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Types of Conchies.


Types of Conchies. (Contributed) Now that hostilities have ceased on the various battle-fronts, "and one is permitted to enjoy a little quiet respite in his old wicker chair, there is a little difficulty in assuming the whilom composure which characterised those restful evenings of pre-war times. One finds himself atween the dead and the living- the debris of the departing order and the resuscitating, palpitating, awakening life of the world that is to be. To one who has, in season and out of it, endeavoured to do what in him lay for the gloriously victorious issue thac has crowned his country's efforts, no one will begrudge these moments of quiet reflec- tion. And yet there is a disquietude of mind, a sort of resurging agitation which denies any real rest to the imagination. Reflection be- comes broken and incoherent as visions of future re-construction haunt and fall athwart the memories of gone-by deeds and scenes. Maybe that the strenuousness of the past four years and the unrelaxed tension for so long at a stretch, account for some degree of this perturbation of the inner being. Maybe, too, that the inequalities of the situation confront-I ing one at the conclusion of four years of war have some bearing on the matter. ? here is one comforting reflection which seems to me! worth a great deal. Although I have a prac- tically useless limb to carry through life as the legacy of my contribution to victory, i rather that than having two strong arms, and having done nothing for my beloved country. Since my return from the great Armageddon, I have been grateful above description to find my own native land much as I left it, free from the ravages of the enemy and the%ideons and heartrending spectacles of modern war- fare. I could often wish that memory of these became blank for ever, but it cannot be so, and if I begrudge the stay-at-homes one thing more than another, it is this—that they will be entirely free from any haunting memories of sights beyond human imagination which everv soldier experiences. Yet, after all, I prefer even that added burden to my maimed and lacerated frame, to the shame of the able-bodied shirker. And for this reason —I, at any rate, can look the world in the face knowing that my sacrifice has helped to save the defenceless, whilst the shirker and the Conchy ad hoc can have no such comforting consolation. Whilst on this sub- ject, the Conchy, I cannot help being amused somewhat at the variety of this species I have stumbled across. There is, e.g.:— (I) The Conchy Religious. As a rule he is not a profound student of religious or any other questions. His knowledge of compara- tive religion would be quite insignificant, and of his own pet creed perhaps even less. Reli- gion troubled him little before the war, but being requested to go forth and die for his country, he discovered his religious conscience. Hitherto this serviceable faculty had been cosily ensconced in oblivious desuetude, but a call for sacrifice for native land and freedom, for helpless mothers and suckling babes, roused this sleeping giant to a passion of revolt. I was as religious as he in pre-war days, at least if the fruits of the spirit are an indication of the Spirit's presence, but rather thar- die for others at his country's call, he would see every woman, child and daughter, wiped out of the country. So much for the Conchy Religious. (2) A more supple and incalculable quan- tity is another type of this honoured species which, for a better title, may be described as the Conchy on Principle. Like the much hackneyed and perverted word conscience," the word principle is capable of very different connotations. There are good and bad principles as there are consciences, and the Kaiser and his upholders could as justly claim conscience" and" principle" on their side as many of those abettors of anarchy in this country, reputed to be more or less in his pay and employ. The Conchy on Principle would disdain to uplift his little r against military aggression by the Hun on the fair fields and cities of Belgium. He would embarrass his own Government in its days of dire extremity; he would not wait to think of Tomrity ti-Ac trench with nothing but bare body to meet the advancing host of the enemy. Although guns and shells and coal would save many lives, the "Conchy Oil Principle had no scruple. He would demand his pound of flesh even from the backs of the Civilian Army in the field, and against the saner counsel of his accredited leaders. Shame on him! The Coney on Principle deserves the contempt of every returning soldier. Still this genus was our-Heroded by an even more malignant type, which for convenience sake may be designated (3) The Conchy Braggadocio. At the opening of hostilities this perverse specimen argued thusly:—" What difference would it make if the Kaiser ruled this country? What has this country done for me? Why should I go and endanger my life for others?" &c., &c. Then the women of the country volun- teered for war-work and covered him with lasting obloquy and ridicule. The woman- speaker came and baffled him in argument and overwhelmed him with contempt. Yet this octopus appeared in another form. He was the soldiers' best friend! He claimed the soldiers' rights (although he had cowardly shirked the soldier's duty). The dependents of men on active service were his most solicitous concern. With good reason did the Discharged Soldiers' and Sailors' Society dis- pense with his insincere and unwelcome patronage. Hands off, Bolshevist; hands olf, bloodsuckers, whether employers or em- ployed," say the returning sailors and soldiers. I l o?rs je,rs. People who have cared nothing but for profits" and selfish ease" when we, poor devils, were in extremity in France and elsewhere are ill-fitted to be entrusted with our rights now that we have won them. The Conchy Braggadocio will die for any- body or anything (so he says) but his own country. If" gab could do the trick, I have no doubt as to his success, but nothing will convince me that this putrid excrescence 01} the body politic is not something that can well be dispensed with. In the work of re- construction these various specimens of Conchies will be of as little help as they were to win the war. For one, I cannot help thinking that all we have suffered will he fully recompensed in the future. Still, I believe that the men who have fought and conquered, and not the vociferous nincompoops whose consciences and principles are comprehended by the single word selfish- ness," should have the prior claim and the premier position in the settlement and re- construction. The clock strikes twelve, and as I must be up at 6 a.m., I must bring my musings to an abrupt end. PRO PATRIA.

Church of England Waifs' &…