Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Simon Called Peter   By: (1887-1927)

Book cover

First Page:






She never lived, maybe, but it is truer to say that she never dies. Nor shall she ever die. One may believe in God, though He is hard to find, and in Women, though such as Julie are far to seek.


The glamour of no other evil thing is stronger than the glamour of war. It would seem as if the cup of the world's sorrow as a result of war had been filled to the brim again and again, but still a new generation has always been found to forget. A new generation has always been found to talk of the heroisms that the divine in us can manifest in the mouth of hell and to forget that so great a miracle does not justify our creation of the circumstance.

Yet if ever war came near to its final condemnation it was in 1914 1918. Our comrades died bravely, and we had been willing to die, to put an end to it once and for all. Indeed war weary men heard the noise of conflict die away on November 11, 1918, thinking that that end had been attained. It is not yet three years ago; a little time, but long enough for betrayal.

Long enough, too, for the making of many books about it all, wherein has been recorded such heroisms as might make God proud and such horror as might make the Devil weep. Yet has the truth been told, after all? Has the world realized that in a modern war a nation but moves in uniform to perform its ordinary tasks in a new intoxicating atmosphere? Now and again a small percentage of the whole is flung into the pit, and, for them, where one in ten was heavy slaughter, now one in ten is reasonable escape. The rest, for the greater part of the time, live an unnatural life, death near enough to make them reckless and far enough to make them gay. Commonly men and women more or less restrain themselves because of to morrow; but what if there be no to morrow? What if the dice are heavily weighted against it? And what of their already jeoparded restraint when the crisis has thrown the conventions to the winds and there is little to lighten the end of the day?

Thus to lift the veil on life behind the lines in time of war is a thankless task. The stay at homes will not believe, and particularly they whose smug respectability and conventional religion has been put to no such fiery trial. Moreover they will do more than disbelieve; they will say that the story is not fit to be told. Nor is it. But then it should never have been lived. That very respectability, that very conventionality, that very contented backboneless religion made it possible all but made it necessary. For it was those things which allowed the world to drift into the war, and what the war was nine days out of ten ought to be thrust under the eyes of those who will not believe. It is a small thing that men die in battle, for a man has but one life to live and it is good to give it for one's friends; but it is such an evil that it has no like, this drifting of a world into a hell to which men's souls are driven like red maple leaves before the autumn wind.

The old fashioned pious books made hell stink of brimstone and painted the Devil hideous. But Satan is not such a fool. Champagne and Martinis do not taste like Gregory powder, nor was St. Anthony tempted by shrivelled hags. Paganism can be gay, and passion look like love. Moreover, still more truly, Christ could see the potentiality of virtue in Mary Magdalene and of strength in Simon called Peter. The conventional religious world does not.

A curious feature, too, of that strange life was its lack of consecutiveness. It was like the pages of La Vie Parisienne . The friend of to day was gone for ever to morrow. A man arrived, weary and dirty and craving for excitement, in some unknown town; in half an hour he had stepped into the gay glitter of wine and women's smiles; in half a dozen he had been whirled away... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books