Home > Uncategorized > William J. Locke: I’m good at killing things, I ought to have been a soldier

William J. Locke: I’m good at killing things, I ought to have been a soldier


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

British writers on peace and war

William J. Locke: Following war

William J. Locke: Life in its fullness and glory, war’s orgies of horror


William J. Locke
From Viviette

Once Katherine, escaping from Mrs. Ware’s platitudinous ripple, took pity on him, and asked him when he was going to redeem his promise and show her his collection of armour and weapons. Dick brightened. This was the only keen interest he had in life outside things of earth and air and stream. He had inherited a good family collection, and had added to it occasionally, as far as his slender means allowed. He had read deeply, and understood his subject.

“Whenever you like, Katherine,” he said.

“This afternoon?”

“I’m afraid they want polishing up and arranging. I’ve got some new things which I’ve not placed. I’ve rather neglected them lately. Let us say to-morrow afternoon. Then they’ll all be spick and span for you.”

Katherine assented. “I’ve been down here so often and never seen them,” she said. “It seems odd, considering the years we’ve known each other.”

“I only took it up after father’s death,” said Dick. “And since then, you know, you haven’t been here so very often.”

“It was only the last time that I discovered you took an interest an the collection. You hid your light under a bushel. Then I went to London and heard that you were a great authority on the subject.”

Dick’s tanned face reddened with pleasure.

“I do know something about it. You see, guns and swords and pistols are in my line. I’m good at killing things. I ought to have been a soldier, only I couldn’t pass examinations, so I sort of interest myself in the old weapons and do my killing in imagination.”


“Now, Dick, we’re all here. Put on your most learned and antiquarian manner. Ladies and gentlemen, I call on Mr. Richard Ware to deliver his interesting lecture on the ingenious instruments men have devised for butchering each other.”

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