Part 2 out of 4
the new and glaring signboards at the shops and hotels,
and the streamers with mottos suspended across the streets.
I realised as I read them the marvellous adaptability of
the German people and their magnanimity towards their
enemies. Conspicuous in huge lettering was HOTEL PRESIDENT
WILSON, and close beside it CABARET QUEEN MARY: ENGLISH
DANCING. The square itself, which I remembered as the
Kaiserplatz, was now renamed on huge signboards GRAND
SQUARE OF THE BRITISH NAVY. Not far off one noticed the
RESTAURANT MARSHAL FOCH, side by side with the ROOSEVELT
SALOON and the BEER GARDEN GEORGE V.
But the change in the appearance and costume of the men
who crowded the streets was even more notable. The uniforms
and the pointed helmets of two years ago had vanished
utterly. The men that one saw retained indeed their German
stoutness, their flabby faces, and their big spectacles.
But they were now dressed for the most part in the costume
of the Russian Monjik, while some of them appeared in
American wideawakes and Kentucky frock coats, or in
English stove-pipe hats and morning coats. A few of the
stouter were in Highland costume.
"You are amazed," said Boobenstein as we stood a moment
looking at the motley crowd. "What does it mean?" I
"One moment," said the count. "I will first summon a
taxi. It will be more convenient to talk as we ride."
He whistled and there presently came lumbering to our
side an ancient and decrepit vehicle which would have
excited my laughter but for the seriousness of the count's
face. The top of the conveyance had evidently long since
been torn off leaving, only the frame: the copper fastenings
had been removed: the tires were gone: the doors were
"Our new 1919 model," said the count. "Observe the
absence of the old-fashioned rubber tires, still used by
the less progressive peoples. Our chemists found that
riding on rubber was bad for the eye-sight. Note, too,
the time saved by not having any doors."
"Admirable," I said.
We seated ourselves in the crazy conveyance, the count
whispered to the chauffeur an address which my ear failed
to catch and we started off at a lumbering pace along
"And now tell me, Boobenstein," I said, "what does it
all mean, the foreign signs and the strange costumes?"
"My dear sir" he replied, "it is merely a further proof
of our German adaptability. Having failed to conquer the
world by war we now propose to conquer it by the arts of
peace: Those people, for example, that you see in Scotch
costumes are members of our Highland Mission about to
start for Scotland to carry to the Scotch the good news
that the war is a thing of the past, that the German
people forgive all wrongs and are prepared to offer a
line of manufactured goods as per catalogue sample."
"Wonderful," I said.
"Is it not?" said Von Boobenstein. "We call it the From
Germany Out movement. It is being organised in great
detail by our Step from Under Committee. They claim that
already four million German voters are pledged to forget
the war and to forgive the Allies. All that we now ask
is to be able to put our hands upon the villains who made
this war, no matter how humble their station may be, and
execute them after a fair trial or possibly before."
The count spoke with great sincerity and earnestness.
"But come along," he added. "I want to drive you about
the city and show you a few of the leading features of
our new national reconstruction. We can talk as we go."
"But Von Boobenstein," I said, "you speak of the people
who made the war; surely you were all in favour of it?"
"In favour of it! We were all against it."
"But the Kaiser," I protested.
"The Kaiser, my poor master! How he worked to prevent
the war! Day and night; even before anybody else had
heard of it. 'Boob,' he said to me one day with tears in
his eyes, 'this war must be stopped.' 'Which war, your
Serenity,' I asked. 'The war that is coming next month,'
he answered, 'I look to you, Count Boobenstein,' he
continued, 'to bear witness that I am doing my utmost to
stop it a month before the English Government has heard
While we were thus speaking our taxi had taken us out of
the roar and hubbub of the main thoroughfare into the
quiet of a side street. It now drew up at the door of an
unpretentious dwelling in the window of which I observed
a large printed card with the legend
REVEREND MR. TIBBITS
Private Tuition, English, Navigation,
and other Branches
We entered and were shown by a servant into a little
front room where a venerable looking gentleman, evidently
a Lutheran minister, was seated in a corner at a writing
table. He turned on our entering and at the sight of the
uniform which I wore jumped to his feet with a vigorous
and unexpected oath.
"It is all right, Admiral," said Count Von Boobenstein.
"My friend is not really a sailor."
"Ah!" said the other. "You must excuse me. The sight of
that uniform always gives me the jumps."
He came forward to shake hands and as the light fell upon
him I recognized the grand old seaman, perhaps the greatest
sailor that Germany has ever produced or ever will,
Admiral Von Tirpitz.
"My dear Admiral!" I said, warmly. "I thought you were
out of the country. Our papers said that you had gone to
Switzerland for a rest."
"No," said the Admiral. "I regret to say that I find it
impossible to get away."
"Your Allied press," interjected the count, "has greatly
maligned our German patriots by reporting that they have
left the country. Where better could they trust themselves
than in the bosom of their own people? You noticed the
cabman of our taxi? He was the former chancellor Von
Hertling. You saw that stout woman with the apple cart
at the street corner? Frau Bertha Krupp Von Bohlen. All
are here, helping to make the new Germany. But come,
Admiral, our visitor here is much interested in our plans
for the restoration of the Fatherland. I thought that
you might care to show him your designs for the new German
"A new navy!" I exclaimed, while my voice showed the
astonishment and admiration that I felt. Here was this
gallant old seaman, having just lost an entire navy,
setting vigorously to work to make another. "But how can
Germany possibly find the money in her present state for
the building of new ships?"
"There are not going to be any ships," said the great
admiral. "That was our chief mistake in the past in
insisting on having ships in the navy. Ships, as the war
has shown us, are quite unnecessary to the German plan;
they are not part of what I may call the German idea.
The new navy will be built inland and elevated on piles
and will consist--"
But at this moment a great noise of shouting and sudden
tumult could be heard as if from the street.
"Some one is coming," said the admiral hastily. "Reach
me my Bible."
"No, no," said the count, seizing me by the arm. "The
sound comes from the Great Square. There is trouble. We
must hasten back at once."
He dragged me from the house.
We perceived at once, as soon as we came into the main
street again, from the excited demeanour of the crowd
and from the anxious faces of people running to and fro
that something of great moment must be happening.
Everybody was asking of the passer-by, "What is loose?
What is it?" Ramshack taxis, similar to the one in which
we had driven, forced their way as best they could through
the crowded thoroughfare, moving evidently in the direction
of the government buildings.
"Hurry, hurry!" said Von Boobenstein, clutching me by
the arm, "or we shall be too late. It is as I feared."
"What is it?" I said; "what's the matter?"
"Fool that I was," said the count, "to leave the building.
I should have known. And in this costume I am helpless."
We made our way as best we could through the crowd of
people, who all seemed moving in the same direction, the
count, evidently a prey to the gravest anxiety, talking
as if to himself and imprecating his own carelessness.
We turned the corner of a street and reached the edge of
the great square. It was filled with a vast concourse of
people. At the very moment in which we reached it a great
burst of cheering rose from the crowd. We could see over
the heads of the people that a man had appeared on the
balcony of the Government Building, holding a paper in
his hand. His appearance was evidently a signal for the
outburst of cheers, accompanied by the waving of
handkerchiefs. The man raised his hand in a gesture of
authority. German training is deep. Silence fell instantly
upon the assembled populace. We had time in the momentary
pause to examine, as closely as the distance permitted,
the figure upon the balcony. The man was dressed in the
blue overall suit of a workingman. He was bare-headed.
His features, so far as we could tell, were those of a
man well up in years, but his frame was rugged and
powerful. Then he began to speak.
"Friends and comrades!" he called out in a great voice
that resounded through the square. "I have to announce
that a New Revolution has been completed."
A wild cheer woke from the people.
"The Bolsheviks' Republic is overthrown. The Bolsheviks
are aristocrats. Let them die."
"Thank Heaven for this costume!" I heard Count Boobenstein
murmur at my side. Then he seized his pea-green hat and
waved it in the air, shouting: "Down with the Bolsheviks!"
All about us the cry was taken up.
One saw everywhere in the crowd men pulling off their
sheepskin coats and tramping them under foot with the
shout, "Down with Bolshevism!" To my surprise I observed
that most of the men had on blue overalls beneath their
Russian costumes. In a few moments the crowd seemed
transformed into a vast mass of mechanics.
The speaker raised his hand again. "We have not yet
decided what the new Government will be"--
A great cheer from the people.
"Nor do we propose to state who will be the leaders of it."
"But this much we can say. It is to be a free, universal,
Pan-German Government of love."
"Meantime, be warned. Whoever speaks against it will be
shot: anybody who dares to lift a finger will be hanged.
A proclamation of Brotherhood will be posted all over
the city. If anybody dares to touch it, or to discuss
it, or to look at or to be seen reading it, he will be
hanged to a lamp post."
Loud applause greeted this part of the speech while the
faces of the people, to my great astonishment, seemed
filled with genuine relief and beamed with unmistakable
"And now," continued the speaker, "I command you, you
dogs, to disperse quietly and go home. Move quickly,
swine that you are, or we shall open fire upon you with
With a last outburst of cheering the crowd broke and
dispersed, like a vast theatre audience. On all sides
were expressions of joy and satisfaction. "Excellent,
wunderschoen!" "He calls us dogs! That's splendid. Swine!
Did you hear him say 'Swine'? This is true German Government
again at last."
Then just for a moment the burly figure reappeared on
"A last word!" he called to the departing crowd. "I
omitted to say that all but one of the leaders of the
late government are already caught. As soon as we can
lay our thumb on the Chief Executive rest assured that
he will be hanged."
"Hurrah!" shouted Boobenstein, waving his hat in the air.
Then in a whisper to me: "Let us go," he said, "while
the going is still good."
We hastened as quickly and unobtrusively as we could
through the dispersing multitude, turned into a side
street, and on a sign from the count entered a small
cabaret or drinking shop, newly named, as its sign showed,
THE GLORY OF THE BRITISH COLONIES CAFE.
The count with a deep sigh of relief ordered wine.
"You recognized him, of course?" he said.
"Who?" I asked. "You mean the big working-man that spoke?
Who is he?"
"So you didn't recognize him?" said the count. "Well,
well, but of course all the rest did. Workingman! It is
Field Marshal Hindenburg. It means of course that the
same old crowd are back again. That was Ludendorf standing
below. I saw it all at once. Perhaps it is the only way.
But as for me I shall not go back: I am too deeply
compromised: it would be death."
Boobenstein remained for a time in deep thought, his
fingers beating a tattoo on the little table. Then he
"Do you remember," he said, "the old times of long ago
when you first knew me?"
"Very well, indeed," I answered. "You were one of the
German waiters, or rather, one of the German officers
disguised as waiters at McConkey's Restaurant in Toronto."
"I was," said the count. "I carried the beer on a little
tray and opened oysters behind a screen. It was a
wunderschoen life. Do you think, my good friend, you could
get me that job again?"
"Boobenstein," I exclaimed, "I can get you reinstated at
once. It will be some small return for your kindness to
me in Germany."
"Good," said the count. "Let us sail at once for Canada."
"One thing, however," I said. "You may not know that
since you left there are no longer beer waiters in Toronto
because there is no beer. All is forbidden."
"Let me understand myself," said the count in astonishment.
"Absolutely not. All drinking, except of water, is
The count rose and stood erect. His figure seemed to
regain all its old-time Prussian rigidity. He extended
"My friend," he said. "I bid you farewell."
"Where are you going to?" I asked.
"My choice is made," said Von Boobenstein. "There are
worse things than death. I am about to surrender myself
to the German authorities."
III.--Afternoon Tea with the Sultan
A Study of Reconstruction in Turkey
On the very day following the events related in the last
chapter, I was surprised and delighted to receive a
telegram which read "Come on to Constantinople and write
US up too." From the signature I saw that the message
was from my old friend Abdul Aziz the Sultan.
I had visited him--as of course my readers will instantly
recollect--during the height of the war, and the
circumstances of my departure had been such that I should
have scarcely ventured to repeat my visit without this
express invitation. But on receipt of it, I set out at
once by rail for Constantinople.
I was delighted to find that under the new order of things
in going from Berlin to Constantinople it was no longer
necessary to travel through the barbarous and brutal
populations of Germany, Austria and Hungary. The way now
runs, though I believe the actual railroad is the same,
through the Thuringian Republic, Czecho-Slovakia and
Magyaria. It was a source of deep satisfaction to see
the scowling and hostile countenances of Germans, Austrians
and Hungarians replaced by the cheerful and honest faces
of the Thuringians, the Czecho-Slovaks and the Magyarians.
Moreover I was assured on all sides that if these faces
are not perfectly satisfactory, they will be altered in
any way required.
It was very pleasant, too, to find myself once again in
the flagstoned halls of the Yildiz Kiosk, the Sultan's
palace. My little friend Abdul Aziz rose at once from
his cushioned divan under a lemon tree and came shuffling
in his big slippers to meet me, a smile of welcome on
his face. He seemed, to my surprise, radiant with happiness.
The disasters attributed by the allied press to his
unhappy country appeared to sit lightly on the little man.
"How is everything going in Turkey?" I asked as we sat
down side by side on the cushions.
"Splendid," said Abdul. "I suppose you've heard that
"Bankrupt!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," continued the Sultan, rubbing his hands together
with positive enjoyment, "we can't pay a cent: isn't it
great? Have some champagne?"
He clapped his hands together and a turbaned attendant
appeared with wine on a tray which he served into
"I'd rather have tea," I said.
"No, no, don't take tea," he protested. "We've practically
cut out afternoon tea here. It's part of our Turkish
thrift movement. We're taking champagne instead. Tell
me, have you a Thrift Movement like that, where you come
from--Canada, I think it is, isn't it?"
"Yes," I answered, "we have one just like that."
"This war finance is glorious stuff, isn't it?" continued
the Sultan. "How much do you think we owe?"
"I haven't an idea," I said.
"Wait a minute," said Abdul. He touched a bell and at
the sound of it there came shuffling into the room my
venerable old acquaintance Toomuch Koffi, the Royal
Secretary. But to my surprise he no longer wore his
patriarchal beard, his flowing robe and his girdle. He
was clean shaven and close cropped and dressed in a short
jacket like an American bell boy.
"You remember Toomuch, I think," said Abdul. "I've
reconstructed him a little, as you see."
"The Peace of Allah be upon thine head," said Toomuch
Koffi to the Sultan, commencing a deep salaam. "What wish
sits behind thy forehead that thou shouldst ring the bell
for this humble creature of clay to come into the sunlight
of thy presence? Tell me, O Lord, if perchance--"
"Here, here," interrupted the Sultan impatiently, "cut
all that stuff out, please. That ancient courtesy business
won't do, not if this country is to reconstruct itself
and come abreast of the great modern democracies. Say to
me simply 'What's the trouble?"'
Toomuch bowed, and Abdul continued. "Look in your tablets
and see how much our public debt amounts to in American
The secretary drew forth his tablets and bowed his head
a moment in some perplexity over the figures that were
scribbled on them. "Multiplication," I heard him murmur,
"is an act of the grace of heaven; let me invoke a blessing
on FIVE, the perfect number, whereby the Pound Turkish
is distributed into the American dollar."
He remained for a few moments with his eyes turned, as
if in supplication, towards the vaulted ceiling.
"Have you got it?" asked Abdul.
"And what do we owe, adding it all together?"
"Forty billion dollars," said Toomuch.
"Isn't that wonderful!" exclaimed Abdul, with delight
radiating over his countenance. "Who would have thought
that before the war! Forty billion dollars! Aren't we
the financiers! Aren't we the bulwark of monetary power!
Can you touch that in Canada?"
"No," I said, "we can't. We don't owe two billion yet."
"Oh, never mind, never mind," said the little man in a
consoling tone. "You are only a young country yet. You'll
do better later on. And in any case I am sure you are
just as proud of your one billion as we are of our forty."
"Oh, yes," I said, "we certainly are."
"Come, come, that's something anyway. You're on the right
track, and you must not be discouraged if you're not up
to the Turkish standard yet. You must remember, as I told
you before, that Turkey leads the world in all ideas of
government and finance. Take the present situation. Here
we are, bankrupt--pass me the champagne, Toomuch, and
sit down with us--the very first nation of the lot. It's
a great feather in the cap of our financiers. It gives
us a splendid start for the new era of reconstruction
that we are beginning on. As you perhaps have heard we
are all hugely busy about it. You notice my books and
papers, do you not?" the Sultan added very proudly, waving
his hand towards a great pile of blue books, pamphlets
and documents that were heaped upon the floor beside him.
"Why! I never knew before that you ever read anything!"
I exclaimed in amazement.
"Never did. But everything's changed now, isn't it,
Toomuch? I sit and work here for hours every morning.
It's become a delight to me. After all," said Abdul,
lighting a big cigar and sticking up his feet on his pile
of papers with an air of the deepest comfort, "what is
there like work? So stimulating, so satisfying. I sit
here working away, just like this, most of the day.
There's nothing like it."
"What are you working at?" I asked.
"Reconstruction," said the little man, puffing a big
cloud from his cigar, "reconstruction."
"What kind of reconstruction?"
"All kinds--financial, industrial, political, social.
It's great stuff. By the way," he continued with great
animation, "would you like to be my Minister of Labour?
No? Well, I'm sorry. I half hoped you would. We're having
no luck with them. The last one was thrown into the
Bosphorous on Monday. Here's the report on it--no, that's
the one on the shooting of the Minister of Religion--ah!
here it is--Report on the Drowning of the Minister of
Labour. Let me read you a bit of this: I call this one
of the best reports, of its kind, that have come in."
"No, no," I said, "don't bother to read it. Just tell me
who did it and why."
"Workingmen," said the Sultan, very cheerfully, "a
delegation. They withheld their reasons."
"So you are having labour troubles here too?" I asked.
"Labour troubles!" exclaimed the little Sultan rolling
up his eyes. "I should say so. The whole of Turkey is
bubbling with labour unrest like the rosewater in a
narghile. Look at your tablets, Toomuch, and tell me what
new strikes there have been this morning."
The aged Secretary fumbled with his notes and began to
murmur--"Truly will I try with the aid of Allah--"
"Now, now," said Abdul, warningly, "that won't do. Say
simply 'Sure.' Now tell me."
The Secretary looked at a little list and read: "The
strikes of to-day comprise--the wig-makers, the dog
fanciers, the conjurers, the snake charmers, and the
"You hear that," said Abdul proudly. "That represents
some of the most skilled labour in Turkey."
"I suppose it does," I said, "but tell me Abdul--what
about the really necessary trades, the coal miners, the
steel workers, the textile operatives, the farmers, and
the railway people. Are they working?"
The little Sultan threw himself back on his cushions in
a paroxysm of laughter, in which even his ancient Secretary
was feign to join.
"My dear sir, my dear sir!" he laughed, "don't make me
die of laughter. Working! those people working! Surely
you don't think we are so behind hand in Turkey as all
that! All those worker's stopped absolutely months ago.
It is doubtful if they'll ever work again. There's a
strong movement in Turkey to abolish all NECESSARY work
"But who then," I asked, "is working?"
"Look on the tablets, Toomuch, and see."
The aged Secretary bowed, turned over the leaves of his
"tablets," which I now perceived on a closer view to be
merely an American ten cent memorandum book. Then he
"The following, O all highest, still work--the beggars,
the poets, the missionaries, the Salvation Army, and the
instructors of the Youths of Light in the American
"But, dear me, Abdul," I exclaimed, "surely this situation
is desperate? What can your nation subsist on in such a
"Pooh, pooh," said the Sultan. "The interest on our debt
alone is two billion a year. Everybody in Turkey, great
or small, holds bonds to some extent. At the worst they
can all live fairly well on the interest. This is finance,
is it not, Toomuch Koffi?"
"The very best and latest," said the aged man with a
"But what steps are you taking," I asked, "to remedy your
"We are appointing commissions," said Abdul. "We appoint
one for each new labour problem. How many yesterday,
"Forty-three," answered the secretary.
"That's below our average, is it not?" said Abdul a little
anxiously. "Try to keep it up to fifty if you can."
"And these commissions, what do they do?"
"They make Reports," said Abdul, beginning to yawn as if
the continued brain exercise of conversation were fatiguing
his intellect, "excellent reports. We have had some that
are said to be perfect models of the very best Turkish."
"And what do they recommend?"
"I don't know," said the Sultan. "We don't read them for
that. We like to read them simply as Turkish."
"But what," I urged, "do you do with them? What steps do
"We send them all," replied the little man, puffing at
his pipe and growing obviously drowsy as he spoke, "to
Woodrow Wilson. He can deal with them. He is the great
conciliator of the world. Let him have--how do you say
it in English, it is a Turkish phrase--let him have his
stomach full of conciliation."
Abdul dozed on his cushions for a moment. Then he reopened
his eyes. "Is there anything else you want to know," he
asked, "before I retire to the Inner Harem?"
"Just one thing," I said, "if you don't mind. How do you
stand internationally? Are you coming into the New League
The Sultan shook his head.
"No," he said, "we're not coming in. We are starting a
new league of our own."
"And who are in it?"
"Ourselves, and the Armenians--and let me see--the Irish,
are they not, Toomuch--and the Bulgarians--are there any
"There is talk," said the Secretary "of the Yugo-Hebrovians
and the Scaroovians--"
"Who are they?" I asked.
"We don't know," said Abdul, testily. "They wrote to us.
They seem all right. Haven't you got a lot of people in
your league that you never heard of?"
"I see," I said, "and what is the scheme that your league
is formed on?"
"Very simple," said the Sultan. "Each member of the league
gives its WORD to all the other members. Then they all
take an OATH together. Then they all sign it. That is
He rolled back on his cushions in an evident state of
boredom and weariness.
"But surely," I protested, "you don't think that a league
of that sort can keep the peace?"
"Peace!" exclaimed Abdul waking into sudden astonishment.
"Peace! I should think NOT! Our league is for WAR. Every
member gives its word that at the first convenient
opportunity it will knock the stuff out of any of the
others that it can."
The little Sultan again subsided. Then he rose, with some
difficulty, from his cushions.
"Toomuch," he said, "take our inquisitive friend out into
the town; take him to the Bosphorous; take him to the
island where the dogs are; take him anywhere." He paused
to whisper a few instructions into the ear of the Secretary.
"You understand," he said, "well, take him. As for me,"--he
gave a great yawn as he shuffled away, "I am about to
withdraw into my Inner Harem. Goodbye. I regret that I
cannot invite you in."
"So do I," I said. "Goodbye."
IV.--Echoes of the War
1.--The Boy Who Came Back
The war is over. The soldiers are coming home. On all
sides we are assured that the problem of the returned
soldier is the gravest of our national concerns.
So I may say it without fear of contradiction,--since
everybody else has seen it,--that, up to the present
time, the returned soldier is a disappointment. He is
not turning out as he ought. According to all the
professors of psychology he was to come back bloodthirsty
and brutalised, soaked in militarism and talking only of
slaughter. In fact, a widespread movement had sprung up,
warmly supported by the business men of the cities, to
put him on the land. It was thought that central Nevada
or northern Idaho would do nicely for him. At the same
time an agitation had been started among the farmers,
with the slogan "Back to the city," the idea being that
farm life was so rough that it was not fair to ask the
returned soldier to share it.
All these anticipations turn out to be quite groundless.
The first returned soldier of whom I had direct knowledge
was my nephew Tom. When he came back, after two years in
the trenches, we asked him to dine with us. "Now, remember,"
I said to my wife, "Tom will be a very different being
from what he was when he went away. He left us as little
more than a school boy, only in his first year at college;
in fact, a mere child. You remember how he used to bore
us with baseball talk and that sort of thing. And how
shy he was! You recall his awful fear of Professor Razzler,
who used to teach him mathematics. All that, of course,
will be changed now. Tom will have come back a man. We
must ask the old professor to meet him. It will amuse
Tom to see him again. Just think of the things he must
have seen! But we must be a little careful at dinner not
to let him horrify the other people with brutal details
of the war."
Tom came. I had expected him to arrive in uniform with
his pocket full of bombs. Instead of this he wore ordinary
evening dress with a dinner jacket. I realised as I helped
him to take off his overcoat in the hall that he was very
proud of his dinner jacket. He had never had one before.
He said he wished the "boys" could see him in it. I asked
him why he had put off his lieutenant's uniform so quickly.
He explained that he was entitled not to wear it as soon
as he had his discharge papers signed; some of the fellows,
he said, kicked them off as soon as they left the ship,
but the rule was, he told me, that you had to wear the
thing till your papers were signed.
Then his eye caught a glimpse sideways of Professor
Razzler standing on the hearth rug in the drawing room.
"Say," he said, "is that the professor?" I could see that
Tom was scared. All the signs of physical fear were
written on his face. When I tried to lead him into the
drawing room I realised that he was as shy as ever. Three
of the women began talking to him all at once. Tom
answered, yes or no,--with his eyes down. I liked the
way he stood, though, so unconsciously erect and steady.
The other men who came in afterwards, with easy greetings
and noisy talk, somehow seemed loud-voiced and
Tom, to my surprise, refused a cocktail. It seems, as he
explained, that he "got into the way of taking nothing
over there." I noticed that my friend Quiller, who is a
war correspondent, or, I should say, a war editorial
writer, took three cocktails and talked all the more
brilliantly for it through the opening courses of the
dinner, about the story of the smashing of the Hindenburg
line. He decided, after his second Burgundy, that it had
been simply a case of sticking it out. I say "Burgundy"
because we had substituted Burgundy, the sparkling kind,
for champagne at our dinners as one of our little war
Tom had nothing to say about the Hindenburg line. In
fact, for the first half of the dinner he hardly spoke.
I think he was worried about his left hand. There is a
deep furrow across the back of it where a piece of shrapnel
went through and there are two fingers that will hardly
move at all. I could see that he was ashamed of its
clumsiness and afraid that someone might notice it. So
he kept silent. Professor Razzler did indeed ask him
straight across the table what he thought about the final
breaking of the Hindenburg line. But he asked it with
that same fierce look from under his bushy eyebrows with
which he used to ask Tom to define the path of a tangent,
and Tom was rattled at once. He answered something about
being afraid that he was not well posted, owing to there
being so little chance over there to read the papers.
After that Professor Razzler and Mr. Quiller discussed
for us, most energetically, the strategy of the Lorraine
sector (Tom served there six months, but he never said
so) and high explosives and the possibilities of aerial
bombs. (Tom was "buried" by an aerial bomb but, of course,
he didn't break in and mention it.)
But we did get him talking of the war at last, towards
the end of the dinner; or rather, the girl sitting next
to him did, and presently the rest of us found ourselves
listening. The strange thing was that the girl was a mere
slip of a thing, hardly as old as Tom himself. In fact,
my wife was almost afraid she might be too young to ask
to dinner: girls of that age, my wife tells me, have
hardly sense enough to talk to men, and fail to interest
them. This is a proposition which I think it better not
But at any rate we presently realized that Tom was talking
about his war experiences and the other talk about the
table was gradually hushed into listening.
This, as nearly as I can set it down, is what he told
us: That the French fellows picked up baseball in a way
that is absolutely amazing; they were not much good, it
seems, at the bat, at any rate not at first, but at
running bases they were perfect marvels; some of the
French made good pitchers, too; Tom knew a poilu who had
lost his right arm who could pitch as good a ball with
his left as any man on the American side; at the port
where Tom first landed and where they trained for a month
they had a dandy ball ground, a regular peach, a former
parade ground of the French barracks. On being asked
WHICH port it was, Tom said he couldn't remember; he
thought it was either Boulogne or Bordeaux or Brest,--at
any rate, it was one of those places on the English
channel. The ball ground they had behind the trenches
was not so good; it was too much cut up by long range
shells. But the ball ground at the base hospital (where
Tom was sent for his second wound) was an A1 ground. The
French doctors, it appears, were perfectly rotten at
baseball, not a bit like the soldiers. Tom wonders that
they kept them. Tom says that baseball had been tried
among the German prisoners, but they are perfect dubs.
He doubts whether the Germans will ever be able to play
ball. They lack the national spirit. On the other hand,
Tom thinks that the English will play a great game when
they really get into it. He had two weeks' leave in London
and went to see the game that King George was at, and
says that the King, if they will let him, will make the
greatest rooter of the whole bunch.
Such was Tom's war talk.
It grieved me to note that as the men sat smoking their
cigars and drinking liqueur whiskey (we have cut out port
at our house till the final peace is signed) Tom seemed
to have subsided into being only a boy again, a first-year
college boy among his seniors. They spoke to him in quite
a patronising way, and even asked him two or three direct
questions about fighting in the trenches, and wounds and
the dead men in No Man's Land and the other horrors that
the civilian mind hankers to hear about. Perhaps they
thought, from the boy's talk, that he had seen nothing.
If so, they were mistaken. For about three minutes, not
more, Tom gave them what was coming to them. He told
them, for example, why he trained his "fellows" to drive
the bayonet through the stomach and not through the head,
that the bayonet driven through the face or skull sticks
and,--but there is no need to recite it here. Any of the
boys like Tom can tell it all to you, only they don't
want to and don't care to.
They've got past it.
But I noticed that as the boy talked,--quietly and
reluctantly enough,--the older men fell silent and looked
into his face with the realisation that behind his simple
talk and quiet manner lay an inward vision of grim and
awful realities that no words could picture.
I think that they were glad when we joined the ladies
again and when Tom talked of the amateur vaudeville show
that his company had got up behind the trenches.
Later on, when the other guests were telephoning for
their motors and calling up taxis, Tom said he'd walk to
his hotel; it was only a mile and the light rain that
was falling would do him, he said, no harm at all. So he
trudged off, refusing a lift.
Oh, no, I don't think we need to worry about the returned
soldier. Only let him return, that's all. When he does,
he's a better man than we are, Gunga Dinn.
2.--The War Sacrifices of Mr. Spugg
Although we had been members of the same club for years,
I only knew Mr. Spugg by sight until one afternoon when
I heard him saying that he intended to send his chauffeur
to the war.
It was said quite quietly,--no bombast or boasting about
it. Mr. Spugg was standing among a little group of
listening members of the club and when he said that he
had decided to send his chauffeur, he spoke with a kind
of simple earnestness, a determination that marks the
character of the man.
"Yes," he said, "we need all the man power we can command.
This thing has come to a showdown and we've got to
recognise it. I told Henry that it's a showdown and that
he's to get ready and start right away."
"Well, Spugg," said one of the members "you're certainly
setting us a fine example."
"What else can a man do?" said Mr. Spugg.
"When does your chauffeur leave?" asked another man.
"Right away. I want him in the firing line just as quick
as I can get him there."
"It's a fine thing you're doing, Spugg," said a third
member, "but do you realise that your chauffeur may be
"I must take my chance on that," answered Mr. Spugg,
firmly. "I've thought this thing out and made up my mind:
If my chauffeur is killed, I mean to pay for him,--full
and adequate compensation. The loss must fall on me, not
on him. Or, say Henry comes back mutilated,--say he loses
a leg,--say he loses two legs,--"
Here Mr. Spugg looked about him at his listeners, with
a look that meant that even three legs wouldn't be too
much for him.
"Whatever Henry loses I pay for. The loss shall fall on
me, every cent of it."
"Spugg," said a quiet looking, neatly dressed man whom
I knew to be the president of an insurance company and
who reached out and shook the speaker by the hand, "this
is a fine thing you're doing, a big thing. But we mustn't
let you do it alone. Let our company take a hand in it.
We're making a special rate now on chauffeurs, footmen,
and house-servants sent to the war, quite below the rate
that actuarial figures justify. It is our little war
contribution," he added modestly. "We like to feel that
we're doing our bit, too. We had a chauffeur killed last
week. We paid for him right off without demur,--waived
all question of who killed him. I never signed a check
(as I took occasion to say in a little note I wrote to
his people) with greater pleasure."
"What do you do if Henry's mutilated?" asked Mr. Spugg,
turning his quiet eyes on the insurance man and facing
the brutal facts of things without flinching. "What do
you pay? Suppose I lose the use of Henry's legs, what
"It's all right," said his friend. "Leave it to us.
Whatever he loses, we make it good."
"All right," said Spugg, "send me round a policy. I'm
going to see Henry clear through on this."
It was at this point that at my own urgent request I was
introduced to Mr. Spugg, so that I might add my
congratulations to those of the others. I told him that
I felt, as all the other members of the club did, that
he was doing a big thing, and he answered again, in his
modest way, that he didn't see what else a man could do.
"My son Alfred and I," he said, "talked it over last
night and we agreed that we can run the car ourselves,
or make a shot at it anyway. After all, it's war time."
"What branch of the service are you putting your chauffeur
in?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," he answered. "I think I'll send him up
in the air. It's dangerous, of course, but it's no time
to think about that."
So, in due time, Mr. Spugg's chauffeur, Henry, went
overseas. He was reported first as in England. Next he
was right at the front, at the very firing itself. We
knew then,--everybody in the club knew that Mr. Spugg's
chauffeur might be killed at any moment. But great as
the strain must have been, Spugg went up and down to his
office and in and out of the club without a tremor. The
situation gave him a new importance in our eyes, something
"This seems to be a terrific business," I said to him
one day at lunch, "this new German drive."
"My chauffeur," said Mr. Spugg, "was right in the middle
"He was, eh?"
"Yes," he continued, "one shell burst in the air so near
him it almost broke his wings."
Mr. Spugg told this with no false boasting or bravado,
eating his celery as he spoke of it. Here was a man who
had nearly had his chauffeur's wings blown off and yet
he never moved a muscle. I began to realize the kind of
resolute stuff that the man was made of.
A few days later bad news came to the club.
"Have you heard the bad news about Spugg?" someone asked.
"His chauffeur's been gassed."
"How is he taking it?"
"Fine. He's sending off his gardener to take the chauffeur's
So that was Mr. Spugg's answer to the Germans.
We lunched together that day.
"Yes," he said, "Henry's gassed. How it happened I don't
know. He must have come down out of the air. I told him
I wanted him in the air. But let it pass. It's done now."
"And you're sending your gardener?"
"I am," said Spugg. "He's gone already. I called him in
from the garden yesterday. I said, 'William, Henry's been
gassed. Our first duty is to keep up our man power at
the front. You must leave to-night.'"
"What are you putting William into?" I asked
"Infantry. He'll do best in the trenches,--digs well and
is a very fair shot. Anyway I want him to see all the
fighting that's going. If the Germans want give and take
in this business they can have it. They'll soon see who
can stand it best. I told William when he left. I said,
'William, we've got to show these fellows that man for
man we're a match for them.' That's the way I look at
it, man for man."
I watched Mr. Spugg's massive face as he went on with
his meal. Not a nerve of it moved. If he felt any fear,
at least he showed no trace of it.
After that I got war news from him at intervals, in little
scraps, as I happened to meet him. "The war looks bad,"
I said to him one day as I chanced upon him getting into
his motor. "This submarine business is pretty serious."
"It is," he said, "William was torpedoed yesterday."
Then he got into his car and drove away, as quietly as
if nothing had happened.
A little later that day I heard him talking about it in
the club. "Yes," he was saying, "a submarine. It torpedoed
William,--my gardener. I have both a chauffeur and a
gardener at the war. William was picked up on a raft.
He's in pretty bad shape. My son Alfred had a cable from
him that he's coming home. We've both telegraphed him to
stick it out."
The news was the chief topic in the club that day. "Spugg's
gardener has been torpedoed," they said, "but Spugg
refuses to have him quit and come home." "Well done,
Spugg," said everybody.
After that we had news from time to time about both
William and Henry.
"Henry's out of the hospital," said Spugg. "I hope to
have him back in France in a few days. William's in bad
shape still. I had a London surgeon go and look at him.
I told him not to mind the expense but to get William
fixed up right away. It seems that one arm is more or
less paralysed. I've wired back to him not to hesitate.
They say William's blood is still too thin for the
operation. I've cabled to them to take some of Henry's.
I hate to do it, but this is no time to stick at anything."
A little later William and Henry were reported both back
in France. This was at the very moment of the great
offensive. But Spugg went about his daily business unmoved.
Then came the worst news of all. "William and Henry," he
said to me, "are both missing. I don't know where the
devil they are."
"Missing?" I repeated.
"Both of them. The Germans have caught them both. I
suppose I shan't have either of them back now till the
war is all over."
He gave a slight sigh,--the only sign of complaint that
ever I had heard come from him.
But the next day we learned what was Spugg's answer to
the German's capture of William and Henry.
"Have you heard what Spugg is doing?" the members of the
club asked one another.
"He's sending over Meadows, HIS OWN MAN!"
There was no need to comment on it. The cool courage of
the thing spoke for itself. Meadows,--Spugg's own man,--his
house valet, without whom he never travelled twenty miles!
"What else was there to do?" said Mr. Spugg when I asked
him if it was true that Meadows was going. "I take no
credit for sending Meadows nor, for the matter of that,
for anything that Meadows may do over there. It was a
simple matter of duty. My son and I had him into the
dining room last night after dinner. 'Meadows,' we said,
'Henry and William are caught. Our man power at the front
has got to be kept up. There's no one left but ourselves
and you. There's no way out of it. You'll have to go.'"
"But how," I protested, "can you get along with Meadows,
your valet, gone? You'll be lost!"
"We must do the best we can. We've talked it all over.
My son will help me dress and I will help him. We can
manage, no doubt."
So Meadows went.
After this Mr. Spugg, dressed as best he could manage
it, and taking turns with his son in driving his own
motor, was a pathetic but uncomplaining object.
Meadows meantime was reported as with the heavy artillery,
doing well. "I hope nothing happens to Meadows," Spugg
kept saying. "If it does, we're stuck. We can't go
ourselves. We're too busy. We've talked it over and we've
both decided that it's impossible to get away from the
office,--not with business as brisk as it is now. We're
busier than we've been in ten years and can't get off
for a day. We may try to take a month off for the
Adirondacks a little later but as for Europe, it's out
of the question."
Meantime, one little bit of consolation came to help Mr.
Spugg to bear the burden of the war. I found him in the
lounge room of the club one afternoon among a group of
men, exhibiting two medals that were being passed from
hand to hand.
"Sent to me by the French government," he explained
proudly. "They're for William and Henry. The motto means,
'For Conspicuous Courage"' (Mr. Spugg drew himself up
with legitimate pride). "I shall keep one and let Alfred
keep the other till they come back." Then he added, as
an afterthought, "They may never come back."
From that day on, Mr. Spugg, with his French medal on
his watch chain, was the most conspicuous figure in the
club. He was pointed out as having done more than any
other one man in the institution to keep the flag flying.
But presently the limit of Mr. Spugg's efforts and
sacrifices was reached. Even patriotism such as his must
have some bounds.
On entering the club one afternoon I could hear his voice
bawling vociferously in one of the telephone cabinets in
the hall. "Hello, Washington," he was shouting. "Is that
Washington? Long Distance, I want Washington."
Fifteen minutes later he came up to the sitting room,
still flushed with indignation and excitement. "That's
the limit," he said, "the absolute limit!"
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"They drafted my son Alfred," he answered.
"Just imagine it! When we're so busy in the office that
we're getting down there at half past eight in the morning!
Drafted Alfred! 'Great Caesar' I said to them! 'Look
here! You've had my chauffeur and he's gassed, and you've
had my gardener and he's torpedoed and they're both
prisoners, and last month I sent you my own man! That,'
I said, 'is about the limit.'"
"What did they say," I asked.
"Oh, it's all right. They've fixed it all up and they've
apologized as well. Alfred won't go, of course, but it
makes one realise that you can carry a thing too far.
Why, they'd be taking me next!"
"Oh, surely not!" I said.
3.--If Germany Had Won
Sometimes, in the past, we have grown a little impatient
with our North American civilisation, with its strident
clamour, its noisy elections, its extremes of liberty,
its occasional corruption and the faults that we now see
were the necessary accompaniments of its merits. But let
us set beside it a picture such as this, taken from the
New York Imperial Gazette of 1925--or from any paper of
the same period, such as would have been published if
Germany had won.
General Boob of Boobenstiff, Imperial Governor of New
York, will attend divine (Imperial) service on Sunday
morning next at the church of St. John the (Imperial)
Divine. The subway cars will be stopped while the General
is praying. All subway passengers are enjoined (befohlen),
during the thus-to-be-ordered period of cessation, to
remain in a reverential attitude. Those in the seats will
keep the head bowed. Those holding to the straps will
elevate one leg, keeping the knee in the air.
On Monday evening General Boob von Boobenstiff, Imperial
Governor of New York, will be graciously pleased to attend
a performance at the (Imperial) Winter Garden on Upper
(Imperial) Broadway. It is ordered that on the entrance
of His Excellency the audience will spontaneously rise
and break into three successive enthusiastic cheers. Mr.
Al Jolson will remain kneeling on the stage till the
Gubernatorial All Highest has seated itself. Mr. Jolson
will then, by special (Imperial) permission, be allowed
to make four jokes in German to be taken from a list
supplied by the Imperial Censor of Humour. The Governor,
accompanied by his military staff, will then leave, and
the performance will close.
It is ordered that, on Tuesday afternoon, as a sign of
thankfulness for the blessings of the German peace, the
business men of New York shall walk in procession from
the Battery to the Bronx. They will then be inspected by
Governor Boobenstiff. If the Governor is delayed in
arriving at the hereafter-to-be-indicated point of general
put-yourself-there, the procession will walk back to the
Battery and back again, continuing so, pro and con, till
the arrival of the Governor.
The approaching visit of His Royal and Imperial Solemnity
the Prince Apparent of Bavaria shall be heralded in the
(Imperial) City of New York with general rejoicing. The
city shall be spontaneously decorated with flags. Smiles
of cordial welcome shall appear on every face. Animated
crowds of eager citizens shall move to and fro and shouts
of welcome shall, by order of the Chief of Police, break
from the lips. Among those who are expected to be in
the Imperial city to welcome his Royal Solemnity will be
the Hereditary Grand Duke of Schlitzin-Mein (formerly
Milwaukee), the Prince Margrave of Wisconsin and the
Hereditary Chief Constable of Nevada.
We are delighted to be able to chronicle that on the
morning of the 14th there was born at the Imperial
Residence of His Simplicity the Hereditary Governor of
the Provinz (formerly State) of New York, in the (Imperial)
city of Albany a tenth son to the illustrious Prince and
Princess who rule over us with such fatherly care. The
boy was christened yesterday at the (Imperial) Lutheran
Church and is to bear the name Frederick Wilhelm Amelia
Mary Johan Heinrich Ruprecht. The whole city of Albany
is thrown into the wildest rejoicing. The legislature
has voted an addition of $400,000 per annum to the civil
list for the maintenance of the young prince. Joy suffuses
every home. This being the tenth son born to their
Highnesses in ten years it is felt that the future of
the dynasty is more or less secured. Even the humblest
home is filled with the reflected joy that streams out
from the Residency. Their Royal Highnesses appeared
yesterday on the balcony amid the wild huzzoos of the
people transported with joy. His Simplicity the Prince
wore the full dress uniform of an Imperial Jaeger of the
Adirondacks, and Her Royal Highness was attired as a
Colonel of Artillery. It is impossible to express the
jubilation of the moment.
We regret to report that owing to the jostling (possibly
accidental, but none the less actual) of an Imperial
officer--Field-Lieutenant Schmidt--at the entrance to
Brooklyn Bridge, the bridge is declared closed to the
public until further notice. We are proud to state the
Field Lieutenant at once cut down his cowardly assailant
with his saber. It has pleased His Unspeakable Loftiness,
the German Emperor, to cable his congratulations to the
Lieutenant, who will receive The Order of the Dead Dog
for the noble way in which he has maintained the traditions
of his uniform.
A striking feature of the now-taking-place Art Exhibition
at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (formerly Metropolitan
Gallery) in the Thiergarten (formerly Central Park) is
offered by the absolutely marvellous paintings exhibited by
the Princess Marie Paul Cecilie Hohenzollern-Stickitintothem,
a cousin of Our Noble Governor. The paintings which the
Princess has been preciously pleased to paint and has even
stooped to exhibit to the filled-with-wonder eye of the
public have been immediately awarded the first prize in
each class. While it would be invidious even to suggest that
any one of Her High Incipiency's pictures is better than any
other, our feeling is that especially the picture Night on
the Hudson River is of so rare a quality both of technique
and of inspiration that it supersedes the bounds of the
hitherto-thought-to-be-possible art in America. The
Princess's conception of night, black as a pall and yet
luminous as a polished stove pipe, is only equalled by
her feeling towards the Hudson which lies extended in
soporific superficiality beneath the sable covering of
darkness in which Her Highness has been pleased to
overwhelm it. Throughout the day an eager-to-see crowd
of spectators were beaten back from the picture by the
police with clubs.
We are permitted officially to confirm the already
gladly-from-mouth-to-mouth-whispered news of an approaching
marriage between Prince Heinrich of Texas and the Princess
Amelia Victoria Louisa, Hereditary Heir Consumptive of
the Imperial Provinz of Maine. The marriage, so it is
whispered, although performed in accordance with the
wishes of the Emperor as expressed by cable, is in every
way a love match. What lends a touch of romance to the
betrothal of the Royal Younglings is that the Prince had
never even seen the Princess Amelia until the day when
the legislature of the Provinz of Maine voted her a
marriage portion of half a million dollars. Immediately
on this news a secret visit was arranged, the Prince
journeying to Bangor incognito as the Count of Flim-Flam
in the costume of an officer of the Imperial Scavengers.
On receipt of the Emperor's telegram the happy pair fell
in love with one another at once. What makes the approaching
union particularly auspicious for the whole country is
that it brings with it the union of Maine and Texas,
henceforth to form a single grateful provinz. The Royal
Pair, it is understood, will live alternately in each
province a month at a time and the legislature, the
executive officials, the courts of law and the tax
collectors will follow them to and fro.
We cannot but contrast this happy issue with the turbulence
and disorder in which our country lived before the Great
War of Liberation.
We are delighted to learn from our despatches from Boston
that the Hohenzollern Institute (formerly Harvard
University) is to be opened next autumn. By express
permission of the Imperial Government, classes in English
will be permitted for half an hour each day.
By the clemency of the Emperor the sentences of W. H.
Taft, and W. Wilson have been commuted from the sentence
of fifty years imprisonment to imprisonment for life. We
hope, in a special supplement, to be able to add the full
list of sentences, executions, imprisonments, fines, and
attainders that have been promulgated in honour of the
birthday of our Imperial Sovereign.
4.--War and Peace at the Galaxy Club
The Great Peace Kermesse at the Galaxy Club, to which I
have the honour to belong, held with a view to wipe out
the Peace Deficit of the Club, has just ended. For three
weeks our club house has been a blaze of illumination.
We have had four orchestras in attendance. There have
been suppers and dances every night. Our members have
not spared themselves.
The Kermesse is now over. We have time, as our lady
members are saying, to turn round.
For the moment we are sitting listening, amid bursts of
applause, to our treasurer's statement. As we hear it we
realise that this Peace Kermesse has proved the culmination
and crown of four winters' war work.
But I must explain from the beginning.
Our efforts began with the very opening of the war. We
felt that a rich organisation like ours ought to do
something for the relief of the Belgians. At the same
time we felt that our members would rather receive
something in the way of entertainment for their money
than give it straight out of their pockets.
We therefore decided first to hold a public lecture in
the club, and engaged the services of Professor Dry to
lecture on the causes of the war.
In view of the circumstances, Professor Dry very kindly
reduced his lecture fee, which (he assured us) is generally
two hundred and fifty dollars, to two hundred and forty.
The lecture was most interesting. Professor Dry traced
the causes of the War backwards through the Middle Ages.
He showed that it represented the conflict of the
brachiocephalic culture of the Wendic races with the
dolichocephalic culture of the Alpine stock. At the time
when the lights went out he had got it back to the eighth
century before Christ.
Unfortunately the night, being extremely wet, was
unfavourable. Few of our members care to turn out to
lectures in wet weather. The treasurer was compelled to
announce to the Committee a net deficit of two hundred
dollars. Some of the ladies of the Committee moved that
the entire deficit be sent to the Belgians, but were
overruled by the interference of the men.
But the error was seen to have been in the choice of the
lecturer. Our members were no longer interested in the
causes of the war. The topic was too old. We therefore
held another public lecture in the club, on the topic
What Will Come After the War. It was given by a very
talented gentleman, a Mr. Guess, a most interesting
speaker, who reduced his fee (as the thing was a war
charity) by one-half, leaving it at three hundred dollars.
Unhappily the weather was against us. It was too fine.
Our members scarcely care to listen to lectures in fine
weather. And it turned out that our members are not
interested in what will come after the war. The topic is
too new. Our receipts of fifty dollars left us with a
net deficit of two hundred and fifty. Our treasurer
therefore proposed that we should carry both deficits
forward and open a Special Patriotic Entertainment Account
showing a net total deficit of four hundred and fifty
In the opinion of the committee our mistake had been in
engaging outside talent. It was felt that the cost of
this was prohibitive. It was better to invite the services
of the members of the club themselves. A great number of
the ladies expressed their willingness to take part in
any kind of war work that took the form of public
Accordingly we presented a play. It was given in the ball
room of the club house, a stage being specially put up
for us by a firm of contractors. The firm (as a matter
of patriotism) did the whole thing for us at cost, merely
charging us with the labour, the material, the time, the
thought and the anxiety that they gave to the job, but
for nothing else. In fact, the whole staging, including
lights, plumbing and decorations was merely a matter of
five hundred dollars. The plumbers very considerately
made no charge for their time, but only for their work.
It was felt that it would be better to have a new play
than an old. We selected a brilliant little modern
drawing-room comedy never yet presented. The owner of
the copyright, a theatrical firm, let us use it for a
merely nominal fee of two hundred dollars, including the
sole right to play the piece forever. There being only
twenty-eight characters in it, it was felt to be more
suitable than a more ambitious thing. The tickets were
placed at one dollar, no one being admitted free except
the performers themselves, and the members who very kindly
acted as scene shifters, curtain lifters, ushers, door-keepers,
programme sellers, and the general committee of management.
All the performers, at their own suggestion, supplied their
own costumes, charging nothing to the club except the material
and the cost of dressmaking. Beyond this there was no expense
except for the fee, very reasonable, of Mr. Skip, the
professional coach who trained the performers, and who asked
us, in view of the circumstances, less than half of what he
would have been willing to accept.
The proceeds were to be divided between the Belgian Fund
and the Red Cross, giving fifty per cent to each. A motion
in amendment from the ladies' financial committee to give
fifty per cent to the Belgian Fund and sixty per cent to
the Red Cross was voted down.
Unfortunately it turned out that the idea of a PLAY was
a mistake in judgment. Our members, it seemed, did not
care to go to see a play except in a theatre. A great
number of them, however, very kindly turned out to help
in shifting the scenery and in acting as ushers.
Our treasurer announced, as the result of the play, a
net deficit of twelve hundred dollars. He moved, with
general applause, that it be carried forward.
The total deficit having now reached over sixteen hundred
dollars, there was a general feeling that a very special
effort must be made to remove it. It was decided to hold
Weekly Patriotic Dances in the club ball room, every
Saturday evening. No charge was made for admission to
the dances, but a War Supper was served at one dollar a
Unfortunately the dances, as first planned, proved again
an error. It appeared that though our members are
passionately fond of dancing, few if any of them cared
to eat at night. The plan was therefore changed. The
supper was served first, and was free, and for the dancing
after supper a charge was made of one dollar, per person.
This again was an error. It seems that after our members
have had supper they prefer to go home and sleep. After
one winter of dancing the treasurer announced a total
Patriotic Relief Deficit of five thousand dollars, to be
carried forward to next year. This sum duly appeared in
the annual balance sheet of the club. The members,
especially the ladies, were glad to think that we were
at least doing SOMETHING for the war.
At this point some of our larger men, themselves financial
experts, took hold. They said that our entertainments
had been on too small a scale. They told us that we had
been "undermined by overhead expenses." The word "overhead"
was soon on everybody's lips. We were told that if we
could "distribute our overhead" it would disappear. It
was therefore planned to hold a great War Kermesse with
a view to spreading out the overhead so thin that it
But it was at this very moment that the Armistice burst
upon us in a perfectly unexpected fashion. Everyone of
our members was, undoubtedly, delighted that the war was
over but there was a very general feeling that it would
have been better if we could have had a rather longer
notice of what was coming. It seemed, as many of our
members said, such a leap in the dark to rush into peace
all at once. It was said indeed by our best business men
that in financial circles they had been fully aware that
there was a danger of peace for some time and had taken
steps to discount the peace risk.
But for the club itself the thing came with a perfect
crash. The whole preparation of the great Kermesse was
well under way when the news broke upon us. For a time
the members were aghast. It looked like ruin. But presently
it was suggested that it might still be possible to save
the club by turning the whole affair into a Peace Kermesse
and devoting the proceeds to some suitable form of relief.
Luckily it was discovered that there was still a lot of
starvation in Russia, and fortunately it turned out that
in spite of the armistice the Turks were still killing
So it was decided to hold the Kermesse and give all the
profits realised by it to the Victims of the Peace.
Everybody set to work again with a will. The Kermesse
indeed had to be postponed for a few months to make room
for the changes needed, but it has now been held and, in
a certain sense, it has been the wildest kind of success.
The club, as I said, has been a blaze of light for three
weeks. We have had four orchestras in attendance every
evening. There have been booths draped with the flags of
all the Allies, except some that we were not sure about,
in every corridor of the club. There have been dinner
parties and dances every evening. The members, especially
the ladies, have not spared themselves. Many of them have
spent practically all their time at the Kermesse, not
getting home until two in the morning.
And yet somehow one has felt that underneath the surface
it was not a success. The spirit seemed gone out of it.
The members themselves confessed in confidence that in
spite of all they could do their hearts were not in it.
Peace had somehow taken away all the old glad sense of
enjoyment. As to spending money at the Kermesse all the
members admitted frankly that they had no heart for it.
This was especially the case when the rumour got abroad
that the Armenians were a poor lot and that some of the
Turks were quite gentlemanly fellows. It was said, too,
that if the Russians did starve it would do them a lot
So it was known even before we went to hear the financial
report that there would be no question of profits on the
Kermesse going to the Armenians or the Russians.
And to-night the treasurer has been reading out to a
general meeting the financial results as nearly as they
can be computed.
He has put the Net Patriotic Deficit, as nearly as he
can estimate it, at fifteen thousand dollars, though he
has stated, with applause from the ladies, that the Gross
Deficit is bigger still.
The Ladies Financial Committee has just carried a motion
that the whole of the deficit, both net and gross, be
now forwarded to the Red Cross Society (sixty per cent),
the Belgian Relief Fund (fifty per cent), and the remainder
invested in the War Loan.
But there is a very general feeling among the male members
that the club will have to go into liquidation. Peace
has ruined us. Not a single member, so far as I am aware,
is prepared to protest against the peace, or is anything
but delighted to think that the war is over. At the same
time we do feel that if we could have had a longer notice,
six months for instance, we could have braced ourselves
better to stand up against it and meet the blow when it
I think, too, that our feeling is shared outside.
5.--The War News as I Remember it
Everybody, I think, should make some little contribution
towards keeping alive the memories of the great war. In
the larger and heroic sense this is already being done.
But some of the minor things are apt to be neglected.
When the record of the war has been rewritten into real
history, we shall be in danger of forgetting what WAR
NEWS was like and the peculiar kind of thrill that
accompanied its perusal.
Hence in order to preserve it for all time I embalm some
little samples of it, selected of course absolutely at
random,--as such things always are--in the pages of this
Let me begin with:--
I--THE CABLE NEWS FROM RUSSIA
This was the great breakfast-table feature for at least
three years. Towards the end of the war some people began
to complain of it. They said that they questioned whether
it was accurate. Here for example is one fortnight of
Petrograd, April 14. Word has reached here that the
Germans have captured enormous quantities of grain on
the Ukrainian border.
April 15. The Germans have captured no grain on the
Ukrainian border. The country is swept bare.
April 16. Everybody in Petrograd is starving.
April 17. There is no lack of food in Petrograd.
April 18. The death of General Korniloff is credibly
reported this morning.
April 19. It is credibly reported this morning that
General Korniloff is alive.
April 20. It is credibly reported that General
Korniloff is hovering between life and death.
April 21. The Bolsheviki are overthrown.
April 22. The Bolsheviki got up again.
April 23. The Czar died last night.
April 24. The Czar did not die last night.
April 25. General Kaleidescope and his Cossacks
are moving north.
April 26. General Kaleidescope and his Cossacks
are moving south.
April 27. General Kaleidescope and his Cossacks
are moving east.
April 28. General Kaleidescope and his Cossacks
are moving west.
April 29. It is reported that the Cossacks under General
Kaleidescope have revolted. They demand the Maximum.
General Kaleidescope hasn't got it.
April 30. The National Pan-Russian Constituent Universal
Duma which met this morning at ten-thirty, was
dissolved at twenty-five minutes to eleven.
My own conclusion, reached with deep regret, is that the
Russians are not yet fit for the blessings of the Magna
Carta and the Oklahama Constitution of 1907. They ought
to remain for some years yet under the Interstate Commerce
II--SAMPLE OF SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE
New York (through London via Holland and coming out at
Madrid). Mr. O. Howe Lurid, our special correspondent,
writing from "Somewhere near Somewhere" and describing
the terrific operations of which he has just been an
"From the crest where I stood, the whole landscape about
me was illuminated with the fierce glare of the bursting
shells, while the ground on which I stood quivered with
the thunderous detonation of the artillery.
"Nothing in the imagination of a Dante could have equalled
the lurid and pyrogriffic grandeur of the scene. Streams
of fire rose into the sky, falling in bifurcated
crystallations in all directions. Disregarding all personal
danger, I opened one eye and looked at it.
"I found myself now to be the very centre of the awful
conflict. While not stating that the whole bombardment
was directed at me personally, I am pretty sure that it
I admit that there was a time, at the very beginning of
the war, when I liked this kind of thing served up with
my bacon and eggs every morning, in the days when a man
could eat bacon and eggs without being labelled a
pro-German. Later on I came to prefer the simple statements
as to the same scene and event, given out by Sir Douglas
Haig and General Pershing--after this fashion:
"Last night at ten-thirty P.M. our men noticed signs of
a light bombardment apparently coming from the German
III--THE TECHNICAL WAR DESPATCHES
The best of these, as I remember them, used to come from
the Italian front and were done after this fashion:--
"Tintino, near Trombono. Friday, April 3. The Germans,
as I foresaw last month they would, have crossed the
Piave in considerable force. Their position, as I said
it would be, is now very strong. The mountains bordering
the valley run--just as I foresaw they would--from
northwest to southeast. The country in front is, as I
anticipated, flat. Venice is, as I assured my readers it
would be, about thirty miles distant from the Piave,
which falls, as I expected it would, into the Adriatic."
IV--THE WAR PROPHECIES
Startling Prophecy in Paris. All Paris is wildly excited
over the extraordinary prophecy of Madame Cleo de Clichy
that the war will be over in four weeks. Madame Cleo,
who is now as widely known as a diseuse, a liseuse, a
friseuse and a clairvoyante, leaped into sudden prominence
last November by her startling announcement that the
seven letters in the Kaiser's name W i l h e l m represented
the seven great beasts of the apocalypse; in the next
month she electrified all Paris by her disclosure that
the four letters of the word C z a r--by substituting
the figure 1 for C, 9 for Z, 1 for A, and 7 for R produce
the date 1917, and indicated a revolution in Russia. The
salon of Madame Cleo is besieged by eager crowds night
and day. She may prophesy again at any minute.
Startling Forecast. A Russian peasant, living in
Semipalatinsk, has foretold that the war will end in
August. The wildest excitement prevails not only in
Semipalatinsk but in the whole of it.
Extraordinary Prophecy. Rumbumbabad, India. April 1. The
whole neighbourhood has been thrown into a turmoil by
the prophecy of Ram Slim, a Yogi of this district, who
has foretold that the war will be at an end in September.
People are pouring into Rumbumbabad in ox-carts from all
directions. Business in Rumbumbabad is at a standstill.
Excitement in Midgeville, Ohio. William Bessemer Jones,
a retired farmer of Cuyahoga, Ohio, has foretold that
the war will end in October. People are flocking into
Midgeville in lumber wagons from all parts of the country.
Jones, who bases his prophecy on the Bible, had hitherto
been thought to be half-witted. This is now recognised
to have been a wrong estimate of his powers. Business in
Midgeville is at a standstill.
Dog's Foot. Wyoming. April 1. An Indian of the Cheyenne
tribe has foretold that the war will end in December.
Business among the Indians is at a standstill.
These were sent out in assortments, and labelled Vienna,
via London, through Stockholm. After reading them with
feverish eagerness for nearly four years, I decided that
they somehow lack definiteness. Here is the way they ran:
"Special Correspondence. I learn from a very high authority,
whose name I am not at liberty to mention, (speaking to
me at a place which I am not allowed to indicate and in
a language which I am forbidden to use)--that
Austria-Hungary is about to take a diplomatic step of
the highest importance. What this step is, I am forbidden
to say. But the consequences of it--which unfortunately
I am pledged not to disclose--will be such as to effect
results which I am not free to enumerate."
VI--A NEW GERMAN PEACE FORMULA
Dr. Hertling, the Imperial Chancellor, speaking through
his hat in the Reichstag, said that he wished to state
in the clearest language of which he was capable that
the German peace plan would not only provide the fullest
self determination of all ethnographic categories, but
would predicate the political self consciousness
(politisches Selbstbewusztsein) of each geographical and
entomological unit, subject only to the necessary
rectilinear guarantees for the seismographic action of
the German empire. The entire Reichstag, especially the
professorial section of it, broke into unrestrained
applause. It is felt that the new formula is the equivalent
of a German Magna Carta--or as near to it as they can
VII--THE FINANCIAL NEWS
The war finance, as I remember it, always supplied items
of the most absorbing interest. I do not mean to say that
I was an authority on finance or held any official position
in regard to it. But I watched it. I followed it in the
newspapers. When the war began I knew nothing about it.
But I picked up a little bit here and a little bit there
until presently I felt that I had a grasp on it not easily
It was a simple matter, anyway. Take the case of the
rouble. It rose and it fell. But the reason was always
perfectly obvious. The Russian news ran, as I got it in
my newspapers, like this:--
"M. Touchusoff, the new financial secretary of the Soviet,
has declared that Russia will repay her utmost liabilities.
"M. Touchusoff, the late financial secretary of the
Soviet, was thrown into the Neva last evening. Roubles
"M. Gorky, speaking in London last night, said that Russia
was a great country. Roubles rose."
"A Dutch correspondent, who has just beat his way out of
Russia, reports that nothing will induce him to go back.
"Mr. Arthur Balfour, speaking in the House of Commons
last night, paid a glowing tribute to the memory of Peter
the Great. Roubles rose."
"The local Bolsheviki of New York City at the Pan-Russian
Congress held in Murphy's Rooms, Fourth Avenue, voted
unanimously in favor of a Free Russia. Roubles never
With these examples in view, anybody, I think, could
grasp the central principles of Russian finance. All that
one needed to know was what M. Touchusoff and such people
were going to say, and who would be thrown into the Neva,
and the rise and fall of the rouble could be foreseen to
a kopeck. In speculation by shrewd people with proper
judgment as to when to buy and when to sell the rouble,
large fortunes could be made, or even lost, in a day.
But after all the Russian finance was simple. That of
our German enemies was much more complicated and yet
infinitely more successful. That at least I gathered from
the little news items in regard to German finance that
used to reach us in cables that were headed Via Timbuctoo
and ran thus:--
"The fourth Imperial War Loan of four billion marks, to
be known as the Kaiser's War Loan, was oversubscribed
to-day in five minutes. Investors thronged the banks,
with tears in their eyes, bringing with them everything
that they had. The bank managers, themselves stained with
tears, took everything that was offered. Each investor
received a button proudly displayed by the
too-happy-for-words out-of-the-bank-hustling recipient."
6.--Some Just Complaints About the War
No patriotic man would have cared to lift up his voice
against the Government in war time. Personally, I should
not want to give utterance even now to anything in the
way of criticism. But the complaints which were presented
below came to me, unsought and unsolicited, and represented
such a variety of sources and such just and unselfish
points of view that I think it proper, for the sake of
history, to offer them to the public.
I give them, just as they reached me, without modifications
of any sort.
The just complaint of Mr. Threadler, my tailor, as
expressed while measuring me for my Win-the-War autumn
"Complaint, sir? Oh, no, we have no complaint to make in
our line of business, none whatever (forty-two, Mr.
Jephson). It would hardly become us to complain (side
pockets, Mr. Jephson). But we think, perhaps, it is rather
a mistake for the Government (thirty-three on the leg)
to encourage the idea of economy in dress. Our attitude
is that the well dressed man (a little fuller in the
chest? Yes, a little fuller in the chest, please, Mr.
Jephson) is better able to serve his country than the
man who goes about in an old suit. The motto of our trade
is Thrift with Taste. It was made up in our spring
convention of five hundred members, in a four day sitting.
We feel it to be (twenty-eight) very appropriate. Our
feeling is that a gentleman wearing one of our thrift
worsteds under one of our Win-the-War light overcoats
(Mr. Jephson, please show that new Win-the-War overcoating)
is really helping to keep things going. We like to reflect,
sir (nothing in shirtings, today?) that we're doing our
bit, too, in presenting to the enemy an undisturbed nation
of well dressed men. Nothing else, sir? The week after
next? Ah! If we can, sir! but we're greatly rushed with
our new and patriotic Thrift orders. Good morning, sir."
The just complaint of Madame Pavalucini, the celebrated
contralto. As interviewed incidentally in the palm-room
of The Slitz Hotel, over a cup of tea (one dollar), French
Win-the-War pastry (one fifty) and Help-the-Navy cigarettes
"I would not want to creetecize ze gouvermen' ah! non!
That would be what you call a skonk treeck, hein?" (Madame
Pavalucini comes from Missouri, and dares not talk any
other kind of English than this, while on tour, with any
strangers listening.) "But, I ask myself, ees it not just
a leetle wrong to discourage and tax ze poor artistes?
We are doing our beet, hein? We seeng, we recite! I seeng
so many beautiful sings to ze soldiers; sings about love,
and youth, and passion, and spring and kisses. And the
men are carried off their feet. They rise. They rush to
the war. I have seen them, in my patriotic concerts where
I accept nothing but my expenses and my fee and give all
that is beyond to the war. Only last night one arose,
right in the front rank--the fauteuils d'orchestre, I do
not know how you call them in English. 'Let me out of
zis,' he scream, 'me for the war! Me for the trenches!'
Was it not magnifique--what you call splendide, hein?
"And then ze gouvermen' come and tell me I must pay zem
ten thousan' dollars, when I make only seexty thousan'
dollars at ze opera! Anozzer skonk treeck, hein?"
The just complaint of Mr. Grunch, income tax payer, as
imparted to me over his own port wine, after dinner.
"No, I shouldn't want to complain: I mean, in any way
that would reach the outside,--reach it, that is, in