Home > Uncategorized > E. Philips Oppenheim: Black tragedy leaned over the land

E. Philips Oppenheim: Black tragedy leaned over the land

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

British writers on peace and war

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E. Phillips Oppenheim
From The Great Impersonation

War, alternately the joke and bogey of the conversationalist, stretched her grey hands over the sunlit city. Even the lightest-hearted felt a thrill of apprehension at the thought of the horrors that were to come. In a day or two all this was to be changed. People went about then counting the Russian millions; the steamroller fetish was to be evolved. The most peaceful stockbroker or shopkeeper, who had never even been to a review in his life, could make calculations of man power with a stump of pencil on the back of an old envelope, which would convince the greatest pessimist that Germany and Austria were outnumbered by at least three to one. But on this particular morning, people were too stunned for calculations. The incredible had happened. The long-discussed war – the nightmare of the nervous, the derision of the optimist – had actually materialised. The happy-go-lucky years of peace and plenty had suddenly come to an end. Black tragedy leaned over the land.

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