(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

An impressionable young woman, Editha bases her sentimental views about war on the yellow journalism that she reads in the current newspapers. She insists that her fiancé, George Gearson, a conscientious objector, fight in the Spanish-American War. She is ecstatic that war is being declared and cannot understand his dislike for war and his unwillingness to fight in a war. She believes that a man who wants to win her must do something to deserve her. Now is his chance, because the Spanish-American War has been declared. Editha joyfully repeats jingoistic newspaper phrases to George, but he remains ironic, thoughtful, and rational. When George leaves Editha’s presence after war has been declared, Editha’s mother says that she hopes that George will not enlist, but Editha hopes that he will. Editha puts her engagement ring and various mementos into a package with a letter to George telling him to keep them until he enlists. She decides to keep the package for a while in case George does the right thing. George returns to the Balcom household that evening with the news that he has led the prowar speakers at the town meeting and will be the captain of the local volunteers.

Editha gives George her letter as he leaves, to show him how serious she is about the war. She tells him that war is in the order of Providence: There are no two sides about war; there is nothing now but their country. George remains silent after Editha’s words, musing and pensive....

(The entire section is 535 words.)