Home > Uncategorized > John Galsworthy: Would they never tire of making mincemeat of the world?

John Galsworthy: Would they never tire of making mincemeat of the world?


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

John Galsworthy: Selections on war


John Galsworthy
From On Forsyte ‘Change

Scattered, scuttling images of war came flying across the screen of his consciousness like so many wild geese over the sand, over the sea, out of the darkness into the darkness of a layman’s mind; a layman who had thought in terms of peace all his days, and his days many. What a thing to happen to one at sixty!…


George, just a year younger than himself, had, it appeared, gone in for recruiting down in Hampshire; while spending the week-ends in town “to enjoy the air-raids,” as he put it…

“You’re thin as a lathe,” he said: “What are you doing – breeding for the country?”

Soames drew up the corner of his lip.

“That’s not funny,” he said tartly. “What are you doing?”

“Getting chaps killed. You’d better take to it, too. The blighters want driving, now.”

“Thank you,” said Soames; “not in my line.”

George grinned.

“Too squeamish?”

“If you like.”

“What’s your general game, then?”

“Minding my own business,” said Soames.

“Making the wills, eh?”

Soames put his cup down, and took his hat up. He had never disliked George more than at that moment.

“Don’t get your shirt out,” said George; “somebody must make the wills. You might make mine, by the way – equal shares to Roger, Eustace and Francie. Executors yourself and Eustace. Come and do an air-raid with me one night. Did you see St. John Hayman’s boy was killed? They say the Huns are preparing a big push for the spring.”

Soames shrugged.

“Good-bye,” he said; “I’ll send you a draft of your will.”

“Pitch it short,” said George, “and have me roasted. No bones by request.”

Soames nodded, and went out.

A big push! Would they never tire of making mincemeat of the world?…

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