Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/380

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ing when new educational or social laws are proposed; but when a reduction of military expenditure is mooted, they prove conclusively that the country is marvelously prosperous, and could afford a few more army corps and a dozen super-Dreadnoughts.

Beside the spirit of mutual diffidence which centuries of hostility have fostered, and which the recent attitude of Germany has revived, the strong point of militarism remains its sentimental appeal. Dreary barrack life is still linked in popular imagination with the sombre but grandiose epic of ancient wars. Men serve their time when they are young and buoyant, when no hardship is unendurable, when even the memories of unnecessary fatigue, squalor, petty tyranny, are transfigured by the general glow of youth and hope. I for instance look back upon these days of servitude with a sort of pleasure. I remember the fun, the marching at the sound of bugles and band, or singing away on the highroad; the mock guerilla warfare around Norman farms in the early morning; the incontestable grandeur of a division in battle array. Soldiering is a pretty game, although murdering is an ugly business. It is possible that wars will be abolished generations before armies are suppressed.