The Prospect before Us

The Prospect before Us

The Prospect before Us

The Prospect before Us

Excerpt

MR. LECTURER ( clears his throat and begins ):In Britain Nineteen Forty One had the most beautiful autumn weather of the war. Day after day the sky over London was clear and sunny. Nights of sharp cool moonlight brought no bombings. Late afternoons the streets had a holiday air under the silver barrage balloons that floated benignly overhead; when you saw them end on against bright patches of sky and cloud they had funny faces as if a child had tried to draw a cow or a moose. The Londoners were feeling themselves all over the way people do who have just crawled out unhurt from under a wrecked car, discovering with some surprise that they were alive. Walking around London was like reading the Hebrew prophets. Never before had I understood the significance of Jeremiah's curse, "And Babylon shall become heaps."

In the West End, as you see, the damage is scattered; you tell yourself that the accidents of war don't stack up to much more than the ordinary accidents of peace, but as you walk east down the Strand and past those two gutted churches . . .

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