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William J. Locke: Following war

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

British writers on peace and war

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William J. Locke
From The Lengthened Shadow

There was a laxity in the moral code, all the more dangerous for being disavowed in practice, but proclaimed with disconcerting
freedom as a philosophical theory. She disdained the speciousness…

Ardently seeking to touch rock-bottom, Suzanne found nothing but hard materialism, a negation of sentiment, save that of self-maintenance at the present standard of physical comfort. It was as though the volcanic eruptions of the war had hardened into unbreakable lava beneath which their souls were infinitely and damnably buried.

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Of course the flower of French youth, her contemporaries, lay dead, over a million; but there were millions of survivors in France who ought to be found, like colours in a sunset, in every social sphere…

“The old France, my dear Suzanne, to which you belong and to which I wish with all my heart Fate had ordained me to belong,” said Moordius, replying to some such question, “is mourning its children, nursing its wounds, making the most of its impoverished resources, keeping, in the darkness of its cave, its claw upon such spoils as it has seized and glaring at other hungry nations who might threaten to rob her…”

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