Home > Uncategorized > William Makepeace Thackeray: War taxes men and women alike

William Makepeace Thackeray: War taxes men and women alike

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

British writers on peace and war

William Makepeace Thackeray: Millions of innocent hearts wounded horribly

William Makepeace Thackeray: “Pax in bello.” The death of a single soldier.

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William Makepeace Thackeray
From Vanity Fair

So it is in the world. Jack or Donald marches away to glory with his knapsack on his shoulder, stepping out briskly to the tune of “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” It is she who remains and suffers – and has the leisure to think, and brood, and remember.

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How long had that poor girl been on her knees! what hours of speechless prayer and bitter prostration had she passed there! The war-chroniclers who write brilliant stories of fight and triumph scarcely tell us of these. These are too mean parts of the pageant: and you don’t hear widows’ cries or mothers’ sobs in the midst of the shouts and jubilation in the great Chorus of Victory. And yet when was the time that such have not cried out: heart-broken, humble protestants, unheard in the uproar of the triumph!

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Dreadful doubt and anguish – prayers and fears and griefs unspeakable – followed the regiment. It was the women’s tribute to the war. It taxes both alike, and takes the blood of the men, and the tears of the women.

 

 

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