We are witnessing a phase in the evolution of humanity, a phase called War—and the slow, onward progress stirs up the slime in the shallows, and this is the Backwash of War. It is very ugly. There are many little lives foaming up in the backwash. They are loosened by the sweeping current, and float to the surface, detached from their environment, and one glimpses them, weak, hideous, repellent. After the war, they will consolidate again into the condition called Peace.
s, carrying no lights. Inside, the man continued his imprecations, but they could not hear him.
"Strangers! Sightseers!" he sobbed in misery. "Driving a motor, when it is I who should drive the motor! Have I not conducted a Paris taxi for these past ten years? Do I not know how to drive, to manage an engine? What are they here for--France? No, only themselves! To write a book--to say what they have done--when it was safe! If it was France, there is the Foreign Legion--where they would have been welcome--to stand in the trenches as I have done! But do they enlist? Ah no! It is not safe! They take my place with the motor, and come to get me--when it is too late."
Then the morphia relieving him, he slept.
* * * * *
In a field hospital, some ten kilometres behind the lines, Marius lay dying. For three days he had been dying and it was disturbing to the other patients. The stench of his wounds filled the air, his curses filled the ward. For Marius knew that he was dying and that he had