It may be as well to mention here that the whole of this book was planned, and at least three-fourths of it actually written, in those happy days, which now seem so pathetically distant, when we were still at peace—days when, to all but a very few, so hideous a calamity as a World-War seemed a danger that had passed for the present, and might never recur; when even those few could hardly have foreseen that England would be so soon compelled to fight for her very existence against the most efficient and deadly foe it has ever been her lot to encounter.But, as the central idea of this story happens to be inseparably connected with certain characters and incidents of German origin, I have left them unaltered—partly because it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to substitute any others, but mainly because I cannot bring myself to believe that the nursery friends of our youth could ever be regarded as enemies.
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