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Above the Battle
dreams to me, and now, on the verge of battle, bid me a sublime farewell.
Those years of scepticism and gay frivolity in which we in France grew up are avenged in you; your faith, which is ours, you protect from their poisonous influence; and with you that faith triumphs on the battlefield. "A war of revenge" is the cry. Yea! revenge indeed; but in no spirit of Chauvinism. The revenge of faith against all the egotisms of the senses and of the spirit—the surrender of self to eternal ideas.
One of the most powerful of the young French novelists—Corporal X.—writes to me:—
"What are our lives, our books, compared with the magnitude of the aim? The war of the Revolution against feudalism is beginning anew. The armies of the Republic will secure the triumph of democracy in Europe and complete the work of the Convention. We are fighting for more than our hearths and homes, for the awakening of liberty." Another of these young people, of noble spirit and pure heart, who will be, if he lives, the first art critic of our time—Lieutenant X.:— "My friend, could you see our Army as I do, you would be thrilled with admiration for our people, for this noble race. An enthusiasm, like an outburst of Marseillaise, thrills them; heroic, earnest, and even religious. I have seen the three divisions of my army corps set out; the men of active service first, young men of twenty marching with firm and rapid steps, without a cry, without a gesture, like the ephebi of old calmly going to sacrifice. After them