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Chapter 3 (continued)
I explained my meaning as best I could by stating that by city I referred to a place where many people lived together in houses.
"Oh," he exclaimed, "you mean a camp! Yes, there are two great camps here, East Camp and West Camp. We are from East Camp."
The use of the word camp to describe a collection of habitations naturally suggested war to me, and my next question was as to whether the war was over, and who had been victorious.
"No," he replied to this question. "The war is not yet over. But it soon will be, and it will end, as it always does, with the Westenders running away. We, the Eastenders, are always victorious."
"No," I said, seeing that he referred to the petty tribal wars of his little island, "I mean the Great War, the war with Germany. Is it ended--and who was victorious?"
He shook his head impatiently.
"I never heard," he said, "of any of these strange countries of which you speak."
It seemed incredible, and yet it was true. These people living at the very seat of the Great War knew nothing of it, though but two centuries had passed since, to our knowledge, it had been running in the height of its titanic frightfulness all about them, and to us upon the far side of the Atlantic still was a subject of keen interest.
Here was a lifelong inhabitant of the Isle of Wight who never had heard of either Germany or England! I turned to him quite suddenly with a new question.
"What people live upon the mainland?" I asked, and pointed in the direction of the Hants coast.
"No one lives there," he replied.
"Long ago, it is said, my people dwelt across the waters upon that other land; but the wild beasts devoured them in such numbers that finally they were driven here, paddling across upon logs and driftwood, nor has any dared return since, because of the frightful creatures which dwell in that horrid country."
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