The Blue Wound

The Blue Wound

by Garet Garrett

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An excerpt from the beginning of:



"Whence comest thou? "
"From going to and fro in the earth."

IN setting out to find the man who caused the war I was guided by two assumptions, namely:

First, that he would proclaim the fact, for else he could not endure the torture of it, and,

Second, that none would believe him.

So, therefore, I hoped to discover the object of my search not by any rational process of thought, as by deduction from the historical nature of events or the facts of belief, but by an apperceptive sense of hearing. Somewhere, sometime, I should overtake the original testimony of guilt, uttered openly and received with ridicule by the multitude.

More than this I had no thought or plan. Purposely, by an act of will, I delivered control of my movements to unconscious impulse. Why I turned now right instead of left, why I lingered here and hastened on from there, I cannot tell. For many weeks I wandered about Europe mingling with people, in trains, in the streets, in all manner of congregating places, listening. I was in Berlin, in Warsaw, in a city which I think was Vienna, and then in a very ancient place called Prague. I mention only a few of them. I stopped in many cities I had never heard of and in some the names of which I have forgotten. I had not been in Europe before. I walked great distances. My wants were very few. None of this is material, yet I put it down briefly in its place. Often I had the subtle sensation of having touched a path, of following and overtaking. Then it would go and my wanderings were blind again.

In this way I came to London, as I had come to all the other places, and here the sense of overtaking which I had been without for many days poignantly returned.

One evening, about 9 o'clock, I discovered a crowd heaving and writhing in that lustful excitement with which many alike surround one dissimilar, whether to torment or destroy the dissimilar one you never know at first; you cannot be sure until it ends. This tumult was taking place at the base of a monument standing in an open space at the conjunction of several streets. The monument is indistinct. My recollection is that it had a very large square base, with a lion on each of the four corners, a shaft or possibly an heroic figure rising from the centre to a considerable height.

At the core of the crowd, with a space around him which no one had yet crossed, was the figure of a man so very unlike ordinary men in aspect and feeling as to be outside the range of all the chords of human sympathy. The difference in aspect I did not analyse at once; the difference in feeling reached me whole, at one impact. Yet it is not easy to define. It was if you were in contact with a being outwardly fashioned somewhat in your own image and yet otherwise so strange as to radiate absolutely nothing to which the heart could willingly or spontaneously respond. A thought rose in my mind, which was: "It has ceased to be with him as with other men—if it ever was."

I could make almost nothing of what he was trying to say, owing to the ribald manner in which he was continually interrupted. Besides, his words seemed incoherent. I caught phrases about labour and trade and English wool in the fifteenth century, each one drowned in cries of ironic encouragement or of vulgar and irrelevant comment. No one was attending in the least to what he said; but everyone nevertheless was fascinated as by an object immediately liable to torture and destruction. I heard him exclaim:

"The dead are mine—all mine—bought and paid for. Shall I have wasted them for fools like these?"

The mind of the crowd turned suddenly sultry. A menacing cry was on its lips, when a policeman thrust himself through to the centre, laid hold of the figure speaking, and dragged him out. I was where the crowd broke to let them through, and as they passed I heard the policeman say: '' Most unreasonable conduct.... Blocking traffic.... Raising a mob.... What were y'saying? I believe y're daft."

The behaviour of the crowd was peculiar. It gave up its victim readily, with what seemed an air of relief, and rapidly dispersed in all directions. Only a few had the impulse to follow, and these disappeared almost at once, leaving me alone in the wake of the policeman and his prisoner. The policeman kept on talking in a growly, admonishing, but not ill-tempered way, as I could hear without being able to distinguish the words. The man was silent and passive.

Under a light they stopped. Which one stopped first I could not tell. It was as if they halted by a joint compulsion. The man turned his countenance upon the policeman and appeared literally to transfix him with a look. So they stood for full half a minute. Then the man went on alone. The policeman stood in his spot as one dazed. I passed him close by...

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940014866439
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 08/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 207 KB

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