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"ROUND THE CAULDRON", Issue 15628, 20 October 1914
"ROUND THE CAULDRON"
[Fob the Dtxnedin ' Stae.'] [By E. S. Hole, of London.] PARIS, August'lß. If the Germans have found a greater difficulty than they expected in getting to Paris, they may find some consolation in the fact that they have at least made it very difficult for anyone else to get there, and still more difficult for anyone to get out of it. I left Charing .Cross at 8.30 on Sunday morning, and although. I arrived in Paris by 10 o'clock the same evening, the journey was so circuitous that T gave up all efforts to follow it on the map. From London to Folkestone 1 shared a carriage with a lusty batch of young Frenchmen proceeding to join the colors, whom I will designate " The optimists." I never came across any collection of men whom the title more aptly fitted. During the whole of the passage I was regaled with martial and musichall airs, and mv chief memory is of a particularly loud-lunered youth who combined the singing of the ' Marseillaise' with sundry calculations on his Lloyd George insurance card, duly stamped to date, thus achieving a reconciliation of the apparently incompatible. If the spirit animating the French mobilisation throughout is similar to that of these young men, then it would simply require a superhuman spirit on the part of the Germans to beat it. • And what a Paris is this that I find ! Here is the greatest paradox in Europe ! A week-day Paris like a Sunday London. I have never known a greater wonder. The boulevards are filled with, an unwonted silence, strangely reminiscent of Sunday afternoon in Regent street, and the long line of closed shops indicates the presence of the whole of their staffs at the front in a variety of ways, ranging froni a decla,ration of patriotic fervor written across a tricolor poster to the simple " Vive la France" chalked upon the iron shutters. Practically the whole of the population of fighting age has gone, and those who still remain are informed by proclamation that they are liable to be stopped at any moment in the street by a gendarme, and must be able to produce papers giving a satisfactory reason why they are not in the fighting line. The whole city is changed, and the impression conveyed to me is that France is tense as a tiger couched for the spring. France has surprised me. I take off my hat to her, and humbly apologise for past misconceptions. It is a new France, and this is a new Paris. As I write it is evening, and I sit by an open window overlooking the very centre of the "Grande Boulevards." The pavements, which at this hour are wont to carry a throng which is world-famous for its gaiety, are now almost deserted. On the seats are a number of people immersed in the perusal of their papers, and perhaps the filles de joie" arc not lessened in number though increased in conspicuousness, but the air is full of a seriousness which T have never associated with Paris. Last night as I arrived here the searchlights were traversing the darkened sky. and soon they will commence, again. Business is not "as usual" here. More serious "business" is being enacted elsewhere, by the bulk of the business community. Chemists, drapers, hootsellers, newspaper offices, tobacconists, and a hundred other shops and institutions have closed down altogether, and the chiefs and assistants departed en bloc for the front. In one of his inspirations Tennyson wrote of the linen draper who, on tlie invasion of England, would jump over his counter and "strike with his thieving yardstick home."' Here the linen draper actually has jumped over his counter, and is striking home with something much more formidable than his Yardstick.
When I look upon Paris as it is I think of the motto which had been deemed satisfactory for England just before 1 left "business as usual." I hardly think that motto fair to our Allies, though I pay tribute to the spirit which animated Mr Morgan in making the suggestion. Business is not as usual cither with our troops, with our Fleet, or with out- Allies. I think, therefore, that the <-ase would best he met by thr adoption of a simple but sweeping and universally applicable motto, suitable alike for the sailor, soldier, policeman, manufacturer, merchant, and workman in this tenth hour as in any other —i.e.. "All orders promptly executed." Tin.' very first glimpse 1 had of _ the quay at Boulogne showed me a British Tommy Atkins in service dress seated upon it. and putting away at a "Woodbine" or " Marvland " as'if he had been there, since the" Flood. If the presence of British troops upon the Continent is now generally known in England, and if, therefore, a benevolent censor allows these, lines to appear, the gentle reader will realise how delighted my eyes were to see sundry other Tommy Atkinses standing about the quay when the boat came alongside, apparently upon terms of great chiimminess with sundry French soldiers, who also decorated the same quay with their presence. But as the train was on its circuitous route to Paris, and entered a- station which shall be nameless, I do not think the gentle reader can quite realise the sudden _ rush of blood which swept over my jaded frame when I heard a cheer which could only possibly come from one well-known source, and'.l. almost jumped out of the carriage window in my de.div to regale mv eves with a view of a whole tram-i'on.-l of real, live British Tommy Atkinses and a, station full of French soldiers, the former cheering with that spontaneous and whole-hogging vigor which is peculiar to the British Isles. I heard a most distinct and musically-intoned chorus of " Hoo-blooming-ray." which would beggar the combined efforts of Wagner and Demosthenes. Cheerful, open-faced, gladeyed lads. characteristically British, everyone producing an impression in conjunction with, that sombre French station the serious, red-trousered French troops, which I shall never forget. The Frenchmen, many of them staid and bearded men. were obviously immensely bucked up by the presence of this trainload of vociferous youth, and I learned a similar trainload had just gone before. My impression in France, and particularly in Paris, is that immeasurably more weightis attached to the Russian co-opera*ien than to that of Great Britain, but a few days of actual association with Tommy Atkins in the field will generate an enthusiasm which will soon spread to Paris and over the country, and enable the French to realise fully that? on land, as well as on sea, the support of Britannia is puissant and an immeasurably valuable one. The French public is inclined to treat the sea warfare of this conflict as rather academic, and not directly affecting la. Revanche, so our participation tn that field is going to make, even the million hoards of Russia take a second place in popular affection. The presence of General French in Paris yesterday has had an inspiring effect on the popuiace here. There is one great feature about this war which nnp.ht at on-ep to engage the attention of British economists. England expands and Germiny oozes is a phrase which T have often us?d to sum un the relative economic developments of the two countries. Over five continents the British race has 'spread its influence and laid the roots of its commerce. Coming later Germany has oozed an influence. first throughout the commercial life of Eta-ope, and later throughout the less developed parts of the earth Its. "actual flag" has not flown over a wide aiea., but its travellers;
and advertisements and trade propaganda have permeated everywhere. It lias been a process of •'uflltration. The- remarkable feature has been the past success of this tendency in France. When I was here some months ago I was astounded at the hold which Genua 1 organisers and German capital had gained in almost every sphere in French life. Many of the newspapers had practically the whole of the advertising organisations, were almost entirely dominated by German capital, while the financial and irsurance and export organisations also bowed to German control. Many French journalists had raised, their voices again.-b this invasion, deciding it to be the " great preliminary" to the "other" subjugation; and exactly the Mine conditions apply to Belgium. . In Antwerp alone, out of a population of 400,000, no less than 32,000 were Germans. Of the Chamber of Commerce there five sections were under the presidency of Germany and four sections had German vice-presidents. In the Chambers of Arbitration of various trades the proportion of German members was as follows : Wool, 13 out- of 44. Grain, 27 out of 200. Petrol, 9 out of 33. Leather, 8 out of 23. Chemicals, 14 out of 85. Rubber, 4 out of 25. Manures, 10 out of 38. This shows a. proportion of 20 per cent. German elements in the whole commercial lifo of Belgium. The administration of 15 banks is in. German hands, and there are 33 German maritime, insurance companies. Ir. much the same manner this necessary cozing of German influence lias pervaded every European country. The well-known "Made in Germany" mark indicates how it has permeated England, while even in Turkey the subterraneous influenc3 of German factors is becoming onlv teo evident. In America the German commercial element is extremely strong, and is evincing its influence in wave likely to prove disadvantageous to us in the present struggle: while in South America, particularly in Brazil, German influence has almost" become commercial'y predominant. In the British colonies Germans lia-vo always been welcome, made good settlers, and in Australia have ever. evinced a desire to fight for the land of their adoption. In Canada the strength of German puslifillness was perhaps mainly responsible for introduction of the preferential tariff. The upshot of the foutgoing is the clear demonstration of the resulting fact that the interests of the German people are not the, interests of the German Government. During the past few decades Germany has made enormous economic progress. (She has developed ingiant strides, but there- has been no governmental glory in it. That is the whole rub. Whereas 'this policy of permeation lias been of enormous value to the German people, often at our expense, yet in the fair commercial flight the German bureaucracy has yearned tor a policy of expansion," and that yearning is at the root o? the present great upheaval. The fiction is the belief born of the success in 1670 that Germany is a military nation. It is not. A warrior race does not bow av-d kow-tow before its own symbol. _ A warrior r;nv is not governed by "Veibalen,'' as is the case in Germany. the error arises in the fact that tha Germans are a well-disciplined race, but it is a commercial and industrial, not a wan-or. people. Tte '"War Lord" idea is a- hybrd and bastard prod'''.'. ~.)>'■■: >, c-uiv r'-iV ■ rated, will tjive the Germans a chance, io achieve their tremendous destiny. Germany will, and must, in the absence >•: area." for new colonisation, ooze and pc > - meate existing organisations, and wluvi it is known and leeognised universally that the Gorman element in any community . iis the outpost of an ingenious, indust-nous, and wholesome race, and not an adva'r.-e picket of a hostile army, then the Ger-man-nation will find its problems solved. Despite the progress it has made, I firmly believe that' German Industry and commerce would have made . even .greater progress had i.ot the German name been svnonymons with mailed list** and veil.-d hints 'of coining force of arms. And .so in France the tremendous and 'carefully-executed policy of German jwermeation has vanished like a dream. It if; gone "* om here, ** has va "~ ished in England, and it is suffering hii ; mense losses"' the whole world over. Tin' economic Ws to the -German community caused by this war Is incalculable, and it is a debit which the commercial community of Germany tan charge against the military and 'bureaucratic elements which have* believed spectacular "glory" to be more valuable than economic stability. Perhaps the newer and better Germany later on will start all ov r again, and in the right spiiit. Perhaps then her emissaries will nut be regarded here and elsewhere, with such doubt-fid eves as hitherto, and perhaps the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France will enable the German merchant, manufacturer, anl financier to build on a. founder basis here than ever hitherto, ior that great gulf will no longer vawn between him and his clientele. But at what, cost will this newer basis be bought, and what an error has been the.. trove) nmerit of the Kaisei. exemplify)'!"- tlie vainglorious brutality of a." Bernhirli and the mad "superman" theories of a Nietzsche! Truly can the Kaiser say : Saul lias slain his thousands, Davil his 'thousands ten : But a million 1 will U> dieMostly my own brave men ! •Uter much difficulty I h«\e been able u arrange to have here to-nigra for Marcoille<. The train departs at midnight. i,uf ih" hour of arrival and the vicissitudes of travel which await, me on the wav are more than I can estimate. I, hone however, to be thee some time to„10vrow, and will wide my next-epistle on the shores of the Mediterranean.
"ROUND THE CAULDRON", Issue 15628, 20 October 1914
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