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It’s better to give than to lend and it costs about the same.
– Philip Gibbs
All was well, until I reached the port of Havre. Three officers with the rank of lieutenant, whom afterwards I knew to be Scotland Yard men, came aboard and demanded to see my papers which they took away from me.
We who go out to die shall be remembered, because we gave the world peace. That will be our reward, though we will know nothing of it, but lie rotting in the earth – dead.
During the early months of the war in 1914 there was a conflict of opinion between the War Office and the Foreign Office regarding news from the Front.
But the worst handicap we had the prohibition of naming individual units who had done the fighting.
I am going to fight – I, a socialist and Syndicalist – so that we shall make an end to war, so that the little ones of France will sleep in peace, and the women go without fear.
But do you know, I shall not be sorry to die. I shall be glad, Monsieur. And why glad, you ask? Because I love France and hate the Germans who have put this war on us.
A friend in the War Office warned me that I was in Kitchener’s black books, and that orders had been given for my arrest next time I appeared in France.
From each one of them rose separate columns of smoke, meeting in a pall overhead, and through the smoke came stabbing flashes of fire as German shells burst with thudding shocks of sound. This was the front line of battle.
When we got down from the ambulances there were sharp cracks about us as bursts of shrapnel splashed down upon the Town Hall square. Dead soldiers lay outside and I glanced at them coldly. We were in search of the living.
It was announced as a French victory by the French Minister of War. I did not see any sign of victory but only the retreat of the French forces engaged in the battle.
In front of us was not a line but a fortress position, twenty miles deep, entrenched and fortified, defended by masses of machine-gun posts and thousands of guns in a wide arc. No chance for cavalry!
It was so quiet that morning in Paris that the heels of my two companions and myself were loud on the deserted pavements. It was a city of shuttered shops, and barred windows, and deserted avenues.
It is better to give then to lend, and it costs about the same.