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Indeed, it was so widely diffused that the main figures in the Liberal Government, who were well aware of the real dangers, were afraid to tell even their colleagues in the Cabinet of the precautions they had felt obliged to take in the shape of the military conversations undera 34 Autobiography ofan Economist pinning the Entente Cordiale; and any public statement of our determination to intervene in certain contingencies, which in all probability would have averted the catastrophe, would have been regarded by nearly all as politically out of the question.

All this may sound very naive nowadays - or does it to the present generation of student militants, some of whose more sincere and idealistic productions often remind me acutely of my own salad days? But at that time, to anyone with the convictions I then held, taking it as axiomatic that existing institutions were base and hateful and that what was needed was a radical break, it had the attraction of practical idealism, combining high moral standards with the down-to-earth virtues of the organizations, the trade unions, which had been the main instrument of emancipating the British workers from the horrors of the nineteenth-century industrial revolution.

With Eddie in this mood, how extraordinarily agreeable the world could seem. Eddie's subsequent career had none of the success which his gifts might have seemed to promise. In early manhood, just when he was beginning to achieve some reputation as a composer and 32 Autobiography of an Economist a critic, as a result of a profound spiritual crisis he became a Roman Catholic; and, for the greater part of the inter-war period, he spent those shining talents underpaid and unappreciated in a sectarian school which eventually, as a result of some extraneous diocesan reorganization, flung him aside without pension or alternative employment.

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