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HORTUS VITiB, or Thi Hanging Gardbms: 
Moralizing Ettays. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. net. 

THE ENCHANTED WOODS. Cr.Svo. 38.6d.o«t. 


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LIMBO, and Other Essays. To which is now added 
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VAN IT AS: Polite Stories, inchidlng the hitherto 
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sation." Crown Svo. Ss. 6d. net. 

BEAUTY AND UGLINESS. With 9 lUustrations. 
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The whole of this drama is intended to be read, and especially 
read out loud, as prose ; the passages which scan conforming 
as much as the rest to the vocabulary, the punctuation, the 
syntax, and the essential logic which diflFerentiate prose from 
verse. And whatever rhythmical elements have been 
intentionally introduced, should be merely felt as an indefinable 
quality, so to speak a timbre^ of what is in other respects 
ordinary speech. 


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by Google 



The Ballet of the Nations, which constitutes the nucleus of the 
following drama, was written, in narrative shape, at Whitsuntide 
of the first year of the war ; and published that same Christmas 
as a picture book in collaboration with Mr. Maxwdil Armfield. 
It was in its origin merely such an extemporized shadow-play 
as a throng of passionate thoughts may cast up into the lucid 
spaces of one's mind: symbolical figures, grotesquely em- 
bodying what seems too multifold and fluctuating, also too 
unendurable, to be taken stock of. A European war was 
going on which, from my point of view, was all about nothing at 
all ; gigantically cruel, but at the same time needless and sense- 
less like some ghastly '* Grand Giiignol " performance. It 
could, as it seemed to me, have been planned and staged only 
by the legendary Power of Evil ; and the remembrance of 
mediaeval masques naturally added the familiar figure, fiddling 
and leering as in Holbein's woodcuts, of a Ballet Master Death. 

The bleeding Nations evidently danced to an Orchestra of 
Passions, of whom the noblest were the most efficacious in 
keeping up the hideous farandole which they had not for- 
bidden ; and Rty and Indignation themselves — I wrote at the 
time of the Lusitania episode — ^were called in by the Devil 
when the rest seemed flagging. 

This crude emblematic improvisation at first satisfied my 
need for expression. But the thii;ig once written, I began ta 
see its shallowness. Surely this visible performance was not 
the only one ; human affairs, althou^ at times attaining the 
grandeur of tragedy, are, after all, of common, prosaic human 
quality and origin ; nay, in th^msdves not more dignified than 


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the haggling and elbowing of the hucksters of Vanity Fair, 
And Heroism and the Great Passions, terrible or lovely, would 
not have been called in ivith their various instruments, nc»r 
Ballet Master Death given his great Benefit Performance, if 
Self-Interest, instead of turning on his side to sleep his Sunday's 
sleep, had kept an eye on the little doings in embassies and 
public offices and in the sanctums of armament-mongers and 
concession-hunters and newspaper-trusts. 

Recognizing this, it became necessary I should add to Satan's 
glorious and terrible public exhibition, which I had called th^ 
BalUt of ike Nations^ those cinematograph and gramophone 
records of private realities, which the Waster of All Snds of 
"Wrtue revealed as a favour to the Ages-to-Come, and that 
fatuous sycophant of his, the classic Muse of History. 

After that arose the question of what would happen in the 
future f Was it destined all to begin again, once the per- 
formers had repaired their disarray F Would Ballet Master 
Death recover from his drunken slumbers pillowed upon his 
weary, but ever faithful, follower the blind youth Heroism I 

My first answer to myself was yes. For so indeed it seemed 
when I wrote the first draft of that epflogue in the second year 
of the war. But the third and the fourth ended, and with 
constant increase of the unimaginable horrors and follies, 
there came signs that the very excess of them may prevent 
their renewal in the future. My first sketch of the epik)gue 
concluded with the triumphant exclamations of Ballet Master 
Death, pulling himself together for a fresh performance anil 
whistling to that docile dog-like Heroism. I ended the 
second version with Heroism's cutting short Death's drunken 
self-gratulations, and with Satan's sudden anidety lest, should 
Heroism ever be cured of blindness, this present one might 
have been the last of such Ballets of the Nations. Alaft^ 
correcting that epilogue after the Armistice and the signing of 
Peace, I have had to end once more with a more hcq>^ul view 
on the part of Satan. 

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Meanwhile, who and what was Satan ? And what was the 
real name of hit Ballet Matter Death i Little by Iktle it was 
borne in upon me that the whole meaning of my allegory 
d^>ended on the answers I was wont to give myself upon 
certain problems of {^ilosophy and religion : the nature of 
Evil, the possibility of Progress, the legitimacy of Sacrifice and 
the recogniticm of Realities. So I found myself writing the 
prologue as an e^lanation, put into the mouth of Satan 
himself, of whatev^ philosophy of life my own life and my 
studies of professional philosophers had left me with to face the 
cataclysm of this war. 


So much for the drama itsdf . Now as to the Notes thereto, 
which make up the other half of this volume. My friendly 
literary adviser — himself the son of the first and kindest 
literary adviser I ever had — ^Mr. Edward Gamett, has warned 
me that this second half is de tropj may even be voted a bore. 
The play, he says, can stand by itself, needs no elucidations. 
I should hc^ not. Have I not done my best to make every 
line oi it explicit and to the point 7 The play needs no notes. 
It is the Notes, or what I have presented as notes, which need 
the play to help them to such readers as I want to get at. So, 
having insisted on including them, let me explain their nature 
and their real relation to SaUm^ The Waster. 

Once upon a time I wrote a volume of ^^ mOTal essays " 
under the title of Hortus Vita^ the Garden of life. There are, 
unfortunately, other gardens than that, notably the Garden 
of Death, IXsorder and Ruin, called War. It also has its 
spiritual, I will not say flotoers^ nor even fruits^ but just vege- 
tation, of tlKmghts. And these Notes, which some readers 
might call not tnoral but immoral Essays, are made out of 
such thereof as I have gathered during these five years. 

For, just as every peaceful, pleasant garden means that cep- 

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tain plants have been sown, grafted and tended ; but likewise 
that certain others have been weeded out, refused a chance of 
life both by the gardener and by the other plants this gardener 
favoured, until some accident overwhelmed gardener and gar- 
den; so also this war, devastating all my usual thoughts, has 
brought up a crop of other ones which those times of peace had 
not allowed a chance. Not allowed, because, you see, there 
were all those decorous, pleasant flowers arid fruits one wished 
to cultivate, a well-stocked garden of optimistic tradition such 
as required only the tending which is an elderly person's 
excuse for dawdling in the sun, cooling fingers with watering 
pots, and hoeing just enough to give the certainty of still 
having muscles and not yet rheumatism ; an excuse also for 
such shrewd pruning and tidy tying as gave one, more delight- 
ful than any roses, the sense of one's own Unflinching discrimi- 
nation, let alone the contemplation of those visionary blossoms 
(so far the best part of all gardening and thinking and perhaps 
living) which had never yet come up but doubtless would some 
day or other. 

I I must be forgiven if in these ravaged times I let myself dwell 
I* over-long on these spiritual gardens we used to cultivate, and 
I for which the war has substituted, in my case at least, growths 
/ of thought so very different, those which have been distilled 
into this play, and gathered for other folk to distil in the so- 
called notes thereto. 

I will not call such thoughts weedsy unless by we^ds we mean 
aU hardy vegetation one does not like. I did not, in pre- 
war years, like thinking about Hatred, Sdf-Righteousness and 
R^hteousness and Fear ; barely about Confusion and Delusion ; 
least of all about the spuriousness and dangers of such fine 
things as Idealism, Pity and Indignation. Of ccnirse, among 
these little essays there is none whose germs were not latent 
in my mind before August, 1914; but neither is there one 
which, before that date, would not have remained unwritten, 
untbought-out, avoided. Certainly their thought evaded : e.g. 

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tht queries, nay certainties, concerning Patriotism, Unanimity, 
Self-Sacrifice and Waste* One knew such subjects were there ; 
one knew there was a question called H^ar; but covered it all 
over with other thoughts, more agreeable to one's private 
contemplation and fitter for exhibition to one's frienda. 
Nowadays I find little else to think about, or rather cannot 
keep my mind from them ; they alone are of the uninviting 
stuff reality has shown itself to be once war had ploughed 
up its thin specious surface, 

Yesj indeed ; this crop of thoughts for which war*s ravages 
have made room, and which war's abominations have so richly 
manured, is rank and harsh, sometimes nettle-stinging to the 
touch ; its flowers, like those of unsymbolic weeds, are incon- 
spicuous or colourless, without sweetness or savour, some- 
times offensive to our delicate nostrils; nor is there among 
them anything like the aromatic rock-growths, wild rosemary 
and lavender, of more classic climates. They are thoroughly 
unattractive. But such thoughts root deep in the bona fide 
soil, mud or shale, of life. The very bitterness of them suggests 
their possessing medicinal virtues. The very fact of their 
hardy readiness after so much rooting out by man's senti- 
mental selection, suggests that they embody something- 
how shall I express it ? — well 1 nearer nature, closer to what 
Browning no doubt meant by the nether springs; hence 
conveying possible lessons of what nature really is ; what the 
real chemistry underlying our spiritual life may be, and what 
the soil, or if you prefer so to call it, the mud of Reality, in 
which even the noblest life must needs root. It is something 
in their favour, I mean in favour of such thoughts and facts 
as these notes set forth, that people have rarely imitated them 
in paper for the adornment either of altars or of the hats 
ladies display at social gatherings. At least such has not been 
the fashion hitherto, and I should be sorry to set a new one in 
this respect* Indeed, perhaps in proportion to the very 
aversion lurking at the bottom of my optimistic late- Victorian 

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heart for such — shall we say ? — realistic modes of thinkings I 
seem bound to recognize that all future gardening or tillage 
of life (though not life's paper floriculture !) will have to be 
based upon notions like these which the war has brought up 
in my ravaged little plot, as in that, no doubt, of many of 
my neighbours. Such war-thoughts may perhaps teach us to 
keep our peace-gardens sweet with less waste for self and 
others. TTiey may, I cannot but hope, provide us with 
hardier stocks whereon to graft the ovcr-coetly, the s^rtificial 
and unstable, flowers and fruits of such happiness and hope as 
we have hitherto enjoyed. 

Dropping this long metaphor, let me explain that I have 
put these unattractive essays as notes to my, alas, not over- 
attractive play, in case some younger readers, or some readers 
whom the war has rejuvenated in its horrible Medea-cauldron, 
may, if the play have met their new views, find the same sort 
of thing more methodically thought out and more prosaically 
set forth. 


There still is, there must long be, so much of selfKldusion 
about the main subject of my symbolical war-play, that I 
have to face the chance of turning out to have been as deluded 
about it all as the people with whose convictions I happen to 

One point, however, there is on which no one can deny that 
I do see matters as they are, namely, the offence which the 
contents of this volume have already given afid are likely to 
give for yet a while. And unfortunately to many erf my 

I seem to «ee how afl I have written and said about the war 
must appear from the point of view of those puzzled or 
disapproving friends of mine. Nay, every now and then I 
have seemed to enter into the fullness of their fedings against 

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me and the few persons whose attitude about the war I shared. 
I have been subject to occasional moments of what I call. to 
mysdi ^* illumination,'' moments of realizing the inconceivable-^ 
ness, the ugliness, almost the monstrosity of my hostile aloof- 
ness as it must have appeared to those participatifig in the 
war with hand and heart. Indeed, I may have realized this 
mudi more vividly than the very friends with i^ose eyes I 
was, at those moments, looking; since none of us ever bulk 
so large and visible in other people's eyes as in our own. I 
know and fed how they would have looked upon me if this had 
not, mercifully, been so. This has been the case more or less 
unremittingly in a dull, latent way, with every now and then 
an acute crisis of actual and sometimes overwhelming imagina- 
tive participation in their astonished gri^ or anger at my 
attitude. And yet, while all this has been going on, never 
for a second have I repented or distrusted my own attitude ; 
never for ^ second wished my attitude mig^t be different. My 
position about the war seems as entirely natural and inevitable 
given msy as I recognize and feel theirs to be given tk^m. As 
tkfy fed in the right, so also do I. The more I think over our 
respective positions, the more I understand both, and their 
unavoidable opposition. Also how utterly impossible it would 
be, so Icmg as the war went on, to make my view seem other- 
wise than so much heartless wrongheadedness to those friends 
of mine. Hxe experiences and habits of mind from ^diich my 
attitude results are often remote, complicated and by no means 
always (wrthodox. Moreover, there is at the bottom of it a 
large share of what is merdy negative, a minus in my case 
of influences, dogmas, assodations and habits in which those 
friends have steeped so ever-since-always as scarcdy to be 
aware of them at all, or aware, when aware, only as that 
odd vagueness called " nature." Now it is according to 
such complexes (as modern psychcdpgy calls them) of past 
experiences and influences, of present interests, haliits, hopes 
ami fears, that all of us interpret the obvk)us facts striking 

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on our eenses and feelings. Like the rest of us, I can, of 
course, see that the sun disappears in the west and reappears 
in the east, just as if it really did turn round the earth, climb 
to the zenith^^^d plunge below the horizon. Nor can I 
demonstrate to others that it does no such thing ; that they 
themselves, the earth on which we are standing, are doing 
that going round. They feel that they and the ground under 
them are not moving ; by which I mean that all the belligerent 
peoples equally have felt that, as the Kaiser said about him- 
sdf, they did not want the war. Just as they see the sun in 
various definite positions as regards themselves, so also did 
they see their country invaded or threatened, sons and brothers 
killedy hideous calamities pressing against them. How can 
the war have been otherwise than wantonly willed by villainous 
enemies ? How can the sun be otherwise than charioting 
above and below, round and round, the earth ? The difference 
between my friends' (and equally my former friends', in the 
"Enemy Camp'*) view and my own is that between the 
Ptolemaic and Copernican conception of Man's soul and Man's 
affairs. The people with whom I disagree about the war and 
who disapprove of me, are, as it seems to me, ego-centric and 
subjected to the optical illusion of the here and the ^owy that 
optical illusion which is corrected once we get as far off as we 
now are from the Gallophobia of Burke and "Nelson and even 
of Carlyle ; once we have moved on to a different here and to a 
different now^ and can compare and discount temporary 

But here and funo mean feeling. And though, when 
implying action it can inflict suffering on others, feeling 
can also suffer in itself. Already when writing against 
religious delusions (or what to me seem to be such), I grew 
aware that when religion is no longer able to brandish the 
temporal sword or threaten sopal exconununication against 
the heretic, it yet retains a minor hold upon that heretic's 
fears. Tlie unbeliever, no longer maltreated for his unbelief. 

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hurts those who do not share it, and shrinks with reverent 
cowardice from inflicting the pain he may see in the believer's 
face, and may almost feel in his own sympathizing nerves. 
Similarly with the war, only much more so. Those whose 
opinions and attitude are orthodox about it have, in my eyes, 
been abetting, fostering and sometimes bringing about, the 
most abominable calamity of all historic times. I recognize 
this all quite clearly, unhesitatingly. But I recc^nize at the 
same time that their own multifold sacrifice, and their conse- 
quent belief in that sacrifice's holiness, renders them sensitive 
to the smallest show of impiety or even scepticism towards a 
belief thus consecrated by their prodigious willing martyrdom. 
During four long years of our short human life, they have been 
killing and mutilating, starving ruining and widowing their 
thousands and hundreds of thousands ; devastating the world 
no less with hatred and hatred's falsehoods. Fpr that is war. 
But I have feared to hurt their feelings ; and I grieve to have 
done so. 

And this brings us back to my BalUt of the Nations and vAxat 
it stands for. I have become aware that even in its earliest 
fragmentary published version, it has offended some of the 
people I can least endure offending. And even if they had not 
told me, I should know wherein the chief offence resided. 
^,^\fF'e know ourselves ^' (such is the spoken or unspoken tenor 
ofj^their blame), " we know ourselves to be taking pott in the 
greatest and most willing sacrifice ever brought for what to us is 
the greatest of all conceivable objects. We are freely^ spontane- 
ouslyy deliberately and passionately offering our livesy and the 
lives which are mote to us than our own^ along with everything 
which gives life its sweetness, in what to us is a vast contest 
between ri^^ousness and villainy^ honour and dishonourable- 
nesSy lUferty and servitude^ future order and future lawlessness. 
We know that we are doing even more ; we know that we are for 
this purpose grasping the weapons and methods we hold most in 
abhorrence. We who loathe war are making war against those 

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who believe that war is not a crime. This " («^id my frictuls or 
seemed to be saying), ^Uhis is how we feel towaris this war in 

, which we participate with horror but mth deliberate choice. And 
you, in this shallow satire of yours^ represent this struggle 
between Good and Evil, this trial of strength between Justice and 
Injustice, as a mere collective world-cataclysm for which aU are 
equally responsible or rather irresponsible ; you dare i$ represent 

^ ^ it as a mere involuntary, aimless, senseless dance of Deaths in 

^ which all the Nations, with little to choose between them, join 

hands in imbecile, abominable obedience to Satan^s fiddling. Is 

this " (so ends the spoken or unspoken protest of my warlike 

friends), "/^ this, can this really be, your meaning? " 


It is. And more completely so, perhaps, than those who 
thus ask whether I mean it, can, for the time being, quite 
comprehend. As to the further query, when it is a query and 
not a mere ejaculation of disappointment, the how and why 
such a meaning can be mine, that is not so briefly answered, 
yet requires answering. Not that it matters a button to 
those who ask the question, why anyone, and least of all 
myself, should have come by opinions contrary to their own. 
But because this how and why of the opinions set forth in this 
play and in its notes, may make them easier to grasp by 
future readers less given to such surprised and distressed — may 
I again say it ? — exclamations disguised as queries. 

The reasons I have set forth against participation in tfab 
war, spiritual participation by fldngle individuals no less than 
cdlective participation by every belligerent Nation, especially 
my own, these convictions concerning the war's origins and 
results, these judgments of its moral value, these arguments 
in defence of my own lack of participation, are not the reason, 
in the sense of the cause, of my inability thus to take4>art. 
Indeed, paradox though it sounds at first, I have come by 

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tl^ese views of the war just because I have not been aMc to be, 
as the current phrase goes, in Hu war ; although once I had 
come by such views, the hoUfing of them impUed that I should 
keep out. It was my initial aloofness which made me see the 
war as a common catastrophe, in which this country's real 
danger was its danger as a portion of the whde war-im- 
perilled world, instead of seeing only my country's danger at 
the enemy's hands, and calling thiA a danger to civilization 
and the future. 

\ I have said that my views were the result rather than the 
cause of such aloofness. As to the reasons, in the sense of 
causes^ of that aloofness from the war, they are individual to 
mysdf, and do not affect the truth or error of my views; they 
oidy explain how I came by them. They are matters erf 
personal bic^raphy, of such bringing up and surroundings as 
have made me know, admire, love, but also mistrust, several 
nationalities ; and while intensifying my appreciation erf the 
splendid or delightful qualities special to each of them, made 
me incapable of identifying myself with the whole of any, 
because that whole of any country implied likewise a good 
many p«:sons and characteristics I do not happen to like . . . 
And, by the way, all the belHgerent nations have acquired in 
my eyes a common defect : namely, of being belligerents ; 
indeed, I have watched them becoming more and more like 
one anolther in their ways of feeling and acting, War having 
(paradoxically !) replaced the normal division of functions, 
the collaborating and complementary variety, of the various 
peoples by the common aims, efforts and methods of reciprocal 
destruction, until the warring world has become a mere 
homogeneous mass of systematic and automatic imitation dl 
enemy by enemy : conscription, trenches, poison gases, 
submarines, air-raids, propaganda of hatred, atrocity monger- 
ing, coalition government and postal censure having given 
Britain and Germany and France, Austria and Italy, a most 
conspicuous and lamentable family4ikenes8. 

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Closing this parenthesis let me say once more that my 
aloofness from the war, though explicable partly by my 
previous opinions on certain other subjects (specially those 
I had dealt with under the heading of "\^tal lies**), is due 
to personal circumstances and, as already mentioned, probably 
rather to a minus than a plus^ rather to having missed out 
things which I had, perhaps, better have had, than to any 
advantages. Of this latter question I am no judge, but 
neither are those who complain of my resulting aloofness from 
the war into which they have thrown themselves. The 
point to grasp, however, is that being what I am I had to 
hold aloof. Moreover, that — ^and this concerns my play — 
holding thus aloof I have been able to see the war under a 
certain angle and in certain of its aspects which would have 
been hidden from me had I, as the phrase goes, been in it. 

But before passing on to this question of what I have been 
able to see, by remaining, not like my friend Romain RoUand 
au dessusy but simply en dehors^ de la milieu let me meet a 
common objection, namely, that one cannot, indeed has no 
right to, have views about the war unless one has participated 
in it — participated by belief, and more especially by suffering. 
As to beliefs the same objection is made against everyone who 
disbelieves a religious creed. As regards suffering I maintain 
that all the suffering of the war does not fall under the heading 
of death and wounds, terror, exile and ruin, or even personal 
anxiety and bereavement. Suffering cannot be easily, or 
decendy, gauged. And adnutting that the impersonal must 
needs be less acute than the personal, kind, it has to be remem- 
bered that there are emotional compensations in militant hope, 
in effort enthusiastically put out for victory, especially in 
faith in the perfect righteousness of one's own cause ; ail of 
which are sadly lacking to those who, like myself, have faith 
only in peace and look upon the victory of either side as the 
victory only of war. There are people to whom the war itsdf 
has been the greatest suffering, as the fear of it had the 

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greatest fear^ of all their life. But granting that such grief 
and anxiety cannot be mentioned in the same breath as that 
of those who have been in the war^ there would remain to prove 
that suffering really helps to the forming of dearer opinions 
and more equitable judgments about whatever has caused 
that suffering. As regards myself, I own that the sorrow 
^^diich the war*s bare fact has brought into my life, is more 
likely to have made me misunderstand than understand it ; 
and if it has made me a partisan against war, what shall we 
expect of those who have been m^de partisans against their 
adversaries ? As regards intensification and enlargement of 
sympathy, that has doubtless taken place towards those 
fitting on one's own side; but it is more than counter- 
balanced by the addition of anger and vindictiveness on one's 
friends' account to anger and vindictiveness on one's own, and 
the utter inability to recognize the bare human nature of 
those to whom one's sufferings are attributed. Thus the 
women of every bdKgerent nation seemed to forget that there 
were mothers, wives and sisters on the enemy side ; much 
as the air-raided Londoners crying for reprisals on the " Baby- 
killers " forgot that there were babies in Rhineland towns and 
that Allied bombs must surely kill some of them. But whether 
or not personal suffering increases or diminishes human 
sympathy (and I think the latter is the case), this much is 
certain, that since suffering, so long as it lasts, is far the most 
dominant and exclusive of mental and moral states, it 
constitutes a bias, and is a cause of delusion. 

And now let me come to the things which, to my belief, my 
not being in has allowed me to see. Chief among these arc 
the circumstances and feelings by which certain facts con- 
cerning the war, or rather concerning all the belligerents 
engaged in it, were hidden or disguised from the recognition 
of those who, unlike myself, were in. 

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" 7hen said Jeremiah : It is false ; 1 fall not away to the 
Chaldeans . . . Therefore the princes said unto the King: We 
beseech thee let this man he put to death : for thus he weakens the 
hands of the men of war that remain in this city^ and the hands 
of all the people^ in speaking such words unto them ; for this man 
seeketh not the welfare of this people hut the hurt . . . 

Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon . . .'* 
— Jeremiah ;cxxvii-xxxviiL 

The sins of omission and commission which brought all 
the various nations into this war, and those sins* precise 
distribution and assessment among them, is a question for 
future, for disinterested, investigation. So long as the war- 
passions endure, such investigation can be neither adequately 
carried on nor properly understood. What I want to deal 
with is quite different. It need not be sought for in the 
secrecy of archives and memoirs ; it has been made manifest, 
and only the more completely for being manifested uninten- 
tionally, in every public pronouncement and private con- 
versation. This very universality is what has hitherto 
prevented its recognition. But, even more, that such recogni- 
tion required an observer who, unlike all save the minutest 
minority of all belligerent peoples equally, happened not to 
have had his or her heart in the war ; happened, as the phrase 
goes, not to have been in. For what I am referring to is 
the modus operandi^ psychological far more than political, 
whereby that very fact of spiritual participation in the war 
prevented those who did participate from seeing the realities 
of the case ; and in so far prevented, their taking the steps 
towards peace which those unperceived realities demanded* 
Since, such at least is my contention, the long duratic^ of 
this war has resulted less fronj. its hitherto undreamed of 
military machinery, less frcto the even more unprece- 
dented wholesale fabrication of public opinion, than from the 

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spiritual mechanism of errors and myths which the vastness, 
the identity, of this war's dangers and sacrifices automatically 
set up in the minds of all the warring peoples, interposing the 
same veil of passionate or expedient delusion between them 
and \diat had really happened, what was really happening 
and what, unless they recognized their common mistakes, 
must really happen in that future which is now already 
becoming the ruined and dangerous present. 

Forem(^ among those realities unrecognized during the 
war is what was happening among all those peoples before 
they were in, I mean in the years when war, instead of 
overwhelming and transforming all their thoughts with its 
immediate risks and agonies, was still a mere vague and distant 
abstraction, unable to compete for men's attention against all 
their present and concrete interests ; and therefore allowed to 
steal nearer and nearer without calling forth such continuous 
feeling and concentrated effort as were required to keep it at 
bay. For whatever the precise incidents of the eleventh 
hour ; whatever the shares which history will assign to the 
various governments, this much is certain : that for ten or 
more years the representatives of every nation had been laying 
their hands or keeping their eye upon mutually exclusive 
overseas annexations or spheres of influence; entangling 
themselves in diplomatic and military engagements ; enlarging 
their armies and navies in avowed competition ; in short, 
increasing expenditure and other causes of domestic dis- 
content, as well as of international unrest, in such a manner 
that actual war, even if it should not result unintentiooally 
from all these dangerous proceedings, might be deliberately 
diosen by one or other of the rival oligarchies in order to 
forestall financial ruin or social revolution. These things 
w«re \xmpptrmi% in every one of the great European States 
either cm the surface or so close beneath it that, the smallest 
public attention would have detected, challenged, and 
sufficed to stop them. But no attention was paid because 

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they were taking place according to immemorial usage and 
precedent. Besides, there was no immediate threat of suffer- 
ing and sacrifice to the individuals composing those nations, 
hence nothing which could divert them from their private 
interests and feelings. Everybody agreed in the abstract that 
war was the common enemy of all mankind ; but it needed a 
concrete enemy, a threat of invasion, to unite the members 
of any nation in unanimous emotion and effort, in war against 
one another, rather than in resistance against war as such. 
So it came about that, although everyone had vaguely 
expected that war might come, when war did come it came 
unexpected to the immense majority, one might say, to the 
whole of every nation. 

Now when war suddenly bursts out among people who are 
thinking of other matters, the first thing they become aware 
of is that, in the Kaiser's symbolic words, they did not umnt it. 
And feeling certain that it was not of their willing^ they 
inevitably lay hold of the belief that the other party must 
have wanted and willed it. For when men and women are 
suddenly called on to brace their wills to self-defence, they 
unlearn whatever slight habit they may have had of thinking 
in terms other than those of human volition. With an armed 
adversary advancing to destroy them, they cannot possibly 
believe or even suspect that both parties to this frightful and 
unthought-of encounter are victims of a long, unnoticed, con- 
catenation of causes and effects. Or rather : looking in 
dismay and anger for a cause of the horror which is befaUing 
them, they cannot but seek that cause, and therefore find it, 
in the adversary against whom they must sacrifice everything 
in supreme self-defence. Add to this psychdogical necessity 
the essential requirement that, whenever possibjle, the war be 
carried into the enemy's country, turning defence into offence ; 
and you get the appearance that each people is attacked, or 
threatened with an attack which seems the more monstrous 
that every people has, up to that moment, been thinking of 

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something else. Thus we get an apparently wanton attack on 
Serbia by Austria, on Germany by Russia, on France and 
Belgium by Germany, and, but for the Channel and the fleet, 
on England no less. Even the Italians persuaded themselves, 
during their months of neutrality, that unless they jdned with 
one or other of the belligerent groups, they also would be 
attacked, or at all events starved by blockade ; indeed, the 
actual invasion of Venetia three years later has probably 
persuaded them that they required to avert by war the very 
catastrophe to which their participation in war had laid them 

Thus from the very beginning, each belligerent people, 
aware that it did not want war, was naturally convinced that 
this war was a criminal attack from the other side. This is, 
however, only the basis of the fabric of war delusion, only the 
initial step of a logic of the emotions which is more cogent, 
more irrefutable, than the Ic^c of facts, for the excellent reason 
that facts are outside us and can be overlooked or distorted, 
whereas feeling being in us, being the dominant part of us, 
cannot. To the modern conscience in time of peace, war is a 
monstrosity complicated by an absurdity ; hence no one can 
believe himself to have had a hand in bringing it about. 
Moreover, the whole procedure of modem war, its initial 
suddenness, its instant wholesale terrorism and devastation, 
is a doing of deeds which those who are, or may become, its 
victims feel to be the work of devils ; while whatsoever 
similar deeds are done by their own side are felt to be part of 
self-defence; felt to be an unwilling sacrifice of civilized 
man*s supreme repugnances, which they add on to the atrocious 
account of those who seem to force them^to it. Thus, war being 
in the eyes of all the belligerents alike, a matter of warding off 
immediate or threatened aggression, there comes to be, for 
each group of combatants, a perfectly innocent victim, namely, 
itself, and an entirely guilty monster, namely, the adversary; 
there is only black and white ; and each party is all ^v\dute and 

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each party all black, each in its own and the other's eyes. 
That much is the primary, the direct mutual delusion of such 
a war as this present one. 

Then follow the secondary, though not less inevitable 
psychological results. The need for the greatest possible 
output of defensive effort brings the need for the most complete 
national unanimity. You cannot get people to fight merdy to 
extricate themselves out of a calamity common to both sides, 
for the essence of the fighting attitude is that there ceases to 
be anything in common between you and the adversary. 
Still less can you get people to fight for what may be the result, 
or partially the result, of a mistake on their own side. Hence 
it becomes dangerous to suggest a divided responsibility, or 
anything short of complete innocence on the part of one's 
own country and one's own allies. And the most sceptical 
men, those most disinclined to admit the necessity of joining 
in, therefore accept the accomplished fact without reservation ; 
often shrinking, just in proportion to their previous detestation 
of the war, from any argument, any data, which might diminish 
their country's fighting unanimity. Had each of these pre- 
war pacifists stood alone, with only his own safety to weigh 
against his opinions, he might conceivably have felt it his 
duty to proclaim them in everybody's teeth. But has he 9 
right to prefer what may, after all, be mere personal crotchets, 
to the possible safety of coundess other men and women, to 
the future welfare and liberty, as they tell him, of his whole 
country ? The taking of such a risk for what he and so few 
others suspect to be the truth may, rather than far-seeii^ 
scrupulousness, be no better than a tampering with what 
belongs to others ; perhaps with their very iSe, or what makes 
their life endurable. Where so many are risking wounds and 
deatii, or sending their dearest forth to possible destruction, 
may an honest man cling to mere opinion because it happens 
to be his ? Besides, can he be absolutely sure that his own 
unwillingness to take part may not be secretiy determined by 

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sdfish motives i Can a level-headed man, brought up on 
daask and mediaeval traditions of military virtue and glory, 
and on Christian contempt for the mere natural instincts, 
believe with certainty that he is a martyr rather than a shirker? 
So he desists from saying, and then from believing, and then 
from seeing or hearing, anything which, if it impaired his 
country's faith in its entire righteousness and in the entire 
villainy of its enemies, might be a subtraction from its energy 
of self-defence, an addition, moreover, to the infatuation, the 
credit, the staying power, nay, the aggressiveness of the 
adversary. In this country, a few thousand men have 
lefused from conscientious scruples to take part in the war. 
It is probable that in every country unsuspected l^ons of 
men have, from equally conscientious scruples, taken part in or 
abetted it. And having thrown in their lot with the war, the 
war's fearful realities, the war's passions, have speedily turned 
such acquiescence into active conviction. 

But bdief in one's country's complete righteousness has 
other sources besides dread of assuming responsibility in such 
terrible odds. There is the decent shame erf marring the self- 
sacrifice c^ others by the least suggesrion of its being misplaced. 
There is, more potent still, that strange human instinct of 
meeting any inexorable demand for sacrifice — sacrifice of 
self, of beloved ones, sacrifice no less of all civilized man's 
repugnances — ^with a conviction of that sacrifice being not 
necessary only, but meritorious ; not merely legitimate, but 
holy ; loss, sorrow, and self-defilement being compensated by 
religious exaltatkm. If logic is that which corroborates, coerces, 
nay, produces opinion, then, as was taught by my master 
Ribot,* the feelings possess a logic of their own, separate from, 
often imposed to, the logic of fact and reason, but far more 
cogent. Now among the unexpressed, irresistible formula 
of that l(^;ic of the feelings is that of judging of an cqmiion 
by what is suffered for it. Heroism and sanctity are received 
* In his Lagiqm i$$ Smuinuwts and elseid>M:e. 

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as mtnesses to truth, much in the same way as the vastness and 
splendour of the temple, the number of the burnt-offerings and 
votive treasures, even the frenzy and cruelty of the ritual, 
testify to the real existence, the greatness, of, say, Diana 
of the Ephesians. Thus, once a country is in, its fighting 
youths, its mourning parents and widows, consecrate its cause 
with their risks and agonies. From the very first, and in 
each belligerent camp equally, this war was raised to the status 
of a crusade, and became dear and sacred to the hearts which 
it braced or tortured. Now, whatsoever has in this way 
become holy and endeared to multitudes of men and women, 
possesses also the power of making them suffer in all their 
most vital sensitiveness, suffer atrociously and vindictively, 
should any doubt or criticism be brought against it. They 
glory in their cross, ding to it with all their love ; and any 
mistaken person suggesting that it might be laid down is felt to 
be profaning and robbing their treasure. Their martyrdom 
has grown to be their life ; hands off it ! 

Hands off, no less, from that more secret treasure whereof 
mankind, however lavish of all other possessions, so rarely 
sacrifices one tittie, perhaps because its vital necessity and 
naturalness prevent us from suspecting so much as its existence 
except in other persons. I allude to that modicum of self- 
satisfaction and sense of consistent self^identity which, to 
the normal man or woman, are as requisite for daily existence 
as their portions of standing-room, of breathable air, of 
warmth, of food and of rest. Those who, after denouncing 
war as such, abet and aid it, can easily safeguard this hidden 
store of needful self-approval by discovering and magnifying 
reasons to justify their change of front ; but better still by 
denying any such change. Whence the popularity of the plea 
that this particular war was waged to end all war in general, 
and, as Mr. H. G. Wells was the first to put it, that the sword 
drawn against the enemy was a sword drawn in defence of peace. 

In this manner do some of our most creditable feelings and 


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habits come between disinterested curiosity about the war's 
moral status and the people engaged in that war. These 
honourable motives have, however, been eked out, indeed 
increased, in their mythopoeic efficacy, by sundry other 
feelings less avowable but quite as natural : the hankering 
after imitating others, but also after being imitated, and having 
one's own decisions justified by one's neighbours ; the horror 
as of the void, of feeling isolated, out in the cold. Similarly 
by that innate demand for fairness, which claims most 
especially that others should duly partake in whatever sacrifice 
oneself has made ; and all those insidious forms of jealousy 
which, by insisting on conformity, have done so much to keep 
up the moral standard of all times ; and which, in^time of war, 
have so insisted on uniformity of action and unanimity of views. 
To all which must be added the paltry but potent circumstance 
that criticism of a man's views, especially when those views 
have cost practical sacrifices on his part, constitutes a reflec- 
tion on his wisdom ; and, wherever unanimity already pre- 
vails, a positive outrage on the community of which that man 
is a representative member. Thus does heresy become 
sacrilege and treason. 

Such are some of the intellectual deteriorarions, moreover, 
i f we hold ip td lectual integrity t o be a moral virtue, the moral 
ones, whick ^^ being in ^^ produces in the multitudes of men and 
women who suddenly find themselves engaged in a war which 
they are keenly aware they did not want. ^ 

Other psychological necessities are at work in those who 
govern each country. Through ambirion or fear, through 
rashness or tortuousness, or happy-go-lucky slackness, perhaps 
through circumstances for which they are not at all answer- 
able, especially their own mentality and traditions, these 
leaders have plunged or floundered into acts involving 
thousand-, nay, million-fold tragic possibilities. Their power 
and prestige can be saved, their wisdom and virtue ^dicated, 
only by the victory of their own side. That victory can be 

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pursued, like the gambler's, only by continuing the game. 
Now the continuation of that game of war depends upon such 
an unceasing output of favourable belief^ on such keeping up 
of all the passions of pride and hatred, fear, and aggressive- 
ness, as make the fighting nations willingly pour out more and 
more life and treasure and accept more and more frightful 
odds. To each side equally a stalemate or the acceptance of 
mediation, although perhaps the most direct way to present, 
and the best warrant for future, peace, merely implies that the 
government has miscalculated and failed. Hence the denuncia- 
tion of what are called " peace-traps " ; hence constantly 
increased war propaganda, and, naturally, more and more 
rigorous suppression of all facts and ideas which might run: 
counter to it. 

Thus is all doubt of, all inquiry into, the theory that only 
one side is in the right, and only one in the wrong, automati- 
cally stopped ofi by the fact of a country bfing in. They are 
penalized first by private scruple and reluctance towards 
individual responsibility; they are penalized more and more 
by unorganized, inevitable convergence of opinion in mul- 
titudes submitted to the same hopes and fears and sacrifices; 
they are penalized by intentional propaganda, by spontaneous 
or organized mob violence, and finally by police measures. 
Independent thought is silenced from the first ; independent 
thinkers end by being imprisoned. Thus in the war-religion, 
as in other religions, certain beliefs begin by being the spon- 
taneous outcome of passion, tradition, circumstances and 
mutual imitation, until by dint of propaganda and persecution, 
delusions and superstitions come to be established and endowed 
as obligatory dogmas. 

Let me remind my reader that this description applies not 
to one set of belligerents, but to both. I have nothing to do 
with what has happened in this country or in that country, 
but only with such things as, given men's feelings and men's 
inteUeQts, could not fail to happen in every country engaged 

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in such a war as this one. If my observation of the country 
•vduch I know best, because it is my own, has led to the above 
description, it is only in so far as such observation has made me 
inquire into the fundamental psychological necessities which 
govern mankind equally everywhere, a knowledge of which 
belongs to the modern study of feeling and thought and their 
joint offspring opinion. Should any reader object that none, 
or not all, of these things have happened in his particular 
circle of acquaintance, I should merely ask by M4xat psycho- 
logical processes he e^lains these alleged exceptions. For 
erf all possible studies, that of war-delusion and war-supersti- 
tion puts one most out of conceit with generalization from 
single, and mainly anecdotal, instances, and with that con- 
troversial method which challenges the opponent to ** name 

Let me add a last proviso. In speaking of war-deUision 
and war-superstition^ I do not intend to exclude the possibility 
of some of these beliefs turning out to coincide partially or 
even wholly with real facts. It is not lack of such coincidence 
with real facts which constitutes a delusion or superstition ; 
what does, is that the beKef, to which we must apply either 
of these names, is held irrespective of coincidence with real 
facts, and for motives which would disregard, distort or deny 
whatever does not happen to coincide with their requirements. 
A doting mother may, by an unusual chance, have given birth 
to a son who is really a genius ; but she would have believed 
him to be one even if he had been an obvious mediocrity. 
A sufferer from mania of persecution may occasionally be 
surrounded by spies, but he would anyhow have accused his 
most faithful friends of being such. That is delusion. In 
the same way the bone of a defunct saint may, by some obscure 
action df auto-suggestion, effectuate the cure of an hysteric; 
but Newman thought such cures were due to the saint's 
sanctity and that it was his duty to believe this ; that is 
superstition. Similarly it is just possible that either the 

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EUaiser or Sir Edward Grey may prove to have deliberately 
plotted this war ; but ^dien an Englishman accepts the first, 
and a German accepts the second, of these views, for gospel 
truth, these two conflicting and reciprocally destructive 
opinions have got one fact in common, namely: that the 
Englishman and the German are both trying to put the 
responsibility on the enemy ; or, briefly, that both of them 
are victim$ of war delusion and war superstition, which 
either disdains facts or uses them solely for its own purposes* 

Such war delusions and war superstitions are, moreover, 
kept up by one of the unsuspected causes which have kept up 
the war itself : the gratification afforded thereby to cravings 
usually unsatisfied. I am not speaking of the desire for bully- 
ing and cruelty, nor even of such pugnacity as might be 
turned to better uses. War gratifies men's longings in ways 
rightly accounted virtuous, although of their virtue, to 
quote my own Satan, war has made a vice : discipline, 
abnegation, endurance. What is equally important, war 
abolishes the frequent suffering due to human loneliness and 
shyness, eking out by the same remedy, namely unanimity^ 
the individual's even more frequent sense of doubt and 
insufficiency. Moreover, as is expressed in the extremely 
suggestive last conversations in Mr. H. G. Wells' Joan and 
Peter y war gives the life-enhancing and power-multiplying 
feeling of purpose to men ordinarily at a loose end, or idly 
pulled hither and thither by their own appetites ; it affords 
an outward aim for those whose energy is too internuttent or 
whose innate organization is too rudimentary to give them 
an inner aim of their own. Thus war, which destroys so 
many of the finest, of the most highly organized, individuals, 
oddly enough nurses into satisfaction with life a perhaps 
equal number of mediocrities or semi-failures. And in war's 
invisible shrine there hang, like ex-votos, rows and rows of 
moral crutches. 

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Quand on Uur iemanie pourquoi its se batUnt^ ils disent: 
** Pour sauvir mon pays.** De P autre c6te des camf agues 
immenses . . . les autres — les miens . . . ont la face tendue 
en avanty ils scrutenty ils flairent. 

— " Pourquoi U hats—tu? " 

— ** Pour sauver mon pays** 

Les deux reponses sont tombees pareiUes dans la distance 
comme les deux notes d^un glas, pareiUes comme les voix du 
canon. ...'*, f^" 

Et ces deux moities de la guerre centinuent . . . d creuser^ 
leur fosse . . . Elles sont separees par tout ce qui separe^ et par 
des mortSy des morts^ et sans cesse rejetees chacune dans ses ties 
pantelantes par des feux sacres et des fleuves noirSy et par 
Pheroisme et par la haine. — Barbusse, " Clarti** XVI. 

Even now that the price in lives has been paid and the 
debt in future ruin can no longer be cancelled, people are 
persuading each other and themselves that they would gladly 
incur it over again, perhaps even with interest. Quite 
naturally, bereaved parents, having thus lost their boys, will 
go on in the consoling belief that they would give them again 
for the sake of whatever this war has attained. While, as 
regards our public men and our priests and prophets, they, 
like the rest of us, had been brought up to expiate mistakes 
by the misery called shame or remorse, with the evident 
result that they have learned to persuade themselves of there 
being nothing whatever about which they need be ashamed or 
remorseful. Most persons, at all events among the nations 
accounted the winners, will therefore maintain that whatever 
has been bought by such a war must have been cheap at the 
price, indeed inestimable. The aim must have been worth 
the means when the means have been such as these. So the 
aim, rather than defined as any concrete, any temporal. 

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<^ And out of good 8till to find means of evil'' — MiUon. 

Hell: a vague remaining comer of the Primaval Darkness. 
Satan alone. His figure becomes gradually visible, out- 
lined against the blank blackness Jby the dim grey light 
which emanates from it, or more properly, of which it 
consists. He is seated at one end of a long Empire sofa, 
very much in the pose of one of Michelangelo^ s Medici 
Dukes, resting one arm on his knee and his chin on his hand, 
deep in weary and mysterious meditation. 

A brief silence, during which Satan's figure becomes, while 
remaining dim and disembodied, a little more visible, showing 
that he is dressed very much like that Michelangelo statue. 
Shadowy wings seem folded behind him. Knocking is 
heard, and a strange bark as of several wolves, three different 
notes making a kind of chord. 

Satan. Another bore ! This endless interviewing of sifly 
human Passions is enough to spoil the pleasure of my great 
comingperformance,my Ballet of the Nations. . . . I thought 
I had given instructions to all my personnel, and might enjoy 
a half hour of solitude and silence, for Satan though lonely, is 
never let alone. Well ! Let Cerberus detain them at my 

^he barking approaches, and with it is at length heard the 
voice, a fine rolling contralto, of Clio, Muse of History. 

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The Muse. Down, Cerberus, down — good dog, good little 
dog. It's only its old friend Clio, who has brought it a nice 
little sop of honey-lies. 

Satan. The Muse of History ! I had quite forgotten our 
appointment. There she is, irreclaimably classic and never 
forgetting her plastic poses; indiscreet beyond all other 
Immortals, and of course, an hour before her time ! Still, my 
performance needs her reporting. And although she is a 
fool of the first water, she has rubbed shoulders in her pro- 
fessional capacity with so many celebrated persons that she 
may pass muster as intelligent. Since she has cost me my 
brief moment of privacy, let me amuse myself a little by 
mystifying her. 

Jhe barking has ceased. Enter the Muse, wiih ike marble 
impetuosity of the Victory of Samothrace, and very angry 
in an operatic way. She does not recognize Satan in the 

The Muse. Insolence I call it ! I tell you I am invited to 
attend your Master ; and you shall answer to him, whoever 
you are, for having kept me waiting out there with Cerberus ! 
Hullo, you there in the dark, tell my Lord Satan that Qio 
waits upon him : Clio, Muse of History, not to be mistaken for 
that newfangled impostor who makes free with my name to 
retail vulgar details about laws and institutions and the price 
of food stuffs ; Clio, real Muse of real History, sister of Tragedy 
and the Impassioned Lyric, and dealing only with deeds 
heroic, elevating and most often destructive. 

Satan. All right, all right, don't be flustered. No one 
would ever mistake you for anything scientific, my dear Qio. 

The Muse (taken aback). The voice of Satan himself ! 
(she curtsies in several directions in the dark) Forgive me, 
Prince of Darkness. Your kingdom seems even 1^ well-lit 
than usual, after the garish modern world. I thought I had to 


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do with some attendant fiend new to the service ; why even 
Cerberus himself scarcely knew my voice. 

Satan {has risen and shakes hands). A thousand apologies, 
dearest Muse. The fires of Hell have long since been extin? 
guished, for no one took them seriously in these godless days. 
Your perspicacious eyes will grow more accustomed to this 
dear primaeval darkness ; and after my coming Ballet^ the lights 
of Earth will no longer offend you : even there gloom and a 
touch of chaos will prevail. 

But come, let us have a look at each other, my excellent old 
friend ! 

Satan increases the ominous light which emanates from 
his person^ and is revealed like a tempestuous moon 
thinly veiled in clouds : beautiful^ archangelicy without 
age or sex^ all powerful^ omniscient^ sad, hut with much 
sense of humour. 

Satan (pointing to the other corner of the Empire sofa). 
Come, sit opposite where I can look at you, dear old Clio ! 
I am glad to see you quite unchanged ! Qassic, even to the 
invariable key pattern on your hem ! The same majestic 
embonpoint^ like some ample-bosomed prima donna in z 
Wagner opera, but with the incomparable contralto, luscious 
but rolling, suitable to Handel ! And not aged a bit ! 

The Muse, You are too good, my Lord ; and your ancient 
friendship does not see the ravages of time in my poor wrinkled 
face. (Clio takes out a powder puff and applies it with a frank 
and delicate grace) But as to you, my Lord ! Satan of all 
creative and created forces alone -maintains unblemished 

Satan shakes his head. 

The Muse (anxious to make herself agreeable after the gaffe 
committed on entering, looks round her for something to say). 
How truly restfid is not this ancient place ! The ideal retreat, 

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I always say, for one uniting in his person, action, thought and 

Satan (bozvs^ one hand on his heart). A good old place ! 
The only bit still left of the deep Void and Darkness whence 
^^ Life and light arose to plague me and be plagued by me ! You 
know it well of old ! But such are the regrettable compromises 
with error to which professional men of letters, and even muses, 
are obliged, that you yourself, I notice, have more than once 
described this house of quiet brooding evil as peopled with the 
myriad damned who encumber the world above with their 
dead carcasses and equally offensive living souls. To think 
that poets and divines have packed these restful solitudes 
with brimstone flames, bogs of boiling mud, lakes of ice, 
viewless winds, all crammed with garrulous deceased humans ! 
Little did I guess, when I made all moralists vindictive, that, 
not being satisfied with what Satan makes of Earth, this 
vindictiveness would intrude feeble copies thereof into his 
own dwelling, whence he sends evU to suffer and avenge 
itself above. 

The Muse. Too true, alas ! my Lord. The literary trade 
is frequently obliged to make truth acceptable by standing 
it on its head ; for instance, put what people call Hell behw^ 
when it is so vmbly above^ the Earth's surface; tvoi^ it after 
death, when it is obviously present during life. But mis- 
representations of this trifling kind are crumpled rose-leaves 
in the Arch-fiend's bed. And . . . forgive the indiscretion 
of so old a friendship, you seem a little depressed to-day. 
Anything gone wrong f 

Satan. Oh no ! Everything as it should be : evil 
hatching everywhere ; and in another hour, triumphant 
through one half of Earth. I am only bored. But that is 
not unusual with me. 

The Muse. Bored, my dear Lord Satan J Why you have 

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invited mc to report the very greatest performance you have 
ever staged ! 

Satan. Yes ; I truly think the finest. By the way, did 
you pass on my invitation to the Ages-to-Come ? 

The Muse. I have, my Lord. They will be here in good 

Satan. That's right. They shall have front stalls ; for 
they are more appreciative than the \^ues of our audience, 
who always fall asleep when the performance offends their 
principles. But as to you, your seat is next to mine, as beseems 
the great recording Muse. 

The Muse {claps her hands in delight). Oh, dear Lord 
Satan ! 

Satan. We are very old friends, Qio. What would history 
have to record but for the doings of Satan ? And save for your 
varied talents, what memory would there be for evil deeds ? 
But come, let us have a litUe chat, dear old Muse. There is 
still half an hour till the bell rings and we go aloft. Except 
your disembodied friends the Ages-to-Come, no one will 
have admittance here below. Some of the Virtues would 
doubtless enjoy seeing my quiet home, but its thin dehumanized 
atmosphere makes them cough. And as to our Orchestra of 
Human Passions, they are always in training ; and it is the 
Ballet Master's duty to summon them in time. All else is 
ready. I need scarce remind you that the real preparation for 
this new Ballet of mine began long ages back; one might almost 
say with the first wars which, making men afraid, taught them 
to bring on aggression by their precautions for self defence. 
So that the necessary pretexts and arguments for hatred have, 
like the painted scenery of an earthly play-house, accumulated 
on my hands from age to age, ready to shift from side to side. 
Thus in the coming Ballet you will recognize, not without 
amusement, the selfsame insults against Britain's whilom 
comrades-in-arms which Burke and Pitt had used against 

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Britain*^ present-day allies, the once frog^eating, systematic 
murderers called French. And now the scene shifters of the 
Press and Cabinet are busy abpve ; listen ! you can just hear 
their hammering. And the armament-mongers have sent in 
all thdr latest millinery. 

The Muse. And how is Ballet Master Death, your gifted 
son ? 

Satan. My nephew^ if you don*t mind, dear Qio. Pre- 
judice is sacred in my eyes, and I should hate to ^ a cause of 
scandal to my weaker brethren. You ask how is Ballet Master 
Death ? Oh well ! we all grow old, and he never had a good 
constitution to begin with. And then perpetual worry ! 
All those doctors and social reformers spoiling his sport and 
almost thromng him back on mere telluric horrors, ship- 
wrecks and earthquakes and such like. 

The Muse. Yes, indeed ! We have had a dull time of it, 
and a difficult one, in that bourgeois Victorian Age, with 
people talking of Peace, Retrenchment and Reform, and even 
practising them a little. But this new century has brought 
back a nobler and more ideal way of thinking. Mankind is 
getting once more to recognize that man cannot live by bread 
alone. - 

Satan. Just so. KEs moral digestion is apt to become 
torpid from protracted peace and plenty. Then man requires 
the heroic remedies of primitive medicine : Vitalizing lies. 
Alcoholic Syrup of Catchwords wherein to swallow such materia 
meiica as moderns blush to mention; fastings and blood- 
lettings ; drastic purges, as Aristotle prescribed, by terror and 
pity ; and such upsetting of the whole circulation as spiritual 
dervishes and flagellants employ in order to restore the zest 

of life. ^Forgive my coarseness, dear Muse of History ! 

It is no longer every day I can converse with refined intellec- 
tuals like you. Philosophers and Poets do, of ccHirse, join 
enthiisiastically in my shows when, as in the coming Ballet, 

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the Orchestra of Patriotism is engaged. But at other moments^ 
my work lies more and more with Prejudice and DuUness. If 
boredom were not part of Satan's doom, I sometimes think I 
should die of it, dear Muse ! 

The Musb (in her finest manner). Boredom is surely the 
nemesis of all great eminence in this mediocre universe. 

Satan. No, most amiable of sycophants; Satan is always 
bored, not through excess of greatness, but for a different 

The Muse. A different reason ! Indeed ! Is it presuming 
cm your friendly condescension and the intense interest which 
History has always taken in what pertains to evil, is it indis- 
creet to ask what kind of reason ? 

Satan. " Satan's table talk by one who knows him ** — eh ? 
Don't deny it, Qio, you see yourself already as my Boswell ! 

The Muse {modesty but intensely delighted). Oh, my Lord, my 
ambition never soared 

Satan. Why not ? Milton and Goethe and thousands of 
divines and moralists have published so many spurious 
accounts of me, that I might as well, once in a way, give the 
world a little correct information about my humble self. To 
do so with your help will serve to while aw^y the half-hour still 
remaining until the curtain rises on my new Ballet. So let us 
talk, dear Qio. Are you comfortably seated f (Satan shoves 
a footstool beneath the Muse's feet) 

The Muse. Always so thoughtful for his friends, our dear 
Lord Satan ! 

Satan. Well, then: Satan is bored because he never feels 

The Muse. The world at large, not having the advantage 
of such delightful experiences as mine, has indeed always 

taxed your Lordship with shall we say f a trifling lack 

oi lovingkindness. 

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Satan. And correctly. That, however, is not my meaning. 
There are other kinds of love than lovingkindness, Clio, although 
the self-righteousness of loveless moralists has talked as if 
that — ^love of your neighbour, country, enemy, love of the 
poor by those who are well off, were the only kind of love. . . . 

The Muse (archly). We are not moralists, my Lord, but 
men and women of the world ! 

Satan. Oh, that is not what I am driving at. No allusion 
to the Daughters of Men whom the Sons of God found fair ; 
and such like gossip. The notion that real love must be illicit, 
or at all events such as virtuous persons hide away in modest 
alcoves, is merely the inverted prudery of silly moderns. 
Love does comprise all that, whether preached from the 
pulpit or whispered with a wink, but love is something larger 
and transfcends human relations, though it takes its name from 
them. Love not merely of creatures, but of anything else : 
places, employments, aspects, ideas and aims ; love which 
means attraction, attachment, preference, the power of de- 
lighting in whatever it may be : the mother's delight in her 
children, the thinker's in his problems, the poet's and the 
child's in the bare sense and spectacle of life, the plain man's 
in all his plans and prospects. That is love, love in the widest - 
sense. And that is denied me. You noticed I was bored. 
The secret of that eternal boredom lies in this: Satan, my 
dear old interviewer, though in all else omnipotent, is impoteat 
on one point. He cannot take delight. 

A pause. The Muse does not know what she ought to say. 

Satan. Satan cannot love, anyone or smy thing. Satan's 
only manner of possessing (but he has fashioned half mankind 
in Ixis own jealous image), is to deny delight or use to others. 
For him the sense of power comes not in making, understanding, 
or loving, but only in spoiling. Shall I td^ you what I am ? 

The Muse. I should esteem it a great favour, and of 

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inestimable advantage to my future work, if you would, my 

Satan. Then listen, Clio: / am the Power that Wastes. 
Being unable to use, I render useless ; taking no pleasure In 
fruition, I smite with barrenness. And the more precious, 
rare and sorely needed, the more I waste whatever it may be: 
earth and time's opportunities of joy and betterment ; man's 
life, man's labour and man's thought. But most of all, man's 
goodness. So that Satan's truest name might be. : the Waster 
of Human Virtue. 

The Muse. How deeply interesting ! I trust it may not 
be presuming too much on your kindness, to ask your Lordship 
for an instance or two in illustration of the above remarks ? 

Satan. Willingly. And since you are a Muse, wearing a 
key-pattern, genuine classic, on your frock, you shall have an 
instance from Homer. You must correct me if my memory 
plays tricks with the quotation. It is Achilles speaking: 
" Farewell, Patroclus, even in the house of Hades. I am 
now doing all that I have promised thee. Twelve sons of 
noble Trojans shall the flames consume along with thee. But 
dogs, not fire, shall devour the flesh of Hector, son of Priam.'** 

The Muse. I don't quite grasp your illustration, dear Lord 
Satan. That was cruelty , the wolf not quite purged away out 
of primitive man. Nothing was being wasted ? 

Satan, Do wolves butcher prey which they cannot eat, 
in order to avenge some dear dead wolf f No. Such virtue is 

The Musb. Virtue, my Lard i 

Satan. Surely. Loyalty to the dead ; one of the virtues 
I greatly enjoy spoiling ; and a virtue which, far from being 
purged away from naodern man, is about to furnish me some 
sublime effects. . . • But I will not forestall my Ballet. 

* IHad, zxm, kiadly translated lor me by Mr. Desmond MacCartfay. 

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Except to tell you that one of its main themes^ its Leit-MoHx>s^ 
as Wagnerians say, is my dealing with just such virtue : the 
sweet and ardent loyalty of noble lads, ready to die themselves 
and kill other noblp lads, lest dear comrades should have died 
in vain ; loyalty also which makes the bereaved mother send 
her last son that his dead elder brothers may not fed forsaken. 
That is virtue, you will not deny. And of such sacred, and 
much-needed virtue, I will make a vice. 

The Muse {impressed^ hut not quite sure whether she has really 
understood). A very original and dramatic notion, to be sure, 
my Lord 1 

Satan. And this leads me to correct what I told you just 
now. Did I say I took delight in nothing ? That requires 
revision. I love sacrifice,^ 

The Muse. You are a god and all gods share that taste. 

Satan. My sacrifices are genuine, and wholesale; not 
wretched little cakes, or grains of incense, or the inferior cuts 
of sacrificial beasts ; nor hearts uplifted in momentary fervour ; 
mere tiny tithes of what mankind produces for its own use and 
pleasure. My sacrifices leave nothing behind them ; unlike 
all other gods, I claim the whole ; and I Consume it all. The 
furnaces of Moloch smoked for me. . . . (the Muse is a little 
taken aback at Satan*8 sudden emphasis of manner^ and 
doubtful whether it is in perfect taste). 

The Muse. I am aware of that. Indeed I might make bold 
to point out to your Lordship that the Muse of History ^can 
really be trusted to know such facts. 

Satan. The facts, but not the meaning. 

The Muse (nettled). You are unfair, my Lord 1 Even 
Milton, though only a poet, was taught by me that every 
superstition, save his own — his list was just a trifle sectarian 
— had been invented by your Lordship. 

Satan. But neither your Qxristian Ifilto^o, nor your 

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dassic self, seems to have guessed that it is not the obscene 
rituals of Baal and Belial, nor the frenzy of mad fanaticism 
and monastic rule, which brought the offerings most savoury 
to my nostrils. Not Iphigenia, her white throat cut like a 
garlanded heifer's to procure a wind; not J^hthah's daughter, 
bewailing her unwedded girlhood, have been the most spotless 
victims immolated (m my altars. Not even the glorious army 
of martyrs palmed and golden stoled whose blood — oh rosy 
blood of virgins and of little children ! — ^was lapped up by my 
avenging Hounds of Persecurion, making them ravenous for 
more martyred flesh ; not the countless multitude of uncanon- 
ized saints who, killing self, breed selfishness in others ; not 
the myriad heroes (reckon them u,p ever since wars began I) 
who died for doubtful causes or no cause at aU. I have 
received higher oblations ; Lambs more Unblemished have * 
bled for me. For all true sacrifice is sacrifice to Satan. 

Thb Muse. You are eloquent, my Lord. But, as so often 
happens nowadays with literary genius, you overstate your 
case and damage it by wilful paradox. Why^ it is a precept 
of the commonest worldly wisdom that sacrifice is at rimes an 
excellent investment, whether for the next world or for this. 
And aU moralists have taught, even the crassest Epicurians, 
that life insists upon it at almost every turn. 

Satan. A good investment, whether the interest be paid 
in heavenly glorv or in earthly self-complacence, is not a 
sacrifice, dear Gio. And as to what life demands at every 
turn, that is renunciarion and endurance, since every turn of 
life means discrimination and choice ; preference of large to 
less, of future to present, of lasting satisfaction to brief or 
tainted rapture ; and of arduous, uncertain adventure with 
its entrancing breathlessne^ and heart beat, to yawning 
security. Last, but not least, life at every turn bids mankind, 
renounce its appetites and its ease for mankind's most abiding ^ 
comforts^ the standards of the human race ; nay, it often bids 

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the individual man renounce his race's habits and ct^nmand- 
ments for the sake of that secriet treasure and torment, his 
own conscience. Sacrifice such as this is, as you rightly say, 
of profit. But in so far it is no sacrifice, but mere post- 
ponement or exchange of desired things. Satan disdains 
such barter of good for better ; he claims absolute oblation. 
My sacrifice is sheer loss ; and the offering to my essential 
godhead, is waste. 

A pause: the Muse does not know what she is expected to 
answer and murmurs merely^ ** 7o be sure / Of course I " 

Satan. Thus all true sacrifice is to the Power of Evil. 
And I may add, oftenest obtained by my twin servants 
Delusion and Confusion ; or in other words, Passion seeing every- 
thing through its own likes and dislikes, and Dullness never 
seeing anything at all. It is most interesting to watch them 
at thdbr work, heading mankind away from mankind's only 
efficacious helper, the harsh, responsive Reality of Things. 

Thanks largely to this incomparable pair of innocent liars, 
I may say, without lack of modesty, that of all gods I am the 
one who has received the hugest hdiocausts of wasted virtue, 
hecatombs compared with which all the bulls and rams 
offered in Solomon's temple, all the superb butchery which 
smirched the marble fairness of the antique world, are of no 
more account than the minutest grain of incense which a 
village acolyte throws on the live coals in his tinsel censer, 

Thb Muse. But, at that rate — Forgive me, dear Lord 
Satan, but History has to run the gauntlet of much im- 
pertinent why and wherefore — ^but, at that rate, how explain 
that this small world still contains something — life, wealth or 
virtue — ^which has not yet been wasted in your rites ? 

Satan. The question is legitimate; and, alas ! contains an 
answer fatal to my greatness. Waste, dear Qio, by an incon- 
venient so-called law of nature, tends in its very essence to 
waste itself away. And then there was a sacrifice in which^ 

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weQ planned though it was and daringly attempted, Satan 
did not succeed. You recollect the business of the Tree of 
Knowledge of Good and Evil ? 

The Muse. Recollect it ? Why, I recorded not one, but 
several conflicting accounts of the occurrence, especially the 
one now authorized, and the older one official among the 
Chaldees, from whom our enterprising Jewish plagiarists took 
it, but merely to change its bearing, as so crften happens when 
men of letters and theologians work on each other's copy. 
And since you have alluded to this justly popular story, I 
can*t resist the opportunity of ascertaining, once for all, what 
precisely, among such conflicting versions, really tvas your 
fcordship's part in that — ^shall we say ? — bad business. 

Satan. Bad certainly for me, dear Oio ! 

The Muse. Was it so bad for yon, my Lord ? Perhaps 
not all you aimed at. But surely you scored something: 
" brought death into the world and all our woe,'* etc. That 
was not to be despised. 

Satan. Of course not. And moreover, brought me — ^as is 
figured in that mediaeval legend which makes that self-same 
Tree serve for the wood of the True Cross — ^brought me, though 
unsuccessful, the sublimest sacrifice my altars ever gloried in. 

The Muse (knowingly). That has long since been my view ; 
and sundry early Christian theologians nearer the sources, but 
since branded as heretical, went so far as to declare that it 
was to your Lordship that the Deity found Himself obliged, 
like the Patriarch Abraham, to offer up His Son. This 
circumstance has indeed made me suspect that the Tree in 
question could not have really been planted by the Creator, 
like some horticultural exhibit intended to be looked at but 
not eaten of. 

Th^ Muse hesitates^ looking at Satan with the embarrass- 
ment of a person not certain of having guessed the truths 
and stUl less certain whether the truth wiU be welcome. 

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Satan {contemptuously), God neither planted nor forbade 
Its use. So far your guess is right. 

The Muse (delighted). I thought as much ! Then . . . 
your Lordship must forgive my indiscretion, but Ifistory^s 
greatest joy is, after all, that of an occasional shrewd look 
through a millstone — then, since such really was the case, I 
mean that Tree not being planted by God, it must have been 
planted by . . . (The Muse looks at Satan as much as to ask 
"iyyow?'*) in short . . . in other words . . . it was planted 
by . . . 

Satan (suddenly to the Muse's amazement and almost con- 
sternation). By Many and Man's wife, Woman. The All- 
Creator gave the seed. But like His other seeds, the original 
multifold Power scattered it broadcast to lie dormant, or 
quicken, or perish, as might be. Man saved it from the vast 
indifferent lavi^ness, and, like the ear of wild wheat, put it 
into chosen soil, watering and cherishing it as it 3prouted, that 
he might eat its fruit and his children shelter in its shade. 

The Muse. To be sure ! The precise particulars had 
somehow escaped my memory. History has really too many 
things to remember ! 

Satan. You were not there, my dear. I was. So I wiU 
give History a little lesson in her own subject. 

The Muse (nettled but inquisitive). Your Lordship's c<Mi- 
versation caimot fail to be instructive. 

Satan. Well then ! This is the story of the Tree of 
Knowledge. In the beginning which had no beginning, 
mere timeless, aimless Chaos arid Old Night, Creation stirred, 
creating its own powers, the multifdd of quickening forces 
making for shape from substance and for soul from motion. 
I was not born yet. 

The Muse (still irritated). That much is not imknown. 


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You were an afterthought, my dear Lord Satan, as befits a 

Satan. Not a rebel, Clio. But like many who pass for 
such, a staunch Conservative. I opposed the coming change, 
loyal to the Chaos and Darkness Wtio had given me birth. I 
resolved to turn this new-fangled order into anarchy. So, 
when soul quickened within body, I saw to clogging it by 
body's cHnging habits, and, in return, unsettled secure 
instincts with half-fledged reason. Man was not yet ; hence 
neither good nor eviL But in the lowest brutes already pain 
and pleasure emerged, the great creative poles determining 
life's tides. And at once I seized upon them for my purpose, 
employing pleasure to increase pain. Then, as^ your Milton 
putjt I sought in good the means to evil, so soon "as good and 
evil came along with Man. And to this purpose I sought to 
turn that Tree planted from God's seed in God's great park : 
warping its growth, and when it grew despite me, filling its 
fruitful branches with chimeras and harpies of all foul kinds. 

The Muse. That is truly interesting ! But may I point out 
that your Lordship's nomenclature lacks a trifle in precision. 
At one moment, you call the Tree in question ** Tree of Know- 
ledge," at another " Tree of Good and Evil." 

Satan. They are the same. For, unknown, good is not 
good, nor evil, evU ; words betokening Man's choice, and 
answering to Man's needs. 

The Muse. I see ! That would account for Man's 
planting that particular Tree, instead of ; . . well ! Your 

Satan (looks at the Muse in amazement). Instead of Mel 
Of Mey dear Clio ? O History, you are a greater goose thaa 
I had ever guessed ! Why that Tree's planting meant my 
dlOom, hdwever long postponed by my manift^d arts. That 
Tree ! Why I've attacked it with hundred-fold devices ^ 

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dxkHightSy hurricanes, and loathsome parasites and the ob8<;ene 
snouts of devils turned to swine. Pve bled its sap ; stripped 
off its bark and sered roots and branches with frost and fire ; 
urged Man to cut it down, lest it should prove a upas and 
strangle aU his children in its growth. I've borrowed all 
Jove's official lightnings to blast it. I have seen it parch and 
wither, branch drop off after branch, crop mildew after crop. 
But alas ! only to note with anguish new blossoms and ever 
unexpected shoots. I, Satan, plant that hateful holy Tree ? 
O Qio, Clio, that even you could think * . . Why that Tree, 
• which clasps with a hundred branches the willing heavens, is 
at the same time delving its million roots and rootlets deeper 
' and further into Chaos and Darkness, narrowing and squeezing 
. this Hell of mine till it become no bigger than this pretty 
little hand of yours. I will tell you a secret, Clio : Absurd as 
it at present sounds, some day there wiU be no more room for 

The Muse. Indeed ! That is I own a most disheartening 

supposition, and accounts for a slight vein o^ may I call it ? 

morbidness, which I have grieved to notice in your Lordship's 
previous remarks. I must not, however, lude from you that 
there have been rumours to the effect of Satan being . , . Well! 
more correctly described as longlived than as immortal in the 
literal sense. If this be true, let me renund you of the saying 
of that enlightened ruler Sardanapalus : *^ Eat, drink and 
be merry ; the rest is not worth a fig ! " 

Satan (ironically pressing her hand). Dear Gossip History 1 
Not Job's comforter, but Satan's ! 

The Muse. And think what opportunities you still have 
before you ! Although you have made clear to me that it is a 
case, as the poet so charmingly puts it, of gathering your 
rosebuds while you may. A European war lasting for years 
may surely be accounted such. For that, if I am correctly 

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informed^ is the subject of the new Ballet to which you have 
so graciously invited poor old Qio i 

Satan (kissing her finger-tips gallantly). Just so. My lease 
<rf life, though good for many thousand years, is shortening, 
shrinHng with every great success of mine, like the peau de 
ehagrin in Balzac's romance. I may, however, tell you that 
there is another, and more pressing, reason why I have hurried 
cm this great new spectacle. 

The Muse. The present moment is eminently propitious. 
I am told by one or two leaders of modern thought, who fre- 
quent my salon, that mankind has attained amazing control 
over science's means without so far an inkling of science's 
discipline and aims. Twentieth-century men appear to be 
slum-and-warehouse savages retaining the worship of all the 
good old tribal fetishes and racy obscene emblems, and 
carrying on their ancient cannibal habits under newfangled 
and decent names ; yet at the same time wielding, thanks to 
some dozen men of genius . • • 

Satan. Waste of genius ! Waste of science ! There you 
have a trifling sample of my sport ! 

The Muse (fiot to be interrupted) ^wielding, as I said, 

appliances which, without enlarging mind or heart, abolish 
space and multiply all brutish powers a thousandfold. If 
this account is true, no moment could be better suited for>a 
Dance of Death such as the poor unsophisticated Middle 
Ages never imagined in their most celebrated nightmares. 

Satan {who has politely suppressed a yau^ri). You are rightly 
informed, as befits the Muse of History. But that is not the 
most urgent reason for hurrying on my monster entertain- 
ment. Between you and me, in the very strictest confidencei 
dear Qio, my Ballet Master Death is growing old. 

The Muse. You have hinted something to that eflEect. 
And I confess that I have myself noticed, not without the 

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deepest concern, that our genial friend has been looking any- 
thing but well of late, and seems to be losing some of Ids 
faculties. He is said to have been a gay dog in his prime, 
loving excess for its own sake, and it is whispered, addicted 
more and more to eccentric pleasures. Such lack of self- 
restraint tells, alas, even on the most robust constitutions in 
the long run. Dear old Ballet Master Death ! un vuux 
marcheur^ as the French classics say, and now getting un fiu 
gaga^ I fear. 

Satan. Yes, still pretty spry, but tabetic and threatened 
vith creeping paralysis. His constitution, though I say it 
who should not, was never really good : Sin, his poor dear 
»aother, was always somewhat of an invalid, and the inter- 
marriage of very dose relations does not, alas, result in robust 
•ffspring. Well, well, I shall be the first to suffer f<M: these 
peccadilloes of my youth ! My poor old nephew 1 Alas, 
dear Qio, our dear incomparable Ballet Master Death is not 
with us for very much longer. 

The Muse. You have my deepest sympathy in your 

well ! more than paternal anxiety. But there is no real 
danger ^Imean-— — danger of . . . Surely? I see as every- 
one must see that BaUet Master Death is no longer what he 
was, and that science (I begin to understand the prejudice 

?'0U show against the Tree of Knowledge) has almost, as an 
rishman might say, been the death of him. He has been 
warned off one pestilence after another; famines* are growing 
scarce ; and except in the mystic Orient, religious massacres 
are everywhere marked "Trespass/* Such* constant inter- 
ference cannot fail to tell on his sensitive nerves, and spoil 
poor Death*s temper, which was never very good. But I am 
glad to remember that in his case you need never apprehend 
the very worst. Death, at all events, can never die outright. 

* Written before the Armistice and the famine which it not only 
revealed, but exploited. 

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He and the Creative Power — Elan Vital as my friend Bergson 
calls it — ^are the two immortals. 

Satan. Not this Death. 

The Muse. This Death ? 

Satan. Not my Ballet Master, my jester in ordinary, , 
my rowdy boon companion, my incomparable, atrocious, 
grim, leering, lewd, worm-eaten scarecrow ! He alas, can 
die. And, to my sorrow, will The immortal is the other. 

The Muse. The other what t 

Satan. The other Death. The true one. For, although 
History has not grasped that secret, our Ballet Master merdy 
usurps his name and functions. 

The Muse (scared). In that case, what on earth is your 
Ballet Master's real name ? 

Satan. He has too many different names to be called by 
any single one, unless that name be Horror. He is Wasting 
Sickness, Pestilence, Famine, Contamination, Crime and War. 
That being the case, men, in speaking of him, most often use 
and profane th^ sacred^name of Death. This one, my Ballet 
Master, is, as_^ Milton indiscreetly printed and publishedt a 
very near and dear relative of mine, bom in my salad days of 
Sin, another very near relative, all of us children ind grand- 
children, more or less incestuous, as you know, of the Priinaeval 

The Muse. Believe me, dear Lord Satan, I had no inten- 
ticm of raking up such intimate family details. But tell me 
about this other one i This True Death, since you have called 
Um that. 

Satan. The True Death. He has been my enemy since 
the beginning. like me, he is an archangel, but mightier. 
Great Natural Death, twin of Sleep and foster-brother of 
Love. He was bom, by virgin birdi, of Life herself to be 

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the marshal of Lifers triumphal progress. He is not often 
seen of men, although he works ubiquitously among inanimate 
things, and his serene face shines through the autumn woods. 
And thus it comes about that my Ballet Master usurps his 
part and name. Yet, at times, poets and sages have caught 
glimpses of his tender eyes. And in brief lulls of evil, when 
Bght irradiated some tiniest comer of the world, favoured 
peoples have had brief vision of him, or heard the quiet rustle 
of his wings. True Death is that grave, gracious genius, 
brother of the sad sweet Hermes who conducts the souls, 
carved by Ionian masons' on the great pillar of Ephesus : 
naked and winged and lovely, marshalling Life's slow triumph. 
For he it is who makes room for new-comers in just turn, 
securing the world for Youth and Betterment. He also 
brings perfect peace to those whose other wishes have been 
filled brimfuU, or cruelly denied. And he leads by the hand 
that Love who often lurks unconscious till loss awakes it to 
sweet solemn plenitude. Such is the True Death; the 
Natural, Beneficent, and also, the Immortal. (Satan pauses^ 
passing his hand across his brow). 

But with him, dear Muse of History, Satan has no truck I 
And now the moment nears when we must ascend from this 
silent nest of brooding evil to meet my Death, Satan's obscene, 
uproarious Ballet Master, whose mamfold pranks convert the 
Earth into the real Hell which silly mortals fable here below . . . 
Is there anything you would stUl ask me to explain, good old 

The Muse. There is indeed, my Lord. We have talked 
so much philosophy, very instructive no doubt, but just a 
liule bit too abstract for my taste, that I have had no oppor- 
tunity of so much as inquiring the title of your new BaJlet, 
and the names of its performers. I understand it is to be 
serious, not comic i 

Satan. The greatest tragedies, dear Clio^ being founded on 

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error, are never without an element of the grotesque. But 
this ludicrous side always escapes those who take part in them, 
for if they saw the full absurdity, they would refuse to act 
these frightful scenes. They take it serioudy, poor creatures, 
and no wonder ! But to you, dear Muse of lEstory, and your 
friends the idle Ages-to-Come, this BalUt of the Nations (for 
that's its title) will be an unending source of rhetoric, mistaken 
lessons, and of such voluptuous horror as thrilled the Vestal 
Virgins in their cushioned seats high above the arena. And I 
doubt whetiher your elevated taste (but, I forgot, you do 
condescend to anecdote) will quite appreciate the preposter- 
ousness which underlies it all. But, to return, the Corps de 
Ballet is, of course, composed of the various Nations, as the 
name imports. For the necessary music I have a choice band 
of Human Passions, those who hide their face and are cried 
fy to by distinguished persons like yourself, and the others 
who go handsomely masked and stilted; some also of the 
simplest, purest, noblest : Idealism, Love of Adventiire, 
Pity and Indignation, above all. Heroism. 

The Muse. And Patriotism first and foremost. 

Satan. Nay, Patriotism is the collective name of the whole 
orchestra whom I train for these performances; Human 
Pas^ons, splendid or sordid, delicate or nasty, all seated, 
cheek by jowl, playing their instruments without whose steady 
flow of sublime music and nerve-rending din the Nations could 
not dance their Dance of Death obedient to my great Ballet , 
Master's b4ton. To keep this music up, drinks will be handed 
round by my well-trained lackeys of the Press and Pulpit : 
hot and acrid for coarse palates, or heady and full of fuddling 
fumes ; also subtler ones, such as make everyday trifles seem 
to the opium-dreamer vast and rainbow-wonderful ; plentiful, 
deep draughts of words, words and ever more words, coi>- 
cocted in my special distillery by learned recluses like those 
i;rfute-robed monks who manufacture fiery liqueurs in remote 

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Alpine glens. Thus, ae I hope, or else by other arts, sundry 
among the Virtues wiU leave their stalls and join in with 
my band. And those too shocked to join, will drop to sleep 
and dream of man's purification through suffering. 

Satan laughs quietly; the Muse considerably louder^ 
clapping her hands. 

The Muse. One word more, my Lord. In the priceless 
biographical notes which your kindness has vouchsafed me, 
I remark that, as interviewers put these things, your favourite 
pastime . . . 

Satan. And chief business in lif e . , . 
The Muse {consulting a memorandum). Is — have I got 
it down correctly ? — ^is . . . 

Satan (impatiently). Is Waste. Keep that well in mind, 
^ear Qio ; it is the key to all 1 ever do, and therefore to my 
coming Ballet. 

The Muse {meticulously^ stiU fingering her notes). It was, 
of course, with reference to the coming performance that I 
inquired. Waste. Well, of course ; Waste of human life, 
wealth, tears, properties, liberties of all kinds ; moreover . . . 

Satan {interrupting. And more to my purpose even. 
Waste of the intelligence, unselfishness and effort which should 
have rid the wcwld of manifold other evils. 

The Muse {going on pertinaciously) . . . Moreover, as 
those fashionable cranks who call themselves Eugenists tell us. 
Waste also of the inheritable vigour of the race, only shirkers 
and varicose persons, and such as make war profits or are 
elderly, remaining over, to reproduce the Genus Homo. Is 
that correct, my Lord ? 

Satan. As far as it goes. But such gross and obvious 
wastefulness is not my highest aim. Satan is no materialist, 
my dear Muse ! And for him mere life and happiness must 

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never be the things Man puts most store by. You may have 
heard this doctrine preached elsewhere than here, in fact by 
moralists and divines ever since the world began. 

The Muse. I have heard it, and am happy to say I hear 
it still on all hands. But with the addition, saving your 
Lordship's presence that this doctrine emanates , . , well! to 
put it plainly, from God. 

Satan. That God, dear unsuspecting CHo, was Satan in 
disguise. Is it possible that History has not yet made a note 
of some, at least, of the many aliases to which my business 
obliges me to have recourse from time to time ? But to return. 
What were we talking about ? Ah, to be sure ! Self-sacrifice. 
Well ! take my word for it : the great Creative Reality, 
whom men call God or Nature, has no taste for barren flowers 
of Virtue. It is Satan who grows them with much care an4 
pride. I think I tdd you the lamentable fact that I am 
impotent to take delight in anything. With one exception i 
The odour of such sanctity as bears no fruit ravishes my 
disembodied senses ; and, as beseems the saints in whom I 
nurture it, admits me back to heavenly joys. Virtue for 
Virtue's own sake; that is what I ask for. Since to the 
genuine connoisseur in spiritual rarities, to the full-fledged 
moral sesthete that I am, the beauty of self-saqrKce must 
never be marred by base utility. My coming Ballet will make 
that clear to you. You shall hear the devastating blast of 
Indignation's wings and Pity's unforgiving sobs. You shall 
be shown young Heroism's radiant face, as blind as a stone 
statue's. But I notice there is something more you want me 
to ^cplain i 

The Muse (hesitating. Your Lordship has been so generous 
of information that . . , in short, I fear my notes may present 
some slight obscurity or incoherence when I come to re-read 
them. Is it asking too great a favour to say how deeply 

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' grateful I should be if you would repeat once more your 
leading definition of yourself ? 

Satan. With the greatest pleasure (dictates) : I am the 
Waster of all sorts of Virtue, 

The Muse bows effusive thanks. 

Satan. But hark ! Cerberus once more at his alarums ! Go, 
dear Muse of History. Those must be your friends, the vain 
and bodiless, but most effective, Ages-to-Come. Please open 
to them. 

7he Muse disappears and bolts are heard being drawn. 
Meanwhile Satan throws himself back wearily in his 
comer of the sofa^ passes his hand over his eyes and muir 
ters meditatively to himself. 

Satan. The Ballet of the Nations ! My new masterpiece. 
And, as I sometimes fear, the last of its time-honoured sort. 
Well ! if the last, let it be the greatest ! 

The Muse returns^ introducing the Chorus of Ages-to- 
CoME, classically draped and veiled in the stuff that 
dreams are made of. 

Chorus of Ages-to-Come. Your very obedient humble 
servants at your Archangelic Lordship^s commands. 

They curtsy to the ground. Satan has risen to meet them 
and waves a gracious greeting to each member of the 

Satan. Pray do not speak like that, ddightful Ages-to- 
Come ! Why, not half an hour ago I was remarking to our 
illustrious friend Qio that, besides her own, there is no applause 
I covet as much as that of your most alluring and diusive 
selves* And, like her, you are much more than a mere 
audience, though the most appreciative. History helps me in . 
my shows with her so-called Lessons^ which, as you know, ■ 
always inculcate the great untruth that there is nothing new \ 

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under the sun ; and Ifistory also makes it her business to 
keep old wounds from healing, and sees to Hatred flourishing 
like the green bay tree of Victory. Thus does the Past — or 
what passes muster as Past — collaborate with Satan. You^ 
ever-disembodied Ages-to-Come, represent the no less needed 
assistance of a no less apocryphal Future ! The Future which 
is always the Future because it can never turn into thepresent, 
and which therefore possesses the unparalleled attraction of 
what can be pursued but never clutched ; the same prestige, 
in fact, enjoyed in pious days by the old-fashioned Kingdom 
of Heaven, making Men eager to sacrifice the peace and 
happiness of a tangible Uhday^ for the sake of the peace and 
happiness of an unsubstantial UhtnorrotOy spun, like cobweb, 
out of their own sick brains. 

But enough ! Come my efficacious Chorus of unrealities. 
Come, great Recorder of all that does and does not happen. 
Let us ascend from Hellas brooding stillness to the World's 
Theatre which awaits you, its eternal Patrons ; and its Lessee 
and Manager, myself. 

Satan signs to the Ages-to-Comb to troop off in front, and 
follows, offering his arm to the Muse of History. 

END of the first PART 

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"What is the sorriest thing that enters Hell ? 
Not any of the Sins. . . . *' — Rossetti. 

Act I 

No Placfj Nowhere. A street widening to a square^ forms flanks 
ing pieces to a building on whose architrave is inscribed in 
immense letters^ " The World ; a Theatre of Varieties^ 
Lessee and Manager^ Satan." The front of the theatre 
consists almost entirely of one colossal door^ now closed^ 
but which being opened allows the whole interior to be seen 
from the flight of steps leading up to it. To the right of the 
theatre^ the house of Self-Interest, zoitha shiny door-plate 
and knocker; to the left a rag-and-botile shopy half closed^ 
belonging to Widow Fear : a few adjacent houses (forming 
a flanking semicircle to the theatre) with large door-plates 
inscribed : Truthfulness, Justice, Temperance, Equa* 
NiMiTY, etc.y whose oumers are seen yawning at the windows^ 
and then crossing the square after looking on wearily and 
disappearing by a side door into the theatre. 

What these Sleepy Virtues are languidly watching is a group of 
Human Passions mth hand-barrows, busily unloading their 
instruments and desks and carrying them up the steps to an 
unseen stage-door in the rear of the theatre. Each of these 
Passions, attired in appropriate allegoric garments, bears 
his or her name on a silver badge hung round the neck by a 
chain: Greed, Loyalty, Discipline, Comradeship, 
Jealousy, Egotism, Bullying, Evvvi, and others; some 
very handsome and with a family resemblance to the Sleepy 


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Virtues, others hideous andsluttishyOr with grotesque attempts 
to hide their ugliness and mean ^ppearance^ or monstrQus 
affectation of dignity. 

When all the instruments and desks have been carried into the 
theatrcy a little body of these Passions return and join in 
carrying up the steps a carved handrailing or balustrade 
intended to separate the orchestra from the stallsy and bearing 
in ornamental letters the tvords, " Patriotism ; reserved for 
memhers of the Orchestra."*^ 

All this is being done undet the impatient superintendence of 
Ballet Master Death, who fusses around and occasion- 
ally consults his watch. Ballet Master Death is seen at 
first only from the hacky a longy lank figure in loose black 
evening clothes (long tailcoat) with a longy pianists head of 
hair round a bald shiny patch. There is something extras 
ordinarily angular and unaccountMy uncanny in his figure 
and movements. But it is only ^hen he turns full round 
that we become aware that he is a skeleton, and that tie ^ey 
head of hair surmounts a grinning skull, Then we wonder 
that we did not notice thai his hands andfeety both bare and pro- 
truding from over-shorfjleeves and trousers, are skeleton also. 

A few}iE\TTKAt Nations, tOearing armlets inscribed ^^Neutrality,* 
look shyly at these proceedingSy pretending to be examining 
the fagades of the surrounding houses and the contents of 
their ozvn pockets ; afraid of getting mixed up in the per- 
formance, but enormously attracted by it. After this dumb 
show has gone on a litUe while. Ballet Master Death 
showing more and more impatienccy a slight earthquake 
rocks the theatre and adjacent buildingSy causing the various 
personages to stop short in whatever they are doing ; and, 
as its rumble subsideSy the earth yawns at the foot of the 
theatre sUpSy and Satan arises majestically, helping the 
Muse of History out of the depthsy and followed by the 
classic and unsubstantial chorus of Agbs^to^Come, The 

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earth closes after them. The place, which, with the earth- 
quake, had become suddenly dark, is lit by the sinister 
luminousness emanating from Satan's archangelic person, 
until the whole is suffused zuith a strange and ominous light 
as if of a fog, in which near objects are oddly visible and 
others shade away into nothingness. The Evil Passions 
fall on their knees, the Passions who are, or are deemed^ 
respectable, retire hurriedly. Ballet Master Death, for 
the first time turning fully round and revealing his skeleton 
nature, bows very low, one hand on his white waistcoat. 

Satan (grasping him by the hand). At last we meet again, 
dear Ballet Master Death! I need not introduce you to our 
old friend, Clio, Muse of History by profession, but, may I say 
it ? by preference and true vocation, dramatic critic. She is a 
great lover of our joint shows, and has graciously undertaken 
a full account of this, I trust, our finest one. 

The Muse (curtsying ceremoniously). I have had the pleasure 
of meeting you two or three times before; but one can't 
expect so busy an artist as Ballet Master Death to bear in mind 
all his many admirers. 

Death (gruffly). No, that indeed he can't. Ma'am. There is 
far too much to do in the world, and a fearful lot of arrears. 
(To Satan) Come, my Lord. Time presses, and we shall never 
get our Orchestra together ; all these Human Passions have 
grown so lackadaisical of late! 

Satan. All right, all right. Give me the list of the performers 
or rather ... I am sure the Muse will kindly help us in our 
roll-call. But are all the Dancing Nations in readiness ? 

Death. Oh, for ever so long ; they are already behind the 
curtain, practising their steps and settling their head-pieces 
comfortably on their shoulders, which is never easy. They 
are all right. And so is the audience — ^the Neutral Nations 
have taken their seats. It's the Orchestra troubles me 
(looking rudely over the shoulder of the Muse, who is holding the 

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list handed her ceremoniously by Satan). All these (dabbing 
his skeleton finger on to it) have still to come, confound them all 
for an idle, vapouring, bloodless, fiddle-faddling lot ! Mankind 
has coddled its Passions up of late years, or fed them on human- 
itarian water-gruel, till you can't recognize the anaemic 
wretches ! 

Satan. Oh, that's quite easily mended, once the performance 
is in full swing, dear Ballet Master Death ! then it's brandy for 
heroes, eh ? Come, I will help you call them. (Knocks loudly 
and repeatedly at the door to the right) Hullo, you there! Are 
you deaf or asleep ? 

The Muse (rising from a packing case on to which Satan had 
politely bid her be seated, and where she has been conning the list 
of performers, and follozoing Satan). Forgive my indiscretion. 
I want my notes to be as full as possible. Who is it you are 
calling, my Lord ? 

Satan. Self-interest, a most industrious fellow, but unluckily 
not much addicted to such artistic pleasures as our shows. It 
is he who, on week days, plays unremittingly the ground bass 
of Life. 

Satan knocks still more loudly. 

Self-Interest (heard from within). This is a half-holiday. 
Call to-morrow. I'm a Trade Unionist and can't break the 
rules. I must have my sleep out. Let me see ; What was I 
dreaming about ? Yes, to be sure (drowsily) the Coming Recon- 
struction of So-d-e-ty on a more — a more — rational , . , 

Death (shaking his skeleton fist at the house of Self-Interest). 
Confound your insolence! Is that a way to answer Satan and 
Death f But Self-Interest was always a dull dog ; not a 
spark of divine fire to be struck out of him! Your Lordship 
need not have wasted your time and mine in calling on such a 
gross modern materialist. 

Satan. May I point out that you skeletons are just a trifle 

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testy ? Don't you see, excellent but shortsighted Ballet 
Master Death, that knocking at Self-Interest's door has brought 
Fear, that over-retiring slut, to her window? Hi! W^dow 
Fear! It's only a couple of old friends inviting you to a little 

The Muse {writing on her tablets^ while what she is describing 
is seen happening by the spectator). So, Fear, squalid beyond all 
other Passions, came down, hesitating just a little, because she 
had heard Self-interest refuse the invitation. But she was 
speedily dragged along by her shabby, restless twins, Suspicion 
and Panic ; and the family carried penny whistles and fog-horns 
and a cracked storm-and-massacre bell, genuine mediaeval, but 
wrapped in yesterday's Daily Mail and Globe. 

Satan (fo the Muse). Rather an unpresentable lot, though 
first-rate performers. I hope we have something really hand- 
some, a few genuine Virtues, to make up for them, since the 
Nations have grown detestably superfine of late, and some of 
the other indispensable members of our Orchestra aren't very 
attractive either. Ah! the very thing! {Goes forward to meet 
two new-comers) I am enchanted that you deign to join our 
amateur band, small but very choice and famous under the 
name of Patriotism, my dear Lady Idealism and my brilliant 
young Prince Adventure. {He rustles his wings in ceremonious 
salutation to the new-comers,) 

The Muse {writes after looking round). And Idealism and 
Adventure, bride and bridegroom, having come out of their 
palace of cloud and sunbeams and rainbow, went up into the 
theatre. Very magnificent they were, ajid of noblest bearing, 
if a little over-dressed. Idealism carried a silver trumpet and 
Adventure a woodland horn. (Sin and her crew slink in.) 
There came also Death's mother (or wife, for their family 
relations are primitive and best not inquired into), Sin, 
whom the all-knowing Gods call Disease ; nor was there any 
need of calling her. With her came her well-known crew, 

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Rapine, Lust, Murder, and Torture, fitted out with bull- 
roarers and rattles and other cannibalish instruments. 

Satan (standing near the Muse on the steps). Here comes 
Hatred along with Self-Righteousness. 

Muse {looks up and then writes) . Pretending not to be acquaint- 
edjbut nevertheless hurrying together out of the tavern of Vanity, 
and trundling between them a huge double-bass and a small 
harmonium, on which, as soon as they had unpacked, Self- 
Righteousness most obligingly offered to give Hatred his right 
pitch. Hatred, the stupidest of all Passions, yet the most 
cunning in deceits, brought with him a double-bass of many 
strings : shrill and plaintive gut, rasping steel and growling 
bronze, and more besides ; some strangely comforting in their 
tone like a rich cordial, although they heartened men to 
massacre each other. 

Death {in a hurry). That^ll do to begin with ; and there are 
a lot of the Orchestra, both virtuous and vicious Passions, 
already within. Heroism will join as soon as we have begun, 
and he can be dumped anywhere. See ! here troop the Dancers 
for a few words of encouragement from your Lordship. By the 
way, you mustn't mind if they address you as Lord of Hosts ; 
they are rather ignorant of everything except my especial 

Satan. Oh, I have so many noms de guerre! my dear Ballet 

Death. Since some of you have your instruments handy, 
just strike up a bit, you. Widow Fear, and you, Madame 
Idealism ; and you. Hatred, growl on the deep string, not too 
loud. Just a bar or two, no matter what, only to make the 
Nations look up and get over that tiresome mauvaise honte of 

The Muse (writing). The Nations had meanwhile arrived 
by twos and twos on the top step of the theatre, each brilliant 

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and tidy in its ballet dress, which was far better cut and af hand- 
somer stuff, of course, than its everyday broadcloth or rags. 
And Idealism and Adventure, Hatred and Self-Righteousness, 
all fell to tuning, for unlike some other members of the Orches- 
tra they were sticklers for correctness. 

Enter Science and Organization. 

The Muse (not zvritingy but speaking as she looks round). 
Whom have we here ? I have never seen either of these before 
in all the centuries of my regular attendance at Death's 
Ballets. All other Human Passions are correctly dressed in 
allegoric fashion, classical, or mediaeval, or biblical. But one 
of these two new-comers, might, for all I see, be a clerk in a 
public office ; and as to the lady, if one may call her such, she 
seems to be wearing a laboratory smock, let alone spectacles ; 
uncompromisingly literal and modern. 

Death (jumping down three steps with a clatter, and flying at 
the nezv-comers). Get out with you! Kick them out ! Kick 
out the new-fangled intruders who want to spoil our fun ! 
Knock them down! Trample on them! Don't you see they 
ar^ aliens ? Spies ? Spies in the service of Life and Progress ? 

Satan (with an archangelic gesture which paralyses the 
uplifted skeleton arm of Death). Hush, hush! Which is 
Master here, I wonder ? Will you never learn manners, you 
senseless old relic of the Stone Age, with your rabble of instru- 
ments fit for an ethnological museum ? (Turns to the new- 
comers,) Excuse his country manners, dear Madame Science 
and dear Councillor Organization. You know the ways of 
skeletons ; their skulls are inevitably empty. 

The Muse (writing. The two new-comers carried new- 
fangled instruments, and fell to unpacking them ; Science, a 
handy gramophone ; and Organization a miniature pianola 
with its various rollers. 

Science. Do not mention it, my Lord. Qui sait comprendre 

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sait tout pardonner, so it is part of my professional duty to find 
excuses for your Ballet Master's very interesting primitiveness. 

Organization. It's all as it should be. And of course there's 
no denying that Science and I are permanently on the staff of 
Life and Progress ; but that firm is working slack at present ; 
so we feel at liberty to take a brief temporary engagement 

The Muse (writing), Satan extended both hands in wel- 
come, and Science snatched the opportunity of hurriedly veri- 
fying whether or not they were furnished with claws. 

Satan (lozv to Science and Organization). Nothing could 
be more conducive to the success of our Ballet, and I only hope 
our collaboration may grow permanent. You see, Death is 
getting a bit old for his job and dreadfully prejudiced. Besides 
I fear it can't be denied that both of you have done one or two 
things calculated to rub him the wrong way ; and then every- 
thing is so dreadfully exaggerated by the daily press! Come 
here, you peppery old Ballet Master and salute the lady and 
gentleman prettily. (Places one hand above Death's head^ and 
playfully twitches his arms and legs like a marionette on a string 
for the amusement of Science and Organization.) That's right ! 
Now shake hands with this illustrious couple, who will keep 
up our Ballet with their wonderful mechanical instruments 
when the rest of our classic band have neither strings nor wind 
left. And now you had better so far unbend as to tell me how 
you intend the members of your Orchestra to sit once we are all 
in the theatre ; and also give a few last instructions to all 
our excellent and obliging performers. Is all the Orchestra 
here f Let me see the list of them. Dear Clio, this is work 
for you, like Homer's catalogue of ships. Please read out the 
list of the Passions constituting the famous Orchestra called 

The Muse (reading the list. As she calls each name, its 
owner makes obeisance to Sata^"^. Greed, Loyalty, Chivalry, 

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G)mradeship, Reverence, Discipline, Routine, Ennui, Egotism, 
Prejudice, Pugnacity, Bullying. 

Death. Those are already in the theatre with their instru- 

The Muse. Justice ... Ah! here she comes, august, stern 
Daughter of the Gods! And, I may add, most successfully 
got up like her own statue, the one of blood-coloured porphyry 
on that pillar in Florence. 

Satan. Exactly! Her falchion drawn ready to decapitate 
someone she cannot see, and that neat bandage on her eyes 
making her unaware of what it is she weighs out in her scales 
with such unerring muscular precision. I have a genuine 
regard for Justice, Clio. 

The Muse. Idealism and Adventure 

Satan. They will sit with some of those already inside. 
Loyalty plays first fiddle to Discipline's second ; Reverence is 
the alto, and Routine the bass, of that quartet. Ennui is, of 
course, waiting for Adventure. 

The Muse. SeH-Righteousness 

Satan. On the same side as Justice, Idealism, Chivalry, 
Comradeship, Prejudice and Pugnacity ; but see that Self- 
Righteousness be on no account separated from Hatred, whom 
she has to keep up to his pitch. Egotism, Bullying, Jealousy 
and Cruelty will sit next to him. 

The Muse. Science and Organization 

Satan. Must be given distinguished seats a little apart. 

The Muse. Statecraft 

Satan. That is our deaf prompter ; he is in his little box. 

The Muse. Widow Fear, with Suspicion and Panic ; Sin, 
with Rapine, Murder, Lust and Torture. 

Satan. In a corner well to themselves. They are never 
very presentable, and will soon be drunk. Many thanks, Clio. 

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Death fusses for a moment in and ou% hurrying the per- 
formers into their places, Clio snatches the opportunity 
of coming close to Satan and saying in a coquettishly 
imploring whisper : 

The Muse. Dearest Lord Satan, in recognition of our 
ancient friendship, and of the tiny share of collaboration with 
which you honour me, forgive me if I venture to implore you on 
my own behalf and that of my friends, the so appreciative 
Ages-to-Come . . . 

Satan. Any request of yours is granted beforehand, Clio. 
Except the one you are about to make. You want me to 
abolish the regulation, old as Time and Change, by which none 
but the Dancing Nations and myself can hear the music of the 
Orchestra of Passions. Is that it ? 

The Muse. It is indeed. And dear, dearest Lord Satan, 
forgive my importunity if I venture to say that ever since 
always it has been too frightfully tantalizing to look on at the 
dancing without hearing a sound. 

Satan. I have allowed you to hear Heroism's triumphant 
voice. Let that be sufficient ; his music is worth hearing. 

The Muse. Don't think me ungrateful or uhappreciative. 
Of course Heroism's singing is quite exceptionally good, but it's 
always the same, connu, archi-connu, as the critics say. Besides 
it isn't he who really makes the music which is being danced to ; 
and it is very hard upon the Muse of History to have to provide 
little musical motifs^ always elevating, of course, but rather 
tame, and palm them off as the real thing to the Ages-to-Come. 
The presence of Science and Organization led me to hope that 
some modern contrivance might at last 

Satan. No, Clio. And you may thank your stars this 
Law of Mind and Matter admits of no infraction. Believe me ; \ 
could History know the true strains which set and keep the 
Nations dancing, the folly aind the frenzy, which move those l 

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Umbs, there would soon be an end to your well-deserved 
popularity. Besides, if more than the faintest echo of my 
Band's playing reached any ears than those of Satan and his 
poor crazed Dancers, it is upon the cards that its grotesque, 
alluringly heart-rending horror might disincline Posterity for 
all such entertainments ... So let us drop the subject, my 
good Muse. Now, Ballet Master Death, have you any last 
instructions ? 

Death (bowing obsequiously to Satan). Just one or two, my 
Lord. (Turns to the performers,) Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Valiant Nations of my Corps du Ballet, and ever-responsive 
Passions of the Orchestra so justly admired under the name of 

Let me remind you that, for the satisfaction of our Stage 
Lessee, my Lord Satan, and the admiration (I trust) of our 
enlightened patrons, the Muse of History and the Ages-to-Come, 
you are about to take part in the vastest and most new- 
fashioned spectacle of Slaughter and Ruin I have so far had the 
honour of putting on to the World's Stage, although I hope 
that its attractions may cause it to become only the first and 
only the least considerable of a long and incessant series of 
similar glorious exhibitions of what Mankind can do under 
my guidance. 

As regards instructions, you really require none : the Nations 
have of late years concentrated all their educational resources 
on this sole object. And the Human Passions, however self- 
engrossed and often at loggerheads, are always eager to accept 
the unique opportunity for untrammelled manifestation of their 
violence which is afforded by the symphonies of Patriotism. 

Once fairly started, the Dancing Nations can all be trusted 
to obey the b^ton of Ballet Master Death, and, as to details, 
the more each one departs from the regulation steps, the more 
intelligently will the dancers of the opposite side respond to his 
improvisations, my Ballet belonging essentially to the cate- 
gory of art called imitative. 

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As to the music, I need scarcely impress upon each of the 
Passions to keep strictly to his or her own part, and never be 
put out by the dissonances and conflicting rhythms produced by 
the contradictory parts of his fellow-performers : such incoher- 
ence conduces to the volume and impressiveness of the patriotic 
whole, and is rendered acceptable to the most fastidious ear by 
the perfection of the national uniso j and the constant re- 
currence of some favourite sentimental theme. 

The ground plan of our Ballet is so simple that no rehearsals 
have been necessary, and its variety arises out of the ever- 
increasing number and incompatibility of the allied dancers and 
their characteristic manners. 

In obedience to the high ethical taste of modern times, the 
main motif of our performance is that of each disinterested and 
indignant nation seeking only to repel the aggression of its 
vis'd'vis and to uphold the eternal rules of justice and human- 
ity. There are subsidiary themes of outstanding dancers 
flying to the rescue of the presumable victors, not without some 
delicate hesitation as to which to join ; likewise of main 
groups overcoming the coyness of unwilling dancers and 
inveigling them into their terrific mazes. And as the perform- 
ance proceeds there may be some graceful furtive attempts at 
pas de deux between dancers of opposite sides, and some very 
entertaining figures of the sort we dancing-masters call 

One last recommendation, but all important! Let me 
remind the Passions about to take their seats in the Orchestra 
of Patriotism that the duration of our performance depends 
entirely on their activity. Not all the training of the best 
trained Nations; not all the good will of poor Ballet Master 
Death ; nay, not the sovereign command of Satan in person, 
could keep our Ballet going if the music of the Passions 
were to stop. The members of the Orchestra of Patriotism are 
therefore urgently requested to replenish their energies by 
unstinting use of the appropriate refreshments, carefully 

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warmed up commonplaces and fiery drams of eloquence, which 
will be handed round unceasingly by Lord Satan's lackeys of 
the Press and Pulpit. And now we may all take our appointed 
places in the Theatre of the World. 

The Passions, grasping or trundling their instruments^ go up 
the theatre steps and enter it by a small side door marked 
"To the Orchestra.^'* The Dancing Nations ascend the 
same steps hut remain standing on the topmost^ deployed^ 
waiting for orders. Ballet Master Death collects his 
notes and his baton and is going to follow them when he is 
stopped by Satan. 

Satan. Good gracious! We seem all to have forgotten 
Heroism ; he isn't even on the list. Shall we ask the Muse to 
rout him out I He is accustomed to her. 

Death. Heroism ? Oh, I always leave him to himself ; he 
comes as soon as he hears the music, and he can always be 
squeezed in anywhere. That's the advantage of his being 
blind ; it makes him the most obliging and least troublesome 
of all my Orchestra ; quite a different pair of boots from stuck- 
up creatures like Idealism and Chivalry and so forth, who are 
afraid of rubbing shoulders with the Lower Passions. Heroism, 
bless him, won't mind sitting cheek by jowl even with Fear, 
that filthy slut, or surrounded by the cannibal rout of Sin. 
But here he comes ! 

The Muse {writing. At that moment there entered Heroism, 
with limbs like a giant's, blushes like a girl's and eyes like a 
merry child's, but which saw not. 

Satan. Welcome, Heroism ! Our prince of Tenors ! {Goes 
out to meet Heroism and offers to lead hintj but Heroism waves 
him off. Satan pretends not to notice the snub, and with sham 
cordiality:) We were just saying, my accomplished young 
friend, that you are the most modest and reliable of our 
Orchestra, ready for everything ! Why, I remember my French 

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Revolution Ballet, when Heroism and Panic played not only a 
duet, but at the same instrument, four hands ! 

The Muse (not wtitingy but joining enthusiastically in the 
conversation). What a Ballet that was! Ballet Master 
Death's masterpiece, and yours, my Lord Satan, certainly! 
The splendid tragic irony of the Marat-Robespierre-guillo- 
tining-theme combined with that of Valmy and Liberty! 

Satak. Yes, dear Muse of History. I don't deny that was 
our greatest hit in modern times. But, with goodwill, this 
new Dance of our Ballet Master Death shall be as full of all 
manner of terror and irony, and of far vaster dimensions : the 
whole stage of Europe, not one paltry corner only! 

Death (affectionately to Heroism). Come here, my boy ; 
you have always been dutiful and loving to poor old Daddy 
Death, and cared more for him than for any other of the 

The Muse (tvriting). So saying, the skeleton scarecrow 
tapped th<; budding cheeks of Heroism, that star-like youth, 
with eyes which laughed but saw not, for even as his cousin 
Love, he is blind ever since the cradle. And Heroism, at the 
sound of Death's well-known voice, kissed his bony fingers 
with rapture ; and grasping the drum with which he accom- 
panies himself, modestly took his stand between Fear and 
Hatred, unconscious of their foulness. 

A bell rings from inside the theatre. Death takes the arm of 
Heroism, who thrills and blushes with joy at the honour ; 
and turning to Satan, 

Death. It would be well, my Lord, if you would say a few 
words of encouragement to my Corps de Ballet. 

SATA^Xnods gravely). I will. (He solemnly takes up his 
position opposite the deployed Dancing Nations. He folds his 
great bodiless wings about him so as to form a dalmatic of black 
radiance^ and stands a second or two in majestic and awful 

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sUence. On his right is Death leaning on the arm of Heroism 
with tvidey blind eyes ; on his left the Muse ; the Ages-tc Comb 
kneel in a circle all round,) 

Satan. Dearly beloved Nations, called heretofore Brethren 
in Christ, and henceforth to become true Brethren in Satan, 
receive my blessing which speeds you to destruction. 

Let the light of judgment and of choice be blotted from your 
minds ; and let your clean volitions be submerged and rotted 
away by the hot and turbid lusts pf possession and cruelty 
welling up from the dark unconsciousness of your soul. 

Ye are going forth, O Nations, to join Death's Dance even as 
candid high-hearted virgins who have been decoyed by fair 
show into the house of prostitution, where sins they never 
dreamed of become their daily trade, and whence they dread 
release because they have kept compajiy with perjurers and 
cut-throats, and become estranged from the honesty of common 
life. For however pure you enter into it, the Dance of Ballet 
Master Death brings you to contamination and barrenness. 

Moreover, with your dancing I will interrupt the great 
eternal, fruitful give-and-take of life. 

I will hold up the enriching commerce of different spiritual 
climates ; and the regions of the earth shall cease to be each 
other's completion. 

I will forbid the banns of marriage of True Minds ; and make 
those born to love one another despise and abhor. 

Goodness shall cease to call across the earth to goodness ; 
neither shall Wisdom stretch helping hands to Wisdom. And 
the sweet affinities of common humanity shall attract no longer. 

But I will knit together the good which is in every people 
with its own folly and wickedness till these grow together, as one 
flesh and one soul, in the fear and hatred which they share. 

The lucid eye of the spirit shall be bloodshot and blinded. 
The hand, once cunning to give shape and usefulness, shall, 
like the hands of the epileptic, be strong only to strike, 

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wounding itself and others. The mouth, whereby men under- 
stood each other's truth and goodness, shall foam out only lies 
and boasts and insults. And the heart shall go out no longer 
to other hearts, but only melt in self-pity and blaze in vin- 

And none of you, Nations, shall know your degradation. 

The blood of martyrs shall bring forth new executioners. 
And out of the tears of bereaved women shall arise the slaughter 
of other sons and other husbands. 

And every rarest and most needed virtue shall be wasted as 
a burnt offering upon my altars. 

The blessing of Satan attend you, who go forth in purity and 
strength to return in pollution and enfeeblement. Evil be 
the fruition of your goodness, and chaos the reward of your 

Satan raises his hand in benediction. The Nations salute 
with th^ir banners and cry : " Arise y Lord of Hosts I " 


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Act 2 

Inside the Theatre of the World. Satan on a raised seat. The 
Muse on a low stool by his side, holding her tablets and 
stylus. Behind her the chorus of Ages-to-Come. Opposite^ 
continuing the semicircle of the pity a few Neutral 
Nations and a number of Sleepy Virtues, among whom^ 
however^ Pity and Indignation are eager and expectant. 

The Passions are seated in front of the stagey in the narrower 
part of the pit railed off by a carved balustradey inscribed 
^^Patriotism : reserved for Members of the Orchestra.^^ 

The stage is closed by a background of August harvest-fields at 
sunseU This is gradually darkened and replaced by the 
starlit vault, which deepens like a cavern and gradually 
fills with firey smoke, rockets and explosions. 

Satan. Begin your record, Muse of History! 

The Muse rises and writesy standing by the side of Satan's 
throney declaiming what she is writing in a clear y impassive 
voice. The performance on the stagey of coursey proceeds 
in accordance with her spoken descriptiony but a trifle in 
advance of it ; and the Muse pauses now and then^ 
resuming her low seat next to Satan in order to allow the 
action to repeat itself and accumulate. 

The Muse. Now, the beginning of the Ballet of the Nations 
was as follows : Among the Nations appointed by Satan to 
dance the Dance of Death — for a few had to be kept to swell 
the audience, which would otherwise have consisted only of 
some Sleepy Virtues and the Ages-to-Come, all bodiless and 
difficult to please — among these Dancing Nations there was 
a Very Little One, far too small to have danced with the others 

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and particularly unwilling to dance at all, because experience 
had taught it that the dances of Ballet Master Death were 
apt to take place across its prostrate body. This being the 
case, it was always informed that all it need do was to stay 
quite quiet for the others to dance round. And as it stood 
there, at the western side of the stage, two or three of the 
tallest and finest dancers danced up in a graceful step, 
smiling, wreathing their arms and blowing kisses, all of 
which is the Ballet language for " Don't be afraid ; we 
will look after you." And danced away, wagging their 
finger at a particular one of their vis-^is^ who was also 
curtseying and smiling in the most engaging manner on 
the other side. During this prelude. Idealism, Self-Righteous- 
ness and Routine played a few conventional variations on 
the well-known Diplomatic Hymn of Peace, the music being 
conducted, so far, not yet by Ballet Master Death, but by 
the Deaf Prompter Statecraft from his little hidden box. 
And to this music the various Nations pirouetted uncon- 
cernedly about, although Fear, with Suspicion and Panic, 
were beginning to whistle, and to clatter that mediaeval 
tocsin-bell concealed in newspapers. Science and Organization 
were also busy putting rollers into their mechanical instru- 

And as the Smallest-of-All the Corps de Ballet stood quite 
alone in the middle of the western stage, that same tall and 
wonderfully well-trained Dancer sidled up to it with polite 
gestures of " by your leave," and, suddenly placing his huge 
horny paws on the Tiny One's shoulders, prepared for leap- 
frog. But at a sign from Death's bftton, and with a hideous 
crash of all the instruments of Satan's orchestra, and a mag- 
nificent note from Heroism's clear voice, the poor Smallest- 
Dancer-of-All tripped up that Giant and made him reel. But 
the Giant instantly recovered his feet, although his eyes 
became bloodshot and his brain swam ; and, flinging the poor 
Smallest Dancer on the floor, he set to performing on its poor 

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little body one of the most terrific pas seuls that Ballet Master 
Death had ever invented ; while the vis-drvis Nations danced 
slowly up till they came to grips over that Smallest-of-All 
the Dancers, who lay prone on the ground, and continued so 
to lie till the end of the Ballet, lifeless between its aggressors 
and its defenders. 

The Ages-to-Come burst into shouts of horrified rapture 

like spectators -at a hull-fight. The Orchestra subsides for 

a moment^ and only the drum is heard, 
Satan (low to the Muse). Hark! The drum of Heroism! 
Of all the instruments the one, I sometimes think, most to my 
liking. No other has such imperious power over the nerves 
and muscles, and so little to say to the mind. For the drum 
knows neither intervals nor modes nor modulation, things 
requisite alike for music and rational existence ; it recognizes 
neither resemblance nor diversity; but, like the glorious 
blind boy whom it urges on, goes marching, marching, march- 
ing, without knowledge of why, whence, or whither. 

The Muse {writing and declaiming. But while this was 
happening at the western end of the Theatre, a symmetrical 
action had begun at the eastern, where a Nation, who had 
long been forbidden to dance on its own account, because it 
had been made the slave of some of the others, was being 
danced across like a carpet by two of the great vis-d-visy each 
of whom would point at it with gestures of pity and protection, 
but without ceasing to trample it, until the to-and-fro's of 
their dance had pounded it out of all shape and almost out of 

Death (rapping on his desk and silencing the Orchestra). 
My Lord Satan! Interesting Neutral Nations still in the 
audience ; noble, though somewhat drowsy. Virtues who are 
looking on ; and you who reward Ballet and Ballet Master 
with undying glory, illustrious and bodiless Ages-to-Come! 
These two first figures of our Ballet, symmetrical but 

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different in their style of horror, are called " The Defence of 
the Weak." They will continue unremittingly all through the 
performance, and will lead up to the final triumph of such 
Small Nationalities (and they are all cordially pressed to join 
in the dance !) as may have limbs or life to dance with. 

The Orchestra resumes, and the dancing gets more compli- 
cated. No one speaks for a minute or so, till the Muse, 
erect by Satan's side, begins once more her zuriting and 

The Muse. For whereas the Ballet had begun with the 
tender radiance of an August sunset above half-harvested 
fields, where the reaping-machines hummed peacefully among 
the corn-stooks, and the ploughs cut into the stubble, the 
progress of the performance had seen the deep summer starlit 
vault flushed by the flare of distant burning farm^ and its 
blue solemnity rent by the fitful track of rockets, and the 
luminous fans of searchlights and the Roman candles and 
Catherine-wheels of far-off explosions. Jntil, little by little, 
the heavens, painted such a peaceful blue, were blotted out 
by masses of flame-lit smoke and poisonous vapours, rising 
and sinking, coming forward and receding like a stifling fog, 
but ever growing denser and more rent by dreadful leaping 
fires, and swaying obedient to Death's b&ton no less than did 
the bleeding Nations of his Corps de Ballet. In and out of 
that lurid chasm they moved, by twos or threes ; now lost to 
view in the billows of fiery darkness, now issuing thence 
toward the Ballet Master's desk, or suddenly revealed, clasped 
in terrific embrace, by the leaping flame of an exploding 
magazine ; while overhead fluttered and whirred great wings, 
which showered down bomb-lightnings. Backwards and 
forwards moved the Nations in that changing play of light 
and darkness, and undergoing themselves uncertain and fear- 
ful changes of aspect. {Interrupting herself) A stirring page, 
my Clio, and one I would on no account have missed the 

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writing of! {Looks at the stage muttering^ ^^ Good/ GoodP* 
then resumes her writings while the Ballet and the fireworks go 
on with all kinds of variations) 

7he voice of Heroism, a youthful and very pure tenor^ is 
heard above the din of the Orchestray singing the Mar- 
seillaise to the accompaniment of his drum. 

Satan (low^ to the Muse). Do you hear him, Clio ? He shall 
be made to sing the other splendid murderous songs by turns. 
Not only this, which spurred the French at Valmy and the 
Bridge of Arcole, but those of the German students who 
fought at Leipzig ; and also that fine theme which dear old 
Haydn wrote, and Hofer sang while they led him out to be 
shot in the moat at Mantua. For, as you are aware, Heroism 
is of no country but of all equally, a real Cosmopolitan, although 
his chief business is international extermination. A divine 
genius truly! and appreciated on all hands. The only fault 
which Satan finds with him, since none of us, dear Qio, are 
faultless, is that while wasting himself sublimely to no pur- 
pose, he is apt to remember the common human nature of all 
Nations and make them love each other in the midst of their 
mutual slaughter. But that is a failing of which I trust the 
present Ballet may cure him once for all. 

The Ballet and fireworks go on. Heroism's voice^ drowned 
for a little by the Orchestra of Passions, is heard once more 
singing the first bars of the " Wacht am Rhein,^^ 

The Muse (uniting). Since you should know that, although 
politicians say the contrary, Nations can never die outright. 
Just as the Gods of Valhalla could slash each other to ribbons 
after breakfast and resurrect for dinner, so every Nation 
can dance Death's Dance, however bled and maimed ; dance 
upon stumps, or trail itself along, a living jelly of blood and 
trampled flesh, providing only its Head remains unhurt. And 
that Head, which each Nation calls its Government, but the 

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Other Nations call France or Russia or Britain or Germany 
or Austria or Italy for short, that Head of each Nation 
dancing Death's Dance (except that of the Smallest Dancer, 
who uever ceased being prostrate on the ground) is very 
properly helmeted, and rarely gets so much as a scratch, so 
that, with its innocent stolid face, it can continue to turn 
towards the Ballet Master's b&ton, and order the Nation's 
body to put forth fresh limbs, and even when that is impos- 
sible, to keep its stumps dancing ever new figures in obedience 
or disregard to what are called the rules of the Dance. This 
being the case, Death could keep up the Dance regardless of 
the condition of the Dancers, and of the condition also of the 
stage, which was such that, what between blood and mud and 
entrails and heaps of ravaged properties, it became scarcely 
possible to move even a few yards to and fro. 

Yet dance they did, chopping and slashing, blinding each 
other with squirts of blood and pellets of human flesh. And as 
they appeared and disappeared in the moving wreaths of fiery 
smoke, they lost more and more of their original shape, be- 
coming, in that fitful light, terrible uncertain forms, armless, 
legless, recognizable for human only by their irreproachable 
Heads, which they carried stiff and high even while crawling 
and staggering along, lying in Wait, and leaping and rearing 
and butting as do fighting animals ; until they became, with 
those decorous, well-groomed Heads, mere unspeakable hybrids 
between man and beast : they who had come on to that stage 
so erect and beautiful. For the Ballet of the Nations, when 
Satan gets it up regardless of expense, is an unsurpassed 
spectacle of transformations such as must be witnessed to be 
believed in. Thus on they danced their stranger and stranger 

The voice of Heroism, after singing bars of fipperary and 
other songs, is heard singing with great solemnity HaydrCs 
^^Gott erhaUe unseren Kaiser. ^^ Its hymn-like melody 
gradually changes into part of a psalm^ " Stand upy 

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Lord God of HostSy thou God of our Fathers. Through 
Thee mil we overthrow our enemies^ in Thy Name will we 
tread them under that rise up against us,^' 

The Muse. And as they appeared by turns in that chaos 
of flame and darkness, each of those Dancing Nations kept 
invoking Satan, crying to him, "Help me, my own dear 
Lord ; " but they called him by Another Name. And Satan, 
that creative connoisseur, rejoiced in his work of waste and 
saw that it was perfect (;puts the tablets into the bosom of her 

Satan (in the position again of the Michelangelo Duke as in 
the prologue, propping his chin on his handy but with his eyes fixed 
upon the stage, speaks meditatively to himself). Dear Creatures, 
how they worship me. It is deeply gratifying to my pride in 
wastefulness. True, they mistake my name, but they love 
my real self, and the success of my long career has taught me 
the use of aliases. (To the Muse.) How true it is, dear Muse 
of History, that the chief function of the Sublime in art or 
nature is to awaken man's slumbering intuition that there is, 
after all, a Pow^r transcending his ephemeral life, and quite 
indifferent to his trumpery happiness. That is one reason 
why I prefer the Ballet of the Nations to any of the other 
mystery-plays, Earthquake, Pestilence, Shipwreck and so 
forth, which Death puts on our stage from time to time. The 
music is not always pretty : at once too ultra-modern and too 
archaic for Philistine ears. And, despite the classic genius of 
my Ballet Master, and the sensational suggestions of our new 
friends. Organization and Science, the steps of the Dance lack 
variety. But what a scope this Ballet gives for moral beauty, 
and how it revives religious feeling in its genuine polytheism! 
I grant you the Heads of the Nations are somewhat hard- . 
featured. But the Bodies of the Nations are always sound and 
virginal ; and what concerns me n^ost, their heart is always in \ 
the right place. So for true sublimity, give me, I always say, ^ 

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one of Death's Dances danced by Nations each with its heart 
in the right place and faithfully obedient to whatever Head may 
happen to be on its shoulders. 

The Muse (pulling out her tablets resumes zvriting). So the 
Ballet proceeded ; but for this to continue it was necessary to 
keep up the music of that Orchestra of Passions which sat, in 
the enclosure marked " Patriotism," around the slippery and 
reeking stage : Jealousy, Greed, Loyalty, Chivalry, Comrade- 
ship, Reverence, Discipline, Routine ; Ennui and Egotism ; 
Justice, Prejudice with Pugnacity and Bullying; Widow 
Fear with her nimble children, Suspicion and Panic, playing on 
penny whistles, fog-horns and that mediaeval tocsin-bell in its 
wrapper of newspapers ; Idealism and Adventure, that 
splendid pair blowing their silver trumpet and woodland horn ; 
Hatred, who never ceased tuning up at the harmonium of Self- 
Righteousness ; Sin, whom the Wise Gods call Disease, and 
her classic crew. Rapine, Lust and Murder, with their bull- 
roarers and rattles ; Science and Organization seated a little 
apart, for none of their old established allegoric companions 
could bear their new-fangled instruments, but whose gramo- 
phone and pianola brayed and strummed away unflaggingly, 
when all the other musicians showed signs of weariness, and 
only Heroism, a smile in his clear blind eyes, found ever fresh 
breath and ever more jubilant notes. The rest of the band 
was beginning to flag, either because the Passions, as is notori- 
ous, are lacking in endurance, or because they had fuddled 
themselves with the strong liquor which was unceasingly 
handed round by Satan's lackeys of the Press and Pulpit. The 
less noble ones were coming in a little at random, Suspicion 
and Panic, notably, screaming at the Heads of the Nations, 
and Fear, poor slut, being seized with delirium tremens. None 
of all this was noticed by the Dancers ; yet they began to 
dance a little less fiercely, and fell to mistaking their vis-d-vis 
for partners and vice versa, to the despair of the Ballet 

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Master, who wheeled from side to side at his desk, hitting the 
somnolent Passions of the orchestra resounding whacks, and 
cracking his fleshless joints like castanets. 

Now Satan began to fear that the performance might dribble . 
out untimely, for except the voice of Heroism and the mechani- 
cal instruments of Science and Organization, the sounds were 
feeble and intermittent, and the Nations were beginning to 
halt and stumble, and even to curtsy to each other as if the 
end might be at hand. 

Satan {to himself). This will never do. Why, we haven^t 
yet come to the figure of Famine and Insurrection. There yet 
remain several generations of young lads waiting for slaughter 
and an endless stock of Virtue to be wasted. Hi! Rapine, 
Murder and Lust, dear nimble followers of Sin, come to my 
help, and fetch me two new players from out of that audience 
of Sleepy Virtues! 

The Muse {declaiming very slowly as she writes). Sleepy 
indeed they were, and some, like Wisdom, Equanimity and 
Temperance, but especially Truthfulness, had long since fallen 
into consoling dreams, after closing their eyes and bunging up 
their ears against sights and sounds offensive to their principles, 
but which they had not grit enough to interrupt. But among 
the Virtues two were not asleep, and sat motionless under the 
spell of hideous fascination, their eyes fixed, their hearing 
intent with horror almost pleasant in its excess. These two 
were called Pity and Indignation, sister and brother of divinest 
breed ; she was like waters under moonlight and as gentle, 
murmuring and lovely, and also, like such waters, dangerous in 
her innocence ; the other golden and vivid as flame, and, like 
flame, tipped with terrible scarlet, purifying but devastating. 

To them, who were fascinated with horror before that dance, 
there sprang at Satan's bidding. Rapine, Murder and Lust, the 
crew of Death's Mother-Paramour Sin, whom the Gods call 
Disease in their wisdom ; and straightway that noble pair of 

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twins, Pity and Indignation, responded to the hideous summons. 
Hand in hand they leaped from among the Sleeping Virtues, 
and flew, on rushing pinions, into the midst of Satan's orchestra. 
Fear and her Brood fell back ; Idealism and Adventure, well- 
nigh spent with breathless blowing of their silver trumpet and 
hunting horn, made room eagerly. Heroism, that blind, 
smiling young giant, recognized at once Pity's delicious healing 
breath and Indignation's fiery blast ; he shook himself, and, 
with renewed vigour, his godlike youthful voice sung out words 
which no one could distinguish but all the world understood. 
And Sin with her crew fell at the n^w-comers* feet and fawned 
upon them. 

Even. before either of that immortal pair had uttered a 
sound, the flagging Dancers, the bleeding Nations, weary of 
that stage slippery with blood and entrails, felt the wind of the 
wings of Pity and Indignation, and in its pure breath suddenly 

The holy pair required no instruments. Pity merely 
sobbed, and her sobs were like the welling-up notes of many 
harps, drowning the soul in tender madness. But Indignation 
hissed and roared like a burning granary when the sparks 
crackle as they fly into the ripe, standing harvest, and the 
flames wave scores of feet high in the blast of their own 

Satan (intent and meditative ; thoughtfully to himself). This 
is the supreme sacrifice to me ; I am the Waster of all kinds of 

Death (with a gesture of adoring rapture towards Satan). 
Now nothing can stop the dancing, and this shall yet be the 
greatest triumph of Ballet Master Death ! (Raps on his desk.) 
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear simple and valiant Nations of my 
Corps de Ballet, we will now proceed to the third and last 
figure of our DanCe ; it is called : " Duty to our children ; 
X<oyalty to our dead." 

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Satan {boivs benignly towards Death). You might have 
trusted Satan, dear Ballet Master Death! Pity and Indig- 
nation can renew Death's Dance when all the Nations have 
danced themselves to stumps, and the ordinary band, save 
perhaps Widow Fear and her children, can fiddle and blow no 
longer. {He raises himself slightly in his seat^ radiantly atten- 
tivey lifting one hand imperceptively as in benediction^ and 
repeating low to himself) I am the Waster of all kinds of 

The Ages-to-Come burst into frantic applause^ crying 
^^ Encore^ Encore.''^ 

The Muse (holding her stylus and tablets^ bows to Satan and 
says iii a clear quiet voice). And thus the Ballet of the Nations 
is still a-dancing. 

END OF part II. 

Author^s Note for Stage Managers (other than Satan). 

In the event of this play being performed, it is the author's 
imperative wish that no attempt be made at showing the 
Dancing of the Nations. The stage upon the stage must be 
turned in such a manner that nothing beyond the footlights, 
the Orchestra and auditorium shall be visible to the real 
spectators, only the changing illumination which accompanies 
the Ballet making its performance apparent. Similarly, in 
accordance with Satan's remarks on p. 49, none of the music 
must be audible, except the voice and drum of Heroism. 
Anything beyond this would necessarily be hideous, besides 
drowning or interrupting the dialogue. 

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Dedicated to Arthur Ponsonby, 

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by Google 


^'Mors Stupebit,'* 

Scene : No Place, Nowhere. The Theatre, the light full on the 
inscription of the architrave, ** The World, a Theatre of 
Varieties ; Lessee and Manager, Satan," is seen from its 
topmost steps, comfleteJy open, so that the stage, stalls, and 
orchestra are visible, somewhat foreshortened. The drop 
curtain is dozen ; and in front of it Heroism is lying on the 
ground asleep, with Ballet Master Death lying across 
him, dead drunk, his skull propped up on Heroism's chest. 
Widow Fear and her children Suspicion and Panic are 
cautiously treading on tiptoe, consulting in whispers, 
startled as if by ghosts in corners, hesitating whether and how 
to go away. The last of the other Passions a^e collecting 
their instruments in the Orchestra. Pity, Indignation, 
Idealism, and Adventure have vanished. The Sleepy 
Virtues in the stalls wake up and rub their eyes preliminary 
to departing. Prudence, Temperance, Fairness, ^n^ 
Truthfulness exchanging horrified remarks. 

1ST Sleepy Virtue. What a hideous dream! 

2ND Sleepy Virtue. I have had a nightmare! 

3RD AND 4TH Sleepy Virtues. So have I — and I. 

5TH Sleepy Virtue. We must have been eating some 
forbidden apples of knowledge ! 

$TH Sleepy Virtue. Or else all that poetry and eloquence 
fuddled us. 

All. Well, thank heaven, we're broad awake now, and can 
get out of this odious low-class booth. 


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The Sleepy Virtues begin groping their way out of the 
half-darkness. Satan steps forward^ unfolds his wings, 
revealing himself in the black effulgence of his archangelic 
armour to the Muse of History and the Ages-to-Come, 
who remain alone zoith him in the Orchestra, Satan 
begins to switch off the last lights, 
Satan. Alas! even the longest performance must come to 
an end! 

The Muse. The longest and the most reussiy my dear Lord 
Satan! But before we disperse, allow me to express the 
deepest appreciation and gratitude on the part of the Ages-to- 
Come and my unworthy self. The remembrance of your 
matchless Ballet of the Nations will be a frequent solace, I feel 
certain, in our usual humdrum existence. 

Chorus of Ages-to-Come. Yes, indeed. (2) That it will. 
(3) One does need something great and heroic in order to puli 
through the dreary days of peace and remind one of Man's 
higher possibilities. (Tutti,) Our heartfelt thanks to your 

The Ages-to-Come go up to Satan, curtsy and bob, and are 
revealed to be, not the classic veiled figures they had 
previously appeared, but old ladies with long eyeglasses, 
and old gentlemen, dignitaries in lank black coats and spats 
and half-pay colonels with white moustaches, all carrying 
lending-library volumes of memoirs under their arms, 
alongside of their tucked-up Grecian draperies, 

Satan {with his hand, now seen to be slightly clawed, on the 
last electric switch). Pas de guoi, dear friends! The pleasure 
has all been on my side, and I must thank you for so much 
intelligent indulgence. Ju revoir, ladies and gentlemen. And 
to our next merry meeting, dear old Muse of History. As I 
have often said : What should you and I do without one 
another, I wonder ? But I was forgetting ; I must close up 
the green room. 

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The Muse {more than ever like a huge pouter-pigeon prima 
donna in her tightly drawn draperies with large key pattern^ rolls 
out in her usual luscious contralto^ but with Unconcealed inquisi- 
tiveness). Your green room ? I never thought of that. Of 
course! Every theatre must have a green room. How 
^//>/y interesting! How . . . 

Satan {looks the Muse long in the face and laughs), WeU, 
what would you give your old playmate Satan if he were to 
admit you to an additional little spectacle ? To show you a 
mystery ? 

The Muse. O Satan dearest ! 

Chorus of Ages-to-Come. A mystery, my Lord ? Oh, 
we do so love mysteries. Is it Eleusinian ? or like the Iron 
Mask ? or the Chevalier d'Eon ? 

The Muse. Is it . . . well, how shall I put it ? Is it very 

Satan {laughing. Oh, not in the least. I fear you will be 
horribly disappointed. It is to the last degree respectable. 
However, as you have been so very kind to my poor Ballet, it 
may interest you to see what was passing behind the stage. I 
must explain that, in view of future dramatic possibilities, 
I never omit to have everything that comes in my way ade- 
quately cinematographed and gramophoned. Besides, these 
records help to amuse my solitary leisure. 

Satan presses a button with a long clanging ring, 7 he 
curtain rises, Satan helps the Muse of History on 
to the empty stage, where, as already described. Heroism 
is lying nearest the footlights, motionless, with Ballet 
Master Death asleep propped up on him^ snoring. The 
end of the stage is closed by a brilliantly lit magic-lantern 
screen, blank. On the table is the cinematograph ap- 
paratus. On another a large gramophone of the sort 
marked " His Master^s Voice,'^ , 
The Muse {bursting with delighted expectancy). How mar- 

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vellous! How trooly magical! This is indeed the highest 
privilege your friendship has ever granted me! The hidden 
enigmas underlying your BaUet gf the Nations! The dessous 
ies cartes^ as French orators say! The Immortals at their 
work! For that, I take it, is the meaning of the mysterious 
inscription on your wonder-working machine! Quidquid 
delirant reges plectuntur Achiviy is it not ? Or, in more modern 
language, that the million-headed crowd exists only to carry 
out the will of a half-dozen Supermen. 

Satan. It is as you say, dear much-experienced Recorder 
of the World's Calamities. What you are going to see and hear 
are indeed Supermen ; say, rather, the mortal Gods in my little 
naachine of myriad-fold death and ruin. In other words, the 
Heads of the Nations. For it can scarcely have escaped your 
acumen that what passed muster for such during my Ballet, 
and rolled about on the shoulders of the Dancing Nations, 
could be only cardboard masks. These are the Real Ones, the 
Masters of Men's Destiny, even if not always of royal birth or 
Cabinet rank ; sometimes mere humble specimens of the Inves- 
tor, the Homo CEconomicus who sways the modern world. 

fhe Muse clasps her hands and wags her head in delight too 
deep for words ; the Ages-to-Come nud:ge one another^ 
Satan switches the current on to the cinematograph and 
gramophone^ which work in concert after a preliminary 
wheeze and clatter and a corresponding flicker and blur. 

The Muse {after a sigh of delight). The real Reality ! How 
thrilling! How trooly ... 

Views of buildings, rather out of perspective, jerk across the 
screen. People come in and out, presenting more of their 
boot-soles than one usually sees ; and voices gabble nasally 
on the gramophone. However, as the double apparatus^ 
and also the attention of the spectators, work more steadily, 
we become aware of a succession, brief but clear, of 
interiors : public offices, newspaper sanctums, embassy 

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reception-rooms^ sometimes even quite humble private 
houses; also committee tables and banqueting tables^ with 
people discussing or speechifying ; lobbies in various 
countries^ club-rooms and Houses of Parliament and 
Senates in different parts of the globe, 7hey are full of 
figures in groups of twos and threes^ going in and out^ 
sometimes arm-in-arm^ standing in front of fireplaces or 
before drinking-bars, or else dictating at office-desks 
Most frequently y perhaps^ dining and playing bridge^ and 
almost always smoking. These figures are mainly maS" 
culine, elderly ^ often bali^ and not always very dignified ; 
some in uniform^ some in plain clothes. They are very 
busy doing nothing in particular. Similarly^ they talk a 
great deal, with significant pauses and interruptions, but 
all they say is entirely allusive and disjointed, referring to 
something else which we have not heard, and tailing off into 
something we do not hear. The action, if it may be called 
action, like the talking, is a perpetual shuffle from place 
to place and topic to topic. One can see occasional 
significant gestures accompanied by insignificant words. 
But the main impression is of sentences like " Well, yes^ 
" / always said as much,^^ " To be sure,^^ " Bien entendu,** 
" Something may have to be done,** " Things seem to be 
coming to a head,** " JVe shall have to decide **; the whole 
being interspersed with a good deal of very friendly laughter. 
The Muse and Ages-to-Come slowly pass from excite- 
ment to mystification, then boredom and ill-concealed 

The Muse. Ah! Ah, indeed— ah, I see. Just sol Exacdy I 

These exclamations, fewer and further between, are the 
MusE*s answer to occasional isolated words like ^Balance 
of Power,** ''Two keels to one,** ''Budget,** "Loan,**. 
''Concessions,** "Open door,** "Railways,'* "Con- 
scripHony** " Morocco,** " Persia,** " Baghdad,*^" Money 

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markets "/ none of which words^ however y lead to anything 
intelligible. Gradually the Muse gets to look horribly 
depressed, then angry, much to the amusement of Satan, 
who is watching her face. He suddenly switches off the 
current; the gramophone wheezes, the screen becomes 
blank. Like a person at a concert, the Muse snatches 
this opportunity to turn round, draw her draperies over her 
head, and say : 

The Muse. Quite so, I understand. Most remarkable, Pm 
sure. Thank you, dear Lord Satan. But I fear the Ages-to- 
Conae and I must now be saying good-bye and going on. 

The Muse extends her hand very frigidly. 

Satan. Oh, don't go away, dear Qio. You know you have 
no other engagement, and are merely bored. There now, don*t 
protest, my dear old friend, I warned you it would be horribly 
bourgeois. I ought also to have warned you . . . But, forgive 
me, dearest Muse, I couldn't resist the temptation of trying a 
little experiment upon you and your friends. 

The Muse (furious and dignified). An experiment on me ? 
You . . . have ventured to play a practical joke on the Ages- 
to-Come and me ? I might have guessed as much, if I had 
not had too much belief in your good breeding, my Lord. Of 
c^rse, it was evident that all this tosh had nothing to do with 
/he Ballet of the Nations. But I never could have believed this 
was Satan's notion of a joke ! 

Satan. It is not a joke. What you have seen and heard is 
the most serious thing in the Universe. It is Reality. Only 
you couldn't recognize it. 

The Muse. I have had enough of your jests, my Lord. It 
is enough you should have ventured to bore me with this point- 
less stuflE — ^all about nothing at all; absolutely devoid of 

SATAV'(gravely). Yet the outcome of it was my Ballet of the 

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Nations. Allow me to tdl you, dear old Clio, that the meaning 
discernible in Reality depends upon the eye and mind of him 
who witnesses and hears it. And when Reality happens to be 
a fragment so vast, wide-spreading and intricate, and of such 
long duration as the preliminaries of my Ballet, it needs, 
perchance, an eye accustomed to Eternities to take in the con- 
nections and put two and two together. To you, who are a kind 
of artist, it means nothing; since you, dear Clio, take no 
interest in the slow accumulation of cause and eflEect which is 
called Fate. The world's microscopic buUding by the heaping 
up of corpse on corpse of limestone-insects in the ocean depths, 
and their ages-long upheaval into Alpine ranges, is nothing to 
you. And similarly with men's affairs. Why, even my 
Ballet, as I heard you recording it, was not the real thing, 
though you thought it was. 7 hat catastrophe was long indeed, 
horrible, hideous, wonderful, heroic, more than you guessed; 
and far more really dramatic than all the fireworks and antics 
you eloquently described. But it was also frivolous in part, 
and eminently boring. Reality is boring, nine-tenths of it, and 
therefore unrecorded. I own I wanted to try how much you 
might be able to discern ; that wasn't fair on an old friend, 
perhaps. Forgive me, therefore ; and to make amends for thus 
abusing your patience on false pretences, let me manipulate 
Reality so that you can take it in. Look! I will change the. 
gearing of my magic apparatus ; make the recorded acts and 
words, which were scattered, interrupted, or too long drawn 
out, gather up into scenes intelligible to a distinguished critic 
of the drama like you. I will precipitate the action, omit 
details, isolate essentials, typify the gestures, and parody the 
words. I will, to please you, transform Reality, which seems to 
have no point, into bare Caricature, which has. Here is a little 
selection from pre-war years. Look, Clio, and listen! 

Satan begins taking discs out of a drawer and inserts one 
into the gramophone. He continues pulling out and 
putting in discs all through the performance. 

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Satan. Now, my dear Muse of History, we will begin with 
a little selection of scenes leading up to my Ballet. I am really 
ashamed that the emptiness of my poor green room should 
oblige you and your appreciative friends to remain standing. 
But you will see and hear only the better. 

Jhe cinema picture steadies itself into a newspaper office^ 
with two men at a table. Oney rather vulgar and unkempty 
pours out a brandy and soda for the other^ who is very well 
groomed and well mannered, 
I ST Voice {vulgar and jocular). Of course, one doesn't expect 
you official gentlemen ever to know what concerns them. 
What's that old definition of a diplomat, eh ? Jamais rien vuy 
jamais rien suy jamais rien pu. ... So I won't waste my valu- 
able time in making you guess what your principal ally is 
engaged in doing at this particular present moment. 

2ND Voice {weVrbredy hesitating. My principal ally . . . 
you mean . . .? 

1ST Voice. Yes, my good man, your principal ally — ^your 
dear, devoted ally. 

2ND Voice. Well, and what is he doing ? 

1ST Voice. Doing ? Doing behind your back, or rather 
under your nose ! Why, he^s busy burying the hatchet with the 
other chaps. What do you say to that, eh f 

2ND Voice. Do you mean those people of Ogreland ? 
Good heavens, that can never happen! You must be misin- 
formed, my dear Editor. 

1ST Voice. I tell you it's happening at this very moment. 
He's going to open his money market to them. Now will you 
believe ? " Peace all roundy or the European happy family.*^ 
That's what's being arranged behind your back. Perhaps that 
will suit your policy, eh ? Only please remember, my good 
fellow, that if you suddenly discover that the Balance of Power 
has gone to pot, it won't have been my fault! 

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2ND Voice (more than ever well-bred). Good heavens! Good 
heavens! . . . You must have been misinformed. 

The gramophone wheezes ; Satan changes the Use, 7he 

cinema shows a bourgeois house in the French provinces. 

A table covered with oilcloth ; a father and son having 

lunchy napkins in their buttonholes ; also mother. 

Son. But, mon pere, if you are so sure that the Alsatians 

are dying to be reunited to us, it is surely your duty to fight for 

their liberation ? 

Father. Fight! Parlez-en d votre aise^ mon petit. You 
weren't there in 1870 ; I was. 

Son. Yes, and you fought to defend Paris against the 
Reactionaries — ^you were a Communard, thank heaven! 

Mother. There's no need to rake up that. That's what 
comes of your frequenting those horrible Socialists — ^all atheists, 
as M. l'Abb6 tells me. 

Father. The Commune ? One fights for liberty when one 
is a boy, and for order and property when one's a father. 

Son., And one arranges to fight for order and property 
against the Russian people, I suppose, when they implore one 
not to side with their tyrants and lend them money. 

Father. What tyrants ? The Tsar is our ally. And if 
we ever get back Alsace, sacre bleu ! it'll be thanks to him. 

Son. I thought you just now said you wouldn't fight to 
liberate Alsace ? 

Father. No more I would. But if someone else were to 
fight those dirty Germans, we should get it back. 

Son. And for that you are lending money to the Tsar, who 
treats his own subjects, let alone Poles and Finns, a thousand 
times worse than die dirty Germans treat Alsace. 

Father. My son, my money is mine, and I am the sole 
judge how to invest it. And when you come to my age you 

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will thank me for being a reasonable and peace-loving man, not 
a cerveUe briilee thinking of Russians and Poles, and Alsatians 
with their ridiculous accent. 

Son. Then why not bury the hatchet and leave the Alsa- 
tians to settle with Germany ? 

Father. My son, I am ashamed of you ! But I know that 
is only the pacifist rubbish you learn at Socialist meetings, aifd 
in the absurd rags of fellows like Jaurte and Sembat. Sapristi / 
Is one or is one not French, I wonder ? So never let me hear a 
word against Russians or the Russian loan, which is guaranteed, 
practically, by our Government. 

The gramophone wheezes and the screen becomes blank, 
Satan changes the disc, The ciruma shows the committee- 
room of an International Armament Trust ; directors^ 
some of them visibly ex-military and ex-naval officers^ 
speaking with various foreign accents. 

Chairman. I regret extremely having to tell you, my dear 
Rear-Admiral, that this Board has not re-elected you for the 
coming year. The fact is that ever since your last^ daughter 
made such a very good marriage, it has seemed to us that you 
no longer display the usual energy in dealing with your former 
naval colleagues. 

Ex-Rear-Admiral {stiffening himself). Sir, allow me to tell 
this Committee quite plainly that what you refer to has no sort 
of connection with my daughter's marriage. What you asked 
of me about obtaining that those ships, built only five years 
ago, should be scrapped, is a thing I could not honourably 
undertake. There is a limit to what an honest man can do. 
Those ships were perfectly up-to-date, in my opinion. 

A Director (German accent). You forget that unless they 
were scrapped and new ones ordered it became extremely 
difficult for me to insist on my ex-naval colleagues in Ogreland 
ordering new ships. There was nothing on which to base an 
agitation in my country. 

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Chairman. Let me assure you, my dear Admiral, that our 
Committee is most grateful for your past services ; and, of 
course, now all your daughters are so well married and you are 
yourself a widower, you must evidently please yourself in such 

Ex-Rear-Admiral. Oh, but . . . the fact is . . . Pm 
going to marry again. 

Chairman. In that case I have no doubt this Committee 
will be delighted to re-elect so valuable a member a couple of 
years hence. 

(Exit Ex-Rear-Admiral.) 

Chairman. And now we had better take this opportunity 
of examining the expenses of the last mission to Great Bearland 
and the Far East. General, I regret to express this Board's 
surprise at the magnitude of the sums which you have spent in 
this work. 

Ex-General (Russian accent). What, you insinuate . . • 

Chairman. We insinuate nothing. We merely point to, 
the bill presented for your working expenses. 

Ex-General. Gentlemen, I can assure you — ;V vous jure 
parole d^honneur — ^that I am seriously out of pocket on that 
transaction. The Prime Minister suddenly doubled his claims 
when he understood how much we required the concession for 
those new steelworks in my country. He went so far as to 
threaten to hint to the Government of Ogreland that it was all 
bluflE, and that they needn't set up similar additional works in 
reply. He had the knife at our throats. Hardly had I settled 
with him — and most satisfactorily, you will agree — ^when up 
came two Grand Dukes wanting loans, and the Archimandrite 
Simeon, who has the Monarch's ear, and was horribly insistent. 
Indeed, I still have to deliver a diamond riviere I had to 
promise to a lady very influential in all armament matters. 
Parole d^honneur^ I am a ruined man if you dismiss me, and a 
ruined man may become a desperate one. 

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Chairman. We will look once more into your business, be 
assured, General, Let us pass on. 

Levantine Director. Have you remarked, gentlemen, 
that those Socialist ruffians have again proposed at their 
International Congress to bring pressure on the various Govern- 
ments to nationalize all armament industries ? 

French Director. The chief Socialist leaders shall be 
given subordinate seats in their respective Ministries. We 
know how to deal with Socialists and turn them into first-dass 
patriots, don't we i 

German Director. Perhaps in your country. In my view, 
We want a good European war to break up these precious 
pacifists, and put the rest of them in prison. 

English Director. All very fine, but Pm not convinced 
that actual: war is really to our advantage ; it would, of course, 
represent a rapid niomentary turnover of capital. But if it 
lasted too long it might result in universal bankruptcy and 

French Director. Bah! The victor would always have 
to arm against the vanquished, and a nation is never too 
bankrupt for that. 

American Director. I agree that, on the whole, and so 
long as we keep on changing the fashion sufficiently often and 
making these nations compete sufficiently, armed peace is 
really more to our advantage. 

Chairman. Besides, it will, of course, lead to war In a 
natural and thoroughgoing way. So / am for armed peace . . . 

The gramophone wheezes. Satan inserts a disc. The 
cinema shows breakfast at a vicarage, 

VicAR^s Mother. My dear boy, donH ask me to invest in 
the "Small Arms and High Explosives Ltd." instead of the 
" Canadian Apple Growers." You see, I love apples, and I 
can't bear war. 

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Vicar. But, mother dear, armaments prevent war. 

Mother. Still, you can't say all those bayonets and shells 
aren't meant to kill men. 

Vicar. I am a priest ; nobody can kill Pte, 

Mother. No, thank God! But all men aren't priests, and 
all men are mothers' sons, and they may be killed if we keep 
paying people to make these horrid things. 

Vicar. Well, mother dear, do you suppose the Bishop 
hasn't thougjit all that out ? He's got ever so many shares. 
And, then, there is the Archdeacon. 

Mother. The Archdeacon — that saint ! Are you suu ? 

Vicar. It's he who sent me the prospectus. He's got all 
his money in it. 

Mother. Well, dear boy, I suppose — ^if it's good enough 
for the Archdeacon. (She sighs.) One mustn't be sdf- 
righteous, I suppose. Of course, I should have preferred the 
apples . . . 

Vicar. You shall buy tons of Canadian apples out of your 
High Explosives dividends, mother! 

The gramophone wheezes and the screen becomes blank. 
Satan changes the disc, The cinema now represents an 
absurdly furnished drawing-room in a modern hotel. 
Two elderly gentlemen smoking cigars on a divan. 

1ST Voice. There is nothing in the world my country and 
Government would Hke better than European peace based 
upon our friendship. 

2ND Voice. A friendship between us and European peace 
based upon it is the greatest desideratum of my Government 
and country. 

1ST Voice. But, then, you have allies . . . 

2ND Voice, But, then, you have an entente . . . 

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1ST Voice. Oh, never for purposes of aggression. 

2ND Voice. Oh, only for purposes of self-defence. 

1ST Voice. What is aggression ? 

2ND Voice. What is self-defence ? 

I8T Voice. What is an alliance ? 

2ND Voice. What is an entente ? 

1ST Voice. Ah, my dear Excellency, you are well aware 
that, as philosophers tell us, there are many important things, 
like Truth, Beauty, Goodness, which no man can define, but 
all men can recognize. Who, for instance, shall give us a 
precise definition of what constitutes a muddle ? Yet it may 
happen to all of us to find ourselves in one. 

7he gramophone wheezes, Satan changes the disc. The 
cinema represents the deck of a yacht. The same two 
elderly gentlemen are walking up and down in appropriate 
garments, smoking cigarettes. 

IST Voice. I think I may say that my Government and 
country would be delighted to hand over to you the chief 
harbours belonging to the Queen of Sheba. 

2ND Voice. I feel convinced that my Government and 
country would make no difficulties about your Protectorate 
of North Xanadu. 

1ST Voice. I think I am expressing the cordial pleasure 
with which both countries would divide up the regions of the 
River Alph. 

2ND Voice. In fact, nothing could be more remarkable 
than the way in which the interests of both countries coincide. 

1ST Voice. All my Government and country would ask is 
an assurance that you cease increasing your Navy for the next 
ten years from now. 

2ND Voice. Oh, but my Government has just undertaken 
to increase its Navy during a period of ten years. 

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1ST Voice. Then we shall have to build three keels to your 

2ND Voice. Then we shall have to demand a new military 

A slight "pause, They walk the length of the deck. 

1ST Voice. How delightful it is to realize that your Ex- 
cellency is a countryman of the illustrious thinker who wrote 
the first Treatise on Perpetual Peace ! 

2ND Voice. I cannot tell you, Excellency, how eagerly I 
am looking forward to your elucidation of Hegel's principle 
of Universal Reconciliation. 

1ST Voice. Ah, yes, Hegel's Fersohnungy the Reconciliation 
of Contradictions. That is at the bottom of philosophy, to my 
humble thinking. 

2ND Voice. The Reconciliation of Contradictions as the 
guiding principle in history! What a depth in that notion! 
Which reminds me : Does your Government happen to have 
any engagements besides those we are aware of ? 

1ST Voice. That depends upon what you are aware of ; but 
surely your Excellency must be aware of everything that is in 
the least degree interesting. Yes, yes ! Versdhnung ! What 
a wonderful principle! Versohn . . . 

The gramophone wheezes. The screen becomes blank. 
Satan inserts another disc. The cinema shows the interior 
of a sugar refinery in foreign parts ; through the window 
a group of tall chimneys are belching black smoke into a 
withered pine and a mediteval belfry. The place is flagged 
and garlanded^ and a brass band is braying at the foot of a 
staircase among a crowd of sickly and ragged workpeople. 
This is in honour of a Minister who has been visiting the 
factory in company with several manufacturers in close- 
buttoned frockcoatSy with lavender kid gloves stuck in the 
breast ; also a General covered with goldy a prelate witA 

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purple buttons dozvn his fronts and a professor in spectacles^ 
manuscript bulging his pockets. On a table^ along with 
cigars^ is a tray of thick sandwiches and tall glasses of a 
steaming beverage. 

The Minister {while the band plays downstairs). Let me 
congratulate you on the excellence of your punch. It gives a 
most favourable impression of your sugar, my dear Baron. 
May I examine a lump ? {fakes one from the sugar-basin and 
examines it carefully through his eyeglass.) Ha! beautifully 
crystalline — a credit to our country! 

1ST Manufacturer. No, Excellency, this really is cane- 
sugar, not beetroot, as better suited for punch. . . . Our own 
sugar, owing to the chemical properties of our soil, is rather 
deficient ... I mean, it has none of that cloying sweetness 
which obliges one to use cane-sugar with so much discretion 
for ordinary purposes. 

The Minister. Ah! I quite understand. {Raises his glass.) 
I drink to our beetroot-sugar industry, which, thanks to the 
wonderful commercial genius of this distinguished syndicate 
— ^and, I may add, the fostering care of an enlightened Govern- 
ment, which knows how to temper theoretical Free Trade 
with practical Protection — ^has filled this once sylvan district 
with tall chimneys and given work in abundance — ^I am told 
wages rise to fourteen shillings weekly in good years — to 
thousands of industrious families who were languishing in the 
monotony of a corn-grower's life. 

Everyone bows and clinks glasses. At a sign of the chief 
manufacturer the crowd shouts " Long live our illustrious 
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce ! " and disperses. 
7he gentlemen^ after much bowing, take seats and go on 
drinking and smoking huge cigars. 

1ST Manufacturer. Well, my dear Minister, you have 
now seen the miracles which beetroot-sugar has accomplished ; 

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the desert, as the Prophet says, has blossomed like a rose! 
{He waves towards the chimneys^ which are emitting a very 
sickening smoke. Everyone claps) Well, what my fellow- 
directors and myself beg you now to say to our Government 
is that all this splendid progress is threatened by a very 
serious deficit which is staring our shareholders in the face. 
Fostered by wise Government measures which protected our 
infant manufacture from alien competition, our beet-sugar 
industry has attracted so much capital and labour that we 
have increased our plant and production, and now find our- 
selves with vast quantities of sugar which the country, I grieve 
to say, refuses to absorb with the celerity needed for our 
dividends. . . . 

Another Manufacturer. What our illustrious Baron 
says applies almost exactly to the steel industry, which has 
developed so miraculously, considering our country's total 
lack of coal and iron. 

Another Manufacturer. The cotton industry is not in 
quite so bad a way yet, but the high prices at which, thanks to 
wise Governmental fostering, we have been able to sell our 
wares by the exclusion of foreign ones, is resulting in a remark- 
able contraction of the demand. People are going abbut in 
rags, as your Excellency doubtless notices. 

The Minister {getting uncomfortable). Well, my dear 
Baron — ^for a grateful country honours you by the title of 
Baron of Sugar, Baron of Steel, and Baron of Cotton — ^why 
not sell outside the country ? 

The Manufacturers look at each other aghast, 

1ST Manufacturer. But sugar is only a quarter the price 
in other countries. Our climate is unfavourable, 

2ND Manufacturer. But I had explained that we have 
neither iron nor coal, and that a spade or scythe costs four 
times as much in our country 48 abroad. 

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3RD Manufacturer. You can get six English cotton shirts 
for the price of one of ours! 

The Minister. In that case, I really don't see what I can 
do for you! 

1ST Manufacturer {solemnly). Sir, this illustrious geo- 
grapher here will inform you that there exist, not very far 
from our seas and in close contact with some of those Colonies 
which spread our civilization, a Nation of Negroes . . , 

Professor {bows and pulls MS. out of his pocket), Negroes 
now subjects of the Queen of Sheba, but whom monolithic 
monuments there show to have been under the influence of 
our ancestors of the later Stone Age ; moreover, pronouncedly 
Brachycephalous and . . . 

1ST Manufacturer {pushes the Professor aside). Quite 
so, quite so. Our illustrious geographer was going to add that 
these negroes . . . 

Professor. . . . Brachycephalous, please remember, and 
possessing monolithic monuments . . . 

1ST Manufacturer. . . . Already consume many thousand 
tons of cane-sugar from the West Indies . . . 

2ND Manufacturer. . . . Import a considerable supply of 
steel and iron implements from England . , . 

3RD Manufacturer. . . . Clothe themselves, however 
scantily, in cotton goods from India . . • 

The Minister. Ah! 

I ST Manufacturer. Well, sir, these negroes . . . 

Professor. . . . Distinctly Brachycephalous, and con- 
nected with our ancestors by these monolithic monuments . , . 

1ST Manufacturer. . . . These n^roes must be made to 
eat, or at least buy, our sugar, 

2ND Manufacturer. They must use our iron and sted 
implements, and, if possible, our steel rails. 

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3RD Manufacturer. They must clothe themselves, so far 
as the climate allows of any clothing, in our cotton goods. 

The Minister. Do you expect me td order your Brachy . . . 
negroes to transfer their custom to you ? 

Professor. Allow me to answer his Excellency. Tliese 
negroes, being, as I said, Brachycephalous and closely con- 
nected by their monuments with our own earliest civilization, 
are ardently desirous of being reunited to our ancient — I might 
say primaeval — Empire. 

IST Manufacturer. And once this desire is fulfilled, they 
will naturally benefit by all the progress we have since 
achieved. They will participate in our administration and be 
shielded by our laws ; and, of course, our beneficent system 
of commercial and industrial protection . . . 

General. They will enrol themselves, or be conscripted, 
enthusiastically under our victorious banners, and form a 
contingent the more important that their birth-rate runs to 
thirty or forty children apiece. 

Prelate. They will abandon their idolatry and embrace 
our pure and peaceful religion, abjuring the slave trade. 

The Minister. But what you propose means a war of 
annexation ; and besides the Queen of Sheba, who at present 
owns these negroes, I am informed that every other nation, 
except the one which already supplies them with necessaries 
under a mistaken Free Trade regime, has earmarked them 
similarly for annexation. 

General. But we can conquer them with next to no 
expense or loss of time from our Colonies. 

Prelate. But the Barefooted Friars have already bought 
ijaamense tracts of land among them for their missionary 
schools, and our pious Clerical Banks have mortgaged other 
vast tracts from their chiefs. 

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The Minister. But all this will embroil us with our neigh- 
bours. ... It means new alliances, increased armaments. 
It may end in a European war . . . 

Professor. . . . Unless, Excellency, it be made to coincide 
with a European war . . . 

General. It is the simplest way of enlarging our military 
eflFectives without raising our own conscription to five years. 

Prelate. It is the simplest way of giving additional souN 
to Christ. 

1ST Manufacturer. It is the only way to save the beet- 
root-sugar industry. 

2ND Manufacturer. And the iron and steel industry. 

JRD Manufacturer. And the cotton industry. 

The Minister. Not so fast! It isn't my business, you 
know. I am a man of peace! I can only undertake to lay 
your suggestions before my colleagues in some future Cabinet 

Professor. Pray remember, Excellency, that these negroes 
are Brachycephalous, and that their monolithic monuments 
proclaim them to have originally belonged, if not to our race, 
at all events to our Stone Age culture. 

1ST Manufacturer. It may be more to the point if your 
Excellency will lay before your colleagues of the Cabinet that, 
not only our shareholders have votes, but, thanks to the 
progress of democracy in our enlightened country, every one 
of our thousands of operatives enjoys the same privilege. 
And if our industries, and especially our sugar industry . . . 

2ND Manufacturer. . . . And our steel industiy . . . 

3RD Manufacturer. . . . And our cotton industry . . . 

IST Manufacturer. . . . Are not provided with a new 
debouchi protected by our flag from alien competition^ why, 
all those millions of votes will go to the Socialists! 

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The Minister (hurriedly). I will give your message, 
gentlemen. (7he band plays,) 

The gramophone wheezes. 

The Muse. De-lightful! 

Satan smiles^ and inserts a new disc,^ 

Satan. I'm so pleased you like it so far. We're now coming 
to something more mouvementiy as you would say, dear Qio. 

The cinema represents a palace garden full of allegorical 
statues and triumphal arches. A Monarch is walking 
up and down in company with two or three Generals. An 
Equerry presents a telegram to the Monarchy who^ after 
opening it negligently^ gives a tremendous start. 

1ST Voice. Good God! Neint unglaubHch! Gentlemen, 
of what do you think that this despatch acquaints me ? My 
venerable cousin's young cousin, the Heir-Apparent of the 
most Ancient and most Christian Empire of Feliz-Nube, has 
jufit been murdered near the railway station of a small town 
in a disaffected district he was graciously visiting. 

Several Voices. What! Prince Balthasar-Augustin ? 
The hope of Felix-Nube ? Murdered! Dead! Your Majesty 
does not say so! 

1ST Voice (much distressed). Murdered t Shot dead with 
his — ^although, of course, only morganatic — Consort. Tlie 
heir of so great a Monarchy! Good Lord! Good Lord, 
gentlemen, what— -wA^f, I ask you — ^what is this world coming 

2NP Voice (bluntly). Coming to, your Majesty ? Why, to 
the very thing most urgently needed for the world's moral 

3RD Voice. This truly regrettable and most atrociously 
criminal event may yet — once we have brought our tribute of 
tears to the noble and lamented Prince — may yet — I say it 

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subject to the All Highest's correction — ^turn out the greatest 
stroke of luck your Empire has had for many years. 

1ST Voice {extremely perturbed). Luck ? Have you no 
sense of moral fitness, my dear General ? Don^t you under- 
stand that it is a Prince who has been murdered ? — a Croum 
Prince^ a member of one of the most august and sacred 
reigning families, an Heir-Apparent, almost on the steps of a 
throne. Moreover, my first cousin. Alas, alas! that heaven 
should have been pleased to send us to live in these godless 
democratic days! 

3RD Voice. Undoubtedly a dreadful trial for all right- 
minded and pious men! But your Majesty's grief should not 
blind the All Highest's perspicacious eyes to the fact that this 
providentiaDy timed crime affords the opportunity of making 
an end, once and for always, to all this unmanly and dangerous 
democratic twaddle. 

1ST Voice. General, what do you mean ? You seem 
shockingly insensible to the horror of political assassination. 

2ND Voice {solemnly). The medicine for political assassina- 
tion, and for all Socialistic and irreligious unrest, your Majesty, 
is the ancient purge and tonic vouchsafed by Heaven for a 
sickly world : War I 

The gramophone wheezes. 

The Muse. Capital! First-rate! 

The cinema shows a veranda by the riverside. People in 
flannels at lunchy also ladies. 

1ST Voice. I reaUy must tell you and our si spirituelle 
hostess a very funny thing which occurred this morning. It 
is really unheard-of and most amusing, and confirms all our 
opinions of certain persons. Well, then, at ten o'clock, while 
I was finishing my dejeuner d Panglaise^ who should come but 
my secretary, with a face a yard long, to tell me that six 

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months ago you had made a naval engagement with our 
amiable common neighbours. I told him he must be dreaming, 
for my Government had never told me a word about it. Or 
is it possible that my enemies have left me in the dark on 
purpose ? Do tell me! 

2ND Voice (laughing immoderately). Tliat is a good joke! 
That old story! You are to be congratulated on your secre- 
tary, my dear Excellency. Why, it's in Hansard! Tliere was 
a question in the House, and I duly answered it. Now I want 
you to try this vulgar beverage which is sacred to river- 
parties in this country. It is called Shandy-gaff! 

1ST Voice. Shandy-gaff! Ah, so! This is Shandy-gaff 
which I have read about in your great novelist Dickens, Do 
let me taste it! You know I adore all local customs, every- 
thing that has the goilt du terroir , , . 

The gramophone wheezes. The cinema represents an 
Imperial wardrobe^ with rows and rows of different 
uniforms hanging in open presses. The Monarch is 
walking up and down^ attended by his staff and by an 
Ambassador in mutton-chop whiskers. The Monarch 
occasionally stops and pulls out the sleeve or trouser-leg of 
one of the uniforms and looks at it very gravely. 

1ST Voice. Why, I have kept Europe at peace for twenty- 
five years. 

2ND Voice (the Ambassador). The very reason, so please 
your Majesty, for not keeping Europe at peace a twenty-sixth. 
Let me implore your Majesty not to become imbued with those 
pacifist illusions which, however creditable to the idealism of 
your Imperial heart, merely prevent your Majesty seeing the 
real dangers of the present situation. The great White Bear . • . 

1ST Voice. Dear old Nikky! Now that's a pacifist and 
idealist, if you like! {Laughs.) There's nothing to fear from 
his side. His family and mine have always adored each other 

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au fond ; and, after all, we, and of course your venerable Master 
of Felix-Nube, are the only real Monarchs still left in the world. 

2ND Voice. Your Majesty's dear Nikky may adore you as 
much as you choose, but it's diflFerent with us in Felix-Nube. 
His entourage is bent upon breaking up our Monarchy for the 
benefit of his little vassals. 

1ST Voice. Allans done! My dear Ambassador! Why, 
Nikky's entourage is composed of monks and archimandrites. 

2ND Voice. And behind these are his Heads of Police, who 
know that the only way of staving oflF a new and final revolu- 
tion — ^your Majesty knows there is a general strike threatened 
in Hyperborea — is to embark upon a Holy War. 

1ST Voice. Not a bad idea, either. It might be the way 
to stop all these confounded Socialists. Though, of course, 
dear Excellency, / have only to say a word, and all my 
Socialists will recognize that I represent all that is sane and 
practical in Socialism. They would all rally round my 
victorious, and in all essentials eminently modern and pro- 
gressive, banner. 

2ND Voice. No doubt, no dcmbt. But if your Majesty wiU 
allow me to return to my previous remark, your country and 
mine are encircled by enemies, and there can be no doubt that 
the great White Bear . . . Then there is our amiable Cisalpine 
ally getting a little tired of its famous tour de valse with your 
Majesty, and making eyes at partners on the other side! 

1ST Voice. Yes, the ungrateful little baggage! And we 
who have given it one province after another and enabled it 
to have a far better army and navy than it ever wanted! All 
the same, our dear little Machiavcls know which side their 
bread is buttered, and my Cisalpine cousin has just made me 
a Colonel of his Hundred Halberdiers. Here, you see, is the 
uniform, not quite worthy of the ancient artistic fame of that 
country ; when I think what a design for a helmet, real 
Renaissance, but quite practical, / could have made them! 

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But you were saying, my dear Ambassador? {7 he Monarch 
glances over his shoulder at a pier-glass and adjusts his moustache^ 
then continues turning over the uniforms.) You were, I think, 
saying . . . 

2ND Voice. Then there is the perfidious Leviathan building 
three keels to your one. It has, moreover, engaged to defend 
the coasts of Marianne, and entered into an informal agreement 
with the White Bear. 

I8T Voice. Oh, Leviathan is all right, my dear Excellency I 
They love me because I give them such good advice about 
Colonial warfare and the laying-out of public promenades, and 
because I was so attentive to my venerable ancestress ; I 
never failed to send her flowers on her birthday. Besides, they 
have a Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform Ministry, and their 
hands full with those odd Mavourneen people whom I had to 
lunch here lately. The proof is that they have just made me 
Colonel of their Mountain Artillery — a becoming uniform for 
a Sovereign who happens to have a leg, though a little chilly. 
(The Monarch caresses a kilt in one of the open wardrobes,) 

2ND Voice. All the more reason, your Majesty, for choosing 
this moment to have done, once and for all, with that alliance 
between the White Bear and Marianne. We could smash 
them in a week. 

IST Voice. But I don't like war, only preparedness for war, 
which is necessary to brace a noble nation's spirits — at least, 
I don't like war more than a member of my family always 
must like war. Of course, the lamented Prince Balthasar- 
Augustin was a very pleasant, well-informed man, even if he 
did marry beneath his rank, though Pm bound to say — and I 
said it to my wife— that the lady was quite presentable. But 
it really is no business of mine if he got lumself murdered. And 
Felix-Nube is, luckily, well off for Heirs not quite so apparent, 
but quite ready to put in an appearance-— eh, my dear Am- 
bassador ? {Laughs at his own joke) 

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2ND Voice {desperately). Sir, sir, remember that when you 
have allowed the White Bear and your Cisalpine cousin to eat 
up Felix-Nube, you will be left without a friend in the world. 
You can't ally yourself, come now, with these preposterous 
cut-throat little nations whom Felix-Nubc is supposed to 
oppress. A word in time, your Majesty! Your Monarchy 
requires Felix-Nube as much as Felix-Nube requires you! 

IST Voice. Require you ? For what, I wonder ? Against 
the toy militia of Leviathan and its Liberal shopkeepers, who 
will never make war, least of all in favour of a barbarous 
Asiatic despotism and against a scion of their Royal house ? 
Or against those degenerates of Marianne, with their most 
un-Christian two-child regime ? No, no, don't let's exaggerate^ 
my dear Ambassador. 

2ND Voice {with vehement solemnity). Sir, let not history 
have to record that when the call came from on High, to save 
from destruction the most venerable throne of all Europe, it 
happened that the greatest living Monarch, the mystic Grail 
Kling, consecrated to be God's right hand, hesitated for a 
moment. ... I implore your Majesty's forgiveness for my 
unseemly vehemence. Love for my august, heartbroken 
master has caused me to overstep . . . And that reminds me : 
What message shall I take my aged Sovereign from your 
Majesty ? 

1ST Voice {rhetorically^ with a fine gesture). Tell him that 
whensoever God's mandate comes, then will the Grail King . . . 
{Interrupts himself and continues hurriedly) In short, please 
say all sorts of kind things to the good old man, and tdl him 
that my Consort and myself will send a little tribute of flowers 
to put upon the poor Crown Prince's coffin. And now I really 
must be oflE to refresh my mind Dn my new yacht. Also I have 
to say a few encouraging words to my valiant U-boats. Good- 

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The gramophone wheezes. Satan changes the disc. The 
cinema shows a room in the War Office of Ogreland. 
The Ambassador with mutton-chop whiskers in private 
converse with two or three Generals. 

Ambassador. He really is impossible to deal with, excuse 
my saying so. I thought I had moved him a little by playing 
on the religious-romantic, the Wagner, stop. I went so far as 
to compare him with the Grail King. But there it is ; one's 
always up against that . . . well ! that extraordinary dislike 
he has to bloodshed. 

1ST General. Poor fellow! It's quite genuine. It's a 
constitutional idiosyncrasy. Some people feel like that about 
oysters ; a Field-Marshal I once knew couldn't be in the same 
room with them. But, believe me, dear Ambassador, he'll be 
all right once the band strikes up and there's a call for prancing 
and eloquence. 

2ND General. Only let him be safe out of our way for the 
next few days. I'll answer for him once the die is cast. 

Ambassador. Once the die is cast. But who is to cast it ? 

IST General. Why, Felix-Nube, to be sure. 

Ambassador. Will you undertake to get it regarded by 
your people as a casus foederis ? 

IST General. Oh, well, a casus foederis is going a little too 
far, our alliance being purely defensive. Rather let us say a 
blank cheque. We offer to exert our influence with you in 
favour of peace. Then we turn our backs — do you see ? 

Ambassador. And when we look round, will you promise 
to be standing there . . . well, in your celebrated shining 
armour ? {The door has opened and the Monarch enters) Oh, 
I was not aware that your Majesty was honouring our little 
chat with your presence. . . . Indeed, I imagined your 
Majesty was off on your cruise. . . • 

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Monarch. So I should be if they hadn't made a trifling 
mistake in executing my design for a Viking's uniform. But 
what were you saying about shining armour, eh ? 

Ambassador. Only alluding to the Grail King, your 
Majesty. Only remarking how conducive that immortal 
remark of your Majesty's had been to keep the peace of 

Monarch. Ha ! My words are really as persuasive as my 
guns ! Good-bye for the moment, and my love to my aged 

1ST General. Once he's well out of the way you just 
proceed with your well-known moderation and discretion in 
the matter of that ultimatum. 

Ambassador. Do you mean, as it says on the Kodaks, 
" just press the button ? " 
2ND General (laughing). " And we'll do the rest ! " 

fhe gramophone wheezes, Satan changes the disc. The 
cinematograph shows a library. Two Statesmen^ one 
of whom we have seen previously^ pretending to play chess* 

The Other Statesman. I fear, then, that your mission 
must be considered a failure ? 

The Usual Statesman. By no means a failure, since it has 
cleared away all doubts and, if the situation develop, all 
hesitation. It was no good offering them concessions In the 
Queen of Sheba's territory, or anywhere else; no good threaten- 
ing to increase our armaments if they persisted in increasing 
theirs. They say they want peace ; but it isn't what we 
consider peace. In similar cases the only possible way to recon- 
cile conflicting contingencies is for us also to offer peace, but 
prepare for war. I may say with a clear conscience that 
throughout my whole career I have done my best to proceed in 
both these contrary directions. 

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The Other Statesman. You have, indeed ; and I'm sure 
the world will never forget your services. But, meanwhile, all 
this preparing for war while trying for peace costs a devil of a lot ; 
it might almost be described as spelling ruin, let alone unpopu- 
larity. Our people, who can't be expected to understand the 
underlying philosophy of this policy, are getting bored with 
this endless building and scrapping of expensive navies. This 
para-hellum policy leaves our party with neither money nor 
Idsure for the vast internal reforms to which it is pledged. 
There is education, housing, land tenure, endowment for 
research, baby culture, and the reform of the House of Lords. 
. . . But how can we turn to any of these things so long as 
those ruffians go on piling up armies and navies, and oblige us 
to addle our brains about Budgets ? Upon my word, this 
armed peace, these hostile camps of alliances, are worse than 

The Usual Statesman. Worse than war ? 

The Other Statesman. Oh, well, of course one doesn't 
mean such remarks to be taken literally ! Of course, war is the 
most unparalleled of calamities, the most unthinkable horror ; 
indeed, one which no decent mind can bear to contemplate. 
Still, one can't help sometimes just thinking how delightfully 
peacefid it would be if only one had made an end of it all. 

The Usual Statesman. Do you mean — ahem! — made an 
end to them ? 

The Other Statesman. Oh, well, perhaps not to them ; 
indeed, certainly not to them, I'm sure this country wouldn't 
wish to make an end to so much as a fly . . . I mean . . • 
make an end to their — ^shall we say ? — militarism. Once that 
were thoroughly cleared away, why one might get rid of the 
Balance of Power, that . . . what was it Bright called it? 
something idol ... ah, yes, foul idol. I always did think 
Bright's language was sometimes a little excessive. One might 
have a Concert of Nations— of Free Nations 1 A peaceful and 
democratic world! 

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The Usual Statesman. Ah, yes, the lion and the lamb, as 
Isaiah recommended in such a highly practical spirit ! That 
idea is, indeed, at the bottom of all my political philosophy ; 
and, I may say, of all my practical efforts. The reconciliation 
of the two conflicting ideas, Peace and War ! 

The Other Statesman. It is, indeed, the basis of all true 
statesmanship. Only how to do it ? 

The Usual Statesman. My dear Lord, this country has 
been in no doubt about how to do ity quite half a dozen times 
In its career, and to its eternal credit and the salvation of man- 
kind. Take Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon. There is no 
doubt that, in the last case especially, we gave peace — ^the 
Peace of Vienna — ^to Europe. 

The Other Statesman. True. We did it in all those cases 
by crushing the other party. And that, unhappily, requires 
war. And war is a horror which no decent man can so much 
as think of ; and which this country, and especially the 
liberals in this country, would regard as an inexpiable crime. 

The Usual Statesman. Not if the oth«r people begin. 

The Other Statesman. To be sure — {he starts very 
slightly). That hadn't occurred to me. 

The Usual Statesman. Quern Deus vult . . . What is the 
exact quotation about the gods making people mad when they 
want to undo them ? 

The Other Statesman. I fear my Latin has got rather 
rusty ; but I grasp the meaning, although I can't quite parse 
it. . . . 

The Usual Statesman. In the same way I often think 
there is a deeper meaning — an ethical and political meaning — 
in the information given us by Scripture that the Lord hardened 
the heart of Pharaoh. . . . 

The Other Statesman. Wasn't that just a bit rough on 
Pharaoh ? And there were a lot of plagues and massacres 

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which, though quite legitimate then, would shock our modern 
conscience. A certain disregard to increased human suffer- 
ing. • . . 

The Usual Statesman. My dear old friend, allow me to 
remind you that ethics, which is the science of good and evil, 
has nothing to do with increase or decrease of suffering. 
Ethics takes cognisance only of Responsibilities. 

The Other Statesman. Is that so ? Well, of course, war 
undoubtedly does increase suffering, and in so far is a most 
shocking thing to the modern conscience. One couldn*t possibly 
make oneself responsible for it, could one ? 

The Usual Statesman {with a deprecating gesture^ looking up 
from the chessboard). Of course not. But if it were forced 
upon one. . . . 

The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows a Ministerial 
smoking^oom. Two Diplomatists engaged in conversa- 
tion — one like a very oldy thin racehorse^ the other like a 
very podgy pony. 

I ST Voice. I can only repeat that your Government need 
not be in the least degree nervous. We cannot, indeed, com- 
mit ourselves to anything so definite as a promise, but, while 
keeping our hands completely free, we can assure your Excel- 
lency of our hearty co-operation. 

2ND Voice.- But, mon cher colUgue^ you must allow me to 
point out that ... if we are to . . we really require • . . 
Enfiny vous admetteZy n^est-ce pas ? 

1ST Voice. One moment ! They want me on the telephone. 
WiHHL you look at Punch ? Hullo! ... oh, it's you . . . 
quite well, thanks. I hope you didn't catch cold on the river. 
Oh ... do I understand that your people are asking about 
an order for additional battleships ? They've had confidential 
information from our friend of the International Armament 
Trust } Tell them it's probably a little bit of commercial 

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advertisement. Good-bye! {Rings off.) Forgive me, dear 
Exceliency. You were saying ? Let me repeat that your 
Excellency has not the least need to feel nervous. We can 
only . . . 

2ND Voice. Mais^ permettez . . . permettez ... I require . . . 

7he gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows the House of 
Commons^ very empty. 

An Authoritative Voice. The answer is in the negative. 

The gramophone wheezes. The cinema represents the 
drawing-room of a Peeress, A committee of ladies at a 

1ST Female Voice. Madame Chairman, I wish to point out 
to this Committee for supplying hospital requisites for our 
troops in Ireland . , . 

2N0 Female Voice. Order! order! I shall proceed to 
read to this Committee the resolution empowering your Chair- 
man to inquire of each member how many wounded volunteers 
from Ireland she can undertake to make room for within . . . 

3RD Female Voice. Those darling volunteers! But Pm 
certain that dear Holy Roman Majesty will come to their 
assistance! Anything, I always say, rather than separation 
from the Mother Country! 

The gramophone wheezes. The screen remains blank. 

The Muse. Enchanting! It's heating up! 

Satan. It is. What's coming ought to be reeled off at a 
tearing pace ; but I shall slow my machine so that you may 
be able to follow. So! 

Satan sets both apparatuses going. The cinema keeps 
running one picture into another. The gramophone 
snaps otU a series of short sentences^ each punctuated mti 
a wheeze. 

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1ST Voice. I must point out to your Excellency that the 
Treaty of 1796 makes express provision . . . 

2ND Voice. The sanctity of International Agreements 
iijiperatively demands . . . 

3RD Voice. Self-defence can know no law . . . 

4TH Voice. The Balance of Power absolutely requires . . . 

5TH Voice. National honour is engaged . . . 

6th Voice. We should be left without a friend . . . 

7TH Voice. Neutrality . . . 

8th Voice. Integrity . . . 

9TH Voice. Independence . . . 

ioth Voice. Diplomatic secrecy obliges us . . . 

IITH Voice. The Times has a leading article . . . 

I2TH Voice. Public opinion in this country insists . . . 

13TH Voice. Such a thing as war is utterly inconceivable. 

14TH Voice. Infamous proposals! 

15TH Voice. Scraps of paper ! 

I 6th Voice. My passports ! 

Satan slows off a little. The cinema shows a railway plat" 
form with train drawn up. People with bouquets at the 
windows of the train ; others bowing on the platform. 

1ST Voice. Au revoir^ chere Excellence ! Bon voyage. 

2ND Voice {at the window). I shall never forget the Guard 
of Honour! I am indeed touched. Vous nCavez comble de 
prevenances . . . There is nothing to come up to your dear 

The train starts. Hats are waved. The gramophone 

wheezes. The cinema shows only a blanks but a voice says: 

^^Now we must have a good Press. ^^ There is a sudden 

'^ wheezing pause^ during which the Ages-to-Come exchange 

looks of foolish intelligence. 

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The Muse. How truly fascinating! Do let us have sonxe 
more, my dear Satan! 

Satan. It is rather good fun, all those delicious old boys, 
isn't it ? Now you shall hear quite another bit, when the 
Ballet is in full swing. 

Satan puts by a lot of gramophone discs in a drazver^ and 
locks it very carefully. 
Satan {to The Muse). To prevent confusion, dear Clio, 
please make it quite clear to our friends, the Ages-to-Come, 
that what they have just witnessed was a retrospect. The first 
scenes took place years before the opening of the Ballet you so 
much enjoyed ; and even the very last of the set preceded it by 
some days. The first one, for instance, was quite, if I may say 
so to Clio, ancient history. 

Satan unlocks another drawer and begins arranging a heap 
of discs which he takes out.. 
Satan. I wish we had had time for a larger selection of 
pre-war incidents^ as you, dear Muse, will call them when you 
set it all forth with the necessary " Style Noble.'* I should 
have liked to show you the gradual preparation for my Ballet, 
not merely in the last few years, but all through a century — 
indeed, all through all the centuries, since every war has been 
prepared by every other war — ^indeed, by every other treaty of 
peace; the needful feelings and prejudices accumulating 
through the ages in my storehouse, ready to shift about, as an 
earthly manager shifts the same old prpperties, from one side 
of the stage to the other. However, even these few samples 
will have served to illustrate a thing I told you during our 
preliminary talk in Hell. I mean that calamities — since Man- 
kind feels my Ballets to be calamities — of this kind do not 
spring from the small and negligible item which suffering and 
angry men call guilt. My excellent Minion, Confusion — ^that 
is to say, muddle-headedness, perfunctoriness, and apathy — 
contrives the necessary entanglements and deadlocks during 

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years. But once these preparations arc made, Delusion bursts 
in, inventing plausible motives, helped by enthusiasm, fear, 
and hatred, reasons so called for what are in reality mere idiotic 
bungles left to chance. Well, my kind friends, now we have 
done with the pre-war selection, and we'll have a few scenes 
which you must imagine taking place behind the World's Stage 
when the Ballet is already raging. Indeed, the first is just 
about the moment when Pity and Indignation came on, with, 
as you wiU remember, such a fine effect and to such good 
purpose. Attention ! 

Satan sets his double apparatus in motion. The cinema 
shows distant cupolas, pines, and broken columns through 
wide-open windows. Several elderly gentlemen at coffee 
and cigarettes. 

1ST Voice. What's this absurd story that I hear! They 
surely haven't the impudence to offer you Gog and Magog, my 
dear Prime Minister ? 

2ND AND Placid Voice. They do indeed, my dear Excel- 
lency. Needless to say, my heart is entirely on your side, but, 
as you know, in the case of a great historical people the claims 
of the Ego are holy. 

1ST Voice. In that case, tell them to go to the Devil for a 
pack of liars. If you remain neutral they won't give you any- 

2ND AND Placid Voice. Will you if I leave off being 
neutral ? 

1ST Voice. We! Of course we shall. Why, you shall have 
Gog and Magog. 

2ND AND Placid Voice. I can have Gog and Magog merely 
by sitting tight, my dear sirs. 

1ST Voice. Well! And what else can you possibly want i 
Let's hear! Only don't be listening to their tomfoolery. 
Besides, we all know how unpopular they are with your people. 

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2ND AND Placid Voice, {blander than ever). Not so unpopu- 
lar as going to wan 

1ST Voice. Qh, your people only require to be told tlie real 
facts. A little propaganda will suit them. I don't believe 
they've been properly informed about the atrocities. . . . That 
child with cut-off hands, for instance . , . 

2ND AND Placid Voice {bland). The child with cut-off 
hands has already been shown to us. But our pepple don't 
mind cut-off hands or gouged-out eyes. We had a lot of that 
of our own recently in Carthage. Besides, our most celebrated 
living litterateur always has some in each of his works. 

1ST Voice. Ha! Your immortal, though perhaps a little 
decollete J Angelo ! The very thing ! A few dozen of his splendid 
odes in the principal papers . . . 

2ND AND Placid Voice. Good for the students at the caf6 ! 
dear Excellency. We statesmen don't live off odes. Machia- 
velli already said as much. 

1ST Voice. Well, then, what are your terms, confound you ? 

The Bland Voice (yery quickly). Gog and Magog, and all 
their territory ; Maraschino, of course ; the complete set of 
border glaciers ; the kingdoms of the late Croesus and Poly- 
crates, with the islands of the Cyclops for their classic associa- 
tions ; Prester John's Empire, which is mentioned in Marco 
Polo ; the heritage of our glorious sea-kings as shown by their 
still existing flagstaffs, including, naturally, the seaboard of 
Bohemia, so much embellished by our valiant fellow-country- 
man, Diocletian. 

1ST Voice. Seaboard of Bohemia! Come, come! You 
know to whom that belongs! And as to Prester John, why, 
he's neutral. 

The Bland Voice. So are we for the moment, my dear 

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Another Voice (aside). Oh, throw in Prestcr John— he 
had a bite at him tlxirty years ago and broke his teeth on him. 
And 1^ him have the flagstaffs of his sea-kings. 

1 8T Voice. All right! Bat not the seaboard of Bohemia ; 
that has been promised to our poor dear Ladislaus by right of 

The Bland Voice. Poor dear Ladislaus is already in, or 
rather already out^ since he's squashed. He needn't have any- 
thing. Mnfifif gentlemen, is it to be or not to be i 

Several Voices (mi^ttir together). I suppose we shall have 
to promise him something. And there's not much harm so 
long as he gets it for himsdf • After all, we haven't got. any of 
it in our hands. AH right. The kingdom of the late Crcssus 
and— what's the other name ? And Prester John, although he 
is a neutral. And the flagstaffs . . . there — ^you may make 
out a memorandum for our joint consideration. 

The Bland Voice. A memorandum ? (Singing.) Un 
biglietto ? Eccolo qui I If ere's your memorandum ready to 
hand. Suppose aU you gentlemen just put your signatures 
to it before we finish this excellent cafe noir? The fact is, the 
other side are going to call for an answer at four o'clock. 

3RD Voice. Wouldn't you like us to throw in a pair of 
trousers, my dear Minister i Mine, as you see, are almost as 
good as new. 

The Bland Voice (laugh^. Ah, what it is to be the most 
spirituel nation in the world! 

7he gramophcm wheezes. Satan changes the disc. The 
cinema shows a council-table. Many Councillors who 
remain mute. 

1ST Voice. They insist that we must really push on to 

2ND Voice. But our Fleet can't get through. 

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3RD Voice. Oh, yes, it can, if supported by our Army. 

4TH Voice. But our Army can't get there by land. 

5TH Voice. Oh, yes, it can, if it is supported by our Fleet. 

1ST Voice. Anyhow, they insist that we should do some- 
thing to get them Csesarea. 

6th Voice. If neither the Army nor the Fleet can do it, 
what do you say to a joint effort of both ? 

7he gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows the Urrace of 
a eh&teau in the war zone. A group of elderly min in 
various uniformsy to whieh some seem neither suited nor 

1ST Voice. As your experts have doubtless informed you, 
my Government finds itself under the necessity of somewhat 
raising the ground-rent of such portions of our territory as are 
occupied by your troops. 

2ND Voice. Oh . . . Indeed ... I had not heard any- 
thing about that. ... In fact . . . to teU the plain truth 
... I had always taken for granted that as ... in fact . . • 
if I may say so . . . our lines are helping to defend . . . 

1ST Voice. Alas! d qui le dites-vous^ my dear friend, d qui 
le dites-vous ! For this very reason, as ground rents invariably 
tend to rise in war-time, enfin ... 

2ND Voice. But . . . considering that . . . 

1ST Voice. Ah, my dear friend • . . how do you put that 
maxim of your national greatness i Business ^ou say as I 
think) — ^business as us-u-al! 

2ND Voice. Surely not in case of . . • in short, we imagined 

*♦ 1ST Voice. W^iat a number of quite unimaginable evcntu* 

''alities we all have witnessed! Unimaginable, I say. Enfin^ 

, we have so far had only to congratulate ourselves on your 

great nation's . . . how do you say f . . . procidis^ which. 

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as I shall alwaj^ be the first to proclaim in the face of everyone, 
have hitherto always been tPun parfait gentletnanne. As that 
famous Frenchman said — ^his name escapes me at this moment 
— ^if I could not belong to my own nation, I should have no 
objection to belonging to yours. 

2ND Voice. Very gratifying, I am sure. Still, as between 
allies . . . 

1ST Voice. You speak of allies. Are you aware, monsieur, 
of the story which is at this moment circulating — I do not 
pretend it is a true story, but I can truly affirm that it is circu- 
lating — ^in all the . . . how do you express it ? .... all the 
loges of all the concierges of my country ? 

2ND Voice. The concierges ... I don't quite follow, my 
dear General. ^ 

1ST Voice. The pur^^ of which story is that more than 
once — mare than once, you understand me well, my dear 
friend — more than once^ if it had not been for our loyalty to 
you, we might have made an advantageous ... 

2ND Voice. Oh, my dear sir, is that all ? Those Bourse 
rumours set going by enemy agents in the States! 

1ST Voice. Bourse rumours or not, I do not pretend to 
judge. I only tell you what is being said in the hges of the 
concierges. I have it on the best authority that those vulgar 
persons say in their trivial language that they have had 
enough of getting their face . . . how do you express it ? 
. . . smashed — se faire casser la figure-vto defend other 
people's ports. 

3RD Voice Qoto). Oh, just let them gas . . . you know, 
it's a way they have. 

1ST Voice. And this brings me to the essential. Your 
Government must not delay any longer putting its signature 
to that little agreement which we made with the Great White 
Bear, by whid^ in return for Caesarea, he gives us the other 

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bank of the River Hydaspes — ^in fact, our natural boundaries 
as defined in the year 4 of the Republic — bien tnUndu includ- 
ing the mines of antimony and the lake of asphalt. 

2ND Voice. He gives you! . . . Your boundaries of the 
year 4! . . . Why, my dear General, the Great White Bear 
is nearly a thousand miles ofF! 

1ST Voice. G^rrect, from the geographical point of view, 
perhaps. But geography is only the basis of pcditics. And 
now you have been told what those concierges are saying to 
each other in their familiar phrasiologie. 

The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows an Embassy^ 
with a dishevelled man walking up and down^ surrounded 
by well-groomed diplomatists. 

1ST Voice (very distressed). But / must stop, and Pm going 
to stop! 

Several Voices (encouragingly). Tut, tut! Just hold on a 
little, and you shall be given Caesarea presently. 

I ST Voice (angry). Hang Caesarea ! My country would not 
have it if you could give it, and you can't. I tell you my 
country can't go on another month. WeVe no more muni- 
tions. And the people are starving by the thousand ; they're 
mutinying and rioting on every side. There! don't you hear 
them yelling for peace ? 

A fearful wolf-like sound from outside: ** Peace and 
Bread ! Peace and Bread ! " 

A Diplomatic Voice (encouragingly). Fiddlesticks! All 
that is got up by enemy agents. Just you hold on till you 
get Caesarea. 

Louder roar : " Peace and Bread I " 

Satan (interrupting. Bother take the thing ! A wrong 

He fiddles with the gramophone^ which slows off. 

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Ill \ t I ill ■» > ■■ ? ■■ K g f^ ll. . , 11 _ ^ I 

The Muse. Oh, how tnily thrilling! Why, it sounds like 
the French Revolution! Oh, dear Satan, do, please, let them 
go on with that! 

Satan. Sorry to disoblige you, Clio. But it's a wrongly 
placed disc which doesn't belong to the set of the Heads erf 
the Nations, with which you must, if you please, allow me to 
proceed at present. 

The Muse. What a pity! It was so truly exciting! 

Satan. Only have patience! I promise you plenty more 
of this kind of stuff very soon in a separate performance — and 
a remarkably interesting one that will be, though different 
from the Ballet of the Nations. For the moment, we must 
return to the diplomatists and journalists. 

While Satan is adjusting the gramophoney the blood- 
curdling yell^ ^^ Peace and Bread I Peace and Bread I 
is repeated^ and dies off in the gramophone^ s wheezing. 


Satan. There! Now we've got back to the Heads of the 
Nations series all right. I must explain, however, that there 
were some unofficial peace feelers which have unluckily got 
mislaid ; also a very funny person talking of peace without 
victory, which made everyone angry all round until he said 
it was to be peace with victory and joined in, and that it 
would all come to the same in the end. But what is happening 
at present is that these people of the Great White Bear, whom 
you heard yelling just now, are actually making a separate 
peace. There! 

The cinema shows the inHde of a saloon railway carriage 
in a station, and a snowstorm against the windows. The 
saloon is filled with Generals with fine fur coats over their 
uniforms^ and bearded men in sheepskin c^itans and 
peasants^ boots and fur caps. 

1ST Voice. No annexations and no indemnities, comrades! 

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2ND Voice. The very thing — ^no annexations and no in- 
demnities ! Shake hands ! 

1ST Voice. Not so fast, please! You are occupying Aurora 
Borealis. How*s that ? 

2ND Voice. Oh, that i9n't annexation. That's self-deter- 

1ST Voice. All very fine! But what do you mean by com- 
mandeering my corn ? 

2ND Voice. Oh, that surely can't be called an indemnity. 

1ST Voice. Oh, it can't, can't it ? Well, then, my friends, 
when you hear that we've stirred up a revcJution in your 
country, please to remember that this isn't a Treaty of Peace I 
It's the beginning of the International Socialist Republic! 

A General jumps up and hits the table with his szoord, crying : 
" That shall teach your people subordination ! " 

1ST Speaker {waving a folded newspaper). This shall teach 
your Empire rebellion! 

The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows a council 
chamber full of statesmen. 

1ST Voice. Don't you think, my lords and gentlemen, that 
the time might be nearly approaching when it would ... it 
might, possibly be just as wdl to be beginning just to cast an 
eye on any possible . . I do not, mark, say probable . . avenues 
— ^ahem!--4eading to an eventual peace ? 

2ND Voice. Avenues to peace! Almost the most dangerous 
things in the world I Let alone peace itself, which is, of 
course, the most dangerous thing of all! 

311D Voice. The name of peace must not be mentioned till 
they have restored Brobdingnag! 

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V4TH Voice. The name of peace must never be mentioned 
till they have given us back l2lliput! 

5TH Voice. The name of peace must not be mentioned till 
I have reannexed the seaboard of Bohemia, the jBagstaffs of 
the sea-kingS) the kingdoms of . . . 

6th Voice. The name of peace must never be mentioned at 

7hi gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows a Court of 
LaWf packed with spectators, 

A Voice. The name of peace must never be mentioned by 
any decent man or woman ! Are any of you aware, I wonder, 
that at this present moment this country harbours in it$ bosom 
47,000 aliens from Sodom and Gomorrah, all busily plotting 
peace ? Does that seem too monstrous for belief ? Well, 
their names and addresses are all registered in a printed book. 
This young lady, whom I have called as a witness, has actually 
j^w the book! 

Female Witness. I have. It was shown me by two 
gentlemen friends, since deceased, at a lunch-party at Green- 
wich. It was bound in American cloth. 

JumciAL Voice. Was it, indeed ? And did you see the 
contents of the book ? 

1ST Voice. The contents, my lord, comprised the name of 
everyone here present who dares to ask pacifist questions. 

7 he gramophone wheezes. The cinema changes back to a 
council chamber full of statesman of various nationalities. 
As the dialogue proceeds it changes to other council 
chambers in other parts of the worldy which flicker in and out 
without interruption, 

1ST Voice. But they appear to be talking of a possible 
restoration of Brobdingnag. 

2Mi> Voice. Hal A peace trap! 

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1ST Voice. But they even suggest reconsidering the ques- 
tioii of lilliput. 
311D Voice. Oh, another peace trap. 
Chorus op Angry Voices. Peace traps! Peace traps! 

All Together. Who dares to mention peace till they have 
restored Brobdingnag and given back Lilliput ; given me the 
seaboard of Bohemia . . . 

Another Voicte. Given me also the seaboard of Bo . • . 

One Voice after Another. We can't talk of peace till 
they have been dismembered and for ever silenced. It wouldn't 
really be peace unless we received our strategic frontiers. It 
wouldn't really be peace unless we had restored our natural 
boundaries. It wouldn't really be peace until we had realized 
our racial aspirations. It wouldn't really be peace until we 
had reconstituted our historical Empire. 

One Voice {deliberately). It wouldn't be peace until we had 
the other bank of the Hydaspes. It wouldn't be peace until 
we had got the mines of antimony. It would not be peace 
until we had realized the formula of the Carolingian Kings and 
of the Patriots of the year 4. It wouldn't be peace till we had 
reclaimed the Asiatic appanage of our Crusaders! 

Someone in the council room hums ^^Partant pour le Syrie,^* 

Another Voice (enthusiastically). It wouldn't be peace till 
we had fulfilled the aspirations of D'Annunzio. It wouldn't 
be peace until we had re-established the Wedding of the 

3RP VpiCE. It wouldn't be peace until we had re-established 
the Elingdom of Mazeppa. 

4TH Voice. It wouldn't be peace until we had re-established 
the Empire of Ziska. 

Qther Voices. It wouldn't be peace until we had l«-estab- 

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lished the Kingdom of Ladislaus. It wouldn't be peace until 
we'd re-established the Kingdom of Borislaus. It wouldn't 
be peace until we had re-established the Klingdom of Wences- 
laus. It wouldn't be peace until we had re-established the 
Kingdom of Mithridates. It wouldn't be peace until we had 
re-established the Kingdom of Tiridates* It wouldn't be peace 
until we had re-established the Empire of Alexander. It 
wouldn't be peace until we'd re-established the Empire of 
Solomon. It wouldn't be peace until we had re-established 
the Empire of the Queen of Sheba. 

1ST Voice. It won't be peace till all my bondholders get 
paid up their interest. 

Chorus. Peace traps! Peace traps! Peace traps! 

Imperturbable Authoritative Voice. We are out for 
lasting peace. 

A Hubbub of Voices. Peace ? Then why did we go to 
war ? You promised ... we promised . . . they promised 
. . . We insist on your promise . . . We have made no 
promises . . . We always keep our promises. 

Authoritative Voice {serenely). I repeat that we are none 
of us out for aggrandisement, but for the future peace of the 
world. We must go on fighting to establish a really lasting 
peace, equally just towards friends and foes. 

A Hubbub OF Voices. You promised . . . We promised 
. . . They promised . . . We insist on your promises! It 
isn't a matter of aggrandisement! It isn't a matter of pres- 
tige! It is a question of principle! It is a question of 
guarantees! It is a question of permanent peace! This must 
never happen again! We can't have such things happening 
again ! This must be the last war ! We must have guarantees 
of future peace! We will fight to the last man^until we have 
guarantees of future peace! {A pause an^ toheTif,) Lasting 

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peace! Last man! Last penny! Last drop of blood! Last 
war! Guarantees! Guarantees! Guarantees! Guarantees 
of lasting peace ! 

The gramophone gabbles all this out louder and faster^ while 
the cinema figures move and gesticulate quicker^ until 
there is nothing but a hubbub of " We — we "... "TA/y 
— they " . . . " You — yow,'* with a sort of refrain of 
'^Last manT* ^'Last fennyP^ ^'Last war!'* ''Lasting 
peace r* 

The Muse and Ages-to-Come (holding their hands to their 
ears). Oh ! do stop that horrible row ! Oh ! what are they all 
talking about ? 

Satan suddenly switches off the current. The screen is 
again blank. The gramophone wheezes and stops. 

Satan. Rather a Babel, wasn't it f And what you have 
heard is comparatively plain sailing. Why, we haven't come 
to Victory and its Fruits, nor to the conjflicting Self-Determina- 
tion of the New Nationalities ; we haven't come to the Four- 
teen Points and the Secret Treaties; we haven't come to 
Famine and Revolution and Bolshevism. Excellent as is my 
magic apparatus, you couldn't possibly make head or tail of 
that. It will take fifty years in fifty archives to clear up the 
muddle. Indeed, if you were to ask me, even I couldn't teU 
you on the spur of the moment how in the world it all leads to 
the end. Well, that is the kind of stuff that you, dear Muse of 
History, will have to translate into clear and stately language 
for the benefit of our enlightened patrons, here, the Ages-to- 
Come. And now you have seen my Ballet of the Nations under 
all its aspects, you will, I trust, appreciate its tragic splendour 
only the more for having adequately realized the paltriness of the 
mysterious machinery which lies behind it. This contradiction 
between the visible effects and the hidden cause is, indeed, one 
of my finest bits of poetic irony. 

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Ladies and gentlemen of my indulgent audience, you will, I 
doubt not, also appreciate all that Stage-Manager Satan owes 
tahis varied and accomplished personnel. It needs the strident 
and crashing, yet not inharmonious, music of the Orchestra 
of Patriotism, the silver trumpet of Idealism and woodland 
horn of Adventure, the harmonium of Self-Righteousness, 
the rustling wings of Pity and Indignation, the youthful voice 
of Heroism, even the whistles and fog-horns of poor dd Widow 
Fear and her grotesque an4 cruel children Suspicion and Panic, 
to lend attraction and dignity to what my cinematograph 
films and gramophone records have revealed to you. It 
needs • . • 

Death (cutting short Satan's speech). It needs Ballet 
Master Death, 

Death, who has been lying dead drunk across the sleeping 
body of Heroism, has^ mth a sudden clatter of his bonesy 
lurched up into a sitting posture^ clasping his knees with 
skeleton hands. He nods and leers with drunken fatuity 
at the Muse and the Ages-to-Come, and repeats in 
drunkard^ s tones : ** It needs Ballet Master Death ! 
7hafs what it needs, my dears I ** 7 he Muse and the 
Ages-to-Come fall a step back, gathering up their gar- 
ments in well-bred disgust. For^ with his change of 
posture^ it has become apparent that Death, who has been 
hitherto lying unnoticed, is the worse not only for liquor, 
but for all his previous exertions : the natty Ballet 
Master has turned into a tattered tramp ; his bones have 
worked his evening suit into rags, his wig has fallen off, 
and through the rents of his once smart white waistcoat and 
shirt there is a glimpse of something far worse than a mere 

Satan {with a gesture of wrath). Silence I you filthy carnage- 
drunken sot! 

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Death. Oho! " Silence," quotha ? Is it " silence ** your 
Lordship condescends to say to your poor disowned bastard 
now that you have let him have the honour of conducting for you 
your Ballet of the Nations^ and he has made it into yourgreatest 
hit ? Well, let me tell you, my respected illegitimate parent^ 
that all your fine performers, your virtuous Passiolis — oh, yes, 
Pity and Indignation, Madame Idealism and dear little Prince 
Adventure, and all your Orchestra of Patriotism, would not 
have got a single spectator to sit through your silly perform- 
ance if it had not been for Ballet Master Death and his skvill 
and rotten bones. Who cares a damn nowadays for Satan, 
or Hell, or Evil ? Exploded myths, all of them! / am the 
great Reality, who bring with me Fear and Suspicion and 
Panic, and Cruelty, and Hatred and the harmonium of Self- 
Righteousness and all the popular performers. It is Ballet 
Master Death, let me tell your empty transcendental Arch- 
angelship, who draws an audience! 

Satan remains speechless with anger. 

Death (sitting up and turning round). Hullo! you there. 
Heroism, my jolly blind boy! you, at all events, have never 
doubted the powers of your old crony Death ! Come, my lad, 
lend me a hand and help me on to my legs that I may go and 
sit on the throne of that metaphysical Archangel of a father of 
mine, so that the world may see that it is Ballet Master Death 
who runs its great dramatic shows and sets its peoples a- 

Heroism (getting up from the ground). Whose is that 
hideous braggart voice which calls upon me in the name of 
Death ? For that is not the voicie, those cannot be the words, 
of him I have so loved. And what . . . what, for mercy's 
sake, is this loathsome something I have grasped ? 

Heroism, who has stretched out his arm to clasp Death, 
suddenly withdraws his hand and holds it up in astonish' 
ihent and disgust. 

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Heroism. Oh, what is this corruption which my fingers 
have met and still clings to them ? 

The Muse and the Ages-to-Come have retreated to the sides 
of the stagey Satan to the rear. Heroism remains alone 
in the middle of the stage^ near Death, who has collapsed 
once more ; and Heroism holds out at arnCs length his own 
soiled right hand. 

Heroism. Whexe is the Death I loved and followed so 
faithfully — the true, pure, lovely Death ? Oh, horror, horror, 

The Mxjse. Horror ? Surely that was the name which 
Satan called his Ballet Master in our talk. . . . And what is all 
this about a " true, pure, lovely Death?" Ah! I remember! 
I now understand it all. 

Heroism (fuming on Ballet Master Death, who now 
cowers^ prone^ in his tattered evening clothes). And who art thou, 
usurping Death's sacred name, thou Skeleton Pollution ? 

Heroism seizes Ballet Master Death and flings him^ 
rattling like a broken puppet^ against the footlights. 
Heroism then returns to the middle of the stage and stands^ 
sobbing like a man awakened from a nightmare^ and 
forcing open the lids of his blind eyes. 

Heroism. Oh, for some kindly surgeon to cut away at last 
this veil of blindness from my eyes! 

Satan {stooping over Ballet Master Death and shaking 
his broken limbs). Damaged, but not quite done for! A 
democratic wig, a complete suit of newest idealistic cut, may 
make him still pass muster for a while. 

Ballet Master Death wheezes responsively like a broken 

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Satan. But the most needed of all will be a brand-new set 
of manners : peaceful, fraternal, full of thought for the future! 
{Shakes him once more.) You vile, old-fashioned scarecrow, do 
you now understand that Heroism has almost found you out 
for the preposterous, indecent anachronism that you are ? 
And if, by any chance, that Blind Boy should really be sur- 
geoned into seeing . , . why, then, this will have been the last 
of our Ballets of the Nations! 

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To The Memory 


Mario Calperoni 
Ob. December, 1914 

and also of 

Clement Miles, 
Ob. February, 1918 

both of them my juniors by a generation, but to 

whose conversation I owe so much of what is written 

in these notes. 

AiUumny 1919. 


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Why have I chosen Satan for my spokesman in a discussion 
of what is, or is not, right ? 

Seeking in the bottom of my heart, I think the answer might 
be : Because I am sick of hearing this war discussed from the 
point of view of God, as if the speaker or writer, English, 
French, German, American, or what not, held a brief from on 
high to " justify the ways of God to man *' or rather to identify 
the ways of his own particular nation with the ways of God. 

I do not know who or what God is ; but in these five years 
he has been called upon to back so many abominations and 
imbecilities, that it seems more decent not to take his name 
once more in vain, but rather speak of Evil in that of him who , 
had the gentlemanly frankness to say to it " Be thou my Good." 
If right and wrong are to be discussed in war-time, yet with 
tolerable manners, it is as well to start from Evil as a great 
Reality, sub specie aternitatis; as an Archangel immanent 
in the Universe, not a little brimstone-stinking devil whom, 
like the witnesses at witch trials, we see issuing out of the 
mouth of people we dislike, and they, of course, see issuing out 
of ours. 

Besides, I am aware that it has not been from contemplating 
the lives of saints and sages that I have come by such notions 
of right and wrong as I possess ; but rather from an occasional 
glimpse of Satan ; and during these last years from a daily and 
hourly exhibition of the Waster. So it is natural and fitting that 
whatever these years have taught me on this subject should be 
set forth by a Puppet-Satan of my making, and from the point 
of view of this Satan's likings and dislikings. 


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Proverbial wisdom has long recognized the occasional use to 
which Satan puts virtue. But the good intentions with which 
we are told that the Power of Evil paves his abode, are des- 
cribed as such as come to nothing. Mv contention is different. 
For to these paving-stones, nay this ashlar of Hell, I would add 
the good intentions 'which have been carried out. Indeed, alas, 
alas, it is this very reality and solidity, this being so splendidly 
up to sample, not mere words and excuses but generous deeds, 
unstinting self-immolation, which has fitted them as material 
for that palace of horror, wherein the Waster of Human 
Virtue indulges his barren pleasure in moral beauty. 


Furthermore, I have wanted to discuss the nature of Satan 
with my Reader, but first and foremost with myself, because it 
has been borne iawpon me that in Time of War we all incline 
to take for granted that \ht Adversary is Satan. 

Please pause and notice that this placing of the three words 
means, by the habits of English syntax, the exact reverse of 
what those same three words mean when, put in" the contrary 
order, viz. ; Satan is the Adversary, The latter is a dogma to 
which even my untheological self subscribes with more than 
theologic fervour. Indeed my Prologue deals precisely with 
the reasons why Satan is, as the pious phrase goes, the Old 
Enemy, the Arch-Adversary of Mankind. 

Satan, meaning thereby the essence of all Evil, defines him- ^ 
self to the Muse, to myself and to my future readers, as the 
Power that wastes. And, more particularly, wastes human / 
y-virtue. In so far, he is the Adversary against whom we must ^ 
all, and always, struggle with all our will and all our wits. So 
far so good. But iiow I cgme to mv essential difference with 
patriotic (which is not saying " puolic spixited ") persons in 
all belligerent camps alike ; an irreconcilable difference, but 
one too easily over-looked owing to that habit of speech by 


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which the mere position of two nouns decides which is the 
qualified and which the qualifier. For / put " Satan " first, 
and "Adversary" second; while they — ^the patriotic persons 
of all this tormented globe — ^invariably put "Adversary" 
first and " Satan " second. So that while my meaning is tnat 
we must never leave off struggling with Satan wheresoever 
he lurketh ; their meaning is that we must in these particular 
present years of Grace, or Disgrace, lavish all our energy, 
wealth, strength, health, wit, and our virtues and all the best 
of our life and lives, in trying to take by the scruff of the neck 
(as does Pharaoh on Egyptian sculptures of b.c. -^ooo) and 
smite withal, a particular nation or group of nations, who, 
being at war with us for the first time in history, is at present 
our Adversary. A mode of proceeding which, as I have tried 
to show in my play, is precisely similar, and symmetrical, to 
that of the other party, the two (as archaeologists say) herald" 
ically opposed groups constituting a double deed of Waste, and 
as such the supreme oblation to the Power of Evil. 

But this little difference, according as the sentence runs 
" Satan is the Adversary " or " The Adversary is Satan," repays 
our further scrutiny. For the inversion, the putting of an 
Adversary^ i.e. a human being or group of human beings, in the 
place of Evil as such, happens to be one of Satan's oldest and 
most successful wiles, which he compasses (as I have ventured 
to make him explain) by means of two most serviceable 
minions of his, namely Delusion and Confusion, Let us look 
further still into the matter. Take the formtda " Satan is the 
Adversary"; there Satan — ^meaning the infliction of useless 
loss and pain, the fruitless sacrifice (as distinguished from the 
enriching exchange of good) Satan, as all religions have taught, 
is, actually and potentially, in all and every one of us aUke. 
Hence our chief dealings and wrestlings with that Old Enemy 
must be in ourselves. This much wiH be conceded theoretically 
bv patriotic persons, who are oftenest religious and nearly 
always idealistic and quite devoted to duty; similarly patriotic 
persons can have no objection to any an^ount of quiet individual 
tussle with such impurities and covetousness as, by definition, 
dwell in the privacy of each human breast. But that is not 
what I am alluding to. I don't know whether every individual 

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really is impure and covetous and entirely without spiritual 
health in him ; that is a matter in which each is best (or per- 
haps worst ?) fitted to speak for himself ; anyhow it is a debat- 
able and recondite, a delicate matter. What, on the contrary, 
is neither debatable nor recondite, indeed, as the French 
expression goes, puts out one*s eyes^ is that all Groups of 
human beings. Classes, Races, Corporations, Nations, etc., are 
bursting with all manner of folly, improvidence, selfishness, 
and general unwholesomeness ; just as at the same time thev 
are replete (if in less undisguised and explosive a fashion) witn 
every human wisdom and virtue. So tnat methinks it is not 
so much the individual's peccadilloes (best left to the neigh- 
bours, the policeman, and even to his conscience) which require 
collective and public dealing with, as the sins of commission 
and omission of the collectivity, of the various collectivities, of 
our class, corporation, race, nation, etc. ; and of yoursy of 
course, likewise. Each collectivity or group being ^ke each 
individual only much more so) a battlefield between the 
Powers of (Jood and the Powers of Evil; each collectivity 
carrying in itself its proper complement of minions and eman? 
tions of Satan, against whom that same collectivity's forct. 
of wisdom and decency can struggle unimpeded by the forces 
of wisdom and decency of other collectivities. Nay; not 
merely unimpeded. For here comes in the future benefit of 
those railways, telegraphs, telephones, and newspapers, which 
so far have contributed to bring about and organize war ; th* 
good sense and good feeling in each collectivity, its real 
powers of real self-defence, can unite, must and will unite, 
indeed (Berne 1919) are be^nning to unite, with the similar 
good sense and good feeling in every other collectivity ; labour 
with labour, science with science, education with education, 
womankind with womankind ; nay, perhaps even those hither- 
to ambiguous forces, genius with genius, and heroism with 
heroism, may unite in everv part of the world to diminish or 
forbid the various great old-established oblations to Satan : 
Disease, Pauperism, Overwork, Ignorance, Prostitution, Pro- 
fiteering and War. For Satan is the Adversary of all of us alike. 
And we are all, yes, even when thousands of men have barely 
ceased pounding each other into putrescence, or showering 

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death on to slumbering or holiday towns, London or Karlsruhe ; 
or once the fighting over, are still starving children and 
women into rickets or abortion ; yes, even now we are all 
of us, Britons and our Allies, and Germans and their Allies, 
helping one another a little (and neglecting how much more for 
that making of men into bloody muck !) in our joint struggle 
with Satan. For though they do not think of it, and would 
perhaps be angry at the thought, the man of science, the doctor, 
the nurse, the engineer, the educator, all who are not merely 
contributing their mite to mutual destruction, are co-operating 
in the diminution of evil all the world over ; grafting thought 
upon thought, discovery upon discovery, irrespective of 
national divisions, unchecked oy national hatred. 

Such is the meaning of the words Satan is the Adversary^ 
which I wo\ild now expand, and at the same time define, 
into : Satan is the common, the constant, the only real 
Adversary, But meanwhile, Satan, aided by his minions 
Delusion and Confusion, has us aU on our knees before him. 
For we arc all thinking, or rather feeling and acting as if we 
thought, that the Adversary is Satan. We are bound to 
think the Adversary is Satan, or a limb thereof, whenever in 
private matters or m public we cease to co-operate and begin 
to hate. The whole conception of an Adversary, nay his very 
existence, is a result of strife and hatred on whatever scale. 
No human creature can admit that he is struggling against 
what is good. Whence it comes about that a human creature, 
which is being struggled against, can be thought of only as 
evil. Struggle meaning the intention, not to oiOstrip but to 
destroy. Struggle is merely the active, one might almost say 
the muscular^ aspect of fear, envy, or loathing, all of whicn 
imply that we judge and call its object evil. Thus, if I call 
Waste and Barren Sacrifice Satan^ it is because I hate it ; 
because my mind and my nerves become tense with desire to 
destroy at the bare thought of it. 

But, surely, the Adversary may be, may really be, evil, 
Satanic ? Of course, and that is my contention. Not only 
that the very fact of being struggled against makes him seem 
evil, but, wnat is different but equally inevitable, that the 
fact of being struggled against and struggling makes him 

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become evil. For while competition can and should be the 
attempt to surpass others in value, thereby bringing about 
increase of good rather than destruction ; self-defence, on the 
contrary (which is a frequent method of evading competition 
between classes, nations and incfividuals and even sexes), 
not only presupposes the threat of destruction, but involves 
the use of it ; aU the talk about the rules of the game^ gentle- 
manly warfarey even humanely waged warfarey merely accent- 
uating, in the attempt to mask, the fact that war intends to 
damage, ruin, humiliate, or coerce a set of people who are 
equally bent on damaging, ruining, humiliating, and coercing 
us. In this sense nothing is truer than that once you have got 
or made an Adversary, the Adversary in question becomes 
Satan ; becomes so in reality and deed, more and more with 
every additional hour of war. Only we should remember 
(if such remembering during war-time were not as impossible 
as living head downwards ! ) that by the nature of the case 
there are always two Adversaries, each Adversary to the 
other; and consequently necessarily two Satans. Two sets 
of people, alas, employed on Satan's business of wasting 
human wealth and life and human virtue. And also two sets of 
people each feeling, and feeling sure, that the other is Satan. 

Tliat is a very horrible and horribly preposterous, but alas, 
very natural, inevitable, state of affairs. And one of the worst 
things about this bad business of war is that when each 
nation thinks its Adversary (or its Adversary's figure-head, 
Kaiser, Admiral Tirpitz, Tsar, M. Poincarfe, Mr. Uoyd-George, 
or even poor Sir Edward Grev !) is Satany that nation in so far 
forgets that its essential ana permanent Adversary is Satan 
himself ; forgets the follies, anuses, anid manifold omissions 
and commissions with which its welfare and its progress are 
threatened from within. For Satan, my dear brethren, 
dwelleth within the innermost heart (or shall we say belly or 
brain ?) of every nation ; and that accounts, perhaps, for 
his anxiety to turn every warring nation's attention away from 
its own internal affairs, and for the trouble he is at to make 
it seek the Principle of Evil in an Adversary outside itself. 

But as to me, my political creed daily narrows itself more and 
more to a single article, viz. Satan is the Adversary. 

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And wh€n8oever, in small things or in large, that dictum 
gets stood on its head, becoming " the Adversary is Satan," 
then, in public relations as in private, and for whatever time, 
long, or snort, there is either a hecatomb of human victims, or a 
censer-fuH of blinding, stinking, nonsense ; or, strange and 
sad to tell, maybe a grain or two of sweet and precious human 
virtue offered on Evil's altar. 



One point more. When Peace shall have restored the 
world's normal religious intolerance, critics different from those 
of to-day may take umbrage at another heterodoxy of my 
drama. Why hav^ omitted decently to put as vis-d-vis to 
my odious Satan some God, such as comforts Mr. Wells' 
Bishop and Mr. Wells' self : a Power making for goodness, 
and adorably irresponsible for the world's evil, moreover 
pleasantly personal, a moral captain, or at all events, shall we 
say ? a captain of moral industry. My answer is : that while 
recognizing the grandeur of an old-fashioned, inscrutable 
Creator of All things, I find no use for a Divinity as helplessly 
well meaning as ourselves. I know the power ot goodness and 
of wisdom, power not with a capital P, out with real efficacy ; 
power not making for goodness^ but power, transmuting power, 
of goodness ; and therefore of Goodness' other aspect. Wisdom. 
I have seen and loved and reverenced that power of goodness 
and wisdom, been comforted thereby, and hoped in it. But 
I have recognized it in Man ; or rath«r in meny or rather in 
men and women ; or rather in moments, sides, and, thank 
heaven ! in deeds, thoughts and works, of individual men and 
women. It is this power of goodness and wisdom which I 
see perpetually whittling away at the Kingdom of Satan. It 
is, as I have made Satan remark, not God, but Man and Man's 
wife Woman, who have rescued some of the precious seed 
scattered even as by the Sower in the Gospel ; and made the 
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil strike root and rise and 
spread, v«ry much to the detriment of Hell's foundations and 
stron^olds. That knowledge of good and evil should be 

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set in mankind's poor little garden, and not in the paradise- 

Sark of any divinity, is surely evident, since good and evil is a 
istinction essential to manland's feeUngs, but not, so far as 
one can judge, of equal interest to the universe as a whole, 
whereof Man and his feelings are such a microscopic and 
ephemeral, though to Man himself legitimately supreme, 
portion. That we should all have enjoyed the acquaintance 
of a Being, especially an immortal, godlike Being, made up of 
absolutely nothing out what we deem goodness and wisaom, 
is natural ; it is on a par with our general craving for more 
of anything desirable, with our abhorrence of interruption, 
and of tiresome discrimination, and disappointment, and short 
commons of all kinds. It is on a par with the secret hope, 
each of us cherishes, of finding a teacher solely and always in 
the right, a friend entirely devoted, a lover eternally faithful. 
It is natural we should wish for all such perfect fulfilment 
of our desires, but natural just because it is not to be had for 
the wishing. Let us by all means make ourselves such idols 
of the hearts' desire ; Jesus, or his divine Mother, or Buddha ; 
or whatever other name these Consolers bear. But let us 
recognize them, like their less ambiguous equivalents given by 
architecture, music and poetry, to be of Man's own holy 
making. And recognize at the same time that Wisdom and 
Goodness are qualities, however scanty and however alloyed, 
in men and women, there to be benefited by, loved and 
wondered at ; and above all reverently but clearly discri- 
minated from whatever, in those same men and women, is 
not wisdom and goodness, but such unclearness of mind, 
narrowness of sy^mpathy and unsteadiness of nerves as Satan 
goes on employing for our discomfiture. 

That — ^I mean thinking in this way — ^is why, while subordi- 
nating the Power which spoils and wastes to the Creative All, 
whom Man calls God or Nature, I have been able to set 
opposite to my cruel amateur of hecatombs of virtue no 
" rower of Goodness " ; but only plain men and women, 
with whatsoever goodness and wisdom, which means power 
for their own and others' happiness and betterment, they may 
contain, like veins of precious metal, in their obscure and 
earthly composition. Christmas^ 1917; Easter^ 1919. 

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The Muse (loquitur), " The present moment is eminently pro- 
pitious. . . . Mankind has attained amazing control over 
Science* s means without an inkling of Science* s discipline 
and aims. Twentieth-century men appear to be slum-and- 
office savages retaining the worship of all the good old tribal 
fetishes and racy obscene emblems , . . under newfangled 
and decent names ; yet wielding appliances which^ without 
enlarging mind or heart, abolish space and multiply all 
brutish potvers a thousandfold,*^ 

It would be consonant with the mental habits of Clio, and 
of the sociological philosophers whom that Muse has admitted 
to her canteen of anecdotes, rhetoric and moralizings, to look 
out for a single cause responsible for this war, in other words 
someone or something to slang for it. And many of us would, 
like H. G. Wells, have fallen foul of our own unworthy days, 
if German militarism had not offered itself as an even more 
handy scapegoat. 

I want it to be understood that the War, and its witch-hunt 
for Responsibilities, has checked in me the habit of relieving 
discomfort by fa\ilt-finding. And particularly of finding fault 
with our own, heaven knows, sufficientlv punished times, 
which, for all their shortcomings, are on tne whole no worse 
than preceding ones, let alone that preceding ones begot them, 
begotten in their turn by other wretchednesses, an endless 
series of generations like that of the Patriarchs. 

Having thus dissociated myself from Clio's habitual search 
for Historical Responsibilities, I wish to express my entire 
agreement in all she says about our times being propitious for 
Satan's Gala Performance ; more by token that I have gone 
out of my way to make her say it. Not a link of " Guilt " is 
what connects the two ; but a link of common characteristics, 
due to common origins, and helping us to imderstand the war 
by the peace which preceded it. For to expose life and Kmbs, 
affections and secunty, in the international muddles of High 
Personages, financial or bureaucratic, is after aU but th^ 

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catastrophic equivalent of spending one's days in crowded, 
unwholesome and hideous places, doing fatiguing, monotonous 
work, with only betting, cinemas, a yearly visit to Blackpool, 
the daily pub and weekly chapel for spiritual refreshment. 
And the war's spectacular sudden violation of all legitimate 
claims upon existence is but the cataclysmal heaping up, 
nations rearing on to each other like express trains in collision, 
of what is accepted as normal when spread out in every-day 
recurrence. Both signify that larger and larger tnasses of 
mankind have been compressed into an automatic mechanism 
which checks the play of preference, and imposes dull or 
deluded acquiescence in what is abhorrent to one's instincts. 

As was already reiterated by Ruskin and Morris, the streets 
and factories of our cities, and the desecrated landscape 
surrounding them, are an outward and visible sign of an 
inner and spiritual disgrace. Not a symbol merely, but a 
specimen and a proof, of the paralysis of will and judgment 
now exhibiting its acute and paroxysmal phase in the material 
and mental happenings of this war. 

Tliis is not saying that our times are worse than any previous 
ones. Let me repeat what I remarked at the beginning of this 
note, that such pitting of Past against Present or Present 
against Past is among the futile exercises wherewith our 
friend Clio Kelps us to work o€, with no further result, our 
dissatisfaction or (vide Macaiilay's frequent descriptions of 
his own Golden Age of 1830-50) our silly self-satisfaction. 
It does not matter whether the Past is better than the Present 
or vice versa. What does is the recognition that the Present 
is just as bad as it happens to be ; and of the share which the 
Past with its heredities, bodily and social, has had in producing 
the Present's good and bad points ; for only through such 
recognition can we add our knowledge and our choice and our 
effort to the other factors determining the Future. 

This is why, though rarely agreeing with the Muse of History, 
I have made use of her to point out that the enormity of our 
war is part and parcel of the enormity of our previous peace. 

I use the work Enormity advisedly ; because, while implying 
what is painful and against the grain of life, it emphasizes 
the question of scale, of size, numbers, pace, the element of 

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mere addition and n^ultiplication, which gives to all modern 
evil its particular vast and crushing unwieldiness ; and that 
immense balance of waste over benefit, with which our war 
is smiting even the dullest imagination. Now this question 
of scale strikes me as all important, for the sudden enlargement 
therein, the unprecedented, unexpected, uncompensated in- 
crease in geographical extension, impact of force, swiftness 
of communication, hence material and mental exploitation 
and all we proudly call " power over nature " and " human 
organization," has been quite disportionate to any increase in 
the spiritual capacity of dealing with all these things, meaning 
by spiritual the power of preference, understanding, and 
purpose. And this disproportion may, for aught we know, 
and as our war seems rather to show, be horribly on the increase 
with the further increase of what is called applied science^ 
meaning science applied to material powers (not necessarily 
materiaJ welfare !) but not at all applied to man's powers of 
thinking and choosing. Indeed many of our professional 
guides and philosophers have been remarking on this dis- 
proportion, though not including reference to themselves and 
their teachings and preachings, which I should like to insist 
upon. For this modern and perhaps growing disproportion, 
like most others in human affairs, rests on the simple basis 
that some things pay and others donH; and that, as man 
requires to live on bread before he can live on higher nutriment, 
those things which pay will, at any given time, tend to engross 
all efforts ; while those which don't will, like the persons who 
starve upon them, tend to be discarded. As illustration of 
this and of the causes of our own so different state of affairs, 
let me remind the reader (without one moment's suggestion 
that early Hellas may have been a pleasanter place than 
latter-day Britain ! ) that in the palmy days of Heraclitus 
and Empedocles, their contemporary Croesus did not owe his 
famous millions to any application of physics and chemistry 
to geological discoveries in Asia Minor, for the sufficient rea- 
son that no one hgd so far even heard of any of such sciences ; 
while on the other hand (and the ears of priests and magistrates 
not having yet grown sensitive to heresy) there was a deal of 
kudos to be got, let alone no end of entertainment; out of 

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teachings and discussions such as laid the foundations, once 
for all, of scientific thought. Now, in our days, matters are 
exactly reversed. For in our days it happens that the 
api>lication of science to material concerns enormously 
enriches the Croesuses who buy up or exploit what we call 
"inventions,*' meaning machines and drugs and such like; 
while, on the other hand, the application of science, that is of 
the methods of thinking which science has elaborated, to 
concerns of the mind, no less obviously diminishes the emolu- 
ments and reputable leisure of those whom the theological 
and scholastic past has bequeathed as the guardians and 
trustees of our spiritual welfare. This being the case for over 
a century and a half, and sempre crescendo^ science, we remark 
with pride, has been busy transforming the world in such a 
way that our own great-grandfathers, let alone those Ionian 
and Sicilian Sages and Croesus King of Lydia, would scarcely 
recognize it. For there is nothing, almost, we cannot do, on 
earth, on water, or in air, excepting do the work and live 
in the way which we should like. Transformation of the 
world ? A three-hour journey by the Midland, or Great 
Central Railway, even a tram-excursion into Greater London, 
leaves no doubt of that, particidarly after looking over the 
English water-colour landscapes of early Turner days. And 
our life, as we add with even sincerer pride, is transformed 
no less. Indeed the vast majority of lives now crowded into 
those ever-increasing rows of airless, viewless, joyless streets, 
have, for the last hundred years, themselves come into being 
by the creative fiat of applied science's beneficent and increas- 
ing demand for labour in the collieries and mills, and other 
bouillons de culture where (however unsuspected by those 
industrious generations themselves) our teeming contemporary 
Homunculi are produced, just as Goethe's imaginary specimen 
Homunculus was generated in Faust's crucible. And since 
I have mentioned Goethe, let me exemplify the prodigious 
increase of scale, size, numbers, and particidarly pace^ due to 
the lucrative character of science when applied solely to material 
objects, by pointing out that we moderns should require to 
symbolize Time the Bringer-of-Change is an Express-driver, a 
Chauffeur, and latterly an Airman; whereas, writmg in the days 

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of Watt and Arkwright, he found nothing more expressive 
of the furious speed of Kronos than to compare him with a 
postillion bobbing six miles an hour in front of a post-chaise. 

All this amounts to saying that machinery has grown ; and 
mankind grown not so much with, meaning proportionately, 
as into it Mankind's thought and imagination and will and 
effort have grown, precisely fitted, to that machinery's require- 
ments; grown thanks to machines themselves, to telegraphs, 
telephones, marconigrams, and even those latest mechanical 
toys which display to all belligerent stay-at-homes bowdlerized 
battles and firm-faked atrocities almost at the very minute 
of their taking place. Nor by positive methods only, but by 
more potent negative ones of omission and suppression : 
ideas, wishes, facts allowed diffusion only in so far as their 
diffusion increases, without producing friction, the immeasur- 
ably complicated automatism of our thoroughly mechanized 

And here some of mv friends will at once recognize in this 
description the apocalyptic monster Capitalism. . . . Alas, 
that is not what I am alluding to. I sav " alas," for Capitalism, 
the entirely wicked and marvellously simple monster they 
talk about, would long ago have had its neck wrung, belonging 
as it does to the race of dragons made of printed paper. 
Whereas the automatic monster I am describing could flourish 
equally under, say, the scientific socialism of the Webbs ; and 
will, unfortunatdy, survive, by dint of applied science and 
scientific organization, through a great number of political 
transformations, using them up, indeed, like the much-boomed 
transformation of the France of the Monarchy into the France 
of the Third Republic, and the England of Cobbett into the 
England of the Harmsworths. I even suspect that the very 
belief in what those friends of mine call Capitalism, and the 
belief that you need only seize the accursed Jabberwok by 
the neck, and after a brief snick-a-snack of Democracy's 
worple-blade, that mankind will arise free and rejoicing — I 
even suspect that this cry against Capitalism, though undoubt- 
edly beneficial as representing criticism and revolt, is largely 
machine-made — ^another shoddy, standardized product of 
that application of Science to material problems only, and to 

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those, above all, which pay. However this may be, and how- 
ever stupid and wasteful the War of Classes which will replace 
this present War of Nations, I return to my contention that 
the latter — ^I mean the War of Nations — ^is of the same origin 
and the same substance as the horrible houses in which most 
men and women at present live, the factories they overwork 
in, the public-houses and betting-sports in which they take 
their recreation: the expression, not of alert preferences and 
intelligent effort, but of machine-made acquiescence. And 
the war, with its unanimity of wasteful sacrifice, has shown 
that the multitude have as little outlook into Reality as they 
have view from their windows ; and that it is no easier for them 
to unclog their minds than to wash their bodies. For in ^ 
civilization like ours you can only hear what has been pre- 
viously r^d ; you can only read what has been printed and 
publidied ; you can print and publish only what has sufficient 
appeal to be sold off quicHy and in larger and larger editions ; 
just as you can only elect political representatives wjio have 
organizations behind them; neither more nor less than you 
can eat and drink only what the other kind of caterers nnd 
it remunerative to seU you. And all of them, caterers and 
catered for, financiers as well as proletarians, journalists and 
readers, governments and governed, teachers and taught, 
are all equally the variously specialized interlocking and 
standardized parts of that vast automatism which has residted 
less from human preference and purpose than from the 
suddenly discovered economic fatalities of chemical substances 
and mechanical processes. 

In this automatism, in all other respects more like a machilie 
than a living organism, there lurks, however, the saving grace 
of sensitiveness to pain and pleasure ; and hence the power of 
adaptation. This being so, we may be sure that, even at this 
moment, there is evolving some small unsuspected cwrgan or 
quality, most likely a by-product, even as the human hand 
and jaw and hence the human brain were once by-products 
of adaptations in lower creatures: some unseen factor 
destined to alter for the better this dreadful latter-day 
organism wherein man's muscles and man's mind, and the 
sinews and food and lubricants of machines, arc interlocking 

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co-ordinated parts, and whose latest achievement we can 
watch in our war. 

I will not flatter the self-importance of all of us intellectuals, 
by calling that still unnoticed, that transforming, rudiment 
of a saner and nobler life by the old name of Thought or fFilL 
For of what has hitherto oeen meant by Thought and fFill 
there has been plenty and to spare in these days ; only it has 
been made by the same machinery and methods as our 
shoddy clothes, our jerry-built houses and our unsparingly 
perfected and thoroughly efficient en^nes of military destruc- 
tion ; Thought busy excogitating justifications and elaborating 
myths ; fVtll trained to sacrifice, drilled to hatred of enemy 
nations this year, perhaps of enemy classes, next. I do not 
pretend to know what this rudimentary and hidden organ of 
human betterment may turn out to be j still less what 
changes in th« outer environment, and in what French biolo- 
gists call the inner milieu^ may help to evolve and thercfby 
give our life a new shape and new activities. Only I will add 
this much : that seeing, as I do, in science the most recent 
and least imperfect emoodiment of experience and thought, 
I cannot believe that it will continue everlastingly merely 
to fetch and carry, to produce cheaper commodities and 
more esroensive armaments, for creatures remaining so unac- 
quaintea with its essential nature as never to guess that, 
instead of such a hireling drudge, science could be the discip- 
lining educator of all our thought, and, through our thought, 
the guide of our action and the arbiter of our impulses. 

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This speech of Satan's might lead you to imagine that I look 
upon my fellow-writers as a mischievous set of people, and 
perhaps even a dishonest one. As regards their occasional 
nrischievousness my view cannot be brought under a simple 
is or is noty but involves considerable intricacies of explanation, 
with which the reader shall be duly puzzled. "Hie question of 
dishonesty can be answered with a resolute denial. 

"Hie war, which has taught me so much, has confirmed an 
old suspicion of mine, viz., that so far from taking for granted 
that opinions diametrically opposed to one's own cannot be 
honestly held, the preposterousness of other people's views 
(or what strikes one as such) ought to be a warrant that 
these views are honestly held; are, in short, the natural, 
spontaneous, almost inevitable effects of certain circumstances 
upon certain minds, temperamejits and educations. Delusion 
and Confusion do the trick; and nothing could be more 
honest than these ingenuous and ingenious ministers of Satan. 
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, opinions are what recent 

Esychology calls "rationalizations," explanations to others, 
ut first and foremost to one's own rational self, of impulses, 
attitudes and habits existing previously, and whose genetic 
reason (as distinguished from their excuse) must be sought in 
the great Reasonableness of Things which has made men into 
machines driven by instincts and passions but furnished with 
brakes, by no means automatic or always efficient, of rational 
thought. In other words, and save where intolerance has 
produced self-defensive hypocrisy, the psychological fact 
appears to be that we human creatures can be trusted to 
hold in all sincerity whatever opinions best conform to our own 
feelings and, in so far, our interests. And if you ask me how 
I can apply the word sincerity in sujch connexions, my answer 
is that tne sincerity is proved by the difficulty which those 
who hold these views experience in believing that the ojpposite 
ones can be other than dishonest. The disbelief m our 

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opponents* intellectual honesty is the measure of our own in- 
fatuation. Thus the person who at this moment believes 
that " pacifists *' must be sold to the Enemy is a person whose 
convictions cannot be other than sincere. 

Autumn^ 1918. 



As regards the mischief done by us writers — since what I 
am going to say applies equally to me, although, like my 
confrAres I naturally do not know wh^n or zvhere it applies, 
any more than I know the precise when and where of my future 
demise, but only that since aU humans must needs die, I 
also, being human, must die like the rest of us. . . • Wdl ! 
the thing I want to say about the mischievous nature of us 
people who write, applies not so much to writers as to writing. 
The danger, the actual and frequent mischief, is not in us as 
mere human beings, although the talent for expression may 
conceivably imply lack of reserve, lack of self-scrutiny and 
of responsibility — ^the mischief is in the art of words as such. 
And if, as I venture to suggest, we writers are an occasional dan- 
ger to the community, diis is, in my opinion, simply because 
we arc working with dangerous materials and dangerous tools ; 
and^ what is worse, usually without an inkling of their dangers. 
Our intentions are honest. ** But His an awkward thing to play 
with souls and matter enough to save one^s own^^ for, like that 
hero of Browning's, our attempts at influencing others, or at 
least the methods at our disposal, are fraught with drawbacks. 
Simply because the writer's (or orator's) attempt to gain others 
to ms views and to influence their choice and behaviour, is 
a tampering, not so much with so\ils, though that is part of 
our endeavour, but a tampering with ttu^K 



I shall often return to my belief that one of the uses of Art 
has been, not only to make up for the shortcomings of Reality, 

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but also, and in proportion to the boldness of its departure 
therefrom, to accustom us to the essential difference between 
what we like and what happens to exist. The arts appealing to 
the eye, and even more so architecture and music, have thus 
taken up their stand opposite to, independent and respectful 
of, Reahty; enabling us as also to respect and turn aside from 
it. I am sorry to say that the art of words, and especially 
my own dear art of prose writing, has been less conducive to 
intellectual integrity. Owing to its origin in speech, which 
means explanation and persuasion, it has never ceased tamper- 
ing with our recognition of Reality. Not in the sense of 
romancing, of presenting false pictures of life, as poor old 
M. Brunetiire accused it of doing. Rather in the far graver 
sense of falsifying values while remaining in the ostensible 
service of truth. For all literary processes, all rhetoric, all 
syntax, nay, all words such as they stand in the dictionary, 
are fraught with emotional " values," taking the word " values^* 
as it is done in regard to painting. In every act of speaking 
or writing, values of attraction and repulsion, of implicit judg- 
ment, praise and blame, are being insidiously, unwittingly 
employed (note how I have unintentionally prejudged the 
case by the mere word " insidiously '* !) by the speaker or 
writer, who is believed, and oftenest believes himself, to be 
expounding and displaying realities. All literature is nothing 
but such a juggling with emotional values^ such turning a 
statement into a pattern, into a piece of music, each with its 
emotional coercion, with its imperative appeal to preference 
and aversion. How could it be otherwise ? Has not literature, 
poetry, rhetoric, originated in the Temple and the Law Court, 
the Commemoration Feast and the Forum ? To exalt, to 
praise, to awaken contrition, to bias judgment ; to " persuade,* 
to " convert " to sway men's decisions — ^that has been its 
business. The art of words has done comparatively little, and 
that little has always been alloyed with emotional purpose, 
in the way of mere stating, of recording ; still less in the way 
of bona fide explaining, as distinguished from explaining away. 
Of this, and by dint of doing it all day long, those who ad- 
dress the public in Written or spoken words are scarcely aware. 
We do indeed know that, on special occasions, we are trying 

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to make our readers and audience feel, and prepare to act, in 
the manlier desired by ourselves. What we do not guess is that 
we are never doing anything else. For the human soul is so 
made that it becomes aware of its own ceaseless play of 
feeling only when that results in preparation for action ; we 
know, as it were, when we jump up and wish to embrace or 
attack, even more when we check our limbs from doing either ; 
we do not usually know the constant minute alterations in 
circulation and respiration and nervous tension which accom- 
pany or constitute what is called feeling ; still less are we aware 
of the mysterious changes in brain and nerves which give what 
we call our mental attitude towards this or that. Now, even 
when there is no intention of influencing men's choice, that 
is to say men's behaviour, there nevertheless is, on the part of 
all speech and all writing, an unceasing manipulation of all 
these unnoticed possibilities of feeling and attitude : they are 
the very material of all literary effect ; and the essential 
rhythms, far deeper down and more potent than any perceived 
by the ear, which are the writer's or speaker's materials, are the 
rhythms of our affections. Such is the power of words ; by the 
side of which all the vaunted powers of music, Orpheus, Saint 
Cecilia, Alexander's Feast and all, are coarse, intermittent, 
easily guarded against, and evanescent. For what matters is 
not the occasional and obvious stirring to madness or tears ; 
but the constant unnoticed fingering and shaping of our 
judgments, our preferences and our prejudices. 

This, however, is only half of the matter ; the matter being 
the unconscious mendacity inherent in all verbal expression. 
Unlike music, words do not manipulate mere feeling, so to 
speak, in vacuo. Words summon up memor)^~images ; they 
d!eal with qualities^ with things existing outside us, towards 
which those preferences and attitudes are turned. And it 
is in virtue of this constant reference to things that literature's 
playing upon our feelings so often becomes a tampering with 
our sense of realities. Words tell us of a world outside our- 
selves ; but in so doing turn that world's relations within 
itself into relations to our likings and dislikings. Hence words 
have been the chief instruments both of Confusion and of 

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This war, wherein words have plajred their part alongside 
high explosives and poison-gases — ^this war has made me think 
that since literature implies the readjustment (and consequent 
possible falsifying) of all emotional and imaginative values. 
It is a trade which can be decently plied only by people fully 
aware of these dangerous possibilities, and trained to recognize 
that, far from making them (as we writers all fed ourselves) 
priests of a God, it tends to turn us into the mouthpiece of our 
own and other folks* slovenly thought, inveterate prejudices 
and unrecognized semi-submerged passions. 

To which I would add that, as so often happens, the old, 
primaeval superstitions seem to have treated as material and 
mechanical realities what we are recognizing for subjective 
and spiritual ones. There really does exist indeed something 
like Mana and something like ma^ic^ in so far as every human 
being is streaming out suggestions to every other human being; 
and that, at every serious contingency of life, the world inside 
us, as savages believe the world outside, is filled with strange 
influences and evil powers, whereof words and shapes and 
images are the medium ; so that, unless he whose special voca- 
tion it is to deal with these dangerous things learns to approach 
his work in a humble spirit and with a heart purified by self- 
scepticism, those rites of his, instead of fostering whatsoever 
forces for good may lie latent in our thoughts and emotions, will 
merely let loose the deceiving demons who hide in our own soul 
and in that of all other men and women; moreover, feeding 
them with fumes of obscure memories and frenzy of sacrifice, 

five over the outer world also and all its goodness to their 
estructive and defiling rage. Not the air and the waters 
and the earth's upturned soil, nor the grass and the forests, 
nor the moon and the stars, are, as our ancestors thought, 
full of unseen and malevolent spiritual dwellers ; but a place 
more mysterious and perilous, namely, the spirit of man, 
where they lurk unsuspected, and issue forth working subtle 
or terrific havoc. The spells by which they are let loose are 
words. And the thoughtless magician's apprentice, the un- 
hallowed hierophant, who plays with them, is the man or 

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woman whom* we pay to teach us, preach to us, and, above all, 
to write. July^ 191 7. 

I do not know whether we people who have (or deem our- 
selves to have) the gift of words are, or are not, more impulsive, 
less restrained, than our mute inglorious readers ; tnis war 
seems to have shown that there is not much to choose in this 
way between them and us. What is certain, though less 
noticed, is that feelings, passions and all the imaginative 
apparatus connected with them, are the material in which, 
quite as much as in words, we writers work, and by working 
get what matters as much as daily bread or kudos, the 
satisfaction of the imperious needs of our special talents. 
This has been urged against actors; even musicians are 
suspected of cultivating their own passions in order to 
play upon the passions of their hearers. I don't know about 
actors. As to musicians, I hold them to be among mankind's 
greatest benefactors, just because they arouse and satisfy 
feelings while doing so in vacuo^ or rather in a region dis* 
connected with thought, belief, and, in so far, with action. 
Unluckily, literature is a dual art ; and writers, specially in 
prose, are a hybrid race dealing in passion on die one hand 
and in reasons on the other ; with tne result, that nine times 
out of ten, the reasons are the mere excuses for passion, and the 
means of giving passions a longer lease of life, a more^stable and 
reputable tenure than if left to themselves. You can test this 
by comparison with music ; even the kind which (by gross 
exaggeration) is credited with action on people's " immoral " 
tendencies, does as a fact go in at one ear and come out at 
the other: Timotheus stops his strumming, and forthwith 
Alexander stops waving his torch about ; besides on that 
occasion {vide Dryden) Alexander had been feasting on more 
than music. Once Wagner's insidious harmonies and diffluent 
melodies have died away, the audience returns to stock- 
broking, to chiffons and the practice of respectability. No 
one has collected the statistics of adultery at Bayreuth as 
compared with those of the Bach-Festival at Ldpzig. And 

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if those statistics did prove greater leniency to conjugal 
irregularity after the one performance than the other, there 
remains to discount the effect of the story, the scenic repre- 
sentation, the situation of, say, Tristan or feundry ; above all, 
the words. For words (since I am back at words), besides 
arousing feelings, deal in description, in judgment and in 
praise or blame ; words are what makes standards and codes 
and also unmakes them. The really dangerous part of litera- 
ture is that, besides awakening passion, it justifies it. Now 
the justification, with its reasonable formulation, remains 
after the feeling has gone ; let alone that it takes away the 
naistrust, that fear of the overwhelming, the daemonic, which 
civilization has bred into all human beings much (pace Freud 
and his neurotics) to the general advantage. That element 
of literature which it has in common with music will rouse 
the longing to do and dare, to expand one's individuality, 
f»ce danger, and incidentally, knock someone on the head, or 
wreck his furniture. And tne element which literature shares 
with thought, observation, generalization and plain conunon- 
sense, instantly ups, exclaiming : " The cause for which you 
do all this is a just, a holy one," etc., when, in a good 
many cases, there is no cause at all, nothing about which justice 
or holiness can be predicated. Let us never forget that being 
rational creatures we employ our reason for the purpose nearest 
our heart, namely, to put us in conceit with our feelings, to 
make a show of asking for their passport, and in so doing give 
them a laissez passer to do whatever they please. 

With this goes that every writer, just because he is a writer, 
becomes an expert in everything which can perform this 
double office. A writer has a training, an inborn intuition, 
not only in handling words as such, but in persuading, acting 
on the mind, of his readers. And he naturally loves the exer- 
cise and the material of his art ; he likes all that is impressive, 
memorable, pathetic, noble, new, surprising, splendid, over- 

fowering. Even if not born a creature of impulse (and of this 
see no evidence), he is, ceeteris paribus^ pretty sure to become 
one in the course of exercising his art. The more so that his 
art has not half as much as architecture, music, and painting, 
the purely aesthetic, formal, impersonal appeal, unable to 

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build his Abt Vogler's temple out of sounds, or out of the 
soarings and expansions of lines and surfaces, or the irresistible 
combinations of colours, he is perpetually falling back upon 
ethical qualities for his aesthetic effects. Now it is not good 
for morals, they belonging to the life of Reality, to be treated 
as material for the aesthetic life of appearances. There are 
indeed qualities in common to the two domains ; e.g.y energy, 
balance, restraint and lucidity ; but these are the qualities 
which literature seeks least, which tell least and which cannot 
compete with the facile, the brass-band or accordion, effects 
to be got out of heroism or the melting emotions. So the 
two latter, and everything of that kindy becomes, willy-nilly, 
the writers' habitual material. That is one reason, among 
others, why writers are so often prophets and moralists. ... 


There is, of course, further mischief, or possibility of mis- 
chief, in a circumstance independent of the essential nature of 
words and the art of using them: namely, in the particular 
status which we writers have taken over from our predecessors, 
the prophets, priests, spiritual directors and doctors of the 
Church. The mischief that, instead of seeing ourselves as 
mere searchers after truth, implying thereby that we have not 
yet got, and perhaps may never get, hold of it, we take for 
granted that ttuth is already in our keeping, with the conse- 
quent duty of bringing others to its due recognition. More- 
over that what we have is the whole truth, or at least nothing 
but the truth. And that is scarcely likely. The harm we do 
is not merely that we emplojr methods of persuasion, t.^., of 
biasing feeling and re-arranging facts, ana of juggling with 
values ; it is also that we employ these literary arts unoeF the 
conviction that we are imparting eternal verities. Like the 
sacred books of all religions we still say : It is ; instead of 
employing the formula, unsuitable for prophets and sibyls, 
but eminently suited to ourselves ; / think that it is, 

October^ 1918. 

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We writers seek completeness in our work, not so much, I 
fear, because we are athirst for consistency and harmony, as 
that we want the universe to have no sides which our individual 
thought cannot face and tackle. At the very least our micro- 
cosm is to fit exactly into the circle of the macrocosm ; our 
tiny personal lens to cover what Whitman calls the Great 

And more particularly do we writers feel that our teaching, 
our guidance, our incuvidual work has to answer every 
Question and organize every synthesis. 

Now this is not the case. Tjie use of a writer is not that he 
is the only one, but that he is of a great number of others past 
and present. His little piece of self-expression may fill up a 
gap left by that of his fellows ; fill it up, not in a complete and 
sole picture of the universe, but in that fluctuating mass of 
fragmentary thought and emotion which all rational and 
sensitive minds share and increase. 

The writer is surely not much more than the particular leaven 
which is to make thought ferment and rise ; nse, moreover, to 
neutralize much of his own, in the mind of some particular 
reader, perhaps with luck, in the minds of two or three. 

That IS not how we writers think of ourselves, and perhaps 
never will cease thinking, in however a modest secrecy of our 
soul. Each one of us feels called upon (and the organization 
of the book market does call on half a dozen of us fairly at 
random) to feed those thirty thousand disciples on the seven 
loaves and fishes, leaving twelve basketfuls for an expectant 
and grateful posterity. 

The twelve tasketfuls of broken spiritual victuals encumber 
the shelves of our libraries. It is about the thirty thousand 
disciples that I feel in doubt, whether they got sufficient 
mental sustenance from our labours ; and even more whether 
they are really thirty thousand, thirty, or three, or indeed are 
there at all, except m our fancy. 7<*»^> 191 8. 


You will remark that in all these charges I have brou^t 
against us dealers in words and makers of black-and-wQte 

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word-magic, there is no mention of what our ancestors called 
the Venal Pen. The belief in its existence belongs to the same 
comfortable creed as the belief in the divine mission of the 
writer. I have ceased to hold either; trying duUjr to see 
things as they are, without extracting from their sight the 
joys of enthusiasm and invective. But I was young once; 
and can remember declaring " that the writer must needs be 
either a Priest or a Prostitute." 

Additional experience, and the amusing study of ancient 
religions and rituals, have led me to suspect that, as in those 
places where Syrian damsels " mourned young Adonis all a 
summer's day," and also sundry other countries, the two 
vocations may be cumulated in the selfsame individual. 
Thus the literary surrender to lucrative complaisances may be 
carried on as bona fide union with the supreme good. 

I know little about journalists ; and cannot therefore deny 
that such persons may be gifted with recognition of reality 
commensurate with their willingness to prepare lies for 
other people's reading. I really have no opinion on the sub- 
ject. But as to writers of the sort whose utterances, being 
addressed to Eternity, are printed on more durable paper, 
bound in what is called doth and kept on shelves, I can see 
absolutely no reason why they should ever write what they do 
not think, since it is part of their particular gift (wherein, 
however unworthy, I participate) to think whatever they 

Octobefy 1918. 

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. . . my tmn servants Delusion and Confusion^ or, in other 
words. Passion seeing everything through its own likes and 
dislikes, and Dullness never seeing anything at all. p. 14. 


It does not take a Rebel Archangel to point out that our 
views of people, things and events are coloured and distorted, 
proportions and perspective queered, details turned into 
essentials, and results shoved into the place of causes, every- 
thing made plausible and monstrous, by the passions of him 
who thinks he sees all as it really is. We are daily making 
the remark about our neighbours ; and occasionally, as when 
the lover has fallen out of love, even about our past selves. 
And we all know that it is the essence of Delusion not to be 
suspected by those in whom it happens to be present. 

What requires adding to this venerable commonplace is 
that Delusion may be born of other passions than those that 
take their seats in Satan's Ochestra or in the Heavenly Choirs 
of Theologic Virtues, or, for that matter, in the zoological 
cages wherein moralists have always wished to pen them. 
The passions (or feelings or instincts, the whole nomenclature 
is inadequate) with which we have thus been made familiar, 
are as separate from one another, each in its conventional 
costume and bearing its appropriate symbol, as are the Harle- 
quins and Prince Charmings and Columbines and Ogres in a 
pantomime. They have attracted the notice of moralists 
because their presence is manifested in behaviour which man- 
kind, and mankind's supernatural delegates, have had a 
direct interest in checking or fostering. Besides they work 
their will in the broad daylight of the outer world. To see 
them, there has been no need for peering into the dim fluctua- 
tions of the human soul ; no need for seeking them in and as 
themselves : you could recognize the presence of Love by 
following the glance of the lover at the beloved ; that of 
hatred by marBng the clenched fists and the scowl, the sudden 

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attack on its victim. In fact the passions were known by the 
actions they inspired or the object they were directed to. 
Similarly, it was recognized, ever since always, that these 
passions begat delusions, because these delusions were also 
manifested in outer conduct : Titania fondling the ass's head 
and Quixote spurring after the basin on the barber's head, 
made it plain that the eyes of romantic love and of adventurous 
vain-glory are apt to see persons and things quite unlike 
what they are. 

That this happens is, as already remarked, a commonplace 
unworthy of an up-to-date Satan. Even Clio has learned that 
false prophets have been, at times, sincere; and wholesale 
murderers, like Robespierre, full of genuine humanitarian 
sentiments. What Satan has neglected to add, and Clio (and 
the thinkers nursed on her classic knees) not yet guessed, is 
that a formidable amount of Delusion has less direct and 
unmistakable origins and results ; is born and bred not in that 
conventional carnival of Passions with definite features and 
well-known attributes, playing their ugly or exquisite pranks 
in full view of the assembled neighbourhood ; but has mysteri- 
ously arisen from obscure, changing yet undying, feelings, 
primordial and protean like those marine creatures which are 
round or oblong, transparent or opaque, single individual or 
colony, parent or split-off offspring, plant or animal, all turn 
about ; feelings whose habitation is as deep down and as 
obscure as any sea bottom, indeed the mcommunicable 
regions of the human soul, which each of us may guess at in 
his fellows, but know directly only in his own self. 


I have just said that Delusion is begotten of other passions 
than those which, manifesting themselves in outer actions, 
have engrossed the attention of moralists. Indeed there are 
feelings, emotions, preferences, and aversions which, at least 
in ci^ized mankind, affect the outer world only indirectly 
through beliefs and opinions. Their glance is turned inwards ; 
and they deal with the contents of our inner world, arranging 

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ideas, memories and judgments into a dwelling wherein they 
can expand freely or rest at ease. 

Expansion and rest ; to these primary inner needs it might 
be possible to trace back some of the most imperious of those 
sdt-regarding impulses which, in their turn, beget so much 
Delusion. Tke soul reauires to put forth its energy, and 
suffers by that energy*s being thwarted ; but it also requires 
to recuperate, to economize, and suffers by undue expenditure. 
These two requirements result in feelings which compensate, 
and somerimes contradict, each other ; sometimes also bear 
the mark of their double origin. Thus it is with all the various 
forms of self-assertion and all the various forms of acquiescence : 
the tendency to think oneself as good as one's nei^bours, or 
somewhat better ; to think of everything which one calls 
one's owtiy family, class, country, as partaking of that 
superiority ; on tne other hand, the fear of isolation, of being 
left out in the cold, of being ridiculous, abnormal ; whence the 
fact that humiliation may seem worse than death. These are 
among out deepest-down social feelings ; but there seem to be 
other ones more intimate still, regarding only our solitary self 
and its intrinsic conditions : the joy of recognizing oneself up 
to the mark, efficient, harmonious, self-consistent, inwardly 
secure, warm in self-familiarity; and, contrasted with all 
those ineffable satisfactions, the pain of feeling b^low par^ 
baulked, impotent, diminished, disrupted, at variance with 
oneself. . . . Such are some of the needs and impulses^ the 
uncatalogued passions not manifested directly in outer 
behaviour to our neighbours, and which, if guessea at by those 
neighbours, are guessed only in so far as already familiar to 
them in their own hidden selves. 

Indeed, they belong essentially to ourselves. And since 
they would be in perpetual clash with the same sort of cravings 
in other individuals, let alone in conflict with the averaged 
standards set up by social compromise, they needs remain 
individual, secret, unformulated in words, uncommunicated to 
others ; hence, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, unavowed 
to oursdves. But such lack of open recognition merely 
establishes their paramount tyraimy; they are oligarchies 
and dynasties without a name, divinities without a temple. 

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yet forever receiving a hidden sacrifice of commonscnse and 
truth. They are among the inner Categorical Imperatives, 
a deal more imperative, and perhaps more categoncal, than 
poor Immanuel Kant, older than society, more primordial 
than property or parenthood, perhaps than sex ; sprung from 
whatever is at the bottom of all these : not the activity of 
this part of the brain or that, not even the turgescence of 
this or that set of organs, but (one cannot help suspecting) the 
expansion and contraction, the plenitude and: exhaustion, the 
affinities and repulsions, in fact whatever makes the essential 
rhythms of substance ; who knows ? reducible perhaps to 
the chemistry of the universe. Be this as it may, these 
imperious, violent or subtle forces of the soul, protean, lacking 
all definite name and all consistent aspect, hidden by and to 
ourselves, hiave been disregarded by psychologists and moral- 
ists, save a few mystics specializing in the soul's adventures, 
and one or two cynics like La Rochefoucault, Stendhal, 
Butler and Nietzsche. Such being the case, when we express 
in words or in behaviour their needs and orders, we call them 
by the name of something else, attributing their works to 
other motives. We allege impersonal reasons ; we point to 
outer and alien explanations. We say : it isy implying by 
it the character of our neighbours, the peculiarity of circum- 
stances, the laws of thought, the constitution of the Universe ; 
when if we told, if we could tell, the truth, we should say : / 
wanty I needy I wish, I feel. We look in the opposite direction ; 
look at things upside down and with reversed perspective and 
colour, concave for convex, green for red and olack for white. 
That means that we delude ourselves. And to the endless 
protean Delusions of which they are the cause, we add a 
crowning self-delusion : that of believing that we have no 
such fedings, passions, impulses, and needs, or that they 
happen to be in abeyance at the moment of speaking.* 

* Much of all this is insisted on by the Freudians; and their insist- 
ence on hidden springs of our thought and action is, to my view, their 
great gift to psydiology. Where I venture to disagree entirely with 
them is in the contents of the above passage, which sets forth my 
belief that all these obscure psychological phenomena have thefr 
explanation in something more primordial than sex. 

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Seeing things through the colouringy the distorting medium of 
passion. . . . This familiar metaphor helped me to something 
I wanted to talk about. Now it must be discarded because, 
being only partially correct, it prevents my saying what I 
still require to say. Luckily it so happens that showing the 
inadequacy of this metaphor may hdp us to a corrector view 
of the whole question of Delusion. 

Let me therefore begin by saying that passion is not in the 
least a pane of coloured glass through which the mind looks 
at the universe, nor a spoon in which the universe is seen 
grotesquely mirrored. Passion, Emotion, Habit, let us call it 
by the convenient name of Feeling, is not outside the mind, 
still less interposed between the mind and a universe waiting 
ready to be looked at. Neither is the mind looking at anything. 
" The mind," in whatsoever way science may eventually define 
and explain it, is our name for a number of processes re-acting 
and interacting on each other. And " Feeling " is a group 
of these processes ; what is more, happens to be the group 
which, besides the other group called memory^ decides not 
only hoto but what we shall see. As is well known, memory, 
that is to say stored-up experience, allows us, by its 
laws of association, to add of new impressions only such as 
are related to our previous ones. Memory may in fact be 
described as our inner Past selecting among a potential outer 
Present. And similarly Feeling may be said to be our inner 
individual Present which selects among all the multitudinous 
whirl of potential impressions with which, as William James 
put it, the universe ceaselessly bombards our senses, deddmg 
like memory, but with more violence of choice, which of them 
shall be worked into the living and changing pattern of our 

It is a matter of common knowledge how little we see of 
what does not interest us, and how what we desire or dread 
makes us recognize its signals and its vestiges on every side. 
In the same way, we all know that feeling is ever evading and 
excluding whatever may nm counter to it ; that passion is 
perpetu^y collecting fuel to keep up its flame. 

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This again is metaphor ; and, in so far, may be misleading. 
Let us therefore seek in our recollection of others and of our- 
selves for the unmetaphorical facts. Here is Utania, whose 
love needs no magic philter, doting on the soft siUdness of the 
dear ass's head, but never noticing the queer shape of those 
delicious ears. And here is Don Quixote, his eye catching 
a mile off the golden glint of the magic helmet ; out, close at 
hand, not recognimg its wearer for his crony the village 
barber. These are the typical delusions of passion, lynx-eyed 
for the qualities which it wants ; and as blind as a mole to 
those which it doesn't. 

All this is familiar, classical, stale. But there are delusions 
of a sort less often described, indeed scarcely acknowledged to 
exist. I mean delusions in which outside persons and things 
really play only a secondary part, and our own self the domina- 
ting first. What we want is not so much this or that object 
of desire for its own sake ; we want our desire to continue, or 
our aversion, which is mere inverse desire. What we apostro- 
phize with Faust's " Stay, thou art fair," is not always the 
beloved, it is often our own condition of being in love ; the 
feeling which we cannot afford to part with. 

Moreover there is a kind of feeling which we always require 
to keg), even when we have parted with all other ones. The 
vital feeling of a tolerable sdf. Bottom with his ass's head 
must remain a fairy prince lest Utania cease, in her own eyes, 
to be a fairy queen. The Barber's Basin must remain the 
Helmet of Mambrino lest poor Don Quixote lose belief in his 
own (long lapsed) sanity. Thus what fnight have been the 
merest passing mistake, easily corrected and forgotten, when 
its acknowledgment would disrupt the comfortable unity and 
stability of our feelings, especially of our feeling for sel^ takes 
on the status and permanence, the invisible dignity, of a 

I have mentioned that group of feelings, that imperious 
habitual passion, which psychologists, for lack of a better 
word, call the feeling of self. For queer as are our delusions 
about our lovers or enemies, the most common and the most 
abiding delusions of all are about something which we 
cherish (and rightly !) more than any lover, detest (also 

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rightly) more than any enemy : our good opinion or our 
bad opinion of our self. Since our self (and here comes in a 
necessary ddusion, due not to one feeling only but to all our 
feelings)^ our Self is to each man and woman the inevitable^ 
because the only directly felt, centre of his or her Universe. 


The world inside us, the world which suflEers or rejoices, is, 
after all, the one which counts for most ; the outside world 
taking on importance only in proportion as it affects that 
world within. Hence there is nothing concerning which we 
are more commonly hood-winked by our feelings than about 
our feelings themselves. Neither is there any loss or sacrifice 
causing more massive and also more ramified suffering, more 
unmistakable leakage of vital energy, than does any disrup- 
tion of the soul by conflicting desires, standards and habits. 

Moreover such suffering and diminution is far more frequent 
than is remorse or inextinguishable regret for which it is so 
often mistaken. It is of daily occurrence; and madness 
lies that way. Hence Natural Selection, which gave to insects 
and fishes their protective power of looking exactly like what 
they are not, has allowed life and progeny only to such human 
beings as have, similarly, evolved an automatic sdf-dcfensive 
power of believing themsdves to be guided by motives often 
the reverse of those which they really obey. 

Suppose, for instance, we became aware of a wish to do 
something the doing of which runs counter to our other and 
habitual wish not c^y to seem, but (what is far more impera- 
tive) to know ourselves indeed to be, reasonable and decent 
persons, worthv of esteem. In some cases the desire to be thus 
reasonable and decent having the strength of habit, while the 
sudden conflicting desire, say to pay off an old grudge, being 
comparativdy weak, the first inmgnantiy sweeps the second^ 
if not out of existence, at all events out of sight, into that Hades 
(or rather that cesspool) where, according to the Freudians, 
suppressed desires lurk hjie ghosts or microbes. But in other 
cases the two desires may be so equally matched that the soul 

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is^ as poets say, torn in twain; or at least, nude exceedingly 
uncomfortable and quite incapable of attending to anything 
else by its oscillation between the two. Thus behind the 
conflicting desires, viz., to remain reasonable and decent, and 
yet to do what our standard of reasonableness and decency 
forbids, our life of the feelings is harassed not merely by the 
intense discomfort of that conflict, but by efEorts to put a 
stop to it. Hence a compromise, which at this stage of evolu- 
tion is so automatically perfect as to act at the merest 
suggestion of the predicament, sparing us all its multifold 
pamfulness in bUssnil ignorance of what is takinj; place. We 
satisfy the craving to do a mischief to that particular person, 
but without doing it at the expense of our reasonable and 
decent reprobation for all forms of vindictiveness. We 
damage that person, say by disclosing some scandalous 
circumstance. But we make the disclosure because we be- 
come aware that our duty as a citizen demands it ; for the 
rest, we cannot help the coincidence that the individual whom 
we are thus compelled to hand over to reprobation, happens to 
be the same towards whom we once bore, or might have borne 
(for we no longer bear it 1), a personal grudge. I can hear 
my honourable (and duly honoured) reader's indignation at 
tms point : ** But what you are describing i^ what / call 
hypocrisy." WeU, my dear indignant one, you would be 
wrong to call it so. Hypocrisy is a horrid, low vice, and the 
whole of mankind does not spend most of its rime in being low 
and horrid and vicious ; besides if you and every one of us 
are hypocrites, by what name shall we designate the TartuflEes 
and PecksniflEs i No, this would indeed, as you may say, be 
hypocrisy i^ as you seem to think, the processes were conscious 
to those in whom they take place, as they are obvious to you 
or me looking on and analysing, lliat is just what they are not, 
any more than the muscular adjustments of getting on or off 
a Dicyde are conscious to the rider. Indeed just a& that 
cyclist would probably fafl off if he realized precisely what his 
arms and legs were doint, so^ if their far more perfect spiritual 
automatism were suddemy revealed in consciousness, this pro- 
cess would be brought to a sudden stop by astonishment and 
shame. Otherwise it really would be a case for speaking of 

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hypocrisy. What I am describing is not deception but self- 
aeceptiofiy not falsehood but delusion. It is so far removed 
from lying that it often makes telling or acting a lie unneces- 
sary. So much so that I suppose one reason why we have 
grown so liable to this particmar form of delusion, is that it 
ministers to a very vital and commendable requirement of 
human nature : the need for a good conscience and for moral 
principles. Moreover, the verv essence of all delusion is that 
we do not know we are deluded. 

So, when those Jesuit moralists, so roughly handled by 
Pascal, unwarily registered, in their manuals of confession^ 
their famous recipe for reconciling, let us say, a penitent's 
persistent hankering after his neighbour's wife with that 
same penitent's sincere abhorrence of mortal sin, by simply 
directing his intention away from guilty intrigues to the mere 
avoidance, imperative on a man in good society (honnhe 
homme as the seventeenth century called him) of the silly pre- 
dicament and ridiculous reputation of the patriarch Joseph^ 
when those Jesuit casuists did this, they were tollowing 
the example of a casuist subtler and more experience^ 
also more devoted to moral order, than even themselves. Tlxat 
long established, indeed unconscious and automatic casuist 
who saves so large a share of individual man's and of collective 
mankind's standards and commandments, is no other than the 
particular embodiment of Delusion that directs our intentions 
with the little formula : " not for the sake of satisfying my 
passion but solely to make sure of X. Y.Z." 

But Delusions — ^f or that minion of the Great Waster (and at 
the same time that trusty guardian of so much morality) is in 
reality a noun of multitude — delusions require each other's 
assistance, each making work for its sisters. So the belief 
that we are doing it (whatever it may happen to be) merely to 
make sure of X.Y.Z., requires the belief that X.Y.Z. ought to 
be brought about, and can be brought about only by our doing 
that particular thing. Thus, if we burn a heretic, or a library, 
not for any pleasure of our own in such burnings, oh no ! but 
solely for the greater glory of Christ or Allah, it becomes 
necessary that we should be absolutely sure that the burning in 
question is an infallible means of magnifyii^ Christ or Allah ; 

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let alone be absdutely sure that Christ or Allah really exists, 
and that we are in possession of all necessary information 
concerning him. 


I shall not deal any more in those, as we English express it, 
unpleasant ^meaning over attractive) instances supplied by 
Pascal's wicKed Jesuits. For obvious purposes of national 
propaganda the present war has indeed removed the offensive 
associations (malodorous is the term in Hansard) which used 
to cling to the word immorality^ extending its use to other 
relations than those of persons who ought to have been 
married but are not. The present war and its propaganda 
affords quite unexceptional examples of the mischief which 
can come of such mutually dependent groups of delusions. 

At the moment (October, 191 8) of my writing the above 
little analysis, Satan's Ballet of the Nations is being prolonged, 
perhaps indeed only by a few weeks and only a few thousand 
additional casualties, because a number of righteous and 
world-wise people are sajdng " not from revenge, bta merely 
. . . '^ the out representing the necessity, as a peace-loving 
friend of mine excellently put it, "that every German Child 
must learn that war does not pay and that Germany has got 
the worst of it, was worsted and beaten ; not frorn revenge^ but 
to * larn ' them for the future, as they say in the north 
country. For it takes so much to convince them." 

" Not from revenge " ; my friend has double underlined that 
not But my friend has been at less trouble to explain, let 
alone to demonstrate, the arguments and examples behind 
her certainty that the " larning them " will be conducive to 
the lasting peace, upon which that friend's kind heart is set. 
The certainty is put not as the conclusion of an inquiry, but as 
the premise for a proposition; indeed as the mdisputable 
basis for the only safe line of conduct ; it seems to be an axiom 
something like two and two make four. Now far be it from 
me to deny that this axiomatic premise may be true. I have 
indeed not been shown why it is to be considered- axiomatic. 

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but that is not sufficient to exclude the possibility that, sup- 

Omy friend to have her way, and the German ChUd to be 
" by very severe peace terms as ra^ards territory " (and 
at the proiminary expense of some weeks or at least days of 
addidonal death and mutilarion) the ^^ larning '' will be found 
to have resulted in the German Child's (grown to man's estate) 
recognizing that "War does not pay." Children are un- 
doubtedly queer, and heaven knows Germans are queerer 
still ; so no one should close the chapter of aueer possibilities. 
But, though possible, it is not (as those adoitional casualries 
might require before being embarked upon) proven, neither 
by naming the proverbial six instances, nor by analysing the 
statement to its psychological and sociological elements, and 
deducing the result from our generalized knowledge of these 
elements. On the other hand, there exists, so far, a psycho- 
lorical possibility (mind I don't say certainty nor even proba- 
bility) that a sufficiently beaten, a thoroughly well " larned " 
nation, may take the opposite view, viz., that since war has 

1)aid their victors, who have got rid of a dangerous competitor, 
et alone acquired a few inadental trifles, so also war might, 
indeed toould have paid them^ if only the lucl^ the odds, per- 
haps the preliminary precautions, had been a little different. 
There is as much probability of that as of the inveterate 
gambler, after laying down his last sovereign, getting up with 
the conviction that if only the other fellow hadn't held that 
ace, or if only he himself had carried out that Monte Carlo 
" system," gambling would have paid, so much so that he 
decides to take the first opportumty of trying his luck and 
his skill again. TTiat the intended "larning" may have an 
analogous result on the German C3uld's mind is therefore in 
no way nejjatived by what we know of the general habits of 
human beings. 

My friend does not controvert that possible deduction; 
indeed she is so far from denying, that she does not ever men* 
tion it ; as with other axioms, the reverse of hers is treated as 
unthinkable. So much for the deductive probabilities. 
Now let us look for the inductive proof, the six proverbial 
examples that nations sufficientiy well "lamed become 
quite resigned to the "larning." And here let me confess 


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that, being but imperfectly acquainted with history (by no 
means on good terms it would seem with Clio), I do not know 
what six instances might be adduced to that effect, and my 
friend has not told me. On the other hand I happen to 
remember that when in 1871 the Germans determined to 
humiliate and "bleed white" and mutilate France, they 
alleged the necessity of " larning '* her not to be the vain- 
^orious aggressive nuisance she had been ever since the 
Thirty Years* War; not to go on talking of that left bank of 
the Khine, not to sing Alfred de Musset's couplets about 
German girls remembering the French occupation, of " trace 
^tiire du pied de nos chevaux marquee dans votre sang.'* It 
was only last winter I re-read the furious letter with which 
Carlyle insisted on the necessity of thus laming France, 
in answer to Leonard Courtnej^s prophetic plea that such 
treatment would only result in rarther wars. In which 
controversy a half century more, and the present war, have 
surely proved that the late Carlyle was wrong, and the future 
Lord Courtney (let me affectionately repeat that honoured 
name) right in the matter of the particular laming under 

For all of which reasons, or more properly speaking, for the 
absence of any sufficient reasons benind that friend's (and so 
many other friends') axiom that " severe terms about terri- 
tory** will make the German Child remember that War Docs 
Not Pay, I am inclined to think that the double-underlining 
of that " NOT from revenge but," is likely to have been a 
delusion of the very kind I have been trying to describe and 
explain : an unconscious and automatic compromise by which 
we are able to satisfy our passionate cravings while maintain- 
ing our allegiance to principles and standards ; able to avoid 
both remorse for having indulged and regret at having 

• The above was written before the Armistice. Since then there has 
been added a Tableau to Satan's Ballet exceeding in strangeness of 
horror the comparativdy conventional war-dance which preceded it. 
The grave of that proverbial German Child is becoming a prematura 
one, and the number which will profit by the "laming" being un- 
doubtedly diminished (Easter, 19X9). Let me add {June, 19x9) that 
we in England seem to be mistaking for a general mea culpa on the 

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Now, in the present case, the desire to make the German 
child carry scarlet scars of retributive humiliation down to its, 

Eerhaps elderly, grave, is very natural in those who share every 
eUigerent country's (including Germany's) simple faith that 
the war was the Doing of the Enemy. And, just because this 
natural but dangerous craving for revenge is one which 
Christian and humanitarian people do not like to own up to, 
it might be possible, if they did so, to shame them out of what 
they would consider a lapse into barbarism, after which they 
might even begin to suspect that the future peace of the world 
was endangered by yielding to so unchristian and uncivilized 
a passion. But when people are persuaded that, if anything, 
they are sacrificing their own merciful instincts to the stern 
axiomatic necessity of "larning** the Enemy Child into 
recognizing that War Does Not Pay, why then . , . 

Why then, Satan's pet minion Delusion has answered tQ 
the whistle of the Waster of Human Virtue. 


It is conceivable that some of my readers will somehow or 
other skip that last little chapter with its example of a War 
Delusion. They will stick, or stickle, at a more abstract por- 
tion of this note, and lay hold, as of a missile against me, of 
my remarks that these secret mobiles, unavowed impulses 
and emotional habits, all converge in the one great vital 
delusion which we all carry in ourselves : that each is the 
centre of the universe, and that whatever each believes must 
be the truth. 

" What ! '' cry those readers, " just when thousands of men 
have given limbs and life, and thousands of women have given 
those same men, for their country and their ideals, you come 

part of the German people what is merely the natural tendency to 
discredit, by heaping up responsibilities, the discarded govemmAnt 
which had led them to ruin. The Germans might similarly have mis- 
taken the French diatribes against VHontme <2# Sedan for a confession 
that France had deserved her defeat at their hands. 

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and say that every human being is for himself or herself the 
inevitable centre of the universe ! Choose a likelier moment 
for such attempts to belittle human nature." 

My meaning does not belittle poor human nature, rather 
magnifies, glorifies it, by the recognition of the vast con- 
centric cirde of persons, things, places and ideas which 
radiate in every mind from that living, burning core of indivi- 
dual feeling. Beyond that warm and vivid sphere of what- 
soever is thus sucked into our desire and will, there extends 
indeed the lucid, chilly universe which is merely seen and 
understood ; and which, in proportion as it recedes from that 
radiant furnace of each individual's self, vanishes into the 
darkness and void of our indifference. If some of us penetrate 
with our understanding or imagination into those outer 
spaces, it is because we care, we love, to do so : and the 
furthest constellations, the remotest past, the most abstract 
problems happen to be the object of our desire, and, so to 
speak, the strange prolongation of our own warm selves. 

For it is that feeling self, individual and oftenest incom- 
municable, which does the hoping, fearing, loving and hating, 
altering the outer reality bv the act of our desire. It is, in 
truth, that feeling self which does the only living whereof we 
are ever directly aware ; attributing that innermost experience 
of our own to other creatures whom we therefore call living, 
hay to the forces which we lend to the material world, as when 
we speak of attraction and cohesion, evolution, and even of 
cause and effect. 

Thus our individual self of feeling hecomes our centre of all 
things, from which we measure au distance and direction; 
the point whence start and whither converge all our perspec- 
tives of space and time. From it, and it alone, guided but 
not impelled by reason, go forth our strivings and actions ; 
and in this wider self, emanating from our small feeling ego, 
resides whatever creature or cause or standard we love or 
hate sufficiently for us to sacrifice to it other portions of our 
wishes and haoits ; all the things for which men have laid 
down their life and women given up their men. And whatso- 
ever we thus prefer^ as we ignorantlv say, to self^ is but the most 
potent portion of this our multifold greater ego ; and is pre- 

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fcrred because it has become consubstantial with our own 
life and feeling. 

It is in this sense that each individual of us, however paltry, 
is the centre of the whole universe for which he sacrifices him- 
self and others. And in the widening of this circle, whereof 
his feeling self is for each the centre, lies all that mankind has 
achieved, all the virtue and wisdom of which mankind is 


I have shrunk from naming Love among the Plavers in 
Satan's Orchestra, although I have given a hint, spealdng of 
the comrade seeking to avenge his comrade and the mother 
sending forth her last son that the other ones may not have 
died for naught, that this greatest and most protean of all 
passions has, as the current saying goes, done tts hit to keep 
up the war. That much, however we mav wish to blink it, 
is evident ; indeed, not being to be blinkea, is put as a merit 
to Love's account. 

There remains a subtler manner in which Love, so oddly 
transforming back and forwards into Revenge, has served the 
purposes of Satan. And that is as a begetter of Delusion. I 
have pointed out the una vowed, constant, irresistible acrion 
on our ideas and judgments of those vague groups of feelings, 
ever on the alert, ever exposed to hurt, which concern the 
individual self. It is the nature of all Love — love of persons, 
country, stocks and stones, aims and creeds — ^to enclose its 
objects into the outer, but equally sensitive, self which every 
living soul spins round its private core ; connecting them witn 
our innermost feeling by spiritual nerves so sensitive that a 
rough touch on them, merely an irreverent gesture aimed 
agamst their bare thought or name, sends the blood to our 
cheeks or brings a knot into our throat. This being the case, 
the objects of our love, nay rather the idea of those objects, call 
forth the defensive automatism of Delusion. More intolerable 
than our own sense of diminution, is the feeling that what we 
love is weighed and found wanting. We can, some of us, at 

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rare intervals, admit our own nothingness, recognize the 
nxeanness of our spirit, the hopeless seU-contradiction, even 
hvpocrisy, of our thoughts and lives. To recognize any such 
blemishes and alloys in those we love is far more difficult, 
if only because our deepest pride refuses to admit that what 
we adore is rubbish. Hence much tampering with our 
standards, habits, instincts; casuistry often suently formulated 
to ourselves in order to save the object of our love from such 
desecrating doubt, from such discnmination between nobler 
and baser elements as breaks what love insists on most : the 
unity of the loved object. 

In time of war, particularly, a man may readily admit that, 
personally, he is not noble nor even honest ; but he will fly out 
at your smallest suggestion that his country, that the aggregate 
of individuals whom he usually ignores and naainly despises, 
headed by individuals, lioyd George or Carson, whom he ma^ 
positively hate, can possioly be at fault. His country is 
mhim; he is part of it ; and that emotional participation 
makes him far more sensitive in its honour than in his own. 
Hence my country right or wrong always turns into my country 
which n^er is or can be other than right ; since who has ever 
consciously defended a bad cause or admittedly clung to a 
worthless thing i And this produces manifold war delusions, 
both of commission of falsehood and omission of truth. Hence 
also inability to recognize the intricate reciprocity of all causes 
of war and all conduct of war; amazing blindness to the 
symmetrical irony of war's realities ; the mm farce of girding 
against autocracy in Germany when we had allied ourselves 
with, indeed were indirectly drawn into war by the deeds of, the 
incomparably worse autocracy of Russia. Similarly the talk 
of exacting justice to small nationalities from our enemies 
when we never stirred a finger to save Jews or Finns from our 
Allies ; indeed when, despite the supplications of liberal Russia, 
we had lent our money to help the Tzar to flout his Dumas. 
All such keenness to the mote in the neighbour's eye and blind- 
ness to the beam in our own is part of the unceasing play of 
those self-regarding feelings I have tried to deal with. Love, 
love of country, class, ideas, aims, love of son, brother, husband, 
brings the domgs and characters of others within that warm 

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outer sphere of our feelings. It makes them partake ol our 
innermost self, links them up with our centres of magnification 
and diminution, and obliges us to be as deluded about others 
as we naturally are about ourselves. 

Indeed it has often seemed to me that if, in this country at 
least, so many of those who most distrusted and despised the 
notion of settling anything by violence, have yet come to 
endure, acquiesce, and at last exult in, war ; if especially so 
many of our women, to whom slaughter of other women's 
children is almost physiologically odious, have come to look 
without a shudder, rather with pride in their eyes, at the 
armless, legless creatures sent back from France ; and have 
learned to read with complacencv accounts of such doings as 
should have turned a butcher sicK, this has been due originally 
to the love which each of those women has borne to a husband^ 
nay even more to a son or a brother ; due to the delusion that 
what he did could not be otherwise than innocent, nay holy; 
the delusion wherewith their love has protected itself against 

Thus love, the love of self-effacing noble mothers, of tender 
and reserved sisters, that wonderful passion where sex is 
sublimated into sexlessness, has, like mdignation and pity, 
kept Satan's ballet going with its steady, subdued voice, so 
exquisitely in tune, of such unearthly purity of timbre. Oh, 
more than by nursing the woundeci, manufacturing surgical 
appliances and turning out and filling shells which scatter 
entrails and whole villages, have the women of all belligerent 
countries participated by their love, their love delusion, in 
the slaughter and ruin and hatred of these war-years ! 

October^ 1918. 


We are all of us (and that is part of Delusion's evil work) 
so apt to misinterpret the words of our intellectual opponents, 
that I am a little afraid of being supposed to treat with 
contempt or censoriousness the hidden life of the feelings. 
Let me therefore say that I hold it to be the most venerable 
among all the mysteries of human nature, and that without 


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it we should neither perceive nor act. Moreover, these inner- 
most feelings are essentially ourself. My only quarrel with 
them is when, begetting Delusion, they prevent our seeing, 
recognizing, respecting, other things and other selves, and 
thereby frustrate the co-operation required with and from 
the great multifold otherness which is what I mean by Reality. 


One reason why they do so, why our inner life of feeling 
does so easily interfere with our knowledge of reality, is that 
reality is intricate, while our feelings are comparatively simple. 
Reality has many sides, faces and facettes, many dimensions of 
time as well as space, manj^ competing as well as collaborating 
appeals ; whereas our feelings, taken at any single moment, 
are unified in a single imperative. Hence they can come in 
contact with, grasp and ixold, only the smallest number of 
the aspects which reality offers, and naturally only those for 
which they have a use. This inevitable omission, and the 
consequent concentration of certain selected qualities and 
aspects, accounts sufficiently for much delusion ; delusion for 
which Reality imposes a penalty, since what our feelings have 
omitted does not exist any the less, acts none the less, and 
will, sooner or later, force itself, sometimes cruelly, on our 

Moreover — and this point is not sufficiently insisted upon by 
our philosophers — Reality is not merely actual ; it is potential. 
Esse est percipi posse. When we speak of a thing hj^ving 
real existencey we do not mean merely that at this present 
fraction of time it is acting, or acted on, in a given manner ; we 
mean that it has acted or been acted upon, come into existence, 
undergone certain changes in the past, without which it would 
not be there such as it is by definition ; and, more important 
still, we mean that, present circumstances being altered in a 
specified manner, there will be manifested certain other 
qualities or actions implied in our idea of that thing, and with- 
out which it would be not that one but another : the rose b 
not developing from its ori^nal seed or cutting, putting out 
leaves, opening out petals, under our eyes ; but it must have 

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donf all these things unless it was no real rose, but a painted or 
paper one ; similarly we are not necessarily at present either 
inhaling its fragrance or being pricked by its thorns, but the 
possibihty of both these happenings, c^tteris paribus^ are 
included m its being a rose. Reality is composed of what one 
might call an incorporated past and an unfcddable future ; 
and, since the present is but a point, that past and that future 
constitute far the larger proportion of all real things and per- 
sons ; and in order to know these, we must correctly recognize 
at least a part of their past and correctly foretdl at least a 
part of their future. 

Now this is what feeling, by which I mean all the unclassified 
emotional tendencies no less than the well-defined emptions 
and passions — ^this is what feeling often prevents. Feeling is 
present, often very fleetingly present; but while present, 
predominant ; and it is concerned only with present aspects. 
The past and future ones, the aspects which we have to 
remember, or to foretell, it either neglects, or else recalls and 
foretells as a mere homogeneous prolongation, backwards or 
forwards, of that present : to the eyes of love, the unamiable 
past Qualities, the disquieting future ones, of the beloved ob- 

iect, Qo-not exist ; no decent person can think of a friend or 
over as an embryo or a corpse ; and yet those two are aspects 
inevitably implied in the very existence of every manor woman. 
Similarly hatred is unable to realize that the nation we are at 
present endeavouring to crush is the friend and ally of the past, 
and must become the economic partner, buyer or seller, the 
scientific and philosophical collaborator, perhaps once more 
the dear artistic benefactor in the future. All this means 
that our feelings are whittling away our noti(Mi of Reality ; 
it means delusion by a simple omission. 

But the mind abnors a vacuum ; and where feeling omits, 
it also replaces ; and naturally replaces with what is congruous, 
hence seems natural, to itself : the beloved has always been 
radiantly lovable and ever will be ; the eneii(iy has always 
been (even if secretly) odious, or else being odious now wiU 
remain odious until, well ! . . . until he shall have been 
purged and transformed in the fire of our wrath. Hence, in 
private concerns the avidity, often humiliating to ourselves 

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though irresistible, with which we listen to, even ferret out, 
the unsuspected past shadinesses or follies of those who were 
once our friends. Hence in this war, the instantaneous 
belief, on the part equally of both contending parties, in plots 
against the peace of the world, long existing military prepara- 
tion to pounce upon unsuspecting neighbours, or, as the Germans 
believed about the Entente, to strangle and starve by dijplo- 
matic and commercial encirclements. Some of which suspicions 
may, by coincidence, become historically correct,* but they 
are beheved not because of the real evidence or real logical 
probability ; they are believed because our feelings insist on 
such belief. * The facts may be real, the belief is delusion. 

Nor is this all. When it happens that in the incalculable 
intricacy of the past, our feelings allow us to perceive, or put 
us on the scent of certain real qualities or events, these are out 
torn-off shreds of the vast real web, threads loosened from the 
others ; or rather — ^for life cannot be dealt with in mef aphors 
of inorganic things — ^they are minute living fibres which have 
taken their very existence from other delusions, which them- 
selves escape our notice, either because we are too intent upon 
the virtuous or poisonous quality we are looking for, or because 
the recognition of those real origins would make us pause, 
would bring up short our hatred or our self-righteousness. 
For in our search for further proof of guilt, we may, we should, 
in proportion to the honesty of our search, light upon responsi- 
bihties, common crimes and follies, of our own ; at least upon 
the disconcerting fact, turning us to stone unless looked at 
(like the Gorgon's head) in our own private glass : the fact of 
common beginnings and common human nature. 

And so, lest our fediings be checked, our acts arrested, 
frozen in mid-course by that intolerable aspect, we safeguard 
our passion which is our present life, by looking at Reality oply 
in the mirror of Delusion. 


There is another reason also why feeling is perpetually at 
loggerheads with Reality. It ignores the fact that Reality 

• The vindictiv^ess of the armistice-blockade and of the Peace 
ccMiditkms constitutes such a oc^cideaoe. 

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I -I I I) 

implies change ; and it does so because one of its own essen- 
tial accompaniments is the delusory sense of its own eternal and 
unchangeaole nature. Passionate feeling is conscious of 
nothing but itself and its object, that is to say of its own 
present ; and it blots out all realization of other and less 
vehement states. Moreover, by the law of psychic Co-ordina- 
tion and unification, which Karl Groos has aptly called the 
monarchical constitution of the mind, the feeling which is 
dominant refuses to recognize anything which does not submit 
and minister to its aggrandisement. He is but a half-hearted 
lover who can believe that his love can ever be less ; and the 
angry man who knows that his anger will not last beyond 
sunset is not a formidable enemy. Similarly when Faust 
called upon the Consummate Moment, bidding it stay, he 
evidently did not remember that his own desire might move 

Indeed one is tempted to think that it is from its brief bouts 
of passion that manldnd has evolved its belief in eternity and 
unchangeableness. Volume and intensity of feeling, although 
in truth the heralds of change and re-action (since they wear 
out the very powers they elicit), become, to those who experi- 
ence them, the warrant of permanence. Can any man think 
green while the stared-at patch of scarlet burns his nerves t 
Yet it is that very burning which, a minute later, obliges his 
eye to see upon the white wall not a red after-image, but a green 

Similarly do passion's optics blind us to Reality's essential 
characteristic : Reality's continual, inevitable change. 

And in the matter especially of this BalUt of the Nations, the 
angry combatants cannot believe that their anger will ever 
lessen or seek another object — ^as has happened with those 
French allies of ours, who, twenty years ago, in Fashoda days, 
were enemies with whom we nearly were at war. 

The knowledge of the unceasing flow of change in all things, 
molecules and atoms dancing vertiginously m and out of 
their places in space ; and coupled with it the knowledge of 
the inevitable illusion whereby our passion feels itself and its 
objects undying and unchangeable — ^it is this knowledge of 
the reality of change and unreality of stability which makes one 

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shrug one^s shoulder at all talk of guaranteeing future security 
by crushing, wiping out an enemy ; for even while that talk 
is going on, the whirling complexities of things may be trans- 
forming that enemy into the aUy, or rather into the friend (for 
let us have no more allies, for God's sake !), of the future. 

Make the future secure ! padlock and double-lock it ; glue 
and nail it to its place, the place we think it safe in ! Mean- 
while we ourselves and our wishes and interests are being 
swept along, leaving nothing behind save our burnt-out de- 
sires and animosities ; and facing perpetually new contin- 
gencies and unguessed dangers. 

Jwu, 1917. 


I have tried to show how our feelings stealthily influence 
our views for the sake of self-consistence, self-respect, and, 
more precious still, devotion to whatever we love best. There 
are more obvious and grosser cases where feeling prompts 
action and where that action itself requires a fresh output of 
feeling for its continuance or its efficiency. 

The recent advertisement of a picture-palace openly pro- 
claims this psychological truth : " You can't put up a ^:ood 
fight,'* it warns the passing patriot, " unless your blood boils ;" 
and to this end bids him come to see " The Kaiser, the Beast 
of Berlin,'* at the Scala Theatre. 

It is indeed difficult to fight one's battle while admitting that 
oneself, to whatever small an extent, may have been to blame 
for the occurrence. It is even more difficult to induce others 
to fight by saying : " We have got into such a mess that, 
willv-nilly,we must fight tooth and nail or get the worst of it." 
Still more impossible to admit that the adversary also is in a 
mess, and that it is our fighting him which obliges him to fight 
us and vice versa. Fighting implies fighting for one's own just 
cause. Certain states of the nerves, nay of the muscles, are 
incompatible with certain thoughts ; a clenched fist, for in- 
stance, with the notion that there is something to be said for 
the other aide. 

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As he himself has pointed out, Satan's choicest ministerSy 
Delusion and Confusion, most often hunt in couples ; whence 
a difficulty in dealing with each separately. That Delusion is 
the master (or rather mistress) of the two, Confusion invariably 
obeying and almost always requiring to take a lead from her, 
is a hopeful sign that the Primaeval Chaos and Old Night are, 
after all, shrinking and receding from the human soul. It 
means that mankind has already stocked up a common store 
of wisdom, such that, whenever their interests are immediately 
concerned, even the duUest people can be trusted to show a 
niinimum thereof always provided they are not forbidden its 
use by preference and aversion, in the acute form of passion 
or the chronic one of prejudice. Where either or both of these 
deluding forces come mto play, as when the subject is Religion, 
or War, what happens is that people purposely forget to pay 
their tribute to common-sense, just as, according to Dr. Freua, 
subconscious avarice make his patients occasionally forget to 
pay their fees. At any rate, what people really want, on 
similar occasions, is to go on talking, feeling and acting in 
the way that they're inclined to, without making too sure 
what it is ^H about. And thus Delusion calls in Confusion. 


Having thus explained why and in what manner Delusion 
and Confusion hunt in couples, I hasten to add that Confusion 
does not really hunt at all, takes no exercise .worth speaking of, 
is, in fact, torpid like the Primaeval Chaos and Old Night whose 
sway in our minds is handed down to her. There is an attrac- 
tive, splendid, majestic side to Delusion, reconciling one, for all 
its mischievous folly, to the recognition that, in one form or 
other, in the case for instance of mothers, lovers, and many 
kinds of genius. Delusion will never cease attendance on the 
human race. But there is nothing the least attractive about 

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Confusion, except to professional mythologists. And even 
the complicated and often sanguinary muddles of ritual and 
nxyth are due to hasty logic, quite as much as to the dull 
taidngs-for-granted to which that logic is applied. Be this 
as it may, (infusion, being nine-tenths of it dullness, is a dull 
subject, and I wish I could pass it by with the disdainful 
"non ragioniam di lor^^ of Virgil about those sinners who 
sinned from never having been quite alive. But when dull 
things are also mischievous, one must not yield to that tempta- 
tion. And having mentioned those denizens of Hell ^Uhe 
non fur mai wVt," I can begin by saying that theirs is precisely 
the essential sin of Confusion, and what differentiates it princi- 
pally from Delusion, which, arising in feeling and resulting in 
action, may be said to be too alive by far, though alive with 
the transient narrowed life of the Ego, or rather of the Ego's 
Here and Now. Left to itself (though that rarely happens). 
Confusion is inert. Incuriously and torpidly it acquiesces in 
all the heapings-up of casual experience, dully expects that 
to-morrow must be like to-day; takes a single case as sufficient 
to make a rule ; identifies the post hoc with the propter ; 
and having partaken of beans and bacon on the same plate, 
imagines no other possible classification of those products of 
the vegetable and animal worlds. It does not understand, 
because it does not divide the thing to be understood into its 
constituent elements ; still less, of course, does it ever weigh, 
shuffle and recombine such elements in its imagination, for it 
has no more imagination than it has analysis. It learns to 
look alive only by hitting itself in divers unexpected directions ; 
and ten to one goes on attributing the responsibility for such 
bruises to the chairs and tables ; or making an effort, it thinks 
(as primitive religions taught) that the chairs and tables must 
have had some spite against it.* 

• Gilbert Murray, Four Stages 'of Greek Religion, page 25, gives a 
good example of this primaeval, primordial kind of Confusion, showing 
its lazy or at least helpless character: "The process of making winds 
and rivers into anthropomorphic Gods is, for the most part, not the 
result of using the imagination with special vigour. It is the result of 
not doing so. The wind is obviously alive .... it blows; how? 

Why naturally just as you and I blow And unless we are 

going to make a great effort of the imagination to try to realiie, like a 

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Now aeons and aeons of bangs and braises have shaken up 
human dullness to the extent of formulating certain simple 
rules, what Descartes summed up as " methods of carrying 
one's mind," whereby to thread one's way in the Great 
Otherness. Those are in practical matters the precepts of 
conunon-^ense, and, when employed, where bruises and bangs 
seem less proximate, the laws of Logic. But i/^en bruising 
and banging does not immediately threaten, Confusion usually 
avers that, for its part, it believes only in facts and experience^ 
and utterly declines inquiring into the validity of that supposed 
experience or the sigmficance of those quoted facts. 


While dealing with Delusion, I have already^ suggested that 
there are other fundamental human desires besides those made 
evident by their action on outer things, as do those appertain- 
ing to hunger, sex and so on. Moreover there are human in- 
stincts, and fundamental ones, which are such, although we 
cannot trace them back (as MacDougall traces what he calls 
instincts) to lower animals. There are needs and repulsions, 
there are real afpetites^ which we discover in scrutinizing the 
inner and invisible, the spiritual man ; appetites which, not 
knowing what the consciousness of animals may be, we cannot 
assert of all, indeed of any, of them; which on the other hand, 
knowing our own consciousness, we have to recognize as 
among the mobiles of our actions, and more especially of our 
opinions and what we call our judgments, though of judging 
there is often little enough about them. What I am speaking 
of, and requiire to speak of just in proportion as other writers 
have not mentioned them, are largely instincts for the avoid- 
ance of mental and moral effort, and directed to the comfort of 
our mential and moral being. They may indeed be traceable 
(I think they certainly are) phylogenetically to the instincts 

scientific man, just what really happens, we naturally assume that it 
does &ese things in the normal way, in the only way we hnow-" 

The italics are mine. I learn from p. i6 that this kind of O^nsion, 
which strikes me as answering to " Chaos and Old Night " has received 
from Dr. Preuss the delighdtd appdlation of Ur-Dummheit, which 
Prol Murray translates rather lamely " primal Stupidity." 

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and habits regulating bodily effort and attitudes ; but before 
tracing them back to supposed rudiments in lower forms of 
life, we had far better make sure of their existence in our own 
exi)erience. And for this reason I commend to the psycho- 
logically-minded among my readers, my note upon Satan^s ser- 
vant, Delusion, and particularly this present one upon her 
sister, Confusion. 

I have remarked that Confusion is due to mental inertness : 
either the seeming inertness of primaeval men tired by the 
horrible amount of puzzling mysteries and dangerous proolems 
besetting them; or the more real inertness in our languid 
selves. In ourselves, let me say at once, in myself^ I can 
discover a marked aversion to cnanging the mental attitude, 
to suspending judgment, to every activity involved in dis- 
crimination. We hate having to discriminate because it 
involves keeping up many balls ^ike Hazlitt's Indian Jugglers), 
or holding many threads separate; because it involves 
walking round a question, turmng it over and seeing the other 
sides of its four-square existence. Indeed the realization of 
four-squarenessy of other sideSy is pleasant only to persons 
of unusual spiritual exuberance ; which explains, I think, why 
experts in painting have taken the representation (or not) 
of cubic existence, of bulk, as a ruie-of-thumb criterion 
whether (or not) a picture is by a master or a disciple. But 
another reason making us avdd discrimination, and prefer 
confusion, is that discrimination checks definite attitude and 
mood on our part, in that it implies the possibility of an 
attitude or a mood which we can't yet foresee. Now, un- 
certainty about our attitudes and moods is tiring, and we 
often prefer remaining in a muddle to risking that uncertainty. 
Even the most dispassionate, the most contemplative and un- 
practical among us like to be ready, primed, for one or other 
kind of feeling or action. We hate having to keep in readiness 
for any or every eventuality : it is intolerably exhausting. 
Worse still, however, and conse<juently more nated by our 
secret torpidity, is having to divide oneself : it makes us feel 
uncertain, off our centre of gravity, depriving us of our 
cherished sense of bulk, weight and direction. We detest 
splitting up people, causes, interests, into desirable and un- 

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desirable halves, because we hate splitting ourselves into an 
ego which approves of side A, white disapproving of side B 
of the same individual, thing or event. Hence our tendency to 
secure our own unity of feeling and, judgment by closing 
our eyes to one side of every thing or creature. We want to 
hate and love comfortably and completely ; and if there must 
needs be two sides to the person or subject, would rather take 
them on alternate days or years. Much of our " loyalty," 
our "fidelity" and "faith," are merely such inert prefer- 
ence for thinking that the friend, countrv, cause, etc., is 
simple and homogeneous ; preference for oeing simple and 
homogeneous ourselves, for continuing thinking and feeling 
as we had begun. It is often no reai compliment to your 
friend to think him all-wise or all-virtuous ; there is less 
trouble in taking wisdom or virtue for granted than in admit- 
ting that it is sandwiched between something else. Now, as I 
began by saying, this very natural but unconscious preference 
for our lazy comfort, is at the bottom of a large amount of 
confusion. Confusion requires, for its transformation from 
chaos into proportion and order, a good deal of the particular 
kind of almost bodily exercise (exercise after all of brain and 
nerves which are body) called thought. And, as that Italian 
person of quality remarked to Goethe ^^Perche pensa? pen- 
sando sHnvecchia^ Why bother to think things out ? It 
makes one old. So we drop back into that sleepy nest, that 
unmade, but oh ! so comfortable, bed supplied us by the 
familiar old arch-slattern. Confusion. 


Hence it comes that Confusion, through sheer inertness, and 
much as our lethargic charwoman is apt to do with the books 
and small pictures entrusted to her care, is perpetually standing 
the rules of logic on their head. I allude to those dementary 
precepts furnished by primers, and which are apt to vex the 
student's soul by the suggestion that any human creature 
could think, e.g., that because Spcrates was a wise man, and 
had a snub nose, all other men who are wise must also have 
snub noses. 

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It is, indeed, improbable that anyone ever said or thought 
an^hing so imbecile about wise men and noses ; but all of us 
think in similar fashion about something or other at one time 
or other, and most particularly in time of war. Arrangements 
are even made by our rulers for taking advantage of this 
capacity of illogical thinking. Such an elaborate shrine in- 
voicing the salutary presence of Confusion was that particvdar 
coloured poster which adorned railway stations, and other 
haunts of meditative leisure, all through the last summer of the 
war. It showed a wounded khaki-dbad soldier making signs 
of agonized thirst to a young woman in the uniform of a Ger- 
man hospital nurse, ana who, instead of reaching him the glass 
of water for which he was imploring, empties it out upon the 
floor before his fevered eyes, not without appropriate diabolic 
laughter. To guard against any misapprenension there was 
added an inscription, stating tliat this was the real deed of a 
real German nurse, and that no Englishwoman would be cap- 
able of such an atrocity. The deduction was not formulated^ 
neither were the steps of the syllogism gone through ; but the 
picture was commissioned, paid for, executed and posted up 
throughout the Kingdom. Confusion, nudged by patriotic 
Delusion, was left to do the rest. More psychologically stated, 
a number of choicely-selected suggestions of a very special 
kind were thrown into the behcdder's mind, to set up 
certain mental workings which, until familiarity gradually 
lamed them, wovdd have as accompaniment disturbances 
of that beholder's circulation, temperature, breathing, 
and muscular tension, such as are revealed and registered 
by the automatic apparatus used in laboratories. The result 
— and since the picture was a part of war-propaganda, 
the intentional result — ^being roughly as follows : A nurse 
in a war hospital empties a glass of water instead of 
slaking the thirst of a wounded enemy. "No Englishwoman 
(as the inscription says) would do such a thing.** That no. 
Englishwoman would do it, rubs into the beholder's mind that 
the act was not a practical joke, but a deliberate barbarity. 
Now the nurse who did it was a German woman. All German 
nurses are also German women ; therefore, if one German nurse 
could do this, all German nurses could do it. And if all German 

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nurses could do it, they being German women, why all German 
women could do it. With the corollary that since all German 
women, being like that nursej German, can behave in that 
characteristically German way, that is the kind of behaviour 
tohich your son, husband^ or brother may expect if he fall into the 
hands of German women. And German women being distin- 
fi[uished from all other women not only by barbarity, but by 
beloneing to the German nation, why then aU Germans are 
capable of atrocity, and had better be decently exterminated 
lest we should all become their victims like the poor man in the 

Socrates had a snub nose, and was a virtuous man. All 
men have not snub noses. Wise men resembling Socrates in 
the matter of wisdom, must also be distinguished from their 
less wise fellow-men by having snub noses. 

Before consigning this war poster to the oblivion with which 
the bill-poster's brush has already covered it, let me add a little 
irregular deduction of my own from the fact that English 
people and German people, especially in war-time, have a 
common C[uality of frequent confusion of thought ; moreover 
that Enghsh rulers and German rulers, especially in war-time, 
may find convenience in exploiting that quality which their 
peoples share with all other human creatures. And let me 
therefore sum up : that future investigation will doubtless 
discover in German railway stations, or in German dustheaps 
or in German historical museums and archives, war-posters 
quite analogous to the one I have just dealt with. 

Confusion and Delusion, like Patriotism, like Fear and 
and Hatred, like Heroism and like Satan, have no nationality. 

Returning to the diflFerence between those twin ministers 
of spiritual (and alas ! also even more irremediable, material, 
bodily) waste, I might sum up by saying that Delusion can 
be overcome only By dispelling passion's spells (forgive the 
pun .*) or rather waiting for time to have dispelled them. 
Confusion, on the other hand, has to be dealt with by the 
impertinent and imperturbable application of such questions 

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SLsfFhy? When? Where? How often? How many? On what 
evidence? etc. Moreover by putting the rudest and most 
justified of all queries : What are we talking about? 

For although the most villainous Confusion can exist in 
sditary and unspoken thought, as when the barbarity of a 
single German woman leads to the expectation of barbarity 
from all German women, nevertheless Confusion gets worse 
confounded by the use of words. 

This is one of the Waster^ good jokes, getting evil out of 
the means to good, since language has been and ought to be 
the chief assistant of human reason. Words are counters to 
reckon by, promissory notes; lovely fantastic cowries, or 
bits of precicnis metal stamped with the minute effigy of 
great Gods; or mere greasy paper money; they save 
lugging and shifting the bulky images of things and actions, 
a process as inconvenient as paying one's rent in kind, 
barrels of wine, or recalcitrant pigs. But like paper currency 
and cheque books, words tempt to such uncontrolled employ- 
ment as leads to bankruptcy of meaning. Particularly m 
times of unanimity and emotional stress, when words are 
passed from hand to hand as ^^ reasons " for our atritude and 
actions. It happens then that they are given additional 
currency by the signature, or stamp, of persons whom we know 
to possess mexhaustible reserves of wisdom in their counting- 
house. Yet if you insist on their equivalent in definite ideas, 
it may sometimes turn out that there is only Confusion, eked 
out of course by passionate delusion, in that exalted till we 
call their mind. 


Thus, when the war had already lasted three years less a 
month, we were urged to face anotner possible three, or more, 
years of it by a writer towards whom my debt for pleasure 
and interest is so great that I cannot bring his name into 
the present connexion. This great novelist whom any reader 
foolish enough can identify by turning to the Daily News iot 
July ^th, 191 7, summed up his argument by saying that 
" horrible as is Slaughter^ Slavery is more horrible stiu,^^ 

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That cannot be denied; but neither can it be proved 
until, knowing alas too well what " Slaughter " means, we 
also know what is meant by " Slavery." "nie author in ques- 
tion was so sure of his axiomatic statement that he gave 
neither definition nor illustration of the second of the two 
horrible things under comparison. Neither have his subse- 
Guent political writings shown whether such things as the 
Allies have done to Germany during the Armistice, nor those 
included in our (now signed) peace terms, might be taken as 
representing that " Slavery " to which we, but fortunately 
not our Enemies, were so axiomatically bound to prefer 
unlimited " Slaughter.'* Let alone the subsidiary question 
how, were this the case, our great writer imagined that similar 
treatment could be imposed by a landlocked continental State 
wedged in by enemies, upon a vast maritime Empire seconded 
by a vaster maritime ally set between the world's two oceans. 

Seeking, however, in that same article of July 4th, 191 7, 1 
find one due to our author's meaning ; or rather, to what, 
meaning or no meaning, was at the bottom of his mind. For 
the better to enforce Ms plea for a steadfast continuation of 
^* Slaughter," he reminded his readers that it had taken 
" three times three years ..." to do what ? Guess ! To 
rid France of the Ancien Rigime or Europe of Bonaparte i 
No. "To win for the people of London the freedom to run 
their own tramways along their own Embankment." 

He left it vague what " Slavery " might mean, that it 
should weigh more in our decisions than " Slaughter." He 
also left it uncertain whether " Slaughter " weighed more in 
his mind than a vestry squabble with its casualties of ink, 
paper and County Councillors' temper. 

Such are the, occasionally disconcerting, results of asking, 
especially in war-time : " What are we talkin^^ about ? " 


But Confusion, particularly when employed in Satan's 
Ballet, deals (if inertness can be said to deal) with premises 
as well as deductions. For instance, the old animistic beliefs, 
added to the old Lal^ts of warfare, in which we are all brought 

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up, allow us to accept certain quite unproved assertions as 
axiomatic, with much consequent misery in the present and 
loss to the future. 

Does not the majority of us speak, or at least act as if the 
individual were indestructible, immortal ; and the nation, 
on the other hand, not only liable to utter extinction but 
frequently exposed to it ? Now it so happens that the nation 
or country is far the less destructible of the two ; obviously 
lasting through many ages ; in fact, one may suspect, endowed 
with the quasi-immortality of combinations which, being 
devoid of consciousness, can go on adapting ad libitum or 
almost ; indeed, the immortality of what is an abstraction, 
an assemblage of changing facts, whose identity is determined 
by our definition. Now, according as we define what we call 
the Greek people, we may say that it existed already before 
the Dorian invasions and continued to exist long after the 
Roman conquest ; or we may say that it existed only during 
the few centuries of its historic kings and commonwealths and 
so long as it was animated by what we choose to call, looking 
from a distance, the true Hellenic spirit. Similarly, you may 
say that Venice died when Napoleon suppressed the Republic ; 
or soon after the League of Cambray ; or, as Ruskin would have 
said, as soon as it lost its Qiristian humility and began 
building according to classic models. Now define either 
Greece or Venice as you choose, you cannot deny that it has 
gone on altering its formula of existence through a great many 
generations. But an individual means a separate organisin, 
and separate consciousness incapable of such indefinite adapta- 
tion and transformation ; and a bullet through the heart makes 
an end to any adaptations and transformations of which we 
can know for certain, or believe in upon incontrovertible 
evidence ; whence the repugnance which even the most con- 
vinced believers in an after-life normally experience when 
putting others to death or being put to death themselves. 
There is between the schoolboy and the slippered pantaloon 
a continuity of feeling and knowing which, through all changes, 
makes the two one in an ineffably intimate manner; and the 
cessation of which continuity makes them none. So we 
destroy the poor mortal Tommy to safeguard the abstract, 

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the immortal. Nation to which he belongs, or more properly 
(for it is only a name for other Tommies and their belongings) 
which belongs to Jjim. 

It was in similar manner that more religious ages deemed 
it incumbent on poor, ephemeral, human creatures to enforce 
the Will of God, and to defend God's honour, let alone 
justify ffis ways, while firmly believing God to be omnipotent, 
omniscient and etemaL 

Jfril^ 191 8. 


And since Confusion so often passes muster as pseudo- 

f remises, pseudo-deductions, or pseudo-axioms, like the ones 
have just instanced, let me, betore leaving the subject, add 
that I hold by no generalization that war is always or ever the 
Greatest of All Evus. To my humble thinking, the Greatest of 
All Evils is . . . well ! whatever happens to make for most 
misery, not what fits into our abstract definitions. Neverthe- 
less in our day, and especially in these years just over (if they 
are over !), war is, ana has been, an evil if not distancing all 
possible comparison [since superlatives do not imply that 
anything has really been compared] at all events an evil 
whose bulk and ramifications are greater than most of us can 
quite think out or hold clearly in mind. And among those 
uncounted ramifications of evil due to war, is the increase of 
just such mental confusion as in its turn reproduces war itself. 


We are told by Anthropologists that primitive peoples 
ascribe every death they witness to the violence or malignity 
of cods or men, they not having yet come by the notion 
of death as a natural process. Similarly, we might, surely, 
measure the distance already separating us from intellectual 
barbarism, by the gradual substitution of the notion of error 
for the notion of deceit. Not merely because the need for a lie 
becomes less frequent, even like the inducement to murder; 

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but rather, because to suspect our neighbour of lying cuts him 
ofiF from our sympathy, and hence from our comprehension, and 
sets him opposite us as the particular mythical monster we call 
an enemy. Whereas to believe him in error suggests the 
possibility of helping him to the truth ; and, what is more 
important even, ought to suggest, and doubtless will do so 
more and more, that if he is mistaken in the present instance, 
we may be mistaken in our turn or our degree. Deceit 
awakens hostility ; and hostility is barren of good. Error, 
on the contrary, implies common human imperfection, 
suggests kinship in the need for indulgence, and that is 
surdy a first step, and a long one, in the path of wisdom and 

And before closing these notes about Delusion and G^nfusion 
let me implore the reader to believe that although the war has 
overwhelmed me fand overwhelming means upsetting) with 
the sense of what Satan owes to those great ministers of his, 
yet for all acerbity of tone, the foregoing pages are written in 
ixumble recognition of the profound naturalness of all this 
unconscious mischief. It is not a case for scornful pointi^ 
the finger at the passionate, the often noble, oftener stiu 
pathetic, delusions of others, and their child-Hke confusion 
of thought, their standing on its head of fact or of logic. It 
is a case for suspecting that we also are renderinfi; the same 
unintended services to the Waster of Human Virtue and 
Human Happiness. And if I have spoken only of such 
Delusion and Confusion as I have witnessed in the minds of 
my neighbours, it is, for one r^son, because from the very 
nature of the subject, I cannot speak, I cannot^ be aware, of 
the Delusion and Confusion which may be reigning in my 

October, 1918, 

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^^ MankimPs only efficacious helper^ the harsh^ responsive 
Reality of th%ngsJ'—p. 14. 


I am aware that some of my readers, those versed in 
metaphysics or addicted to mj^sticism, vnH turn contemp- 
tuously from such pedestrian philosophy, deriding my remarks 
about Reality, and asking: pray how can I set about knowing 
it at all ? 

Respected Metaphysicians and less r^pected Mystics ! 
I am aware that my land of Reality is not yours ; but then it 
is about my kind that I am talking. 

It ought to be clear from all my previous remarks that 
whenever I speak of Reality I mean Empirical Reality, such 
Reality as we can and moreover do, more and more, know. 
There may be another Reality which we do not, and perhaps 
cannot ever, know. Very likely. But tell me, O ye subue 
ones, whence do we get the bare notion of Reality, of something 
cither known or not knottmy of a knowable and an unknowable, 
except from our occasional experience of knowing something ? 
Remove that original empirical reality, efface tnat belief in 
having known something and your whole notion of Reality, 
whether knowable or unknowable^ rattles about your ears. 
In other words it is empirical reality, it is empirical knowing, 
which has given us the very thought of knowing as such, and 
which has led eventually, and by a constant process of adding 
known aspects, to the conception of a reality transcending 
any one of its aspects ; and hence to the metaphysical notion 
of a reality transcending not only its separate,, its known, 
but its knowable, aspects. In fact it is because plain men have 
experienced what tnev called knowing realitteSy that philo- 
sophers have been able to arrive at the theory that we can 
know nothing. And similarly it is because plain men did 
not always find what they had known as reality to be in 
accordance with their likings and aspirations, that mystical 

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persons decided that the real reality must be different from 
(more altogether decent and delightful than), well ! the reality 
which was really distasteful to them. To metaphysicians and 
to mystics I leave those transcendental Realities, i.e., those 
Realities which are assumed to be more real just because 
thw appear to be less so. 

But, interrupts one of the crossbreed {Bergsonia hybrida\ 
between metaphysics and mysticism, you have no right to 
speak of your empirical reality as a continuum of cause and 
effect, for not onlv perception, but thought, science^ breaks it 
up. True. Single perceptions, fragmentary thought, at any 
given moment, and each science taken separately, certainly 
break up the continuum into aspects dependent upon points of 
view. But perception as a whole, thought as a continued pro- 
cess, and science in general as distinguished from any single 
science, build up that selfsame continuum we believe in. For 
the very fact that we delimit a science, that we select a focus, 
that we see, hear, and think only one aspect at a time, but 
never quite the same one twice over, makes us understand that 
there is a tnorey that there are aspects merging into one another, 
and furnishes the experience of a connected continuity beyond 
our delimitations, beyond our momentary focus ; tnat there 
are other aspects omitted in our partial definitions. The 
experience of looking through a telescope .or microscope, nay 
the taken-for-granted fact of our own locomotion and 
muscular adjustments, tell us that to the right and to the left 
there is more right and more left ; that in front and behind, 
there is a further in front and behind^ which can be passed under 
our eye or under our moving feet, under our shifting attention, 
without ever a disruption. 

What does break up the continuum thus given by our 
continuous thought, is something very different ; it is our 
feelingy and the attitude and action resulting therefrom. For 
our feeling lends to its own objects a quality differing entirdy 
from the quality of what are not its objects ; a quality of 
being important to us ; of making us hot and cold wliile itself 
seeming to participate in our own heat or chill ; a (juality of 
bein^; pursued, clung to, avoided, or combated; m fact a 
quaUty of our own reactions and behaviour, superadded to 

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the qualities recognized as belonging to the thing itself and 
distinct from us. And this superadded quality^ this emotional 
and also practical importance, blots out everytlung which can- 
not be transformed bv it ; at the least it entirely alters the 
intrinsic relations, tne relative importance of the thing's 
other qualities. To feeling, and in proportion to its strengSi, 
there tends to exist nothing but what can either excite or 
relieve it. And to feeling, even in its quietest phases of habi- 
tual need and habitual preference or aversion, every other 
quality, and every other object, is either a mere furtnerancc 
or a mere hindrance; when neither of these, it is swept 
out of the centre of consciousness, indeed often is not allowed 
into consciousness at all. Thus to feeling and the activities 
resulting therefrom (" practical life '^ only their own objects, 
or rather only the quahties appealing to them in those objects^ 
possess a substantive existence ; ana in so far as we are domi- 
nated by such emotional interests, we all become ^ilty of what 
Tdstojr treats as the beginning of all evil : we think of persons 
and things as subsidiary to our preferences and our intentions ; 
we deny their rights ; we blot out their independent existence. 
Herein consists the real mischief of selfishnesSj that the sel^ 
meaning the self s likings and dislikings, hopes and fears, 
leaves no room for, takes no thought o^ any other selves. And 
thus it blurs, restricts, breaks up, the continuity and what I 
should be tempted to call, the muUi'dimensionalcoexisUnce and 
continuance beyond ourselves. Or rather, thus does the animal, 
the infant, the primitive man, the " practical man,** see the 
world, of men and of things, as groups of perceptions and of 
memories connected directly with his own feelings and actions, 
and connected with one another only to the extent that he feds 
interested in those connexions between them: as, say, the con- 
nexion between a certain road and a horse's food and stable; 
the connexion between a particular tone of voice, and a child's 
enforced silence; the connexion in the "practical manV' mind 
of certain geological or geographical items with the possibilities 
of a remunerative specmation or a commercial dumping-groun^* 
From such a narrow and broken universe, consisting only of 
lines running to and fro our passions and our interest, man is 
lft>erated 'slowly, intermittently, but more and more^ by con- 

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templation of things for their own sakes. And in thiis way does 
the continuity of ^U things gradually come to nairror itself in 
our thoughts and observation. Thought and observation for 
their own sake and for their own joy. Observation and 
thought which become organized as science and philosophy, 
and are perpetually multiplying the recognized connexions 
between things and (^[ualities, and those things' and qualities' 
continuous transformation. Observation and thought which 
are unceasingly reaching out, integrating the past and the 
future, and subordinating the present. Now feeling and 
practice consider the past and the future only in the light of the 
present, that is to say with thcf emotional reference, the 
emotional quality, of the present. An Eng^shman of to-day 
thinks of the events of 1870 through the emotions of this war, 
just as Carlyle thought of the future of Alsace-Lorraine only 
through the emotions of his oifn preference for Germany and 
aversion to "anarchical*' France. And the Englishman of 
to-day, the German, the Frenchman, of to-day, riiink of the 
future of the world in terms of their present fears and hatreds, 
even ais Burke and Nelson thought of France as a country 
which would always be detested. Such feelings mean that the 
universal continuum is cut into, distorted, negated. For the 
continuum, if we grasp its existence, means change in aU 
things ; and it means, ako, the evanescence which is the nrice 
paid by our feelings, desires, aims, and efforts, for their orief 
spell of present tyranny. Novembery 1917. 



To the genetic psychologist the laws of logic are but th« 
traces compacted and made regular by the repeated pressure kA 
millions and more generations of Man's fulfilled or disappointed 
expectations. And just as repeated impressions, from the 
world outside him, have grouped themselves into what he 
thinks of as " things;" so also repeated experience of his own 
reactions to such impressions and such "things " from whidi 
they come, have grouped themselves into the neces^ties and 

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incompatibilities, the inclusions and exclusions, the super- 
posed systems of what is called rational inference. 

He importance of the notion of evolution and all it has 
brought with it, lies largely in its teaching us to think thus 
genetically, which means thinking in terms not of stability, 
but of change. And this has led a small school of thinkers of 
to-day, whose thought will perhaps be dominant to-morrow, to 
the recognition that, in order to understand what a thing is^ we 
must ask ourselves : what has it been, and what will it become i 
We must recognize that the concept of a thing implies the post- 
ulation of certain potentialities of impression, and that when 
we affirm its existence in the present, we are in point of fact 
forecasting; its action in the future, even if the action be para- 
doxically Its own disappearance ; and are, to however small a 
decree, describing its production in the past. 

With this is closely connected the recognition, brought more 
and more by experimental psychcJogv, of the part played hy 
intention or context in what we call a meamng. And this 
implies the constant query: In what sense, with what reference, 
in ifdxat connexion, under what angle, are your thoughts dealing 
with the " thing " you speak of i Such is the necessary un- 
ceasing accompaniment of all knowledge of things, as mstin- 
gfuished from mere emotion about the names by which we call 
them. Aprily 1918. 


iDEmnr and change 

Our understanding of realities, on which depends our suc- 
cessful dealing with them, itself largelv depends upon our power, 
our analytic and synthetic habit, of tninking in terms of change 
as well as in terms ol identity. For Reality is Chang:e not 
merely in the sense of the panta rei^ the eternal flux ; but in the 
not less important sense of identity being largely an expression 
of a single standpoint, a single angle, focus or power of lens, 
and consequently omitting from its inventory all that does not 
come under that angle, focus, lens, of our momentary interest. 
If we would clutch the Proteus-Reality, it is necessary not only 

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to recognize its changes past and future, but also to change our 
own mode of seeing and moving ; necessary to \yalk round the 
mountain, to place the tissue under a miscroscope, to subject 
the mineral to different contacts and chemical reagents ; to 
see the moon no longer either as crescent or full, nor even as a 
round of green cheese, but as the telescope and spectroscope 
reveal it. 

Now it is charateristic of states of emotion, desire, fear, hope, 
love, etc., of all states bearing thie mark of pleasure or dis- 
pleasure, that such states cannpt imagine change in their ob- 
ject; and that they refuse change (the change requisite to take 
m other characteristics of that object) in our own attitude 
towards it. Feeling cuts off the future and past, or else inter- 
polates a bit suitable to our present and calls it by that unseen 
past or future's name. Fecung also prevents our seeing what- 
ever, even in the present, runs counter to itself. One of the 
essential features of war-psychology is just this : We cannot 
see in the adversary any qualities save those which keep up 
our feeling of enmity and strife ; and we fail also to suspect 
that the adversary and ourselves and the surrounding universe 
will not always be what we feel, and therefore believe them 
to be, at this present moment. 

All the present arguments for " crushing Germany " are 
ostensibly based (though really originating in our tvUh to crush^ 
on the assumption that peace would bring no new forces into 
play, the assumption that without such crushing no changes 
would ;take place to ease and save the situation. By our im- 
plicit definition the Enemy, after twenty years of peace 
(without such crushing) would be exactly what he is (always 
by our definition) at this particular moment ; and the world's 
arrangements be so precise a repetition of those existing to- 
day that the self-same bad situation would return. A tnfling 
concession, not to our knowledge of universal change, but 
rather to our seemingly unchangeable present passions, con- 
sists in saying that, short of the desired crushing, the bad 
situation would no doubt be worse ! 

What was the name of that retired Admiral who went about 
the country sowing acorns in order that England might never 
lack for oaken timbers, just at the very moment when the first 

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iron ships were on the stocks ? We are Hke that old gentleman ; 
only, instead of acorns, we are sowing hatred, injustice, and 

Ncvewber^ I9I7* 


I have been tcdd of an eminent contemporary writer who 
is thanking good luck for allowing him to witness such a 
struggle between right and wrong; adding that he feels the 
joy of siding with God against the Devil. 

People like that are apt to make one seem, in one's own 
eyes, a poor sort of creature, a milksop. As a fact the 
poverty is often rather in them. We nearly all experience that 
suspending one's judgment requires an effort and is apt to tire. 
Then there are people who cannot take a middle view because 
they lack in themselves the complexities requisite for recog- 
nizing that vfhxtt is not always all whiie^ nor black always all 
black. These sort of people crave, moreover, for the sense of 
exaltation (what that particular writer described as siding 
with God)j which depends upon a sense of one's own homo- 
geneousness, whoUness ; or shall we say, one's own whole- 

Now Reality is not homogeneous in this (to us) satis- 
factory manner. It by no means always sustains, corroborates, 
an output of voluminous homogeneous feeling in ourselves, 
for the simple reason that it is independent of us, and that 
such volume and homogeneousness as it possesses, does not 
necessarily happen to tally with that of our feelings. 
Reality, having been there, so to speak, long before our 
feelings, and not at all for their sole delectation. Reality, 
judged by our aims and sentiments and aspirations, by its 
way of meeting or evading or baidking their claims, is various, 
heterogeneous, disconnected and quite full of abominable 
inconsistencies ; since its consistency is one of mere cause and 
effect, and our consistency is one of emotion and attitude. 
Neither is. this the whole extent of loggerheads at which we 
find ours^ves (or blink ' finding ourselves) so often with 

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Reality. It is not merely practical satisfaction for which, 
as old-fashioned psychology teaches, our feelings and desires, 
even our appetites, are craving. They hanker also after 
satisfaction of another, of a Qualitative and subjective, kind, 
namely for confirmation ana corroboration, Smce it is of 
the nature of feeling, except such as is downright unpleasant, 
(and even this often epjoys its own bitter plenitude ! ) to 
want more of itself ; whence our queer taste for ideas of Unity 5 
and also (though other reasons contribute to this) for Unani- 
mity. It is partly a matter of saving such effort as is involved 
in all acts of discrimination and holding the balance ; the 
effort involved in that active steadiness which is the opposite 
of passive vacillation. We hate taking trouble; now such ac- 
tivities involve taking trouble, or else they require our being 
so vigorous that no trouble need be taken. Above all, we 
hate being interrupted, contradicted, deflected, once we have 
taken our emotional bias. On account of that same economy, 
no doubt, our feelings wish for climaxes. Now Reality, 
having no beginning and no end anywhere and no point of 
view or focus — Reality is perpetually offending our taste by 
anti-climaxes, lack of unity of effect, of symmetry, " com- 
position," etc. For it is ever flowing and changing ; while 
we, small, ephemeral, are always in the clutch of the here and 
the now. And at this point comes in the supreme use of art. 
It satisfies those cravings which are due to our nature and our 
nature's economy of effort. It is art's business to eliminate 
the heterogeneous or co-ordinate it in a unifying formula and 
composition. Art furnishes us with the homogeneous, the 
adequate, the corroborating, the consistent, the repetitive 
or stable, the schematic, the symmetrical, the centralized, the 
antithetical, the high lijghts, and the dots on the i's ; the 
focuses, the intensifications and steadyings. Art stops the 
passing moment after having made it " fair " ; that is to say, 
made it easy to grasp, comforting, exalting, enlarging, unify- 
ing, vivifying to our poor hearts fidl of desire and our nerves 
lacking in vitality. 

And one of the justifications of "Art " is that it not only gives 
what Reality denies; but that it prevents, or ought to prevent, 
our asking Reality for what Reality caonot give, and 04» 

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Reality's refusal, prevents our averting our eyes, or seeing 
Reality through the distorting fumes and lenses of the desire 
which it cannot satisfy. 

The virtue of Art is that being our creation, our creature 
(also in the Spanish and old Italian sense of criado and creato 
=servant\ compensates us by its ministrations for having to 
recognize Reality as our master. And, if we can learn the lesson, 
teaching us the diflEerence between what we like and what is. 

December^ 191 7» 


the offering to my essential godhead is Waste. — ^p. 14. 

Before entering on a discussion of Wastty let me apologize 
for an inaccuracy of which my puppet Satan has been guuty. 
No more than any other winged creature (since 'tis a wise bird 
knows its father), that great Archangel can have been an eye- 
witness of the initial act of his own existence. Neither was 
his gossip Qio likely to furnish the information he thus lacked. 
That information, for us who happen to have it, points to the 
Waster, so far from preceding Man in the order of Creation, 
having himself been born of Man's works, perhaps a first- 
fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. 

Indeed a reader fortified with the biological philosophy 
derivable from cheap manuals and expensive weeldies, may 
even remind me that Waste is not a scientific conception; that 
there can be no Waste in Nature, since Nature means the Whole 
of all things. 

Neither can there be evil (nor, of course, Satan), since evil 
implies condemnation, and Nature (being less personal and 
hence more logical than the Deity) cannot condemn a portion 
of herself, cannot take exception to any of her own proceed- 
ings to the extent of calling them wasteful. Waste presupposes 
purpose; Purpose mtsxvp^oses Preference; and Nature, inas- 
much as the whole, can have no experience of these dis- 

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tinctions which are so inevitable to man, perpetually thwarted 
in his purposes and preferences by other portions of that 
impartial and imperturbable great whole. 

Having thus rectified the mistatement committed by my 
Satan, let me pass on to why I have made him the symlx)lical 
representative of Waste^ rather than of Evil in general. 

^eing a dabbler in psychology, I am, of course, aware that 
my identification of Satan with Waste has not been a result 
of anv especial ratiocination on my part, but rather intuitive, 
meamng that it has come into existence unnoticed till it 
burst upon me full-grown, the result of dozens of converging 
bits of experience acting upon my — shall we say ? tidy and 

Earsimonious temper. In short, I am aware that I don't 
now how I came by it, it being the identification of Satan 
with Waste, but seem rather to have found it one day in that 
odd place behind one's tongue, where such uninventoried 
wisdom and nonsense is stored ready for use. But having 
found the notion, I think I can test and prove it, showing 
incidentallv how Waste^ which is incompatible with Nature, 
is lamentaoly compatible with Man. 

Of course my starting point in this demonstration is the 
refusal to indentify Evil with Sin or any disobedience to a 
law divine and human, since such law would first have to be 
shown not to be evil itself. Hence, in my crass philosophy. 
Evil is ultimately referable to Pain (or if vou prefer, suffermg), 
and escapes identification with Pain only because Evil nwd 
not be immediately accompanied by Pain, but only brin^ 
about an increase thereof. And if you object to the word 
Pain, understand that I mean thereby not necessarily some- 
thing like a bum or even a bruise, but merely a condition of 
feeling whidi you want to avoid or be rid of. If there were 
no such thing as Pain (or suffering), including pain due 
to the sense of disobedience to law or fear of law's retribution, 
I cannot conceive what possible sense there could be in the 
adjective Evil, nor what symbolical significance in Satan^ 
But now comes the crux^ and the need for the (essentially 
human) notion of Waste. Pain, as is shown by those who 
hold that an Eternity of Hell is a cheap price for the pleasant 
certainty of Eternal J ustice. Pain may be a means to something 

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which is not pain, or at least not pain to the particular indi- 
vidual in question. Again less altruistically : a smaller pain, 
like the dentist's dreadful wheel, may represent liberation 
from a greater one. It may also represent an insurance 
against death. This latter is, of course, the biological ex- 
planation of such sensitiveness as allows or involves pain; 
the disagreeableness of pain to the individual appearing 
in the eyes of Nature and the Biologist sitting at her ri^ht- 
hand, as amply compensated by the agreeableness of survival 
of the species, even though the species, being an abstraction, 
remains quite unaware of this bi^ogical advantage. 

Be this as it may, and leaving biologists to their professional 
optimism^ it became obvious to me that no Pain as such 
could be identified with Evil itself equivalent to Satan ; but 
only Pain such as is out of proportion to its pleasant or, at 
least, less unpleasant results ; in fact pain whiclx is also a bad 
bargain. (Pray remember that Satan, though diddled by 
Faust and one or two other legendary persons^ is always 
represented as oflEering you, as he offered the apple to Eve, 
what turns out a bad, a very bad bargain.) Such a bargain, 
seen from the human point of view, though not from Satan's, 
is WasU. This means that there is more pain incurred, or 
more pain prepared, or more pain inflicted, than there is 
{Measure, or conafort or that negative but supreme desideratum, 
a tolerable existence, gained in the transaction. For do we 
not say that there is Waste when a certain expenditure of time, 
matenal wealth, attention or opportunity is implied in the 
production of something less valuable to us than either of 
these things ? 

Less valuable. Thus waste like good and evil is a valuation; 
and in the only instances we can be certain about, a human 
valuation ; altnough we can imagine that, to that particular 
Ram in the Thicket, the Angel's interference in Abraham's 
sacrificial arrangements, was decidedly wasteful. And here 
I am back at sacrifice ! and at my definition of True Sacrifice 
as WasUy in contradistinction to Barter^ which implies that 
each partjr to the exchange gets something he wants more than 
_^hat ne gives for it. And that is the reason why, as you can 
see further on, Satan is \^iy down upon Barter, ana insists 

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■ II i i i - . 11^ , . iMt 

upon the kind of sacrifice which leaves himself as the only 
party who scores. 

Summing all this up : Waste is an essentially human 
valuation ; it presupposes purpose ; and purpose presupposes 
preference. Now as we cannot conceive that the whole which 
is a unity can have a preference, we are constrained to think 
that Nature must, like the Deity, be perfectly satisfied with 
itself and its works ; or rather that, unlike the Deity, Nature, 
having no chance of experiencing dissatisfaction, cannot 
even be satisfied with itself and its ways. 

It is quite a different case with Man. Man, being only a 
part of Nature, and a part moreover in frequent coUi^on with 
a good many other parts, of this imperturbable, this never 
endangered, this neither dissatisfied nor satisfied Whole — 
Man, like the legendary housemaid, has. feelings. And having 
feelings has preference for the feelings which are tolerable. 
And having preferences has gone so far beyond less intelligent 
creatures as to have conscious purposes ; and having purposes, 
has branded a particular kind of thwarting thereof as tVaste. 
And would, I may venture to add, be better off if he were to 
develop this sense of WasUy and oftener think out his valuations 
in reference to it, not holding on quite so dully to the valuations 
which may (or not) have been suited to past, but are no 
longer suited to present, circumstances; as, for instance, 
in the continued hcensing and subsidizing Satan's Ballets of 
the Nations, which, from Satan's point of view, are indeed a 
perfectly acceptable sacrifice ; meaning thereby, from man's 
pduit of view, a total waste. 


Ah, but, objects the heckler, how can you know that? 
(Pascal by the way similarly objected that while man had 
only a lifetime to set things right " Dieu a fiumitiP^ Our 
war may bring forth, indeed certainly must bring forth, all 
manner of fine things we have never even thought of, even if 
it disappointed us in those we did think about : new things, 
unexpected things, things we m;^ht otherwise liiave gone 
without, and never so much as missed ! 

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Quite true. So did the burning down of that Chinaman's 
farm whereby, in Charles Lamb's story, the owner and posterity 
were introduced to the wholesome delights of Roast Pig. 
Quite true. Indeed that is, no doubt, the very way in whidi 
man originally discovered, as the child in the adage is supposed 
to discover, the abuses but also the uses of fire in general. 
Our lives are so beset with all manner of disagreeables, that 
we have acquired a self-defensive optimism wbxdi tries, or 
pretends, to extract advantage out of them. But, alongside 
of such real alleviation of our wretchedness, this optimistic 
view of things contains only one solid item of truth, namely : 
that change results in further change, and that, given our lack 
of imagination and initiative, change often has to come in an 
unexpected, sometimes most undesired way, so that we get 
its good only in a matrix of bad, as we get the useful metals. 
But as the metallurgist who has learned more about these 
metals, can foretell where and how to extract them with least 
of such refuse, or even to turn that refuse into some useful 
earth, so also Homo Sapiens, whose sapience is embodied and 
typified in just such science, has evolved a certain power of 
testing, and reasoning on, experience ; foretelling results and 
to that extent, turmng Change into his servant instead of 
himself remaining its (however much "compensated'*) 
victim. So for the dictum that good can be extracted from 
all evil, we ought to substitute the general truth that there is 
always something new to be expected from a change ; adding 
the rarther reflection that we are nearly always too stupid 
to foresee, and hence occasionally to choose, what that some- 
thing new, and in so far, what that change, shall be. 

So, although many unexpected novelties will doubtless 
come out of Satan's present Ballet; and even, no doubt, 
novelties vexing him by the recognition expressed in Mephisto- 
pheles' remark that, do what the devil will, some good does 
come out of evil, yet these are questions of proportion. And 
I think that Satan can reasonablv console himself with the 
fact that the destruction of miuions of promising young 
bodies and brains, let alone of the money needed for educating 
their survivors, that our war, in fact, even if it result in a 
communistic Russian republic or a diplomatic League of 

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Nations, or even in Free Trade, Disarmament and Democratic 
Control all coming a little sooner, will nevertheless represent 
a balance of Waste sufficient to satisfy the most exorbitant 
claims of the Prince of Darkness. The world will eat roast 
pig ; but its house, its implements, will have been burnt in 
the roasting. 


I have tried to show that the notion of Waste is dependent 
upon that of preference in its various manifestations as aim, 
purpose, and choice. From this there follows that Man^s 
chief instrument for diminishing Waste (whence Satan^s 
detestation of the Tree of Knowledge) is of course Discrimina- 

Take for instance the classic militaristic plea : that war 
produces certain virtues, like courage, fortitude, abnegation 
and comradeship (I will not add the " not to reason whv," for 
that I regard as an only occasionally convenient mental vice), 
therefore that war is a good thing. Similarly the more 
shamefaced one that " National Service " reforms wastrels, 
teaches slovais to be tidy, and clodhoppers to move with 
grace, etc., therefore that "National Service" ought to be 
adopted. On the same lines it might be argued that Moham- 
medanism abolishes drunkenness ; and that, as was averred 
by Tolstoy's virtuous Aunt : " Rien ne forme le caractire iun 
jeune homme^ like a liaison with a comme il faut married 
woman. Apply discrimination to these, in themselves, 
indisputable generalizations; reduce these various groupings 
to their components ; find out what it is in war which fosters 
manly virtues ; in National Service which reclaims wastrels 
and teaches deportment to clodhoppers ; in Islam which 
enforces teetotaUsm. Put your prudery in vour pocket and 
find out the genuine educational elements that may exist in 
liaisons with married ladies. And ten to one, you will discern 
that these desirable elements are equally conceivable and even 
eaually obtainable without respectively the extermination of 
f^ow creatures, the methods of drill sergeants, the belief in 
Mohammed and Mecca, or even the practice (i la Rosen- 

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Kavalur) of discreet and refined adnltery. Discriminate 
between what is wanted and what is not wanted, and vou will 
by so much diminish the wasteful pursuit of the oesirable 
through the undesirable. 

All science goes on this plan of undoing, of an^ysing, the 
combinations of qualities and potentialities, often temporary 
and fortuitous, with which we are faced in everyday existence,^ 
and which we call things, circumstances and facts. Science 
ascertains, isolates, their components, studying the essential 
nature of each, and thus foretelling the different, the new, 
combinations into which they may be brought for man's 
safetjr and service ; thus a serum or antisepsis means that the 
combination called a disease has been analysed and studied 
in its components ; and the telephone or arc-light means^that 
electrical and chemical agents have been separated out of 
the groups in which alone our fathers knew (or rather did 
not Know) them, and recombined intp other ones. And all 
this means Discrimination. Nay, Professor Kirkpatrick has 
similarly pointed out that all man's intellectual, and in so far 
moral, progress has been due to the increase in the number of 
what tnis psychologist has called " Free Ideas," meaning 
thereby perceptions, images, ideas, memories and expecta* 
tions, which repetition under varying circumstances has 
separated from the everyday connexions and the momentary 
desires wherewith they originally presented themselves in our 
experience ; and by dint of the mind's automatic classifica- 
tions, have gradually recombined into a contemplated, a 
thought-out, cosmos wherein they exist in all manner of 
different groupings independent of our likings and convenience, 
independent even of our concrete experience. That universe 
of causally-connected " free ideas " could not exist without 
discrimination, the discrimination which frees "red" or 
" heavy " or " hot " from the redness of tkis thing we call a 
rose, from the heaviness of that thing we call a lump of lead, 
from the heat of what we call the sun or a coal fire ; and there- 
by allows us to think of otier things as red, or heavy, or hot ; 
and finally of cdours, weight, and temperature m totally 
diff erei^t references. ^ ^ 

In the face of this it is odd to hear our latter-day intellectual 

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talk of analytic thought as if it were of ^ mysteriously inferior 
kind, as if it were destructive as opposed to constructive thou^hty 
which we are all out for nowadays. But all constructive, 
that is synthetic, thought is on theljasis, however unnoticed, 
of analysis, of separating what we want from what we don*t 
want. We cannot build a house without previously breaking up 
a tree into planks and beams, a rock into stone, sifting sand 
from the shingle of a river-bed, and so on. And as to what we 
call the World of Reality^ meaning thereby what stands for 
it in our mind, that is built up of similarly broken up blocks, 
and similarly sifted grains, of our concrete experience, freed 
from the divers mass thereof, and freed also from the likes and 
dislikes, the hopes and fears embedded in which we first 
grioped, or were eripped by, them. 

So let me inscripe at the top of my copy book : Discrimina- 
tion is the foe of Waste, 

We all feel duly shocked when that dear old lady recom- 
mended a liaison with a married woman (but comme il fauty 
she hastened to add) as /A^ thing ^^ pour former un feune 
homme.^^ It might be well if we learned to blush atid shake 
our heads whenever we hear war excused on account of its 
production of manly virtues ; or (as by sundry latter-day 
sociologists) superstition invoked as a short cut to good 
citizenship. But Satan sees to our wasting our reprobation on 
Tofetoy's aunt. 


Much as they enjoy pointing out Satan*s Muence in the 
proceedings of their adversaries, people do not like admitting 
that Satan can have a hand in their own ; indeed that is the 
main reason of the unpopularity of my Ballet, 

Now Satan has contrived once more ^as JElton says) to 
extract evil from good by turning to his uses one of the 
habitual and most modern manifestations of that very hatred 
of wastefulness, which is among man's innate but more and 
more perfected weapons, against him. 

For the instinctive aversion, the almost bodily recoil, felt 
by most persons against admitting to themselves that this 
war*s monstrous mass of suffering can be useless, leads both 

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to the war's justification by all manner of aims and ideals, 
and also to the war's actual prolonging by the determination 
not to end it without such victory as will bring permanent 
future security. In this same manner the gambler goes on to 
stake his very last sovereign rather than accept his previous 
losses. All the Belligerents are saying (August, 1913)9 or 
what is more important, feelings that we must see to it that 
these men shall not have died in vain. . The attitude is masked 
and tricked out with all manner of catchwords (" last war ! 
last shilling ! last man ! lasting peace ! ") but what really 
matters is 3ie attitude itself, which is that of refusing to accept 
the fact of loss and waste. And so the last remaining sons, 
brothers, husbands, are sent into the gulf to overtake the other 
ones. . . . 

But although all this results in that perpetual attempt to 
tire out bad luck, there is in it something deeper than the gam- 
bler's frenzy. The hope that suffering brings forth good is the 
consolation, the corroloration (in the literal Latin sense), of 
the sufferer, keeping him from despair, enabling him to put 
out fresh doses of endurance ; and the religions of the past, 
like this present Religion of War, have always exploited this 
emotional belief, because it checks rebellion against an other- 
wise distressing order of the Universe, or constitution of 
Society. Probably, also, suffering of a certain degree and 
kind, especially moral and collective suffering, can result in a 
positive dread of its own cessation ; the psychic machinery set 
for endurance of misery would break under a sudden change of 
gearing ; so that the notion of good coming out of a prolonga- 
tion of suffering is welcome to minds secretly (whatever their 
verbally expressed wishes) dreading a too sudden release. 
There seem to be two tendencies working to reinforce each 
other in the martyrized soul : its suffering requires to be hated 
in order to be recognized as suffering, also in order to hate its 
alleged author; but it has to be clung to in order not to 
strain the soul's insufficient elasticity, fie this as it may, the 
belief that good comes out of great suffering is, so to speak, an 
instinctive psychic mechanism ready to come into play at any 
moment, and increasingly at work in times like the present. 

It is a vital lie or life-preserving mirage. What ! All those 

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youths mown down to no purpose ? All those widows* and 
mothers* souls bled to no profit ? 

Why not? Save on the hypothesis of a benevolent Creator 
who is Himself part of the very scheme of compensation which 
invokes Him, there is no more reason why good should come 
out of this war than out of the pestilences and earthquakes 
in which our forefathers saw God's lovine hand ; for good 
means lessening the mass of suffering ; and this war is pUing 
it up. 

Tiiat good^ meaning experience and sympathy which go to 
diminish suffering, shoulo, in some cases and rather in small 
proportion, arise out of suffjering itself; and that we should try 
to extract this drop of antidote called Wisdom or Virtue, as 
the physician extracts a curative serum, out of our poison, 
means in reality that suffering is, on the whole, sterue and 
evil, and that mankind, and all the great automatic adjust- 
ments of the living creature, seek toihave done with it. 

So far from religious or ennobling, the notion of good being 
bought at the price of increased suffering seems to me depress- 
ing, ugly, and, symbolically speaking, savouring of blasphemy 
against the spirit. For what remains of the value of future 
good once you have deducted such a price as this war's 
suffering? Why, even if permanent peace could be thus 
purchased, the transaction would be a disgraceful admission 
of mankind's incompetence in what concerns it most. And 
the future generations, though obliged to accept the gift, 
might avert their eyes from the manner of its getting. Incieed 
our optimistic talk about extracting good out of evil is, perhaps, 
one of Satan's little ironical tricks for, in his way, extracting 
evil out of gObd. August^ 1918. 


Satan disdains such barter of good for better y and he claims 
absolute oblation. My sacrifice is sheer loss . . . — ^p. 14. 


Some readers may object that all this talk about barter, about 
forgoing what one wants less in order to obtain what one wants 

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morey is worthy only of Satan ; is indeed one of the sophisms 
wherewith that celebrated logician (^tu non sapevt cVio 
hico fossiy** as he says in Dante) tries to depreciate that share 
ot man's aspirations and res<Jutions v^ich God keeps for His 
own. My answer is> first; that, even had I not Known its 
the war has made me realize that men*s most generous instinct, 
and loftiest acts of choice are (as my whole little |Jay sets 
forth) the very thing which Satan is most careful to appro- 

Sriate for his own pleasures. Secondly; that, by making 
atan demand self-sacrifice for its own sake, and scornfully 
reject what he calls barUfy namdy sacrifice ci one good fcwr 
another, I have given righteousness a wide, and solid basis in 
human nature, instead of a mere foothold in the clouds whence 
to take a header into nothingness ; I have given to moraUtv 
the sanction, the loveliness and dignity, of human joy ; ana,_ 
bjr so doing, shown greater faith in it than those who scorn my 
views much in the same spirit as Satan scorns virtue which is 
not barren. But whether or not you deem me a mere limb 
of my own puppet-Satan, there remain one or two points I 
want to raise sibout this dorious and thorny subject of Sdf- 
Sacrifice ; for if, as Schubert has sung to an immortal tune, 
Love is the crown of human lif^ Seif-Sacrifice is surely the 
ctown of thorns, which certain moralists are for ever pressing 
upon life's wrinkled brow. 

The chief point is that this ^ole important subject, and that 
of sdfishness and unselfishness on which it depends, is dkscured 
and confused by a misunderstanding of the nature of Self, 
Our practical moralists and lawgivers take for granted that 
because they see a number of individual Toms, Dicks, 
iHarrys and so forth, all moving about separatdy, dressed in 
separate clothes, occupying in succession separate points of 
space, and very frequently colliding in their attempts to 
occupy the same — ^that therefore the 5rf/, the self of each of 
the Toms, Dicks, or Harrys, is the simple unvarying unkjr of 
which passports, food-controllers and our waole judicial 
system take cognizance. Now this is not the case ; for if it 
were, mankind would have come to a timely end long since. 
%o far from being such an unvarying unitv, the Self is, in the 
fii^st place, a highly variable and perpetually varying spiritual 

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(for I know you hate the words psychological and subjective) 
complex. But this is only the beginning of the question* 
This variously compounded and variously responsive inner- 
most self of individual memory, reason and feeling, this 
intrinsic nucleus of every egOy does not abide in solitary naked- 
ness. Life's tides and pcxJs encrust it with a shell ; or it 
weaves itself into a cocoon, both of which are made of alien^ 
and often imaginary, stuff, but both compacted into prolonga- 
tions of the Self s own sensitive surface by the warmth and 
pressure, indescribable and incomparable, whereof the spoken 
symbol is the possessive pronoun My. Now those external 
things and abstract entities which we call my interests^ my 
family^ friends, fortune, house, horse^ dog, car, trade, art or 
politics, can simultaneously, or turn about, thus become as 
much a part of ourself as is our skin, simply because we are 
susceptible of feeling pleased, hurt, comforted, chilled^ dis- 
rupted or made whole, enlarged or (fiminished, through (which 
is not the same as by) the thought of them. But although, or 
just because, our inner, intrinsic, self lives thus encased in 
concentric circles of interests and possessions; the components 
of this sensitive periphery are not stable, but undergoing 
ceaseless integration and disintegration; some growing in, 
others dropping oflF, only perhaps to grow back again thje very 
next hour. For just as we can, for a moment, tnink and fed 
our own hand, foot, viscera, even our own whole character, 
as quite detached from ourselves and judged as alien things ; 
nay, even as we may be aware of a swollen gland, or a limb 
gone to sleep, or a tickling hair, as independent o^ even hostile 
to, ourselves ; similarly some portion of those ever-changing 
concentric prolongations of ourselves, through the thought of 
which we feel and live, may become separated from our soul's 
sensitive substance, and turn into mere cold details of the 
alien surrounding world ; perhaps when whatever has thus 
extruded them from our warm self shall itself have dropped 
oflF, to ^row back again into their place, sometimes becoming 
an aching portion of that self, their reintegration painfully 
expressed in what we call regret or remorse. Yet in truth we are 
vulnerable not in outer objects themselve8,but in ourthought of 
them. Thence the paradox that the dearly bought mess of 


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lottage, once its reality has stilled the cravings of Esau's 
jelly, 'mil not longer be an integral and donunating portion 
of Esau's soul as when he merely smelt its tempting fumes ; 
while, very probably, that birthright with which he parted 
so readily during hunger, may, once he realizes that it now 
belongs to Jacob, suddenly grow into the most painful fibres 
of his being. 

Tliis is not merely metaphor; since what we call the 
" external world " which is tne object of our feelings, of our 
desires, fears and preferences, is our idea of ity and therefore a 
part of our mind. Indeed it is this neighbourhood to our inner- 
most self, this contact with our deepest spiritual (and perhaps 
material!) organs of pain and pleasure, which gives that coun- 
terfeit, that thought of^ external world its paramount power 
over the self of which it is a part. Since, whatever else our 
self may be defined as being, it b first and foremost our capa- 
city for feeling. Once this fact is grasped, I mean the much- 
neglected though obvious fact that we are all woven-round by 
ever-changing outer sensitive selves, much of the now derided 
hedonism of our grandfathers must be reinstated, safe from the 
modern philosophical heckler who points out that men are by 
no means always swayed by " seli-interest," still less consis- 
tently pursuing " pleasure." For what such moralists call 
" sell-interest " is rarely more than their own view of what 
ought to sway their neighbours' choice ; while the "pleasure" 
they speak of becomes a mere empty word whenever the rela- 
tion between the supposed pleasure-giving object and the 
pleasure-feeling soul happens to be such that, as the phrase 
goes, the i>leasure has been spoilt. Indeed the hoUowness of so 
much fulfilled ambition, covetousness or love, is merely the 
symbolic expression of the fact that, instead of clutching a 
satisfaction, we often find ourselves possessors of some thing, 
or some power, the idea of which was once associated with 
pleasure, out whose reality is now a matter of indiflEerence. 

Now this view, which is the pyschologically correct one, has 
an immediate bearing upon the question of Selfishness and 
Unselfishness, and hence on the question — Satan's ouesrion — 
as to what constitutes bona fide self-sacrifice. Looking from 
outside and in the perspective of the majority's practical inter- 

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ests, moralists have alwavs told us (I seem to remember some- 
thing to the eflFect alreaay in Xenophon) that altruism begins 
with maternal instincts and proceeds, leaving the self ever 
further behind, to the family, tribe, country, and finally to man- 
kind at large. It would be more correct to say that love of 
child, family, tribe, countrjr, and mankind at large, are 
successive expansions of Egoism ; the idea of these various 
creatures and abstractions being gathered, one after the other, 
into the warm depths of the self, growing into the fibres of the 
individual brain and nerves, until that lump of otherness^ that 
alien, even abstract, something, has become so integral a part 
of ourself that the mere name of the child or family, the mere 
colours of the national flag, nav the mere words " humanity,** 
" justice," or " liberty " will kindle the eye, send the blood 
throbbine to the temples, brace the muscles and subvert the 
whole habitual flow oi our life till we exclaim, like the inspired 
prophet or the enamoured poet, " Ecce Dominus meus fortior 
me^ qui veniens dominabitur mihi,^^ But that over-powering 
thought is our thought : Like the message of the God into the 
mind of the pythoness, like the bleeding heart of Jesus into the 
bleeding bosom of the ecstatic nun, it has descended into us only 
because we have stretched forth, poured our hot living sub- 
stance into those chill unsubstantial images ; or, like Odysseus 
with the ghosts of his summoning, endowed them with the 
flesh and blood of feeling. What has really taken place ? 
Has the ego swooned away and the alter been absorbed into the 
ego ? Either or both, or perhaps neither. For the distinction 
between selfishness and unsdnshness is merely the practical 
moralist's, the schoolmaster's or preacher's, movable barrier 
between conduct which mankind needs to encourage and con- 
duct mankind needs to reprobate ; a useful, najr, indispens- 
able distinction, so long as we remember that it is but a con- 
ventional one, and requires perpetual adjusting and shifting. 
But except by the use of this convenient morafist's partition, 
it is impossible to say where love of self ends and love of others 
begins, including under " others " standards, ideals, duties. 

And that is surely a hopeful aspect of reality ; and by no 
means discreditable to our much-abused human nature. A 
fact which is moreover recognized as to his own eternal detri- 

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ment by my philosophical Satan, who says he has no personal 
experience of (let alone use for) such perpetual intermeshing 
{nutabolism as biologists would say) of self and not self ; such 
baffling protean metamorphose of altruism into egoism and 
egoism into altruism, which Satan, rightly or wrongly, calk 
" Love." 


All very fine, I hear my Reader objecting ; but since what is 
cared for less is sacrificed to what is cared for more, the entire 
problem of self-sacrifice is simplified away by self-sacrifice 
really never taking place. In that case, pray when does your 
Satan come in and where are the thorough-paced sacrifices of 
which you make him boast f 

I have put the answer to this objection into Satan^s own 
mouth. Satan comes in whenever sacrifice is not such barter 
of less desired for more ; whenever, as his definition of himself 
implies, virtue is wasted. As often as not, moreover, Satan 
comes in leaning (as the antique Bacchus leans on attendant 
Satyrs) upon one or both of those ministering minions of 
his, Delusion and Confusion. 

In other words : although the sacrifice when it is self-sacri- 
fice must be preferred, at the moment of making, by him or her 
who makes it ; yet that moment is not the only one. We must 
enquire into the moments which follow and the moments which 
have preceded ; asking first, for the question is the easier : 
what results from this preference, this self-sacrifice f And then 
what has caused its author and victim thus to prefer it? The 
example of Esau's subsequent regret for his birthright, and 
disgust at the bare thought of that pottage, serves as reminder 
that the liking of one hour may turn into the loathing of the 
next, nay, of every subsequent hour till the end of one's chapter. 

The cruellest sacrifices take a few minutes for their dedsion, 
and a lifetime for their endurance; since self-sacrifice is often- 
est the work of a dominating emotion, and emotions neither 
dominate for ever, nor do they while dominant allow the 
realization that they are subject to change. So that the full 
price of that self-sacrificing preference is rarely paid off at the 

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time ; and rarer still foreseen in its full arithmetical reality : so 
much subtracted, so much added, so much multiplied, besides 
the original sum we thought of. 

Thus, putting aside all frenzied mutilations of body or soul, 
all sacrifices of Atys and his more spiritual hierophants, let us 
take the instance of Satan's recent Ballet. The lad enlisting 
in the first months of this War, could not foresee four years of 
such existence among corpses, ordure and slaughter as is de- 
scribed in Barbusse's unflinching novel ; any more than the girl 
who marries in compliance with her parents' wish can always 
realize the facts of marriage which she does not understand, 
with a man whom she does not love ; whence the situation of, 
say, the virtuous wife in Ibsen's Ghosts, When a man enlists 
or a woman marries, the convenience and security, the orderly 
functioning of society, exact that promises should be carried 
out, decisions abided by, quite irrespective of the promise 
having been given, the decision taken, in ignorant or passionate 
haste, and carried out in years of disillusion and regret. Again, 
despite the Church's abundant worldly wisdom and fear of 
responsibility, there has never been a noviciate at all 
proportioned to the lifetime which the nun, once professed, 
passes in celibacy and abstinence, in hair-shirts not merely 
material, and in fasting of the soul perhaps as well as of the 
body. Speaking of noviciates and of nuns reminds me of that 
order of tne Perpetual Adoration, where one member of every 
convent used always to lie prostrate and motionless, face down- 
wards, on the altar flags in atonement of the world's blasphe- 
mies. That nun outstretched corpse-like in the winter dawn — 
there is a wonderful description of what Victor Hugo's hero 
sees after climbing to the chapel- window of the Petit Picpus — 
that nun has freely given herself for the vastest redemption from 
evil since that of her adored Master Jesus, and to eke out his 
sacrifice with the mite of her own. While she lies there, or 
when she rises again numb and staggering after those twelve 
hours of " Reparation," or prepared to stretch herself out 
again for another twelve, that nun may be perfectly happy, 
for she believes her sacrifice is acceptable and well worth 
making. But suppose she have doubts f Suppose — and all 
of us who disbelieve in Redemption through Perpetual 

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Adoration must suppose this — suppose all this nun^s sacrifice 
is founded upon a misconception, on stupid rites of primitive 
magic misinterpreted by later though scarcely less ignorant 
ages ; suppose there is no eternal punishment whence to 
rdease souls, no original or mortal sm calling for vicarious 
redemption, no life save the earthly one which this woman 
might nave spent bringing up children, doing useful work, or 
merely moving freely and happilv, erect, warm, clean, and 
without sores F In that case, in all similar cases (and while I 
write these words men by the thousand are lying outstretched 
in filth and wounds and horror compared with wmch that nun's 
penance would be bodily rapture), in all such cases the self- 
sacrifice has been of that genuine kind which is the oblation 
most grateful to the waster of Human Virtue. 

And the case of the nun martyrizing herself fpr the sake of a 
non-existent Heaven and Hell, leads me back to the other 
question : Granted that the sacrifice was freely preferred, 
what has brought about that preference f My answer is : 
Before it can be made, self-sacrince has always, and in direct 
or subtler manner, been suggested, asked for, claimed. We 
will leave out of account, as being too obvious, the querulous 
or shamefaced claiming wherewith, for instance, an invalid 
parent vetoes or enforces a daughter's marriage, while seeming 
to allow her all liberty of choice. Also the brow-beating 
insistence wherewith the social and religious code, embodied 
in some self-righteous Pastor Manders, drives Mrs. Alving back 
into the legitimate embraces of a profligate. ^^Non ragtoniam 
di lor^^^ as Virgil says to Dante about the less interesting 
denizens of HeU. Let us rather lift scrutinizing, though not 
irreverent or unsympathizing, eyes to those other kinds of 
sacrifice, which we place, framed in gold, upon our altars, 
versify and set to music ; and contemplate with a sense of 
spiritual elevation very largely aesthetic and not entirely 
unlike the pleasure in virtue for virtue's sake of a certain 
connoisseur in moral beauty. Since there are sacrifices of 
self seemingly clean of all human claiming or accepting, 
inasmuch as they are sacrifices to what transcends humanity, 
to something impersojial, nay abstract, and therefore deemed 
unselfish, unsuUied, unquestionable : a standard of conduct. 

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an idealy one^s country, civilization^ progress, freedom, justice, 

As Mephistophdes remarked about the necklace bought for 
the speedier seduction of poor Gretchen, but hung instead on 
the Madonna's neck, there is nothing, however queer its 
origin, which offering in a church can't make respectable. 
StiU, that origin, though overlooked, is not abdished, and I 
wish to point it out. These high, pure entities, ideal standards 
and noble abstractions, do not, as we incline to take for granted, 
reside in the Empvrean or in vacuo^ but in those humble and 
far from perfect tnings, men's nunds. And they exist there 
because they have been put there by tradition, education, 
example, in short by other men, also far from perfect though 
perhaps not always humble. Whence it arises that much 
of what seems free self-sacrifice has been claimed by the 
prompting of some tradition, taken for granted by some pre- 
judice, extorted by the pointing finger of scorn or the hand- 
clapping, the patting-on-the-back of jolly good fellowship. 
The Suttee widow, even the legendary persons under the car 
of Juggernaut, were voluntary victims ; and the lad brought 
up to think that not " to do his bit " of killing and being 
killed is tantamount to being a coward and a shirker, is, untfl 
conscription puts an end to subtler pressure, a free agent before 
the law, indeed treated with obloquy for refusing thus to do 
his bity precisely because he is a free agent. But is he? 
What becomes of freedom of choice where there is ignorance 
and prejudice ? And is sacrifice of self not suspiciously like 
sacrifice by others, whenever religion, custom, caste example 
and all the various kinds of social pressure, latter-day boy- 
cott and primitive taboo, undertake to mould your preference 
and guide it in the right direction ? (These are the delicate 
ironies of life constituting my poor bored Satan's hourly little 
pittance of amusement.) 


That sounds monstrously ungenerous. For somehow we 
always talk as if self-sacrifice were never demanded except of 
oursdves, although we act as if it ought never to be refused 

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by others. Let us therefore keep clear in our mind, and in 
whatever conscience we may have, that a sacrifice made is a 
sacrifice accepted^ and nine times out of ten demanded, exacted, 
by other persons. Hence not a matter of unsullied generosity. 
A person who accepts self-sacrifice from others is, as we all 
adtnit, a poor creature, a pauper, a parasite ; and one exacting 
it, is a tyrant. Should Causes, Principles, Ideals be judged 
quite differently ? Yet a Cause, a Principle, an Ideal, is cher- 
ished and preached by other people besides those who sacrifice 
themselves for it, and who are, not unfrequently, admonished 
to do so with a good grace or forfeit their neighbours' acquain- 
tance. It is on account of this inner side to self-sacrific^ its 
necessary reverse of acceptance by others, even more than on 
account of that habit of claiming it from others because we 
ourselves woidd honour such a claim (on some other occasion 
perhaps) in our own persons — ^it is on account of this shabby, 
seamy lining of the martyr's glorious robe, that I should like 
to say: Look carefully at all Self-sacrifice, before making 
or asking it ; turn it inside out, be sure that it profits him or 
her who brings it ; for if it does not, it may be excusable, 
necessary, indispensable for every highest, vastest, most 
indisputable interest, yet nevertheless it is a sacrifice . . . well 
— by others. 

And the high value put upon self-sacrifice, a value making 
such doubts as these sound cynical and almost blasphemous, 
is a sure sien (whatsoever dse it may denote) of the smallness 
of its supply, as well of the exorbitant alacrity of the demand 
for it. 


And here I must point out that indignation with my 
ethical heresies has naturally made the reader overlook that 
although Satan prefers barren sacrifice of self to any other 
oblation, it beii^ the ne plus ultra of his waste of all good things, 
particularly- human virtues, this does not mean that Satan 
takes no pleasure, indeed hw commonest pleasure, in sacrifice 

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not of sdf, but of others. He carefully e3q)lain8 that one reason 
of his predilection for what he calls true sacrifice of self is that 
it implies, often in the demand for it and nearly always in the 
acceptance, a sacrifice of others and by others ; not necessarily, 
I hasten to explain, a sacrifice of others to the comfort, 
laziness, vanity, covetousness or sensuality of those who 
accept that sacrifice ; not a sacrifice to what are accounted 
selfish desires ; often on the contrary a sacrifice of others to 
that Subtlest, most sensitive, part of self whose very existence 
goes so unnoticed that I have had to point it out : to the 
beliefs, prejudices, principles, political and religious dogmas 
and ideals, whose triumph adds a cubit to their votaries* 
spiritual stature, and whose disregard is felt by them as 
deepest disappointment, disruption and diminution. It is 
no paradox to add that the most hithless sacrifice of others 
has always been carried on for just those aims on whose 
behalf we are most ready to sacrifice ourselves ; and in 
proportion to our being really so ; the implicit, sometimes the 
explicit, maxim of poktical and religious, indeed of all kinds 
of genuine, fanatics, being precisely that willingness to risk 
their own life or fortune, security or happiness (except the 
paramount but uncatalogued happiness of having their own 
way), constitutes a legitimate claim upon the life and fortune, 
security and happiness of others ; moreover gives the rig^t to 
punish refusal with the penalties, gaol, pillory, or scaffold, 
which they themselves would gladly endure for (what is in 
their eyes) the highest of all aims. Nay, does that readiness 
for self-sacrifice on their own part not justify the uttermost 
humiliation, the utter suppression of any creature who so much 
as casts doubt upon that aim ? Thus nowadays the man who 
prefers victory or national honour, or the vindication of inter- 
national law, or the Triumph of Democracy or a Lasting 
Peace to the extent of " giving " (as the Moloch-reeking phrase 
goes) his son to be killed for one or all of these objects, very 
naturally exacts that other fathers and other sons should 
share that preference. More natural still, he assumes towards 
the men whose equally decided preference happens to be for 
the literal observance of Christ's precept, the attitude of Mr. 
Eden Phillpotts to the " Conchies at Prmcetown." 

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" England for nothing they have won — 
Son of a Bishop, Son of a gun — 
Son of a slave— Son of a Hun. . . . 
Fanatics, curs, mistaken brave, 
Who England now for nothing have." 

How much that poem, especially its initial assertion that 
England has been won for these men by what they regard as 
England's desecration, must have appealed to Satan's sense 
of die* comic ! 

Since Self-sacrifice is so much in request, and always has 
been, does this not prove that it is useful, indispensable i 
Of course it does. Wherever, actuallv or potentially, it is 
asked for (nobody ever asked or would, have asked that silly 
little Ibsen girl to shoot the wild duck or herself !) it is pretty 
certain to be useful, perhaps indispensable, to somebody or for 
something. The question is to whom and for what? Always, 
evidently, to someone else ; otherwise it would not be sacrifice 
of selfy but sacrifice of a part, say of the present part, of self 
for the sake of another, a preferred, perhaps a future or more 
permanent part, of self ; in fact it would be just what my 
Satan scornfully rejects as a kind of barter. 

The vicarious sacrifice of a Son of God, let alone its dispelling 
all logical notions of justice on the Father's part, belongs to 
the same system of utilities as the High Priest's council that 
a man shomd die for the people. Indeed it is but another form 
of the loading of the community's sins on to a he-goat and driv- 
ing the creature into the wilaerness. Historically regarded, 
self-sacrifice is closely connected with ritual expiation and 
propitiation. A wilhng human victim is more convenient 
to the sacrificer and far more flattering to the Divin^tj^ than a 
recalcitrant ram or heifer, and as the oflFering of these is useful, 
so much more is that. Primitive men compound with their 
neighbours for injuries done or received ; and all men, primi- 
tive or not, compound with tvrants for a modicum of liberty. 
Now besides vindictive neighoours, man was thought ^deed 

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is still officially asserted) to be exposed to greater losses still 
from the resentment and caprice of the Great Neighbour in 
Calisy the centralized successor of the countless little malig- 
nant and touchy ancestor-neighbours under the hearth or the 
bethel-stone. Indeed a workaday and truly human morality 
may have taken so long to elaborate (and is not elaborated to 
this day), partly because of the supplies of various kinds of 
self-suppression, and suppression of others, perpetually needed 
to keep those multitudes of little paternal neighbours below 
ground, or the great paternal neighbour which is in Heaven, 
from sending us famine and pestilence instead of flocks and 
harvests and a numerous progeny. So, more than this or 
that individual act of self-sacrince, however momentous, 
what mankind has always praised and recommended, is the 
general willingness to be sacrificed, answering in however 
inarticulate a manner, to the need for an abundant reserve 
thereof against all emergencies, " Si vis pacetn para bellum^^^ 
might be paralleled and paraphrased (only that mankind rarely 
formulates such truths even to itself) as follows : If you 
wish to escape scot free yourselves, see to having a sufficiency 
of sacrificial victims to offer up in j^our stead, rams-in-the- 
thicket, scape-goats, "-rf/W, Clttumniy greges^^ ever handy; 
but best of all, plenty of heroic and saintly men and women 
fattened with praise for martyrdom. 

A shocking view of human nature ? But how except by some 
such unformulated, unconscious automatic habit can we ex- 
plain the paradox that while mankind has admitted to being 
anything but saints and paladins, indeed has cheerfully con- 
fessed to preferring the fleshpots, it has at all times set its 
preachers and teachers to inculcate ascetic and quixotic 
ideals, self-sacrifice in every shape ? On the principle, perhaps, 
of aiming high in order not to hit too low ? Nay, for such high- 
flown aims, absolute purity of body and soul and love of 
neighbours like oneself, rather defeat that object, make the 
generality despair of aiming at all ; and leave such far-fetched 
virtue to the very few who have leisure and special inclination 
for it. Mankind requires paladins, saints, and martyrs not as 
models (having no wish to imitate !) but as substitutes. And 
it demands such a holy class of persons, set apart by nature and 

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tradition and training, just in proportion as its own mass, its 
own substantial sel^ is indifferent to, incapable of, ideals of 
any kind except when such ideals become a pretext for such 
exceptional bouts of recklessness and obstinate pugnacity 
as war calls forth and keeps up. Is not England at this 
moment (191 8) still getting its sons killed off from sheer 
hatred of Autocracy ? En^and which began this war, as the 
Tzar's ally! 

Be this last point as it may, self-sacpfice has always been 
preached, painted in frescoes of Indian caves and golden 
pages of missals, sung in every Church, shown on the stage, 
and in poems and novels, as the one really lovely, the one 
truly satisfying, thine. And as self-sacrifice does really often- 
est require certain noble energies and impulses, delicate tender- 
ness and solemn steadfastness, which appeal Qiotice how they 
find expression in all music and even in architecture's uplift- 
ing ana pacifying lines) to man's aesthetic longings, it seems 
natural and proper that mankind should applaud, enshrine in 
quite disinterested manner and moments, those potentialities 
of immolation to its wants whereof an abundant suppl}^ may, 
at some other moment, give less disinterested satisfaction to 
any or most of them. Do not misunderstand me : a supply, 
answering to a demand, not of this good result or that, re- 
quiring to be bought, perchance, at so heavy a price ; but a 
su|^ly of sheer willingness to pay that price, to become that 
ransom. Hence a reservoir, overflowing perpetually, of mere 
passionate capacity and longing for sacnfice of self without 
why or wherefore, such as floods the soul of Tolstoy's Besukhow 
when he buys a pistol to shoot Napoleon ; and in more piteous 
way, the poor little girl in Ibsen's play, who shoots the Wild 
Duck and herself ks unasked offerings to her grotesque family. 
Hence we are dailv putting a halo, not round the deed which is 
useful, but round the deed which we believe may be useful 
and know for certain to be disagreeable and difficult to those 
who do it. We pay a mere fee to the surgeon who saves 
another's life ; but it is " roses, roses, everywhere and myrtle 
mixed in the path like mad," it is flags and trumpets, and organ 
sound for th« man who has victoriously exposed his own. 

With the certainty of all unintentional, unconscious auto- 

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matic processes, such admiration^ such sanctification, such 
apotheosis acts as natural man's inducement to overcome 
in others the wholesome repugnance which he feels to sacrificing 


But why should self-sacrifice have been thus indispensable ? 
Surely because something else has not been forthcoming. 
Something needing either to be done or reffsdned from; 
something needing to be understood, felt or imagined, some- 
thing mankind, for one reason or other, has happened to be 
unwilling or unable either to do or to forgo ; to understand, 
feel or imagine. 

There is symbolical truth, although misinterpreted, in the 
religious notion that sacrifice, and especially self-sacrifice, 
is a ransom for Man's commissions and omissions. A debt has 
been incurred to other men, to Gods or God, to the Great 
impersonal Othernesff we call the Universe, whose nature 
we lazily ignore, and whose statutes we violently infringe; 
and that debt is paid not by the individuals, oftenest dead and 
forgotten, nor the long-lapsed generations who have heaped 
it up ; it is paid by someone else, an unvrilling or wilung 
victim, often an innocent one, occasionally a hero or a martyr. 

The tithes have not been paid, the sanctuary of earth or of 
the mind has been defiled by pharisees and hucksters ; Jesus 
must expiate upon the cross : Agnus Dei^ qui toUis peccata 

Neither are these debts always of the kind thundered at by 
prophets ; they oftenest represent lack, not so much of right- 
eousness, as of knowledge^ good sense, lack of that other ^ide 
of virtue called wisdom, without which virtue has all the effects 
of vice. Indeed the debts are often humble and humdrum, 
scarce noticeable save for their multiplication. The Augean 
Stables require a hero to plunge into their muck because, 
for centuries perhaps, both Kings and hinds have defaulted 
in the daily work of pail and besom, perhaps not understood 
(absorbed in their own grandeur or their wretchedness) 
that such things as pails and besoms could be invented, or 

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that accumulated dung stank and bred pestUence. Not 
only caverns of prehistoric men, but the world for ages after, 
ana large parts thereof even nowadays, have been such 
Augean Stables, partaking of cesspool, kitchen-midden 
and ancestral sepulchre ; and so far from being surprised 
thereat, we ought to wonder at anything swept and garnished 
having emerged. By which I mean, that we must not be hard 
on the past for having incurred so vast a debt, required such 
constant expiations and atonements on our part. But with- 
out being undidy hard even on our own poor selves, we might 
begin tafing thought for these matters, and feel a little ashamed 
and impatient, not with our neighbours or forbears, but with 
our own selves practising or demanding self-sacrifice quite 
unsuspicious that self-sacrifice implies such unpaid debts, and 
that unpaid debts are consonant neither with our safety nor 
with our honour. For, to descend from hi^ rdigious language 
(suitable to my evil Archangelic Puppet), sacrifice of others and 
sacrifice of self, and most particxdarly sacrifice of self accepted 
or claimed by others, are, however inevitable, deeds of waste, 
and constitute the measure of human maladjustments. 

This holds good in large and rare, and what is more important, 
in small and common, matters. Children ought not to be 
neglected and require fishing out of ponds at the risk of a 
passer-by's life ; nor houses to be so built and heated and lit 
that firemen have to be burnt to prevent their burning down; 
there ou^ht to be no contaminated water producing cholera 
and self-immolation of doctors ; nor, since I have used the 
word, contaminated husbands exacting self-sacrifice (d la Mrs. 
Alving) from over-virtuous wives ; there ought to be no need 
for the heroism of the rescuing party or the lifeboat ; mines 
and waves shoiJd be better dealt with, or men not induced to 
face their dangers for a few tons of coal or a catch of herrings. 
There is absolutely no reason, save mankind's stupid slavish- 
ness, why there should be an Instans Tyrannus and a corre- 
sponding pious victim braving his threats and wiles ; there is 
no need for Marats and therefore for Charlotte Cordays ; I 
mean that Marat should have remained an unread maniac in 
Grubstreet, and Charlotte an obscure happy young woman at 
home. Above all, in my humble opinion, there has been no 

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necessity save the indifference and prejudice of the varioris 
Nations, their smug scepticism of warning voices like Marcel 
Sembat's and E. D. Morel's, their self-satisfied or rapacious 
subservience to Kaisers and Krupps and Delcass6s and the 
various exponents of National Honour and Sacro Egoismo^ 
there has been no necessity, save mankind's being at any given 
moment precisely as slack and stupid as it happened to be, why 
there should not have been a League of Nations (or no need for 
a League of Nations !) once there were telegraphs and railways ; 
no necessity why modern science and organization should have 
been applied to the preparation and carrying out of such sacri- 
fice and self-sacrifice, well ! as we have witnessed for four mortal 

Peccata tnundi. Sins of omission and commission, lack of 
wisdom paid for in waste of Virtue ; all inevitable, since they 
have not been avoided. All paid for, expiated and usually in 
the inevitable foolish manner of making new debts of omission 
and commission for future men and women, heroes and martyrs, 
to expiate. I have admitted that since there are such malad- 
justments, such debts, there may require to be such vicarious 
payments. Neither would I give indifference, dishonesty, 
and heartlessness, by whom these debts have mainly been con- 
tracted, a plea for loading more self-sacrifice on others by 
refusal to share in it themselves. So much I would premise. 
But having seen this war, I would turn to those strong and 
generous enough for voluntary sacrifice, exhorting them not to 
waste their virtue, their sorely-needed generosity and endurance, 
from any such shyness or humility as shrinks from scrutinizing 
a duty before answering its call, which is often the call of other 
persons who happen not to be called upon themselves. If 
really useful, a difficult and painful renunciation will not lose 
in utility by being cleansed of the lazy acquiescence, false pride 
and weak imitativeness which so often result in more harm 
than the sacrifice results in good. If men are to do and die^ for 
mercy's sake let them question why as thoroughly as possible ; 
else some other men are sure to be required to do and die as a 
consequence of this blindness and haste. If people had ques- 
tioned wAy, not only this war, but nearly, perhaps, every other 
modern war would have been spared us. Moreover it so 

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happens that the injunction to die (and, which the poet left out, 
also to kilt) without asking why is essential only to warfare, 
not to other forms of human co-operation ; in war there must 
be such unquestioning doing and dying on one side because 
there is unquestioning doing and dying on the other ; but if 
both parties insisted on questioning, there might be a little 
killing by criminals or fanatics, but no more kimng and being 
killed as an honourable trade, indeed as the most honourable 
of all trades. 

However, whether or not people should as yet look at self- 
sacrifice very sceptically before accepting to accomplish it in 
their own persons, this much the war has shown : it is high 
time to insist as a rule of honour and decency upon one thing, 
namely, that all men and women should scrutinize with the 
most hostile scepticism any act of self-sacrifice before, on any 
score of ideals, programs or principles, they accept^ they demand 
it, from others. We require to become thus sceptical of the 
rights of our own beliefs, just in proportion as we recognize 
those beliefs of ours, religious, pohtical, or ethical, to be such 
that we ourselves would be sacrificed for them ; since, as I 
have alreadj^ pointed out, the willingness to sacrifice ourselves 
begets a willingness to sacrifice others to the same aims or 
standards. And to persons like so many in war time, who are 
thirsting for immolation of self, I would offer this little counsel 
of perfection : begin by sacrificin|^ some of your belief in your 
own ideas, to the extent of not imposing those ideas on the 
conduct of others. For that also, though it never enters your 
heads, is also a sacrifice of self, and a useful and arduous one ; 
since it is the sacrifice of what you care for more than your 
life, fortune, or children : the sacrifice of your most sensitive, 
most insidious and ruthless part of self. 


It may be that there still is, and will long be, the need for 
accepting, nav exacting self-sacrifice. But in that case do let 
us at least f eeland show decent shame in the presence of such an 
u^y necessity, humbly confessing it to be the brand and badge 

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of our individual or collective, our inborn or inherited, short- 

So far we have no proper manners, intellectual or moral, 
about such things ; no sense of fitness and decorum. Wc 
apologize for upsetting a cup of coffee on our host's carpet ; 
but we do not feel humiliated, when we have accepted, even 
when we have claimed, that the blood of martyrdom should be 
poured out for our advantage and at our bidoing. Instead of 
diminution in our own esteem, we feel that this sacrifice 
brought by others has added a cubit to our stature ; ^*0n Us 
persecute, on Us tud,^^ as Berenger rhymed, *^Sauf afres un Unt 
exameity d Uur dresser une statue four la gloire du genre kumain*^ 
The same applies, I mean the filching a part of the martyr's 
crown to deck the collective, and sometimes misshapen, skull, 
equally when there has been no need for a Unt examen, a slow 
revision of the cruel sentence ; indeed when, instead of being 
persecuted as heretics and warlocks, the lesser brothers and 
sisters of Joan of Arc have been urged and cheered to self- 
immolation, and the commemorative slab been set up within 
the twelvemonth. 

This is a strange and by no means seemly matter, hence 
worth examining for possible correction, lo understand it 
we must realize that it is part of the excellent grace of all 
feelings of admiration that they make him who admires 
participate, to that extent, in the quality which awakens them, 
so that the crowning munificence of beauty, purity, gentleness 
or power, is that it beautifies, cleanses, makes gracious, and 
raises out of mediocrity, if but for an instant, the soul delight- 
ing in its contemplation. This, tQ my thinking, is one of the 
noblest, the most consoling, facts of our natureu The greater 
is my disgust and indignation at our allowing Satan to turn 

{'ust this to his unchaste purposes. For ever since mankind 
)egan (though let us trust not everlastingly till mankind comes 
to an end!) we have turned canonizations of martyrs into pub- 
lic rejoicings, and lapped up the wine of self-conceit from the 
libations poured on the pyres where demi-gods and saints 
have suffered for our sakes. Have I not, in that land of 
France which she delivered, eaten civet de lihre or pickled 
walnuts off plates adorned with the trial and burning of Joan 

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of Arc, accompanied by descriptive couplets i A i>ardonable 
concrete bit of hero-worship, which, however childish and 
grotesque, may furnish an appropriate symbol, and, who 
knows? perhaps a tiny sample, of what nine-tenths of hero 
worship are made of. 

like primaeval savages, we identify ourselves with the 
victim lolled for our hunger, bodfly or spiritual. We swell 
with the pride of Kinship, almost of participation, where 
it would be more fitting to grovel in self-abasement, or at 
least lower our eyes, in the presence of the holocausts brought 
to our often unlovely lives, our suspicions and panics, to 
our shoddy myths and worm-eaten ideals; to all the years 
and centuries of our commissions and omissions. Satan, 
that obscene sesthete, is greaUy tickled. And before all the 
Belligerent People set to f ortifyine their self-esteem at the sight 
of this war's miles of heroic, youtnful graves, it might be well 
that someone should repeat the warning to Qaudio when 
about to claim sdf-sacrifice from Isabella : 

"... Thou art not noble ; 
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st 
Are nursed by baseness." 


" No wonder you chose Satan for your spokesman. like 
him you cast doubt upon good. like him, you would leave us 
nothing to admire, nothing to praise, nothing to look up to." 
Nay, what I would cast doubt upon, or rather ask you to 
question, before making over sure, are those things typified 
by self-sacrifice, which are called, and sometimes really are, 
good; but which require for their existence ignorance, 
violence, selfishness, or slackness, and whose essence is 
suffering ; which is what / mean by evil. 

As regards the second accusation, my answer is as foUows : 
I leave, I exhort you to set up, for yont admiration and 
veneration, for your lovine, wondering piety, a thing which has 
hitherto not received its due share of honours : the happiness, 
bought at no price of suffering and entailing no debt thereof. 

Idfe is so set round with causes of misery, that we have 

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need to be vigilant and resolute against all waste and desecra- 
tion of its possibilities of joy. In the world as it is, how few are 
the things, people, moments, which can be safe, dean, strong, 
innocent of harm, fertile of good, satisfying, consummate, 
even in the humblest fashion ! Hence everything which is 
so, be it plant or animal or work of art, be it half*hour or half- 
minute of the commonest happiness, should be precious and 
honourable in our eyes, approached with reverent hands and 
thoughts, and, more than the virtue tortured for our pride or 
profit, held sacred in our disinterested remembrance. 

October, 1918. 


" Tou, ever-disembodied Ages-to-Comey represent the no less 
needed assistance of a no less apocryphal Future,*^ — ^p. 27. 


At the very moment I was meditating on my Satan's 
remarks upon this subject a friend of mine suddenly broke 
in upon my thoughts by saying : " People don't think enough 
about the future !" 

To me, on the contrary, it seems that people do think 
enough about the Future ; indeed, at this miserable moment 
of the world's history ("Last war ! Lasting Peace ! this must 
never happen again"— this must be continued ad lib.: to 
prevent its happening again), a great deal too much. 

What people do not think enough about is that side or 
aspect of the Present which happens not to interest their 
immediate desires and aversions, hopes and fears ; a portion 
of the present in which, as in an unnoticed seed, the future 
is sometimes contained. In short, what people do not think 
enough about is the other, the non-ego, the not-here^ the not 
(to us at this moment) interesting. If we thought habitually 
of what I have thus called the other (other people, other places, 
other moments, other qualities, other relations, other everything 
and anything) ; if we cared to know it with reference to its 
own existence, characteristics, causality and necessity, as dis- 
tinguished from reference to our temporary feeling and con- 
venience, we should hardly require to trouble our heads about 

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the Future, since the Futiire, or nine-tenths of it, is contained 
in that not ourselfy not here^ not interesiingy and that whole 
unattractive oM/r^j present and past. There is deep symbolic 
truth in Christ's advice not to give thought to the morrow, 
once this fragmentary sentence is brought into connexion with 
that other essential item of Gospel philosophy, namely, to 
think of the Other in its own terms^ or, expressed in a personal 
manner, to do unto others as we would be done to, which 
means to think of others as equally real with ourselves. 

For, thinking of the morrow as preached against by Christ, 
or at least as practised by H. G. Wells and all the minor 
prophets of the Press, consists in little besides attributing 
quite disproportionate importance to our own present needs, 
preferences and prejudices, turning that mysterious blank 
space called the Future into a dumping-ground for our own 
pre-occupation, the " sphere of influence " of our own passion- 
ate and imaginative exploitation ; instead of regarding it as 
the open and unknown country where we and our fussy 
vicarious egotism can, thank the Lord, be escaped from ! 


The friend who complained that people didn^t think enough 
of the future was, by no accidental coincidence, one of those 
who insist that this war should be continued until we can be 
sure that it is the last. It was still less a mere accident that 
another friend, who thinks that if the war continues it will also 
be repeated, should have made a remark in the contrary sense, 
viz., " It is rather discouraging that when people or peoples 
set about being far-sighte<5 they should nearly always sec 
what does not matter or what cannot exist/' 

And naturally. For people's imaginative and ratiocinative 
inertia is rarely broken except by lively feeling. If they set 
to thinking about the Future, whether in this world or in the 
next, ten to one you will find that they are uncomfortable or 
frightened or annoyed with something m the present. There- 
fore they think of the Future with reference to that temporary 
feeling. They set aside what they call the Future as the 
happy hunting-ground of the Present, making it first and fore- 
most a reversed present ; the only unreversed thing about it 

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being, of course, themselves or rather their likes and dislikes. 
Now there is really no reason why the Future should be a 
reversed present^ or a compensation or retribution for the present, 
except in so far as the behaviour of the present happens to be 
conducive to such reversing, compensation or retribution.' 
And this can happefi only to a limited extent, because (which 
we always overlook) the Future is mainly determined by some- 
thing further back than the present, by something summed 
up as constitution, nature, possibility, fatality, by which the 

f resent is occasionally humoured but just as often thwarted, 
n biological, MendeUan, terminology, the Present does not 
itself exhibit all the hereditary determinants of the Future ; 
and Ages and Civilizations, like babies and foals and green 
peas, are the oflFspring as much of forgotten ancestors as of 
their own, often well-intentioned and fussy, fathers and 

It is funny but tragical to watch how all of us think of the 
Future (and we rarely think at all of it or indeed of anything 
whatever save under the stress of desire or discomfort or 
fear) as a nice blank space of the map with no inhabitants 
diminishing our elbow room, and with no laws or customs of 
its own, but only such as we colonizers shall introduce. 
Indeed the Future on Earth, like the Kingdom of Heaven, 
is not much more [than an imaginary colony, Utopia orCity 
of the Sun, sent forth by the discontented, or as we put it, 
the idealizing present. 

For since emotion is what makes men think of the Future 
at all, little addicted as they are to thought which is not 
" practical," i.e., concerned with their own immediate likes 
and dislikes, they cannot help thinking of the Future sub 
specie not aternitatis but prasentis. Moreover of the most 
variable and evanescent of present items : present moods, 
fears and wants; sub specie^ shall we say ephemeriditatis. 
Thence it so often happens that, as remarked, the more far- 
sighted people set to being, the falser also will their views tend 
to become. And it is the people who say that their children 
must not live through a waf like this one^ who are sending out 
the bojrs who were children four years ago, and will be sending 
the children of to-day three years hence. September^ 1918, 

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Another reason for not spending lives and treasure to pre- 
vent war in the Future, is that besides entailing war in the 
present, we do not know what or how the future will be^ 
except this much : that new incalculable and unsuspected 
elements will go to its making ; and make it in so far different 
from, perhaps inconceivable by, the Present ; even as this 
Present was quite inconceivable by even a near Past ; as this 
war was inconceivable (or at least not conceived of !) at the 
moment of its declaration. 

We intellectuals, especially, have got into the habit of 
thinking, or at least talking, too much of the future. The 
craving for an aim, a goal, a direction, which is an aesthetic, 
a quasi-organic, craving like that for symmetry and rhythm, 
makes us uncomfortable when we are at a loose endC and 
replaces the After Life, we no longer actively believe in, by 
the Future of Mankind. The more so because those who 
train — ^if it may be called training — ^and guide our thoughts are 
but the unfrocked successors of a priesthood which trafficked 
in after-life. The men of sedentary, unadventurous habits of 
life, also the men who require to be Sir Oracles, lastly the 
men with the natural belief (allied to powers of verbal ex- 
pression) in phrases and formulae, who formerly would have 
been priests, preachers, medicine men, now find it pay to be 
men of letters. The notion of living for the future, of testing 
the claims of an (alas) too-too solid present by the cloudy 
needs of an imagined, a problematic future, is therefore 
natural to people of our stamp, who toil not neither do we 
spin ; or rather, who consider that our nets of ideas and words 
can hold Reality in their meshes and haul up miraculous 
draughts from the unplumbed abyss. 

This much may be brought forward in our defence: that 
there always really has been, and is, too little consideration 
for the remoter future in all the practical half of mankind ; 
a ruthless expropriation, confiscation and devastation by the 
hurried, hustling, starving, or otherwise vacuous present, like 
the destructive agriculture, called by German geographers 
Rauf'BaUy which cuts down the tree to get the fruit, deforests 

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and desiccates a country in order to make railway-sleepers, 
or (as happened in the Maremma under Napoleon) spreads 
malaria to manufacture potash, ^hat way of treating forests, 
rivers^ mines, and also small children and women in factories, 
explains why latter-day intellectuals are setting up a worship 
of the Future; although this barbarous hand-to-moutn 
practicality had no doubt been fostered by the former universal 
identification of the future with the life beyond the grave, 
wherein there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, nor 
anybody who minds barren mountains, waterless deserts, or 
malaria. Be this as it may, our guides and philosophers have 
made the future into their protectorate. Indeea when we 
find ourselves suddenly carried away by primitive passions or 
harnessed to superannuated institutions (it was Tarde, I 
think, who said that we should have no wars if we had not 
inherited armies and the belief in them), as in the present 
war, we intoUectuals, thus taken by surprise, hasten to justify 
such unexpected upsetting of all our cherished notions (thint 
of J, M. Robertson and the various Peace Societies) by 
deliberate concern for the future. And, in another field, do 
not sundry sociologists, for instance Kidd and better minds 
than he, counsel obscurantism lest mankind commit " Race 
Suicide " by eating of the (Neo-Malthusian) apples of know- 
ledge ? 

Now why, since we are not to sacrifice the future to the 
present, should we, on the other hand, sacrifice the present 
to the future ? Why should one claim be worse than the 
other, the claim which is certain than the claim which is less 
certain ? Why should we kill, starve, ruin ourselves and others 
to-day, in oraer to avoid killing, starving, and ruining to- 
morrow ? Are we quite sure that what we call the future is 
the future, indeed anything except an imaginative (and 
imaginary) Annexe to our Present ? Moreover, is it not high 
time to insist that, when all is said and done, the least 
hypothetical, the most experimentally ascertained, item about 
the relations between Present and Future happens to be that a 
good, prosperous, healthy, wise, humane, and happy ^ future is 
born of- men living prosperously, wisely, healthily, humanely, 
happily in the present; rather than of those who, like the 

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fanatics alluded to in the Gospel of Matthew, have made them- 
selves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven ? for that City of 
God, which could be a reality only in the progeny they were 
mutilating away. 


And since I have spoken of our intellectuals as the latter-dav 
successors of more picturesque priesthoods, I may as well 
add a word about the Religion of the Future they are attempt- 
ing to set up at our expense ; and the cognate attempt of some 
of them to renovate the old commandment " Increase and 
multiply " as part of that religion, which is also frequently 
described as a worship of " life." All of which leads some of 
them to declare or insinuate that it might be just as wdl to 
use some of the old temples and cathedrals as, at all events, 
temporary conveniences for that new (and true) form of belief 
and worsnip. 

Now it seems to me that the old religions whose laws and 
sanctions were efficacious in regulating human conduct [indeed 
in proportion to their efficacy] did most of whatever they really 
accomplished by an appeal to selfishness. Ghosts and Gods 
had most unpleasant methods of claiming obedience to their 
.regvdations ; the Deluge, the fiery overwhdming of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, the Plagues of Egypt, the pestilences punishing the 
incest of Oedipus and the abduction of Chryseis, did not appeal 
to the Higher Feelings only ; they were not in the Future, but 
in the Present and a most disagreeable Present. On the other 
hand the After-life which replaced such (occasionally un- 
punctual) chastisements in the moralizing machinery of later 
creeds like Christianity and Islam, was also, however con- 
ducive to solidarity and decent behaviour, an appeal first 
and foremost to sdfishness. The after-life, which was thus 
efficacious, was not the life of our unknown descendants, but of 
our very intimate selves ; and hence came, I venture to think, 
its substantial power sufficient to have left a powerful shadow 
(moral habit and taste) when the substance of the belief was 

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But the life of the Future is by no means the same thing 
as the Future life. It is not our life, but other people's life ; 
and that can never have a hold, a weight sufficient to compete 
successfully with the more pressing temptations and incon- 
veniences of our own poor existence. At best those capable 
of feeling such impenous imaginative concern for unborn 
generations must (and probablv ought to) remain a minority ; 
a minority more and more inteUigent and critical as it becomes 
more and more swayed by such ideal motives. And among 
the results of this minority's increased intelligence and 
scepticism may quite well be some such views as the following : 
that the cultiis of " Life " as such is a mere superstition ; 
the cultus of altruism, solidarity, what we call " good " not 
much better sanctioned; except, and in so far, as the "life" 
be happier life ; and except, and in so far as, " good *' repre- 
sents an increase of happiness. Also that the adjective 
" higher " applied to motives and habits will be recognized as 
vanity and vexation unless the " heights " referred to be 
defined no longer as frozen peaks, to which ascetics and super-^ 
men take flight, but Elysian valleys for ordinary mortals and 
their offspring. 

Should these points be recognized, there will follow this 
corollary : Happmess for happiness, there can be no imperative 
bidding us sacrifice the evident happiness of the present 
generation for the hjrpothetical happiness of a future one; 
that alleged imperative frequently cloaking the " construc- 
tive thinker's " insistence that the future shall be " construc- 
ted " on his plans, and the Present furnish the wherewithal, 
the price, of such construction. 

And before leaving our Intellectuals and the Worship of the 
Future thev are preaching to this miserable present, let me 
submit to them what follows : that among the many surprises 
of the future (the real future which will have become the pre- 
sent) there may arise out of increasing possibilities and habits 
and purpose of tolerable existence, and out of a gradual better 
understanding of Man and Nature and their rdations, a new 
faith, justified or not, but like the old faiths mainly unreasoned, 
rule-of-thumb, intuitive, emotional, made out of the repeated 
experience^ the vague expectation, that happiness breeds hap^ 

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piness and misery breeds misery. Such would be the faith 
of fairlv happy men. But our past and present faiths are 
bom of wretchedness ; they ai^the justincation of misery, 
the consolation for miserjr. And the worship of the Future, 
with its ritual of sacrifice, its promise of remote compensation, 
is surely just such another one, an expression not of man's 
power to do, but rather of his failure. 

Let me sum up the gist of the foregoing notes and of the 
passages to the same effect in my little allegoric play. I 
distrust, and want to make my readers to distrust, any turning 
of the future into an object of worship, whether a Mdoch 
calling for sacrifices, or a companionable Consoler, something 
like the insipid Tesus of later Qxristianity, who can be trusted 
to settle everything to our taste and to tell us that we were 
always in the right. The Future is neither. It is a part of 
Reahty ; a continuation of the Present, which itself is a con- 
tinuation of the Past. And it is mysterious for the prosaic 
reason that we cannot yet recognize all the factors which have 
gone to make it (and us) in the past, still less the factors which 
are making it in the present. That mysterv, however prosaic, 
should be respected ; moreover, we had oetter not take its 
name in vain, lest it smite us. Thfere are actions which, 
convenient to the Present, are manifestly a sacrifice of the 
Future. There are not many sacrifices of the Present which 
can be proved to be proportionately beneficial to the Future. 

So, returning to the Ballet of the NationSy this war happens 
to be a sacrifice of the Present and of a portion of the Future 
visibly contained in the Present, namely the Present's best 
life and most of its Wealth, let alone the Present's good-will 
and good-sense, which are also part of the Future's inheritance. 
And if we want future peace, we had better stop the present 
war, which is accumulating the obstacles to peace, namely 
misery, vindictiveness and delusion of all sorts. 

September^ 1918. 

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^^History helps me in my shows with her so-called Lessons.'' — 
p. 26. 


It has been quite fair to make Satan and Clio herself, neither 
of whom I like, enumerate, as so many merits, some of the 
very reasons I have for disliking the Muse of History. Some 
of these characteristics arise from, and all are overshadowed 
by, the circumstance which sets me most against her. 

I know the Muse of History is a sycophantish partisan ; 
a pretentious, often ignorant, humbug. Sne dotes on Satan, 
cloaking in exemplary denunciations what psychiatry might 
call a sadistic taste for works of his which only dirty the 
memorv and spread retaliative infection to the feelings. In 
the stiU recent Past her feeding bottle (for she has no milk, 
which is human kindness, in her majestic bosom) nourished that 
devastating allegorical French female called La Gloire. In our 
own times she has been the nurse of all the artificially incubated 
Nationalisms and Irredentisms, from the one which near fifty 
years ago wrenched the Alsatians willy-nilly from France, to 
that which is restoring at this present moment the same 
unconsult^d people as " stolen gooas," as might be an umbrella 
or a hatbox. In this connexion she has desecrated that most 
modest of decent saints, " Jehane la Bonne Lorraine," into a 
tinselled wax doll, such as the purlieus of St. Sulpice breed on 
altars symmetrical with those of Notte Dame de Lourdes. 
She^—am still indicting Clio — has abetted ever so many 
breaches of the peace, besides committing endless frauds and 
adulterations. I am aware of it all, and much besides ; and 
dislike her in consequence. Yet, I confess that what I really 
least forgive her is that, calling herself History, she is also a 

Before entering on this my personal plea against her, 
let me safeguard myself from any suspicion of lack of respect 
for either classical Antiquity or its divinest daughters, the 
genuine Muses. That Cfio should have been accounted one 
m Greece is, I like to think, mere accident, the accident of 

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Herodotus, of all men the most impartially and naively inter- 
ested in the bare how and why of human concerns, having 
dedicated each of his chapters to one of those nine sisters of 
the Delphic God in whose precipitous and stony sanctuary he 
read out loud his delightful manuscript to assembled HeUas ; 
the first chapter (and bjr an easy confusion), the whole work 
and all similar ones bein^ henceforward placed under the 
patronage of the eldest sister, Clio. This view of mine is 
founded on the fact that Herodotus himsdf, and the whole of 
classical Antiquity, perhaps because their world was so 
abundantly adorned, garlanded on altar and door-post, with 
art and poetry, did not require to put History to the same 
insidious, dramatic and aesthetic uses as have later, uglier 
ages, who more and more turned the Recorder, correct or 
incorrect, of Events into a purveyor of ideal emotions, largely 
for the pastime of the Ages-to-Come and other bored and 
futile persons. This mudi, lest the reader imagine that, 
because I don't want Homer and Virgil used as spelling- 
books for little boys, I lack respect towards the Gods of 
Olympus. As regards the other notion that I may be devoid 
of aesthetic sensibilities, I joyfulljr seize this opportunity of 
inditing a hymn (however prosaic) of praise to the Sacred 
Nine (always excepting Clio). 


To solace and sustain Man's spirit with a sufiiciency of 
such emotions of greatness, significance, harmony and splen- 
dour, as are denied or charily doled out by life's reality; 
to brace, restore, make happy, whole and clean, by granting 
their heart's desire to those who have borne the brunt of 
reality's shortcomings, and steadily looked into reaUtv's 
impassive, enigmatic face; this is the high, incomparaole 
mission of the Muses, the lucidly inspired Sisters of him who 
is Sunlight and Prophecy, the great consoling Goddesses 
presiding over such perfection as Man, requiring it, recognizes 
as his own unreal handiwork. That handiwork is : Art, 
Music, Poetry, whether in the public and abiding works 
at specially gifted and traditionally trained men, or in 

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the hidden, evanescent day-dreams of all manner of loving 

Eersons, aware, however dimly, that the beloved is the 
eloved just because fashioned of their own soul's cravings. 
Nothing, not even the pursuit of truth, the glimpses (however 
partial) of reality by humble recognition of its nature — ^nothing 
is nobler, or more needed, than this consoling, fearless, conscious, 
creation of the harmony we need but find not ready-made. 
I even suspect that, alongside of its other sacred uses, art of 
poetry (call it as you please), has helped Man to reco^ni2;e 
reality and seek its knowledge, teaching him to discriminate 
between what exists because he makes it for hia pleasure, and 
those other things which exist (including his own self), apart 
from his wishes, by the mere necessity of their own nature 
and not his. Thus the statue he himself has fashioned is no 
longer an idol like the anointed stone ; the drama declaimed 
on a stage is not a counterfeit of real events ; the rhythm and 
rhyme of a sonnet show that this is not the real passion of 
real men and women ; Music, which fulfils man*s craving for 
the voice of God or of Love, is evidently man's own or that of 
instruments constructed by himself. And perhaps as much as 
any philosophical speculations, the undeniable fact that the 
divine structure in whose soaring spaces and distributed lights 
and glooms man mends his bruised, bent, spirit, is but so much 
stone cut, piled and cementedby man's very hand — ^perhaps the 
temple or church, which broodingly fulfils his need for some- 
thing kinder and greater than his own existence has helped 
man to the recognition that the surrounding universe is not 
made for his desires and that the divinity he seeks is the 
divinity within himself. 

Be this as it may, and whether or not art, by creating for 
the heart's desire, nas taught respect towards reality outside 
and indifferent to^ us : this much is certain, that the nobility 
and innocence of art depends upon its straightforward stana- 
ing aloof from assertions of what is true or untrue. This, 
therefore, is one item in the greatness of the Muses, the Con- 
solers, the givers of what life often refuses but man's spirit 
often needs. 

The Muses excepting of course Qio. And hence her hybrid, 
ambiguous and often unclean nature. 

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Let no one imagine I am demanding an inordinate amount 
of truth from History. No human creature can have entire 
insight into the character and concatenations of any event, 
least of all past ones ; and everyone sees what he does see 
in the light or darkness of his prepossessions. It is natural 
that to one man certain happemngs and personages should be 
attractive, to another repulsive. Carlyle's view of 1 793 cannot 
be the same as Michelet s, though botn may represent comple- 
mentary aspects of the Revolution. Neither must you expect 
people who write history to restrain their natural eagerness to 
jump at conclusions and the human, all too human, tampering 
a tiny trifle with evidence. That happens in all scientific 
research, and all gets compensated, averaged out, into fairlv 
correct notions on the stucient's part. Similarly, and as witn 
other sorts of fact, you must not expect (or expecting will 
be disappointed) that seekers for historical truth shoidd 
unconsaously or consciously reject the temptation of using 
their facts to point the moral or adorn the tale. All this is 
understood, and in so far, harmless. What Clio does (whence 
my dislike of her) is something else, and usually pure mischief. 

I withdraw that statement, not pure mischief, not always 
mischief, but often mischief ; and always recklessness about 

To the extent, neither more nor less, that Qio asserts herself 
to be a Muse and claims Muse's privilege (and duty) of em- 
ploying counterfeit presentments for the satisfaction of our 
emotions, to that extent Clio is an artist, and therefore not 
a liar nor a pander. This (since the ugly word has come out), 
this pandering of so-called History to our dramatic instincts, 
often sanguinary; to our insidious collective vanitv and 
(what is quite harmless in comparison) to the snobbishness 
which makes simple persons delight in discussing the looks and 
habits of royalties and pry into the peccadilloes of illustrious 
men; this pandering implies that we translate the past into 
terms of the present, else we should not sympathize, and 
thereby cheats us of Historjr's fundamental lesson, which is 
that nothing which happens is ever entirely alike. Now it is 

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only such habitual recognition of change which allows real 
unaerstanding of cause and eflEect, and aUows thereby the just 
estimation of responsibility. Of course I do not mean that 
there are not all through the universe apparently stable laws, 
but these are generalizations which we deduce from recognition 
of similarity in diflEerence and in alteration. Such abstractions 
arc part of what I have called our recognition of Otherness ; 
thereby an essential of true Altruism. For the " nothing new 
under the sun " is not a general principle extracted by com- 
parison of single cases; but on the contrary, the indolent 
expectancyof repetition, the unimaginative inability of respond- 
ing to what our faculties are not yet set for. It is thie ego- 
tistic intrusion of our own motives into the motives of other 
folks and other times ; indeed the dilettantish assumption 
that other folks and times, other anything, exist primarily 
to instruct or amuse us. And the expectancy of repetition, 
even where repetition exists, results not from observation but 
rather from the lack of it. 

Being thus inertly prone to think in terms of sameness, 
the study of the Past might serve us as corrective to an intel- 
lectual and (since justice cannot exist apart from understand* 
ing) moral lack of activity whence we all suflEer, and whereby 
we all make others suflFer. For History could show us condi- 
tions diflEering from our own and from one another, and show 
the modifications (and their modus operandi) which connect 
those dfssimilar conditions in a great chain of change. In 
other words. History, if treated as a science, would be par 
excellence the Science of Change, showing it us in stages more 
minute and comple3c than geology or biology. Instead of 
which, thanks to the Muse and her Votaries, the notion of 
Evolution has had to be introduced into History from 
geology and biology ; and it is because of our recognition of 
the gradual transitions which have built up continents in 
epochs far out-spanning our imagination ; it is because of the 
study of living and extinct animal species, and the concatena- 
tion of form in fossils and in embryos, that we are beginning to 
think of human institutions in terms of evolution, and to be 
interested in their varying and allied forms. Indeed it is one 
of Clio's unintended practical jokes that we are more able 


by Google 


and willine to do this in connexion with remote periods, whose 
sole records are broken potsherds and unpolished flints, than 
with the life-time of our grandfathers and grandmothers, where- 
of the verbal record is more accessible than what we leave 
(and hide) from week to week. For the Muse has no use for 
flints and potsherds. What she wants are human personages 
to gape at on a puppet show or ferret out in the places where 
we keep rags ana dirty linen. The Muse caters for our various 
imaginative needs, noble or base^ giving us the heroes and 
martyrs and villains for whom our sentimentality, m^^lo- 
mania, and morbid passions clamour; personages great 
enough, abominable enough, pure enough, unhappy enough, to 
be the cherished companions, the hugged dolls, of our pre- 
sumptuous day-dreams ; also mean enough, dirty enough in 
all tneir splendour of royalty or genius, to comfort our own 
meanness with the thought : " Well I they also were human 
(which often means brutish), just like ourselves." Scaffcdds 
and stakes, alcoves and backstairs ; she provides them with 
all the details which everyday life refuses, glory and filth to 
perfection ; and often, and alas, as in some of her greatest 
ministrants (I am thinking of the in<x>mparable Michelet), 
all mingled in nauseous or piquant concoctions. 

Nay, Qio caters for even humbler tastes ; for the same 
naif pleasure experienced when, being children, we beheaded 
(or were beheaded, Elizabeth or Mary turn about) with fire- 
irons across footstools ; and to that intense satisfaction of 
indulging for honourable motives in dishonourable works, 
looking through key-holes, listening behind curtains, tampering 
with correspondence and generally behaving like blackguard^ 
with a perfect conscience ; the enjoyment wWch makes big and 
small children love detective stories ; the joy of having a hand 
in scandals like the Diamond Necklace or horrors like those of 
Gilles de Ret2L, yet remain decent j to reincarnate retrospectively 
in Messalina, Marie Antoinette, the Merry Monarch, Napoleon, 
Ezzelino the Tyrant, or the Oxford Martyrs, while living 
unobtrusive, honourable lives in Chelsea, or at Wimbledon. 
What pliay-house has ever rivalled that of Clio, where, with the 
greatest convenience we are both actor and audience! 

Allof^hich histoncal delectations dependlargely on treating 

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the Past as if its personages belonged to our own day, our class, 
our visiting list ; for a man or woman of the Past as he or she 
really existed would often be as disagreeable to our feelings as 
would the methods of ablution of the Grand Monarque, let 
alone the forkless banquets of Homeric Kings poking eager 
fingers into the Succulent thighs of freshly slaughtered beasts. 
We want the Past^ its romance and raciness. But a Past 
for our personal, present use. And Clio provides it. 


Should any reader object that all this is a slanderous view 
of History, imr answer is: so much the better. I am not 
speaking of History as it (I like the nice impersonal neuter 
as opposed to my high-bosomed super-personal Muse!) may 
and should be ; as it, doubtless, already sometimes is, may 
even always have been from time to time. I am speaking of 
History in so far as symbolized by Clip. I am speaking of Uio. 
And no one believes more than I do that History is destined to 
become an ever finer thing ; and Clio to lose her footing in it, 
finally to vanish altogether, or turn, as other Goddesses have in 
their day, into some amusing little crone, Mother Hubbard or 
such like, for the delight of nurseries. 

Which leads me to say that if there is a branch of human 
knowledge which cannot be learned by, and should never be 
taught to, children, except as just such an adjunct to Grimm* s 
gobUns or PigUt Blandy it is surely History. Children cannot 
understand the meaning of Change, the full sense of which is 
indeed a mark of intellectual and moral maturity to which we 
latter day grown-ups barely attain. Children have no sense of 
otkirness ; the tiny world gathering around their little half- 
grown bodies and lovely heads whose every feature is still out of 
place — that childish world is all of " my-my " as it needs 
must be in creatures whose / has only just arnved ; who pos- 
sess no real mine both in the Law's eyes and as opposed to a 
real tkine. History is or should be the study of Time working 
in haman concerns ; and for Children Time is measured i^om 
getting up to going to bed ; at most by months brii^iz^ with 
them changes so great as wdl-m^ caned previous memories. 

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To teach children History is to allow them, like those inno- 
cents of Victor Hugo's, to make hay of precious missals and 
scandalous documents in the Castle kbrary. At best it is to let 
them play with a few cheap court cards, a splendid game. By 
all means use history to supplement other toys, educating the 
little creatures, all unconsciously, to colour, to movement, and 
to drama ; there is no better puppet show. Only let it be 
understood, if not by the children themselves, at least by the 
grown-ups, that it is a kind of Punch and Judy. But here Qio 
steps in, severe, sometimes even brandishmg a pedagogic rod, 
lays pedantic hands on all these babes ; seats them on her hard 
key-patterned knee and administers, not without painful show 
of duty, the drams and syrups for which adults go to her. I 
doubt whether grown-up men and women w^d swallow 
patriotic lies so greedily had they not sucked them already at 
the age of barley sugar. Surely a grown-up man or woman, 
fairlv educated and moderately experienceo, might from time 
to time be struck by the queemess of its happening that just 
his or her own country (whichever it be) should be, not only 
ofUn^ but always^ the supremely wise, good and glorious one 
among the lot. The oddness of this agreeable coincidence 
might even be brought home by noticing that the grown-ups 
of every other country are under the same impression^ only 
about their country. Even a suspicion might arise in a few 
sceptical minds, that since there was evidentlv some muddle 
about each country being solely wise, good and glorious, it might 
well be that none was. But we have learned these views from 
our tenderest years, and they have taken on that warm, dim, 
comfortable, religious familiarity and riehtness with which long 
habit invests everything, turning myth into dogma. Indeed 
in all countries nowadays History is taught with just this object 
in view, as a kind of religion, a help to docility, a training to 
doing and dying without asking why ; and inadentally a pre- 

Earation for readiness to coerce or fleece our neighbours. I 
now, for instance, what has been taught in French schook 
since 1 871, reversing Gambetta*s advice, ^^Pensons y ioujours^ 
n*en parlons jamais.** But those teachings were merely apply- 
ing to a different country the hatred long cultivated against 
Perfide Albion which nearly provoked war about Marchand's 

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flag at Fashoda ; and, may, who knows ? some day be 
turned once more against the country which is to-day France's 
ally. Hiat hatred of England would not have been so ready 
twenty years ago (was it M. Qemenceau who suggested rolling 
this perfidious nation in blood and mud ?) if smdl French chil- 
dren had not, like myself (for I was a small French child among 
successive incarnations), eaten their nursery meals oflE plates 
pictured with the story of Joan of Arc, appropriately explained 
m decorative scrolls. At all events those nursery plates (and 
all the books, lectures, monographs, plays, cotirs de dicte^s^ 
lectures patriotiques^ which succeeded them) made it im- 
mensely more difficult for, say, my own French cousins 
to grasp the fact (which they never have) that what was 
called France in the days of Joan and duly brought its portion 
of faggots to her burning, was a mediaeval medley, Provencal, 
Burgundian^ Angevin, English, which woidd never have recog- 
nized itself in the Third Republic ; that the English who, as 
Villon also recorded, burned her at Rouen, were not the English 
whom street boys there and elsewhere would playfully pursue 
with ^^AngUche Goddam^ vivent les Boers,^^ Indeed that all 
that horrible business can be understood only in the light of 
witch trials and burnings of heretics, in fact only if you grasp 
the difference between our own time and the late Miadle Ages. 
But such difference would enormously damp the interest, 
quench the passions which enliven our dull lives, even as poor 
Joan's and all other autos da fe enlivened the gaping, illiterate 
dullness of our forbears. Hence Qio never brings that differ- 
ence forward. For her it is the name which makes the identity ; 
the name allowing us to stick pins into wax images (sometimes 
also realities) and roast them before a slow fire like Sister Helen. 
It was Qio who, in a street-song of the Tripoli War, called on 
the Italy of GioUtti and of Sonnino to buckle on the Helmet of 
Scipio Africanus . . . Let alone similar historical induce- 
ments even more recent. 

At other moments when the Orchestra of Patriotism is 
in full swing, Qio obligingly hides away certain analo^es ; 
that, for instance, between our present English attitude 
towards the Russian revolution and our interference with 
the Regicide Republic of Burke's Reflections and speeches. 

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Industrioas artificer of faked nationalities as weU as preserver 
of bygone enmides; parasite, sycophant, purveyor of draw- 
in^room entertainments; agent of holy and unhallowed 
amances ; there are few jobs which Qio will not do or get 
done to oblige her clients. She will even, when absolutdy 
required to, tell quite a lot of truth. 

Christmas^ 1918. 

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Then according to you. Patriotism is not a virtue ? 

No ; it may become habitual or it may be temporary, but 
it is always a combination of Impulses, Passions and more 
constant and elemental Habits : some of them usually 
virtuous, others always vicious; and, like these Impulses, 
Passions and Habits of which it is made up, it should oe ac- 
counted virtuous or vicious according as it promotes good or evil. 
In earlier days it may have promoted good, say that of saving 
Hellenic civilization from Persia and Carthage, or the common- 
wealths of Lombardy from Northern feudalism, or the French 
Revolution from Pitt and Coburg, or the British Constitution 
from the French Regicides (jnde Burke), and Bonaparte's 
tidy tyranny ; though none of these things have been, or even 
perhaps can be, really demonstrated, and we don't know what 
the world may have missed through the victories of those 
patriotic Greeks, Lombards, French or English. What seems 
more prdbable is that, in less spasmodic ways than what boys 
arc taught as the Decisive Barnes of the Worlds it had the good 
effect of compacting languages and laws and sharpening the 
competition of usehd varieties of civilization ; althoum, by 
the way, it also snuffed out a few : the patriotism of Rome 
snuffing out the patriotism, and also the competition and 
co-operation, of Carthage. Such debit and credit accounts 
are not accessible to mortal eyes, being (I fancy) kept under 
lock and key bv Satan. 

Even nowaoays, no one except a German would suppose 
there could be a balance of good m German patriotism ; and a 
biologist vaunting the spirit of the herd has had to point out 
that German patriotism is that of wolves, whereas English 
(and presumably Allied) patriotism is that of the busy, over- 
worked but mentorious bee, devoted to its drones and queens. 


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So let the various belligerents^ and the ghosts of oast bellig- 
erents — now enemies, then allies or vice versa, Nelson and 
Wellin^on and Kdcher and Hoche and Bonaparte, settle 
these mffictdt matters each to their own intimate sattsfactioa. 
I mean when and why patriotism was quite undoubtedly an 
unmixed blessing or a blessing at all. 

Mv contribution to the subject is different; consisting 
chienv in the recognition that, while its component human 
Impulses, Habits anid Passions, can be conq>ared to performers 
whose range and timbre and place in the scale and (like the 
fiddle trib<^ whose affiniries and even their respective ddightful 
or distressing quality to human ears are ascertained and fairly 
uniform each m its kind. Patriotism itself is, as I have told 
Satan to say, an orehestra wherein they all play either succes- 
sive and variously important and mutually compensating parts, 
or oftenest extraordinarily fused tuttiy sounding to the inexpert 
ear like one vast instrument quite sui generisy divinely, 
mysteriously stimulating in one's own camp, sickeningly, ter- 
rimng or ludicrous vidien heara from the Enemy's quaiters. 

Now this recognition on my part, that Patriotism is not one 
of the passions but a combination of many or most, is full of 
interesting detail corollaries to the moralist; and since I 
have mentioned that ubiquitous person, himself so very 
useful to the Orchestra in question^ let me despatch the moral 
aspect of the question before passing to others. 

One of the differences between the Orchestra and the 
players is that, whereas the Impulses, Passicms, Habits and 
their simpler combinations, as exemplified in parenthood, 
sex-rdations and the ways of Homo (EconomicuSy reside in 
the separate individuals or smallest combinations of indivi- 
duals (parent and child, lover and beloved, buyer and seUer, 
etc.), and are therefore easily checked by the other indivi- 
duals and their habits and passions, the combination called 
Patriotism resides in the cdlectivity and is therefore withdrawn 
from the criticism and the counteraction which ar^ necessary 
to keep Impulses, Habits and Passions, I will not say virtuous, 
but tokrably innocuous. For instance. Heroism has to sit 
side by side with Widow Fear; Idealism is made to play 
Wonderful passages by thirds with the Harmonium of beU- 

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Righteousness ; and I have tried to show what happens to 
Pitv and Indignation when beckoned by Satan out oi their 
hign seats in the auditorium and accepting a place in thzt 

So much for the moralist. I mean this is the warning he 
might reasonably deduce from my discovery that Patriotism 
is not a Passion, but a combination of all the Passions. And 
now, leaving moralists and moral warnings alone, let us pass 
on to some more abstract deductions from that, as I consider, 
indisputable but hitherto neglected fact. 

I will begin by reminding you that, as is universally admitted, 
compounds are less stable and more variable than their 
components, and may even occasionally undergo transforma- 
tion into something wholly different m character, or cease 
altogether to exist, their elements seeking other combinaricms ; 
a generalizarion true not only in the material universe of 
chemistry or physics but also in the inner domain of the spirit, 
memory and bimogical memory (what Semon caUs the Mnemic 
frincipU)y reproducing simple combinations (sudx as the 
intervals of which every piece of music is composed) more 
easily than the varying larger combinations, say a symphony, 
in mdch they have occurred; and as regards hereditary 
possibiliries, apritude for retaining words being ready made 
m the infant, but not, despite such centurier of repetition, 
the knowledge of any language or part of a language. Con- 
sonantly with this, the examination of Patriotism will show 
that, as befits a lughly complex combination^ it differs very 
much according to which 6f its possible constkuent passions 
are called into activity by given circumstances, so that it 
is liable to various transformations. It is originally exclu- 
sively consanguineous or tribal ; racial as With the Hebrews, 
theocratic and indifferent to place or race as with the Moham- 
medans ; concentrated on to smallest localities and narrowest 
local traditions ^nd interests as in early Greece and mediaeval 
Italy; or dependent solely upon community of language and 
institutions in modem nations, the German-speaking Alsatjan 
of Erckmann-Chatrian's Napoleonic stories identifying himself 
with the France of the Revolution, and speakiii^ of French 
civilization (even of the monuments of Pans) as tiie wofk of 

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his forefathers (nos ancuns)y foreetful of the fact that kis fore- 
fathers were not French at all, but as purely German as the 
Wfirtembergers and Bavarians then (1814) desecrating his 
" Patrif " ; forgetting also that the language which he spoke 
with his mother and mf e was not French at all, but German. 

Now these transformations of the object of patriotism 
suggest that this composite passion may undergo further trans- 
formations in the near future. The part played by geographi- 
cal segregation has already dwindled ; the part played by racial 
continuity is a purely mythical one, and has probably never 
been anytlung much more ; the part played by languages is 
very real and may increase with unified education ; the part 
played by institutions will probably diminish with the spread 
of self-government ; the part played by religion has long 
ceased m countries containing many sects like England or 
America. And the s^regating power of class may, very 
likely, produce a new collective allegiance, a new loyalty, in 
the immediate future. The Orchestra will no longer be in- 
scribed Patriotism ; but the same Passions will sit and play 
within its segregating barriers. 

For the second essential characteristic of Patriotism is 
that, while being a combination, an Orchestra of various and 
usually conflicting Passions, it depends upon segugatiotty not 
to say antagonism ; upon a railings upon something separating 
those who fed it from everyone else. The self-con^nous, the 
passionate collectivity, whether it be Clan or Tribe among 
primitive mankind, a City as in Qassical Antiquity, a Religion 
as in the Middle Ages, a Country or Nation as in modern times, 
or Class as may well be in the near future, this collectivity 
requires for its self-consciousness and passion to be an ex- 
tension of the individual self : it requires therefore a barrier, 
cmly less perfect and less permanent, which, like the indivi- 
dual's impenetrable body and never really commumcable soul, 
prevents its thoughts and feelings from being identified with 
those outside thos6 barriers of otherness. Patriotism, in short, 
and whatever has stood in its stead and will stand in its stead, 
as a collective though compound passion, reauires for its 
existence segregation, opposition, antagonism, ana I venture to 
add : hostiUty. Now such segr^ation may result in more 

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good than harm for the majority of individuals present and 
future ; it may likewise result in more harm than ^od. If a 
virtue can be distinguished from a vice (" and of this virtue I 
will make a vice^^ says Satan) by the balance of good over 
mischief which it produces under given circumstances, then 
Patriotism can be considered virtuous or vicious only according 
to circutiastances ; and hence cannot be called virtuous or 
vicious taken in itself and, so to speak, in its own right. 

My metaphorical description of it as an Orchestra has the 
advantage of a£Fording us another, though subsidiary, test of 
Patriotism's very varjdng, moral value. That test is the 
varying part played by its components. There is so much 
muddled thinking on these subjects, particularly in war-time, 
that I feel obliged to insult my more intelligent reader for the 
benefit of his weaker brethren, by clearing away any notion 
that these components are the various Nations, and that 
while the patriotism of Germans is wolfish and wicked, the 
patriotism of Britons (as Mr. Trotter tells us) is that of loyal, 
useful, though somewhat unintelligent beea, rather too over- 
worked for the benefit of their hereditary magnates. I am 
moreover not speaking of Patriotism such as it manifests 
itself in any particular country, but of Patriotism such as it 
exists in the abstract and in all countries equally ; and the 
components of this Orchestra I am speaking of are the diflFerent 
human impulses, habits and passions which always, though 
mavbe in varying proportions, enter into its composition. 

And having guarded against the attempt (so natural in war- 
time) to call one's own nation^s Patriotism virtuous and the 
other nation's Patriotism wicked, I may as well point out that 
one of the characteristics of aU Patriotism as such is that, just 
as every Religion calls every other Religion a superstition or a 
heresy, the Patriotism of every belligerent nation tends to 
call that of its opponents by a less flattering name : long before 
Mr. Trotter had compared Germany to a wolf-pack, Burke 
had called Republican France a Band of Assassins, and a 
college for the training of atheists and madmen. I am glad 
to have been obliged to this little digression, for if you bear its 
occasion in mind (namely the distinction between o«r ^ood 
Patriotism and the enemy's wicked Patriotism), it may make 

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it easier to recc^^nize the abstract aiKl essential nature d that 
famous C^chestra, and of the players who invarialdy go to 
make it up. 


Let us now consider those yarious players and the varyis^ 
parts they are sure to play in patriotism's ^reat sya^osies 
toitk concerting parts ohMigad^ that is solos^ trtos, and so foirth ; 
its wonderful connterpcnnts where the same theme introduced 
in the shrill notes of Fear will be repeated in the mellow, 
tender tones of loyalty to our dead, or the husky grayity of 
elderly fortitude : above all Patriotism's matdiless Uending 
of all the difFerent timbres and registers in a tutti which amounts 
in itself to a miraculous new instrument. 

That Patriotism should so rarely emerge except in the 

Eresence of an enemy real or imagined, (A a threat or a chal- 
UQge, leads to the recognition that there must be in its coiiqK>- 
sition more of Fear and Hate than erf Love. At least we wrald 
none of us give much for a Love which needed Fear or Hate to 
awaken or keep it alive ; it would be love bom of Jealoosv. 
Howsoever that last point may^ be, Love there neceasanly 
must be in all Patriotism, for is not Patriotism treated aa 
synonymoa^vnthLavie of one's country? 

Soy before inquiring into the pa^ played by viler pasttoes, 
let us inquire into the nature of this Love which is so con* 
8{Hcuous a portion of Patriotism as to lead some ptofit to 
imagine that it is the whole. Tkt nature of this Love : I 
might almost have said, its grammatical sMus. For grammar, 
being the track worn by mankind's use of Words, not cmly 
cansSzes our thought and often prevents its spreading to 
fertilize new fields, but reveals by its very chani^ of usage 
the direction which the drops and trickles and streams of our 
thoughts have taken in the past, and what have been the places 
of their confluence and of their rapid passdonate pressure. 
Now the love entering into Patriotism, and called by Patriot- 
ism's nam^ is a love which is governed by the first personal frd- 
noun ; and manifests itself in the possessive case. It is lOve 
due to possession ; not love . . . how shall we distinguish 
it I (though my Satan by the way has done so !) by preferena^ 

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attraction, suitability, choice, desire: not love simply as 

An undeservedly forgotten Italian poet, Metastasio, perhaps 
paraphrasing some even obscurer classic, has left a brief and 
moving summary of patriotic love. It is Themistocles answer- 
ing Xerxes' inquiry, "What can make him love so greatly the 
dty which has e:nled him ?" For Themistodes had pre- 
viously refused the Great King's offer with the mere statement : 
" Nacqm in Aune — I was born in Athens/* 

** E chi tanto ami in lei — and what is it thou lovest so much 
in her ? " rejoins Xerxes. Whereupon Themistocles : 

" Everything, O Kong. The ashes of my fathers, the sacred 
Laws, the tutelary gods. Tlie language and the manners ; the 
sweat it has cost me ; the glory it once gave me ; the air and 
earth, the wsHlSy the very stones." 

f * Tu^y O signer ; le ceneri iegli avi^ U sacri leggi^ i tuUlari 
numi ,* la faveUa^ i castumi ; il sudor eke mi costa >• h splendor 
eke ne trassi : Farioy il terren^ U mura^ i sassi.**) 

Tlie ^ole evokes a vague and lovely vision of antique life 
which, even as I repeat it to myself and write it down, makes 
my own heart beat with the particular little rhythm associated 
with the name Athens, And each item is, or may be, extremdy 
attaching in itself. An ancestral grave — (we see the little 
garlanded Chapel of the local kero\ a language and manners 
and customs (the languaee too, of Greece, the manners and 
customs we know from Plato and the oration of Pericles !) 
what can be more so f And then that lie of the stony olive- 
growing land ; the Southern sky, the atmosphere bright and 
full of the scent of sun-dried Mediterranean herbs; and then 
again the Gods ; there never were such Gods as those we know 
from Homer and Pindar and Greek marbles. I have chosen 
this example, and enlarged a little upon the images which 
accompany that little throb of my own heart at the word 
" Athens " ; because I want to draw attention to the fact that 
they are objects of my love as well as of that antique patriot^s ; 
a fact which Metastasio, or rather the usage of the courteous 
Italian language Twhich says " the father,*' " the house ** or 
** the garden," without the reiteration of my or your)^ has left 
quite unconii^cated with grammatical indicatioiM that aiiy 

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of these things were more the property of Themistodes than 

{'^ours or mine. Now suppose we leave it at that : recognize the 
ovableness of all these details and of their combination 
called Athens ; and the love we most of us do, or could, feel for 
them : suppose we place Themistodes among ourselves as such 
lovers of all that Athens means ; leaving it doubtful whether 
the craves, ancestors, manners and language, Gods, atmosphere, 
stocks and stones and landscapes belong to someone else, to the 
country where someone else (no matter who) happened to be 
bom ; follow up the suggestion that, like yaxy or me, Themis- 
todes is contemplating Athens and Athenian things with in- 
tense love and veneration, but as one contemplates what never 
has or could have bdonged to onesdf, without any implication 
of mine or thine. Should we then be in presence of Patriotism ? 
Should we be listening to the outburst of a patriot ? Evidently 
not. If the Great King had pointed to some equally delightful 
and venerable countrj^, sav in his own domains, Saro&s or 
Ephesus, would Themistodes have answered, as we mi^ht 
answer someone who pitted Browning's English ^^laneside 
aflutter with poppies " against his " castle, precipice-encurled in 
a gash of the wind-swept Apennine," " wdl both are delightfid 
and I don't know which I care for most." No, Themistodes 
has answered beforehand in that — " I was born in Athens." 
It is that which makes him love those Athenian things which he 
enumerates ; makes him prefer them to the similar things or 
eouivalent ones (induding plenty of future sudors e splendore 
ottered by Xerxes) of some country of which he happened not 
t6 be a native. The previous answer" I was born in Athens " 
explains the difference between your or my love of Athens, 
of Italy, of any " woman-country wooed not won," and his 
love, which is the patriots love. It shows the difference of 
attitude between one who merdy enjoys or appreciates or 
venerates, and one who owns\ it reinstates the possessive 
pronoun omitted in Metastasio's enumeration ; it shows that 
Themistodes loves Athens and Athenian things because he 
regards them as his. 

It seems, therefore, that patriotic love is not due merdy to 
the intrinsic cyjiAlities recognized in the object of that love, 
but also, and m so far as it differs from the love fdt by an 

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alien, upon the attitude of ownership or part ownership, upon 
the presence of the possessive pronoun. Th^t attitude is 
one of those most constant in all human affairs, so constant 
that we are apt to overlook it, as we overlook our own respira- 
tion or our balancing over a centre of gravity. AnH the posses- 
sive pronoun or possessive flexion, that humble part of speech 
which literary experts find so much less interesting than nouns, 
verbs and adjectives, is perhaps the most important, if not of 
grammatical, at least of affective, of human, categories. Its 
classifications into mine and thine represents the vastest of aU 
emotional and active, hence of ethical, distinctions. Its pres- 
ence, the bare fact of our thinking, at any moment, in terms 
of possession, possession positively by self, negatively by others, 
instead of thinking in terms of existence (of things mng so and 
so)y means that we are no longer or not yet in the realm of con- 
temf>lation and appreciation, of reason, analysis and causality; 
but in that of passion and action^ desire and effort : not of 
seeing but of takings grabbing^ clinging to^ keepings defending ; 
and, in the course of such taking or keeping, frequency 

^^ J country right or wrong." Whoever said such an 
absurdity ? But substitute the one word my and the saying 
becomes not only legitimate but meritorious and beyond the 
reach of criticism. Neither, of course, must anyone dare to 
criticize my country: for right or wrong, reasonably or un- 
reasonably criticized it is mine; and when I say nune I say 
hands off! For round that little word mine there watch thi 
most valiant guards, the most vigilant sefitinfte of the most 
wretched but most august of Entities : thr- Human Self. 

Our conscious life is such that we require not merely a 
modicum of food, warmth, bri^atliable air and standing-room, 
but a modicum of self-importance, without which we are 
trampled, startled* asphyxiated. That is part of our inner- 
most inviolable life. And everything gathered around that 
sarrcd core grows to be part of it : a knock upon the thing we 
are grasping shakes the grasping hand : the sun's heat passes 
from our garments to our skin : the praise of our belongings is 
felt as praise of ourself. And every criticism of whatever I 
call mine is a diminution of my sacred self. Do we willingly 

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tell a man that his horse is broken-winded, his house damp, his 
coat greasy, his hair unbmshed, his hearing defective, his child 
deficient or his wife unfaithful or undesirable ? Such state- 
ments of facts are always a liberty taken, often an inexpiable 
offence, sometimes an insult calling for blows or a dueL And 
when the criticized belongings are what is called my comUry . • . 
wdl then, if we are patriots, we answer " my country rignt or 
wrong." And "national honour" is expressly excluded from 
the subjects of international arbitration. 

Conversely, a child is taught that Elisha sent bears to devour 
the little boys who called attention to his baldness ; he learns 
from experience that it is good policy to remark upon the beauty 
and vame of his elders' possessions or supposed possessions. 
What is odder still is that it is not yet deemed impolite to 
suggest, even in the naif manner of one's French friends, that 
though a poor alien was not born of one's own nation, he really 
deserved that honour and might almost claim it. All this is 
absolutely natural and on the whole doubtless for the best. 
I mean it is natural that jpeople should feel a certain special 
interest, warmth, familiarity, a quite supreme intimacv and 
in^>ortance in and with whatever had become identified with 
themselves by possession ; and aU for the best that they should 
prefer what is theirs to what is not. It would be intoler- 
able if all parents wanted to rear other children than their 
own; frightrul if all husbands preferred other men's wives f most 
disturbing even if whole populations, as occurfed in barbaric 
times and still occurs at the expense of ^at coloniab call 
" natives " or " savages," took ^t into their heads to prefer 
other folk's countries to the one they were born in. Egoism, 
whatever we may^ay to tJvc cotiti i , I^ the first nile i*i life; 
and altruism, collective or otW^r^ re, i:^ its corrective, ii$ 
purifying, ennobling, trans Eorimng agcusy, but cannot do with- 
out it. Neither do I suggest thar life coidd b^ carried on one 
fraction of a second by mere contemj^arion, rea^ion, etc., 
or by anything save an inesbtibk, unfailing, unceasing puidi 
and pull of passion, habit, and wJiat people call (rather mis- 
takenly) instinct Indeed the truth of thi? is demonetrated 
by thdr always having the upper hand ; and cosiemplafion, 
reason, etc., rardy having a chance agaiiM them. Just 

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■ I 11 1 .- L ' 

therefore, natural selection or providence has usually provided 
rather too much of the unreasonable faculties and too little of 
the reasoning ones. And it so happens that there is an ob- 
jection to the unchecked dominion of the sacred sense of self 
and of the venerable and comfortable feeling of possession : and 
that is that there are other self s and other selfs' belongings. .TTxe 
other fellow, man or thing happens to be there, hence requires 
to be taken into account. Tht rest of the universe also happens 
to be there and moreover quite colossally more there and every- 
where than just you or I or we. And we can settle the quite 
exorbitant claims of this inexorable Rest of the Universe, this 
Otherness^ only by occasionally slackening down our necessary 
natural self-preference, by interrupting awhile the inter-play 
of our various passions and instincts, and taking an interest in 
otherness for its own sake ; contemplating it, appreciating it, 
and even, as we love countries which are not ours because we 
recognize their lovable qualities, taking to love where there 
can be no question of mine or thine^ but merely of the suitability 
of its lovableness to our capacity for love. 

' But that, as I have tried to show by^ the example of Themis- 
tocles, is not patriotic love. Patriotic love is love for one's 
country because it is. one* s own ; and so far it is of the same 
sort as the feeling which impels all of us to linger over the good 
pcunts of our own children, horses, house, garden, library, 
greenhouse and garage (if we have one), and naively take for 
granted that their complete and detailed apjjreciation must be 
a source of equal spiritual hien etre to our visitors. 

Such love due to possession does justice neither to the real 
qualities of its object (since it fills up their gaps and makes 
them alxikwt unnecessary), nor to fhe qualities of all the other 
things in creation. Hence although undoubtedly the most 
prevailing, therefore, perhaps, the most needful, kind of love, 
It is not Ae highest. And if you ask me what I mean by 
highest in 9uch a reference, I mean the kind which is required 
to correct, to check, to transform, in short to see to its not 
becoming a mere pest, such being, it seems to me, the only 
reasonable meaning in any kind of hierarchy, and especially 
the ojjy one in the hierarchic order of any ethical valuation. - 
It is for lack of a h%her (in this sense) regulator that the 

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Orchestra of Patriotism (or of any collective self-preference 
which has preceded or may succeed it) has come to admit such 
very disreputable members, to show such unexpected cheek- 
by-jowlness ; and finally, to be, as I have shown, the property 
of Satan and occasionally under the conductorship of Ballet 
Master Death. 


" The gist of all your remarks about patriotism,'* I can 
hear my Reader answering, " is that you have none." 

Exactly so. Indeed my not having any myself is, very 
likely, what allows my seemg what Patriotism really is. For 
it is with Patriotism as with all other things which we possess, 
and possessing, enjoy, as we are apt to enjoy even our own 
defects and maladies when they lead to tallang of ourselves 
and feeling for ourselves ; as we tend to prefer our family, 
our horse, dog, or the view from our backyard, regarding them 
with an especial complacency, as objects of possible pride, 
often with the acquiescent familiarity of habit, always with 
the warm intensity of all pertaining to self. I know that 
friendly feeling towards one's belongings, bodily or spiritual, 
for I notice it in myself about so many things of which, as you 
remark. Patriotism happens not to be one. I accept, I 
proclaim from the housetops this providential arrangement 
which makes us kind to everything constituting our thought 
of sdf. All I contend is that tUs attitude is not always 
favourable to knowledge of, or correct estimation, of realities. 

No, I have no Patriotism ; since it is not Patriotism to feel 
love and admiration (and also occasional shame) for several 
countries besides the one which taxes one's income or gives (or 
at present usually refuses) one's passport. I have no ratriot- 
ism, and might have added, am just as happy without it ; 
but even as the Inquisition or the Church Elders used cer- 
tain arguments for demonstrating that one cannot be happy 
outside the True Belief, so also the war has shown me that 
there are moments in the World's history when one is really 
not altogether comfortable without some little Patriotism. 

But though I have no Patriotism, I have sundry feelings or 
preferences which are often confused with it ; which occasion- 
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ally grow up in its shelter and are also occasionally starved 
and stunted by its shade. For instance, public-sfiritedness ; 
by which I mean a wish to make tlungs better for the unknown 
majority of people, and a repugnance to gaining or keeping 
advantages at their expense:; not perhaps love of one's neigh- 
bour, since one loves only the neighbour one feels to be 
lovable, but respect for one's neighbour's welfare, one's neigh- 
bour's diance of happiness, which is quite different from wish^ 
ing to marry, live with, converse with, or even see that neigh- 
bour in his or her individual embodiment. And as a conse- 
quence, a preference for certain things, liberty of the subject, 
equiality of opportunities, free speech, free trade, free thought, 
aoministrativc probity, political internationalism^ which seem 
to increase isuch chances of happiness for mankind at large. 
I call this pubHc'-spiriudness ; and have, or wish I had it. 
It is what ratriotism transforms itself into more and more in 
times of peace, losing its teeth, claws and bark ; it is what 
Patriotism may eventually evolve into for good and all, 
leaving those animal weapons behind, as mankind discarded 
the clutching jaws and grasping feet and balancing tail of apes, 
and acquired a human thumb and a human brain. Public- 
spiritedness implies a willingness to forgo certain advantages 
for the sake, for the bare thou^t, of certain other ones, the 
fruitful barter of one's wish for gain or ease or eminence against 
one's wish that the world at large, or the mews to the back, 
should be a less depressing object of contemplation. Such 
public-spiritedness unites the individual in effort and in thought 
with the multitude. And, since it is easier to feel for what we 
see, and to see what lies closest at hand, such public-spirited- 
ness naturally begins at home. And since our home is: often 
set against another home ; one town, country, class against 
another, even public-spiritedness is apt to lose its temper, to be 
blinded by prejudice, seek advantages at others' expense; 
suspect others of like seekings ; roll itself up like hedgehogs 
into a mass of bristles or squirt out ink^ poison like the cuttle- 
fish of journalism ; in fact puWic-spintedness tends to be 
ousted Dv Patriotism. Indeed, long before this war, I was 
impressea by the fact that in countries where, as in France and 
Italy, the patriotic habit, the bristling and spouting against 

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other countries, happened (iot some historical cause) to be 
much to the fore, there was a lack of puUk-spiritedness as such, 
a blinking of administradve muddle, an acquiescence in 
pdirical corrupdon, and that habit, as Italians say, ci ^^ one 
nand washing the other hand ^ ; in^ fact I noriced that, in 

Erojportion as men feel violently against other men, good or 
a^ beyond their frontiers, they accepted their own evil-do^cs 
in a fraternal spirit. And the Patriotism of all the belligerent 
nations, with its G>alirions, Unions Sacr^es, not merely of 
mutually exclusive principles and parries, \mt of scoundrds 
with honourable persons, of maniacs with wise men, ha» rein- 
forced the same lesson ; to wit : that however difiFerent things 
may have been in a Past which I do not know. Patriotism, 
unoer the present conditions which I see, absorbs the com- 
bativeness and endurance and sdf-renunciation needed for 

Jutting one's own house in decent order ; and spends it in 
evastating the house on the other side of the road, with the 
result that, just as this war-expenditure on shells and guns and 
khald must result in a lack of food and rdling«stock and clothes 
and schools, so also both this house and the other house w31 
be left in an excessively ruinous and disorderly condition. 

And let this be my answer to the initial questicm : Do you 
think that Patriotism is or is not a virtue r namely : not in 
our modem times ; because, besides destroying men and wealth 
and sympathy and common sense and derire for truthfulness, it 
also puts itself in the place and absorbs the much-needed re- 
sources oi public-spintedness. Has not this war whittkd 
down " national service '* to mean whatever helps to carry 
on war, turning schoolmasters and men of science into soldiers 
kilHng and killed by other schodmasters and men of science \ 

And (me reason why I am jdeased with mv discoveiy that 
Patriotism is not a human passion but an Orcnestm of Human 
Passions, is that it helps to show how in that Orchestra the 
noblest, rarest human impulses are sat upon and poUutod 
by Fear, Hatred, Hypocrisy and all the vile crew which waste 
the collective, as they waste the individual, souL 

Augustj 191 8. 

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In real lilc Widow Fear, as often as not, goes by the name of 
Dowager Lady Prudence, or, as moderns pronounce it, Pr/- 
pareiness ; and, so far from keeping a rag-and-bottle shop, 
she is to be fcnind in the company of erave and reverend 
seniors, or persons ejected to be such, like so much dealt 
with, or evaded, by tne Moralist, her case is one like that of 
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

In a pamphlet, which will, I hope, be reprinted among his 
philosophical obiier dicta^ Mr« Bertrand Russell has shown 
that modem war, especially this particular war, is the OfF-^ 
^ring of Fear. Si vts pac^nty para bellum has, nine times out 
of ten, the meaning of make war to stave off war ; or at all events 
make arrangements for staving^ off war, competitive armaments 
and aUiances which war inevitably results from. Statesmen 
prudently insisting on Preparedness, imprudently overlook 
that it caUs forth rreparedness on the other side ; and that 
the two Preparednesses cdlide, till both parties find themselves 
at war; and, in immeasurable, honest (or well-feigned) 
surprise, accuse the other party of breaking the peace, thus 
daborately and expensively safeguarded. 

If we could set Clio (who stands godmother to so many of 
Widow Fear's children) to useful work with any likelihooa of 
getting her to do it, I should propose a historical study of 
reciprocal preparedness and its effects, let us say, since LduIs 


^dow Fear, when ostensibly sober after one of her bad 
bouts of ddirium tremens, is much addicted to retrospective 
prc^ecy. I mean to pretending that what has happened as 
a result of war, is that war's justincation. I see that rofwaerts 
is at this moment saying that the treatment of 6erman)r since 
the Armistice shows how right the German Majority Socialists 
were in voting the war credits ; they knew what to eiq)ect in 
case (^ defeat, and therefore joined with their hated Imperialist 

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rulers in strengthening the defensive. To this the Allied 
Socialists might, and doubtless do, retort, that if their German 
comrades had not voted the credits, there would have been 
no war, in which the Germans roused the vindictiveness of 
their adversaries. Each party^ hdids that what it did, does, 
or (as is at present the case with the French) proposes to do^ 
is justified by what the other party has or would have done ; 
each overlooKing that if the other had not been given an oppor- 
tunity by the war itsdf, none of the thin^ could or would 
have happened at all. The German abonunations in France 
and Belgium are used to show how right the Entente was to 
crusade against a people capable thereof ; the present starving 
and ruining and (behaving as if her surrender had not been 
conditional) tricking of Grermany by the Entente is used to 
show how wise Germany was m trying to break the iron 
circle of foes bent on her destruction. Thus what has happened 
in consequence of being at war is used to justifv the war itself* 
In one sense, it has been not the justification, out an efficient 
cause of the War. For — ^and here we are back at Widow Fear 
— a chief cause of the War was the belief by either side that 
the other would act as it has done, or attempted to do ; a 
belief perhaps not uninfluenced by a vague previous realization 
of what, if we were not (each set of us) such pacific and 
humanitarian angels, we should have liked to aOy had the 
risht, one may add, remembering the French minister's naif 
"nas the victor no right over the vanquished?** to do; 
even if we magnanimou^y refrain from usin^ that right. 

Psychologv allows one to guess that there is indeed, in some 
of mdow Fear's doings when she is Lady Prudence, some- 
thing more even than the expectancy of how the adversary's 
blow would feel: there is, no doubt, a kind of muscular 
prescience (preparedness in the psychological sense !) of the 
dIow one would give that adversary, could give him if, as 
people say, provoKed. Such is the obscure underlying state 
of men's nerves ; it throws up into the lucid consciousness, 
not indeed a faithful mirroring of these incipient movements, 
but a logical, a verbal argument, which takes for its gratuitous 
starting-point one of the incidents of the circle of action and 
reaction constituting the quarrel. War logic aigues in such a 

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circle, each party moving backwards or forwards from a point 
it selects, e.g., the adversary's potential, or only subsequently 
actual, misdeeds. I do not doubt that behind the ^miliar 
stunts " there are worse things than war," " there are things 
to ward off which war is a measure of prudence," or ** war is 
better than slavery," there is a massive emotional anticipation, 
call it by its real name, a panic-fear of the very things : inva- 
sion, defeat, crushing, devastation, starving, dismembering, 
humbling, which one nation can and occasionally does inflict 
on its adversarj^ ; which every nation attempts, with various 
shades of cynicism and sanctimoniousness, to do as its part 
of the war ; but to none of which it would be exposed unless 
it went into the war. It is upon this emotional rehearsing of 
the dangers and horrors of war that we found the arguments 
justifying our participation : in our feelings the dangers and 
horrors have already taken place ; and we take part in the 
war forgetting that in modern times, where whole nations pay 
in life and money, it is only by thus taking part that we expose 
ourselves to invasion and its evils. Small buffer-states like 
Belgium can indeed, alas, be subjected to the worst of war's 
horrors without any such choice. But on the other hand, it 
never is a small buffer-state who chooses to participate in 
war, or requires to iustify its participation. Tne only states 
who have cause to be afraid of war are those requiring none 
of the arguments and cart-before-the-horse hallucinations of 
Widow Fear. And as a matter of fact it is not such small 
states as Belgium, or it might have been Switzerland or Holland, 
who say that *^ there are worse things than war," and that 
" war is a measure of prudence." They keep out of war until 
war comes in to them. It is the large countries who say they 
could not have kept out, and say it because they could have 
kept out but chose to come in. So that the case of Belgium by 
no means invalidates Mr. Russell's dictum that "war is the 
offspring of fear": only for poor Belgium, it was other 
countries' fear: Germany's fear of strangle-hold "encircle- 
ment," France's fear of invasion, Britain's fear of " being left 
without a single friend " (in other words " the Channel ports 
in other than allied hands ") ; it was the fear of all these great 
countries which resulted in poor little Belgium actually 

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suffering in its person worse thines than they had feared for 
themselves^ anci tried to ward off by ** coming in." 


And before leaving Widow Fear, or her reputable Dr. Jekyll, 
the Dowager Preparedness, I should like to add, that just as 
economists have shown that insurance against risks swells the 
price of commodities to those who buy diem ; so it might be 
well if moralists and politicians pointed out how much time, 
labour and material and life, all so much needed in other places, 
are spent, shall we say ? in locks and locking up, often c^ 
possessions which, like Epictetus' iron lamp, might almost be 
left for the house breaker, and profitably replaced by one of 
earthenware, whereof C3irist's words come true — ^that rust 
does not get at it. 

It is a curious paradox, at the present moment exemplified 
by France's obstinacy against a League of Disarmament and 
in favour of territorial guarantees, that courage of the warlike 
kind, by no means helps to expel Fear ; but on the contrary, 
allows the most wasteful and perilous of human passions to 
keep up her double existence in Council Chambers of great 
nations and in the rag-and-bottle shops of journalism. 

At this moment Europe is called upon to take the risk of 
disarming. Will it have the courage to take it ? After all, 
it must have needed some courage to exchange the first 
commodities, the first amber against the first bronze, instead 
of clubbing one^s potential customers. It must have needed 
some courage to leave off blunderbusses and a rout of armed 
lackeys when going to the play and trust one's life to a few 
policemen and a street lamp. And it is the practical 
mischief of Widow Fear that . . . Well ! not merely that she 
deprives you of the courage needed to run certain profitable 
risks, but actually uses up the abundant latent courage of 
mankind in making men perpetually frightened of one another. 
So out with the sluttish hag ! and si vts paceviy facem para. 

Marchf 1919. 

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There are cynics who aver (and present events will not 
diminish this cynicism) that the Silver Trumpet of Idealism 
is not really of silver at all, but only of papier-macke ; indeed 
that in our highly educated age it is a by-product of the print- 
ing and publishing trade. 

But r am speaking of the genuine instrument of noble 
metal, even if somewhat hardened with alloys. 


" Ideals," writes a man in the Nation^ " do not justify the 
abattoir of Europe ; an Ideal would scorn existencie on such 
terms." Yet in the self-same number another man writes that 
much as he abhors war (for we all abhor war !) a seven years 
war would not be too high a price for the realization of 
Mazzini's Delenda est Austria, . . . 

Some of my pacifist friends would answer, judicious and 
unperturbed, that this, and everything conducive to the pro- 
longation of such an abattoir^ is a false Ideal ; or else an Ideal 
falsely, fnistakenly applied. . . . The same is, cm: was, said of 
the horrors of refigious wars and persecution : Torquemada, 
Bloody Mary, etc. All that was false religion ; or reli^on 
falsely interpreted. The contention being that a religion, and 
nowadays an ideal (which is its secularized version) can do 
no wrong; whence, if wrong is done, or what you and I 
hap|>en to consider wrong, why what has done it can*t be real 
religion ; it must be a sham Ideal. 

We require to go deeper than such a convenient self-justifica- 
tory twaadle. A religion is a religion, an Ideal is an Ideal, not 
in virtue of its good results, but in virtue of its constituting a 
particular assemblage of qualities, to which we give that name ; 
just as a man is a man, or a horse a horse, not because we 
approve of his conduct or its paces, but because man and horse 
are names referring to a group of peculiarities which do not 
necessarily include what you and I call good; so that if you 
want to assert or deny the desirability of either you must say a 


by Google 


gooi man or a bad man, a good horse or a bad horse, not just 
mjf» or horse. But Religion and /^n/ are treated by those who 
deal in them as if they were words like sustenance and poison^ 
implying a quality of being good or bad for those who take it, 
in wnich case we should have to admit that just as all susten- 
ance is sustaining, and all poison poisonous, all religions must 
be true, all Ideals desirable, not merely the religions and 
Ideals we happen to approve of. 

An Ideal can be recognized not by the goodness or badness 
of its results, but (just like its older representative, religious 
doctrine) by the manner in which it is neldy by its cause and 
concomitants in the mind or the society holcung by it. An 
Ideal is held as imperative and binding, that essential attitude 
being taken over from its religious origin ; while its rational- 
istic fostering reveals itself in the supposition (not always 
justified) that although imperative and best not argued about, 
once you have got it (for laeals do not, like religions, say in old- 
fashioned parental phrase: "How dare you argue with your 
creator ? ") can yet be shown, with a little trouble, to have been 
got by an act of free investigating reason. That is the 
attitude Ideals take up vis-d-vis of religions. But even like 
Protestantism when no longer obliged to differentiate itself 
from Popery, Ideals, when left to themselves, have a way of 
falling back upon an intuitive and inevitable recognition of 
whatever is good, noble, etc. And this is an Ideal's true 
characteristic : it is an aim, often a vague aim, which we 
recognize for an Ideal by the feelings accompanying it ; in 
fact by the manner wherein it is held. An Ideal is never held 
for interested motives ; it ceases to be an Ideal in proportion 
as its objects embody anything which also suits our convenience 
or our self-interest. It takes an Italian prime minister, bom 
of the race of Machiavelli and of the seventeenth century 
Conceit-Mongers, to come by such a paradox as " Sacro 

Indeed an Ideal, like a duty (but with a free, spontaneous 
burst, a self-imposed and uplifting imperative) is {precisely 
what puts aside and silences convenience and self-interest, 
both of which can look after themselves without its magnificent 
but sometimes tiresome trumpeting. An Ideal implies the 

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^/Hlling oblation ol that whidi, however dear to us, is yet less 
dear than this sense of freedom and uplifting and dignity given 
us by an ideal. In fact, an Ideal, like the other spiritual enti- 
ties we talk about, like arty civilization^ religion^ is a group of 
activities of our own, a special definable response to certain 
outer circumstances, a state of mind and a readiness for Action 
of a particular type. Under the sway of an Ideal, a man acts, 
feels, even looks in a recognizable way, other than how a man 
does under the dominion of say, a sense of duty, a recognition 
of practical advantage, or a desire for pleasure. I have 
emphasized the word looksy because this appearance is the 
outward sign of an inner and spiritual, i.e., an unconscious, 
nervous, muscular, cardiac, visceral, state. You will find in 
old-fashioned books on physiognomy the description of the 
** enthusiast," the man with an Ideal, usually a religious one. 
But while religious feeling may often produce mere admiring 
resignation and acquiescence, an "Ideal" nearly always 
implies a fervid willingness to Sacrifice, or at least over- 
ride, somebody else. Ideals, whether religious or secular, are 
combative; tney imply that something is as it shouldn^t 
be, and that you are conducing (or would conduce, if vou 
could) to set it right. Set it right. An Ideal, also, involves 
that the holder thereof considers it right ; just as a religion 
implies for the believer that its creed is true. Hence, just as 
religion gives a sense of certainty, highly conducive to inner 

f>eace, indeed so highly prized that religion is often adopted 
or its sake ; so also an Ideal gives a persuasive sense that 
however wrong the world may be (indeed, ideals imply a 
degree of wrongness, else why have themf), the world can be 
set righty and what is more, can te set right in greater or less 
degree by your adherence to them, your fervour for them, your 
readiness to take action^ to upset something or somebody, 
your joyous willingness to sacrifice yourself and others for that 
ideal's actuation. Just as it is the essential and overwhelming 
certainty of possessing the truth which makes it so easy for 
religious belief to be erroneous ; so also it is the essential and 
overwhelming sense of aiming at good, of increasing the good 
in the universe, this conviction of being a lieutenant of howso- 
ever abstract a Power Making for Betterment, which surrounds 

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Idealism with pitfalls of wrong-doing. It is his unhesitating 
willingness to sacrifice himself and therefore somebody eke 
which makes the Idealist a possible, a frequent. Tool of the 

May, 1918. 


What would become of the world without Ideals and Ideal- 
ists ? Well ! If the foregoing analysis is at all correct, the world 
will never be without them, any more than without generosity 
or cautiousness, without impulsive persons or ^hL^matic ones ; 
they are all natural varieties. The question is rather : given 
their existence, how could they be made to further the world's 
happiness rather than j eopardize it ? The war, which suggested 
this question to my mind, has answered it as follows: by 
making Idealists less spectacular and decorative ; and Ideals 
less gimcrack and gaudy; more akin, these latter, to the 
manly, homespun, wearable things called standards and 

If people were less idle and less overworked, they would, as I 
shall go on to suggest, hanker rather less after adventure ; at 
all events adventure would arise out of the day's work or day's 
play. Similarly, if people were more decent, more accustomed 
to feel that certain omissions and commissions brought the 
kind of discomfort and accompanying unseemliness as lack 
of soap and water, then methinks ideals and Idealism would 
scarcely be required in everyday reality, and might find their 
proper place and satisfaction in poetry and art. 


This train of thought, so familiar to me since the war, has 
been brought to expression by being asked what I thc»ight of 
Quinn's very eloquent rhapsody on Roger Casement. 

" What I think of it f Why that it is the selfsanae nut wal 
this War is made of ! " 

And added that I hoped the younger generation would see 
to eliminating it from real afiPairs, and keeping tt^ with past 

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romance and madness, for our dramatic delectation, like Mac- 
beth and his Witches and the Furies of Orestes. 

My young friend seemed to a^ree, as I ardently hope that 
those who have grown out of childhood during tms War vidll, 
many of them, do. 

" But," she demurs, " one can't help admiring it, all the 
same, quite tremendously." 

" Exactly* And what you people have to learn (for we are 
too old f) is that admirattcn is not a test of usefulness. Set it 
to music, put it into a wonderful f onn of verse, keep it to look 
at and rejoice in ; but at arms' length, above your life, if you 
will, but not in it. Learn the essential, salutary and consoling 
diflFerence between Life and Art." 

" But will people ever be satisfied with ideal emotions unless 
they believe them to answer to something really existing ? " 

rerhaps not. Though to me, possibly because I am old, 
to do so would seem the sign of spiritual maturity, of having 
left behind the child's and the adxJescent's faith in tvishes as 
horses. TTxe result, above all, of a more vital and more fre- 
quent interest in all kinds of science and philosophy. 

We cannot yet say whether such a time will ever come ; 
for we are still only at the end of the Middle Ages so far as 
mental habits are concerned, not really at the beginning of a 
new era. Since even our atheistic philosophers, like Nietzsche 
and Bertrand Russell, are always taking up positions vis^d- 
vis of the old Gods whom they imagine themselves to have 
discarded. Not merely Nietzcshe saying how could there be 
Gods and I not one of them? But less naively Bertrand 
Russell turning away from the sugary Eternities of other 
beliefs with a " / prefer the Eternities bitter, with such wither- 
ing bitterness as gives the magnificent sense of Tragedy.'* 
Nowl suspect that uie bitter Eternities ministering toNiet^sche's 
Amor Fait and to Bertrand Russell's Free Maris Worship arc 
mere little private brews of their own making ; and no more 
eternal, let alone eternally real, than the sugar and water and 
eau de fleur i or anger which, as in the cut-glass caraffe and 
tumbler of old French bedrooms. Mankind has been careful 
to place (when it had leisure to procure them) alongside of its 
uneasy pillow. 

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But we should die withcmt such ideals, bitter or sweet ! 
Well ! what is music for, from Bach and Mc^art to Strauss, 
except to minister to these legitimate needs ? Only do iiot 
pretend that it is the muac of die Spheres performing like a 
Restaurant-band, for vour sole satisfaction. Of all Idea&m 
there is none more paltry than such treating of the Realities 
and Eternities as if they must fetch and carry for our Heart's 
Desire, however distinguished. And if there were Realities 
and Eternities thus interested in our persons and wishes, why 
surdy, beiAg so human and personal, they would laugh at us, 
even as we should in their place. 

June- December^ 1918, 

But Idealism, as the world at present exists, does a good 
deal of practical, by no means aesthetic, fetching and carrying. 
And, I am asked, by others and by myself, what could possibly 
replace it from the utilitarian point of view? At present, 
nothing ; since its production will continue a loi^ time yet, 
like that of religion. But eventually, I cannot but hope. 
Idealism might transform (after handing its emotional appeal 
to art and poetry) into something very modest yet at the same 
time very imperious. Something, for which I can find no 
existing name, for even Duty is too sounding, and lacks also 
the imperative of personal preference. Something whose 
refusal should implv that the refuser is an imbecile or a cad ; 
something which, snort of being either, you or I must do, or 
oftener (since most commandments are negative) must refrain 
from doing. Not do, in the same sense as a decent child is 
taufiht not to spit, not slop its food upon the table, not 
grab its neighbour's bread, not spread its elbows, not drown 
other fcdk's voice or interrupt their speaking ; briefly, not be 
a nuisance ; and more particularly not a grown-up and sym- 
bolical nuisance, like the ill-mannered beasts of every nation* 
ality who have converted Europe into the obscene refuse-heap, 
moral and material, now spread before us ! 

I am asked whether what I should like to see in place of 
Idealism is the George Herbert ^^ sweeping of the room from the 

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■ " II— —ill I I I I I I I I 

Love of God ?" No, no more than the setting out of your best 
cheer for your chosen guests, or the tying of a nosegay for your 
beloved. No ! If the room is to be swept, I would rather 

iron or I should sweep it not for anyone else's love, but for the 
ove of the room and of sweeping things clean. Since, as my 
Satan knows, much to his sorrow, that also is love and is 
denied to him. 

Then, says my friend, what you want instead of Idealism, is 
that people should think as clearly as they can, suspect their 
own emotional delusions as much as is humaidy possible, in 
fact, be honest and wise and sympathizing from a sense of 
service ? 

Perhaps that may be at the bottom of my meaning. And 
yet, no ! Service^ when it does not suggest servility, has a 
smack of sdf^righteousness, of religious offices ; and that I am 
not sure whether I reallv like ; it is, as the French say, sf 
gobefj gulping one's self down in a ridiculous fashion. On the 
whole, I should like people, beginning with a regenerate self, 
to be discriminating, sceptical, imaginative, generous, sym- 
pathetic, scrupulous; maldng allowances for the future and 
the unknown ; feeling the needs of othei:s as a consequence of 
feeling one's own ; and to be this, or to try to do it, out of 
decency^ behaviour to themselves mirrored in behaviour to 
others. Decency, like the decency which causes you to dean 
your person and properties, and desist from soiling, more 
laiinOy the public street and field paths; decency^ lack of which 
makes you horribly uncomfortable when it is m yourseli^ and 
disgusted and contemptuous when it is in others. To be 
decent. The expression has become English slang ; it has 
long been in common use (anstdndig) among the people at 
present caHcd Huns. 

Decent; I like that better even than decorouSy which 
suppresses the notion of what is due to oneself and substitutes 
something cognate to decoration or adornment. And, as I 
said, the mischief of Idealism is largely that it is too decorative. 
Noble, as the Muse remarked, but, like Adventure, a trifle 
overdressed. . . . 

Jprily i^iy-Marcky 1919. 

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" Satan is always bored,** 


Quite at the banning of the war, Mr« lioyd George held 
out, among other inducements for enlisting, the wonderful 
oasis of adventure which the war would constitute in the drab 
and monotonous lives of cnir working classes. Such as survived 
would cherish the priceless memories of those fervid weeks and 
months. How manv of his listeners (he spoke in early autumn^ 
1914) have survivea to justify his words, it is perhaps best 
not to inquire; neither how much of that feeling of oasis 
remained after the adventure had lasted four years and a 

![uarter. Mr. lioyd George would probably be justified in so 
ar as such of those survivors as survive sufficiently to beconxe 
red-coated and doddering old Kaspers (as in the Battle of 
Blenheim)y will derive some senile satisfaction, if not from their 
reccdlections of this war, at all events from their narratives of 
it ; thus predisposing some future audiences of recruiting 
speeches to put some colour and liveliness into their drab, dull, 
hves by dmilar war-like interludes. The jveteran, liloe the 
stay-at-home, is invaluable in keeping up the reputation oi 
war as a Splendid Adventure. 

An Adventure which, thanks to that established reputation, 
the drab-lived yokels and factory hands did quite undoubtedly 
snatch at i;dien the ELaiser, and sundry others, among whom 
Mr. lioyd George himself, offered them a chance. An Adven- 
ture, moreover, which other youths, of more vari^ated life, 
had undoubtedly hankered after (especially in France) for 
some years past ; and one whicjx, when they were killed off 
in time, like Charles P^y and Rupert Broote, was prc^bly 
rapturoiis enough. As r^ards the surviving yokels and factory 
hands, they are, the war being over, suggesting to Mr. lioyd 
George that he should see to their lives being the least little 
bit less drab and monotonous ; and not by the repetition of sudi 
oases or interludes of war Adventure, whereof they are so 
incredibly unappreciative as to say, in their speech, that they 
are fed up ; ana refuse to take a fresh helping. 

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Let U8 return to those who, being neither yokels, nor miners, 
nor factory hands, indeed men of fairljr variegated lives, 
yet snatched with equal itvidity at that unique Adventure. 

There can be Adventure in the world of tne sj)irit; you can 
make perilous explorations in your own soul, risKing death and 
wounds to know how yourself will feel in hairbreadth, raptu* 
rous or ghastly situations. It was, I take it, that kind of inner 
Adventure, places and things only its external mechanism, 
which the younger generation talked (and w^s talked to by 
adventurous dons) about, under the name of Experience of 
Life. Not experience rushed through in desperate Faust-like 

aucst after a consummate moment, to which one cries : " Stajr ! 
lou art fair." Experience of life rather to be compared with 
an endlessly turned over picture-book, displaying on every 
page one's own soul in some different attituae or emotion. 
This simile is mine ; and prejudges the case in an unfriendly 
spirit. Let me, therefore, exchange it for a better one ; better 
because arising in the mindof a young man at the very moment 
of thanking the Gods that since War must needs be, he should 
have been in time to take part in it. It occurs in a letter, 
written in 19141 by Frederick Keeling, a social investigator and 
reformer, whom the war duly killed off. He regrets, he* says, 
that (thanks to th6 progress of civilization) his little son will 
not be given a chance of such " a bite into the apple of life.^^ 

Perhaps some of poor Reeling's surviving comrades may now 
agree with me, that life is not an apple for even the most 
privileged to bite into. Even, I am inclined to think, that thus 
to bite into it is a worse offence than that of our earliest parents, 
hungering as they did for the solid sustenance affordea by the 
Tree of Knowledge ; an offence, indeed, not against the Powers 
abovey but the Powers on all sides encompassing Mankind, and 
one whose wages may well be, spiritual, and not merely, as 
with poor Ke^ng, bodily death. 

This question of biting into the apple of life is, therefor^ 
not without moral importance; indeed, connected, as yt>u 
shdl see, not only with the Ballet of the Nations^ but with 
Satan the Waster. So, the better to make myself imdei^tood. 

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let me premise that this desire for a bite into onis unknown 
self (since that is what experience means in this case) is not 
to be confused with that mere crisis of dissatisfaction which 
comes, but also comes speedily to an end, in the existences 
of so many young people of parts. That^ I mean that passing 
thirst for change as such, may possibly be due to some tem- 
porary physiological impoverishment after the completion 
of growtn ; more certainly, as many of us can testify, to the 
uneasy emergence of the individual man or woman out of the 
warm nest of habits and beliefs furnished by the home and the 
sdxool, furnished by inheritance and tradition, by everything 
which young people are given and accept, almost without 
inventory; emergence therefrom meaning the discovery of 
oneself on a rather bleak and solitary branch, and not much 
blossom or fruit within reach. Such hunger for change 
accompanying the nonfulfilment of youth's conventional ideals 
and its egoistic, childish, takings-for-granted, I want to recog- 
nize as a frequent and natural phase of growth. Recognize 
also that {rom it may sometimes arise the hankering after 
those Bites into the Apple of Life. But it is not the same thins, 
such discontent being transient and oftenest ended by a fredi 
zest for interests and purposes, however humdrum. The 
attitude symbolized by Biting into the Apple of Life is not 
a passing one. What changes is mos^y the Apple. For 
it is not one particular Apple you long for ; in fact it is not any 
Apple at aU, but your emotion of biting. What becomes of the 
bitten-into Apple is of no consequence ; you may throw it 
away uneaten, or go on munching in hopes of some new sensa- 
tion. Nine times out of ten you Iook round for another, 
a different Apple, or some other fruit, each Apple standing for 
a new phase of yourself. And the passing from Apple to 
Apple (please remark, without Faust's blase consistent search 
after the one and only Apple) is what was preached and practised 
before this war, under the rubric of taking life as an Adventure ; 
and again, of cultivating curiosity as such. Curiosity as such, 
comparing it with the child's impulse to taste of and sniff at 
every bottle, especially every closed one, is doubtless useful in 
our earliest stages ; although even with r^ard to the lowest 
organisms, biology seems to replace Herbert. Spencer's notion 

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of fumblingy bv that of organized, hereditary attractions and 
repulsions, linKing the individual to its surroundings and con* 
stituting the elements of all life's essential changes. Be this 
as it may, the mature human being ought to have no need for 
such crude curiosity, or rather neither time nor energy for it, 
because he should be dominated by curiosity which is not crude, 
hy interests and problems and purposes diflFering from indi- 
vidual to individual according to his kind, a part of that great 
give-and-take between the ego and the surroundings. 

And here, we are back at Keeling's AppU of Life, I may be 
prejudiced, but I suspect that the person who has curiosity 
to spare for biting into the Apple of Life must, for one reason or 
another, be at a loss for problems, interests, jobs, and let me 
add the old-fashioned word, duties. Also, for what is as 
necessary in, and for, Hf e : at a loss for tastes, preferences and 
those impulses to thought and action bringing the human 
creature mto contact with the Otherness, and, little as he may 
suspect it, freeing him from himself. It means being at a 
loose end. 

That such was the case, and with a resultant desire to Bite 
into the Apple of Life^ among the generation which the war has 
decimated or perhaps cured, seems to me evident. Also, that 
this quest for intellectual and emotional Adventure (Adven- 
ture of which their own soul was the field) made many, just like 
Keeling, welcome the war, and welcoming, justify it. I do 
not pretend to know what led to the existence of this state of 
mind. I can only suspect some hidden connexion, some 
parallelism of causes, between it and that " drab monotony " 
making, as Mr. Lloyd George told us, that other class of men 
welcome the war, the men supplying our necessaries and con- 
veniences, our food, warmth, light, clothes, and our leisure^ 
vdiile sharing in them so very unequally. Our younger intel- 
lectuals, even those working not at art or poetry, but at social 
questions, were apt, like Keeling himself, who was perpetually 
wondering how his work affected himself, to take even the 
Service of Man as a superior sort of game, and question whether 
some other might not oe better worth the candle of their atten- 
tion. Is it not probable, I cannot but ask myself, that these 
privileged youths, these of the variegated, as opposed to the 

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drab and monotonous lives, had too much given them? Not 
merely too many material advantages, but too many, at least 
{or powers of assimilation unstimulated by effort or refusal, too 
manv intellectual and emotional ones ? Why even ideas and 
ideals, which had cost their elders so much heart-searching and 
painful rebellion (I appeal to the recollections of those i/«dio 
grew up in the years when Darwin and Renan were still danger- 
ous heretics) even ideas and ideals had been furnished this over- 
lucky generation, abundant, various, ready-made, to pidl about 
and wonder were they worth having ? On the other hand (I 
am still trying to account for that desire for the Apdie of War 
Experience) may there not have lingered among Keeling's con- 
temporaries some of the old religious habit of referring real life 
to standards of perfection," idealgoodness,** " supreme values," 
or perfect faith and hope for which there is no warrant beyond 
itself ? There is surely a resemblance between this latter-day 
longing for something more interesting (since that is at the 
bottom of the quest for Adventure) and tne cui bono of Tolstoy 
and his heroes Andri and Levine ; also of humbler minds who 
feel out in the cold for lack of Divine Justice and Divine Mercy, 
both of which were looked upon as a part of a man's legitimate 
birthright. At aU events, it is signincant that this desire for 
"Adventure" (do you remember William James actually 
casting about for " ideal equivalents of war" ?), this refusal to 
let themsdves be seized and dominated by the world's tasks and 
riddles, should have coincided, as it did, with the recurring 
demand, d la H. G. Wells, for a Companionable Deity. Can it 
be that these young men felt out in tne cold, isolated, insignifi- 
cant, in the universe whose myriad living meshes did not suffice 
to hold their souls and draw forth their spontaneous longings 
and efforts ? Did these youths, who flung themselves so 
ardently into the great Adventure of War, fed like my puppet 
Satan, arid, impotent and bored ? 



And before ending this note on Love of Adventure as such^ 
let me remind my readers a^ Satan's definition of Love^ love not 

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only of persons and (what is almost as personal !) causes ; but 
of occupations, problems, plans and things^ the love h^ cannot 

In the revelations which Keeling and his war comrades, 
living and dead (alas, mostly dead !), are furnishing more and 
more, there is a frequent and curious harping upon the circum- 
stance that the war and its miseries had opened their eyes to 
comradeship and love. Had they then, one may ask, been 
closed to them before ? Had these youths lived in what 
mystics would have called a condition of aridity ? Aridity^ 
non-participation, not towards other men and women only, 
known or unknown, but aridity towards the vast impersonal 
brotherhood in which, when giving himself with jov or bitter- 
ness, eflFort or exultation, man shuffles off his little self, and 
receives in return a share of the inexhaustible living plenitude 
of things. 

New Teafy 1919. 


" / have a genuine regard for Justice^ Clio.^^ — ^p. 39. 

In Time of War, as during the private quarrels of individuals. 
Justice is but another name for Punishment ; at best for what 
is called Compensation^ which implies taking away from one side 
money, opportunities, liberty, in order to give to the other ; 
and which, under a show of re-establishing the status quo ante^ 
is oftenest an application of the ^* Eye for an Eye " principle 
or impulse. Of course, I am aware that the Mosaic, or any 
other statutory Lex Talionis is, taken historically, an attempt 
to regulate and diminish this impulse towards retaliation : 
an attempt to cut short, by saying " an eye for an eye hut no 
more than one ^y<?," the endless action ana reaction of private 
vindictiveness. But beneath the " Eye for an Eye " kind of 
justice there lurks likewise a strong and very singular instinct, 
or more properly convergence of, what I suspect to be, two 
instincts of separate origin. One of these is that of relieving our 
pain, hence also the sense of our being injured, by^ hitting out 
at the object which has inflicted it ; or, in default, hitting out 

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at any other handy object, as when, being enraged, we kick a 
pebble, or, like Tolstoy's jealous husband, smash a thermometer; 
and, oftener still, when we vent upon our innocent family or 
servants the ill-humour produced by entirely different persons, 
like that other Russian, the jilted lady m Turgeniev who, 
when forsaken by her lover " souffUta sa femme ie chambre puis 
^ivanouit,^^ In short, there is the impulse to relieve discomfort 
by violent and, if possible, destructive or unkind action. 

That is one half of the compound instinct of retaliation. 
The other half is formed by an impulse, cognate to sundry 
underlying aesthetic ones, of equalizing the balance; and 
which, in case of human grievances, turns to desire for revanche 
(which is not the same as revenge), determination to "get even 
with a person." And it reveals its kinship to the need for 
symmetry and rhythm by the spectator's purely contemplative 
aemand that mischief done be balanced oy mischief suffered. 
And, just as the more overtly aesthetic demand results in a 
lion on the right hand producing a lion (or other supporter) 
on the left, till the " heraldic lions " may continue for yards, 
so also the same instinct multiplies the gouged-out eye of Tom 
by the symmetrically gouged-out eye of Dick, with the 
unexpected result that the spectator, so far from being har- 
rowed by a double dose of cruelty and pain, experiences the 
special well-being (appaisement is the untranslatable French 
word) of all aesthetic satisfaction, the ineffable sense that even 
as in a major cadence, " all's right in th^ world." 

These two, so very dissimilar, elementary needs of our 
emotional constitution converge in what I have called the 
" Eye for an eye " instinct. And their fusion has doubtless 
greatly helped the legal and utilitarian policy by which, as just 
mentioned, society has rid itself of endless vendettas by saying, 
and feeling : "Justice is satisfied : Basta ! " 

Such is, I think, the genesis and constitution of our primaeval, 
our primitive, notion of Justice, as embodied in codes and as 
so vehemently clamoured for in private and public quarrels. 

Let it not be imagined that I doubt the usefulness of such a 
composite instinct and habit of retribution, especially in brutal 
times and with brutish man. Thanks to it tne deterrent fear 
of punishment has doubtless been brought home, has grown 

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into our feeling of naturalness and fitness, become what peo- 
ple call "instinctive," nay "moral"; and instead of being 
accounted a mark of cowardice has gained a new lease of life 
by taking on the distinguished status, accompanied, of course, 
by self-enhancement, the harmonious dignity, of a " Sense of 
Kght." Since a vulgar malefactor may be deterred by 
ignoble fear; but an honourable man is deterred by the 
recognition that the punishment checking his own indulgence 
in lust, greed or violence, is something whereto his nobility 
freely consents, nay, is demanded by it. 

All this, however, is Retributive Justice. And, like the 
Ancient Gods Jahweh or Themis, or Zeus, or whosoever pre- 
sided over sucn retaliation, primitive mankind (including our 
modern selves when in a rage) does not seem to get much 
further forward. Justice is always provided with a sword. 
Indeed, arguing from contemporary oratory, you might almost 
imagine that swords were never used save for the purposes 
enumerated above. Or else Justice is furnished with the 
parricide's sack, dog and cock; or the torch and hissing 
snakes of the Eumenides ; or, best of aU, with those wholesale 
and eternal punishments wherewith the immortal and omni- 
potent Godhead competes so unfairly with poor ephemeral 
human judges and hangmen. 

But there exists another possible conception and even 

fractipe of Justice ; though one which, alas ! no Godhead, that 
know of, has ever employed towards his creatures : the 
Justice not of makiag things equal afterwards and through 
retributive duplication of evil ; but the numbler, less dramatic, 
less conspicuous. Justice, of being fair from the beginning. 
This also has its aesthetic sanction, and one which, very fitly, 
has arisen not in men debased by injury endured, and itching 
to hand on this pain to others, but in mankind's joyful mo- 
ments of leisurely comradeship ; whence its name, delightfully 
symbolical of common recreation, and the keen happiness of 
well-grown youths : its name of Fair Play. 

Fair Play. This means, instead of multiplying evil, that 
we seek to equalize chances of good ; or, if an evil chance should 
enter, that it be borne by all, diminishing the weighVof responsi- 
bility by distribution between present and past. Fair Play ; 

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of all words, those whereof my English language and race have 
reason to be proudest, meaning as they do^ the Justice which 
measures competing instruments and equalizes advantages, 
pits only equal rivals against each other and watches that onlv 
skill and prowess, qualities useful to all, or even good Iuck 
coming by turns to everyone, should determine advantage. 
This is another Justice; this Goddess who, instead of carrying 
the blood-rusted sword and the bandage over her eyes, holds 
in her stainless hands the measuring tape and the surveyor's 
rod, the microscope and test-tube ; a Justice gifted, moreover, 
with unclouded sight. Since in such matters the mechanical 
poise of scales is not enoughs For what is it which those 
scales contain, and when and wherefore came it to be put 
there ? Guilt and Innocence, answer old-fashioned codes ; 
one flying up to heaven (as in mediaeval pictures of the Angel 
of Judgment), the other sucked down into hell. Nay : but 
whence this guilt ? How long the tenure and status of this 
innocence ? Guilty to-day or innocent, as the case may be ; 
but what of yesterday, last year, last century, and preceding 
ages? German ruthlessness to France in this last century; but 
French boastful cruelty, time after time ever since, as Alfred de 
Musset dared to boast : " Noire Condi triomfhant dichira sa 
robe verte,^^ reminding those who claimed their German 
Rhine that there had been : "£/2 trace aUiire du pied de nos 
chevaux marquee dans votre sang.^^ 

like all else in the universe such things are subject to strange 
metamorphose, often of innocence into guilt, guilt into inno- 
cence. They have a genealogy ; and looking into that you 
descry queer intermarriages ; the wickedness of one side 
incubated, nay engendered, by the remembrance of the wicked- 
ness of the other. Therefore this newer sort of Justice is no 
mere weigher of items : hers are the implemeilts of analysis, 
pursuing qualities as the chemist or the physician, until firom 
the gross and changing everyday apf>earance, they resolve into 
their ultimate elements. Their lutimate elements, and also 
how often ! their common ones : the similar needs, actions, 
instinct, constitution of soul and body, alike everywhere, and 
to be found at the crucible's bottom whether what you put in 
for examination was the repulsive poisonous thing called Sin, 

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or the inestimabk, pure virtue such as only abstract thought, 
but never real life, produces, even as in the chemist's laboratory. 

At that rate, what becomes of Justice ? Why, this is 
Justice, or should be. The Justice who sifts, who decomposes ; 
who prevents, because she understands. The Justice of Man 
foreshadowed by Christ, by Buddha, by the Stoics, by all the 
greatest men, discarding retribution. Or rather : leaving 
retribution to those great inhuman, impersonal Forces which, 
adiftitting no intention, ignoring innocence or guilt, visit in- 
fraction of their laws even to the seventieth generation. 
Retribution can be just only when considered as Cause and 
EflFect. That is a fact for man to understand and submit to ; 
not surely for man to handle, since man himself is but the 
smallest fragment thereof. 

Is it not time, if not to sheathe that reeking sword of Justice, 
at all events, dear fellow-victims, to hide it, as our fathers 
did the hangman's cottage, in void, ill-omened places, remote 
from the abode of decent folk ? Is it not, above all, time to 
leave off boasts of unsheathing the foul, clumsy thing which is 
a token of our ineptitude, even like the trades whereof we are 
still too stupid to be rid, the butcher's and the hangman's : 
neighbours to the knacker and the prostitute. 

So, in our speaking and preaching at least, let us begin to 
put the justice who analyses and neutralizes, and knows neither 
guilt nor innocence, in the place of the superannuated Justice, 
who tries to make things equal by adding a second blinded eye 
to the first one ; a second man lolled by the law, to the first 
man killed by the murderer. 



"When the hymn-book concealed the bayonet and the 
harmonium the cannon . . ." G. Bernard Shaw said that, in an 
interview reported in the Daily News of December 17th, 1918. 

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I copy it out because, while having been and still being, 
absurdly pleased with myself for my Harmonium of Self- 
Righteousness^ I am, if possible, still better pleased at finding 
that this item of my orchestral scoring should coincide with 
that of so accomplished a (musical) critic as G.B.S. 


Perhaps, however, I have been unduly hard on poor Self- 
Righteousness, assigning to her that particular Pecksniffian 
instrument. And alas, although I have not had the courage to 
say it in my BaUety there sits also in Satan's Orchestra no less 
an allegorical personage than Righteousness herself. So now, 
in the seclusion of these notes, let me add that the instrument 
this bona fide Virtue plays upon, terrifying herself as well as 
others, is the Trump of Judgment 

I have said that seeking for the responsibilities is oftenest, and 
especially at this present moment, the search for someone 
on whom to vent your hatred, when indeed it is not also the 
search for someone to pay your war-bills. Such were the 
blasts of the trumpets which Hebrew financiers carried pro- 
cessionally round Jericho, reducing it to ruins. 

The war has, however, taught me to discern, another mode, 
less blatant but of mysterious paralysing potency, of playing 
on that Trump of Judgment. In this case Righteousness does 
not ask about responsibility for what has already happened ; 
it warns you to take heed of th€ Responsibility for what may 
happen. " Would you," mutters that muffled blast ominous 
of future enormity, " would you take on yourself the Responsi- 
bility of opposing This War when by doing so you might bring 
on ten years hence a three times worse one ? Will you take on 
yourself the Responsibility of indefinitely prolonging This War 
by encouraging the Enemy with your peace talk ? Will you 
load on to your conscience, and tn^t of your contemporaries, 
the Responsibility for the slaughter of unborn millions destined 
to perish unless a Knock-Out Blow knocks militarism out of 
existence once for all f And variations on these themes 
ad lib. 

These owl-hootings of the Trump of Judgment have silenced 
and paralysed many righteous and otherwise courageous 

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persons during these War years, playing upon their honest 
scruples. Indeed it takes a certain sceptical levitv, or in the 
case of conscientious objectors, a certain fanatical righteous- 
ness of one's own, to resist the clammy impact on men*s 
conscience of those words " take the responsibility." 

These are appeals, more efficacious far than any which can 
be made to reason ; appeals to primaeval, hidden, habits of 
superstitious awe, useful no doubt in their day and place, when, 
for instance, cannibal anthropoids were educated to civic 
virtues by the mvstic roaring of pieces of wood swung quickly 
round at the ena of bits of cord, in such a way as not to be 
distinguished from the voice of the Whatever-It-May-Happen- 
To-Be-Deity. Such virtuous emotions still lie potential m our 
enlightened selves, fostered by nursery methods and Semitic 
literature; and Righteousness (who, unlike Self-Righteous- 
ness, sufiFers from queasiness and weak knees) occasionally 
calls them forth without our recognizing the antique super- 
stitious strains. 

Since I maintain that superstition is a matter less of dogma 
than of attitude ; less of what we believe than of how we believe 
it, whether standing erect and looking boldly into the however 
inscrutable darkness ; or cowering, face downwards, even in 
broad daylight. And this apart from the question of how we 
have come to that belief, whatever it be, although how we 
got it lends a quality to our belief, and is an indication of our 
attitude. But how we came by a belief aflFects this subject of the 
Trump of Judgment played on by (and playing on) Righteous- 
ness, only because, once a belief can thus affect our attitude, 
we become quite sure that it has been obtained in the very best 
way. " What does the Word of God say about it ? " asks 
Bunyan, whenever he hits up against Mr. Ignorance ; and it 
does not occur either to Bunyan or to Mr. Ignorance to 
add the further query: "How do we know it is the Word of 
God ? " Sinularly when we pacifists are asked whether we 
will take the responsibility of the awful things which may 
happen in consequence of our views, it is quite useless to ask our 
contemporaries "how they know that such awful things are in 
the least likely to happen ? " Or how they can know that 
such awfulness will be more awful than, indeed as awful as. 

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that which, thanks to their scruples about future wars, or 
the prolongation of the present war, is happening at this 
present moment. 

The voice of the Prophet, the appeal to that darkness called 
the Future, has the power, like other superstitious manifesta- 
tions, of making the hair of our bodies, like Job's, to stand up. 

It is some satisfaction, if anything can be satisfaction in such 
an evil Present, to remember that when those, among whom 
I am proud to be numbered, originally opposed the war and 
afterwards clamoured for a peace by negotiation, br at least 
a statement of war-aims, we did not have recourse to any such 
blood-curdling appeals to scruples, to such prophecies of a 
future worse than the present. We did not say " Will you 
take the responsibility of this war ? " — b. war of diplomats some 
called it in 1^14 ! possibly lasting four vears and more t Of its 
costine miUions of casualties and millions of money, of its 
estabhshing a regime of Dora and Militarism, of its landing 
Europe in banlmiptcy, famine and anarchic revolution?" 
None of these things did we suggest ; to most of us they did 
not so much as suggest themselves. I, for one, imagined in 
my ignorance that a modern war must be as much briefer 
and less cruel as a modern operation is briefer and less cruel 
than on old-fashioned one. By Christmas it must be over ; 
or surely by Easter ! What we protested against was our 
country, any country going into war; because we knew that 
the best, shortest and most merciful war, must mean death 
and mutiliaton, waste of wealth; and must mean hatred. 
What we protested against was tlxe notion that war could 
be the less of two evils ; it was war as war ; because in our eyes 
war was an incalculable evil, a stupid, obscene, superannuated 
thing, an artificiallv kept-up survival from the past, unfit for 
decent moderns. It is, as I said, some satisfaction to know that 
we did not play upon people's fears of the unknown ; that we 
did not talk of responsibilities ; that we blew no Trump of 
Judgment ; that what came was not the fulfilment of our 
ill-omened prophecies; that we did not say "you will see"; 
that we do not say now "we knew best." 

Marchy 1919. 

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And before leaving Self-Righteousness and Righteousness, 
let me say that, even uke war, fanatical, revolutionary terrorism 
are crimes, crimes in their evil results, not in their intentions, 
springing equally from perhaps the least suspected of all our 
intellectual and moral failings : the Righteous man's trust in 
the purity of his intentions, and in the validity of his beliefs. 
Oh! The Righteous! The ion/2 /tW^ Righteous ! Paraphrasing 
the Italian Renaissance proverb which says : Dagli amici mi 
guardi Iddia; Che dai nemiei mi guaraerd io^ our humble 
prayer might be ; If only God and His Angels would take 
charge of honest, sincere and zealous men, the poor world could 
easily cope with the rogues and the monsters. 


We pretend, nowadays, to think it silly, nay, inconceivable. 
Nothing is less so. Heretical opinion means the possibility' of 
divergent action, the probability of such refusal of united 
action as may be recjuired to compass the desire or allay the 
fears of those who think . . . well ! as they ought to think. Let 
alone that in times of religious faith such lack of conformity to 
universal practices, even such lack of belief in their efficacy, 
might have drawn down on the whole community the ill-will 
of Gods who manifested it in earthquake, famine and pestilence. 

But there is a deeper and more abiding reason against heresy, 
political as well as religious. Heresy means that yo«, you the 
orthodox, are being criticized by the heretic, silently perhaps, 
but considered in the wron^ ; and the obstinacy of this heretic 
is the measure of his criticism and of your alleged wrongness. 
Now, to be considered in the wrong, to be treated as in the 
wrong, is a diminution of that inner atmosphere without which 
one chokes ; a lowering of that spiritual temperature without 
which one is chilly and comatose. Of course, the heretic is 
similarly diminished by your, the orthodox person's, thinking 
him in the wrong ; but then the heretic by d!efinition is wrong, 
whereas you, the orthodox person, are by definition right ; and 

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it is not fair or tolerable to have the slightest doubt cast on 
your rightness, when you are right ; let alone the risk of your 
feeling even the faintest and most transient doubt about being 
right, when, by definition, you are. Thus, Intolerance resolves 
itself into one of the manv uncatalogued forms of vital self- 
defence ; and from this self-defensive point of view is as legiti- 
mate as it is intelli^ble. 

Of course in ordinary life we are aware (though we do not 
allow that awareness to become too plain or too frequent) that, 
just as there are many of our immediate neighbours whom we 
secretly think fools, so there must be some, probablv indeed the 
self-same individuals, who think us fools. But m our indi- 
vidual capacity we are accustomed to prettv diort commons of 
self-esteem, deliberately tightening our belt (to do so is called 
being moiest) to this kind of starvation. Only the more do we 
require to eke out our poor individual rations of self-compla- 
cency from some large and generous common store : individu- 
ally we may be nothing, our opinion of no kind of consequence ; 
but as a family, class, parish, community, sect, nation, how 
different ! In every church of every creed, in every mosque or 
temple or chapel, we worship not its deity only, but quite 
especially (though unadvowedlv) our own share of that common 
sacrament of feeling ourselves tn the tight. In every flag each 
inhabitant of a country salutes his microscopic but very com- 
forting portion of the righteousness and glory of his nation. 
When Doctor Johnson averred that he always felt comfortable 
within consecrated precincts, that great prophet of collective 
wisdom and prejudice was testifying, littie though he knew it, 
to the unspeakable comfort of knowing one's belief to be shared 
by many men and to have been shared by many more. But 
Doctor Johnson would not set foot in a presbyterian place of 
worship, even when no worship was going on ; and he had, as 
we know, little patience with nonconformists and unbelievers : 
were not these ill-conditioned people laying sacrilegious hands 
on that consecrated edifice from whose sheltering walls he 
breathed-in a comforting sense of righteousness and supreme 
common sense ? 

Aprik 1917. 

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After Widow Fear and her brood, Hatred is the stupidest 
among the Passions composing that orchestra. Cunning, of 
course, as stupid people so often are, but always over-reaching 
itself. What stupicuty could be greater than to display, to 
' advertise, one's own inferiority in the course of complaining of 
one's enemy ? Stupider than ever, when the oversight is 
committed by an extraordinarily clever and in other matters 
well-advised man, as when Guglielmo Ferrero (Secolo of Jan., 
191 7) made it a Pro- Ally grievance that German influence in 
Italy was depriving that country, not merely of native com- 
merce and manufactures but, in the Italian universities, " of 
the very little" (quel pochissimo) which "during the last 
forty years had contrived to keep an Italian look and an 
Itahan soul." {Aveva conservato anima e faccia Italiana.) 

One remembers, of course, how in the eighteenth century 
Bodmer, the Stollbergs, Herder, etc., complained that 
French influence had warped, had denationalized, the literary 
genius of the German people. But with this diflFerence : that 
instead of going to war with the French Mossie (indeed it took 
Jena and a Kingdom of Westphalia to move the German 
intellectuals to war), Germany saved her " pochissimo " by 
the production of Kant, Goethe, Schiller and lundry others. 


Qosely connected with Hatred's stupidity is Hatred's lack 
of breeding : and this also is a minus which people attempt to 
hide. Now what we call civilization is, among other important 
things, a system, socially imposed and tramtionally handed 
down, not only of morals, but of manners and taste ; of 
inhibitions hiding the vulgarer impulses of the old Adam. 
Such " thou shalt nots " are apt to disappear when a certain 
pitch of individual feeling is reached; the angry man is 
not restrained from making himself odious ana ridiculous 
even by the presence of those who do not share his impulse 
to bluster, knock things and people about, and use badlanguage. 

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Need we be surprised when war breaks down these inhibitions 
in everyone alike, makes hatred permissible, nay meritorious, 
in all the members of a segregated multitude, need we be 
surprised (but of course we aren't surprised at our own doings !) 
that responsible statesmen talk in terms of "knock-out blows/' 
"squeahng for peace," nay such milder vulgarities as ** first- 
class lies '* ? 

These are proofs of the stupidity of Hatred. And that is 
the reason why, whenever Hatred has a little good sense or a 
little good breeding left, it takes care instead of growing 
utterly discordant, to be kept to its right pitch, by the well- 
tuned Harmonium of Self-Kighteousness. 


like all things Which are stupid. Hatred, most tragic and 
most soulrdestroying of passions, is not without its comic ride. 
As such may surely be accounted the statement made during 
the earUer years oi the war, universally in England and more 
sporadically among the less self-righteous but hi^y senti- 
mental and idealistic peoples of the Continent, that they felt 
no Haired. A proof that they were so steeped in it, they and 
their neighbours, that, like those saturated with tobacco 
smoke or some other vile odour, they no longer perceived its 
presence about their persons. A proof also that Hatred, when 
of individual towards individual, being a hindrance or a bore 
to those who do not share it, is apt to be concealed or decentiy 
cloaked by the persons whom it animates, until they cease to 
be aware of their secret indulgence in that passion. So that 
it comes to pass that only a war (or something equally unani- 
mous and respectable) reveals to the moralist that Hatred 
is one of the cheapest and most usual resources of his own and 
everyone else's dull existence. 


The later years of the war got beyond such prudishness ; 
the Harmomum was sent away : campaigns or missions of 
Hatred were preached. But in those earlier days (before, as 
Liberal papers now hint, all the Idealists who enlisted in 1914 

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had been killed oflF, before the baser elements changed the 
character of the pure and lovely war), in the earlier idealizing 
days, one was frowned upon for suggesting that English people 
comdy under whatsoever provocation, condescend to Hatred. 
" Where do you see anything of the sort in this country ?" one 
was asked in perfect sincerity. 

Why, in the choice of information about enemies and enemy 
countries. The pleasure of hating, so well disguised hy those 
indul^ng in it, is revealed by the zeal and zest in collecting and 
retaihng everything vdiich disparages the object of hatred, by 
the disdain of everything which might suggest some lingering 
good qualities, or a common nature. **But they have no 

food qualities, they are of a totally different nature," exclaims 
[atred. That is what Hatred always does say. For, odd as 
it sounds, th^ nature of Hatred is to hate ; and you can't 
hate what is good, or what is shared by yourself. 



It is the very essence of Heroism to be generous, lavish. It 
spends without counting. More characteristic, alas, it takes 
stock even less of the value of the thing, the aim, the cause, 
for which it spends itself. What Heroism wants is to dare and 
die. Anything will do to dare and die for. 

Also, being lavish with its own life and goods, it is reckless 
equallv with those of others. What does it matter, after all, 
how the world looks once Heroism has followed that impulse 
of dying for the world or for something in it ? 

Now there are things worth risking life for : the discovery 
you want to make, the invention you want to try, the peak you 
want to climb, or the dying creature you want to save. And 
many others no doubt, according to your kind and times. 
But of all the things for which life is most readily risked, and 
least worth risking it for, is surely a quarrel. Since a quarrel 
always implies a momentary loss of all sense of values. For 
the tidng you are quarrelling about, advantage, as may be, or 

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honour, depends upon the up^ot of the quarrel, especially a 
quarrel conducted with brute force; and the quarrelling 
mood, the quarrel itself as distinguished from its objects, 
immediately supersedes, with its reciprocal offences and insults, 
dangers and losses, these same objects by which it was set 
going. This is the case even when those original causes of the 

Suarrd have not been mere pretexts, excuses for a wish to 
ght, to hit out, to hurt, a wish to down due to unconsciously 
accumidated irritations from without and irritability from 
within. I mean that even when the quarrelsome feeling is not 
what has originally set going that quarrel, yet it is the quarrd 
itself, the fighting, and calling names and doing ill turns, which 
keeps up and reproduces the quarrelsome, the fighting spirit. 
But, as remarked, a lurking willingness to quarrel, to vent 
ever so many suppressed and thwarted inner dissatisfactions, 
exists or arises at times even in the most peaceful breast. And 
but for its latent readiness — ^the lust, say, for bruising and 
stinging with words in the peaceable batdes of friendship ! 
decent and reasonable beings would find but very few things 
about which to quarrel in private life. How much less would 
there be to fight about in the impersonal, indeed very largely 
the metaphorical, relations of modern nations ! I say meta- 
phorical advisedly. For most of it is just metaphor and no 
more : mere words vnih a heady trail of emodonal association 
from the hands which bandiea them in the past, from the 
musty pages of books where they have lain with the yellow 
laurel leaves of forgotten victors and the incense grains left 
over from oblations to obsolete divinities. Metaphorical, 
For when a nation nowadays is described as ** fighting for its 
existence," or " for all that makes existence valuable,^' this is 
usually on a par with a lover dying for Love ; on a par oftenest 
with the " / would give a great deal to know ..." when in 
reality you would give just nothing at all, except the agreeable 
exerase of nosing in your neighbours' affairs. But whereas 
in these prosaic days lovers no longer think it fine to commit 
(or at least to meditate and threaten) suicide because Phyllis 
has " broken their hearty^^ thousands of men are still doomed^ 
nay still doom themselves, to die because their nation's 
existence is said tp be at stake, which nine cases out of ten is as 

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wide of the mark as the cruel lady's breaking of her lover's 
heart. That lover's heart mends ; he loves another lady ; or 
even if he continues loving the cruel one, he finds some other 
interest in life. And sinularly, nations, which are far less 
subject to death than poor individuals, continue existing 
after . . . well ! after they have lost the war undertaken for 
bare existence. 

All this is objectively true, as you can verify by a candid 
examination even of the garbled testimony of History, at all 
events of such countries as do not have their whole inhabitants 
put to the sword in the fine biblical fashion, or sold into the 
harem of the Great King or on the markets of even classical 
Hellas. But the metaphors are true to the subjective condi- 
tion of those who apply them to the amazing literal^ess of 
war. The jilted lover, or the lover who is afraid of being 
jilted, feels as if his heart must break ; as if he could not live 
another day. The fighting nation feels as if it were gping to 
be snuffed out unless it be victorious ; as if, short of victory, 
life would contain nothing worth living for. Since whatso- 
ever we strive for or ding to with passionate longing, and for 
which we stake or are willing to stake life or welfare, becomes 
(in the measure of that longing and that staking) the para- 
mount object of our life, the one which seems worth living and 
(often consequently) dying for. Such is the despotism of love 
or fear. But that merely means that this paramount, this sole 
object of desire or fear is the only one which, at that moment 
and in those conditions of our surroundings and our soul, we 
can possibly feel as all-important. It means, like nearly all 
metaphorical talk, that there is an emotional valuation going 
on; that we identify our life with whatever, at a given 
moment, is uppermost in consciousness. To obtain, to avoid, 
that object we offer, we sometimes stake, everything else ; 
simply because everything else has in so far ceased to attract 
or attach us. 

Tkus Esau, doubtless, identified life with the mess of pottage 
for which he sold his birthright. Thus, for a birthright of 
" freedom," " honour/' " national existence," which orJy our 
death can probably deprive us of, we go forth, and send forth 
others, to death, that holds no place in Its void for these or any 

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of the things we dread or cling to. " For the grave cannot 
praise thee, death cannot cdebrate thee : thejr that go down 
into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, 
he shall praise thee, as I do tms day.'' (Isaiah xxxviii, i8.) 


Between the trenches and the C.O.'s gaol, the latter, I am 
bound to say, seems to me the less horrible. But not neces- 
sarily the easier to choose. For the choice leading to the 
trenches is the whole matter ; the trenches, and the barracks 
long before, take care that you should not escape, once enlisted; 
let alone that, ever since conscription there remains no act of 
choice. Whereas the choice made by the C.O/s is not once 
for all ; it is prepared, and hourly renewed. There is every- 
thing to make it difficult to stick to and nothing to help it on. 
It is an individual choice, unassisted by imitative gregarious- 
ness, esprit ie corps, A choice which the individual must 
assert afresh every minute against the sense of loneliness, 
disgrace, and the recurring doubt that after all the majority 
may be right and he be wrong. 

In so far it is perhaps a sample of heroism, certainly not 
greater, but more difficult. Moreover, and that is what I want 
to come to, a sample of the kind of public-spiritedness and 
endurance which the Past has not sufficiently produced, but 
the democratic future will increasingly require. These C.O.'s 
will be remembered because thav have set the fashion which 
other men must follow ; as poor little Puffing Billy is remem- 
bered and wondered at because of the new kind or locomotion 
which he inaugurated. 

And on the other hand, the last veterans of this war, " Old 
Kaspers " as in Cowper's poem, of ninety or a hundred, may 
be looked at by our descendants witn something of the 
romantic horror which thrills visitors to the Iron Virgin in 
Numberg dungeons. 

August^ 1917. 


War undoubtedly increases, revives, by its demands, the 
heroism and self-sacrifice which might otherwise have atro- 

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phied. Not so long ago, the late William James was busy 
thinking out, bless him ! all manner of ingenious substitutes 
for this beneficent power of war. And as to France, its 
younger philosophers and poets, with George Sorel (de la 
Violence) and poor P^guy at their head, were dreadfully put 
about to revive the spirit of Corneille's heroes and heroines, 
P Esprit Comelien, None of these moral connaisseurs seem 
to have been struck by the thought that such artificial manu- 
facture (protected, like beetroot sugar in th^ unsuitable 
climate of Italy !) suggests that our civilization requires less 
and less of these particular virtues. And what, alter all, is 
civilization except a gradual lessening of such privations and 
sufferings as need heroism and self-sacrifice for their endurance? 
Meanwhile the war has shown there was plenty of heroism and 
self-sacrifice to be got for the asking, and also plenty of bar- 
barism to call it forth. 

It comes therefore to this : are we to breed virtues for which 
our lack of civilization occasionally makes a demand, thereby 
perhaps increasing the frequency of that demand ? Are we to 
educate the war-like spirit in case it be needed, even if that 
spirit^s prevalence keeps up the need for it ? Or are we to 
work at altering our conditions in such a manner as to lessen 
and eliminate that need, even if in so doing we diminish the 
supply of military virtues ? Or the third alternative : are we 
to try to do both things, to abolish street fights, yet at the 
same time to teach men to use their fists and, as our fathers did, 
allow the quality to carry swords in case of brawls ? Or, again, 
are we, which is what William James was after, to teach 
fencing and boxing as part of a liberal curriculum, of a 
decorative ideal, just because the use thereof has come to an 
end ? 

Does it occur to nobody that a new, a different, even only 
slightly different, civilization may, while ridding us of the 
need for certain kinds of virtue, increase the need, or at least 
the output, of certain other ones ? May not a higher civiliza- 
tion repose upon more modest and daily virtues: the virtues 
of giving good measure in all things and especially in truth 
and effort, just as a lower civilization reyiires the more inter- 
mittent and showy virtues, those making themselves heard 

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with drum or church organ, attracting with initiatory mysteries 
and myths, which men like William James, and certainly 
Sorel and those other young Frenchmen (many of them killed 
in good earnest by this time), were hankering after when the 
natural demand and supply of them seemed coming to an end f 

This thought, I mean of such daily, hourly, unostentatious 
virtues, or rather, I should like to call them decencies^ moral as 
well as material, has haunted me for many years. Perhaps 
because I have lived much in those Latin countries where you 
cannot always count on them. It was of them that that 
great novelist and genuine citizen, the late Giovanni Cena, 
was thinking when, at the time of the Messina earthquake 
and its manifold revelations of corruption and ineptitude, he 
wrote ^^ Italia non e ancora una nazioncy^ meaning ^^Vltalianon 
i ancora un paese civile^^ ; and urged such education as should 
stop turning every Italian street into a privy, and should 
dispense every traveller from counting his change and roping 
his luggage. 

These are humble virtues, but militant enough, and needing 
a constant overcoming of moral inertness and social cowardice, 
sometimes a painful facing of isolation and misunderstanding. 
Let alone that there are decencies also in intellectual matters, 
which are not so much as dreamed of; every one of us 
" intellectuals " indeed, violating them all day long in that 
carelessness of truth and that need for effect which are almost 
an integral part of all literary practice ; moreover in the self- 
righteous and persecuting habit we have taken over, with so 
many little picturesque and lucrative superstitions, from our 
predecessors the priests, prophets and medicine men. 


Particularly as a result of Nietzsche's teachings, we have 
become apt to clamour for heroism and similar war-like 
virtues from a growing dislike to what used to be called 
Christian Virtues. For Nietzsche brutally points out that 
mansuetude, submissiveness, humility, a good deal of what he 
called "Mor^/" (as distinguished from what we mean by 
Morality),. and all the various hypocrisies standing for them. 

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are but the natural response to the fFill to Power^ to the 
aggressiveness and ruthlessness whose fine frank swagger 
hypnotized his really tender and tiixdd nature. What 
Nietzsche failed to see (for the seeing of it would have done for 
his thesis), is that the obsolescence, atrophy and selecting 
away of these aggressive habits would imply obsolescence, 
atrophy and selecting away of these ignominious virtues. If 
Nietzsche's Bestien^ blond or otherwise, are still offended in 
their taste by the presence of slaves and saints and lily-livered 
moralists, they and their Nietzschean admirers have only 
themselves to thank for the existence of such offensive beings. 
If no one ever smote the right cheek, not even Tesus could 
turn the left. Now such presenting of the other cheek to the 
smiter is, according to Nietzsche's own (and in many points 
correct) genealogy of "Moral," a mode of defence, a vital 
response like the feigned death, the colour camouflage and 
parasitism of certain lands of animals ; like the gregariousness 
and the readiness for domestication of other ones. Or, to 
speak with more biological correctness, wherever there is rapa- 
aous and ruthless strength, only those creatures can survive 
who, instead of relying upon a smaller power for ruthless rapa- 
city, happen to be gifted with less heroic modes of defence : 
lying low to the bulUes and occasionally living off them. This 
is the story of one whole half of mankand, namely Womankind. 
It is the story of the labouring, garnering classes ; of the priest- 
hood and the intellectuals ; it is the story of the emergence of 
mind from matter ; a story which Nietzsche very logically 
denounced for what he calls its pudenda origo. 

Such ignominy has always decreased wim the decrease of 
the bold brave brutality which had called it forth. We can 
already note that the preaching of what are called Christian 
virtues (though Jesus Christ, heaven knows, was at no pains 
to preach them !) is discontinuing even in our stiU imperfectly 
policed and equitable civilization. Humility, for instance; 
IS no longer inculcated save towards theological mysteries, 
and the younger generation of the well-to-do can scarce 
remember or conceive that it ever was. Similarly, obedience 
to superiors, indeed, the very notion of superiors. Forgive- 
ness has lost its sense where people have less tremendous 

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things to forgive or means of avenging them. Except in war- 
time, when one set of men can be tortured and ruined and tor- 
ture and ruin in return, to foreo revenge would be an injunc- 
tion insulting to decent people : even criminals and criminal 
nations are supposed to be chastened largely for their own 
good. The ignominious virtues towards our fellow-men will 
fall into oblivion ; even as the virtuous submission to God's 
inscrutable and inconvenient mercifulness in sending pestilence 
is no longer preached since the discoveries of Jenner, Pasteur 
and Lister. 

With fewer bullies stalking the globe, nay, I am sorry to add, 
with fewer heroes, or with heroes of a less dashing kind, there 
will also be fewer slaves, and far fewer sneaks and hypocrites. 



The reader wiU have guessed that under this symbol is meant 
a power coercive of the nerves, as well as of the muscles, which 
is by no means always military. Among primitive peoples, 
the Drum, as we all know, appertains to religion even more 
than to war. It may well be tnat, only because our religious 
rites are witnessed rather than enacted by the faithful, the 
Drum has become associated with Heroism and not with 
piety. In the present Ballet, the Drum is therefore handled 
only by Heroism. Piety, or Piety's locum tenens^ being duly 
furnished with a less primitive but more mellifluous instrument, 
viz., the harmonium. Indeed nowadays the compelling force 
of Unanimity can be felt in the full splendour of its brutality 
only in the Orchestra of Patriotism, and under Heroism's 
resounding taps ; although we may all live to see that Drum 

Elayed turn about bv Idealism and Envy in a more up-to-date 
ut not less formiaable band, ^s seems already the case in 
Russia. Be this as it may, the Drum is here intended to 
symbcdize Unanimity ; to my mind the essential something 
which sociologists either abuse (like Tarde and Dr. Trotter in 
his earlier chapters) under the name of Crowd or Hird ; or 

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reverence under that, beloved by Durkheim and his school, 
and reverenced by the same Dr. Trotter since the war, of 
Collectivity or Nation. Since it is Unanimity, implying ex- 
dusion of individual differences, sameness of quality, volume 
and resonance and repetition of movement, by which the 
multitude gets its compelling power. Moreover, it is, I think, 
Unanindty for its own sake, the fascination of marching on 
and on in step with others, the magic of feeling one's will 
merge in a vaster one, which explains, far more than the 
ostensible aim of that homogeneous multitudinous marching, 
the amazing phenomena of what is called crowd psychology. 
What matters is not the tune, the mode, the dominant and 
tonic^ since the Drum knows none of these things, it is the 
sameness of timbre, the unchanging rhythm, the vast living 
uniformity, the mysterious property of multiplication applied 
to the smallest, and, taken singly, most trifling unit of feeling 
and purpose. 

And here, before examining a little into this queer subject 
of Unanimity, let me confess that the requirements of my 
allegorical mtse-en-scine have betrayed me into a psychological, 
a sociological, inaccuracy : it is not, in real life. Heroism who 
plays the Drum ; it is the Drum which plays upon Heroism. 


I want to make it plain that in referring the passions and 
activities of groups of men (what, rather than the crotod, I 
would call the multitude) to the psychology of their con- 
stituents as individuals, nothing is further from my thoughts 
than accounting for the peculiar psychology of this multitude 
by regarding it as a bigger kind of individual. I can see 
nothing better than myth-mongering and verbal confusion 
in current talk about a collective consciousness^ as if conscious- 
ness existed except in the individual. It is because the 
individual's feeling and behaviour are changed as soon as he 
becomes one of a multitude, that the multitude, group or 
crowd, differs in general attitude and action from an indivi- 
dual ; as much as a crowd differs from a single man or woman 
in its outlines and colour. 

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^ ■ 

We require, indeed, to know what shapes and colours domi- 
nate in tne individuals composing the crowd, or rather what 
shapes and colours they possess in common; after which 
comes the Question how those shapes and colours coalesce 
with, neutralize or cover each other. Only then can we fore- 
tdl what will be the general shape produced by the combinatfon, 
reduplication and masking of individual shapes ; and in what 
way the colours existing in the components blend with, 
intensify or are dulled by juxtaposition with those of the other 
components. For although the group as a wh<de contains no 
lines and no colours which cannot be accounted for by those of 
the individuals making it up, their combination alters them 
into new shapes and shades and harmonies which do not 
exist in the single individual. In this manner the psychology 
of a multitude, though dependent upon that of each man or 
woman thereof, is different from that of these men and women 
taken singly. And the essential fact about a multitude is that 
it does not merely multiply feelings, beliefs and actions, but 
that it selects, between those which are common to many and 
those which are confined to few of its members ; accumulating 
the first and suppressing the second. Moreover that this 
coming together of many individuals magnifies those qualities 
which, even if less common, are for whatever reason more 
provocative of imitation, or represent a lapse to a lower level, 
a diminished psychic effort, wherein is the true explanation of 
a great deal of what is spoken of as contagion ; while at the 
same time eliminating whatever is rare or is difficult to 

This is not the whole matter. There is, in every individual, 
a certain amount of potentialities of feeling and action, which 
are normally suppressed by that individual's other and more 
dominant tendencies and habits ; and these may be called 
forth by that individual's inhibitions being removed; and, 
on the other hand, the encouragement of finding similar feelings 
and tendencies in the other members of the group. Hence 
the queer revelations of unsuspected capacities for heroism, 
vulgarity or cruelty taking place as soon as an individual 
becomes aware of feeling and acting as part of a multitude. 

All life is subject to the competition and inter-selection of 

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constituent elements. There is one kind of selection per- 
petually taking place in the individual soul ; quite another 
obtains as soon as the elements competing for domination are 
no longer in the single individual, but in a multitude made 
unanimous bv the pressure of similar necessities. 

Hence it is that what I have symbolized as the Drum 
possesses only one note without overtones. Unanimity is not 
harmony, it is unison. 


Perhaps to my reader's inconvenience, I am usually less 
concerned with what word-badges to pin on my sleeve than 
with the meaning of the ideas, such as they are, which I 
occasionallv find in my head. Thus I confess to not having 
ascertained whether or not I am an Individualist, Before 
attempting this incjuiry, I should have to ask what people 
exactly mean by being an individualist ; and that they are in 
no hurry to explain, except by allowing one to gather from the 
context that the term is one of endearment, or, as the case may 
be, one of contumely. 

This much, however, is clear to myself although (like so much 
else of my sayings) it may seem at first sight paradoxical, 
namely : that if I want to warn and protest against the rule 
of the toe^ against the multitude and its unanimity, it is pre- 
cisely because I am intensely aware of the individual's short- 
comings. The individual is always lopsided in nature and 
development, and as often as not, deluded by his feelings ; 
at best but a fragment ; fatally a here and a now. For that 
reason he needs to have his shortcomings compensated, his 
excesses neutralized, his here and his notv enlarged, corrected, 
by other fragmentary individuals and their bias and passion, 
their here and notv. 

Both for himself and for the world at large, the Ego is safe 
only when criticized and counteracted by the Jlter, And the 
greater the number of those criticizing and counteracting 
others, the greater \vill be the chance of whatever is fit for life 
{viable as the French say) in the individual, continuing to live ; 
and whatever is deciduous being lopped or dropped. 

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But please, mark my meaning: the efficacy and wholesome- 
ness of this critcism and counteraction lies in its variety, in its 
representing different states of feeling, different points of view, 
different temperaments and interests, different lieres and notos ; 
in fact the imperfect piecemeal individual being integrated by 
the greater number of different other individuals standing to 
one another as conflicting, collaborating and compensatine. 

It is impossible to imagine an)rthing more utterly umike 
this (to me) desirable state of affairs than the domination of 
the muUitudfy of the magnified and blurred Ego called fFe. 
Since, inasmuch as tve, unanimity means loss of everything 
distinguishing one individual compound from another ; loss 
of everything which can correct the one individual by the 
other individuals. The we (when it really is a ute), the unified 
Nation, sect or cla^ss or school, is an average of all that is similar 
in the component individuals. It is a huee individual, 
artificially or accidentally made up, with all cufferences left 
out and all resemblances magnified. The multitude which 
speaks of itself as We, has the intensity, the passion of the 
individual Ego, but instead of being subjected to vivifying 
criticism, correction and selection, it is set apart in safe and 
enormous isolation. 

" Pourquoi suit-on la pluralite ? " asked Pascal, answering : 
" Parce qu^elle a plus de jorceP 

By no means only that ; but quite as much because it has, 
what Pascal denied it, plus de raison ; that is to say, a 
greater repetition and volume of raison. Now, if it is a 
heterogeneous plurality as opposed to a homogeneous one, it 
will, because it is a plurality, represent the greater amount of 
reasons, of experience and reflection ; hence whenever such 
various reasons, experience and reflection coincide, the great- 
est amount of presumable knowledge, intelligence and good sense 
will result. Only, for this to be the case, the unity must be 
established by the coincidence, the convergence of independent 
reasons and experience, not the mere repetition, the mere 
multiplication of the same reasons and experience. In the 
vastest as well as in the humblest concerns^ of life, the rule pf 
scientific research holds good, which is: many separate, 
independent experiments or documents lead to truth ; but a 

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merely re-stated experiment, a copied document, results only 
in worthless repetition. 


like other philosophers, Mr. Bertrand Russell has pointed 
out that war gives long-desired opportunities to long-sup- 
pressed instincts. 

Of course. But first and foremost it gives to mediocre 
personalities an opportunity to increase their volume and 
wdght by uniting till all sense of mediocrity is lost. Uunion 
fait la force : a crowd feels strong, it often is strong ; and what 
is more to the point a crowd feels safe. It must be an entranc- 
ing experience to find oneself doing, once in a way, what all 
one's hfe one has been afraid of doing in company, and some- 
times ashamed, let alojie unable to do, by one's self : to kill, 
to Ivnch, nay, merely to bawl down or out-vote. 

Tixe kind of persons one may call by the title of Dostoievsky's 
novel Humilieset Offenses^ though humiliated and offended, 
not so much by social as by natural, inferiority, must have 
the time of their life, their Faust moment^ when they can thus 
crush with comparatively little moral effort some one or some 
opinion they would perchance have run away from in ordinary 
life. By the magic of numbers. War undoubtedly makes 
Heroes and Religious Revivals make Saints. 

But what the poor world of reality really requires is heroes 
who can be heroic, and saints who can be saintly, on their own 
account, without a crowd to back them. 

War, like religion, affords a much-needed satisfaction of 
the desire to fed oneself in the right, which is one of the 
strongest though the least noticed of human vital instincts. 
To feel oneself in the right means an attitude, a particular 
gait and deportment, a whole way of being. It is probably as 
conducive to good circulation and digestion as these are 
obviously conducive to good opinion of ourselves. To feel 
oneself in the right means that one has standing room, that 
one stretches into the infinite instead of being squashed into 
a comer. Now, many individuals have no special reason for 
this feeling ; and if they indulge in it none the less, they arc 

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apt to pay dearly for this indulgence at the hands of their 
neighbours' similar desire to fed in the right. And when 
what vou feel right about is a collective opinion or an attitude 
shared by your neighbours against a more or less distant and 
partly imaginary opponent, you can expand without fear, you 
can stand on your rights as a man. Or more properly : you can, 
in a different sense of the word, trample upon the r^hts of 
some man who does not happen to form part of that crowd. 
Esprit ie corps is the least altruistic and occasionally the least 
courageous of all spirits, though it enables men to do, and to do 
without, much whereof they would be unable if set down by 
their lone selves. 

The Drum is so justly popular an instrument not only 
because it helps you to march and even to attack, but also 
because it helps you to hold up your head, to stiffen your back 
and to strut. Aprily 1916. 

Before putting the Drum back on its stand, let me add that, on 
second thoughts, however useful an occasional bona fide hero 
or saint, what the poor real world really wants is not anything 
so exceptional or so suited to only exceptional circumstances. 
The world wants a social habit of certain kinds of behaviour, a 
habit organized by being collective and traditional, but per- 
petually questioned, checked, renovated, given a new lease of 
life, by individual and reciprocal criticism. We want habits 
made easy and firm by automatism but at the same time 
accepted voluntarily ana with benefit of inventory and running 
the gauntlet of conscious criticism. 

We want a fiddle made of varied, select and well-fitted bits 
of wood whose fibres have been tempered by age and much good 
playing ; a fiddle which must, at whatever cost of delay and 
trouble, be tuned afresh each time. We have got, or ought to be 
getting, beyond the use of the Drum, save for the occasional 
making of mock thunder in the overtures to operas. 

Aprily 1916. 


This is a majestic passion as well as one which doubtless has 
its use. But it is not — how express my thoughts without 

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being cynical ? — ^it is not majestic all over and right through. 
Indignation, splendidly wrathful like young Achilles, has a 
vulnerable heel through which meanness can poison it. It can 
be petty because it is partisan. It wants to launch out, its very 
nature is launching out, punishing, devastating. Hence it can 
never aflFord to be fair; never listen to the other side, for that 
would stay its hand, hinder its full angelic swoop. And in its 
swoops and strides, in the vast execution which it does, it 
accumulates the objects of its wrath. The bigger the heap, 
the better; the larger the mass of conflagration, the more 
superb the purifying flames. Unknown to itself. Indignation 
requires adequate guilt, and piles it up, eldng out scantiness of 
evu with credulity. For Indignation is not only a passion, like 
every passion, concentrated on itself ; Indignation (let us admit 
and try to remember this depressing truth!) — Indignation is a 
passion which enjoys itself. I have dared to apply to Indigna- 
tion what must seem, I am afraid, an almost profane adjective, 
namely pettiness. Yet no one can deny that Indignation almost 
invariably leaves off in the very place where charity is 8ai4 to 
begin, at home, or with one's friends and allies. Indeed with 
one's own self. In the most magnificent of all records of 
Indignation, that of Jehovah, the cause of these cosmic 
fires is always indignation at his own commandments being 
disobeyed, his own gifts and position receiving less recognition 
than they deserved. The unpardonable offence is "going 
a-whoriQg " after other Gods. " I am a jealous God " he 
frequently insists, and acts up to the character. 

Februaryy 1919. 


It is her close kinship to Indignation which at times makes 
Pity dangerous. But for that flaming twin dragging her along 
on devastating pinions. Pity might transform into the very 
thing which Indignation dislikes most, namely Sympathy, 
itself in turn metamorphosing into Comprehension, and thence 
into True Justice, the Justice which, so far from being blindfold, 
sees, scrutinizes, and discriminates. Most often, as already 
hinted, Indignation drags Pity along, prevents that beneficent 
double transformation, and makes Pity pitiless. 

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^^Te are going forth^ NationSy to join in Death? s dance even as 
candid highhearted Virgins who have been decoyed by fair 
show into the house of prostitution. . . , " — ^p. 45. 


We know from the Parable that Vir^s are not invariably 
wise. And it seems likely that calamities worse than missing 
a sight of the Bridw^oom would befall rather the foolish 
than the wise ones. Or, when the Virgins stand for Nations, 
rather those entrusted to foolish guardians ; since Virgins of 
this kind (and sdf-governing nations no more than those under 
the thumb of despots) are not allowed the degree of freedom 
enjoyed by the present younger generation and seemingly 
by those scriptural brideVmaids, but are in the position rather 
of tht old-fashioned heroine of romance looked after by 
some disastrously silly parent, or even chaperoned, like 
Goethe's Grctchen, by a self-seeking pseudo-pious Martha 
hdping to entangle tnem (for surely the Entente Cordiale 
authorizes reference to a French classic ?) in Liaisons Danger- 
euses. Nations are nowadays as \^gins were in Qarissa's 
day : they are not encouraged to know certain thin^ ; their 
innocence is ignorance ; they are foolish Virgins bred up and 
led about by foolish though often cunning guarcUans; whence 
in the present instance the misadventure described by my Pup- 
pet Satan. If the Nations, all and sundry, were not more pven 
to laying blame upon one another, they might say like Gretchen, 
" Und alles was dazu mich trieby achy war so gut! ach war 
so liebJ* And doubtless, even as the voice of the Eternal 
answered for the poor heroine when Mephistopheles exultin^y 
cried out : ^* Sie ist gerichtet,^^ so likewise, the Eternities will 
say of everyone of these present Nations chorus peccatorum : 
** Sie ist gerettet." Absolved assuredly in the life of memory ; 
but alas, not saved, any more than Gretchen, from the crime, 
the torture and the shame upon earth. 

What sentence, or what absolution, wiQ be the lot of those 
grave and reverend seniors who allowed, or encouraged, the 
downfall of those poor focdish Virgins dancing in Satan's 

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Ballet ? Surdy on them also, though in less pitying accents, 
and certainly with no future glory as compensation, will be 
pronounced a "not guilty." Since we must not deem it guik 
on the part of those believing themselves, because others 
believe them, wise, if they prove as foolish as their victims. 
Still there is a diflFerence. The poor virgins knew themselves 
to be i^orant of the world and its ways, whence indeed their 
trust in such untrustworthy guardians ; whereas those 
guardians plumed themselves upon, sometimes trafficked in, 
the wisdom, the experience, the foresight which they lacked. 

That is why (as Romain Rolland has suggested) our guides 
and guardians, moralists, philosophers, priests, journalists, 
as much as persons in office, stand to cut a sorry figure before 
posterity, singling out, as thej^ do, one of themselves, c.g., 
the deposed and defeated Kaiser, as most convenient for 
haneing, but with no thought for some quiet Potter's Field 
suicide for themselves. Heaven forbid such a thought ! 
The pachydermatous ones go on as heretofore, splash and 
tumble, rearing (scripturally) their rhinoceros horn. Those 
thinner-skinned and clearer-sighted no longer deny that how- 
ever incommensurable the enemj^'s guilt, yet the ways even 
of the Nations confided to their guidance do show seamv 
sides : inordinate greediness, furtive paying of blackmail, 
sharp practice, and rather disgusting symptoms of victory — ^let 
alone intoxication ; horrible affairs, famine and anarchy in 
the future and already the present. Being thus distressed in 
their good taste and good feeling, these sensitive and sad- 
eyed among (at least) mis Nation's guardians, have made and 
duly published a dreadful yet not inconvenient discovery: 
that this war now barely over is not the war they wisely and 
virtuously inaugurated those four od long years ago. Its 
character has become debased, its motives and manners 
horribly transformed. Fighting (they point out) cannot 
fail to orutalize the best of ]i8, particularly when the Enemy 
is a brute to berin with. Fighting is, after all, a form of 
contact, and we know you cannot touch pitch without being 
defiled. Also the imperative need of rapid, secret action, 
above all of absolute unanimity, puts an end (temporarily let 
us hope !) to self-government and self-criticism ; and tkose 

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two purifiers once discarded, why, robbery, mendacity, 
oppression, corruption of all kinds, were bound to grow 
habitual. Evil passions have inevitably awakened in war : 
they have even required, for the attainment of victory, to be 
kept broad awake. As always, opportunity has tempted the 
best into sinful courses ; locals have been forgotten, base^ 
means ceased to be redeemed by noble aims ; to put it plainly 
Militarism, Machiavellianism, the Balance of Power, and general 
grab, which we were fighting to extirpate from the earth's 
surface, have become dominant, both as a (regrettable) mode 
of compassing the victory of Righteousness, and likewise as 
that victory's first and most visible result. These melancholy 
realities they confide to us, conjuring us to put an end to them 
now the war is safely over. They .even suggest that by a 
horrid irony of fate, the very youths whose self-sacrificing 
idealism lea them eacultant into the Purest of All Wars, hap- 
pened, just because they were so ready to obey the call of duty, 
to be among the earliest casualties, the world being thus 
automatically mulcted of the needful minimum of the virtues 
indispensable to decent national existence. It is no longer 
ike same v>ary these moralists have been sadly hinting for a 
few months past. It is no longer the right war. Not their 
war which, at this moment (January, 1919), is making the 
war's great aim a touch-and-go business; in fact, but for them- 
sdves and President Wilson (who two years ago had declared 
forpeace tvithout victory), an almost hopeless affair. 

Thus do they sigh, and sighing, wash their (already so 
pure) hands, oigh for the world and also a little for their 
own disappointment ; since what a horrid fate for a moralist 
to find that his own beloyed uniquely moral war has turned, 
well ! somewhat less r uque and moral. How cruel for those 
who boldly unsheathed the Sword of Peace to recognize that 
the instrument in question, having got out of order by over- 
long use, and somewhat infected with nasty germs (doubUess 
originating in the Enemy !), is no longer sharp and clean 
enough to surgeon Europe into perfect health. 


Such is the lament of the War-Idealists. One feels fbr 

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them. It must be dreadfully disappointing to have to 
recognize one's own ewe lamb, one's pride and joy, in some 
painted, poisonous lady from out of Mrs. Warren's EstabHsh* 
ment ; or, if one is a German War-Idealist, in the bespattered, 
lapidated, starvation-fainting Gretchen of the pillory where 
Germany now stands. But leaving those infatuated Enemy 
Peebles out of reckoning, all one's sympathies go forth to the 
sincere, the noble grief of one's own countrj^men telling us 
that tht war is no longer the same war. Until it flashes across 
one's mind that the Nations confided to their high-minded 
care are perhaps even more to be pitied than they. The poor 
innocents could not be expected to know that certain courses 
so attractive, najj^ ideal, have a way of landing those who take 
to them in situations and habits of a very d^reat-character : 
subterfuges and deceptions, blackmailing by hiffiaiis, tamper- 
ing with queer drugs, madness, suicide or merely residence in 
such houses and in such company as my Puppet Satan describes 
with perhaps puritanical over-emphasis. The Nations were 
not aware of what war mirfvt do \rith their bodies and espe* 
daily with their souls. But how about th«ir guides ahd 
guardians ? 

One might almost suppose them to have supposed that 
the particular thing called a European War would remain 
carefully unchanged like a man sitting for his portrait ; keep 
itself faithfully, accurately, to their ddinition.' Such supposi* 
rions are quite common to all of us ordinary human beings when, 
as the saying is, we turn wishes into horses. Unless obliged, 
we do not naturally face the notion of unpleasant change. 
Except Ron^ard, who was evidently more bent on literature 
than on love, no lover ever thought of his beloved as a vener- 
able and wizen grand-dame. And if fond Mothers do often 
see their baby boys as strong, successful men, it is always 
with the proviso that they return to confide their little'knocks 
and scrapes at their motner's knee. In our affections we are 
all Joshuas, bidding the sun stop at whatever point in the 
Heavens is to our liking. Tlxe sun, however, does not stop, 
nor does anything beneath it. Except our poor, inorgamc, 
dead-as-a-door-nail, definition. Now their definition of this 
war, they being those idealizing politicians and moralists 

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whose disappointment commands our sympathy — ^their defini- 
tion of this war was as a high, disinterestec^ pure, lovely, 
flaming humanitarian enterprise, a crusade. But the crusades, 
I mean the real ones, did not remain the Sir Galahad affairs 
of their ^gil of arms. There were regrettable brutalities and 
rapacities, a systematic grabbing of loot, and of what we should 
nowadays call "concessions'* and "protectorates'*; also 
very queer adoptions (as was alleged against the Knights 
Templar) of the most questionable rites and heresies of the 
Pagans, let alone initial treaties with filibustering Doges and 
such like, necessary to get those astute persons to crusade 
with one. The crusades did not always remain the same 
crusades; each separate crusade did not remain the same 
crusade. Indeed, if there is a genuine fact which history 
shows (though she shows, thanks to Qio, very few genuine 
ones) it is, as for the rest the less glorious sciences of nature 
demonstrate, that nothine ever does, has, or can remain, the 
same. So v^y should this wa^ ? Indeed our guides and 
guardians are now busy setting forth how the ch^j^e came 
about, could not fail to come about for a variety oFreasons 
which they enumerate as I have paraphrased them in 
the foregoing note. They are most dearly cognisant of the 
psychological sociological, poKtical forces which have brought 
the war's moral, if not downfall, at least, slip. Only, as the 
lackey of Moliire's Learned Ladies said about nis experimental 
knowledge of gravitation *^Je iff en suis aperfu etant par 

Unluckily for one's sympathy with our guides and guardians, 
unfortunately likewise for the world, present and future, it 
is not merely they and their ideals that are " par tetre^^^ with 
only President Wilson or the Social Revolution, as you prefer, 
to pick up the pieces. There are those guided, or shall we 
say ?| misguide(^ jNations also. 


It is from no sentimental illusions about the purity and 
charm of Nations taken as whdies that I have made my 
Puppet Satan compare iht various Belligerents to Virgins 

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entrapped, say rather, calmly, blunderingly conducted into 
the Establishment of Mrs. Warren. A student of the whv and 
wherefore of art and imagination, as well as a dweller in 
several lands, I have long since parted with the natural habit 
of seeing the faithful portrait of any Nation in the ^orks of 
its painters and poets. Likewise 1 have learned to under- 
stand, hence to restrain, the even more alluring tendency to 
credit the inhabitants of any country with the sublimity or 
charm of that country's landscape; these, like all private 
poetry and art, arie dreams good to indulge, once we have 
recognized their beneficent and sacred dreamstufiF. Apart 
from dreams like these, loving or hating any Nation as a 
Whole (one's own included) is surely loving the idiots, the 
ruffians, the presumptuous mediocrities ; and similarly hating 
the saints and genmses, the modest workers which every 
nation must contain. Nay worse ; such wholesale preference 
and abhorrence implies our losing the sense of the enormous 
mass of , possible and actual suffering and happiness which 
seems to oe the one certain and siipreme reality common tp 
all aggregates of human beings. Which brings me to remark 
that it is their community, their union (though so little sus- 
pected alas !) in present agony and loss of future joy, which 
strikes me as the fact to be remembered about these belligerent 
Nations, instead of their inscrutable gradations of responsi- 
bility for it all. Indeed, what responsibility can there be 
(letting alone that responsibility shifts, passes from side to ^ 
side, if pursued into historical origins), what true responsi- 
bility can there be in any eidsting nation, seeing that every 
nation is still made up, ninety-nine-hundredths of it, of men 
aftd women too overworked, aod (adding the leisured hun- 
dredth) too obsoletely educated by Qio and her sham 
Greeks and Romans and Hebrews, to know what they arc 
doing, or what is being done with them, while wars and the 
rivalries whence they spring are accepted as part of normal 

In this sole reference, therefore, I do hold that all the 
peoples suffering and inflicting suffering (the starvation 
blockade is not yet raised ! AprU, 1919) are innocent, though 
nowise admirable, victims of other victims ; and makers of 

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further victims, decoyed, not knowing how or perhj^ps even 
wanting to resist, bv Fate, which means the Past, personified 
in their guides and guardians ; entrapped into the abode of 
unlawful excitement, of sufiFering and sterility. Nations in 
each of whom there is the potential harlot as well as the 
potential, the wasted, mother. 

It is not, therefore, as I began this note by saying, because 
I really see the Nations of &itan's Ballet as pure or lovdy, 
that I have introduced that simile of the decoyed Virgins. 
But merely inasmuch as it brings out clearly an essential 
(but largdy overlooked) aspect of this subject of war : the 
momentous changes^ far-reaching, complicated, uncalculated, 
sometime^ incalc^ble, which one single step (like those jpoor 
metaphoric maidens' faux pas) can bnng about in the life of 
body and soul, because that one act happens to awaken dor- 
mant instincts, bring into play latent faculties, set up new 
relationships, set going new sequences of action and reaction. 


The thought embodied in that metaphor of the Virgins and 
the House of 111 Fame first became clear in my mind on 
reading how, at the Presidential election, the women of Illinois 
had voted for Wilson on the express score that he had kept 
America out of the war. 

"These women," "^J said to myself (not much over two 
years ago, but it feels like fifty), " these women are at present 
feeling war to be something outside them, something foreign, 
and evitable. But if Wilson had not kept them out, their 
feeling would now be that war was, on the contrary, inevitable; 
that it had become an essential, a dominant part oi themselves, 
had absorbed and made them consubstantial with itself. 
They would hav« been transformed, their feelings, interests, 
aims, judgments, their occupations, maj^be the bulk of their 
lif^ would have undergone a new orientation ; that of being inJ^ 

This I said to mysdf one November morning of 1916. Six 
months later America had come in. The transformation had 
taken place, more uncompromisingly and violentiy even 
than with so many of our own pacinsts two years before. 

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JBeing in the war^ I then recognized, has considerable analogy 
with some of the phenomena of being in love ; the analogy 
due to the little word in, and the amazing difference between 
its implications and those of the other Uttle word outside ; 
outside signifyinjs contemplation, discrimination, judgment, 
the AUer ; in si^ifying feeling, will, action, the Ego. This 
change of aspect, is, however, only part of the business. The 
essential is that, having surrendered to a given alternative, you 
can no longer go back upon it, because that surrender implies 
a change in your situation and relations, above all a change in 
your own emotions and ways of seeing. Yourself are changed, 
because a great many circumstances due to being in are entirely 
different from those of being out ; changed also by the aboh- 
tion of the previous state of not being in (either love or war), 
and effacement of every vestige of your previous power (let 
alone your desire) of keeping out. 

For r reedom of the Will, in the least metaphysical, the most 
empirical sense, is not, as theologians used to teach, a perman- 
ent possession of the soul. Its very essence is that it lapses by 
surrender ; and that nine times out of ten, the freedom to do, 
or to refrain, is lost by the initial choice ; and, as regards love 
or war, can be recovered only when the new circumstances 
which that decision has brought about, and that new self of 
yours, have run their course and been exhausted. You are a 
free agent so long as you have not set that stone, yourself ^ a- 
rolling. Once the push given, the brink left behind, the 
forces outside and inside yourself, the strange unsuspected 
attraction, weight and velocity, reduce you to helplessness. 
In the case of sexual love, obscure impulses, perhaps hitherto 
unknown to the individual, have arisen. That something 
similar arises in war, I mean the awakening of actu^ physiolog- 
ical conditions, seems quite likely, even setting aside the notion 
of certain stimulating glands becoming active, as Sherrington 
tells us, in fighting animals. Be this as it may, war sets in 
motion a whole complex of psychological and sociological 
forces, hitherto experienced only partiafly in private matters, 
or^ when we come to the phenomena of national unanimity, 
not experienced at all. In both cases, that qf falling in love 
and coming into a war, you have left the solid famiUaf ground 

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whose inequalities your eves and feet had long since learned 
to measure and foresee. You have jumped into a sea, whose 
dtptl and whose extent is incalculable to your ei^ericnce, in 
which your soul will sink or swim accormng as it possesses 
capacities which )^ou have never tested. Perhaps it is this 
suddenness, this incalculableness, of sexual passion which 
has caused mankind to fence it round at what may strike one 
as a very needless distance, to permit (or try to permit) access 
only by official piers and wharves. War has hitherto been too 
much a predatory speculation of states in search of slaves and 
tribute, of monarchs and financiers seeking fresh conscripts 
and new dumping grounds, for war's even more incalculable, 
because vaster, dangers to be similarly surrounded by taboos. 
President Wilson, who seems to believe that he can use just 
as much or as little of war, and of war's secondary results, as 
suits his purpose of abolishing it for evermore — ^President 
Wilson said : " Let there be war^^^ and the women of Illinois 
doubtless fell to molesting anyone among themselves who had 
not surrendered to that change, so brief itself, so endless in 
its results. 

This explains the case (and the reason for my whole simile) 
of him or her who has not said yes to war. That person is 
different from those who have ; a virgin though not necessarily 
in a complimentary sense, indeed the other party mi^ht say, 
a eunuch. It is a case of Dante's " che fiamma ^esto tncendio 
non mi tan^eJ* For the flame of war burns not merely towns 
and grananes, nor even human holocausts, it ravages, sterilizes, 
blackens, sometimes fitfully illuminating, the soul. 

Among the unforeseen evil consequences of war between 
modern peoples are the hypocrisy, the unfairness, the self- 
stultification, the sin against Reality, involved in Justifying 
it ; in throwing all the fault on the other party and shutting 
one's eyes to one's past own comnassions and omissions. 

It is the doing of a deed, the making of a choice which 
obliges us to its justification. We may reprobate the thought 
of the thing before or (long) after. But in public affairs, 

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L ■ 

where there is generally no disinterested looker-on to bring us 
to reason, the doing, the choosing, involves justification of the 
deed and the choice. Real criticism would have checked this 
war ; but alas (and this is part of the incalculable mischief) 
war checks real criticism. 


In the face of this incalculable, or at all events, uncalculated, 
secondary mischief, as much as of the more obvious losses 
to which belligerents make up their mind, or pretend they had, 
I venture to assert that it is as bad to allow war for a good 
cause as for a bad one. For everyone believes his cause to be 
eood or makes his instruments believe it to be |ood. Whereas 
by forbidding war for a good cause you implicitly forbid it for 
a bad. 

Might it not be reasonable to say that a good cause ceases 
to be good when it necessitates, when it drags with it, unfore- 
seen effects which are evil and sources of evU ? Could people 
not be taught that when we use the seemingly present tense 
" a thing is so and so," we really mean, when we mean any- 
thing at all, that the thing will react in a given way to given 
tests, that it will have certain consequences ; in fact that 
future good is implied in the assertion of present goodness ? 

Easier^ 1919. 

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In the preface to this volume I have compared the ideas 
embodied xn my War-Play, and in the forgoing little p^cho- 
logical essays presented as its notes, to the unexpected crop 
of plants, unlovely, harsh to the touch, sometimes even stin^g, 
and nearly always rank and bitter, which reolace the cherished 
flowers and fruit of some devastated garden. By which I 
mean that, however much their seed was in my mind, these 
thoughts were given no chance of growth so long as pleasanter 
oi;ie8 could still be cultivated before the wan Ana I added 
that for the sake of whatever tonic or cleansing property they 
might possess, they were worth gathering, like tnose unmeta- 
phorical weeds of which old herbals tell us that they are 
"good in cases of frenzy," or, at all events, " sovereign against 
the vapours.** like such medicinal herbs, my war-thoughts 
are not intended for pot-pourri pots or lavender-bags. And 
the decoction thereof once made, it was more useful and also 
seemlier not to disguise their quality with sugary moralities, 
still less dilute it with one*s tears. 

This refusal may cause both play and notes to be treated 
as immoral, cynical, heartless, and what is more to the point, 
depressing. There is no doubt it nukes them, even to my 
own taste, extraordinarily unattractive. 

For what do we mean by attractive in such a reference, 
except whatever suits our heart's desire ? Sometimes that 
desire, always natural and explicable, is legitimate, even 
noble, because divorced from belief, hence from deceit, the 
desire for contemplated harmony which art satisfies. More 
frequently, however, the word attractive refers to the una vowed 
hankerings after whatever increases the weight and bulk of 
our self-satisfaction, or allows us to rest undisturbed and 
dream pleasant nonsense. 

Now the whole underlying theme of the play and the notes 
is precisely that although (indeed just because)^ mankind is 
justified in trying to make the universe attractive to itself. 
It is nevertheless .probable that the universe has not been 

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made (nor made itself) for this sole purpose of being attractive 
to us. Moreover that the rest of things and processes which 
we can see or infer, all that I have summed up under the 
(quite unmetaphysical) heading " Reality," have become 
tolerable to man only by man's gradual adaptation to their 
nature. And that while such beneficent adaptation of 
ourself to all this (as I have called it) otherness is often 
facilitated by due recognition thereof, such an adaptation on 
our part, which to us seems on the contrary adapting things 
to tiSy is certainly impeded by our taking for granted that 
there must alreaoy exist an order, or a Creator, of the Uni- 
verse, entirely bent upon securing our peace of mind, including 
our belief in our good sense and goodness, and satisfying our 
standards of mdral fitness. 

Thinking over the war, and trying to understand its spiritual 
phenomena, would have cured me of any surviving anthro- 
pocentricism of this kind. It has made it intelligible to me that 
although our feelings, hence our strivings, make each of us 
appear to himself as separate from, opposite to, and actively 
dealing with sundry items called people^ things and circum- 
stances which can sometimes be used for our purposes, but 
quite as often are, as we phrase it, "in our way," yet that 
is a mere illusion, due to the psychological fact that feeling 
and striving have a warm, an inner, an intimate quality; 
while on the contrary seeing (especially mental seeing) is 
somehow extraordinarily cold, external, a sort of half-way 
meeting between what is and what is not ourself. Whereas in 
reality, and in the reality of all things, we are all of us just 
part and parcel of all the rest; and the rest is not a bit more 
inert than we ; m fact our emotions and our will are inextri- 
cably connected with and determined by the wills or the ways 
of everything else. Whence results a practical corollary, 
namely : That, contrary to the views of our latter-day 
spiritual gvddes, we shall secure a tolerable existence including 
tolerable to our moral nature) by seeking to understand what 
other things, processes and persons are irrespective of our 
own desires aoout them, rather than by doing ejcercises of 
foill-tensiony and speeding up our (already hustled) endeavours. 
This comes to saying that instead of thinking quite so much 

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about our aims, we should pay more attention to our nuans^ 
which always include something or somebody not oursel^ 
and most often regarded as having no characteristics except 
those which may serve or thwart our own purposes. 

To persons nervously clinging (as I catch myself occasion- 
ally) to the desirability of unselfishness, or at all events to 
the efficacy of its notion, I would point out the reassuring 
circumstance that this moral philosophy really pivots entirely 
upon a land of altruism ; in fact, upon the importance of the 
akefy the other or otherness, to the ego. The views embodied 
in this vcdume, and expressed, dince he has most interest in 
and against them, by Satan the Waster of all Kinds of Virtue, 
are in truth a more widely applicable, though, alas! less 
easily applied, altruism. Altruism not implying the sacrifice 
of our own wishes (which oftenest sacrifice our less dominant 
to our more dominant one among themselves) for the alleged 
benefit of an aUer ; but altruism which takes into.considera- 
tioti the nature, apparent or conceivable, of that alUfy and 
the fedings he is lilcely to have as well as, and perhaps in 
opposition to, the feelings we have about him. 

To all such Altruism as this war puts a stop ; because war 
implies struggle, and struggle passion, and passion delusion ; 
because during war men are hag-ridden by an aim, and 
grow callous to the means. That is why these thoughts have 
occurred to me while looking on at the War; and why I offer 
them to such of my juniors as do not want to look on at 
war again. 

Jugusty 1919. 

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