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The Human Boy and the War

Eden Phillpotts

Book Overview: 

this is the third collection of thirteen humorous short stories about English school boys in a boarding school in the fictitious village Merivale. This book, of course, has World War I as a backdrop.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .learnt the poem by heart, and also found out the tune somehow and sang it when possible. Once, in fact, he woke up in the night singing it from force of habit, as the saying is, and his prefect, who happened to be Mactaggert, said there was a time for everything, and threatened to report Rice if he did it again.

I asked Rice why he had made such a great effort and learnt anything he wasn't obliged to learn, and he said, firstly, because it was the grandest poem he had ever heard, and, secondly, because he had a great idea some day to sing it to Fortescue, as it applied specially to him by dwelling on the fearfulness of hanging back when the Empire cried out for you.

The poem said the Empire was calling to every one of her sons of low and high degree, and so, of course, it was also calling to Fortescue; and Rice thought that as it was pretty certain Fortescue wouldn't read it, and, no doubt, fought shy of patriotic poetry in . . . Read More