Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset


By wire from the New York journal April Z4 Madrid - Today our Ambassador was summoned to the office of the Premier and was handed his passport and a curt note stating that the ‘crimes' of the United States against His Most Catholic Majesty have forced His Majesty's government to recognise that a state of war exists between the Kingdom of Spain and. ..

Reverend Timberly read that one news story aloud from the pulpit, put the paper down, looked solemnly at us, took out his handkerchief and wiped his brow, then blew his nose. He said hoarsely, ‘Let us pray. '

Father stood up, the rest of the congregation followed. Brother Timberly asked Lord God Jehovah to lead us in this time of peril. He asked Divine guidance for President McKinley. He asked the Lord's help for all our brave men on land and sea who now must fight for the preservation of this sacred, God-given land. He asked mercy for the souls of those who would fall in battle, and consolation and help in drying the tears of widows and orphans and of the fathers and mothers of our young heroes destined to die in battle. He asked that right prevail for a speedy end to this conflict. He asked for help for our friends and neighbours, the unfortunate people of Cuba, oppressed for so long by the iron heel of the King of Spain. And more, about twenty minutes of it.

Father had long since cured me of any belief in the Apostles' Creed. In its place I held a deep suspicion, planted by Professor Huxley and nurtured by Father, that no such person as Jesus of Nazareth had ever lived.

As for Brother Timberly, I regarded him as two yards of noise, with his cracks filled with unction. Like many preachers in the Bible Belt, he was a farm boy with (I strongly suspected) a distaste for real work.

I did not and do not believe in a God up there in the sky listening to Brother Timberly's words.

Yet I found myself saying ‘Amen! ' to his every word, while tears streamed down my cheeks.

At this point I must drag out my soap box.

In the twentieth century Gregorian, in the United States of America, something called ‘revisionist history' became popular among ‘intellectuals'. Revisionism appears to have been based on the notion that the living actors present on the spot never understood what they were doing or why, or how they were being manipulated, being mere puppets in the hands of unseen evil forces.

This may be true. I don't know.

But why are the people of the United States and their government always the villains in the eyes of the Revisionists? Why can't our enemies - such as the King of Spain, and the Kaiser, and Hitler, and Geronimo, and Villa, and Sandino, and Mao Tse-Tung, and Jefferson Davis - why can't these each take a turn in the pillory? Why is it always our turn?

I am well aware that the Revisionists maintain that William Randolph Hearst created the Spanish-American War to increase the circulation of his newspapers. I know, too, that various scholars and experts later asserted that the USS Maine, at dock in Havana harbour, was blown up (with the loss of 226 American lives) by faceless villains whose purpose was to make Spain look bad and thereby to prepare the American people to accept a declaration of war against Spain.

Now look carefully at what I said. I said that I know that these things are asserted. I did not say that they are true.

It is unquestionably true that the United States, acting officially, was rude to the Spanish government concerning Spain's oppression of the Cuban people. It is also true that William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to say any number of unpleasant things about the Spanish government. But Hearst was not the United States and he had no guns and no ships and no authority. What he did have was a loud voice and no respect for tyrants. Tyrants bate people like that.

Somehow those masochistic revisionists have turned the War of 1898 into a case of imperialistic aggression by the United States. How an imperialist war could result in the freeing of Cuba and the Philippines is never made clear. But revisionism always starts with the assumption that the United States is the villain. Once the revisionist historian proves this assumption (usually by circular logic) he is granted his Ph. D. and is well on his way to a Nobel peace prize.

In April 1898, to us benighted country people certain simple facts were true. Our battleship Maine had been destroyed, with great loss of life. Spain had declared war on us. The President had asked for volunteers.

The next day, Monday 25 April, came the President's call asking the state militias to furnish one hundred and twenty- five thousand volunteers to augment our almost-nonexistent army. That morning Tom had ridden over to Butler Academy as usual. The news reached him there and he came trotting back at noon, his roan gelding Beau Brummel in a lather. He asked Frank to wipe Beau down for him and hurried into the house, there to disappear into the clinic with Father.

They came out in about ten minutes. Father told Mother, ‘Madam, our son Tom is about to enlist in the service of his country. He and I will be leaving for Springfield at once. I must go with him in order to swear that he is eighteen years old and has parental approval. '

‘But he is not eighteen! '