Beautiful Europe - Belgium By Joseph E. Morris






























































































 - Beautiful Europe

Belgium

by Joseph E. Morris



I.


It needs, indeed, an effort of the imagination at the moment of - Page 1
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Beautiful Europe

Belgium by Joseph E. Morris

I.

It needs, indeed, an effort of the imagination at the moment of writing to think of Belgium as in any sense a component part of "Beautiful Europe." The unhappy "cockpit" of the Continent at the actual hour is again in process of accomplishing its frightful destiny - no treaty, or "scrap of paper," is potent to preserve this last, and weakest, of all the nations of Western Europe from drinking to the dregs the cup of ruin and desolation. Tragic indeed in the profoundest sense - in the sense of Aristotle - more tragic than the long ruin of the predestined house of Oedipus - is this accumulated tragedy of a small and helpless people, whose sole apparent crime is their stern determination to cling at any cost to their plighted word of honour. I have been lately glancing into a little book published about five years ago, in which a view is taken of the Belgian character that no one could term indulgent. "It is curious," says the writer in one place, "how few Belgians, old or young, rich or poor, consider the feelings or convenience of others. They are intensely selfish, and this is doubtless caused by the way in which they are brought up." And, again, in another chapter, he insinuates a doubt as to whether the Belgians, if ever called on, would even prove good soldiers. "But whether the people of a neutral State are ever likely to be brave and self-sacrificing is another thing." Such a writer certainly does not shrink - as Burke, we know, once shrank - from framing an indictment against an entire people.

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