Part 5 out of 5
coming before leaving the roof to notify him?
On the outside all was quiet, and as long as the soldiers did not
suspect, everything would be all right. But suppose that the Emperor
should grow impatient and send another messenger? He was just
congratulating himself that the Count did not know what time it was or
that the Little Peace Maker was now overdue, when a clock somewhere
The Count straightened up and his look of k interest changed to hope,
and finally a smile broke over his face as the minutes slipped by.
"Well, Mr. Edestone, your little dream will soon be over," he taunted,
after sitting for about five minutes longer.
Even the Secretary was growing fidgety. He knew that something would
have to happen soon or the German General Staff, with its usual
thoroughness, would ask the reason why, and this question would be put
in their usual forcible manner.
It was now ten minutes after eight, and Edestone expected every minute
to hear a ring at the front door. Besides, the dusk was coming on and
the servants would soon be in to light the lights. He had decided that
if they did he would retreat to the roof, forcing the Count to accompany
him, and there make a last stand. He formed a mental resolution never to
leave that roof alive except on board of the Little Peace Maker. He had
always said that he had rather be dead than a failure. He did not want
to live to see his life's work, his beautiful ship, which must finally
come down, used for war, death, and destruction, his dream of universal
peace gone forever; or by his own discovery remove still farther from
the grasp of the long-suffering world that relief which it was vainly
reaching out for in its present desperate plight.
Was this the end? If so, he would meet it calmly, but not until he had
made a fight. Then he would meet Fate with a smile, for she had been
good to him. Perhaps an all-wise Providence had decreed that man must
fight on to the bitter end, and to punish him for his presumption in
attempting to alter an unalterable law had led him on only to destroy
him just as he, with his petty little mind, thought he had reached the
The Count was now laughing and explaining to Jones what was going to
happen to him, to the United States, and especially to Edestone, and
Jones was beginning to look as if he thought there might be some truth
in what he was saying.
It was nearly half-past eight when the long-expected ring at the front
door came. The Count laughed out loud in triumph.
"Mr. Edestone," he said, "don't you think that it is just about time to
ask for terms? It is not too late even now. You are a game man, and I
hate to see you go to destruction when it is not necessary."
The ring was followed by another longer than the first.
Edestone was leaning well over the table and looking at the Count with a
light in his eyes like that in those of a tiger about to spring.
"I return the compliment," he said.
There was now heard on the outside much noise and confusion. The bell
was rung again and the sound of someone violently shaking the front door
was followed by the breaking of the glass in the iron grille. Above this
din, which was really not so great as it seemed to the overwrought
nerves of the three men who had sat looking at each other for the last
forty minutes, there came the unmistakable rattle of machine-guns, which
at first was distant and light in volume, but with incredible rapidity
increased until it was a roar that seemed like a great wave rolling up
from the southern part of the city.
Edestone, who knew that this meant that the Little Peace Maker must have
been sighted by the German look-outs on the roofs, ran to the window.
The Count hesitated for just one moment, as if there were two forces
within him fighting for mastery, and then with a quick movement he made
a jump for the door.
"Sit down, you dog!" cried Edestone turning just in time to see him, and
he sent a bullet crashing through the door just above the Count's hand
where it rested on the knob.
Count von Hemelstein stopped, and turning braced himself to receive the
ball that he thought must certainly follow.
"Come back and sit down, you poor thing. If you cannot keep your word
without help, I will help you next time."
But the soldiers on the outside, on hearing the shot, redoubled their
efforts to get in, and now could be heard running around the house and
trying the other doors. In the midst of all this uproar, Lawrence came
down, and in imitation of one of his favourite characters, the sailor
who announced to Captain Sigsbee the sinking of the _Maine_, said:
"Sir, I have the honour to report that the Little Peace Maker has been
sighted on our starboard bow." Then throwing off his assumed character
he added: "Get a move on you, they will be in at the front door in a
"And what are you going to do with this?" he asked on seeing the
Count. "Don't you think we had better wing it before we leave? Ish ka
"No." Edestone pushed him ahead of him out of the room. And to Jones:
"Good-bye, William," he called over his shoulder. "I am sorry to have
given you so much trouble."
When he had closed the door they both ran into the elevator and started
for the roof.
"Where are all of those who are going with us?" asked Edestone.
"They are all on the roof. No, by Jove!" Lawrence interrupted himself,
"Fred is still down in the front hall."
"We must go for him," said Edestone, halting the car and starting it
"Why not leave him? Mr. Jones can take care of him."
"No, they won't stop at anything." Edestone shook his head.
By this time the car had arrived at the main-floor level, and as Edestone
flung open the door the Count was seen just coming out of the library,
while Fred, who had seen Edestone and Lawrence take the lift, was
running up the stairs. In the dim light the Count saw him, and cried to
the soldiers who had their guns through the grille:
"Shoot that man!"
There was the report of several rifles in quick succession, and the
Bowery boy, who was now at the top of the great monumental stairs, fell
dead. His body rolled to the bottom and lay there perfectly still.
L. P. M.
Almost beside himself, Lawrence resisted all of Edestone's efforts to
get him back into the elevator.
"You damn' dirty Dutchman, I'll pay you for this!" he yelled over his
shoulder, as he struggled to break loose from the firm grip which held
him, and get at the Count.
It was not a time to permit of argument. Overpowering him with his great
strength, Edestone simply dragged him back, and flung him into a corner
of the car, where he sat crying like a baby with uncontrollable rage.
After he had started the lift, however, Edestone went over and patted
him soothingly on the shoulder.
"I am sorry, old man," he said regretfully, "awfully sorry! He thought
it was I, and I almost wish it had been."
This brought Lawrence back to himself. He knew that Edestone meant every
word he said and, jumping to his feet, he threw his arms around his
"Bo!" he exclaimed, half-laughing, half-sobbing, "you are a king among
men!" little dreaming of the amount of truth there was in what he said.
A moment later he dropped back into the vernacular, where he was more at
"You are the best sport I ever knew," he said, "and I am nothing but a
rotten squealer! Forgive me, and I will try to be good. But, Bo! that
did hurt!" The tears came to his eyes once more. "He was such a nervy
By this time they had gotten to the roof, where they found Black,
Stanton, and James eagerly awaiting them.
"Where is Fred?" asked Black, noting his absence as the other two
stepped out to join them.
"Dead by God!" Lawrence started again to become hysterical. "That devil,
Count von Hemelstein, killed him!"
"Shut up, Lawrence!" broke in Edestone sharply. "Cut out that swearing
and get to work. We have no time to lose."
In the same quick, authoritative tone, he issued his orders to the
others, as they stood staring at the news, each in his different way
showing his breeding. Black was commencing to whine; Stanton with a
scowl of rage was in sympathy with Lawrence; while James, demonstrating
his years of training, stood statue-like with hand behind his back,
leaning forward as if to catch his master's next order, and carry it out
with perfect decorum.
"Have you locked the door at the foot of the stairs? Ah! That is good!"
he exclaimed, as he saw that they had barricaded the door of the
bulkhead by putting a piece of timber between it and the coping around
one of the skylights.
It had grown quite dark in the interval, but in the glare of the great
searchlights which were playing upon her he could plainly see above him
the Little Peace Maker which had swung into a position directly over the
Embassy, and was now slowly descending.
She was not over a thousand feet above the roof as she hung there, three
of her great searchlights bearing steadily on three different points in
the city, and giving to her the aspect of an enormous spyglass standing
on its gigantic tripod, and by its own weight forcing the feet of the
tripod into the soft earth, as the ship slowly settled.
Shrapnel shells were exploding all about her, and at times she was
almost entirely enveloped in smoke. Between the reports of the heavier
artillery could be heard the staccato spatter of bullets on her iron
sides as the machine-guns sprayed her from end to end. Now and then one
of the gunners would reach one of her searchlights, and as the ray was
extinguished, one almost expected to see her topple in the direction of
her broken support, but in each case it was quickly replaced by another,
and she continued to drop nearer and nearer to the earth.
Excepting for the searchlights there was no sign of life on
board. Silently and without response of any kind, she came. But as she
approached nearer, and the angle of the German guns was still further
reduced, although they must already have been doing frightful damage in
all parts of the city, the shrapnel and small bullets could be heard
screaming over the heads of the little party on the roof.
"It is getting pretty hot here, and we had better lie down," Edestone
said. But the words were hardly out of his mouth before Stanton fell
with a bullet in his head, and James sat down, probably more abruptly
than he had ever done anything before in all his life.
"I beg pardon, sir," he observed with a little gasp, "but I think, sir,
as how they have got me in the leg, sir."
They all dropped down. Stanton was dead, and James was bleeding badly
from the flesh-wound in his leg.
"That was the fellow in that tower over there." Lawrence made a
reconnoissance. "He is now shooting straight at us."
"This has got to stop." Edestone frowned. "Lawrence send this
message. No cipher; I would rather have them catch this.
"Tell 'Specs' first to haul down the U. S. flag and run up my private
signal. Then he is to silence every gun he can find that is bearing on
us, and train a machine-gun on the door of the bulk-head, ready to fire
when I give the signal by throwing up my hat.
"Take Lawrence up to the instrument, Mr. Black," he directed, turning
to Black who was giving "first aid" to the unfortunate valet. "I will do
what I can for James."
When the elevator with Lawrence and the electrician had gone up above
the level of the roof, leaving the shaft open down into the house, he
could distinctly hear the soldiers running up the stairs. At any moment
now they might be hammering on the door at the foot of the stairway
leading to the roof.
He hated the idea of killing those innocent Germans, mere machines, as
they were, in the hands of a Master, who with his entire entourage had
become sick with a mania which took the form of militarism, imperialism,
and pan-Germanism. But after the death of his two fellow-countrymen--for
at heart he was still true to the land of his birth, although to save her
he had just renounced the flag--he felt that he was justified in what he
was about to do.
With a silent prayer for the peasant mothers who were soon to lose their
dear ones, he commended their souls to God, and not as these mothers,
poor benighted creatures, had done, to their Emperor.
He was startled from these sorrowful reflections by the white glow of a
searchlight from the Little Peace Maker sweeping across the roof, and
playing hither and thither. Evidently, "Specs" had received his order,
and was now feeling about for the bulkhead door.
A moment later he located it. Immediately the night was made hideous
with the roar of the guns from the airship, as they sowed bursting
shells in all directions, and carried death and destruction to the heart
of this great and wonderful city, built up stone by stone, and standing
as a living monument to one of the greatest people on the face of the
earth--a people that science teaches are the very last expression of
God's greatness shown in His wonderful evolution of matter into His own
image. And for what? That one family might maintain the position given
to one of their ancestors in the remote, dark, and grovelling ages of
the past for prowess of which a modern prizefighter might be proud, but
for acts to which he with a higher standard might not stoop.
The telling response of the Little Peace Maker soon put an end to the
storm of shrapnel and bullets which had been singing, whistling,
buzzing, and screaming about them, and Edestone might have been able to
stand up, but for the pertinacity of the snipers, those serpents of
modern warfare, who were searching every dark corner of the roof.
Matters were fast coming to a climax, however. By the time that
Lawrence and Black had returned from sending the wireless message, and
had crawled over to where Edestone lay, the soldiers had broken down the
lower door, and were pounding at the upper, which "Specs" was holding as
with a rapier point at the heart of a fallen foe, ready to strike at the
Crawling over to the elevator shaft, Edestone called down a warning in a
loud voice to those below:
"I have a machine-gun trained on the top of the stairs! If you order
your men to break that door down, I will order my guns to fire, and will
kill them faster than you can drive them up!"
For a moment the only response to his challenge was silence. Then a
voice rang out which he had heard before, arrogant and commanding:
"As God has ordained that I and none other should rule the earth, with
Him alone, I shall. By my Imperial order, and with His assistance,
bring that man to me, dead or alive!"
A brief pause ensued. Edestone could hear the officers urging on their
men. Suddenly pistol-shots rang out, and with a mad rush they came on.
The door swayed and shivered under the impact. It split and
shattered. Finally it fell.
"May God have mercy on his soul!" murmured Edestone, and he tossed his
hat high in the air.
"Specs" from his look-out caught the signal; and instantly the doorway
became a writhing, shrieking mass of wounded humanity. Like vaseline
squeezed out of a tube, it was forced out of the opening by the pressure
of those behind and spread in wider and wider circles across the roof,
until the aperture itself was choked and stopped with bodies.
But Edestone and his companions were spared the full measure of this
sickening sight, as the rapid manoeuvres of the Little Peace Maker
compelled them to devote their attention to her.
As the great ship descended to within about ten feet of the
chimney-tops, men appeared on her lower bridge and dropped over the
insulated ladder which extended almost to where the refugees lay.
Picking James up and putting him on his back where he clung like a baby,
Edestone ran for the ladder, quickly followed by Lawrence and Black. He
reached the bridge just in time to turn James over to one of the crew,
and extend his assistance to Lawrence, who had received a shot in one
hand, and was rather dizzily holding on to the ladder with the
other. Eventually, though, they all gained the bridge, and with their
rescuers already there raced up the gangway under a perfect hail of
bullets for the open doorway at the top. But before the last man had
passed through, two of the sailors had been shot, and had fallen to
their death on the roof.
As they entered the ship, they were met by "Specs," Captain Lee,
Dr. Brown, and other officers in uniforms which at the first glance
might have been taken for those of the New York Yacht Club, except for
the insignia on their caps which was a combination of Edestone's private
signal and the letters L. P. M. Edestone, however, interrupted their
attempt to salute him.
"Please waive all ceremony," he said. "We have wounded men here that
must be attended to."
At this, Dr. Brown immediately came forward, and after ordering Lawrence
and James to the hospital gave a start as his glance fell upon Edestone.
"You did not tell me that you yourself were wounded, sir," he exclaimed;
and then for the first time Edestone discovered that his face, hands,
and clothing were covered with blood which was streaming from a wound
above his temple.
He was about to permit himself also to be examined, when there was heard
from below the detonation of one of the Kaiser's big mortars; and
pulling away from the Doctor, he called an excited order to "Specs":
"Throw on your full charge, and lift her as fast as you can!"
He ran to the gangway in time to see the wire carried up to a great
height by the ball from the mortar settling down across the Little Peace
Maker about midships. It was falling now, and would soon come in contact
with the ship.
When it did, there was a slight jar perceptible, but no such result as
the enemy had hoped. The wire was so quickly fused, accompanying an
explosion giving out an intense light, that it seemed to shoot to the
earth like a streak of lightning, setting fire to or knocking down
everything that lay in its path.
Another and another mortar shot followed until the sky seemed to be
filled with falling wires which were swinging, twisting, and snapping
above him. The Little Peace Maker was the centre of an electrical
storm, and was sending back by every wire messages of death to those who
were striving to bring her down.
The ship was rising very rapidly now, however, and almost before
Edestone had time to sing out, "Steady now, as you are," she was 3000
feet above the German capital, and out of range of the wire-throwers.
YACHTING IN THE AIR
While Lawrence's hand was being dressed by one of the assistant
surgeons, he had an opportunity of observing how perfect were the
appointments of the operating room to which he had been taken. The
orderlies and nurses moving about were all dressed in spotless white
gowns and caps. The doctor and those assisting him in cleaning and
dressing the slight flesh-wound which had been inflicted looked at their
patient through holes in a cap that completely covered their heads and
faces. Every appliance was provided for perfect cleanliness and
sanitation, and the apparatus was on hand to permit of any operation of
modern surgery, no matter how complicated.
From where he sat, he could see into another room exactly similar where
James was having the injury to his leg attended to with the same
scrupulous care; and he had passed, as he was brought in, a long room
which he was told was one of the surgical wards, and where he had seen
several men on hospital cots. The surgical wards, he was further
informed, were on the starboard side of the ship, and not connected in
any way with the sick bay which lay over on the port side.
With his great love for ships and machinery, Lawrence was impatient to
get away and make a tour of inspection of this strange craft upon which
he had embarked; but while he was waiting he occupied himself in his
usual fashion by giving vent to his high spirits and making a joke out
"Well, Doc," he remarked to the surgeon, "you certainly have got one
nifty little butcher shop, but I want to tell you, before one of those
Ku-Klux throw me down and slap the gas bag in my face, that I have no
adenoids, and that my appendix was cut out by an Arabian doctor who
threw a handful of sand into me to stop the bleeding. If you would like
to study German sausages, though, there is a pile of it down there on
the roof." And even he shuddered as he recalled that awful carnage.
A bright-looking chap, dressed in the smart uniform of a steward on a
gentleman's yacht, appeared at the door, but was not allowed to come in
by Lawrence's aseptic guardians. He had been sent down by Edestone to
inquire as to the condition of the wounded, and to announce to Lawrence
that if he felt well enough to join him, dinner would be ready as soon
as he was. He begged, the messenger said, that Mr. Stuyvesant would go
directly to his room and dress, and allow him to have the pleasure of
showing him over the ship after dinner. If he would let the
quarter-master's department have his measure, he would be fitted out.
Wild horses could not have restrained Lawrence from such an invitation,
much less a little scratch on the hand; and his injury having been
dressed by this time, he was about to set out with the messenger, when
James appealed to him from the next room, begging to be allowed to look
after his master's clothes.
"Beg pardon, sir," he urged, showing his embarrassment at not being able
to stand, "but I am the only one who knows how Mr. Edestone likes his
dinner clothes laid out, and his whole evening will be spoiled without
me, sir. I only ask to be allowed to break in the new man, sir, as
starting right in laying out a gentleman's clothes is half the battle,
"Don't you think, you have had enough of a battle for one day, you dear
old fighting fossil?" asked Lawrence in a tone of real affection, for
there is nothing which draws men together, regardless of rank, more
quickly than to fight on the same side, and he could not help but admire
the cool manner in which the valet had borne himself under fire.
"Thank you, sir, but mightn't I be allowed to see to his bath, sir? A
drop of hot water in it turns his stomach for a week. Just let me do
that, and I will come straight back to these very kind persons." He
glanced about at the men of science with the condescending manner of the
English upper servant in dealing with the shopkeeper class.
But Lawrence shook his head. "I'm sorry, James, but--" he bowed low to
the grinning circle of doctors and nurses, and assumed his most
grandiloquent air--"you are now in the hands of the only acknowledged
ruling class of the twentieth century, who hold you with a grip of
steel, but whose touch is as gentle as a mother's kiss. So get out your
knitting, Old Socks; you are doomed."
He turned with a laugh and a new impersonation to the surgeon as he left
"Thank you, Doc. You've cert'nly been kind to me, a poor working
girl. Just send the bill to Mr. Edestone. He is my greatest gentleman
In his room, which was reached by an elevator, he found the ship's
tailor waiting for him; but after this functionary had taken his measure
and gone, he had an opportunity to look around.
He was in a room, he found, a parlour or sitting-room, about fifteen by
twenty, neatly but handsomely furnished, and suggesting to him in its
general appearance the owner's apartments on the largest and most
perfectly equipped yachts. There was this difference, however, that
nothing about it indicated that it was ever off an even keel. There
were no racks or other contrivances to suggest that it was prepared to
turn in any direction at an angle of forty-five degrees, and which to
the land-lubber causes qualms even while the ship is still tied to the
It might indeed have been a handsome living-room in a bachelor's
apartment, but for the windows, which at the first glance seemed to be
of the ordinary French casement form, running down to the floor, and
looking as if they might open out onto a balcony; but to his surprise,
he found, when he pulled aside the heavy curtains, that they looked into
a perfectly blank white wall about two inches from the glass.
Adjoining the living-room was a bedroom furnished in similar style with
the same sort of windows, and beyond, Lawrence found as attractive a
bath-room as ever welcomed an American millionaire after a hot day in
his office, or a game of polo.
After a boiling tub and a freezing shower, in the pink of condition--and
nothing else--he went back into the bedroom.
"Now what," he had wondered, "will the Fairy Godmother have for me in
the way of a union suit, and a pair of jumpers?"
But he had not wondered very hard. He found, as he knew he would, for he
had yachted with Edestone before, a complete outfit, not forgetting the
cocktail, which was standing on the table as quietly and innocently as
if it had always been there, although in reality it had just been placed
there by a man who, with years of experience in listening to the sounds
that come from a gentleman's bathroom, had timed its arrival to the
Nor was it one of those cocktails that are poured from a bottle, and
served hot out of a silver-snouted shaker on a sloppy waiter, but a
masterpiece from the hands of an artist, who took pride in his
With the modesty of a chorus girl with a good figure on a "first night,"
he toasted the valet with much ceremony.
Soon he was dressed in the mess jacket of a petty officer, and putting a
yachting cap jauntily on his head, he went out to seek his friend. The
valet told him he would find Mr. Edestone in the breakfast room, and he
was shown thither by an officer who was waiting for him.
As he passed along, he could not divest himself of the idea that he was
on board Edestone's yacht, the _Storm Queen_ again, only that everything
here was on a larger scale. The breakfast room, he discovered, was on
the same deck but farther forward, and was reached by passing through a
large room furnished as a general living-room.
Edestone came forward to greet him with a rather melancholy expression
on his face. He was dressed in a yachtsman's dinner jacket which fitted
him perfectly, and with his bandaged head, he looked more than ever the
sea lord. His rank of Captain was shown by the stripes on his arm.
The room was, as one would expect Edestone to have in his New York or
country house, simple but handsome.
He had just been giving some orders about the windows which were of the
same form and size as those Lawrence had remarked in his own room, and
like them opened against a wall; but at Lawrence's appearance, he
interrupted these instructions.
"I am glad to see you aboard." He presented his hand, which Lawrence
took with his left. "I had looked forward to your first trip with me
with so much pleasure. But how different it is from the way I had
pictured it. I cannot get Fred, Stanton, or my two sailors out of my
Lawrence's own face saddened, but for Edestone's sake he endeavoured to
"The fortunes of war, old man. Why grieve? You certainly were not to
For a moment there was silence between them; then Edestone, as if
attempting to shake off his gloomy reflections, struck a lighter note.
"How do you like being a pirate, Lawrence?" he smiled.
"Great! The dream of my life, with you for a captain!"
So they sat down to dinner. The men attending to their wants moved about
unheard and almost unseen in the shadow outside the circle of soft light
which fell only on the table. The room was filled with an indescribable
aroma of comfort and good cheer. A newly-lighted fire crackled on the
hearth, for it had suddenly become quite cold. Indeed, it was with
difficulty Lawrence could realize that but a few hours before they had
been in the midst of battle and sudden death, and that, as they sat,
down there five times the height of the Eiffel Tower below them was the
Embassy from which they were still removing the dead, or aiding the
As he looked at Edestone with his sad, brooding eyes, he felt all at
once as if his friend had been taken away from him, and had been lifted
to a place so exalted, that for the life of him, he could not have taken
the liberty of speaking until he was first addressed.
The dinner went on, and though the food was delightful and the wines
perfect, both men merely toyed with what was on their plates, while
Lawrence gulped his champagne as if he were trying to get its effect
quickly in order to throw off this strange new diffidence and restraint
which he now felt in the presence of his oldest and dearest friend.
He tried to imagine that they two were cruising alone on the _Storm
Queen_, as they had so often done, and that this was just one of many
evenings that they had spent in this way together; but
Where was the lap of the water at her side,
Or the pounding of the launch as she rode at her boom?
The groan of the anchor as she swung with the tide,
Or the blowing off steam, which demanded more room?
All was perfectly quiet. If there were storage batteries on board, they
had been charged. There was no shovelling of coal; no shrieking and
banging of doors in the boiler room, nor banking of fires. The only
thing that remained true to tradition was the ship's bell. It had just
sounded out five bells.
The silence was at last broken by Edestone; but, although he spoke, it
was more as if he were merely letting his pensive thoughts run on.
"How different this has been from the way I had planned it. How
different, too, has been your home-coming, old man--for the _Storm
Queen_ was like home to you in the old days."
But Lawrence by this time was beginning to feel the effects of
champagne, and was certain that unless he very soon did something to
lift the pall that had fallen on them, he himself would be dissolved in
"I don't know what your plan was," he said; "but don't you worry about
my home-coming. The thing that ought to worry you is my leave-taking.
The L. P. M. has got the _Storm Queen_ beat a mile, and I am booked for
life. And, by the way, what is my rank on this ship? My old position of
room clerk on the _Storm Queen_ won't go here, as I don't suppose you
intend to have any 'cuties' on board, not even for the New London week."
"No." Edestone consented at last to smile. "I am afraid, Lawrence,
those days are all over for me. My little house of cards has fallen
about me, and I have serious work before me, if I wish to build it up
again. I have been thinking, and thinking very hard. From the moment
that I saw poor Fred roll down the stairs of the Embassy, I knew that my
first plan had failed. When Germany discovers that the United States is
not back of me, she will apologize, and you know how quickly our present
Administration will accept the apology, and how quickly they will
disclaim any responsibility for my acts, if it means a fight?"
"Germany," went on Edestone, "will then call on all the neutral nations
to join her in bringing me, an outlaw, to earth. This will give her a
common cause with them, and she will hope in that way to strengthen her
position relative to the Allies. She does not know my relationship with
England, but she will undoubtedly declare that I am one of the means
England is using to subjugate the world."
"And is there nothing you can do?" asked Lawrence.
"My last and only hope is that tomorrow, after they have realized the
uselessness of opposing me, they will listen to a proposition of
peace--without honour, from their old standard; but with great honour,
from the standard that I intend to establish. I propose to send what is
practically an ultimatum; and that is, that if they do not immediately
open negotiations looking toward peace, I will sink every German
battleship that floats, and destroy every factory in which guns,
explosives, or any of the munitions of war are manufactured."
"Me for the junk business," exclaimed Lawrence with an inspiration. "Oh,
But Edestone paid no heed to the frivolous interruption. "It is my
intention," he continued, "to give sufficient notice, so that if they
are willing to admit my supremacy, there need be no loss of life."
He halted, as an officer had just come in, and was standing after
saluting, waiting for Edestone to stop speaking.
"The look-outs report, sir, that there are several Taubes climbing up
toward us. What are your orders, sir?"
"Close everything down, except one of these." Edestone pointed to a
window. "Expose no lights."
After the man had retired, he said to one of the servants in the room:
"Put out the lights, and bring us two cloaks."
When the lights had been put out, Lawrence saw for the first time that
during dinner the solid cubes of steel, the size of the windows, had
noiselessly rolled back, leaving a square aperture or passage-way
through the six-foot thickness of the armour-plate, and forming a sort
of _loggia_ into which they stepped. It was a beautiful night, and
through the clear, rarefied atmosphere the stars seemed to Lawrence
brighter than he had ever seen them before, while down below them he
could just see the lights of Berlin.
The explosions of the motors of the Taubes could be plainly heard, but
as yet nothing could be seen of them.
"What do you suppose those mosquitoes expect to do against us with their
pop-guns and tomato cans?" asked Lawrence.
"I do not know." Edestone shook his head. "Perhaps they are just coming
up to look us over. They will keep out of sight, and as they may not
know that we are protected on top, will perhaps try to drop one of their
tomato cans on us. That is, if they can get close enough. I hardly think
that they will risk a miss, and drop bombs on their own capital, so long
as the Only One Who Seems To Count In Germany is in the midst of his
The Taubes could be heard on all sides, as if they were climbing in
great circles around the Little Peace Maker. There seemed to be at least
a dozen of them, although owing to the confusion of sounds as they
crossed and re-crossed, it was impossible to count them.
At last, though, when judging by the noise they were about on the same
level as the ship, Edestone turned to an officer who was standing by
"Tell Commander Anderson to load all of the big guns with a full charge
of black powder only, and fire them all off at the same time.
"And, Lawrence," he advised his friend, "when you hear a bell ringing,
stand on your toes, open your mouth, stick your fingers in your ears,
and if you've never been in Hell before, prepare yourself for a shock."
Hardly had he gotten the words out of his mouth, when bells began
ringing all over the ship. In just exactly one minute, Lawrence thought
he had been blown into bits, as he was lifted and thrown from side to
side against the steel walls of the passage. The noise was so great that
his ears seemed unable to record it, and it was made known to him by the
air pressure which seemed to be crushing him to death. The rush of air
down his throat was choking him, while his very insides seemed to be
turning over and over in their effort to escape. A dizziness and nausea
followed, and he had to lean against his friend, trying to catch his
breath in the thick, black smoke with which they were enveloped.
"This is Hell all right," he managed to gasp.
"That is the worst you will ever get," said Edestone. "It was noise that
I was after, and black powder makes it. Your experience would not have
been half so bad had the guns been loaded or had I used smokeless."
The ship which had trembled from stem to stern under the tremendous
concussion was floating now as quietly as a toy balloon, while the wind
was rolling up and pushing before it a great cloud of smoke which
obscured the sky. On all sides there was perfect stillness, broken only
now and again by the last explosion of gas caught in the cylinders of
the Taubes by the sudden stoppage of the engines. The airmen were
volplaning to earth as fast and as silently as they could.
"Well, that ought to hold them for a while," commented Lawrence in a
tone which showed that he was almost himself again.
"And make them a little bit more amenable to reason in the morning,"
added Edestone, and he laughed, for action with him always drove away
the blue devils.
"With that settled, too, we will just have time before turning in, to
inspect my quarters," he continued. "Tomorrow I will introduce you to
'Specs' and Captain Lee, and you can go with them at eleven o'clock on
their tour of official inspection. They will show you the fire drill,
the life-balloon drill, the gun drill, the kitchen, and the cows. But
now I want you to see a different side of the ship. We will look at my
quarters, then at my guest rooms, and finally at my royal suite or state
apartments as I call them."
He then took Lawrence through room after room, which were arranged in
the form of a horseshoe, starting on the port side with his breakfast
room, and working around to the starboard side with its opening toward
the stern of the ship.
On the port side were Edestone's apartments--living-room, library,
or den, bedroom, dressing-room, bath-room, and gymnasium. On the
starboard were a number of guest rooms arranged in suites of parlour,
bedroom, and bath, while at the crown of the arch was a large dining-room
in which fifty persons could sit down to dinner comfortably.
The centre of the horseshoe was the large room through which he had
passed, and like the general meeting room of a large country house was
filled with all known kinds of games--instruments and devices to amuse
that most unfortunate class of human beings who have no resources within
themselves, and must play some foolish game, or do some foolish puzzle
in order to get through the life which seems to hang so heavily on their
From this they passed to a lower deck about amidships, to a room about
eighty feet by one hundred and twenty feet, which extended the full
width of the ship and up three decks. At one end of this large and
handsome room was a raised platform arranged like the Speaker's desk in
the House of Representatives at Washington with the desks at lower
levels for stenographers, clerks, and attendants, while around the room
in concentric circles were large comfortable seats and desks, also like
a Senate Chamber, only more luxurious in appointments, as though it were
to receive a more distinguished body of men than the Senate of the
United States, if that were possible.
"This," said Edestone, "is where I intend to hold my Peace Conference,
and when you see the names of the distinguished men who are to sit here,
and the apartments that I have arranged for them and their suites, you
will perhaps be glad to take your old position of room clerk."
Then after showing his companion through these magnificent "royal
suites," as he called them, all furnished and equipped in the most
sumptuous fashion, he suggested that they had better turn in.
"We will hope and pray for the best in the morning," he said, as he bade
The sun was streaming through the windows when Lawrence awoke the next
morning. The valet had come in shortly before to throw back the
curtains with a slam, and by moving about the room, slapping up shades
and dropping boots, make the usual noises of a well-trained valet at
that time of the morning.
"Mr. Edestone is already up, sir," he said when he saw that he had
succeeded in waking Lawrence, "and is having his breakfast in his own
apartments. Will you have yours here or will you go to the breakfast
"Breakfast room," elected Lawrence sleepily. "What time is it?"
"Eight o'clock, sir. What will you have for breakfast, sir?"
"Anything and eggs," said Lawrence, and was about to turn over and go to
sleep again when he realized where he was, and leaping out of bed to the
window in one bound stepped out into the _loggia_.
The Little Peace Maker had dropped down and was now only about a
thousand feet up; and when he looked down from his balcony, he could see
that she had changed her position so as to float exactly over the
Palace. It almost seemed to him as if he could step off and onto the
roof of this great pile of masonry. The airship, too, must have just
moved into this position, as was shown by the excited way in which the
little people below him were running away in every direction.
He had his bath, and hurriedly dressing went into the breakfast room,
where he found Edestone, who had finished his breakfast and was waiting
for him, while reading from a lot of slips of paper which he was turning
over in his hand. The master of the ship was dressed all in white and
looked refreshed after a good night's rest.
"Good-morning, Lawrence," he greeted him. "Did you sleep well?"
"Like a top."
"And how is your hand?"
"I had almost forgotten it, only I did get the dressings wet while
taking my bath, but that will give me an excuse for passing the time of
day with the doctors. How is your head?"
"Oh, that does not amount to anything," said Edestone. "It will be well
in a week. Have you seen the morning papers?" With a smile he handed him
a sheet on which was printed all the news of the day which the wireless
man had picked up during the night.
"The United States has not been heard from," he commented as he glanced
it over. "I wonder what the Southern Baptist Union School Children will
think of me now? You know the Secretary of State thought I was a
Baptist. And as for him, why he will leave the State Department and stay
away until it gets too hot in Florida, or the lecturing season is all
over, while the President will write a most scholarly note to all of the
Powers telling them how much he loves them, and what a glorious thing it
is to be an American. He will then give an unqualified invitation to all
of the dark-skinned downtrodden criminals of Europe to come over and be
sprinkled with the holy water of citizenship, after they have made their
mark to their naturalization papers which have been read to them by
"London reports that the news from Germany has filled the entire country
with new confidence," he went on, "and that the Londoners have given
themselves over to the most un-English and thoroughly Latin
demonstrations by parading the streets and singing songs and indulging
in another Mafeking. I see, too, that Lord Rockstone is reported to have
said that he thought now the war would not last as long as he had
expected. The King has called a special meeting of the Cabinet for today
at 4 o'clock.
"Reports come from Rome that Italy will enter the war immediately, and
the papers point out the fact that now since her friend America has
joined the Allies it is high time that Italy should take her position.
"Petrograd reports that they have lost 100,000 men but have captured
"Constantinople," he went on reading, "declares that the Dardanelles are
impregnable and that the city is perfectly quiet, but the Sultan and
half of his harem have moved to his summer residence."
He laid down the printed sheet. "I have had no communication yet from
down there," he said as he pointed down in the direction of the Palace.
"My international law department is drawing up a proclamation which I
will send as soon as it is finished. It will be along the lines that I
spoke of to you last night, but framed in more diplomatic
language. These are the latest bulletins I was just reading over when
you came in."
Then while Lawrence sat eating his breakfast, Edestone continued to read
now and then bits of the different press notices.
"Listen to this," he said with a laugh. "'The twenty Taubes sent up to
make a night attack on the American airship inflicted great
injury. After using up all their ammunition and bombs they were forced
to retire before the large guns of the enemy. They all reached the
ground in safety. The tremendous explosion that was heard in the city
is thought to have been caused by the exploding of one of the large
"What's that from?" Lawrence glanced up from his "anything and eggs."
"_Die Fliegende Blatter?_"
But Edestone did not smile, he was glancing at another of the slips.
"Ah," he said in a sad voice, "I seem to have killed about one thousand
people last night."
"Still," argued Lawrence, "that was not as large a percentage of the
German Empire as they killed of your little kingdom."
"No," granted Edestone; "and as long as they insist upon treating me as
an outlaw I will be one so far as they are concerned. I will now go and
see if my ultimatum is prepared. I am undecided as to whether I will
send it by wireless or by a messenger."
Lawrence finished his breakfast and while he sat in the _loggia_ smoking
his cigar and looking down over the city, he decided to ask permission
to carry the message to the Emperor himself. The idea delighted him,
and he pictured exactly how he would walk and speak his lines like the
prince in the story book. He only regretted that he was not to be
dressed up in spangles, like the heralds of old, and have the triumphal
march from _Aida_ played by trumpeters from the Metropolitan Opera
House who would precede him in their brand-new Cammeyer sandals and
badly fitting tights but he decided that if said trumpeters were obliged
to read sheet music he would not allow them to wear glasses. He was just
making up his mind what he would say to the Emperor when Wilhelm fell on
his knees and begged him to intercede for him, as Edestone came in, and
blasted all these glowing dreams with a word.
"Well, it is done," he said, "and I have given them until one o'clock to
Lawrence was then formally introduced to "Specs" under his title of
Admiral Page, to Captain Lee, and the officers, and he spent one of the
most delightful days of his life, so much interested in what he saw that
he entirely forgot that he was a pirate, waiting to destroy a peaceable
city if it did not do his bidding.
Edestone had settled himself down for a quiet day of waiting, and
Lawrence amused himself by inspecting every part of the ship and talking
with all on board from the oil men to the Admiral.
"Admiral Page," he inquired, "where do you keep the Deionizer?"
At which "Specs" peeped at him with a suspicious glance through his
thick glasses. "Has Mr. Edestone spoken to you of that?" he asked.
"Yes," replied Lawrence, "but he did not explain to me its working."
"Specs" hesitated to take even Lawrence into the holy of holies until he
had obtained permission from Edestone to do so. Having by telephone
communicated with him, and receiving his permission, he conducted
Lawrence up into the bow of the ship. After passing through several
heavy doors, which "Specs" unlocked, saluting the sentries at each, they
came to a great iron grille and he motioned to Lawrence to look through,
saying, "This is as far as I can take you."
Lawrence looked through, and he saw what appeared to be the door of an
enormous safe-deposit k vault. "That," nodded "Specs," "is the door to
the safe in which the Deionizer is kept. No one on earth excepting
Mr. Edestone knows the combination that will open those doors. That is
run by a one hundred H. P. motor in the engine room, and from it run the
deionizing cables which run down the port and starboard sides of the
"Do you mean to say," said Lawrence, "that I have no weight?" as he felt
his large biceps with an expression of pride.
This caused "Specs" to laugh, and in response to the numberless
questions put to him by the young man, he explained the different
mechanisms by which the weight of the ship and its contents was kept at
the weight of the amount of air displaced by it.
"So," said Lawrence, "we are floating not by virtue of gas bags filled
with gas lighter than air, but by the amount of air displaced by all
metallic substances on this vessel, which for all practical purposes are
rendered lighter than air?"
"Yes," replied "Specs," with a look of pity for the other man's
ignorance, "I suppose that is the way you would express it. If you
really want to understand, and are willing to give the time to it, come
to my quarters, and I will give you the scientific explanation."
"No, thank you," said Lawrence; "I'll take your word for it, but I am
glad to know that when I get back to earth I'm not liable at any time to
be blown away like a thistledown."
At lunch Edestone appeared very thoughtful and seemed to feel great
anxiety about the outcome of his note. They had observed that soon after
the message had been sent automobiles were coming and going from the
Palace in great numbers, and gathered that the Emperor apparently was
holding a council of war. They had also seen with powerful glasses that,
in certain parts of the city there was great activity of some kind, but
they were unable to ascertain exactly what it was.
"I cannot understand," frowned Edestone, "how they can possibly decline
a proposition _pour parler_. I asked them to agree to nothing. I
assured them that I would use my influence in favour of a just
settlement of all the claims arising out of the war and of the incidents
leading up to it. I appealed to their humanity, and guaranteed as far
as lay within my power to protect the lives and property of Germans all
over the world if they would only stop all actual fighting until I could
make an exactly similar appeal to the other Governments that are
Just then an officer came in and handed Edestone a wireless message
which had just been received.
Edestone read it hurriedly, but as he glanced up it was easy to see from
the expression on his face that he was pleased.
"Well," he exclaimed elatedly, "these Germans are not so bad after all,
and if they will only give up the idea that they are the only people on
the face of the earth, the sooner will they get what they want. That is,
if they are telling the truth when they state they are fighting only to
bring religion, science, and culture to the entire world. They do
sincerely and honestly believe, I think, that this can be obtained only
under the German form of government, and many of the other nations would
be willing to admit this in part were they absolutely convinced of their
sincerity and did not suspect them of greed on the part of the merchant
class and ambition on the part of the war party.
"They have apparently received my note in the spirit in which it was
sent," he explained, "and have agreed to consider carefully the
proposition which I have made. They only ask to be given until five
o'clock this afternoon to draw up in proper form their reply to me and
their message to the other countries. I am expecting every minute now to
see a white flag displayed somewhere on or around the Palace, which was
the signal agreed upon and is to be acknowledged by a similar flag
displayed by me. This is not to be considered as an indication of any
weakness on their part, or any surrendering of their rights or the
acknowledgment of my power, but as a truce which will last only until
five o'clock, or until such earlier time as I shall answer them. They
stipulate that I, as an indication of good faith, withdraw to some point
outside of the city, where it will be well out of range of my largest
guns, and in order to fix some location which will be perfectly
satisfactory they have suggested that I lie over the Gotzen See and have
established my exact position by the ruins of an old castle on its
north-eastern bank. There I am to remain until I receive their answer,
which if not satisfactory terminates the truce. They have indicated very
justly that they do not think they should be called upon to open
negotiations for an amicable settlement with me while the Little Peace
Maker is lying so close to the Emperor's Palace and threatening it with
As it was impossible for them from where they were to see the Palace,
Edestone suggested that they go up on the upper deck.
"I hope that by the time we arrive on deck," Edestone said as they
hurried along, "the white flag will be flying, and I sincerely hope that
this will mark the beginning of the end of this cruel war and the
realization of my hopes, the accomplishment of my life's work.
"Ah," he exclaimed as they arrived and looked down, "there she is! You
can see it on the large flagpole out in front of the Palace, while the
Imperial standard is still floating over His Majesty's residence." He
called an officer to him and gave him his orders:
"Dip my colours and then run them up to the peak again. Display a white
flag. Tell Captain Lee to call all hands, and get under way at once.
Drop to within four hundred feet, man the rail, and circle the
Palace. Haul down my colours and run up the German Imperial Ensign and
fire a national salute of twenty-one guns, and then run at top speed and
take a position over the Gotzen See at a point which I shall indicate."
The ceremony was executed faultlessly, as he directed, and when the
Little Peace Maker, just skirting the tops of the buildings, cast the
shadow of its nine hundred feet of steel as it came between the sun and
the Imperial city, its big guns booming the national salute, the people
of Berlin must have been impressed, for when she circled at about four
knots they cheered. But when she changed her speed, and at one hundred
and eighty knots disappeared from sight, they must have been relieved.
At such speed it was only a few minutes before they were hovering
quietly over the old ruin on the banks of the lake, and they settled
down to spend the afternoon as they would have, had they been anchored
in Frenchman's Bay off of Bar Harbour in the month of August on board
the _Storm Queen_.
It was a beautiful and quiet summer scene, and like a big trout in a
limpid pool the Little Peace Maker lay perfectly still basking in the
warm sunshine. Most of the ports were open and the men were lying around
enjoying the relaxation of the first dog-watch.
Although it was with difficulty that Edestone could keep Lawrence still
long enough, he forced him to join in a game of chess, which was
Edestone's favourite form of relaxation. Lawrence, however, kept
continually breaking in with the suggestion that they go below and take
a walk among the ruins of the home of one of the ancient Barons of
From time to time, while waiting for Lawrence to move, Edestone would
consult his watch, and as the fatal hour of five approached, although
perfectly calm he was anxious.
With the finish of the game, Lawrence, who had chafed under the
confinement, insisted upon going on deck and talking with the officers
When next he saw his friend, Edestone was walking up and down the
general living-room with an expression of great anxiety on his face. It
was half-past five o'clock, and although Lawrence had entirely forgotten
it, he suddenly thought of the ultimatum.
"Well what did they answer?" he asked.
"Nothing," said Edestone.
"And what are you going to do?"
"I am going to Kiel to sink one of their largest battleships, and see if
that will wake them up. We shall be under way in ten minutes and should
be there by eight-thirty o'clock. I have ordered 'Specs' to get under
way as soon as possible."
Lawrence was delighted; this was the best yachting that he had ever had,
and he wanted to be in so many places at the same time that he ran about
like a boy on his first ocean trip. He was just going up the
companionway to the pilot house, where he knew he would find Edestone,
when he was almost knocked off his feet by the impact of something
against the side of the ship which felt as if it would tear out every
rivet and buckle every beam. At the same instant there was an explosion
which was worse than the black-powder explosion of the night before, and
he was just thinking how unkind it was of Edestone not to have warned
him before indulging in another one of his pyrotechnical demonstrations,
when it was followed by another and another.
He had managed by this time to get into the pilot house, where he saw
Edestone with an expression of rage on his face giving sharp peremptory
orders while the life was being pounded out of the Little Peace
Maker. In response to these orders, the ship suddenly shot up with such
rapidity that it seemed to Lawrence as if his legs would be driven
through the floor.
He was suffering great pain in his head and his nose was bleeding. He
could scarcely hear what Edestone was saying to him, but finally he
caught these words:
"So that is their answer, the liars! They have taken advantage of my
willingness to remain here quietly, and with their thoroughness in all
matters and their usual method of working in the dark, they have placed
me where they have carefully worked out the range of their
forty-two-centimetre guns. They hoped to be able to capture us, but
seeing our smoke, and realizing that I was going to move, they took this
unspeakable method of putting an end to the Little Peace Maker."
A LYING KING MAKES A NATION OF LIARS
It seemed for a time as if Edestone had completely lost control of
himself. Lawrence, "Specs," and Captain Lee, who had all known him for
years, stood back staring at him in blank amazement. He was perfectly
livid. Out of his face had gone every semblance of the man that they had
known, loved, honoured, and respected for his kind, big, and forgiving
nature, willing to stand an insult rather than use his great power where
a smaller character would have demanded the last ounce of flesh. In its
place was an expression of rage which would have been frightful to see
on the face of a weaker man, but on his, with all the power and
determination of his strong character behind it, it was appalling. It
made them feel that they were held helpless by a powerful demon who
would destroy and kill any who might stand in his way. Pushing everyone
aside in a manner that was entirely foreign to him, he sprang to the
wheel and taking it rang for full speed ahead. He swung the ship around
so quickly that she banked and turned over at an angle of thirty
She was then at an altitude of from 7000 to 8000 feet and he put her
head down as if he intended to drive her steel-pointed bow into the very
heart of the city of Berlin. But when he had gotten her at about 400
feet he straightened her out and sent her at 150 knots. Without taking
his eyes off his goal, which seemed to be the Palace of the Kaiser, he
said in a cold and emotionless voice: "See what damage has been done and
report to me quickly, and as there is a God in Heaven if a single one of
my men has been killed I will hang the Kaiser after I have destroyed his
While the different officers were busily telephoning to every part of
the ship carrying out this order, Lawrence stood paralysed waiting for
the answers. He sincerely hoped that none of the men had been killed,
but as one officer after another reported all well in his department,
and as the number of departments yet to be heard from grew less and
less, he could not control a distinct feeling of disappointment, for he
had silently said "Amen!" to Edestone's last sentiment. When all had
been heard from, and it was found that none had been killed, and that
the injuries to the ship were, so slight that they could be repaired
within a week, Edestone said to the officer of the deck:
"Take the wheel. When you are over the city and have made the Palace,
circle it at eight knots. I wish them all to see me. After you have
rounded the Palace, run at full speed for Kiel."
And without a word to Lawrence he turned and left the bridge. On his
face was a look that showed that the demon within him was under perfect
control, but he had no desire to hide the fact that it was still with
him. Lawrence would no more have thought of following him than he would
have thought of following a wounded Manchurian tiger into its cave.
"I would have hated to hear that any one of our fine fellows had been
killed," he said with a nervous laugh, "but my, what a swell little
afternoon hanging that would have been! Nathan Hale with the original
cast wouldn't have had a speculator in front of his doors. His front-row
seats would be selling at box-office prices, while we would have sold
out the house at ten thousand times the cost of the production before
the first-nighters had even seen a press notice. There would not have
been a piece of paper in the house except the Press and the Princes. By
the sacred substance of John D. Rockefeller's hair-tonic, I hate to
think of the money we would have made with the movies! The Crown Prince
giving the Papa Wilhelm kiss, while the trap man plays on the melodeon
'It's the Wrong Way to Tickle Mary,' and the Ghost of the Hohenzollern,
who ate up her two babies when she found they disturbed her gentleman
friend, hovering over the scene like Schumann-Heink in the
_Rheingold_,--I would not release that reel for less than a billion
"But why talk about pleasant things when we have such serious matters on
"Mr. Edestone looked as if he meant serious business all right," said
one of the officers. "Listen! I hear the wireless sending a message
Lawrence listened, and repeated as he heard: "The Little Peace Maker is
now running for Kiel, where she will arrive at 8:30. At 8:45 I will
begin to drop tons of lyddite and dynamite on the decks of all German
ships of war, and in order that there may be no unnecessary loss of life
I give this notice."
The instrument stopped, but Lawrence continued, as if still catching and
translating the message:
"And realizing the extreme supersensitiveness of the German sailors, we
are sending ahead by Parcel Post baskets for the cats and cages for the
canaries. The women and babies, being contraband, must go down with the
They were now slowly swinging around the Palace, and as the people of
Berlin knew nothing, they took the accepted German position, which was
that Edestone was afraid of the Kaiser's wrath, and they therefore came
flocking out into the streets to see him dip his flag to that of the
all-powerful German Empire.
Lawrence noted that the Imperial standard was no longer flying over the
Palace. "It looks," said he, "as if we would have to put in an
under-study for the leading man."
And then as if some sudden idea had struck him, he rushed from the
bridge, and while the Little Peace Maker was slowly passing over the
plaza in front of the Palace, the men on the bridge saw with a mingled
feeling of horror and delight a large black object, which resembled a
submarine mine, dropping from the port side of the ship, and they stood
in breathless expectation of seeing the hideous Renaissance monument,
erected by Schluter, blown to atoms. When the sinister-looking cylinder
struck the pavement it exploded, but instead of death and destruction
the flaggings were strewn with egg-shells, coffee-grounds, and garbage.
"I always did like that French chef," said Lawrence when he returned to
the bridge, gasping for breath.
"I am sorry," he added, "that we didn't have our little lynching bee
this afternoon, but the sinking of a billion dollars' worth of
battleships must be almost as much fun as hanging a 'kink.'"
They were now going at top speed, and after waiting about for some time
and finding that Edestone did not return to the bridge, he went to his
room and dressed for dinner.
At dinner Edestone appeared, but he was very quiet.
"Lawrence," he said, "you must forgive me, but I really am not myself. I
cannot recall at any time in my entire life when I was ever so angry as
I was this afternoon. I think they call it 'seeing red.'"
"You were 'seeing red' all right," said Lawrence, "and you certainly got
"If one of the men on this ship had been killed, after that pledge had
been given for their safety, I do not know what I would have done."
"Exactly what do you propose to do?"
"I intend to wreck and destroy everything in this country that will be
of the slightest use to them for military purposes. Today it is Kiel
with its ships, shipyards, and dry-docks; tomorrow, Krupps; and so on
until they will have to stop fighting for the lack of munitions of
war. I shall endeavour as far as possible to avoid loss of life, but,"
with an ironical smile, "if these people wish to indulge in a fanatical
display of heroism and patriotism, I shall allow them the privilege of
sinking with their ships, or dying with their pet inventions."
With everything closed down tight they were fast approaching Kiel, and
going up into the conning tower Edestone and Lawrence were able to see
the entire German fleet. His message had evidently been received, but
the commanders, instead of accepting his warning, had steam up, were
stripped for action, and with flags flying were making for the open sea.
Edestone, as quietly as if he were standing on the bridge of the
_Storm Queen_ giving instructions for the next day's cruise, turned
"Go out and circle them," he said, "meet the leading ship, and then with
every gun, aerial torpedo, and bomb dropper destroy them."
The air was soon filled with the most frightful conflict that had ever
taken place in the heavens above, on the earth beneath, or in the waters
under the earth. Every ship in the fleet was, as far as possible,
training all of her guns on them, while they, moving at the rate of
thirty knots, were sailing around and around, dropping bombs on those
under them, bombarding with their great 16-inch guns the distant ships,
while the smaller guns rendered the middle distance untenable to any
ship yet built by man.
In the course of an hour not one of the German ships could be seen above
the water, and Edestone, with none of his usual kindness of heart and
sympathy for others, leaving to their fate the dead and dying that
filled the sea beneath them, gave the orders to destroy the shipyards
and dry-docks before it was too dark.
For a week this rain of destruction was continued day after day until
his prophecy had been fulfilled, and Germany, driven to her knees, was
suing for peace.
THINK OF IT! WHY NOT?
Edestone, in the meantime, through Sir Egbert Graves, had communicated
with the King of England, politely calling His Majesty's attention to
what he was doing, and begging that he would call upon his Allies to
stop all hostilities, and intimating that the same treatment would be
meted out to any who declined to comply with His Majesty's request.
He also suggested that it was his sincere hope that His Majesty would
call to a conference the representatives of the nations of Europe to
discuss the settling of all questions that had caused the war, or had
grown out of it, as well as the possible methods of securing for the
world perpetual peace.
He stated that he would put at His Majesty's disposal the Little Peace
Maker if it were necessary in order to accomplish this.
He intimated that, if it were perpetual peace that was sought, much time
and many lives would be saved if all would, of their own accord, each
for himself, do what he was doing for Germany as fast as possible,
namely, destroy all ships and implements of war.
This raised a storm of protest, and international notes burned the ether
of space as they flashed back and forth. Even the United States entered
the controversy, seeming to have at last found something sufficiently
threatening to her interests and insulting to her dignity to cause her
to take her place with the other nations of the world.
Edestone was inundated with communications from the different nations,
drawn in the most bombastic manner; for although they must have by this
time realized that they were absolutely in his power, they were unable
to set aside the boastful method of addressing their fellow-men which
they had inherited from their savage ancestors, who, standing half-naked
around the council fire, tried by this method to throw terror into the
hearts of their listeners.
To all this he made but one reply, which was that nations which came
together for the purpose of sincerely discussing universal peace must
come absolutely unarmed, and those who refused so to do should be
disarmed by force. When these protests finally took the form of an
approaching coalition of the nations of the earth for the purpose of his
destruction, his answer was to take possession quietly of two or three
of the largest plants in Europe, which he forced to run to replenish the
Little Peace Maker with munitions of war.
After a diplomatic correspondence had gone on, extending over several
weeks, and Edestone had punctuated his demands with an occasional
sinking of a battleship or destruction of a powder plant belonging to
the nations who stood out against him, after he had visited all of the
principal capitals, and representatives of the Governments had come on
board to discuss with him, his terms were finally agreed upon, and the
date for this great meeting was fixed. He declined to negotiate with
any, other than the absolute heads of the respective Governments, and
after much discussion all precedent was set aside, and it was agreed
that the conference should be held on board of the Little Peace
Maker. Franz Josef I., Emperor of Austria; Wilhelm II., Emperor of
Germany; George V., King of England; Nicholas II., Czar of Russia; the
President of the French Republic; Mr. Cockadoo of the United States of
America, together with a company of lesser lights, all with suites in
keeping with their rank, were there received and entertained by him.
Lawrence, accepting the position of Room Clerk, took great pride and
pleasure in seeing that everyone was properly installed. This was not,
however, his official position, as Edestone had turned over to him the
task of answering the great volume of communications that he had
received from amateurs, fanatics, ladies, and criminals, and it devolved
upon him to answer these and also to provide for the entertainment of
the representatives of the Anarchists, Socialists, Organized Labour, and
To the Anarchists, in answer to their inquiries as to where they were
now to obtain their explosives with which to continue their campaigns in
the future, and without the use of which they could secure for their
arguments no attention, he made no reply.
To the Socialists, he said that the best that he could do for them was
to provide an overflow meeting at the foot of the stairs; the Emperor of
Germany had refused to sit down with the traitors, as he called them,
and for once Edestone agreed with the Imperial contention. There,
Lawrence assured them, their point of view would be given serious
consideration; in fact, he himself expected to have the great honour
of addressing them and the Prohibitionists, the Anti-Vivisectionists,
the Cubists, the Futurists, the Post-Impressionists, and the Reds.
To Organized Labour, Edestone wrote that he would represent their
cause. Descended as he was from a long line of honest labouring men, who
had succeeded without the assistance of an organization of lazy and
inefficient ones combined under dishonest leaders, he assured them that
he would insist upon their rights, and that under the new regime,
honesty, efficiency, and sense of responsibility to those who employed
them would be recognized and rewarded in a manner beyond their wildest
dreams. This could not, however, be accomplished, he said, except by
forcing the dishonest, lazy, and inefficient into their rightful
position, that of a worthless by-product in this great world of
recognition of true merit.
To the Suffragettes, Lawrence extended a most cordial invitation, but
stipulated that no representative would be received who had not borne
and raised twelve children, or were willing to appear at the meeting
without their hats, with hair cropped close to the head.
The date selected by Edestone was the Fourth day of July; the place, in
order to offend no one, was the beautiful valley of St. Nicholas in the
neutral country of the Swiss, and the Little Peace Maker, painted and
polished, was floating about twenty-five feet from the ground. About
one-quarter of her length from her stern, leading from an opening in her
bottom, ran a great flight of stairs which rested on a platform at their
foot. This was constructed in a manner similar to the cradle upon which
she was seen to rest by the King of England and his Cabinet. In this
manner she was connected with the earth but absolutely insulated.
To reach this platform one had to walk up four or five steps, which were
made of hard rubber, over which was laid a thick red velvet carpet,
which continued across the platform and up this most impressive flight
of stairs and disappeared into the opening in the Little Peace Maker.
Bands were playing, children were laughing, but not one soldier was to
The Royalties, as they arrived, were received at the foot of the stairs
by Edestone and conducted to their apartments where, surrounded by their
secretaries and servants, they might live entirely alone, or could, if
they desired to do so, mingle with the rest of the distinguished
When the great day arrived, and these Royal Potentates were seated in
their places, which had been arranged with great consideration for their
extreme sensitiveness on the subject of precedent, an exact science,
Edestone, dressed in his simple yachting costume, walked slowly up
through the aisle, on either side of which were seated Royalties, each
in his favourite uniform of ceremony, soon to become as old-fashioned as
the tattooing on a savage's face. With perfect composure and
self-possession he took his place as Chairman of the Board and called
the meeting to order.
Then in a perfectly businesslike manner he explained the object of the
meeting, which he did with the greatest consideration for his
distinguished listeners, but there was in his voice a ring of
confidence, which they all knew was due to the fact that the suggestions
that he made would certainly be put into effect, and whereas they came
to discuss, they remained to agree.
He first briefly outlined the Utopian condition of the world as it would
be after his first suggestion had been carried into effect, and all
arms, ammunition, ships of war, and all destructive agencies had been
He then laid down some new principles and relegated some of the old to
He scoffed at the theory of majority rule, equality of man, and
perpetual peace through brotherly love.
Why should the majority rule, if the minority were more intelligent?
Why should all men be considered equal in intelligence, if not in weight
Why should dried-up old women be able to do something that young men, in
their full health and strength, had been unable to accomplish?
He then established a very limited ruling class, which he called, for
the lack of a better name, the Aristocracy of Intelligence, over which
he placed a head with absolute power, backed with sufficient force to
see that its wishes were carried out.
He then finally laid before them the plan of administration which he
proposed, which was that the entire world should be run by a Board of
Directors, of which, for the present, he sincerely hoped that they would
allow him to hold the humbler position of Chairman, while the President
and glorious head should be selected from some of the distinguished
monarchs within the sound of his voice.
He then very diplomatically explained that the form of government would
be based upon the administration of the great corporations of America,
which was his extremely polite method of informing them that the
Chairman of the Board was the power, and the President was but the icing
on the cake.
He stated that history taught them that all wars had come about on
account of three things: Race, Religion, and Riches.
He suggested that the Race problem might be entirely solved by
segregating the races of the world, and giving over to them a portion of
the earth sufficiently large to support them in comfort in the climate
and surroundings to which they were accustomed, in which section they
should speak their own language, and were entitled to indulge in their
own forms of religion, customs, and superstitions, and there and there
alone they were supreme, and then only on matters of the administration
of their own allotment of the earth, but were subject absolutely and
entirely to the ruling of the Board of Directors as to their
The title of the portion of the world allotted to them was based not
upon the claims of any barbarian of antiquity, fanatic of the Middle
Ages, or the war lords of modern times, but upon the decision of the
Board of Directors, which would annul all previous titles and be final
If at any time any one or group of these left the portion of the earth
to which they had been restricted, they lost all of their rights as
citizens of the world, and while visiting the other sections must bow
absolutely to the will of those whose hospitality they were accepting.
In the case of those nations who had no home, and who had been parasites
on the nations of the earth for thousands of years, it was proposed that
they purchase from the country now holding the cradle of their birth a
home sufficiently large to accommodate their ever-increasing numbers
under the hygienic and healthful condition of the countries which they
Religion, he said, which had for so many years been the cause of wars
and tumults, numbered by actual count up into the thousands, were in his
opinion sufficient in number to satisfy all who were not wishing for
personal aggrandizement or accumulation of wealth to create
others. Therefore, he stated, that all religions which had been
established up to the beginning of the nineteenth century might be
allowed to continue, but all others, being drawn on rather too
scientific and financial lines, were to be eliminated.
Coming to the last, and, as he expressed it, the cause of the present
war, namely, Riches, he showed that in the new form of government
competition would be eliminated, the interest of the whole being
controlled by one head with power to police, and greater profits to all
would accrue by the elimination of waste of time and money and by the
efficiency of a single administration.
He then suggested that a grand and international festival be held, at
which the combined fleets of the entire world be gathered together in
the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and there, as a bond of good faith of
all, in the midst of universal rejoicing, they should be consigned to
the bottomless depths of absolute and eternal darkness.
In the meantime, Lawrence was addressing an assemblage of Reds,
I. W. W.'s, Prohibitionists, and other thoughtful members of society. To
these he was serving grape juice and patent medicines. The percentage
of alcohol in these beverages quieted the nerves of most, but rendered
the Prohibitionists quite hilarious. They listened with much attention
and applauded violently the scheme which he outlined before them.
"You should be allowed," he said, "to settle in the middle of the Desert
of Sahara, where you could all live in beautiful glass houses, and where
the soil produces no stones of a throwable size. There will be no
saloons there, clubs or dinner parties, but drugstores with their
alluring lights will decorate every corner. There with your palates
parching with pain your motto should be 'Speak Easy' for the sake of the
Cause. The lives of the inhabitants will be regulated by priestesses and
preachers, and to them will be submitted the most intimate affairs of
the family. Yours will be a maternal government; to each member of every
family the Government will daily, after taking the temperature, issue
canton flannel underclothes of the proper weight to be worn during the
day. Alarm clocks set by the Government will be issued to all. Your
food, your cooking, and your babies--if you have any, and God grant that
you may not in such a dry place!--will all be according to the canons of
your religion. Should you at any time find that the inhabitants are
drying up and blowing away, you can recruit from the malcontents of
other portions of the globe."
With the Anti-Vivisectionists he was most sympathetic. "Ladies and
cranks," he said. "I, too, am very fond of dogs, but as it is absolutely
necessary for the progress of science to make experiments upon living
subjects, I call upon you to volunteer for this work for all portions of
the body except the brain; for that portion I am creditably informed
that the doctors would prefer to use wood pulp."
This was received with violent protestations of disapproval by the
Cubists, the Futurists, and the Post-Impressionists, who claimed that
this was entirely unnecessary, as they were able in their pictures to
reveal the most secret workings of the brain, and that upon their
canvases they laid bare for the study of the scientific world all that
it was necessary for it to know.
To the representatives of the Allied A.M.L.Q. American Architects, he
expressed his most sincere thanks for the kind expression of their
approval and offer of assistance, and in recognition of their
co-operation, he gave them entire charge of the competition for the
laying out and decorating, with befitting whirlwind monuments, hot air
fountains, and castles in the air, the great Edestone aerial highway
which was to encircle the globe.
Aloft Edestone, on the other hand, was having more trouble with his
audience, for his speech when finished was received with loud
protestations of disapproval, rendered in the most kingly and imperial
manner by this group of cousins, first cousins, double first cousins,
and half-brothers. Fortunately, however, for the welfare of the great
mass of the people of the world, they were well represented by the
strong, serious, and intelligent-looking men who sat at the elbow
of this consanguineous group, some of whom had by a process of
intermarrying degenerated into mere effigies of the strong men from
whom they were descended. These powers behind the tottering thrones
of Europe realized and bowed before the inevitable.