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A Padre in France   By: (1865-1950)

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First Page:

A PADRE IN FRANCE

BY

GEORGE A. BIRMINGHAM

AUTHOR OF

"THE MAJOR'S NIECE," "GENERAL JOHN REGAN," "SPANISH GOLD" "BENEDICT KAVANAGH," ETC.

HODDER AND STOUGHTON

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.

WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THE MAJOR'S NIECE MINNIE'S BISHOP GENERAL JOHN REGAN HYACINTH BENEDICT KAVANAGH

LONDON: HODDER & STOUGHTON

TO

R. M. L.

FRIEND AND FELLOW WORKER

CONTENTS

PAGE CHAPTER I THE UTTERMOST PART 15

CHAPTER II GETTING THERE 27

CHAPTER III A JOURNEY IN THE WAR ZONE 40

CHAPTER IV SETTLING DOWN 52

CHAPTER V KHAKI 63

CHAPTER VI LEISURE HOURS 78

CHAPTER VII COMING AND GOING 95

CHAPTER VIII WOODBINE HUT 115

CHAPTER IX Y.S.C. 131

CHAPTER X THE DAILY ROUND 151

CHAPTER XI ANOTHER JOURNEY 164

CHAPTER XII MADAME 177

CHAPTER XIII THE CON. CAMP 194

CHAPTER XIV A BACKWATER 214

CHAPTER XV MY THIRD CAMP 229

CHAPTER XVI LEAVE 245

CHAPTER XVII A HOLIDAY 261

CHAPTER XVIII PADRES 275

CHAPTER XIX CITIZEN SOLDIERS 289

A PADRE IN FRANCE

CHAPTER I

THE UTTERMOST PART

I have always admired the sagacity of Balak, King of Moab, about whom we learn something in the Book of Numbers. He was threatened with invasion by a powerful foe and felt unequal to offering armed resistance. He invoked the aid of spiritual powers by inviting a prophet, Balaam, to come and curse the army of the invaders. Balaam suffered himself to be persuaded and bribed by the king. All kings and the statesmen who nowadays regulate the conduct of kings understand the business of managing men so far. Persuasion and bribery are the methods of statecraft. But Balak knew more than the elements of his trade. He understood that spiritual forces, if merely bribed, are ineffective. To make a curse operate there must be a certain amount of conviction in the mind of the curser. Balaam was not convinced, and when he surveyed the hosts of Israel from the top of a hill felt himself compelled by the spirit within him to bless instead of curse. The king, discouraged but not hopeless, took the prophet to the top of another hill, showed him a different view of the camp of Israel and invited him to curse the people from there.

At first sight this seems a foolish thing to have done; but properly considered it appears very crafty. From the fresh viewpoint, Balaam saw not the whole, but only the "uttermost part" of the hosts of Israel. I suppose he no longer saw the first line troops, the army in battle array. Instead he saw the base camps, the non combatant followers of the army, a great deal that was confused and sordid, very little that was glorious or fine. It might conceivably have been possible for him to curse the whole army and cast a blight upon its enterprise, when his eyes rested only on the camp followers, the baggage trains, the mobs of cattle, the maimed and unfit men; when the fine show of the fighters was out of sight... Continue reading book >>




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