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All for a Scrap of Paper A Romance of the Present War   By: (1860-1937)

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E text prepared by Al Haines

ALL FOR A SCRAP OF PAPER

A Romance of the Present War

by

JOSEPH HOCKING

Author of "Dearer Than Life," "The Curtain of Fire," "The Path of Glory," Etc.

Fifteenth Edition

Hodder and Stoughton London New York Toronto MCMXVIII

JOSEPH HOCKING'S GREAT WAR STORIES

THE PATH OF GLORY THE CURTAIN OF FIRE DEARER THAN LIFE TOMMY TOMMY AND THE MAID OF ATHENS

OTHER STORIES BY JOSEPH HOCKING

Facing Fearful Odds O'er Moor and Fen The Wilderness Rosaleen O'Hara The Soul of Dominic Wildthorne Follow the Gleam David Baring The Trampled Cross

"I then said that I should like to go and see the Chancellor. . . I found the Chancellor very agitated. His Excellency began a harangue which lasted about twenty minutes. He said that the step taken by His Majesty's Government was terrible to a degree; just for a word, 'neutrality' a word which in war time had also often been disregarded just for a scrap of paper. . . . I protested strongly. . . . I would wish him to understand it was a matter, so to speak, of 'life and death' for the honour of Great Britain that she should keep her solemn engagement. The Chancellor said, 'But at what price will that compact have to be kept? Has the British Government thought of that?' I hinted to his Excellency as plainly as I could that fear of consequences could hardly be regarded as an excuse for breaking solemn engagements." Extract of Report from Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey, August 8, 1914.

CHAPTER I

Events have moved so rapidly in our little town of St. Ia, that it is difficult to set them down with the clearness they deserve. We Cornish people are an imaginative race, just as all people of a Celtic origin are, but we never dreamed of what has taken place. One week we were sitting idly in our boats in the bay, the next our lads had heard the call of their country, and had hurried away in its defence. One day we were at peace with the world, the next we were at war with one of the greatest fighting nations in the world. At the end of July, little knowing of the correspondence taking place between Sir Edward Grey and the Ambassadors of Europe, we tended our flocks, prepared to garner our harvest, and sent out our fishing boats; at the beginning of August we had almost forgotten these things in the wild excitement with which the news of war filled us. Placards headed by the Royal Arms were posted at public places, calling up Army and Navy Reserves, and fervent appeals were made to all our boys old enough to bear arms, to bid good bye to home and loved ones, in order to help England to maintain her plighted word, and support her honour.

Not that we were in a state of panic, or fear, thank God. There was nothing of that. Neither were we in doubt as to the ultimate issue. We believed we had right on our side, and as our forefathers had fought in every stage of our country's history, we were prepared to fight again. But we Cornish are a quiet, Peace loving people, and many of us hated, and still hate with a deadly hatred, the very thought of the bloody welter, the awful carnage, and the untold misery and suffering which war means.

But it is not of these things I have to write. My work is to tell the story of a lad I know, and love; the story, too, of a maid who loved him, and what this great war, which even yet seems only to have just begun, has meant to them.

It was on Monday, the twenty ninth day of June in this present year, that Robert, or, as he is generally spoken of by his friends, Bob Nancarrow, got out his two seater Renaud, and prepared to drive to Penwennack, the home of Admiral Tresize. Bob had but just "come down" from Oxford, and was now in great good spirits at the prospect before him.

This was scarcely to be wondered at, for Nancy Tresize had asked him to take her to Gurnard's Head, which, as all Cornish people know, is near to the town of St... Continue reading book >>




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