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THE world, ever since men began to realize that there is a

world, has been a morosely steady planet, undergoing its daily revolution, and plodding along a path imposed upon it by the forces of the universe-a dogged Caliban of a world, suspecting and searching for a divine Prospero which it has never been able to visualize. Then, all of a sudden, four years ago this subject and obedient world crashed out of its orbit, and became a comet enveloped in flame, an outcast of a world, rushing furiously towards a sun which scorches and threatens to consume it from pole to equator.

The trend of the political organization of mankind in 1918 is as different from that of 1914, as 1914 was different from 1814 or from 1514. The frightful changes in eastern Europe and western Asia seem incredible, like the barking of an angry prophet, like the headlines of a Hearst newspaper, like a basket full of snakes, like a Coliseum on a field day of fights with wild beasts, like a collision of expresses with fresh trains dashing into the wreck from both ends all the time, like a succession of asteroids dropping into Vesuvius. The world is uncouth, dishevelled, possessed of evil spirits, full of woe, wrath, and putridity. It is a hodge-podge, a world in which two and two make three or five, as it may happen, but never four; in which things equal to the same thing are greater than each other, in which logic is thrown from air

ships and brotherly love drips from bayonets. A world personally conducted by Victor Hugo's djinns:

Totters the house as though, like dry leaf shorn
From autumn bough and on the wild blast borne,
Up from its deep foundation it were torn,

To join the stormy whirl. Ah! all is lost! From this frightful confusion, this destruction of family life, this enslavement of men's bodies and caging of their free spirits, the United States has been and is freer than any other part of the globe, for as yet we have little more than inferential belief that a great war is going on. We think so because we strum the headlines of the newspapers, which have some relation to the despatches, which in their turn imperfectly reveal the course of events yesterday in France. Nevertheless about half the space in current newspapers goes into the war; and we probably know more about the serious events in Europe than is known from day to day by the people of the central countries. The war news perhaps is too abundant and therefore loses its thrill.

Again, we are aware of the war because of the soldiers. The streets are alive with khaki and with the blue and white of the Jackies. Every community has its contingent in this multitude of armed men. The draft throws its lassoo in ever widening circles. The whole country is fastened to the war through its sons. Every household that flies a service flag impresses upon its neighborhood the existence of a great war.

Yet so far, with the dread exception of the twenty thousand names in the casualty lists, the soldier boys do not impress the public as being actually in the contest. We do not think of them as held over the Pit, as devotees held their children ready to drop into the bubbling lava of Kilauea. They have gone for a vacation; gone to camp out; gone to the South; taking a sea trip; living outdoor life; visiting Europe; absorbing new impressions. As yet the events and the losses of the war have not penetrated to the heart of the public and seared its soul.

Nor is the country aroused by its pocket nerve. One family scrapes the butter from its bread, and another is compelled to reduce the available automobiles from three to two; in neither case is the country alarmed. The reason why there has been such general and cheerful submission to the flour ordinances and the sugar decrees is that nobody in the United States expects to be entirely out of flour or sugar for more than a brief time. We are not on calling terms with the famine demon. We are spared the awful apprehension that the baby will die for lack of milk, that the children will pine away on the coarse and scanty food, that grandfather will weaken and be snuffed out, and that any of us may perish of positive starvation before this accursed war shall end.

So with finances. The nation has no serious apprehensions of bankruptcy, public or private. Judging by the obvious measure of money to spend, there is a lot of it. High wages in munitions factories, pleasure automobiles, new theatres, crowded movies, roaring White Ways, lively trade of jewellers and fur dealers, all point to a continued notion of widespread prosperity. As for taxes, they have not yet set their jaws for a permanent hold. Neither the wealth nor the property of the country has so far been hard hit by taxes; both have had surpluses to invest in Liberty Loans; both have fitted out their sons for service; both are living on about the same scale as just before the war.

The pressure caused by the subtraction of a considerable part of the annual surplus and of the savings of the community for war purposes has not yet taken effect. If the war and war expenses could stop instantly, the country would not feel poor. Up to date it has been an easy-going war so far as the taxpayer, the plain citizen, the recruit, and the wellto-do classes are concerned. Immense changes in our daily lives are approaching but as yet we hardly notice their shadows.

Behind this curtain of apparent freedom from disturbance, the whole nation is remaking. The changes in the United

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