It might interest you to know all these little elfs and goodspirits you set loose are faring. The gloves have guided a vastsilver bird through the opalescent skies and have the promiseto be caressing, some day not far off, the deadly little triggerof a machine gun. The plum pudding was burnt in crude peasantrum before the hungry eyes of a couple of young adventurers. Itsluxury was in full harmony with the keynote of their hearts. Italso immediately harmonized with that of their digestive system,and such harmony! It made the snow melt and the birds sing (thoughthey're only crows around here). The cigarette-case flaps opento one of my teachers, a hero-flyer back from the front, and hesays, " Dommage que la belle n'a pas fait mettre son nomà la place du vôtre---dommage." It also offersa cig. now and then to a German prisoner, who always has to haveme pull it out for him, as his hands are swollen and awkward fromthree years' animal labor. But he never forgets to add, "Itdoes much to remind me of little Katie to see such presents."While as to the cigarettes personally, you know what cigarettefumes witness: the intimate broodings and the secret dreams, thehopes and the reminiscences as well as the very lines I send youand the hearty thanks that accompany them. Last of all, the endis the most emphatic, I place your picture on the bit of barrackwall above my head, between an invitation to a Greenwich Villageball and a helmet worn at the dance of War.
The town itself --- I mean inhabitants --- are stupid, awkward,innocent, and corrupted; they are low humans ---almost animalsas they sneak about in the black night of their tortuous streets.Now and then you can see them under a rare light --- it's an oldman whose stocking of coins has blotted out the stupid momentswhen as a boy he felt the virile sap rise within him --- momentsnevertheless that were the whole romance of a life --- his life.
Every boy around me is such as is rare in civilian life. Theyare characters, they are sports, they are sure to be successes;they are a new blood, a-bubbling over in the sinewy but worn veinsof France. Why, they are so in harmony with the common cause,though they come from miles away where about the college hallswar is an ancient myth, that they are already changing and dissolvingsomewhat into the Great Spirit of France; they sing French songsinstead of rag-time; they talk French whenever they can and areforgetting their first complaints --- to admire the people ofwhom they had at first seen but pleasure-loving and practicalinefficiency.
We came to Tours together, and learned to fly. Jack realizedmore than most of us the larger significance of flying. He camedown from his second flight convinced in his mind that he neverwould become a pilot. Flying was so tremendous in reality, sosupernatural, so akin to some divine privilege. The immensityof space appalled him. He told me he, always felt as though invisiblehands of a cosmic giant were supporting the frail wings of linenand wood, as on he rushed with the gripping power of the propeller.He was always a keen psychologist, and reflected on his mentalflux while in the air. His naive curiosity prompted him againand again to "stunt" with his plane, long before hewas master of the controls. A rivalry sprang up between him andJack Sawhill, as to who would make the most rapid progress inwinning the much coveted French brevet. One day Jack circled thefield counter-traffic, that is he turned to the right on the take-offwhen the two balls at the pilotage indicated compulsory turningto the left. For that error he was taken off the flying list fortwo or three days, much to Jack Sawhill's delight. Jack Sawhill,however, landed cross-wind the next day, and was given a similarpunishment. This friendly rivalry continued till Jack Sawhillfell in a Nieuport, and was taken to the hospital with a brokenarm.
This day John Stewart and I had a pleasing ramble, but fortune changed the scene in the close of it. We had passed through a great forest, on which stood myriads of trees, some gay with blossoms, others rich with fruits. Nature was here a series of wonders, and a fund of delight. Here she displayed her ingenuity and industry in a variety of flowers and fruits, beautifully coloured, elegantly shaped, and charmingly flavoured; and we were diverted with innumerable animals presenting themselves perpetually to our view. In the decline of the day, near Kentucke river, as we ascended the brow of a small hill, a number of Indians rushed out of a thick cane-brake upon us, and made us prisoners. The time of our sorrow was now arrived, and the scene fully opened. The Indians plundered us of what we had, and kept us in confinement seven days, treating us with common savage usage. During this time we discovered no uneasiness or desire to escape, which made them less suspicious of us; but in the dead of night, as we lay in a thick cane brake by a large fire, when sleep had locked up their senses, my situation not disposing me for rest, I touched my companion and gently awoke him. We improved this favourable opportunity, and departed, leaving them to take their rest, and speedily directed our course towards our old camp, but found it plundered, and the company dispersed and gone home. About this time my brother, Squire Boon, with another adventurer, who came to explore the country shortly after us, was wandering through the forest, determined to find me, if possible, and accidentally found our camp. Notwithstanding the unfortunate circumstances of our company, and our dangerous situation, as surrounded with hostile savages, our meeting so fortunately in the wilderness made us reciprocally sensible of the utmost satisfaction. So much does friendship triumph over misfortune, that sorrows and sufferings vanish at the meeting not only of real friends, but of the most distant acquaintances, and substitutes happiness in their room.
Col. Harrod proposed to mount a number of horse, and furiously to rush upon the savages, who at this time fought with remarkable fury. This desperate step had a happy effect, broke their line of battle, and the savages fled on all sides. In these two battles we had nine killed, and one wounded. The enemy's loss uncertain, only two scalps being taken.
I do not wonder, therefore, in view of the frequency of such utterances, you should be surprised to find me a regular reader of your church organ, a supporter of your church over which you preside. My line of conduct in this matter is not determined by my approval of the theological dogmas often promulgated from the pulpit. In respect to many of those dogmas I should, perhaps, differ very widely from yourself and others, while I yet find ground entirely satisfactory to my judgment and conscience for contributing my mite to the treasury of your church, and that of others.
And here ends my fifty years in the ministry. The world is at peace; but for thirty years I have been watching for the great European war that should involve the world. Six years have passed, and now in 1921 while I am writing these closing lines we can say the war has come and not far away lingers its awful cloud. Will it return? Distant thunders proclaim that the war god is still unappeased. Will he return to us, for more bones to crush; more blood to drink? God knows.
Mr. Googenheim of the London University, said the thing to do, was to raise the standard of living of the inhabitants of a backward country, so as to make it impossible for them to compete with the better paid races who have higher standards of living. The Chinese speaker following, said when the backward nations were developed they would naturally rise to the standards of living of other nations. Mr. Sydney Oliver in closing the discussion, said, that no man so disciplined by the capitalist system, would desire to do any more work than was absolutely necessary. The capitalist was therefore obliged to go for labor to a country where he could find a poor, but disciplined people. In Jamaica, no employer would import Indians if he could get native creole labor. The Indian did not do as much work while he was at work, but he worked regularly. The creole in Jamaica when he settled down to work, often became a rich man and really made a better citizen.