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Waiting for Daylight,
H. M. Tomlinson, 1922


The Reward of Virtue

May 9, 1919. The Treaty of Peace is published. Compared with what the innocent in 1915 called the "objects of the War," this treaty is as the aims of Captain Morgan's ruffians to those of the Twelve Apostles. The truth is, some time ago the Versailles drama fell to the level of an overworked newspaper story which shrewd editors saw was past its day. Those headlines, Humiliate the Hun, Hang the Kaiser, and Make Germany Pay, had become no more interesting than a copy of last week's Morning Mischief in a horse-pond. The subject was old and wet. Because five months ago we thoughtfully elected men of the counting-house to the work of governing the State, of late we have been too indignant over the cost and difficulty of living to spare a thought for the beauty of Peace; that is why we are now examining the clauses of the famous Treaty with about as much care for what they may mean to us as if they concerned the movements of the asteroids. A year ago the German attacks seemed near to making guns the deciding voice in the affairs of unhappy humanity. On the chill and overcast spring morning when the Treaty was published, it was significant that those very few men to whom we could go for courage a year ago were the only people dismayed by the terms of the Peace Treaty. And the timid, who once went to those stout hearts for assurance--to have, as the soldiers used to say, their cold feet massaged--were the bright and cheerful souls. It was ominous. Yet those careless and happy hearts are not so trying to me as the amiable but otherwise sensible men who were sure our statesmen would not betray the dead, and who are incredulous over the Treaty now they see what it clearly intends to convey. They cannot believe that the War, which they thought began as a war of liberation, a struggle of Europe to free itself from the intolerable bonds of its past, continues in the Peace Treaty as a force malignantly deflected to the support of the very evils out of which August, 1914,, arose. Then did they imagine the well-meaning leopard would oblige by changing his spots if spoken to kindly while he was eating the baby?

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