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An Englishman Looks at the World   By: (1866-1946)

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Being a Series of Unrestrained Remarks upon Contemporary Matters




Blériot arrives and sets him thinking. (1)

He flies, (2)

And deduces certain consequences of cheap travel. (3)

He considers the King, and speculates on the New Epoch; (4)

He thinks Imperially, (5)

And then, coming to details, about Labour, (6)

Socialism, (7)

And Modern Warfare, (8)

He discourses on the Modern Novel, (9)

And the Public Library; (10)

Criticises Chesterton, Belloc, (11)

And Sir Thomas More, (12)

And deals with the London Traffic Problem as a Socialist should. (13)

He doubts the existence of Sociology, (14)

Discusses Divorce, (15)

Schoolmasters, (16)

Motherhood, (17)

Doctors, (18)

And Specialisation; (19)

Questions if there is a People, (20)

And diagnoses the Political Disease of our Times. (21)

He then speculates upon the future of the American Population, (22)

Considers a possible set back to civilisation, (23)

The Ideal Citizen, (24)

The still undeveloped possibilities of Science, (25), and in the broadest spirit

The Human Adventure. (26)


1. The Coming of Blériot

2. My First Flight

3. Off the Chain

4. Of the New Reign

5. Will the Empire Live?

6. The Labour Unrest

7. The Great State

8. The Common Sense of Warfare

9. The Contemporary Novel

10. The Philosopher's Public Library

11. About Chesterton and Belloc

12. About Sir Thomas More

13. Traffic and Rebuilding

14. The So called Science of Sociology

15. Divorce

16. The Schoolmaster and the Empire

17. The Endowment of Motherhood

18. Doctors

19. An Age of Specialisation

20. Is there a People?

21. The Disease of Parliaments

22. The American Population

23. The Possible Collapse of Civilisation

24. The Ideal Citizen

25. Some Possible Discoveries

26. The Human Adventure



( July, 1909 .)

The telephone bell rings with the petulant persistence that marks a trunk call, and I go in from some ineffectual gymnastics on the lawn to deal with the irruption. There is the usual trouble in connecting up, minute voices in Folkestone and Dover and London call to one another and are submerged by buzzings and throbbings. Then in elfin tones the real message comes through: "Blériot has crossed the Channel.... An article ... about what it means."

I make a hasty promise and go out and tell my friends.

From my garden I look straight upon the Channel, and there are white caps upon the water, and the iris and tamarisk are all asway with the south west wind that was also blowing yesterday. M. Blériot has done very well, and Mr. Latham, his rival, had jolly bad luck. That is what it means to us first of all. It also, I reflect privately, means that I have under estimated the possible stability of aeroplanes. I did not expect anything of the sort so soon. This is a good five years before my reckoning of the year before last.

We all, I think, regret that being so near we were not among the fortunate ones who saw that little flat shape skim landward out of the blue; surely they have an enviable memory; and then we fell talking and disputing about what that swift arrival may signify. It starts a swarm of questions.

First one remarks that here is a thing done, and done with an astonishing effect of ease, that was incredible not simply to ignorant people but to men well informed in these matters. It cannot be fifteen years ago since Sir Hiram Maxim made the first machine that could lift its weight from the ground, and I well remember how the clumsy quality of that success confirmed the universal doubt that men could ever in any effectual manner fly.

Since then a conspiracy of accidents has changed the whole problem; the bicycle and its vibrations developed the pneumatic tyre, the pneumatic tyre rendered a comfortable mechanically driven road vehicle possible, the motor car set an enormous premium on the development of very light, very efficient engines, and at last the engineer was able to offer the experimentalists in gliding one strong enough and light enough for the new purpose... Continue reading book >>

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