« AnkstesnisTęsti »
country four divisions, or 121,000 regular soldiers. These organizations would give us just a bare chance to fight off an enemy who should obtain command of the sea.
Hence we must develop an auxiliary, and develop that at once. Plans such as the Continental Army, popularly called the "jitney army," and the various schemes for universal military training, all of which are excellent, will not serve the immediate present.
For our crisis we have only one organization in existence, namely, the National Guard of the different States, and I, an officer of this service, have no exaggerated idea of the effectiveness of the National Guard as it now is.
I have shown elsewhere in this article that it is not in whole or in part to-day ready to meet the European soldiers in combat. On the other hand, it is nearer in efficiency to a regular organization than the Continental Army would be to it after its summer outings.
The military training of the National Guard is not that of the regular army; neither is it negligible. It stands to the latter as the night school does to the university.
A man, in order to qualify for the peaceful professions, such as medicine or the law, should have a university education, and after that a three- or four-year course in a first-class professional school. But all doctors and all lawyers have not been able to obtain this training. There are hundreds of lawyers I know who have obtained their education at night school. They would have been glad for the supreme instruction, but they have taken full advantage of what facilities they could get. Many of them are first-class lawAll of them are evidently apart yers. from people who have never studied or thought of law.
So with the National Guard. Lacking regular army training, it has had, in fact, night-school training. Among its officers are a number who from native ability and great enthusiasm have learned much of the art of war. All of them, with the exception of that fraction of worthless peo
ple which one finds in every gathering, have learned more or less. The National Guardsmen are capable of great improvement, if given fair opportunity. The Government's assistance to it has been trifling in expenditure, but great in results.
A seriously intended appropriation for the National Guard which would supply the instruction that the better militia officers desire, as well as compensate the soldiers for their time, conditioned upon the achievement of a reasonable degree of efficiency, say like that of the regular army prior to 1898, would furnish a reserve of a quarter of a million of men in the shortest time-men who after two months' training following the outbreak of war could stand beside or against first-line troops.
The immediate adoption of these two steps is vital. Any other course will leave us helpless in the face of an armed world. that hates, envies, and despises us. Later, legislation must be found to systematize and improve our forces until the nation is made impregnable. Of course if the National Guard organizations are to be permanently maintained, ways must be found to circumvent their present disabilitiesuse in strikes and the conflict of authority. between State and nation.
All soldiers and many civilians now recognize that military effectiveness commensurate to the population of a nation can come only through a system whereby every citizen shall be allowed to learn to protect his nation from aggression abroad and his liberty from tyranny at home.
All of Europe, Japan, Chile, and the Argentine Republic have come to this form of training. Only Great Britain and the United States, nations which used to be the leaders in civilization, lag behind. England is to-day paying $24,000,000 a day and hundreds of thousands of lives in a struggle for continued existence because of the failure to demand of her citizens military service and to give in return humane living conditions. For not only from the military ignorance of her citizens is England suffering; their
unwillingness to enlist for war or for work in her defense is a problem of equal
The English gentleman, whom the nation treated overwell, has paid his debt to his utmost ability. The English working-man is exacting a heavy usury for the debt the nation owes to him.
It is not surprising to find in Germany, where an emperor's word approaches absolute law, greater military efficiency than in democratic England, but we are surprised to find there greater patriotism; to learn that in imperial Germany the average man has received more from the state, the privileged man has paid more to the state, than in democratic England. The strangest part of our discovery comes in realizing that the German achievements in equalizing conditions among the population have been more nearly copied in England than in the United States, and England's shortcomings are reproduced here in more acute form.
In the United States of America the average man pays a higher percentage of the national taxes compared with his affluent neighbor than he does in any other so-called civilized country. In the United States the very rich man pays a lower percentage in taxes and has greater legal privileges than do the aristocrats of Europe, and, unlike them, carries no legal or social liabilities.
The very class hatred which is rending England smolders more widely here, where it is also aggravated by geographical antagonisms. It has been the chief factor of internal politics for twenty years and is not even now in process of solution. In the event of a great war it would paralyze the nation. With what enthusiasm. does any one think the American people would rush to arms to drive back an invader of the seaboard?
Eighty per cent. of the people of the United States look upon the great fortunes as ill gotten. The owners of these fortunes, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, have nearly all settled on one or the other sea-coast. Even where the evasion of taxes was not the incentive, this migra
tion has resulted in depriving the localities where the fortunes were made of taxes and of the benefit of the spending of the income and the support of local charities. The evils of absentee landlordism are already serious.
The "people back home" are hostile to the émigrées. New York and the Northeastern sea-coast are to them nothing but the homes of the dodging, obligation-shifting, idle rich, in whose behalf they would certainly feel no call to die. This rich element is itself non-military, and could furnish nothing for protection, nor would the not inconsiderable element depending upon it for ungenerous existence.
In addition to being the chosen home of those richest Americans who have not sought European domiciles, the Eastern sea-coast is the landing-point of foreign immigrants. Immigrants of long standing may have absorbed as much patriotism as the native born, but the newly arrived immigrants are still foreigners in thought and in law. In the event of invasion, thousands upon thousands of them would be legally bound to join the invaders, and none of them would be bound to help defend the country. As a foreign diplomat untactfully put it, "We have eight army corps in the United States." Immigrants of the neutral nationalities could not be looked upon as more than interested observers. There remains to volunteer enthusiastically for the defense of their firesides only a portion of the population of the sea-coast States; against them would be a large number of trained soldiers legally obligated to fight for the invader.
We present, therefore, an unorganized, unarmed nation filled with class and sectional bitterness, and with reinforcements for the invader awaiting him upon our shores. Mexico was no more ripe for the conquest of Cortez than we are ripe for conquest.
Two things must be done if this country is to endure. The existing evils must be remedied, and the people who are endeavoring to breed disintegration as a profession must be isolated and their influence destroyed.
E got up from his seat by the fire and went over to the window. The woman still stood where the two streets intersected. Again she went through the manoeuvers that he had already watched twice. First she made the round of the four corners, peering off in the direction of each of the eight blanched sidewalks. Then she returned to her station under the light, settled her back against the wall, hunched slimly under her umbrella, and waited. All the time the snow continued to fall.
It was the kind of snow that means business, tiny, firm, compact flakes so close together that it was as though a curtain of lace, heavy, thick, exquisitely detailed, was lowered from the sky. In the violetblue radius of the electric light the snowflakes looked as hard as rice; beyond they softened and blurred until they veiled the face of the city. The sidewalk was ankledeep. Each minute the downfall seemed thicker, quicker, solider. A wind had arisen. The windows rattled. Already people were beginning to hold their umbrellas shield-wise in front of them. The man pivoted in the direction of the fire, turned back to the window, drummed intermittently on the pane, pulled down the curtains at both windows, pulled them up again, returned to his seat, resumed his work at the fire. But in a few moments he arose, and hurried over to the window. The wind had increased measurably. The house shook at intervals. The passing was more rare. The woman still stood
at the corner, her umbrella tilted to a slant. Its upper surface was thick with snow. As he watched she shook off this burden, took another one of her uneasy, watchful strolls about the circle of the four corners, returned to her lookout.
He watched even longer this time, while twice she discharged her umbrella from an accumulation of snow. There was nothing predatory about her; there was even a calm confidence. He resumed his seat at the fire.
His work held him for ten minutes; then he went to the window. The wind was a gale; the very walls shook. Thank goodness! the woman was gone. No, it was only that she was taking another of her four-cornered prowls. Her umbrella, held head-on to the wind, came into the field of his vision first, then her whole figure. She stumbled a little, and as she took her place against the wall her whole aspect seemed to sag. But she stood quiet, fixed. After a moment or two her immobility might have meant that she had frozen to the house.
He pulled his overcoat out of the closet, jerked it on, jammed a cap hard down over his ears, seized an umbrella, and dashed through the silent house. Even the shaking of the walls, the rattling of the windows, had not prepared him for the fury outside. The wind was fairly terrific, but it was evidently of many minds; it tore in different directions. It was not now as though the snow fell
evenly; it was as though it poured down. from cornucopias tilted at eccentric angles. He buffeted his way across the street. The woman did not look up as he approached, but perhaps the thick snow blanketed his footsteps. She might have been dozing.
"Excuse me," he said. Her eyelids lifted. Her eyes looked directly into his. For an instant he got an effect of wonderful luminosity, as though a pair of bright lamps had lighted suddenly in the falling snow. But she was not frightened, only startled.
"I saw you from my window-that is, I have been watching you for a long time," he stammered, "and I began to get worried about you. I had a feeling that you were in trouble-or something-had lost somebody, maybe, and I came over to see if I could help you."
"You are very kind. I have lost something-a man-my husband. I am waiting for him, that 's all."
"I see." But apparently he did not see at all, for he stared at her questioningly. Very likely she guessed that, for immediately she became more lucid.
"It 's such a ridiculous situation! I don't know where to begin, and I should not blame you if you told me I was an awful goose."
"I won't," he encouraged her.
"Well, we got into Boston early this morning. Somebody on the train suggested to my husband a quiet place where we might stay for the night, in a private family. I did not overhear the conversation, and my husband did not happen to mention the street to me. I should n't have remembered, anyway, because I don't know anything about Boston.
You see, we 're sailing to-morrow. Besides, although I get along beautifully alone, when I'm with my husband I always depend absolutely on him. He always insists on taking just the care of me that you would of a child. We went to this house, left our things, and about ten we started to walk down-town, toward the center of the city. We were going to have dinner
in a hotel. I wanted to buy some hairpins-" For the first time her voice began to quiver a little.
He was afraid she was going to cry.
"Oh, yes." She stopped, and caught
control of herself. "I needed them for the boat. I ran across a little shop that happened to be open, late as it was. I told my husband to go on, he hates waiting for change, that I would overtake him. When I came out from buying the hairpins he was not in sight. But I followed the street-oh, for what seemed a long, long way! Probably it seemed longer simply because it was unfamiliar. Anyway, I leaped to the conclusion that I was going in the wrong direction. I turned back on my tracks, and then I lost my head entirely, and began making desperate excursions into the side street. My theory is that he was doing the same thing. We were like buckets in a well. When he was here I was there, and when I was there he was here. Anyway, we lost each other; and so I came back to the place where we separated, -I had managed to keep that in mind,-knowing that he would ultimately come back there after me. I've been waiting hours and hours and hours. What time is it?" she demanded suddenly.
“About twelve," he answered.
"It began to snow a long time ago. That frightened me, but I did n't dare to leave. You see, I did n't know where to go. I don't know where we 're staying, and I have no money. You don't know how glad I am that you spoke to me, because I was beginning to feel a little frightened." She managed to laugh a little. "And I should like your advice."
He considered the situation. If any sinister interpretation of the man's disappearance occurred to him, he managed to keep guard on his expression.
"You feel sure that your husband will come back here?"
"But in this storm don't you think he might get lost, too?"