Returning to “Dream People” – July 1918

I do not know whether it is the greater trial to have no one to know, no one to tell and no one to help when the hour of perplexity and difficulty arises, or to have too many to know about it, and too many to give advice. The greatest trial on such occasions is when there are many to advise or condole and none to help.

At the moment, it gives one a strange feeling of living in a planet apart with strange faces from another sphere forming a circle round one and a murmur of voices speaking a foreign tongue that yet has a familiar sound. That particular crisis isolates one.

It is actually another sphere in which those people live and move, and look at one with a curiously remote gaze of enquiry. But it is not they who are remote; it is the one whom circumstances have for the time set apart. This in various phases and forms and degree must be a common experience with millions of people whose lives have been uprooted in this great upheaval.

Every soldier who returns from trench-life to visit his home and his friends must often feel that they are dream people who sit there looking at him, asking questions, and expecting him to tell them something of a world that cannot be spoken of, and which they will never understand. “We are such stuff as dreams are made of,” even in days of peace. In a world at war, our lives are like nightmare dreams.

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