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Then bedlam broke loose; barbaric pandemonium reigned. Megaphones, whistles, every kind of instrument of torture kept accompaniment to tossing arms and dancing hats — while the grandstand gave such an exhibition of 'rooting' in slang as I never heard before. Much of the slang was new to me, and to interpret it to my English friends, and at the same time explain the game, was a task for a genius. Amazement sat upon their faces. They had never imagined that a hard business people could explode in such a hysteria of play. An English crowd is orderly and ladylike in comparison. Of course, the players, aware of an audience at once distinguished and astonished, put on extra airs; and as the game went on, the fun became faster and more furious. My friends would stop their ears to save their sanity, at the same time pretending, with unfailing courtesy, to see, hear, and understand everything. The Navy won, and one last, long, lusty yell concluded the choral service of the day.
July 20. — 'The Miracle of St. Dunstan's.' It is no exaggeration, if by miracle you mean the triumph of spirit over matter and untoward disaster. St. Dunstan's is the college where young men who gave their eyes for their country learn to be blind; and as I walked through it to-day I thought of Henley's lines: —
Out of the night that covers me,
I thank whatever gods may be
Many of the men are horribly disfigured, and it is a mercy that they cannot see their own faces. Yet, for the most part, they are a jolly set, accepting the inevitable with that spirit of sport which is so great a trait of their race. At least, the totally blind are happy. Those who see partially, and do not know how it will turn out, mope a good deal. At the
head of the college is Sir Arthur Pearson, himself a blind man who has learned to find his way in the dark — a blind leader of the blind. It is wonderful to hear him talk to a boy brought into the college dejected and rebellious against his fate. There is no maudlin sentiment. It is much easier to cry than to succor. They sit hand in hand, — comrades in a conquest, — while Sir Arthur tells the lad, out of his own experience, that, though night has come at noon, the day is not ended. His words, taken out of their context and atmosphere, might sound preachy, as he tells how he refused to be beaten, and how darkness has its surprises. All honor to Sir Arthur, — Knight of the Dark Table, — unforgettable for his courage, his chivalry, and his cheerfulness!
(Early in August I went again to America, on another speaking tour, crossing the bar at Liverpool, in the glow of a miraculous sunset, the sacramental beauty of which haunts me still. Time out of mind I had known Uncle Sam, in his suit of nankeen trousers strapped under his instep, his blue swallow-tail coat and brass buttons, and his ancient high hat. It was not easy to recognize him clad in khaki, wearing a gas-mask and a 'tin lid,' and going over the top with a Springfield rifle in his hand; and that change in outward garb was a visible sign of much else. Down the streets of New York, at midnight, one saw long lines of men marching, singing 'Over There'; and Service Stars were everywhere, changing from silver to gold. It was an awe-inspiring America, — new in its unity, its power, and its vision of duty, — albeit to-day, it seems like a dim dream of some previous state of existence. Returning to England in October, my ship was one of fifteen loaded with troops, following a zigzag course over a lonely sea. It was at the time of the influenza epidemic, and almost every ship kept a funeral flag flying all the way. Off the north coast of Ireland we witnessed the destruction of an enemy submarine. Once more, on a Thursday noon, I took up my labors at the City Temple, in an address entitled 'The New America,' in which I tried to describe the novel experience of rediscovering my own country. Events moved rapidly, and I need add only one or two items from the diary, telling of the end of the greatest war in history, the meaning and issue of which are locked in the bosom of God.)
October 25. — Three times since I returned I have spoken to groups in behalf of Anglo-American friendship, but to little avail. My audiences were already utterly convinced, and it was like arguing with Miss Pankhurst in favor of woman suffrage — as useless as rain at sea. Somehow we never get beyond the courtesies and commonplaces of after-dinner eloquence. Yet the matter is of vital importance just now. Already there are rumors of friction between our boys and the Tommies. These are little things, but the sum of them is very great, and in the mood of the hour so many reactions of personal antagonism may be fatal. Not much idealism is left after the long struggle, and one fears a dreadful reaction, — a swift, hideous slip backward, — driving Britain and America further apart than they were before the war. Little groups do something, but what we need is some great gesture, to compel attention and dramatize the scene for the masses on both sides of the sea. Frankly, I am not clear as to the best method
— except that we have not found it. Even now, all feel that the end of the war is near, and one detects tokens which foretell a different mood when peace arrives.
October 29. — Ever and again one hears rumors of a revolution in England in which things will be turned upside down. One might be more alarmed, but for the fact that the revolution has already taken place. The old England has gone, taking with it much that was lovely and fair; a new England is here,
— new in spirit, in vision, in outlook, — not only changing in temper, but ac
tually changing hands. As the Napoleonic wars ended the aristocratic epoch and brought the middle class to the fore, so the great war has ended the rule of the middle class and will bring the man down under to the top. Of course, as to outward appearance, the aristocratic and middle classes still rule; but their ideas do not rule. Therewill be no violent upheaval in England; the genius of the British mind — a practical mysticism, so to name it, though the practicality is often more manifest than the mysticism — will not let it be so. Again and again I have seen them drawn up in battle-array, ready for a fight to a finish — then, the next moment, they begin to parley, to give and take; and, finally, they compromise, each getting something and nobody getting all he asked. Therein they are wise, and their long political experience, their instinct for the middle way, as well as their non-explosive temperament, stand them in good stead in these days. Besides, if English society is a house of three stories, the house has been so shaken by the earthquake of war that all classes have a new sense of kinship and obligation. No doubt there will be flare-ups in Wales, or among the hot-heads on the Clyde; but there is little danger of anything more.
November 8. — Went to Oxford last night to hear Professor Gilbert Murray lecture on the Peloponnesian War of the Greeks as compared with our great war; and his words haunt me. With an uncanny felicity, the great scholar — who is also a great citizen — told the story of the war that destroyed Greek civilization; and the parallel with the present war was deadly, even down to minute details. About the only differences are the magnitude of the armies and the murderous efficiency of the weapons we now employ. As I listened, I found myself wondering whether I was in Oxford or in ancient Athens. The lecturer has the creative touch which makes history live in all its vivid human color. Euripides and Aristophanes seemed like contemporaries.
What depressed me was the monotonous sameness of human nature throughout the ages. Men are doing the same things they did when Homer smote his lyre or Hammurabi framed his laws. For example, in the Athens of antiquity there were pacifists and bitter-enders, profiteers and venal politicians — everything, in fact, with which the great war has made us familiar. After twenty centuries of Christian influence, we do the same old things in the same old fashion, only on a more gigantic scale.
This shadow fell over me to-day as I talked with a young French officer in my study. He used this terrible sentence with an air of sad finality:'Ideals, my reverend friend, are at the mercy of the baser instincts.' What faith it takes to sustain an ardent, impatient, forward-looking soul in a slow universe! 'Keep facing it,' said the old skipper to the young mate in Conrad's Typhoon; and ere we know it, the ship has become a symbol of the life of man. He did not know whether the ship would be lost or not — nor do we. But he kept facing the storm, taking time to be just to the coolies on board, much to the amazement of Jukes. He never lost hope; and if he was an older man when he got through the storm, he at least sailed into the harbor.
November 11. — London went wild to-day. As a signal that the Armistice had been signed, the air-raid guns sounded, — bringing back unhappy memories, — but we knew that 'the desired, delayed, incredible time' had arrived. The war has ended; and humanity, on its knees, thanks God. Words were not made for such a time. They stammer, and falter, and fail. Whether to shout or weep, men did not know; so we did both. Something not
ourselves has made for righteousness, and we are awed, subdued, overwhelmed. The triumph seems wrought, not by mortal, but by immortal thews, and shouts of joy are muffled by thoughts of the gay and gallant dead.
The rebound from the long repression was quick, the outburst startling. Men danced in the streets. They hugged and kissed and sobbed. Flags flew everywhere, flags of every color. Women wore dresses made of flags. Shops and factories emptied of their own accord. At an early hour a vast host gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace, singing the national anthem. The King and Queen appeared on the balcony, and a mighty shout went up — like the sound of many waters.
St. Paul's was jammed by noon; the Abbey was packed. It melted the heart to hear them sing — there was an echo of a sob in every song. All know that the secret of our joy is locked in the cold young hearts that sleep in Flanders, in eyes that see the sun no more. Never was the world so coerced by its dead. They command; we must obey. From prayer the city turned to play again. No wonder; the long strain, the bitter sorrow, the stern endurance had to find vent. At first, peace seemed as unreal as war. It took time to adjust the mind to the amazing reality. Even now it seems half a dream. There is little hate, only pity. The rush of events has been so rapid, so bewildering, that men are dazed. Down on the Embankment I saw two old men, walking armin-arm, one blind, the other half-blind, and both in rags. One played an old battered hand-organ, and the other sang in a cracked voice. They swayed to and fro, keeping time to the hymn, 'Our God, our hope in ages past.' So it was from end to end of London. The gray old city seemed like a cathedral, its streets aisles, its throngs worshipers.
BY KENNETH CHAFEE McEMTOSH
A Lean, quiet man pushed his way through the crowd into the open of the parade-ground at Fort Myer, and perched himself uncomfortably in the midst of a bundle of sticks. A weight crashed down from the top of a derrick, and the bundle, with droning, whining propeller, was thrown into the air, and stayed there. Breath was drawn in with sharp, audible gasping, and eyes grew round in upturned faces. The impossible had happened. Orville Wright was proving to the army that he could
When the air-plane had landed clumsily on its two sled-like runners, and the reporters surged around, we have record of the following queries and replies: —
'How fast can you fly?'
'Forty miles an hour.'
'How fast do you think air-planes can be made to fly?'
'Much faster. But, of course, the flyer would be blown out of the machine at anything over a hundred miles an hour.'
'How high can you go?'
'High as I want to. But even in war you would nev^r have to go over one thousand feet. No known gun could hit you at that altitude.'
'What uses can you make of your machine?'
'Sport mainly, and scouting in war.'
Of the thousands who saw that afternoon, and of the millions who read of the flight next morning, probably not one had the least dim perception that a mighty power was born, a power that is
already affecting the lives of every one of us, that is forcing upon us changes as vast as those forecasted when the apeman first discovered that, by swaying erect on his bent legs, he could see his enemies and his victims farther, and have two arms free for fighting.
In the immense development of aviation forced by the war we are apt to forget the tremendous strides made in the first faltering years. As usual, figures and statistics are deceptive, and performances seemed to confirm the opinion of those who saw in the airplane nothing but a toy and a mankiller. Three years after the Fort Myer flight, it was still a remarkable performance to remain in the air for fortyfive minutes, or to climb to an altitude of six or seven thousand feet. After six years of flying, it was still a dare-devil feat to loop an air-plane three times in one flight; and the first man to fly upside down made his name as well known as that of a champion heavy-weight, and known among much the same classes of people. Pilot after pilot was featured on the sporting pages of the newspapers as he succeeded in remaining aloft five minutes longer than the hero of the month before, reached an altitude fifty feet higher, or somersaulted his vibrating little kite once oftener. And with deadly regularity pilot after pilot was killed — his effort to find out how far he could stretch the capacity of his machine being successful.
During those years, however, clumsy skids gave place to wheels and pontoons, or actual boat-hulls; and, while planes remained rickety toys, the rootidea of every practicable type we have to-day was discovered and demonstrated, waiting only for some imperative necessity to force its development. Rotary and V-type motors began to appear.
Before the war began, aviation had reached the point where its future could be confidently predicted by the initiated as a matter of improvement of existing types, of betterment of existing design, rather than as a new departure. Then came the World War, with its pressing demands on air-craft designers and pilots, and its almost limitless money for experiment.
Aviation has attained in fifteen years a degree of progress which can hardly be matched by any other epoch-making invention in centuries. One hundred and eighteen years since the Clermont, one hundred and fifty since Franklin's kite, and aviation is already as advanced, relatively, as steam and electricity. John Hawkins and Francis Drake revolutionized naval warfare by fighting broadside instead of head-on, and once for all made the gun the master of surface ships; and the all-big-gun battleship, throwing a heavy broadside, is the legitimate child of Drake's weatherly little Pelican. Three hundred and sixty years were required to produce the modern battleship after Drake had shown the way; and there is yet no more difference visible than already distinguishes the army's new VervillePackard from the original Wright airplane hanging in the National Museum at Washington. Orville Wright's fortymile speed has become three miles a minute, and the end is not yet. His onethousand-feet altitude has become seven miles, and there halts momentarily while we safeguard the gasoline and oil system against the bitter cold of the black upper air. His twenty-two minute, eighteen-mile endurance has be
come a screaming leap from continent to continent, and air-planes now cross half a world with little comment.
Similarly, the projected uses of aircraft as 'scouts' and for 'sport' have widened as greatly. Well-appointed municipal flying-fields are multiplying rapidly, but the air-plane has far outgrown the present possibilities of a sporting craft. Possible speed has become so great that a private field capable of handling the newest planes is about as inaccessible to the average man as a private eighteen-hole golflinks; and the only sporting air-craft that are within the reach of moderate wealth are small flying-boats along lake shores and landlocked bays.
A great future is claimed for airborne commerce, and the claim is, possibly, justified. At present, however, planes and dirigibles are enormously expensive, both in first cost and in upkeep in relation to durability; and the small amount of freight they can carry will for some time keep cargo and passenger rates above the bearing-power of the market. The problem of commercial aviation is, nevertheless, plainly stated, and once stated, problems are eventually solved. The need is for a weight-carrier of considerable durability, simple of operation and of low fuelconsumption. This is naturally an engineering problem, and the appearance of a lightweight, heavy-duty motor of 'fool-proof design may be confidently expected sooner or later. Wings and body are already made of light, durable, rustproof metal; and the commercial air-plane a generation hence will probably resemble a plump-bodied' blanketfish' or 'giant ray,' of slow landingspeed and excessive stability — a machine as essentially a worker as a tramp steamer, too clumsy for sport, too helpless for aggressive war. The power-plant problem once solved, airtramps will probably become as stand