and this is war

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. TWENTY-TWO AND NINETEEN. He was twenty-two and she nineteen. They had been engaged only six weeks, and the light of lights still shone in four eyes that knew nothing but the morning. War had been declared. He loved as a true man's heart does love. Yet he had a man's head and a man's conscience, and he knew down deep somewhere in his soul that somehow a man's life belongs first to God and country, only afterwards to home and friends and sweethearts; and, lastly, if at all, to self. At first the voice of his country seemed to pass him by, or he failed to hear it, absorbed as he was in his new-born happiness. But that call became louder, more urgent, more imperious, more distressful. Yes, his country needed men, must have them, or she die. He knew her cause was the cause of God and all humanity. Her voice pierced the joints of the armor of his happiness. Conscience leaped to her feet. Duty shouted in his ears. His country's voice was no longer self-confident, vaunting, unafraid; but the voice of fear, of anguish, of desperate, imperative need. Six months ago he would have greeted that call to arms with a shout of martial ardor, but now—there was another. The old conflict broke out in his soul, a conflict which most men know sooner or later, be there war or be there peace—how meet and satisfy the claims of God and men and one's work in the world, and also the demands and expectations of those to whom the heart is pledged? He fought back the hour of decision. He became strangely quiet and pre-occupied in her presence. Her heart grew anxious, and pain nestled down beside her joy and almost crowded it out. Was his love growing cold already? Was he tiring of her? Did he think he had made a mistake? At last her breaking heart forced these questions ...
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