Christopher Morley: No enthusiasm for hymns of hate
From Ingo (1918)
The first night we sat down at the inn table for supper I lost my heart to Ingo! Ingo was just ten years old. He wore a little sailor suit of blue and white striped linen; his short trousers showed chubby brown calves above his white socks; his round golden head cropped close in the German fashion. His blue eyes were grave and thoughtful. By great good fortune we sat next each other at table, and in my rather grotesque German I began a conversation. How careful Ingo was not to laugh at the absurdities of my syntax! How very courteous he was!…
There is a particular poignance in looking back now on those happy days two years before the war. Nowhere in all the world, I suppose, are there more cordial, warmhearted, simple, human people than the South Germans. On the front of the inn there was a big yellow metal sign, giving the military number of the district, and the mobilization points for the Landsturm and the Landwehr, and we realized that even here the careful organization of the military power had numbered and ticketed every village. But what did it mean to us? War was a thing unthinkable in those days…
I wonder if he thinks of me as often as I do of him? He gave me a glimpse into the innocent heaven of a child’s heart that I can never forget. By now he is approaching sixteen, and I pray that whatever the war may take away from me it will spare me my Ingo…
If I love anybody in the world, I love Ingo. And that is why I cannot get up much enthusiasm for hymns of hate.
From Fall Fever (1920)
Only last Sunday we saw this ad in a paper:
HEIRS WANTED: The war is over and has made many news heirs. You may be one of them. Investigate. Many now living in poverty are rich, but don’t know it.
From Thoughts in a Subway (1921)
He is but a poor and mean-spirited lover – whether of his city, his country, or anything else – who loves her only because he has known no other. We are shy of vociferating patriotiism because it is callow and empty, sprung generally from mere ignorance.