10 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 14

* * * * The virility of the French will

always remain a mystery to me. How comes it that they are so disciplined as soldiers and so subversive as civilians? In Prelude to Victory General Spears has devoted some excellent pages to this very problem. He concludes that the Frenchman accepts military service as " a free gift of himself to the land he loves." And that, whereas he never trusts his politicians, he does constantly trust his officers. A French friend of mine has given me a further explanation. " We French," he wrote to me recently, " are always the same. We are anti- militarists by nature, but we are also warriors ; anti- militaristes et guerriers." That is a true and noble boast.