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Non-combatants and Others   By: (1881-1958)

Non-combatants and Others by Rose Macaulay

First Page:

NON COMBATANTS AND OTHERS

BY ROSE MACAULAY

AUTHOR OF 'THE LEE SHORE,' 'THE MAKING OF A BIGOT,' ETC.

HODDER AND STOUGHTON LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

Printed in 1916

TO MY BROTHER AND OTHER COMBATANTS

'Let the foul scene proceed: There's laughter in the wings: 'Tis sawdust that they bleed, But a box Death brings.

Gigantic dins uprise! Even the gods must feel A smarting of the eyes As these fumes upsweal.

Strange, such a Piece is free, While we Spectators sit Aghast at its agony, Yet absorbed in it.

Dark is the outer air, Cold the night draughts blow, Mutely we stare, and stare At the frenzied show.

Yet heaven has its quiet shroud Of deep and starry blue We cry "An end!" we are bowed By the dread "'Tis true!"

While the Shape who hoofs applause Behind our deafened ear Hoots angel wise "the Cause!" And affrights even fear.'

WALTER DE LA MARE, The Marionettes .

'War is just the killing of things and the smashing of things. And when it is all over, then literature and civilisation will have to begin all over again. They will have to begin lower down and against a heavier load.... The Wild Asses of the Devil are loose, and there is no restraining them. What is the good, Wilkins, of pretending that the Wild Asses are the instruments of Providence, kicking better than we know? It is all evil.'

REGINALD BLISS, Boon .

'There is work for all who find themselves outside the battle.'

ROMAIN ROLLAND, Above the Battle .

CONTENTS

PART I. WOOD END

CHAPTER I. JOHN COMES HOME

CHAPTER II. JOHN TALKS

CHAPTER III. ALIX GOES

PART II. VIOLETTE

CHAPTER IV. SATURDAY MORNING AT VIOLETTE

CHAPTER V. AFTERNOON OUT

CHAPTER VI. EVENING AT VIOLETTE

CHAPTER VII. HOSPITAL

CHAPTER VIII. BASIL AT VIOLETTE

CHAPTER IX. SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY

CHAPTER X. EVENING IN CHURCH

CHAPTER XI. ALIX AND EVIE

CHAPTER XII. ALIX AND BASIL

CHAPTER XIII. ALIX, NICHOLAS, AND WEST

PART III. DAPHNE

CHAPTER XIV. DAPHNE AT VIOLETTE

CHAPTER XV. ALIX AT A MEETING

CHAPTER XVI. ON PEACE

CHAPTER XVII. NEW YEAR'S EVE

PART I

WOOD END

CHAPTER I

JOHN COMES HOME

1

In a green late April evening, among the dusky pine shadows, Alix drew Percival Briggs. Percival stood with his small cleft chin lifted truculently, small blue eyes deep under fair, frowning brows, one scratched brown leg bare to the knee, dirty hands thrust into torn pockets. He was the worst little boy in the wood, and had been till six months ago the worst little boy in the Sunday school class of Alix's cousin Dorothy. He had not been converted six months ago, but Dorothy, like so many, had renounced Sunday school to work in a V.A.D. hospital.

Alix, who was drawing Percival, worked neither in a Sunday school nor in a hospital. She only drew. She drew till the green light became green gloom, lit by a golden star that peered down between the pines. She had a pale, narrow, delicate, irregular sort of face, broad browed, with a queer, cynical, ironic touch to it, and purple blue eyes that sometimes opened very wide and sometimes narrowed into slits. When they narrowed she looked as from behind a visor, critical, defensive, or amused; when they opened wide she looked singularly unguarded, as if the bars were up and she, unprotected, might receive the enemy's point straight and clean. Behind her, on the wood path, was a small donkey between the shafts of a small cart. A rough yellow dog scratched and sniffed and explored among the roots of the trees.

Alix said to Percival, 'That will do, thank you. Here you are,' and fished out sixpence in coppers from her pocket, and he clutched and gripped them in a small retentive fist.

Alix, who was rather lame, put her stool and easel and charcoal into the cart, got in herself, beat the donkey, and ambled on along the path, followed by the yellow dog... Continue reading book >>




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