The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr. H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees, ... says "Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice." Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district!
The peace of Manderley. The quietude and the grace. Whoever lived within its walls, whatever trouble there was and strife, however much uneasiness and pain, no matter what tears were shed, what sorrows borne, the peace of Manderley could not be broken or the loveliness destroyed. The flowers that died would bloom again another year, the same birds build their nests, the same trees blossom. That old quiet moss smell would linger in the air, and the bees would come, and crickets, the herons build their nests in the deep dark woods. The butterflies would dance their merry jug across the lawns, and spiders spin foggy webs, and small startled rabbits who had no business to come trespassing poke their faces through the crowded shrubs. There would be lilac, and honeysuckle still, and the white magnolia buds unfolding slow and tight beneath the dining-room window. No one would ever hurt Manderley. It would lie always in its hollow like an enchanted thing, guarded by the woods, safe, secure, while the sea broke and ran and came again in the little shingle bays below.
Daphne du Maurier
Because you see when a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are.
James M. Barrie
The problem with the politicians of both parties in the US is that neither of them have a real agenda except to feather their own nests. They both have their hands deep in corporate pockets. All the rest is sleight of hand and distraction to keep the public occupied with trivia, divided against each other, and thinking their vote matters.
His face was very heavily creased, and into each crease he had tucked some worry or other, so that it wasn't really his face any longer, but more like a tree that had nests of birds in all of the branches. He had to struggle constantly to manage it and always looked worn out from the effort.
Some critics are like chimney-sweepers; they put out the fire below, and frighten the swallows from their nests above; they scrape a long time in the chimney, cover themselves with soot, and bring nothing away but a bag of cinders, and then sing from the top of the house as if they had built it.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I do have a treadmill desk in my office, and for a while, I would walk on it while checking email and going through jokes. I haven't walked on it in probably four months. Now it's more of an upright dining table for me. At some point, moss will grow over it, birds will build nests, and nature will reclaim the treadmill as its own.
Eyes are at rest, the stars are setting. Hushed are the stirrings of birds in their nests, Of monsters in the ocean. You are the Just who knows no change, The Balance that can never swerve, The Eternal which never passes away. The doors of Kings are bolted now and guarded by soldiers. Your Door is open to all who call upon You. Each love is now alone with his beloved. And I am alone with You.
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, beginning as the smallest of seeds but growing until the birds of the air make their nests therein. There are old worlds and new ones. There are earthy worlds and cyber worlds. But one truth remains the same now and forever, that Jesus rules them all.
R. C. Sproul
Once I witnessed a windstorm so severe two 100-year-old trees were uprooted on the spot. The next day, walking among the wreckage, I found the friable nests of birds, completely intact and unharmed on the ground. That the featherweight survive the massive, that this reversal of fortune takes place among us "" that is what haunts me. I don't know what it means.
I feel that we are often taken out of our comfort zones, pushed and shoved out of our nests, because if not, we would never know what we could do with our wings, we would never see the horizon and the sun setting on it, we would never know that there's something far better beyond where we are at the moment. It can hurt, but then later you say "thank you." I have been pushed and shoved and have fallen out and away, so very, very, many, many times! And others around me have not! But then, the others haven't seen what I have seen or felt what I have felt or been who I have been, they can't become what I have become. I am me.
C. JoyBell C.
Oh, ants, my sisters, good old honeydew-seekers! From close up you are sticky and shiny and gristly; and your nymphs have parasitic red mites stuck to them. You are too intent upon your chewing and gathering to listen to me, but I tell you that despite my warm feelings I really do not like you, and I cannot feel sorry for you in any way because there are too many of you and you are not cute at all. You eat too much of my forests; you are a rebellious tribe, and I will destroy you; I will poison your nests with sweet-smelling traps.
William T. Vollmann
Gather yourself by the sea shore and I will love you there. Asemble yourself with wild things, with songs of the sparrow and seafoam. Let mad beauty collect itself in you eyes and it will shine, Calling me. For I long for a man with nests of wild things in his hair. A man who will Kiss the Flame.
Every tree in the forest has a story to tell. Some of them were burnt but they endured the fire and got revived; some of them were cut, their barks injured, some people pick up their leaves to make medicines for their sicknesses, birds used their leaves to make their nests, etc. Upon all these, the tree is still tree!
She once told him about the mysterious trampled-down places found in fields, which the peasants superstitiously called werewolves' nests. Coming across one of these sites, she fell to her knees and buried her face in the flattened yellow grasses, hoping to inhale the odor of a werewolf, a csorde¡sfarkas. As if his scent was a charm. She smelled nothing but hay burned by the afternoon sun.
Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought-proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us.
The mother eagle teaches her little ones to fly by making their nest so uncomfortable that they are forced to leave it and commit themselves to the unknown world of air outside. And just so does our God to us. He stirs up our comfortable nests, and pushes us over the edge of them, and we are forced to use our wings to save ourselves from fatal falling. Read your trials in this light, and see if you cannot begin to get a glimpse of their meaning. Your wings are being developed.
Hannah Whitall Smith
Gather yourself by the sea shore and I will love you there. Assemble yourself with wild things, with songs of the sparrow and sea-foam. Let mad beauty collect itself in your eyes and it will shine - Calling me. For I long for a man with nests of wild things in his hair. A man who will Kiss the Flame.
Rats They fought the dogs and killed the cats, And bit the babies in the cradles, And ate the cheeses out of the vats, And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles. Split open the kegs of salted sprats, Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, And even spoiled the women's chats By drowning their speaking With shrieking and squeaking In fifty different sharps and flats.
Everything the Power of the World does is in a circle. The Sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The Wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles. ... The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were.
A tree is alive, and thus it is always more than you can see. Roots to leaves, yes-those you can, in part, see. But it is more-it is the lichens and moss and ferns that grow on its bark, the life too small to see that lives among its roots, a community we know of, but do not think on. It is every fly and bee and beetle that uses it for shelter or food, every bird that nests in its branches. Every one an individual, and yet every one part of the tree, and the tree part of every one.
Hide the miles between us Run to me Like you run your Fingers through my hair Desire in every digit, in every touch. Run to me Like rivers run in springtime Filled with renewing love As they do with the melting snow. Fly to me As the birds fly the continents Committed to build their nests. Fly to me As a cottonwood fluff in the air All over me, head to toe, gently Come here.
Who owns Cross Creek? The red-birds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages..It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time..."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I have seen salmon swimming upstream to spawn even with their eyes pecked out. Even as they are dying, as their flesh is falling away from their spines, I have seen salmon fighting to protect their nests. I have seen them push up creeks so small that they rammed themselves across the gravel. I have seen them swim upstream with huge chunks bitten out of their bodies by bears. Salmon are incredibly driven to spawn. They will not give up. This gives me hope.
Not all introductions worked well. Rabbits were an unmitigated environmental disaster. Unchecked by any natural predator, they bred at a staggering rate and chewed their way across vast areas of pastureland as well as any garden that came their way. Attempts to control them by introducing ferrets, weasels and stoats did much more harm than good. Although these predators probably killed a reasonable number of rabbits, they also devastated populations of kiwi and raided the nests of flighted birds.
Had there been no Renaissance and no Italian influence to bring in the stories of other lands English history would, it may be, have become as important to the English imagination as the Greek Myths to the Greek imagination; and many plays by many poets would have woven it into a single story whose contours, vast as those of Greek myth, would have made living men and women seem like swallows building their nests under the architrave of some Temple of the Giants.
William Butler Yeats
Tell the story, gather the events, repeat them. Pattern is a matter of upkeep. Otherwise the weave relaxes back to threads picked up by birds to make their nests. Repeat, or the story will fall and all the king's horses and all the king's men... Repeat, and cradle the pieces carefully, or events will scatter like marbles on a wooden floor.
How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make - leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone - we all dwell in a house of one room - the world with the firmament for its roof - and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.
A tree is made to live in peace in the color of day and in friendship with the sun, the wind and the rain. Its roots plunge in thefat fermentation of the soil, sucking in its elemental humors, its fortifying juices. Trees always seem lost in a great tranquil dream. The dark rising sap makes them groan in the warm afternoons. A tree is a living being that knows the course of the clouds and presses the storms because it is full of birds' nests.
This time is difficult, wait for me: we will live it out vividly. Give me your small hand: we will rise and suffer, we will feel and rejoice. We are once more the pair who lived in bristling places, in harsh nests in the rock. This time is difficult, wait for me with a basket, with a shovel, with your shoes and your clothes. Now we need each other not only for the carnations' sake, not only to look for honey: we need our hands to wash with and to make fire, and so let our difficult time stand up to infinity with four hands and four eyes.
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad; Silence accompany'd; for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale; She all night long her amorous descant sung; Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
Nature is flexible and resilient. Nature likes redundancy and dispersion. It is approximate and deals in gradients. All boundaries are permeable. Nature nests small systems like molecules within larger systems like cells, which in turn are nested in systems called organs, organisms, ecosystems. We grew from ancient one-celled ancestors. Nature likes mergers: we contain multitudes of other life forms within us. We stand at the crest of four billion years, bacteria molded into wondrous form, burning with a slow fire and about to take the next step.
The secret of seeing is, then the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise. I return from one walk knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms. I return form the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name. Litanies hum in my ears; my tongue flaps in my mouth. Ailinon, alleluia!
And I've been thinking: if the human race manages to destroy itself, as it often seems to want to do, or if some great disaster comes, as it did for the dinosaurs, then the birds will still manage to survive. When our gardens and fields and farms and woods have turned wild, when the park at the end of Falconer Road has turned into a wilderness, when our cities are in ruins, the birds will go on flying and singing and making their nests and laying their eggs and raising their young. It could be that the birds will exist for ever and for ever until the earth itself comes to an end, no matter what might happen to the other creatures. They'll sing until the end of time. So here's my thought: If there is a God, could it be that He's chosen the birds to speak for Him. Could it be true? The voice of God speaks through the beaks of birds.
the sense of a small courageous community barely existing above the desert of trees, hemmed in by a sun too fierce to work under and a darkness filled with evil spirits - love was an arm round the neck, a cramped embrace in the smoke, wealth a little pile of palm-nuts, old age sores and leprosy, religion a few stones in the centre of the village where the dead chiefs lay, a grove of trees where the rice birds, like yellow and green canaries, built their nests, a man in a mask with raffia skirts dancing at burials. This never varied, only their kindness to strangers, the extent of their poverty and the immediacy of their terrors. Their laughter and their happiness seemed the most courageous things in nature
Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves-for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides. They mate very rarely, and no place is more enchanted than one where a unicorn has been born. The last time she had seen another unicorn the young virgins who still came seeking her now and then had called to her in a different tongue; but then, she had no idea of months and years and centuries, or even of seasons. It was always spring in her forest, because she lived there, and she wandered all day among the great beech trees, keeping watch over the animals that lived in the ground and under bushes, in nests and caves, earths and treetops. Generation after generation, wolves and rabbits alike, they hunted and loved and had children and died, and as the unicorn did none of these things, she never grew tired of watching them.
Peter S. Beagle
And I Said To My Soul, Be Loud Madden me back to an afternoon I carry in me not like a wound but like a will against a wound Give me again enough man to be the child choosing my own annihilations To make of this severed limb a wand to conjure a weapon to shatter dark matter of the dirt daubers' nests galaxies of glass Whacking glints bash-dancing on the cellar's fire I am the sound the sun would make if the sun could make a sound and the gasp of rot stabbed from the compost's lumpen living death is me O my life my war in a jar I shake you and shake you and may the best ant win For I am come a whirlwind of wasted things and I will ride this tantrum back to God until my fixed self, my fluorescent self my grief-nibbling, unbewildered, wall-to-wall self withers in me like a salted slug
When I went on anyway, my body began to grow cold, and I thought I was dead. Face pale, my dead self sat down on a bench and began to turn toward my real self, who was watching this hallucination on the screen of the night. My dead self came nearer, just as if it might want to shake hands with my real self. That's when I panicked and tried to run. But my dead self pursued me and finally caught me, entered me and controlled me. I'd felt then just the way I felt now. I felt as if a hole had opened in my head from which consciousness and memory leaked out and in their place the rash crowded in, and a cold like spoiled roast chicken. But that time before, shaking and clinging to the damp bench, I'd told myself, Hey, take a good look, isn't the world still under your feet? I'm on this ground, and on this same ground are trees and grass and ants carrying sand to their nests, little girls chasing rolling balls, and puppies running.
Ecology is beginning to slowly shift focus with tentative explorations of what the world would look like if process, rather than matter were the basis for reality What if we defined a species in terms of its life processes? We might seriously doubt whether the California condor or the tall grass prairie can be 'saved' or even 'restored.' Perhaps we can re-create some local conditions that foster a few nests of condors or a few acres of prairie. But the life process of the condor ended with the urbanization of the California foothills and the living ebb and flow of the tall grass prairies died with the plowing of the Great Plains. What if we suggested that a thing is what it does? In this light, the Rocky Mountain locust was a immense aperiodic energy flow that linked life processes on a continental scale. This notion of life-as-process might seem unusual in a society in which material existence is primary. But such a perception informs our deepest understanding of life. Indeed, life-as-process underlies our notion of euthanasia. When loved ones are simply bodies, devoid of the capacity to care, respond, or relate again a away that we can recognize as being "them, " we understand that they are gone even before they are dead.
Jeffrey A. Lockwood
He discovered wonderful stories, also, about jewels. In Alphonso's Clericalis Disciplina a serpent was mentioned with eyes of real jacinth, and in the romantic history of Alexander, the Conqueror of Emathia was said to have found in the vale of Jordan snakes 'with collars of real emeralds growing on their backs.' There was a gem in the brain of the dragon, Philostratus told us, and 'by the exhibition of golden letters and a scarlet robe' the monster could be thrown into a magical sleep and slain. According to the great alchemist, Pierre de Boniface, the diamond rendered a man invisible, and the agate of India made him eloquent. The cornelian appeased anger, and the hyacinth provoked sleep, and the amethyst drove away the fumes of wine. The garnet cast out demons, and the hydropicus deprived the moon of her color. The selenite waxed and waned with the moon, and the meloceus, that discovers thieves, could be affected only by the blood of kids. Leonardus Camillus had seen a white stone taken from the brain of a newly killed toad, that was a certain antidote against poison. The bezoar, that was found in the heart of the Arabian deer, was a charm that could cure the plague. In the nests of Arabian birds was the aspirates, that, according to Democritus, kept the wearer from any danger by fire.
We cleave our way through the mountains until the interstate dips into a wide basin brimming with blue sky, broken by dusty roads and rocky saddles strung out along the southern horizon. This is our first real glimpse of the famous big-sky country to come, and I couldn't care less. For all its grandeur, the landscape does not move me. And why should it? The sky may be big, it may be blue and limitless and full of promise, but it's also really far away. Really, it's just an illusion. I've been wasting my time. We've all been wasting our time. What good is all this grandeur if it's impermanent, what good all of this promise if it's only fleeting? Who wants to live in a world where suffering is the only thing that lasts, a place where every single thing that ever meant the world to you can be stripped away in an instant? And it will be stripped away, so don't fool yourself. If you're lucky, your life will erode slowly with the ruinous effects of time or recede like the glaciers that carved this land, and you will be left alone to sift through the detritus. If you are unlucky, your world will be snatched out from beneath you like a rug, and you'll be left with nowhere to stand and nothing to stand on. Either way, you're screwed. So why bother? Why grunt and sweat and weep your way through the myriad obstacles, why love, dream, care, when you're only inviting disaster? I'm done answering the call of whippoorwills, the call of smiling faces and fireplaces and cozy rooms. You won't find me building any more nests among the rose blooms. Too many thorns.
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep black space high up among many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman's tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of the dots. At length, I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn't find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn't make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at the very moment with great emotion, in intricate detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which whole worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped, in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, 'that was a good time then, a good time to be living.' And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water... I saw may apples in forest, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided and apples grew striped and spotted in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves, and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean, and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars, and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wilds ducks flew, and called, one by one, and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes, and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remembered the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space, and I recalled the ocean's shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, 'Yes, that's how it was then, that part there we called 'France''. I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes.
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep blank space high up above many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman's tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of dots. At length I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn't find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn't make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at that very moment with great emotion, in intricate, detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which wholly worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, 'that was a good time then, a good time to be living.' And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water. I saw white-faced cattle lowing and wading in creeks. I saw May apples in forests, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided, and apples grew spotted and striped in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean, and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars, and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wild ducks flew with outstretched necks, and called, one by one, and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes, and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remember the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space, and I recalled the ocean's shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, 'yes, that's how it was then, that part there was called France.' I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes. We all ought to be able to conjure up sights like these at will, so that we can keep in mind the scope of texture's motion in time.
The Loneliness of the Military Historian Confess: it's my profession that alarms you. This is why few people ask me to dinner, though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary. I wear dresses of sensible cut and unalarming shades of beige, I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's: no prophetess mane of mine, complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters. If I roll my eyes and mutter, if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene, I do it in private and nobody sees but the bathroom mirror. In general I might agree with you: women should not contemplate war, should not weigh tactics impartially, or evade the word enemy, or view both sides and denounce nothing. Women should march for peace, or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery, spit themselves on bayonets to protect their babies, whose skulls will be split anyway, or, having been raped repeatedly, hang themselves with their own hair. There are the functions that inspire general comfort. That, and the knitting of socks for the troops and a sort of moral cheerleading. Also: mourning the dead. Sons, lovers and so forth. All the killed children. Instead of this, I tell what I hope will pass as truth. A blunt thing, not lovely. The truth is seldom welcome, especially at dinner, though I am good at what I do. My trade is courage and atrocities. I look at them and do not condemn. I write things down the way they happened, as near as can be remembered. I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same. Wars happen because the ones who start them think they can win. In my dreams there is glamour. The Vikings leave their fields each year for a few months of killing and plunder, much as the boys go hunting. In real life they were farmers. The come back loaded with splendour. The Arabs ride against Crusaders with scimitars that could sever silk in the air. A swift cut to the horse's neck and a hunk of armour crashes down like a tower. Fire against metal. A poet might say: romance against banality. When awake, I know better. Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters, or none that could be finally buried. Finish one off, and circumstances and the radio create another. Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently to God all night and meant it, and been slaughtered anyway. Brutality wins frequently, and large outcomes have turned on the invention of a mechanical device, viz. radar. True, valour sometimes counts for something, as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right - though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition, is decided by the winner. Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades and burst like paper bags of guts to save their comrades. I can admire that. But rats and cholera have won many wars. Those, and potatoes, or the absence of them. It's no use pinning all those medals across the chests of the dead. Impressive, but I know too much. Grand exploits merely depress me. In the interests of research I have walked on many battlefields that once were liquid with pulped men's bodies and spangled with exploded shells and splayed bone. All of them have been green again by the time I got there. Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day. Sad marble angels brood like hens over the grassy nests where nothing hatches. (The angels could just as well be described as vulgar or pitiless, depending on camera angle.) The word glory figures a lot on gateways. Of course I pick a flower or two from each, and press it in the hotel Bible for a souvenir. I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement. As I say, I deal in tactics. Also statistics: for every year of peace there have been four hundred years of war.