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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/225

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175
Anglo-French Dinner Speech

whose noble branches have been broken by the storm?"

Thus, in the enchanted forest, mutual distrust drove back the sap, and prolonged the death-like winter even after the call of spring.

What happened at last? By what mysterious influence was the grim charm broken? Did some tree find the courage to act alone, like those April poplars that break into a shower of verdure and give from afar the signal for a renewal of all life? Or did a warmer and more life-giving beam start the sap moving in all the trees at once? For lo! in a single day the whole forest burst forth into a magnificent flowering of joy and peace. (Applause.)

Gentlemen, if you will allow me to fit my toast to this old allegory, and to give it before you and with you the form of an invocation to Nature, I will drink to the sunbeam that charmed the whole forest into bloom.

These admirable words were greeted by a burst of enthusiasm. Friends and opponents alike came up to congratulate the Socialist leader.

(Extract from the report of the visit of the group of English members of Parliament to Paris.)