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to labor to make himself believe. He could not
accept with assurance an omen that he was about
to mingle in one of those great affairs of the earth.
He had, of course, dreamed of battles all
his life--of vague and bloody conflicts that had
thrilled him with their sweep and fire. In visions
he had seen himself in many struggles. He had
imagined peoples secure in the shadow of his
eagle-eyed prowess. But awake he had regarded
battles as crimson blotches on the pages of the
past. He had put them as things of the bygone
with his thought-images of heavy crowns and
high castles. There was a portion of the world's
history which he had regarded as the time of
wars, but it, he thought, had been long gone over
the horizon and had disappeared forever.
From his home his youthful eyes had looked
upon the war in his own country with distrust.
It must be some sort of a play affair. He had
long despaired of witnessing a Greeklike struggle.
Such would be no more, he had said. Men were
better, or more timid. Secular and religious
education had effaced the throat-grappling in-
stinct, or else firm finance held in check the pas-
He had burned several times to enlist. Tales
of great movements shook the land. They might
not be distinctly Homeric, but there seemed to
be much glory in them. He had read of marches,
sieges, conflicts, and he had longed to see it all.
His busy mind had drawn for him large pictures
extravagant in color, lurid with breathless deeds.
But his mother had discouraged him. She
had affected to look with some contempt upon
the quality of his war ardor and patriotism. She
could calmly seat herself and with no apparent
difficulty give him many hundreds of reasons
why he was of vastly more importance on the
farm than on the field of battle. She had had
certain ways of expression that told him that her
statements on the subject came from a deep con-