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Title: Between You and Me
Author: Sir Harry Lauder
Release Date: April 3, 2004 [EBook #11765]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BETWEEN YOU AND ME ***
BETWEEN YOU AND ME
SIR HARRY LAUDER
Author of "A Minstrel in France"
_This book is dedicated to the
Fathers and Mothers
of the Boys who went and those
who prepared to go._
To think, when the war is all over,
And we're thro' with the mud--
And the spilling of blood,
And we're shipped back again to old Dover;
When they've paid us our tin
And we've blown the lot in,
To share up with you as your wife--
Then, when a few years have flown
And you've got "chicks" of your own
And you're happy, and snug, and content,
Man, it will make your heart glad
When they boast of their Dad--
My Dad--He was one of the boys who went.
BETWEEN YOU AND ME
It's a bonny world, I'm tellin' ye! It was worth saving, and saved
it's been, if only you and I and the rest of us that's alive and fit
to work and play and do our part will do as we should. I went around
the world in yon days when there was war. I saw all manner of men. I
saw them live, and fight, and dee. And now I'm back from the other
side of the world again. And I'm tellin' ye again that it's a bonny
world I've seen, but no so bonny a world as we maun make it--you and
I. So let us speer a wee, and I'll be trying to tell you what I think,
and what I've seen.
There'll be those going up and doon the land preaching against
everything that is, and talking of all that should be. There'll be
others who'll say that all is well, and that the man that wants to
make a change is no better than Trotzky or a Hun. There'll be those
who'll be wantin' me to let a Soviet tell me what songs to sing to ye,
and what the pattern of my kilts should be. But what have such folk to
say to you and me, plain folk that we are, with our work to do, and
the wife and the bairns to be thinkin' of when it comes time to tak'
our ease and rest? Nothin', I say, and I'll e'en say it again and
again before I'm done.
The day of the plain man has come again. The world belongs to us. We
made it. It was plain men who fought the war--who deed and bled and
suffered in France, and Gallipoli and everywhere where men went about
the business of the war. And it's plain men who have come home to
Britain, and America, to Australia and Canada and all the other places
that sent their sons out to fight for humanity. They maun fight for
humanity still, for that fight is not won,--deed, and it's no more
than made a fair beginning.
Your profiteer is no plain man. Nor is your agitator. They are set up
against you and me, and all the other plain men and women who maun
make a living and tak' care of those that are near and dear to them.
Some of us plain folk have more than others of us, maybe, but there'll
be no envy among us for a' that. We maun stand together, and we shall. I'm as sure of that as I'm sure that God has charged himself with the care of this world and all who dwell in it.
I maun talk more about myself than I richt like to do if I'm to make
you see how I'm feeling and thinking aboot all the things that are
loose wi' the world to-day. For, after all, it's himself a man knows
better than anyone else, and if I've ideas about life and the world
it's from the way life's dealt with me that I've learned them. I've no
done so badly for myself and my ain, if I do say it. And that's why,
maybe, I've small patience with them that's busy always saying the
plain man has no chance these days.
Do you ken how I made my start? Are ye thinkin', maybe, that I'd a
faither to send me to college and gie me masters to teach me to sing
my songs, and to play the piano? Man, ye'd be wrong, an' ye thought
so! My faither deed, puir man, when I was but a bairn of eleven--he
was but thirty-twa himself. And my mither was left with me and six
other bairns to care for. 'Twas but little schoolin' I had.
After my faither deed I went to work. The law would not let me gie up
my schoolin' altogether. But three days a week I learned to read and
write and cipher, and the other three I worked in a flax mill in the
wee Forfarshire town of Arboath. Do ye ken what I was paid? Twa
shillin' the week. That's less than fifty cents in American money. And
that was in 1881, thirty eight years ago. I've my bit siller the noo.
I've my wee hoose amang the heather at Dunoon. I've my war loan stock,
and my Liberty and Victory bonds. But what I've got I've worked for
and I've earned, and you've done the same for what you've got, man,
and so can any other man if he but wull.
I do not believe God ever intended men to get too rich and prosperous.
When they do lots of little things that go to make up the real man
have to be left out, or be dropped out. And men think too much of
things. For a lang time now things have been riding over men, and
mankind has ceased riding over things. But now we plain folk are going
again to make things subservient to life, to human life, to the needs
and interests of the plain man. That is what I want to talk of always,
of late--the need of plain living, plain speaking, plain, useful
For me the great discovery of the war was that humanity was the
greatest thing in the world. I had to learn that no man could live for
and by himself alone. I had to learn that I must think all the time of
others. A great grief came to me when my son was killed. But I was not
able to think and act for myself alone. I was minded to tak' a gun in
my hand, and go out to seek to kill twa Huns for my bairn. But it was
his mither who stopped me.
And when I would have hidden myself away from a' the world, and nursed my grief, I was reminded, again, that I must not. My boy had died for humanity. He had not been there in France aboot his own affairs. Was it for me, his father, to be selfish when he had been unselfish? Had I done as I planned, had I said I could not carry on because of my ain grief, I should have brought sorrow and trouble to others, and I
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