulers it has been in the first place directed,
because cannot easily conceive anything better adapted to scatter the clouds of untruth and of sophistry with which the enemy has been seeking to darken and confuse them. There are newspapers in Russia which have followed the traditions of the autocracy by suppressing the news of the American registration, and have mentioned the great speech of M. Ribot in the Chamber and the solemn affirmation by that body of the war aims of France, only to insinuate that neither represents the voice of the French people. They are doing an ill service