When we meet in the flesh we speak with the same accent; use knives and forks in the same way; expect maids to cook dinner and wash up after dinner; and can talk during dinner without much difficulty about politics and people; war and peace; barbarism and civilization--all the questions indeed suggested by your letter. Two thousand pounds was spent on my brother's, I still hope not in vain.' Mary Kingsley is not speaking for herself alone; she is speaking, still, for many of the daughters of educated men. Ever since the thirteenth century English families have been paying money into that account.
Here we are only concerned with the obvious fact, when it comes to considering this important question--how we are to help you prevent war--that education makes a difference.Some knowledge of politics, of international relations of economics, is obviously necessary in order to understand the causes which lead to war. Now you the uneducated, you with an untrained mind, could not possibly deal with such questions satisfactorily.Some such reasoning must have led you to apply to us; and with justification.For happily there is one branch of education which comes under the heading 'unpaid-for education'--that understanding of human beings and their motives which, if the word is rid of its scientific associations, might be called psychology.What is that congregation of buildings there, with a semi-monastic look, with chapels and halls and green playing-fields?
To you it is your old school; Eton or Harrow; your old university, Oxford or Cambridge; the source of memories and of traditions innumerable.
A whole page could be filled with excuses and apologies; declarations of unfitness, incompetence, lack of knowledge, and experience: and they would be true.
But even when they were said there would still remain some difficulties so fundamental that it may well prove impossible for you to understand or for us to explain.
Without someone warm and breathing on the other side of the page, letters are worthless.
You, then, who ask the question, are a little grey on the temples; the hair is no longer thick on the top of your head.
War, as the result of impersonal forces, is you will agree beyond the grasp of the untrained mind.