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the bullet whipped past most uncomfortably close. It would have been safer perhaps to have dropped to shelter in a shell-hole and crawled on after a reasonable wait, but the Lieutenant had had enough of crawling and shell-holes for one night, and was in a most single-minded hurry to get away as far and as fast as he could from Germans' neighborhood. He and Studd ran on, and no more shots followed them. The mist was thinning rapidly, and they found their own outposts in the act of withdrawal to the trench. The Lieutenant hurried past them, zigzagged through their own wire, and with a gasp of relief jumped down into the trench. He sat there a few minutes to recover his breath and then started along the line to find Headquarters and make his report. On his way he met the officer who had watched them leave the trench
and was greeted with a laugh. “Hullo, The Cornhill Magazine.
old cock. Some mud! You look as
if you'd been crawling a bit. See any
“Any Boche! I've been doing nothing
but crawl for a hundred years—except when I was squirming on my face. And I’ve been falling over Boche, treading on Boche, bumping into Boche, listening to Boche remarks— oh, ever since I can remember,” and he laughed, just a trifle hysterically. “Did you get over their line then? If so, you're just back in time. Mist has clean gone in the last few minutes.” A sudden thought struck the Lieutenant. He peered long and carefully over the parapet. The last wisps of mist were shredding away and the jumble of torn ground and trenches and wire in the German lines was plainly visible. “Look,” said the Lieutenant. “Three or four hundred yards behind their line—hanging on some wire. That's my coat. . . .” Boyd Cable.
A REAL BLOCKADE.
At the time of America's first entry into the war we hazarded the forecast that the conditions of blockade would become progressively effective. All American traditions are associated with the recognition of a belligerent's right to use every available means of reducing the enemy to submission by cutting off his supplies, and the strongest precedents for the employment of sea-power to this end are still drawn from the incidents of the Civil towar. In the first two years of the war we systematically ignored those precedents in our dealings with neutrals. Whilst we made a profession of preventing exports reaching German ports, we left many doors open for evasion in the loose supervision of cargoes consigned to Holland and Scandinavia.
These small neutrals were reaping a fabulous harvest by their trade with the enemy, and the fact was known to our Government. The fault did not lie with the Navy, but with the Foreign Office, which, under the Grey régime, changed its policy from month to month and displayed a solicitude for neutral interests which must have been a source of joy and merriment to the Wilhelmstrasse. The vigilance of our seamen was “strangled in a network of juridical niceties,” and but for the persistence of the remnant of opposition left to the House of Commons, there is every probability that we should today be bound by the terms of the Declaration of London. Only by a miracle of good luck did we escape from a binding acceptance of that complete abrogation of our maritime rights which had been so artfully imposed upon our Radical politicians by the very Powers who have refused themselves to observe any international rules of the sea. And there is little doubt that once having agreed to the limitations of the Declaration of London, the Asquith-Grey Administration would have felt pledged to the covenant however flagrantly Germany might have violated her own undertakings. An attitude founded on ignorance of sea warfare and the flabby sentiment which poses as progressive thinking would have remained unshaken by the accumulation of evidence that the enemy was determined to acknowledge no law that was not to his own advantage. No encouragement was given to
this Utopian folly by our Allies. They spared no effort, within the limits of their capacity, to get a
strangle-grip upon the Central Empires, but the last word in the application of sea-power rested with our Foreign Office. Even when we reasserted, in theory, our old-time rights at sea, the spirit of the old policy of compromise brooded over our efforts to control neutral imports. Our “Blockade Ministry” was far more careful to give the benefit of the doubt to any suspected cargo than to run the risk of inflicting possible hardship upon a neutral merchant. This punctiliousness would have been praiseworthy in normal times, and would have reflected credit upon the business transactions of private individuals, but it was crass stupidity in prosecuting a policy designed to reduce a foe who had declared a piratical war upon all civilian shipping which was not engaged in bringing him the sinews of war. American opinion at that time carried great weight with our Foreign Office, and no offense can be given now in recalling the many inconsistencies
which characterized American protests at the interference of our warships with the free passage of Transatlantic supplies to enemy destinations. We were solemnly warned that we had not established an effective blockade when we had made no such pretension. An effective blockade in the text-book meaning of the term is not possible under the conditions of modern warfare. The days are past when a blockading fleet could watch at the mouth of an enemy port or patrol an enemy's coast. With fast cruisers and battleships almost as fast, it matters little whether the fleet is a hundred or more miles away, provided it is ready and able to prevent vessels getting through to the enemy. Then, on other occasions, we were urged to observe rules of international law which we had never ratified, or perhaps to stand by another code which our critics themselves had declined to ratify. These protests were all understandable as coming from a people who were resolved to remain outside the European upheaval and were merely desirous of selling their goods to all parties in the quarrel. The error lay in the gravity with which our Diplomatic Service argued debatable points of law, relaxing our blockade operations in the meanwhile. We could so easily have justified the right of general capture of goods affected with an enemy taint by reference to that unimpeachable authority, the late Admiral Mahan. But we have changed all that. America-is now determined to fix as short a duration on the war as is compatible with a decisive finish, and to that end is putting the moral backbone into the Allies' blockade pressure which had hitherto been lacking. President Wilson's proclamation prohibits the shipment of any goods to Europe for neutrals except under
license, and includes under goods requiring a license practically all American exports. That this is a war measure is evidenced by the statement that no American products shall be made “the occasion of benefit to the enemy either directly or indirectly." Therefore countries contiguous to Germany are to be put upon bare rations. Our own Blockade Ministry has claimed to be fulfilling this last condition, basing the claim on pre-war returns, but ignoring the fact that neutrals have always been considerable traders with the Central Empires. In defining the scope of his Order, the President says: “The effect of the proclamation is not export prohibition, but merely export control. It is not its intention to interfere unnecessarily with American foreign trade, but our own domestic needs must be adequately safeguarded, and there is likewise the duty of meeting the necessities of all nations warring against Germany. It is our wish and intention to minister to the needs of neutrals as far as our resources permit.
This task will be discharged without other than the very proper qualification that the liberation of surplus products shall not be made the occasion of benefit to the enemy either directly or indirectly.” This statement marks a distinct advance in the method of conducting the war. The President's autocratic powers will enable him to see that his directions are obeyed to the letter. We understand that his decision has been reached in the face of much pleading and protestation on the part of neutral representatives in America. Their arguments have been ineffectual in shaking Dr. Wilson's resolve to make the fullest use of the weapon which holds the best promise of bringing Germany to her knees within a measurable period. There is reason to believe that the internal conditions of Central Europe are as critical as the most unfavorable reports have depicted. Here, then, is the vulnerable spot, concentration upon which may save a countless number of lives and untold millions of money.
NEW THINGS AND THE VAGABOND.
The other day I was reading again, as I have done many times, one of the most beautiful of the beautiful byproducts of the present war in poetry and I came upon a passage which I may use here as the tragic text of more trivial matters of current consideration. It is a thin paper volume which is simply inscribed "A. H.," but which contains the lines written by Mr. Maurice Baring on the death of Captain Lord Lucas, who fell gloriously, flying and fighting, nearly a year ago. I am sure that if I had chanced upon this elegy in any impersonal fashion, I should still have felt how finely it uses the large and open movements of the
English Odes for the great purposes of praise and sorrow. But it happens to have a double value for me; for I know the writer of it well enough to know how real is the sorrow; and I knew the subject of it well enough to know how much merited is the praise.
I have often tried to write a literary notice of the poem and I have abandoned the task; for the work has one rare quality which rather silences criticism that its simplicities are successes; No other face Can fill that empty frame, There is no answer when we call your
are the sort of lines that need no ornament and yet permit of no comment. But since all sincere poetry is also philosophy, even if it be unconscious philosophy, I chanced the other day upon three lines which are full of thoughts, and have set me thinking upon lesser matters, such as art and politics and the sophists who swarm about our present problem.
O liberal heart fast-rooted to the soil,
O lover of ancient freedom and proud toil,
Friend of the gipsies and all wandering Song.
Those words, which include something of the antithesis of a paradox, have, for all who knew the subject of them, the vivid unity of a portrait. In the personality of whom they were written there was a sort of riddle of the union of rootedness and restlessness. There was indeed something almost vagabond about his thirst and enthusiasm for liberty; something which makes it seem almost fitting that death should strike him, not merely in a strange land, but almost literally in a strange sky. And yet there was no man so solidly English; and no man who took more of the central sanities simply for granted. And thinking of this, along with many things of which I could not or would not write here, I fancy that Mr. Baring's phrases contain a truth that needs further application to many things. In the few peasants I have known, I have noted that it was truly a proud toil that had inherited an ancient freedom. And in the few squires I have known, I have observed that it was those who were really rooted in the soil who were the friends of the gipsies. There is a notion scattered through much of the literature that litters the modern world, even literature so good, for instance, as that of Mr. H. G.
Wells, which I believe to be profoundly Living AGE, Vol. VIII, No. 380.
mistaken. It is the notion that the philosophy of freedom is to get outside everything. But it is easy enough to get outside things; a man can always walk out of his house into the street or fall off his country into the sea. But it is not true that the tramp knows most about houses, or that the exile knows most about nations. In one of Mr. Wells's great imaginative romances a gigantic engine might be erected for hurling men wholly off the planet. But leaving the earth would literally be no earthly use; and empty space would be literally vanity. The true philosopher is not he who is outside everything, but he who is inside everything. His inmost chamber is a camera obscura in which he sees what is outside by being inside. I think there is quite a philosophic reason for the revolutionary spirit being right up to a certain point and then almost automatically going wrong. I should hesitate to attribute this returning curve to Rotatory Antikinesis, as fascinatingly expounded by our contributor the other day; but I think it, if anything, rather more sensible to call it Rotatory Antikinesis than merely to call it becoming “reactionary” in old age. It depends on a principle which I think I perceive, for instance, in the arts; one which may be most popularly expounded by the instance of the art of painting. Suppose we had always inhabited a world which was entirely black and white, as indeed some of our earnest sociologists and statisticians seem to imagine that we do. It is quite possible that they, and similarly sober persons, would resent the first appearance of the primary colors and consider that red, blue and yellow formed a most dangerous revolutionary tricolor. They might treat all red as a conflagration, filling the world with red republicans; they might regard all blue as a bleak inundation of pessimism and old night, filling the world with blue devils; they might write libraries of denunciation of what they would consistently call the Yellow Peril. But in all this the revolutionists would be right, for the colors are the clearest windows in the wall of this world. Then comes the second stage of such a movement; when we will suppose the primary colors established, and some more subtle artist claiming that, by mixing blue and yellow, he can brighten and refresh the world with what is practically a new color. It is quite true that many conservatives accustomed to blue and yellow might be contemptuous of the new idea of greenness; as contemptuous as the old Whigs of the Blue and Yellow review really would have been of the Wearing of the Green. But green would be a new experience and it would refresh the world; and I should be on the side of the Fenians in this case—as in others. Then we come to the third stage, which is much more subtle and very much more disputable; but in which the artistic innovators still have a quite commendable case. It is the stage at which they claim to have new experiences too curious to be common; revelations that can hardly be denounced as a palpable democratic danger, but rather as a very impalpable aristocratic privilege. This may well be represented by the next step in the mixture of tints; the step from what used to be called secondary to what used to be called tertiary colors. The artist claims that by mixing red and green he can produce a sort of russet shade, which to many may seem a mere drab or dull brown, but which is, to a finer eye, a thing combining the richness of red and the coolness of green, in a unity as unique and new as green itself. This sort of artist generally gives himself airs; but there is something to be said for him, though he seldom says it. It is true that a
combination in color may be at once unobtrusive and exquisite; but it is precisely here, I fancy, that the innovator falls into a final error. He imagines himself an inaugurator as well as an innovator; he thinks he stands at the beginning of a long process of change; whereas, as a matter of fact, he has come to the end of it. Let him take the next step; let him mix one exquisite mixture with another exquisite mixture, and the result will not be another and yet more exquisite mixture; it will be something like mud. It will not be all colors but no color; a clay as hueless as some antediluvian slime out of which no life can come. Then the artist generally goes mad and waves his brush about, slinging mud at anything and anybody; insanely mixing mire with mire and painting with slime on slime; so that no man can trace in it an outline or an image. But I do not think that sort of mud-slinging is even so good as that of a guttersnipe, or that the man who does it is sufficiently reasonable to be called a rebel. I agree with the conservative critics (including the gutter-snipe) that the artist has lost his original claim on our revolutionary sympathy, as well as losing many other things, such as his time, his humility and his sense of humor; but perhaps his most appalling loss is that he has lost his original realization of the existence of red and green. I have purposely used a crude and elementary example; but such a law . of diminishing returns certainly does affect all imaginative innovation. It specially affects, for instance, that artistic adventure which may loosely be called the fantastic. There need be no limit, for example, to the mythical monsters produced by the process which made the centaur, that was made out of a man and a horse, or the griffin, that was made out of a lion and an eagle. But in this imaginative world,