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Newspaper Page Text
'THE HUMAN SLAUGHTER HOUSE"
THE FIGHTING MEN
BY WILHELM LAMSZUS
(Copyright, 1913, by the Frederic A.
J Stokes Co.)
We rejoined the colors on Friday.
On Monday we are to move out. To
day, being Sunday, is full-dress
I slept badly last night, and an)
feeling uneasy and limp.
And now we are sitting close
packed in church.
The organ is playing a voluntary.
I am leaning back and straliing
my ears for the sounds in the dim
twilight of the building. Childhood's
days rise before my eyes again. ' I
am watching a little solemn-faced j a hundred human beings simultan'
boy sitting crouched in a corner and j eously.
listening to the divine service. The
priest is standing in front of the altar,
and is intoning the exhortation, de
voutly. The choir in the gallery is 6ops of men? Thou poor and slight
chanting the responses. The organ
thunders out and floods through thei paltry pitch and sulphur on Sodom
building majestically. I am rapt, in an
ecstasy of sweet terror, for the Lord
God is coming down upon us. He is
standing before me and touching my
body, so that I have to close my eyes
m a terror of shuddering ecstasy.
past and done with, as youth itseK is
past and done.
Strange! After all these years of
doubt and unbelief, at this moment
of lucid consciousness", the atmos
phere of devoutness, long since dead,
possesses me, and thrills me so pas
sionately that I can hardly resist it.
This is the same heavy twilight
these are the same yearning angel
voices the same fearful senses of
I pull myself together, and sit bolt
upright on the hard wooden pew.
In the main and side aisles bejow,
and in the galleries above, nothing
but soldiers in uniform, and all, with
level faces, turned toward the altar, J
nified black gown, toward that sonor
ous unctuous mouth, from whose lips
flows the name of God.
Look! He is now stretching forth
his hand. We incline our heads. He
is pronouncing the Benediction over
us in a voice that echoes from the
tomb. He is blessing us in the name
of God, the Merciful. He is blessing
our rifles that they may not fail us;
he is blessing the wire-drawn guns
on their patent recoilless carriages;
he te blessing every precious cart
ridge, let a single bullet be wasted,
lest any pass idly through the air;
that each ope may account for a
hundred human beings, may shatter
Father in Heaven! Thou art gaz
ing down at us in such terrible
silence. Dost thou shudder at these
God! Thou couldst only rain Thy
and Gomorrah. But we, Thy chil
dren, whom Thou hast created, we
are going to exterminate 'them by
high-pressure machinery and butcher
whole cities in factories. Here we
stand; and while we stretch our hands
That is long, long ago, and is all j to Thy Son in prayer, and cry Hosan
nah! We are hurling shells and shrap
nel in the face of Thy Image, and
shooting the Son of Man down from
His Cross like a target at the rifje
butts. And now the Holy Communion is
being celebrated. The organ is play
ing mysteriously froma far off, and
the fiesti and 'blood of the Redeemer
is mingling with our flesh and blood.
There He is hanging on the Cross
above me, and gazing down upon
How pale these cheeks look And
these eyes are the eyes as of one
dead! Who was this Christ who is to
aid us, and Whose blood we drink?
What was it they once taught us in.
toward the pale man in his long dig-1 school?. Didst Thou not love man-