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Avan Valley Notes. I

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Avan Valley Notes. I (BY DBIIOCRITUS). A CHRISTMAS FANTASIA. I I hfcard the bells on Christmas Day Their old finilliax carols play, And wild and sweet The words repera,t Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. Then from each black accused mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. And in despair I bowed my head "There is no peace on earth," I said, For hate is strong And mocks the song Of peace on earth, goodwill to men! Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, Love is not dead, nor doth it sleep! The wrong shall fail The right prevail; With peace on earth, goodwill to men! LONGFELLOW. A Merry Christmas to the Editor and readers of the Pioneer." A happy—nay, to express this time-honoured Yuletide greeting this year is to expose oneself to the suspicion of indulging in cynical levity. Making merry will be so difficult with the whole civilized world a seething fer- ment of hate, rapine, and homicidal madness. And yet, occasional forgetfulness is essential. Prospect. This is the fourth Christmas of the war and there is no ray of light on the horizon. The clouds loom darker and more threatening than ever, for added to the ghastly slaughter, and the reckless expenditure of wealth, there is now stalking through the land the gnm spectre of want. Queues of hundreds of anxious women and shivering children stand for hours in the cold drizzling rain in the expectation of obtain- ing a few ounces of butter at 2s. 6d. a lb. And our well-clad, well-fed, ultra patriots talk about the necessity of eoonomising! The Premier. I The Prime Minister has delivered his eagerly awaited, speech, and it has turned out as the apples of Sodom: a cankered tumour plastered with rhetoric. Mr. I). Lloyd Geotrge is a pillar of the Baptist denomination. He is a professed follower ctf the Prince of Peace; he is the idol of Welsh Nonconformity and receives more homage in Wales than Christ himself, yet, with all these manifestations of godliness he cannot attain a higher spiritual plane than that set him by Lord Northcliffe. For a Christmas greeting he, gives us a re-affirmation of the "knock-out blow" in more diplomatic diction. ti A Fool's Hell. Many of us have, durin gtlie last few rnontiis, been hoping against hope of witnessing the end of hostilities before Christmas • alas, for the vanity of human wishes, we have all lived in a fool's paradise, or. preferably—hell. Our imperialists won't have a negotiated peace—a peace based on democratic lines. They are out for a military victory notwithstanding the insuperable barriers between them and that achievement, notwith- standing the travail which must be endured be- fore a sem blance of victory can be atcained. Incompatible. What do statesmen and rulers, Kaisers and sons of Kaisers ea,re about the hallowed associa- tions of Christmas, or about the sacred behests of the Prince of Peace? Religion to them is a nebulous theory, the observance of which is to. be honoured only when it comes not into con- tact with individual pride or military prestige and glory. The beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, the inviolability of Christian conscience —these, and all the injunctions about love and forgiveness are thrown to the scrap-heap of use-I less incumbrances when the hell-hounds of w-arl a?e let loose. And the much vaunted Christian England! shall not Ichabod be indelibly in-I soribed upon hw House of Legisia.tur? and her Church after the infamous treatment meted to conscientious ohiec.tors The Climax of Hypocrisy. The first Sunday of the Xew year is to br i day -of prayer to Got!, and this proclamation ? made simultaneously with the infamous crime 0.1 disfranchising men for adhering to God's holy I The Power to' Happiness. But, a truce to such thoughts. If our rulers can deprive us of the usual attributes to Christ- mas cheer if they can shackle our actions aud I circumscribe our utterances: they cannot de- prive us of our power to think wlrich, were mer wise enough to realibe, constitutes a more potent factor towards happiness than anything within the power of rulers to confer. Good Will towards C.O.s and Soldiers. So thinking this war is a huge, ghastly blun-, der, and its prosecution, without any attempt at amicable negotiation, a. crime against God and man, I make bold to say that applications to I Heanm will be a waste of energy. If it is not a .breach of the D.O.H .A., to utter a wish, I hereby wish all conscientious objectors, "A Merry Christmas," In prison and out of prison,- may the benign spirit of Santa Claus (that's- German) hover near them, and may some. of his- Christmas munificence find its way into the' stockings of these dauntless fighters for liberty of conscience. To the. soldiers in the trenches- the same wish is heartily extended. Theirs is a hard, agonising lot, which the vainglorious plau- dits of old men and callous women will do little to alleviate. All I these old men who froth inki- who urge young men to fight, some of them have enough hatred in their hearts to fulfil the needs. of hell for a twelve-month. However, it's Christ- mas, the season of goodwill, and, assuredly, there still remains a spark of divine compassion; in the hearts of the most callous. So, let there oo a trace to ill-feeling, suspicion, hatred, and perhaps that spark of goodness will kindle into' a flame whieh will shed a. shimmering light o'er the gloom of the European Golgotha.

:— JJSC" Abercynon Notes.

IRHEUMATISM- KIDNEY TROUBLE.