Hermann Sudermann: War irrigates the soil with blood, fertilizes it with corpses
From The Cats’ Bridge (1890)
Translated by Beatrice Marshall
Peace was signed, and the world, which had for so long been the Corsican’s plaything, came to itself again. It came to itself, bruised and mangled, bleeding from a thousand wounds, and studded with battle-fields like a body with festering sores…The ground from which their wheat sprang…would bear all the richer fruit from being soaked in blood…
His eyes wandered over the row of flattened graves, and now there seemed no end to them…How many were buried there? If they had been closely packed, a hundred or more might rest in each grave – or perhaps even double that number…
What had taken place on the shores of the Mediterranean in the month of March, the inhabitants of quiet country towns and out-of-the-way moorland villages had as yet no suspicion. Not a breath had reached them of that interrupted quadrille at Prince Metternich’s ball, of the fury and consternation of sovereigns and potentates; they knew nothing of foam-bespattered proscriptions issued against the escaped rebel, of re-arming and rumours of war.