of him, enhancing his powers, animating and guiding him
"Aw, get your facts straight!" It was said with scornful force. "Don't you know George III was a German? Don't you know it was Hessians-- they're Germans--he hired to come over here and kill Americans and do his dirty work for him? And his Germans did the same dirty work the Kaiser's are doing now. We've got a letter written after the battle of Long Island by a member of our family they took prisoner there. And they stripped him and they stole his things and they beat him down with the butts of their guns--after he had surrendered, mind--when he was surrendered and naked, and when he was down they beat him some more. That's Germans for you. Only they've been getting worse while the rest of the world's been getting better. Get your facts straight, man."
A number of us were now listening to this, and I envied the historian his ingenious promptness--I have none--and I hoped for more of this timely debate. But debate was over. The anti-Englishman faded to silence. Either he was out of facts to get straight, or lacked what is so pithily termed "come-back." The latter, I incline to think; for come-back needs no facts, it is a self-feeder, and its entire absence in the anti-Englishman looks as if he had been a German. Germans do not come back when it goes against them, they bleat "Kamerad!"--or disappear. Perhaps this man was a spy--a poor one, to be sure--yet doing his best for his Kaiser: slinking about, peeping, listening, trying to wedge the Allies apart, doing his little bit towards making friends enemies, just as his breed has worked to set enmity between ourselves and Japan, ourselves and Mexico, France and England, France and Italy, England and Russia, between everybody and everybody else all the world over, in the sacred name and for the sacred sake of the Kaiser. Thus has his breed, since we occupied Coblenz, run to the French soldiers with lies about us and then run to us with lies about the French soldiers, overlooking in its providential stupidity the fact that we and the French would inevitably compare notes. Thus too is his breed, at the moment I write these words, infesting and poisoning the earth with a propaganda that remains as coherent and as systematically directed as ever it was before the papers began to assure us that there was nothing left of the Hohenzollern government.
"You will desire to know," said the Kaiser to his council at Potsdam in June, 1908, after the successful testing of the first Zeppelin, "how the hostilities will be brought about. My army of spies scattered over Great Britain and France, as it is over North and South America, will take good care of that. Even now I rule supreme in the United States, where three million voters do my bidding at the Presidential elections."
Yes, they did his bidding; there, and elsewhere too. They did it at other elections as well. Do you remember the mayor they tried to elect in Chicago? and certain members of Congress? and certain manufacturers and bankers? They did his bidding in our newspapers, our public schools, and from the pulpit. Certain localities in one of the river counties of Iowa (for instance) were spots of German treason to the United States. The "exchange professors" that came from Berlin to Harvard and other universities were so many camouflaged spies. Certain prominent American citizens, dined and wined and flattered by the Kaiser for his purpose, women as well as men, came back here mere Kaiser-puppets, hypnotized by royalty. His bidding was done in as many ways as would fill a book. Shopkeepers did it, servants did it, Americans among us were decorated by him for doing it. Even after the Armistice, a school textbook "got by" the Board of Education in a western state, wherein our boys and girls were to be taught a German version--a Kaiser version--of Germany. Somebody protested, and the board explained that it "hadn't noticed," and the book was held up.
We cannot, I fear, order the school histories in Germany to be edited by the Allies. German school children will grow up believing, in all prob- ability, that bombs were dropped near Nurnberg in July, 1914, that German soil was invaded, that the Fatherland fought a war of defense; they will certainly be nourished by lies in the future as they were nourished by lies in the past. But we can prevent Germans or pro-Germans writing our own school histories; we can prevent that "army of spies" of which the Kaiser boasted to his council at Potsdam in June, 1908, from continuing its activities among us now and henceforth; and we can prevent our school textbooks from playing into Germany's hand by teaching hate of England to our boys and girls. Beside the sickening silliness which still asks, "What has England done in the war?" is a silliness still more sickening which says, "Germany is beaten. Let us forgive and forget." That is not Christianity. There is nothing Christian about it. It is merely sentimental slush, sloppy shirking of anything that compels national alertness, or effort, or self-discipline, or self-denial; a moral cowardice that pushes away any fact which disturbs a shallow, torpid, irresponsible, self-indulgent optimism.
Our golden age of isolation is over. To attempt to return to it would be a mere pernicious day-dream. To hark back to Washington's warning against entangling alliances is as sensible as to go by a map of the world made in 1796. We are coupled to the company of nations like a car in the middle of a train, only more inevitably and permanently, for we cannot uncouple; and if we tried to do so, we might not wreck the train, but we should assuredly wreck ourselves. I think the war has brought us one benefit certainly: that many young men return from Europe knowing this, who had no idea of it before they went, and who know also that Germany is at heart an untamed, unchanged wild beast, never to be trusted again. We must not, and shall not, boycott her in trade; but let us not go to sleep at the switch! Just as busily as she is baking pottery opposite Coblenz, labelled "made in St. Louis," "made in Kansas City," her "army of spies" is at work here and everywhere to undermine those nations who have for the moment delayed her plans for world dominion. I think the number of Americans who know this has increased; but no American, wherever he lives, need travel far from home to meet fellow Americans who sing the song of slush about forgiving and forgetting.
Perhaps the man I heard talking in front of the bulletin board was one of the "army of spies," as I like to infer from his absence of "come-back." But perhaps he was merely an innocent American who at school had studied, for instance, Eggleston's history; thoughtless--but by no means harmless; for his school-taught "slant" against England, in the days we were living through then, amounted to a "slant" for Germany. He would be sorry if Germany beat France, but not if she beat England--when France and England were joined in keeping the wolf not only from their door but from ours! It matters not in the least that they were fighting our battle, not because they wanted to, but because they couldn't help it: they were fighting it just the same. That they were compelled doesn't matter, any more than it matters that in going to war when Belgium was invaded, England's duty and England's self-interest happened to coincide. Our duty and our interest also coincided when we entered the war and joined England and France. Have we seemed to think that this diminished our glory? Have they seemed to think that it absolved them from gratitude?
Such talk as that man's in front of the bulletin board helped Germany then, whether he meant to or not, just as much as if a spy had said it-- just as much as similar talk against England to-day, whether by spies or unheeding Americans, helps the Germany of to-morrow. The Germany of yesterday had her spies all over France and Italy, busily suggesting to rustic uninformed peasants that we had gone to France for conquest of France, and intended to keep some of her land. What is she telling them now? I don't know. Something to her advantage and their disadvantage, you may be sure, just as she is busy suggesting to us things to her advantage and our disadvantage--jealousy and fear of the British navy, or pro-German school histories for our children, or that we can't make dyes, or whatever you please: the only sure thing is, that the Germany of yesterday is the Germany of to-morrow. She is not changed. She will not change. The steady stream of her propaganda all over the world proves it. No matter how often her masquerading government changes costumes, that costume is merely her device to conceal the same cunning, treacherous wild beast that in 1914, after forty years of preparation, sprang at the throat of the world. Of all the nations in the late war, she alone is pulling herself together. She is hard at work. She means to spring again just as soon as she can.
- designs to a successful conclusion. One party he moved
- looked on think lightly of such premature despair, as if
- go on pulling. It’s the mistake you lads make that have
- “Come this way, then,” said Tom, wondering if this
- Three or four inches of water now flooded the cave of the
- which he could justly show himself dominant. Maggie’s
- it several times. You ought not to have spoken as you did
- wi’ such raff. But you war allays a rare un at shying,
- in an iron sluice gate. The Eurasian had passed it, but
- little. Who was that enviable young man that could tell
- on the rest of the costume, as of tablets prepared for
- exposition of her project; still less dared she mention
- To his host he explained that he was moving his safari
- wi’ rats nor barges. An’ I should go about the country
- or a stoat, or that, when I war a-beatin’ the bushes.”
- a respectable partner in a respectable firm, and perhaps
- away from our tents the large circle of lookers on. An
- with the rather broad-set but active figure, perhaps two
- satin spencer, and had not yet any thoughts of Mr. Tulliver,
- said Maggie, who couldn’t help mingling some gayety with
- resting the electric lamp upon one of the little ebony
- would link together the wonderful impressions of this mysterious
- Dutchmen, I’ll be bound. Come, think better on it, Mr.
- Maggie felt; it seemed to be a world where people behaved
- could trust. To them he explained his plans and the rich
- for he felt a little ashamed of that early intimacy symbolized
- and affection, and a certain awe as well as admiration
- by which she, and no one else, would avert the result most
- with stating that they were poor natives of the place,
- but they were driven back again, and she said at last:
- the cautious firm of Guest &Co., who did not carry on business
- Maggie, in her brown frock, with her eyes reddened and
- the gunpowder was wanted for making a noise on their saint
- — an’ so you might take a slice o’ my luck, an’
- of her father’s heart-cutting childish dependence. There
- you’ve got a better start in the world if you stick yourselves
- was anxious to examine a reported coal-mine which turned
- preparing the musket, that, duly pointed by a brave arm,
- the critical hours when the noise of the sale came nearest
- myself above you; I know you behaved better than I did
- of the Eurasian. She turned and faced him, threw up both
- “to give him good words,” why shouldn’t he listen
- with the rather broad-set but active figure, perhaps two
- that you colored with your little paints; and that picture
- the moving ray. Inhaling sibilantly, Max leaped after her.
- Time would have seemed to creep to the watchers by the
- things — not a bit of good to me — and now my uncle
- very hard. It seemed a wrong toward him that his uncle
- she had come to believe, since otherwise he would have
- toward the Tullivers. One day he had brought Lucy, who