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A DEAD MAN. Most of the living here are persuaded that except through the sin of their own rulers there be no more war; and they say they will never suffer any war to be waged.

HERMES. That, as I understand it, is a counsel to which the enemy must also agree.

THE DEAD MEN. By no means, for the rulers and the demus and many women and especially the Priests asseverate that it needs always two persons to make war.

HERMES. By no means if the one possess naught but riches and the other a sharpened sword.


This is from “The Pleasure Cruise”, published in the Morning Post in November 1933, on the anniversary of Armistice Day.

At a time when Hitler had come to power in Germany, it is an attack on the neglect of Britain’s armed forces in the face of fearful danger, and a call to remember the lessons of the Great War.

It takes the form of a play, on classical lines, in which a company of dead young men are crossing the Styx on their way to the Underworld, and telling how they had died in the war.