Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Monday, December 17, 2007

Boreham on Declining to be Distracted

Emile Zola…in La Debacle, tells us how, on the morning of the battle of Sedan, Captain Beaudoin's company were ordered to lie down in a large field of cabbages. Guns were booming, bullets were flying, shells were bursting, houses were burning. The men were restive and impatient to be in action. ‘How long were they going to lie among the cabbages? Maurice turned his head, and was greatly astonished on perceiving in the depths of a sequestered valley, sheltered by rugged slopes, a peasant who was calmly pursuing his avocation—guiding a plough drawn by a big white horse. Why should the man lose a day? Corn would not cease growing, the human race would not cease living, because a few thousand men happened to be fighting.’

And, thirty pages farther on, Zola tells how, in the evening, when the great battle had been fought, and the morning seemed ages ago, Maurice was washing the wounds of his comrade. ‘Suddenly he was greatly astonished when, on his right hand, in the depths of a secluded valley, sheltered by rugged slopes, he again espied the same peasant whom he had seen in the morning, and who was still leisurely turning up the sod, guiding his plough drawn by a big white horse. Why should a day be lost? Corn would not cease growing, nor would the human race cease living, simply because it pleased some men to fight!’

… the ploughman declines to be distracted, even by the drama of battle on all the surrounding hills. He finely finishes his furrow.

F W Boreham, ‘The Bloodhound of the Hedgerow’, The Golden Milestone (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 205-206.

Image: “He finely finishes his furrow.”