Material has suffered from lack of a naval policy, but only quantitatively, because material is a subject that the people understand. Personnel has suffered more, because the people fail to realize the amount of training needed to make a personnel competent to perform their tasks successfully, in competition with the highly trained men of other navies.
Strife loomed heavy amid the reigning peace, the ruthless, savage strife which seems ever to center the purpose of all sentient life. So the moments passed. Minutes grew. With every passing minute the threat weighed heavier and heavier, until it seemed, at last, that only the smallest spark was needed to fire the train. The racing clouds melted. They gathered again.
The Colonel had devoted himself to gardening and poultry with the mingled ardour and precision of a man who needed something to supply the place of his soldierly duties; and though his fervour had relaxed under the influence of ease, gout, and substantial flesh, enough remained to keep up apple-pie order without-doors, and render Kencroft almost a show place.
"Oh, that was because Grandfather didn't want it in his own name, because, you see, he's a rather well-known person in England and even over here, and he needed a complete rest, with no danger of having to be interviewed or called upon or anything like that. So he had his man, Geoffrey Horatio Gaines, hire the place, and transact all the business here in his name.
A kitchen skewer it appeared was all that was needed to complete his reconstruction in the avenue. Norah darted off for a kitchen skewer, while Restall drank. And then there was a drift to tennis, and Rachel and I were partners.
"Read me a song of death, but a strengthening one," he would say repeatedly during the day, but also at night, if he could not sleep. He needed it as a child needs its cradle song. Often he was angry when in her confusion and blinded by unshed tears, she chose a wrong one.
Would there not be some who, for reasons, might not be obliged or able or ready until perhaps the, as yet hoped for, sudden end of the awful thing had come? Surely there would be many who would be too young or whose youth could not be spared because it stood for some power the nation needed in its future. She had taken out and opened the lacquered box while thinking these things.
Wilford Cameron was very proud of his handsome house, proud to know that everything there was in keeping with his position and wealth, but when Katy was immured in the nursery, the bright picture was obscured, for it needed her presence to make it perfect, and he began to grow dissatisfied with his surroundings, while abroad he missed her quite as much, finding the opera, the party or the reception insipid where she was not, and feeling fully conscious that Wilford Cameron, without a wife, and that wife Katy, was not a man of half the consequence he had thought himself to be.
Of course she could keep the house, but it was kept already; any one with five senses and good health like hers could prove herself able to do any of the ordinary work of existence. For her part it was not enough to be waited upon and made comfortable, she wanted something more, to be really of use in the world, and to do work which the world needed.
They needed nothing of all this. Their house of worship, like their ceremonial, was naked, simple, and severe.