The Lord of the Sea
M. P. Shiel
Part 4 out of 6
A little previously O'Hara, having got from Frankl details of
Rebekah's dress, had spotted her in primrose silk, black mask and
domino, and soon with Hogarth refound her in the crush: whereas
Hogarth went about prospecting over the crowd, with that excitement
of his red-veined eyeballs, once even entered into talk with a group
of four diplomatists, but all the time with eyeballs absent in
hankering tracking, out prowling after one morbid form, as the
stallion's prowls after his Sally.
After an hour she said in French over her shoulder: "Why follow me?"
And as he bowed compliance, she added: "Are you well?"
He said: "Yes", and bowed, and she nodded twice, smiling a little,
as they parted.
He, on the wings of exaltation, made haste to salute the Throne and
leave the palace, rushing toward solitude to brood upon that smile,
those familiar nods, and the gentle "Are you well?"--in his landau
with him O'Hara, who persecuted him even to his bedroom; and when,
after an hour, the priest at last reappeared in a corridor, the
night-lights there shone upon an exultant visage, like a climber's
who, after long clamberings, at last stamps on the Matterhorn, and
When he entered his own room, he stood with a hung head, till,
sharply looking up, he ejaculated with amazed, realization and
opening arms: "Well, it's done!--I've got it!" Now he put forefinger
to nose, and cut a beastly face at himself in the mirror-wall.
The next day Hogarth rather guiltily said to Loveday: "Well, I have
promised old O'Hara the _Mahomet_ for the Straits. Don't frown--I
owe him something, and the clever beast got over me in crazy
"Quite so", Loveday coldly said: and thenceforth, the thing being
done, was mum as to the name of the lady connected with O'Hara's
He returned immediately to England, having there many occupations,
which multiplied as the islands everywhere neared completion, the
first of the launches taking place at Spezzia on the 7th of
A fortnight before this event the Beech-fever had revived, the
coming launch being no secret, and the doubt whether "Beech's Folly"
might be no folly, and the question what, on the whole, Beech's
Folly might really bode, filled once more the consciousness of the
Western world. By the 1st of February a drop was recorded in many
general securities, in "governments", rentes, and consols; in Berlin
the bank-rate rose one per cent.; it was stated that specie was
accumulating in European vaults; while up leapt futures-cotton in
the Liverpool market. At last the First Lord of the Treasury, in a
speech at Manchester, gave sign of the Government's consciousness of
the new fact, saying that he could only repeat the answer given by
the First Lord of the Admiralty to the recent Deputations of the
Chamber of Shipping and of Merchant Shippers, that Britain and the
other maritime nations would know how to protect the seas from any
nuisance. He anticipated no nuisance. The structures popularly known
as "Beech's Folly" (prolonged laughter) would be provided with
lighthouses: and until they proved a nuisance on the ocean's
fairways, the Governments must permit to private enterprise that
free hand which was the characteristic of our age; moreover, a
recognized Government had avowed its association with these
Nevertheless, the fever heightened. The light-system of the
_Boodah_, now included in the usual alphabetical lists of derelicts,
was conned by thousands of mariners, while in the crowded captains',
underwriters', and committee rooms at Lloyd's discussion buzzed and
speechified in every tone of gravity. Suddenly in the F. G. and S.
clause marine insurance underwent a profound modification; and it
was then that the millionaire, Schroeder, at that time a German
clerk in the City, managed to borrow five thousand pounds, and
quickly cleared his pile by underwriting on larger F. C. and S.
terms. And again raged the sale of the islands as penny salt-
cellars, finger-basins, etc.; in broker's and sub-editor's office
the tape-machine clicked the hourly progress of preparations at
Spezzia; while every by-street was dreadful with that music-hall
"To Spezzia runs the Pullman train;
The Follies soon their sense will teach;
We've Beech, O dear, upon the brain,
He brains upon the beach".
Meantime, the question of the drawing-room was "Are you going to
Spezzia?" and by the 7th so great a pilgrimage of tourists--experts,
idlers, cinematographers, special correspondents, ministers of
state, Yankees, officers, social stars--had flocked to the scene,
that accommodation failed in the town and surrounding hill-country,
from Le Grazie on the west, to Lerici on the east of the Gulf.
The morning dawned bright--Italian sky, tranquil Italian sea--and by
nine the harbour was alive with small-craft and Portovenere
steamboats, all gala with flags; on the land side, too, over the
hills, up the old road called Giro della Foce, and before the
villages commanding the town, spread a cloud of witnesses; while the
multitude in possession of _permessos_ for the dock-region stretched
across a hundred and sixty acres, perched on every coign, and
murmuring like the sea.
And all in the air a fluttered consciousness of the to-come, the
present nothing, an hour hence everything--like the suspense of
nature before gales, and that greatness and novelty of marriage-
mornings: for such a bride that day would rush to the brine as it
had never embraced.
There lay the hulk, all nuptial in colours, her roof looking like a
_plaza_ of Lima or La Paz at Carnival, flags in mountain-ridges
round her edges, flags in festoons, in slanting clothes-lines, in
trophy-groups, on bandroled poles, bedecking her; some scaffolding
still round her; and three running derricks, capable of wielding
guns and boilers of 140 tons, craned their shears about her. A
temporary stair under flags ran right up to a ledge above the
waterline: from which ledge little steel steps led here and there to
the roof; round the edge of roof and ledge running two balustrades,
surrounding the hulk; and over that upper portion, four times
repeated in white letters ten feet high, the name _BOODAH_ boomed
By eleven some seven hundred people stood and sat on the roof--the
_élite_ of Europe, invited to the luncheon after the launch, seeming
to the tract of on-lookers quite dainty and visionary there, like
objects mirrored in an eye. And they formed groups, of which some
chatted, and were elegant, and some spoke the gravest words uttered
"What, really, is the _Boodah_?" asked a Servian Minister of a
French: "is she a whim, a threat, or a tool?"
"She is too heavy for a whim", answered the French, "too dear for a
threat, and too fantastic for a tool. Time will show".
But this was no answer at all: something more to the point came from
a multitudinous tumult of sledges below--the workmen "wedging-up".
At last, soon after noon, Hogarth, with a considerable following,
was seen ascending the steps, on his arm the Queen of the Ceremony--
a little Bavarian Gräfin, famous for her face: he, princely now with
that cosmopolitan polish picked up in Courts, bending above her with
laughter, making her laugh also, as they paced up. And at once the
invited, including the Board of Verification, entered the hull upon
a tour of sight-seeing, conducted by a manager of the contractors.
Already the set-up wedges had raised the _Boodah_ from her keel-
block, and left her resting on the great braced ground-ways; and now
down to the sea's brink the greasers were busy, prodigals in tallow,
while, within, the seven hundred trooped from spectacle to
spectacle, like a tourist group guided through the Louvre.
An hour, and they anew appeared on the roof, trooping toward that
balustrade that faced the sea: upon which the throngs felt the
impending of the event, and intently watched. But there seemed no
hurry, Hogarth all gay chatter, anon lowering the lids a moment, as
he looked over the water; till suddenly hundreds of glasses detected
a champagne-bottle with ribbons in the christener's hand; and the
consciousness of the moment come moved the hosts when Hogarth, even
as he chatted, disengaged a flag, and let it fall: it was a signal;
down it fluttered; and instantly, down there, bustle broke loose, as
the call "Saw-off!" went forth, and the saws set flurriedly to fret
through the timbers which bind groundways to slidingways.
"_Now?_" whispered Hogarth at the christener's ear: and, even as he
spoke, the voice of a noising arose and droned from Spezzia, its
hills, its villages, and its sea; the _Boodah_, only half-liberated,
strained in travail; crashed from her bands; slipped down the
greased gradient--plunged--and, gathering momentous way, went wading
deep, deeper--like Behemoth run mad--amid a wrath of froths and a
brawling of waters, into the sea.
There, deep-planted, she stretched: on the surface appeared a reef
of steel; and the stirred-up water slapped vapidly upon those
flanks, like waters upon the Norway wall.
REEFS OF STEEL
Nothing was ever so scrutinized as the movements of the _Boodah_
during the next two months.
One morning three weeks after her launch three steamers took her in
tow, with progress so slow, that at nightfall they were still
visible from land; but the next morning had vanished.
Two days later they were met on the Genoa-Leghorn _route_, six
steamers then towing the _Boodah_, their course S. by W.
Again and again it was met, that funeral of the sea: the prone,
tearing steamers, the reluctant bulk. Sometimes a captain's glass
might make out a few men lost on the roof like men on a raft,
smoking, seated, leaning over a balustrade.
Southward and westward it swam. On the seventh day there arrived at
Ajaccio from Marseilles twenty-five bluejackets; and these, in a
hired _speronare_, put to sea, and joined the _Boodah_ twenty miles
from the coast.
Thenceforth, a smoke would be seen at a point of the roof,
indicating that she, too, was steaming: for it was known that she
had a screw and a rudder; and so closely was she observed, that her
now added rate could be fixed--two to three knots a day.
She must therefore have some small engines about 4,000 H. P.: and
since their _motif_ could only be one thing, resistance to ocean
currents, this meant that the _Boodah_ was intended to rest always
in one spot: a startling conclusion.
Occasionally a Surveying Service warship would peep above the
horizon, watching her.
As she passed through the Straits, seventy-five English blue-jackets
put out from Trafalgar, and joined her.
With such reports passed the weeks. Occasionally five or six coal-
ships would be seen about the _Boodah_; her number of tug-ships
might be as low as two; sometimes nine, ten.
At night she made a fine display, and homeward-bound boats from Cape
Horn, from Pernambuco, Para, Madeira, spoke highly of her two
revolving-drum lighthouses: for these, from opposite corners of the
roof, at the rate of a revolution per minute, poured into space two
shimmering comets, like Calais and the Eddystone--rapt spinning-
dervishes of the sea that hold far converse with the dark, till
morning. And between these two ran a festoon of electric lanterns,
Japanese and Moorish, cut in ogives; and festoons of coloured moons
drooped round the balustrades, so that the blaze and complexity of
it presented to ships a spectacle of speckled mystery, fresh to the
After five weeks a hundred and seventeen blue-jackets put out from
Portsmouth in a chartered barque and joined her, she still in tow,
making now about N. by W.
But by the time this news reached Europe the eyes of Europe were no
longer given up to the _Boodah_: for _another Boodah_, called the
_Truth_, was a-tow through the North Channel from Belfast; and she
had not reached the Mull of Cantire, when a third was launched at
San Francisco, so that the interest of the islands became
What would they do? What could they? Compared with this question,
the riddle of the Sphinx was simple, the supposition that they were
going to batter coast-walls in the S. Pacific being hardly now
tenable. The _Boodah_ finally came to rest some miles North of lat.
50° and East of long. 20°: and there--just on the northern rim of
the Gulf Stream where it divides, part toward Ireland, and part
toward Africa--she remained, precisely in the middle of the trade-
route between Europe and Boston, New York, Halifax: a _route_
covered for fifty miles--twenty-five north, twenty-five south--by
her 19.5-inch guns.
It is impossible to describe with how wild a heart, or thrilling a
boding, the world heard this thing: eight days later the
International Conference of Maritime Nations met at The Hague.
But nothing happened--or the opposite of what was feared: for, as
months passed, the _Boodah_, planted there in the ocean, rapidly
became the recognized gathering-point of the fashion and gaiety of
Europe, thither flocking the socially ambitious and the "arrived"
together, and to have been invited to those revels of taste and
elegance became a superiority. Gradually, as the names "Beech",
"Ecuador", ceased to be associated with the islands, the name of
Hogarth took their place; and Hogarth had engaged Wanda, sweetest of
tenors, to a year's stay in the _Boodah_, whose orchestra was the
most cultured anywhere; Roche, her _chef_, had two years previously
been put into a laboratory to devote his soul to the enlargement of
his art; and he and that tenor lived in suites of the _Boodah_ such
as most princes would consider Utopian.
Hardly anything in her interior suggested _the ship_: no hammocks
for marines, rolling-racks, sick-bay, lockers, steam-tables, wash-
rooms, she being just a palace planted in the Atlantic, her bottom
going down to a layer of comparative calm, so that hardly ever, in a
storm, when the ocean robed her sides in white, washed abroad her
slippery plateau, and drenched with spray her lighthouse tops, did
the ballroom below know shock or motion. Into her principal hall,
far down, circular, one descended by a circle of steps of marble,
round which stood a colonnade of Cuban cedar, supporting candelabra
and silks; and from atrium-pools sunk in the floor twelve twining
fountains brandished spiral sprays, the floor being of a glassy
marble, polished with snakestone, suffused with blushes at the
coloured silks and at a roof gross with rose and pomegranates,
hanging chandeliers; round the raised centre of the floor stood two
balustrades, three feet high, hung with silks, the inner circle
thirty feet across, higher than the outer, forty-five across: a
roseate room, strewn with cushions, colours, flushes; but that
raised space was empty: reserved for--a throne.
The throne, still unfinished, had been three years making in India.
And during nine months the _élite_ and joyous yachts arrived, not at
the _Boodah_ only, but at others of the twelve which, one by one,
were launched and towed to position; and a round of events
transacted themselves in the fortresses: Marie Antoinette balls,
classic concerts, theatrical functions by _troupe_ or amateur,
costume-balls, children's-balls, banquets of the gods, grave
receptions. By now there ran right across the _Boodah's_ roof, in
the form of a cross, two double colonnades of Doric pillars, at the
four ends being Roman arches: and here, some summer afternoon, the
passing ship would see a bazaar, all butterfly flutter, feminine
hues like flower-beds, cubes of coloured ice, flags, and a buzz of
gaiety, and strains of Tzigany music--rainbow-tints of Venice mixed
with the levity of the Andrássy Ut of Pesth. Sometimes a fleet of
craft would surround the islands. Besides, to each was attached a
yacht, and a trawler which continually plied for it between island
At this time Hogarth was deep in debt, and Beech's living upon
So, gradually, a good deal of the awe which the structures had
inspired passed off. On the whole, they seemed mere whimsical
castles-of-pleasure. The trains of industrious ships grew habituated
to their gaudy brightness by night, to their seething reefs, or
placid mass, by day. On foggy days the mariner was aware of the
islands wailing weird siren-sounds of warning. The islands waved
common-code signals of greeting to the passer. Trinity House sent
them the usual blanks and instruments for recording meteorological
observations. Their positions were marked in British Admiralty
Charts, in American Pilot Charts, in "Sailing Directions". The great
greyhounds, racing to Sandy Hook, raved with jest past them. The
islands began to seem a natural part of the sum of things. There
they lay, stable, rooted, trite, familiar; and the question almost
arose: "How came it that they were never there _before?_"--just that
object, of that form and colour, seemed so old and natural in that
particular spot. So the frogs hopped finally upon the log that God
sent them for sovereign.
Meantime, the more thoughtful of men did not fail to observe, and
never forgot, that no ship could possibly depart from, or arrive at
Europe, without passing within range of some one of the islands'
guns. A row of eight lay an irregular crescent (its convexity facing
Europe) from just outside the Straits of Gibraltar, where O'Hara
admiraled the _Mahomet_, to the 55th of latitude, where the _Goethe_
lay on the Quebec-Glasgow _route_: these commanding the European
trade with the States and with S. America, as well as with W. and S.
Africa, and with Australia by Cape Horn; another in the narrows of
the Gulf of Aden, commanding the world's traffic by Suez with the
East and with S. Africa; another in the middle of the narrows of the
Kattegat, commanding all Baltic trade; another, fifteen miles from
San Francisco, and another a hundred and fifty miles from Nagasaki,
on the edge of the Black Stream, commanding the Japanese-San
Francisco, the Australian-San Francisco trades, and great part of
the Japano-Russo-Chinese. These were the principal trades of the
Like the despair of Samson awaking manacled and shaven, an
occasional shriek would go up from some lone thinker, who perceived
that the kingdoms of the world had lapsed into a single hand; and in
the privy cabinet the governors drank to the dregs the cup of
trembling. But their speech was bold, the matter hung long, the
peoples ignored and wrought: there was seed-time and harvest; the
newsboy brawled; the long street roared. Far yonder in the darkness
and distance of the deep the islands flashed and danced, and were
Richard Hogarth held back his hand.
It was the habit of Hogarth, when in the _Boodah_, to rise very
early and ascend in flannels to one of the four doors opening upon
the ledge--blocks five feet thick, moved by hydraulic motors--and
sometimes Loveday would accompany these walks, they always seeing on
the plane of the sea some sail, or by a spyglass the fading light-
beam of the _Goethe_ north, of the _Solon_ south; or they watched
how the _Boodah's_ galaxy, too, waxed faint and garish as some drama
of colour evolved in the East; saw gulls hover and swing, fins
wander: and marking that simple ampleness of the plan of sea and
arch of heaven, their hearts felt enlargement.
One morning, the 3rd October, Loveday was up even before Hogarth,
having started awake from a gory nightmare, this altogether not
being a day like others: and when the two friends met on the ledge,
they walked a long time in silence.
Only after the dayspring began definitely to dabble in its chromatic
chemistries Loveday at last remarked: "Did you ever think why I took
such pains to get you to come down with me to Lord Woolacot's last
autumn two years?"
"Yes", answered Hogarth: "you wanted me to see the model farms, and
how the young ladies fed the poor, and how the tenants loved their
lord, and everyone thought himself happy. Only, I didn't see what
the pastimes of Lord Woolacot's daughters have to do with the
process of the suns, and with the woe of Oldham. Ah, Lord, it is a
job, I tell you, pulling this vile thing straight! Of course, the
eagle doesn't blink: but I am only one man, and the world, and its
stupid sins, are a tidy burden. Ha!--never mind. Look at that big
_Boodah_ of a sun how he blooms: isn't he launched and handled all
right? Let us of this desert bend the knee to him like the old
Sabæans. There is hope"....
It was known that on that day, at half-past eleven A.M., the _Kaiser
Wilhelm der Grösste_ would pass on her second voyage within some
miles of the _Boodah_, this ship being the greatest afloat, having a
cargo-carrying deadweight of 45,000 tons, and travelling the waters
like a railway-train at 37 miles (32 knots).
So toward noon Hogarth, in a peaked cap, jacket, and white boots,
was again on the roof, a glass and book of Costonlights in his hand,
while not far off a knot of five officers in frockcoats talked, and
near one light-house, where a number of men stood, a flagstaff flew
the ensign--blue letters "R. F." on a white ground, looking Russian;
on the northern horizon two fox-tails of smoke; on the western three
diminutive sails; between the two, quite real and big, a brig
becalmed; and now the _Kaiser Wilhelm_: for that yonder could be
only she, with so fervent a growth, from the first moment of her
upward climb, did she approach. It was twenty minutes to noon, and
she was somehow a little late, that punctual strong wrestler with
The officers on the _Boodah_ spoke of her in low and stealthy
voices; looked at her with queer and stealthy glances.
"'As a bird to the snare...'" muttered one.
"She comes all right, but will never go", said another.
"She will be always near us", said a third.
"Life is an earnest thing, after all", said a fourth: "there are
wrongs, it seems, which only blood can wash out: it comes to that at
Now Loveday ran up, looking scared and busy, a quill behind his ear,
Hogarth now having the glass at his face, while his eyes struggled
with the reek from his cigar-end.
"Is that she?" Loveday asked him.
"Yes, poor boat".
She was nine miles away; in four minutes she was less than seven,
and now distinct:--her three staysails; her four funnels; the
stretched-out space between her raked masts; her host of cowls and
boats; her high victorious hull, silently running.
And all along her lines were lines of faces thick as dahlia-rows in
June--globe-trotters; captains of industry; children; the Wall
Street operator who plotted a stroke in Black-Sea wool, and to him
time was money--I guess; commercial travellers, all-modern,
spinning, prone, to whom the sea was an insignificant and conquered
thing; engineers; capped enthusiastic Germans, going forth to
conquer; publishers, ladies, lords, all the nondescript prosperous:
and all ran there blithe, sublime, and long drawn-out; and they
toyed with oranges, nuts; and they looked abroad to see the
_Boodah_--ship's-surgeons and officers with them--jesting, as they
munched or sucked.
But the Captain who had often seen the _Boodah_, was log-writing in
As her ensign of greeting ran up her main, her clocks struck twelve,
the full noon--like an omen--come; she not then three miles from the
And simultaneously with the hoisting of that ensign, and the
striking of those clocks, the old-worn wheels of Roman Civilization
The _Boodah_ ran up the signal: "_Stop!_"
Those who understood rubbed their eyes: it was like a vision at high
noon; they could not believe.
At that news the Captain, a handsome fair-bearded man, rushed like a
madman from pilot-house to bridge, and the startled passengers saw
his lighted eyes. He had some moments of indecision; then down he,
too, rang that word: "_Stop_".
The engines left off; the _Kaiser's_ speed, as from heart-failure,
gave in, died away.
By this time all the passengers knew, in a state of tremor saw
confused runnings to and fro, and face caught from face dismay; the
voyage was spoiled, the record! What, then, had happened to the
world? And now again the _Boodah_ is signalling: "_Let the Captain
The Captain's hands were shaking; he could not speak, could only
gasp to the first-officer: "By God, no; O, by God, no". Then, as
great quantities of black-grey reek, wheeling all convolved, were
now enveloping the vessel, resting on the sea, reaching away in
thinner fog even to the _Boodah_, and as, the day being calm, there
was a difficulty in reading the flags, the Captain gasped: "Take the
trumpet--ask them--But don't they pay for this...?"
So out brayed the trumpeted query, and back the inexorable trumpeted
answer: "_Let the Captain come_".
So, then, the _Kaiser_ would never reach Sandy Hook? To put out
boats!--to parley!--while the earth span with quick-panting throbs,
every second worth seven thousand pounds!
"But don't they _pay_ for it...?" so, with a painful face of care,
the Captain questioned space.
But he would be mild and patient as a lamb that day! His order went
forth: the ship forged ahead; a longboat, hurriedly lowered to
starboard, was manned for the first-officer to put off in her, while
every heart of the passengers thumped, every face an ecstasy of
Then a wretched, long interval...
The ship's-officers were received on the _Boodah_ in a deck-room
containing a number of boats with castored keels, capable of being
quickly launched down an incline, where Mr. F. Quilter-Beckett, the
Admiral, with some lieutenants, awaited them at a bureau on which
lay documents, while in the background stood Hogarth and Loveday,
and, "Gentlemen, this is a most damned wild piece of madness!" broke
out wrathfully the first-officer, as he dashed up wild-eyed to the
level: "in consideration of the guns you have in this thing--"
"But your Captain?" asked Quilter-Beckett, a courtly man, with a
dark-curling beard, a star on his breast.
"The Captain won't come!" whined the officer in perfect English: "I
suppose you realize the terrible consequences of this stoppage,
"But you are wasting time, sir. You represent your Captain?"
"Of course, I represent--!"
"Then just cast your eye over this"--that so slighted letter, sent
years before by Hogarth to Foreign Offices, claiming the sea as his
The officer read it half through with flurried closeness; then,
"Well, but what is all this?" he broke out: "is it a piece of
comedy, or what, gentlemen?"
"It is serious; and the last clause comes into operation to-day:
only such ships being held authorized to pass on the sea as pay to
the first-reached sea-fort on any voyage a tax, or sea-rent, of 4s.
per ton on their registered tonnage, with an additional stamp-tax of
33s. 4d. for receipt, and a stamp-tax of £1 16s. 8d. for clearance.
You will see at a glance the clauses of the law, if you cast your
eyes over this schedule--"
"Law!" the other broke in: "you talk of _Law_! But doesn't the sea,
then, belong by right to all men--?"
"Not more than the land. Ask yourself: why should it? But I do hope
you won't argue: your time must be so precious".
Out shrilled the _Kaiser Wilhelm's_ whistle of recall.
"I must go!" said the officer with a worried hand-toss: "I must go.
If you give me those documents, I will show them to the Captain--but
he is not the sort of man--this is mere piracy, after all! But, good
God, gentlemen, if you only dare touch that ship, I shouldn't put
myself in your place this day week for all--"
He snatched the papers, dashed, and his men, in a passion of haste,
lay to the oars, the _Kaiser_ only four hundred yards from the
_Boodah_; and the officer, shaking aloft the documents, pitched up
the stair, the centre of five hundred pairs of scared eyes, while
the captain bored his way to him.
Two minutes of intense low speech, crowded with gestures: and
suddenly the Captain's face, till now haggard, reddened; out went
his shaken fist; with eyes blazing like lunacy, up he flew to the
bridge; and now he is bending down with howling throat: "Passengers
to their berths!"
Simultaneously, above the engine-room stair a bell jangled; round
swung the pointer to "_Full Ahead_"; and ere the decks were cleared
of their bustle the _Kaiser_, like a back-kicking hen, scratched up
under her poop a spreading pool of spume, which tossed spasmodic
spray-showers and spoutings: and she stirred, stretched like a
street, churned the sea, and, wheeling to reveal her receding stern,
By which time Hogarth was standing at a cubical cabin of steel on
the roof, with him Loveday and Quilter-Beckett, his brow puckered
with wrinkles, the sun troubling his eyes.
"I suppose the _chef_ is warned?"--he threw away his cigar.
"Oh, yes, my Lord King", Quilter-Beckett answered.
And Loveday: "She sweats like a thoroughbred"--haggard, but assuming
calm: "few things could be more profusely expeditious".
"Ah, make phrases, John," murmured Hogarth...."Well, but hadn't you
better be getting out the boats?"
Upon which Quilter-Beckett stepped into the little erection, touched
a button, and in a minute the water round the southern side was
swarming with twenty-three boats whose blue-jackets began to row
toward the _Kaiser_.
And presently, "It's no use waiting", said Hogarth, looking in upon
Quilter-Beckett: "I should mine and shell her at the same moment, if
I were you; tell them to get it in well amidships".
Now a few seconds, full of expectation, passed, the _Kaiser Wilhelm_
already two miles away: till suddenly space opened its throat in a
gulf to bay gruff and hollow like hell-gate dogs; and, almost at the
same moment, close by the _Kaiser_ a column of water hopped with one
humph of venom two hundred feet on high: when this dropped back
broad-showering with it came showering a rain of wreckage; and
instantly a shriek of lamentation floated over the sea, mixed with
another shriek of steam.
For the moment the ship, enveloped in vapours, could not be seen;
but in two minutes glimpses of her hull appeared, shewing the bluff
bulge of her starboard bottom: for she leaned steeply to port with a
forward crank, her two starboard screws, now free, spinning asleep
like humming-tops. A six-inch shell, beautifully aimed, had
shattered her engines, killing two stokers, and a torpedo-mine had
knocked a hole nine feet across in her port beam.
But as the _Boodah's_ boats, meanwhile, had been racing toward her,
and as her own port boats were quickly out, all were got off; in
fact, she floated so long, that her ship's papers with £270,000 in
specie, and a few hundred-weight of mailbags were saved, and even
after the boats reached the _Boodah_ she still stretched there
motionless, until, with a sudden flurry, she determined to plunge.
Soon afterwards Hogarth had the Captain in his suite, to tell him
that he did not wish any intelligence of the event to reach the
world for four days, during which passengers and crew would be his
guests, and then be sent on to America, his object, he said, being
to impress the loss of the _Kaiser_ upon the consciousness of all,
by making all anxious as to her fate.
So that night her passengers danced till late, for there was no
resisting the hospitality of Hogarth, or the witchery of those
vistas and arcades, grand hall and lost grot, _salons_ and
conservatories, there in the dark of the ocean, or such an
enchantment of music, and fabulousness of table; the host, too,
pleaded prettily for himself; and now they pardoned, and now they
pouted, but always they banqueted, kissed, lost themselves in
visions, were charmed, and danced.
THE CUP OF TREMBLING
It was by the merest chance that Baruch Frankl and his daughter were
not on the _Kaiser_: for Frankl was the half-nephew of Mrs. Charles
P. Stickney, a New York Jewess, and as the marriage of Miss Stickney
with Lord Alfred Cowern was only fifteen days off, Frankl had made
arrangements to accompany the bridegroom across, but had been
detained by stress of business; happily for him--for Lord Alfred,
the bridegroom, was a dancing prisoner in the _Boodah_.
Early, then, on the third morning thence, Charles P. Stickney, the
bride's father, a natty little Yankee, hurried a-foot to the
Maritime Exchange: for, to his infinite surprise, the _Kaiser's_
arrival had not been in the morning's paper: so the little arch-
millionaire stepped toward Beaver Street, sure that the _Kaiser_ had
come in too late for the press.
Early as it was, he found the place as thickly a-buzz as though it
was that feverish hour between eleven and twelve.
He pushed his way to the bulletin-board, inscribed with the hours at
which ships are sighted and entered into dock: the Kaiser was not
there: and with prone outlook he went seeking an assistant
superintendent; but, sighting a fellow-operator, come, as usual, to
digest the world, from barometer-reports to coffee-quotations at
Rio, Charles P. Stickney cried to him: "Funny about the _Kaiser_!
"It's the darndest thing..." mumbled the other, still star-gazing at
a blackboard prices-current of American staples: "raise Hell this
day, I guess"....
And on through the rooms Stickney shouldered: all in the air here an
odour of the sea, and of them that go down to it in ships; pilot,
captain, supercargo, purser; abstracts from logs, copies of
manifests and clearances, marks and numbers of merchandise, with
quantities, shippers, consignees; here peaked caps, and the jaw that
chewed once, and paused long, and, lo, it moved anew; Black Books,
massive volumes enshrining ancient wrecks; vast newspaper-files in
every tongue; records of changes in lightships, lights, buoys, and
beacons, from Shanghai to Cape Horn; reports, charts, atlases,
globes; the progress of the rebellion in Shantung, and the
earthquake last night in Quito; directories, and high-curved
reference-books, and storm-maps; every minute the arrival of cipher
cablegrams, breathless with the day's Amsterdam exchange on London,
or with the quantities of tea _in transitu_ via Suez or Pacific
Railway; and the drift of ocean-currents, and the latest position of
the _Jane Richardson_, derelict, and the arrival of the _Ladybird_
at Bahia; and the probabilities of wind-circulation, atmospheric
moisture, aberrations of audibility in fog; and in the middle of it
the pulse of the sun, the thundering engines and shooting shuttles
of this Loom; a tiptop briskness and bustle of action; a scramble of
wits; a _mêlée_ to the death; mixed with pea-jackets, and aromas of
chewed pigtail, and a rolling in the gait.
Into this roar of life that word _Kaiser_ stole: and it grew to a
Charles P. Stickney, butting upon a tearing clerk who was holding
aloft a bulletin of icebergs and derelicts, tried to stop him: upon
which the clerk, who would not be stopped, cried with a back-looking
face of passionate haste: "London message just received--_no
intelligence of Kaiser_--"
But he had hardly disappeared, when another man from an inner room
rushed, waving something: the Navesink Highlands lookout had wired
the _Kaiser_ in sight! And while the Exchange rang with cheers,
Stickney, a colour now in his sere cheeks, went boring his way
The lookout had said it--those blue eyes that never failed there on
his watch-tower, he knowing the ships that sail the sea as the
Cyclops his sheep, in his heart so knowing them all, that as that
sea-glass detected a speck on the horizon, those sea-wise nostrils
sniffed its name: for between the _Mary Jane_ and the _Mary Anne_,
both off-shore schooners, is all the world of difference: if you
would not see it, _he_ knows. And he had wired the _Kaiser!_--so
expectant his outlook: and that day wept like a ruined man.
Swift upon his first wire a second flashed: and one of those craped
days of the tragedies of commerce followed, the boding, the loss,
flashed everywhere, pervading Europe and America.
The next morning the Exchange, all the exchanges, the Lloyds', the
bourses, were crowded from an early hour, but subdued: no news, not
a word; but still--there was certainty: for had the _Kaiser_ and her
wireless been merely disabled, she would undoubtedly by now have
been reported: she had foundered.
_Foundered!_--in the serenest weather in which ship ever crossed the
But at eleven the truth came: for the brig which had lain becalmed
near the _Boodah_ at the moment of the tragedy, and now was nearer
England, had flashed the news: "many of the Kaiser's passengers
mutilated, many drowned".
Death, then, was in the pottage of Life; the air tainted with specks
That day Man, as it were, rent his garments, sitting in ashes, and
to Heaven sent up a howl of fear, of anguish, and of hissing hate.
Those who lacked the intelligence to feel the fear, felt the hate:
every girl, the shirt-maker, the shopman, feeling himself robbed of
his very own; the Duke in the centre of his oak-lands felt it; the
burglar, the junk-dweller of the Yangtse, the pariah of the Hugli.
Lamentation and a voice in Ramah, wail on wail. For God had given
the sea to man, and it had been seized by a devil.
God had also given the shore; and it, too, had been seized: but, as
that had been before their birth, they had not observed it--in such
a numb somnambulism shambles humanity.
But the theft of the sea was new and flagrant, it, and the air,
being all that had remained: and a roar for vengeance--sharp, and
rolled in blood--rose from the throat of man.
Accordingly, when Mr. C. P. Stickney during the afternoon wired for
information to the White House, he received the reply: "Encourage
calm on 'Change. Government in touch with Europe. Great naval
activity. Await good news, seven P.M."
It was about seven P.M. that what the White House would have
considered specially good news occurred: for the _Boodah_ then
telegraphed through to O'Hara's _Mahomet_ at the Straits:
"B. 7651. Begins. After to-morrow (Monday) you begin taxation, as
per Order B., 7315, of 2nd inst. But if warships desire to pass out,
(not in), permit, till further order. Richard. Ends".
Which meant that if any Power, or Powers, desired to concentrate
force upon the attack of any island, the Lord of the Sea granted
The _Kaiser_ passengers had now been sent off to New York, the
_Boodah's_ halls seemed the home of desolation; and, as the night
advanced, Hogarth and Loveday walked on the roof: for they could
find no rest, the sky without moon or star, the sea making of three
sides of the _Boodah_ a roaring reef, the wind blowing cold, they
two wrapped to the nose in oilskins with sou'-westers, lashed by
rages of rain and spray.
Yonder, to the north-west, appeared a ghost, a thing, a derelict
brig, driving downhill on the billows, like a blind man gadding
aimless with a crazy down-look, the rags of her one sail drumming on
the gusts; and near, nearer, within a stone's-throw of the _Boodah_,
she swaggered wearily, drab Arab, doomed despondent Ahasuerus of the
deep, nomad on the nomad sea; and on into the gloom of the south-
west she roamed, to be again and again re-created by the rolling
light-drum, while Hogarth with a groan said: "If I were only dead! I
feel to-night like a man abandoned by the Almighty".
Loveday muttered those words so loved by Hogarth:
"....this is my favoured lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high"....
And Hogarth: "Do you know what is burdening me tonight? It is the
curses which the world is at this moment hurling upon me: as when
one man, thinking evilly of another, sticks needles into wax, and
needles of pain pierce the other..." a sense of evil which was
deepened the next day by an ominous little accident, when one of his
old gunpractice hulks arrived from Bombay, bearing the throne: for
as this was being conveyed into the _Boodah_ a front leg was broken.
Meantime, the world's trade went on as before: only, night and day,
its ships lay-to, to pay rent with threat and curse: in all only
thirteen ships being sunk ere sea and earth had learned the new
And from the very first day of this taxing a deeper sense of pain
and hardship pervaded the world, the Lord of the Sea now taxing at
4s. per ton a world's tonnage of 29 millions, 7 1/2 millions in
sailing-ships, 21 1/2 millions in steamships, once in a voyage--a
little less than the revenue of Britain.
So one night he received message from O'Hara that "British
Mediterranean fleet has passed through the Straits, homeward".
It was not for nothing that the nations had allowed three weeks to
pass before avenging the Kaiser: soon enough the Cabinets had been
in intercommunication; but in the "Concert" had occurred--a hitch.
Britain had proposed the destruction of the islands in detail, the
Powers to contribute weights of metal proportionate to their
mercantile marines: as a basis for calculation she had offered her
force in Home and Mediterranean waters; and, this having been
accepted, by the 5th ships were under the pennant, and outfitting.
Now, all this time, things had been in a pretty whirl: oratory from
pulpit, platform, stump, eyes on fire, mobs that went in haste,
shrieks of newspaper passion, organized burglary, and a strange
epidemic of fires: for the modern nations lived by the sea, and it
was seized. Moreover, on the 6th, after a meeting at the Albert
Hall, organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce, our
Government--"Liberal", under Sir Moses Cohen--suffered a defeat of
thirty-four votes on a division.
And it was during the turmoil that ensued upon this that the German
Foreign Office (on the 9th) sent to the new Russian the wireless
"_Bion_"-meaning--"Let us meet to discuss the subject of-England".
That meeting took place at Konigsberg.
It was now that a fort-man--formerly a Nottingham shoemaker--landed
from the Truth's yacht at Frederikshavn, and thence wrote to the
Daily Chronicle, to say, briefly, this: That, supposing the European
navies joined to batter away with l5-inch guns and torpedoes at five
feet of steel, they might finally succeed in mining a hole in it;
but if the thick steel happened to have still bigger guns, "_and
other things_", with which, meantime, to batter back at the thin
ships, then it would be the ships, probably, which would get holes
in them: it was a question of Time. Also he said that the islands
were defended by devoted men, every one of intelligence and high
principle, who knew what they wanted, and meant to have it--their
shooting average being 97 per 100. He advised his country not to try
it, especially in view of certain political rumours which he had
picked up in the Cattegat.
This letter, although badly spelled, aroused a sensation The "high
principle" of the fort-men, indeed, met with bitter laughter; but
its hearty patriotism, simplicity, technical knowledge, were so
remarkable, that now a doubt as to the battleship arose--and with it
a gnashing of teeth. The service-clubs, the "experts", wrote this
and that; the publics poured forth letters, schemes, plots,
inventions--like the brain of the world _versus_ the brain of
Hogarth. "_Starve Him Out_", was a title in the _Contemporary:_ but
the reply was bitterly obvious. And into the midst of this racket
burst the news that the negotiations with Germany, Russia and France
were at a deadlock.
These Powers had raised this question: "In case of the capture of
the islands--what shall be done with those most powerful engines?"
Here was a riddle. For whichever nation took even one would score a
If, now, Britain had had the greatness of mind to declare for the
sinking, in any case, of all the islands, the difficulty was solved,
but the new-Government brooms would score a point and gain a trick,
and they proposed the division of surviving forts in the proportion
of fighting-power contributed.
The Continent objected: Britain was "_firm_"; whereupon the French
Ambassador sent to Downing Street his withdrawal from the crusade.
And so when--on the 22nd--the fleets assembled at Portland and
Milford Haven before _rendezvous_ at the Lizard, the whole original
proposal had fallen through: for here was neither tricolour nor
saltire, only three German ships, only five Italian; the
"probability", moreover, of the capture of a sea-fort by England was
imminent: and on the evening of the mobilisation of the squadrons
feverish activity was reported from Toulon; a British Legation
_attaché,_, seeing fit to stroll round the Caserne Pepinière, beheld
in the yard an extraordinary crowd of limbers: and, pitching into a
cab, from the nearest _postes et télégraphes_ wired to London the
Too late: the British fleets were gone, leaving the Channel and
Western Mediterranean desert.
Now the nation awoke to a consciousness of dark skies: cloud of the
west rushing to meet a yet lurider eastern--with probability of
The fleet could hardly return in less than five days--if it
returned! Would the hostile nations be good enough to await its
return? The lightning would be "near".
A day of fear, in which flash tracked flash: till at 11.30 P.M. the
rumour pervaded the crowd round St. Stephen's that the new Ministry
had suffered defeat: and the drifting ship was captainless.
And early the next morning a number of _Boodah_ boats, out running a
regatta, came tearing back, all fluttered; soon after which Quilter-
Beckett was hurrying into Hogarth's presence, who was at coffee, to
say: "Well, my Lord King, here they come at last--and enough of
them, I think".
THE "BOODAH" AND THE BATTLESHIPS
The ships had gone forth in two lines ahead at ten knots, Admiral
Sir Henry Yerburgh, K.C.B., being in the flagship Queen Mary, with
the capital-ships being nearly all of the five mosquito flotillas,
and half the Home submarine; though what was the object of the
torpedo craft (unless they were to go within 2,000 yards of the
_Boodah's_ guns) was not very evident.
At that news, Hogarth, putting on a wide-awake, and lighting a cigar
with rough perfunctory puffs, ran along a corridor to call Loveday,
whereupon the two went out to the ledge and up to the roof.
There, at the south edge, stood a marine trumpeting something at
Hogarth's yacht; and, just landing at the _Boodah_ from his gig, a
fretful Yankee skipper, register in hand with a bag of £900 sea-rent
in gold, while twenty yards yonder rode his smoking ship loaded with
grain for Rouen; and on the eastern horizon the armada, in crescent
at present, moving with fires banked at two knots, a glare hiding
them from the naked eye, but the glass revealing them like toys in
the abstract, ethereally hazy.
And now the yacht's cones shewed steam, three of her boats making
toward the _Boodah_; soon at the landing-place stood Wanda, some
interpreters, Mons. Roche (the chef), women, engineers, paymasters,
civil servants, waiters, etc.; and Hogarth, seeing them, approached,
questioned them, and, hearing that they had been ordered a day's
pleasure-trip round the _Solon_, with lifting hat shook hands all
By this time some fifty officers and blue-jackets were about the
roof and ledge, some discussing, others unfixing lanterns and
festoons, with shouted directions. Leaving which, Hogarth and
Loveday descended to an office of Loveday's, and Hogarth was just
saying: "Quilter-Beckett could destroy a quarter of those warships
yonder--_now_, if he chose--without firing a gun--" when in, with
flushed face and stretched stalk, hurried Quilter-Beckett, crying:
"My Lord King, I thought you would be here--just look--!"
He held out a Sea telegraph-form-from O'Hara:
"F. 39241. Begins. Almost certainty of war: Germany, France, Russia
against England. Three corps massing between Harfleur and Rouen, two
upon Petersburg, transports at Havre. England undefended on sea.
Ministry fallen. Toulon outfitting. Donald, Admiral. Ends.
Hogarth, with an all-gone gesture, handed the telegram to Loveday.
But with lightning energy he was at a desk, scribbling:
"F. 39242. Begins. To Donald, Admiral, Mahomet. Be in half-hourly
communication with Beech's Bank, Paris and Petersburg branches. Send
hourly bulletins of news. War to be averted by every means. Let
Beech threaten. Warn Cattegat. Richard. Ends."
And "Quick, Quilter-Beckett", he cried, "send that! What is the
speed of your quickest picket--?"
"Then, go yourself to the British Admiral. _Make_ him fly back: he
has years to attack me in, tell him--I'll write a dispatch--"
On which Quilter-Beckett telephoned up for a picket, took the
dispatch, and was soon away, while Hogarth watched his flight over
An anxious hour passed, and by then a line of ships had been sighted
to the west--the Americans at last; ten minutes later, the picket,
too, was seen returning.
"Well, now", said Hogarth, watching her, "I wonder. The ships seem
to be coming on just the same. You have no idea, John, how the mind
of people in office becomes fixed, like hardened putty in a hole: I
am sorry now I didn't go myself".
Some minutes more and Quilter-Beckett was pelting up the steps, his
face pink as prickly-heat, blurting out: "My Lord King! I have been
"Ha!" went Hogarth.
"I met a dispatch-boat coming to make summons of surrender, and, in
spite of my white flag, they took me prisoner! How I restrained
myself--and these people in the hollow of my hand! When I got at
last to the Admiral--it is Yerburgh on the _Queen Mary_--he
'pirated' me--but I have no time Yonder, you see, are the Americans.
British won't go back: I doubt if they believe--'under orders', and
so on. By the way, you shouldn't stay there--no longer safe--"
He was away: for the moment was near, the _Boodah_ now surrounded
with a series of floating squares hanging deep torpedo-nets against
submarines, on both horizons effusions of smoke, the ships no more
visions, but middle-sized sea-things, seeming fixed in the thick of
the sea, though steaming quickly. Hogarth watched them through a
hand-glass, while Loveday, ghastly pallid, whispered: "Come,
Richard, come", but still lingered a little, seeing them grow up--
like the infant, the lad, the hairy man--toiling at the bigness of
the sea, looking stripped, prepared for tempest They were six miles
Mute lay the _Boodah_; and, surrounding her, perniciously moved the
ships at forty-eight revolutions a minute, hardly a cable's interval
between the host of them, they seeming no more the playthings of the
sea, but its masters, each a travelling throne of power; and as they
pared so taciturn, with baleful aspect they trained their cannon
upon the sea-fort in their midst: not a soul visible on fort or
A long while it seems to last, that noonday stillness, a noonday
breezy and oceanic, the sea sharp-edged, hard-looking, dark-blue,
tossing spray along its ridges, not rough, but restless, shewing
against the ships white foams a moment, which silently glide away.
But their Admiral is signalling: _Let her have it!_ and in some
moments more yonder to the far north the _Florida_ breaks into
quick-flashing ecstasy, like quick-winking Gorgon glances; and the
north-east catches it in a single boom; and in ten seconds more it
is as if Nature, with sudden yell, feels to her womb the birth-hour
come and rueful throes: and where ships had been appears in one
minute nothing but a ring of stagnant smoke, tugged into rays and
out-sticking clouds, flushed with glares and rouges.
And no question of missing: the _Boodah_ stationary and huge; every
shell told. But, the deluge over, that thunder-marred visage again
looked grimly forth, a face new-risen from smallpox, an apparition,
roof-houses gone, lighthouse tops, one of her great 19.5 inchers in
fragments, in her casemates seventeen dead.
But where now is the one-masted _Hercules_, which but a moment since
went trembling at the bale of her own bellowing barbettes? The
_Hercules_ is in a Nessus-shirt of flame. And whither the _Hercules_
is going, thither is the _Idaho_ going, and the _Dante_ gone, and
gone the elongated length of the _Invincible_, and twenty
destroyers, and the bow-works of the old _Powerful_, which stoops
woefully there, screws in air, as the camel of the desert kneels and
waits, while into her beam comes crashing the ram of the poopless
Yet the _Boodah_ has not fired a gun!
But now she fires: as the broadsides drench her anew, she fires, the
hulk--all round the horizon--lowing in travail: and as there is no
question of missing on the one side, so on the other is assurance,
the _Boodah's_ broad-sides of 19.5-inchers and 9.5-inchers, ninety-
two in all, being fired by the hand of Quilter-Beckett, who sits at
a table grim with knobs, buttons, dial-faces, in a cabinet near a
saloon where Hogarth, Loveday, and five lieutenants are lunching;
and where he sits he can hear the band in an alcove rendering for
the eaters Beethoven's Ninth Symphony: hear, not heed: for two
gunners in each casemate have sighted a ship through pivoted
glasses, whose fixing, disturbing an electrical circuit, prints the
ship's distance on an indicator before the Admiral: whereupon he
touches a button--many buttons--in intense succession: the _Boodah
bawls_: and the thrust-back of her resentment becomes intolerable,
the ships just like fawns under the paws of an old lion whose grisly
jaws drip gore; the sharks that infest her will fare well of her
Of forty-three ships fixed, thirty-nine are hit, eleven founder:
wreckage so vast and swift, that the Admiral, still afloat in a
_Queen Mary_ pierced above-belt, is like a man stung by the
tarantulas of distraction: tries to signal flight--flags cannot be
seen; fires coloured pistol-lights: "Retire!"--and soon, all round,
the circle is in flight.
But hapless flight: the _Boodah_ is an octopus whose feelers reach
far, and they, within her toils, cannot escape her omnipresence. She
sends after them no guns: yet they are blown to atoms; the sea
becomes a death-trap thick with pitfalls and shipwreck; one by one
they are caught, they fly aloft like startled fowl, or they succumb,
and lean, and stoop, and sink: the sea, for mile on mile, proving a
hell of torpedoes-dirigible, automobile, mine.
For in the matter of mines the _Boodah_ had all the advantages of a
shore, and as to dirigible torpedoes more than all.
Her mines, whose weight was adjusted to the specific gravity of salt
water, sank till the pressure at ten fathoms arrested them, they,
electrically connected with the forts, reaching out twenty miles;
and the whole network, charted to an inch, was coordinated with the
The ordinary l8-inch Whiteheads, moreover, were replaced by a longer
design running 6,000 yards, the added length being occupied by the
flask, whose compressed air runs the engine, they not sinking on
finishing their course: so, if they missed, there they lay, a trap
of 380 pounds of gun-cotton in the course of the numerous moving
With these three forms of the same plague the _Boodah_ hunted the
fleeing ships, and drove them stumbling through complicated
miseries, amazed and thunderstruck: so that seventy-three only,
several of them half-wrecks, reached her twenty-five mile limit;
and, there, over the mines of the _Solon_, reassembled.
Amid the throng on his ruined roof Hogarth watched their flight and
the ever-coming boatloads of blue-jackets through a mist of smoke
and the after-smell of war, while under the sea wide eyes in hosts
were a-gaze at a windfall of 2,400 bodies.
About half-past four captains and commanders of the survivors were
in the ward-room of the Second-in-Command on the _Orion_--the _Queen
Mary_ gone--when he, with splendid infatuation, proposed a return to
the attack, with a change of tactics to concentration upon one side
only of the _Boodah_; but the foreigners pointed out the obvious
added dangers; and in the midst of a wrangle a dispatch-boat from
the _Solon_, eleven miles south, arrived, demanding the usual sea-
rent, by draft, if not in gold; so out, at this unlooked-for
incident, broke a new quarrel, the British for a whole hour
resisting the inexorable; till the _Solon_ Lieutenant, his eyes
moist with pleading, explained their helplessness, adding that war
between the four Powers had been declared that day at noon from the
Stock Exchange steps: and only then the Vice-Admiral, breaking into
tears, yielded to destiny.
Hogarth, meanwhile, was like a wild man, imprisoned, till his yacht
returned at dusk with her excursionists; and without delay he was on
her, and away for England.
In England, meantime, was nothing but dismay.
The Government, whose defeat was accidental, on being hurriedly
patched up, threw itself passionately into the work of defence,
calling up every enrolled man, while at regimental centres the
enlistment of volunteers went forward, Weedon alone turning out
7,000 rifles a day.
But on the night of the Declaration the Under-secretary announced in
the House that the Russians were moving down the Baltic, the French
toward the Straits: and the next morning dawned with the dreariness
of last mornings and days. However, soon after 1 P.M., the Lord of
the Sea landed at Bristol, his yacht being one of the swiftest
things afloat; there heard the known facts; and thence wired to
Beech's London house, to the London Foreign Office, to Cadiz and to
Frederikshavn, where he had wireless for the _Mahomet_ at the
Straits, and for the _Truth_ in the Cattegat.
His wire to the Foreign Office was as follows:
"I have come to England hoping to avert European war by fiscal
means, not knowing that the passage of ships into open water was of
first importance. Since this is so, accept my assurance, there will
be no war, except on the part of Britain, which I should much
resent. British Government, I suggest, should forthwith allay
But the Foreign Office did not publish this telegram, not knowing
what to make of it--unless Hogarth were vehemently the friend of
England, while every British being regarded him not so much as the
enemy of man, as the special Anti-Christ of England. And how came he
to be in England, when he should be at the bottom of the Atlantic?
The telegram was passed through the agitated departments, but kept
So the afternoon passed without news: and tension grew to agony.
Hogarth spent the evening in his Berkeley Square house with the
Manager of Beech's, examining office-books and specimens of some new
Sea-coins, till near eleven, when, being alone, he put on a
mackintosh, shaded his face well with hat and collar-flap, and went
out into the drizzling night.
Even his Berkeley Square was peopled, and, as he strolled toward
Pall Mall, he found it ever harder to advance, till he became
jammed. Never had he seen such a crowd, all in the air a sound,
vague and general, which was like a steam of thought-made-audible;
till presently, while trying in vain to get away, he was startled by
a tumult that travelled, a rumour of woe that noised and swelled,
terrifying, the voice of the people, the voice of God: and though he
did not know its meaning, it keenly afflicted him.
The fastest of the survivors from the battle with the _Boodah_ had
wirelessed: on that commonplace bulletin at the War Office the news
But the rumour of that despair had not yet attained its culmination,
when another rumour roared after and over it, roar upon roar, like
tempest poured through the multitudinous forest, joyance now
overtaking sorrow, and a noise of roistering overwhelming
lamentation. And all at once a great magnetic hysteria seized them
all, and the many became as one, and the bursting bosom burst: men
weeping like infants, laughing foolishly, grasping each other's
hand, and one cried "Hurrah!", and another, catching it, cried
For the French, German, and Russian fleets, in attempting to pass
the two narrows north and south of Europe, had been stopped by the
two sea-forts there; and though they had been so eager to pass, that
they had even offered to pay sea-rent, this, too, had been refused.
They had then, at five and at five-thirty in the afternoon, offered
battle to the islands: with the result that half their weight had
been annihilated before they took to flight. So said the
And Hogarth in the midst of the jubilee saw the man who jammed his
left shoulder, a broker in spectacles, grip the hand of the man on
his right, a ragamuffin, to cry out: "That scoundrel Hogarth! Isn't
there good in the damned thief, after all?"
And the other: "Aye, he knows how to give it 'em 'ot, don't 'e,
after all! Thank God for that!"
Three weeks later peace was proclaimed by a procession at Temple Bar
between England, Austro-Germany, France, Russia, and the Sea.
The last effort of Europe to resist the Sea was made on the
afternoon of the 14th of October, when the British Prime Minister
refused to conclude a treaty of peace.
"Your master is only a pirate--on a large scale", he said to a
Minister of the Sea.
That was on the 14th.
On the 15th there was a stoppage of British trade nearly all the
On the 20th England was in a state of _émeute_ resembling
On the 28th the Treaty of Peace was signed.
Its principal conditions were: (1) The undertaking by the Sea not to
raise sea-rent on British ships without certain formalities of
notice; and (2) The undertaking by Britain not to engage in the
making of any railway or overland trade-route, or of any marine
engine of war, without the consent of the Sea. And similar treaties
were signed by the Sea with the other nations.
Then followed the rush of the Ambassadors to the _Boodah_, and the
frivolous round of Court-life revolved, _levée_, audience, dinner,
drawing-room, investiture; the Lord of the Sea descended from the
throne before the Court to pin a cross upon the humble breast of his
best shot and give him the title of Præceps, gave fanciful honours
to emperors, received them of them--wore when throned a brow-band of
gold with only one stone, the biggest of the meteor octahedrons,
that glanced about his brow like an icicle in whose glass
gallivanted a fairy clad in rags of the rainbow.
Now the old gaieties recommenced, but more Olympian in tone, as
befitted the ruler of rulers, terrible now being the lifting of
Hogarth's brows at the least lapse in ritual; and only the chastest-
nurtured of the earth ever now stalked through gavotte or pavane in
those halls of the sea.
The world now lay at his feet. The dependence upon him of England,
of France, of that part of Austro-Germany called Germany, was
obvious: he could starve them. But over Austria proper, Russia,
Italy, his sway was no less omnipotent: for the panic cheapness of
scrip which followed the destruction of the _Kaiser_ had, of course,
been foreseen, and used by him; Beech had bought up, easily ousting
the Rothschilds from their old financial kingship: by tens of
millions the process had gone on; and still it continued
increasingly, for the wealth of Hogarth now, as compared with that
of other rich men, was like a ship to a skiff. If he threw upon the
market, the bankruptcy of several nations might follow: it was
doubtful if the United States could survive; certainly, Austria,
Russia, South America must go under.
Nor was the East less his slave: Japan a mercantile nation, China
and Turkey in his fiscal net. So, looking round the globe toward the
middle of November, he could observe scarcely a nation which he
could not, by scribbling a telegram, crush out of recognition.
It was precisely then that Richard Hogarth revealed himself.
On the 15th of November appeared his Manifesto.
This Charter, which everlastingly must remain one of the Scriptures
of our planet, simple as a baby's syllables, yet large like the arch
of Heaven, has left its mark on the human soul.
On the morning of the 16th its twenty clauses occupied in _pica_ a
page of every newspaper, and it was posted up big in the streets of
The document ran:
Richard, by the Will of God....I do hereby discern, declare, and
lay down: That:
1. What is no good cannot be owned: only goods can be owned.
2. "_Good_" is _well_, or pleasant; goods is _well_th (wealth) or
pleasures: thus, a coal-mine, being no pleasure, cannot be owned.
3. Coal _becomes_ goods after being moved, or taken. Moving does not
make it good; its nature does not make it good: moving-_plus_-Nature
makes it good, ownable. At the pit-head, already, it is a pleasure,
fewer pains being now needed to move it to a fireplace. Thus, Nature
apart from motion cannot be owned, being no good, as a cave is no
good to a caveman outside it: rain is wetting him; if he takes it,
moves in, it is good.
Animals and plants, by taking things from the planets presented to
them, by moving things, raise Nature into wealth, and own things.
4. For Jack to _own_, have a thing for Jack's _own_, Jack must by
his _own_ force have subdued Nature, must have taken the thing by
moving the thing's atoms, or moving something relatively to the
thing, or, negatively, by not evading, but accepting, the thing in
motion--a wind, tide, light-wave; else Jack must have taken
something (by as much work) to purchase the thing from its (true)
owner, or accepted it as a favour from Nature in motion, or from its
(true) owner. To say "own" is to say "take"; to say "take" is to say
"motion", i.e., the doing of work: "work done" being FD, i.e., Force
used into Distance moved-over. I cannot own the air: it is no good;
I own the air in my lungs, having taken, moved, it, done FD on it:
it is very good; and I own the air which, doing FD, moving to my
face, I do not evade, but accept, take: it is very good.
I say to Jack "take a cigar"; he loudly says "yes!", but does not
move it to his mouth, nor moves his mouth to it; instead, he moves a
pen to his mouth; this makes me laugh: he has not taken a cigar.
Jack is catching fish in a boat; Tom owns the boat: so Jack gives
fish to Tom, until Jack's FD done on the fish is equivalent to Tom's
FD done on the boat; and now Jack owns the boat. If "the law" says
that Tom still owns the boat, this makes me laugh: for how can Tom
come to own two boats' good by the FD done on one only?
Jack is ploughing the sea with a ship: just there he owns the sea,
has taken, is moving, it for his good. He does not own the sea
before, nor the sea behind, him: for the motions behind made by him
have ceased to do good.
Jack is ploughing soil: he owns the soil ploughed, has taken it, and
will own it while the motions he has made do good: so that, if Tom
who has not moved it says "I own the soil, for 'the law' declares
that I have taken it by moving a pen two inches", this makes me
laugh. Or, if Jack says "I own it for ever", this makes me laugh.
Or, if anyone says "I own both the soil and the site" (relative
position), this makes me laugh: for what can one man move to make a
relative position good? He can neither move a field toward anything
nor move much toward a field. If many men move railways that way, or
move things to rear towns round the field, this makes the site good,
moving it from outside a community to inside a community; and the
many who make it good own it.
5. The site is the field's chief good: so the plougher owes
something to those who, making it good, own it, This something is
6. Suppose that the plougher, or dweller-on, is an Englishman: he
owes rent to the English. And, since the site of England is made
good by movements made in America, he owes rent to the Americans.
7. This the mind readily descries to be true: it is a "truism", and
is necessarily the Fundamental Principle of Society throughout the
universe. So that, summing up, we may define: "Rent" is "right",
based on truth when paid to those by whose movements a site is made
8. One might readily guess (if there were no example of it) that any
violation of a Principle so fundamental would be avenged by Nature
upon the planet which violated it.
9. Our planet is such an example: for here Two Separate Violations
of the Principle appear; each great in itself; but one small in
10. Accordingly, for the small violation Nature has not failed to
send upon Man a small penalty; and for the great violation great
11. The small violation consists in the claim by nations to have
taken, without having moved, sites called "countries".
12. For this Nature has sent upon man the small penalty of War.
13. To abolish War men must remove its cause.
Therefore let the site-rental of England (i.e., the excess of
English goods over what English goods would be, if no other country
existed) be handed over to a World Council; and the site-rental of
America to the same; and the World Council shall disburse such funds
for the majesty and joy of Man: and War shall terminate.
14. This way the Lord of the Sea indicates to the world, though with
its initiation he is not personally concerned.
15. Beside the small violation of the Fundamental Principle of
Society, there is a great on the earth.
16. The Great Violation consists in the claim by individuals to have
taken, without having moved, sites and soils called "estates",
"domains", "plots": for, as rent tends to rightness when paid to the
fifty millions of a nation, _fifty-millionfold_ is its wrongness
when paid to one; and as rent is right when paid to the thousand
million inhabitants of a planet, _a thousand-millionfold_ is its
wrongness when paid to one.
17. For this Great Violation of the Fundamental Principle of Society
Nature has sent upon Man great penalties: poverties, frenzies,
depravities, horrors, sorrows, lowness, dulness.
18. Lowness, dulness: for by far the greatest of these penalties is
a restraint on Man's development. Man is an animal, Man is a mind:
and since the wing of mind is Pride, Assurance, or Self-esteem, and
since the home of an animal is a Planet, and an animal without a
home is a thing without Assurance or Pride, so Man without Earth is
a mind without wing. Even so, a few, having Assurance, make what we
call "Progress", i.e., the discovering of truth--a crawling which
might become flight, had all minds but the wing of Pride to co-
operate in discovering truth. But Man lacks assurance and foothold,
founded home and domain: his sole heritage, though he is neither
fish nor fowl, being sea and air.
19. This is a great violation.
20. And with this great violation of the Fundamental Principle of
Society the Lord of the Sea is personally concerned. In the name of
Heaven and of Earth he urges upon the nations of men to amend it in
the month of the promulgation of this Manifesto: and this summons he
strengthens with a threat of his resentment.
As the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, I will see to it.
THE "BOODAH'S" LOCK-UP
Three days after the Manifesto the marriage of Miss Stickney of New
York with Lord Alfred Cowern was to take place, this having been put
off owing to the _Kaiser_ tragedy; and so, on the day of the
Manifesto, Baruch Frankl, the Jew, was crossing to a wedding which,
even in the midst of great events, had stirred up a considerable
rumour and sensation, since the American guests were to consist of
the _coterie_ known as the "Thirty-four", all millionaires, while
"the cake" was to weigh three-quarters of a ton, each guest's grub
to cost $500, and for that breakfast the Neva had been ravished for
fish and Siamese crags for nests.
Frankl, however, was never destined to taste those five hundred
dollar mouthfuls. It happened in this way: as the _Boodah's_
searchlights, destroyed in the battle, were not yet repaired, in the
interval some lawless ships took the chance on dark nights to skulk
past with extinguished lights; now, the captain of Frankl's
chartered steamer had that bright idea (being of adventurous turn),
when night fell forty knots east of the _Boodah_, so he came to
Frankl, and broached the scheme.
"Not for Joe", was Frankl's answer: "pay the Pirate his taxes and be
"It could be worked as sweet as a nut, sir!" persisted the skipper,
with a watering mind.
"Well, so long us _you_ take the risk, perhaps--but no, sir, I'd
On which the skipper winked self-willed to himself, and, putting out
nine miles from the _Boodah_ his three lights, went dashing past.
And the attempt would have succeeded, had it not been for the fact
that the night was pitch-dark, and that _another_ ship was trying
that very venture with extinguished lights. And these two ships met,
bow to bow, with such an energy of adventurous smartness, that both
The sea, however, being smooth, all hands were saved; and now, since
the boats lay forlorn on the vast, with nothing but the _Boodah's_
swarm of moons to move to, for the _Boodah_ they started, while
Frankl cast twinkling fingers to the sky, and cursed that night, as
the oars with slow wash journeyed through turgid murk toward the
very den of the devil.
When they reached the _Boodah_ they were conducted down to a police-
court, and there shivered an hour in a dreary light, till three
officials in peaked caps and frock-coats came, sat on a Bench, and,
after hearing evidence, pronounced sentence of seven months against
the captains, and one against Frankl.
These were led away by police blue-jackets, and Frankl groaned
through the night in a box as cold as the cells of Colmoor.
The next morning Quilter-Beckett, making a report in Hogarth's
_salon_, mentioned the incident, saying: "Here are the names, with
the sentences; I shall send the sailors home..." and Hogarth's eyes,
resting on the document, chanced to catch that name of Frankl.
At once he turned pale, for his first thought was: "Frankl must have
been going to the wedding, in which case _Someone Else_ may be with
But her name was not there....
He rose and paced; and he said low: "No one else on either of the
"No, my Lord King".
Then up lifted Hogarth's brow, alight with fun, and he muttered:
"All right, Caps-and-tassels".
He said aloud: "Quilter-Beckett, this Frankl I know. Did you never
hear anything about Caps-and-tassels at Westring? _He_ is Caps-and-
tassels. Now tell me, which is your biggest blue-jacket?"
"Man called Young, my Lord King".
"Then, have a suit of Young's sea-clothes put upon this Frankl, and
let him be brought before me in the Throne Room this morning after
the Audience. He was fond of liveries...."
Accordingly, by half-past eleven Frankl entered the Throne Room,
where, as soon as its rosy translucency broke upon his gaze, an
"Oh!" of admiration groaned from him, in spite of his weight of
misery, he not walking, but being lifted forward in successive
swings by his armpits--up the first steps to the outer circle of
balustrade, forward to the second steps and the inner balustrade,
within which shone the throne, and Hogarth, crowned and large in
robes, on it.
The two warders, intent upon portering Frankl, and not noticing the
cap which still covered his eyebrows, one now in sudden scare
whispered: "Off with your cap, you...!" on which Frankl snatched it
off, grasping through superabundant sleeves, he at the same moment a
fury and a dazzled man, the throne before him incredible, like a
dream which one knows to be a dream, in structure not unlike the
Peacock Throne of Akbar, its length fourteen feet, seating thirteen
persons in recesses, standing on a gold platform with three concave
steps set with rings of sapphire, and consisting of a central part
and two wings, the wings being supported on twisted legs (one had
been broken), and made of fretted ivory mosaicked with cabochon
emerald, ruby, topaz, turquoise, chrysoberyl, diamond, opal, the
large central part, with its recesses, being also of ivory, gold-
arabesqued, its mosque-shape canopy (of Hindoo enamel-work on the
outside) being supported by eleven pillars of emerald; at the top of
each pillar a dolphin (hence the name "Dolphin Throne") made of
turquoise, jasper, pearl, sardius, and at the bottom of each pillar
a _guldusta_, or bouquet, of gems; the concave ceiling one mass of
stones, representing a sea in which sailed three Dutch galleons, and
seven dolphins sported.
But all that Frankl saw of it was its opulence: for his terror lest
the warders should let him go occupied his mind.
And precisely the thing which he feared came upon him, for Hogarth
said: "Warders, retire".
And now Frankl, all unsupported, stood in unstable equilibrium, anon
stooping to his finger-tips, then straining doubtfully forward with
struggling arms from a too backward poise: for not only did the
trousers lie a twisted emptiness far below his feet, but the feet
themselves were lost in Young's boots, so he stood like Scaramouch,
a mere sack, a working of his chin wobbling down his beard, and
there was a blaze in his stare which Hogarth, unfortunately, did not
They faced each other, alone, save for the body-guard at the
circumference of the room.
"Was it _you_ that sent me to Colmoor?" Hogarth suddenly asked in a
low voice, stooping forward.
"_Me_!" shrieked Baruch Frankl, pointing a hanging sleeve-end to his
breast: "as Jehovah is my witness--"
"Were you about to _swear_? For ever the same?--tyrant and worm? It
_was_ you. Now tell it me right out: you have nothing to fear: for
you cannot be vain enough to imagine that I would harbour enmity
"It wasn't me, I say again, my Lord King!"--Frankl trampled a little
backward, then stooped over-poised to his finger-tips: "with what
motive? Oh, that's hard--to be accused. They have already given me a
month--my God! a month! And only because I am a Jew. But it wasn't
me--that I'll swear to God--"
Hogarth rose to his height, descended, put his hand upon Frankl's
shoulder. "Well, leave that. But--_my sister_!"
His hand felt the shoulder beneath it start like fits.
"Your sister!" Frankl screamed with a face of scare: "Why, what of
"Frankl, you are frightened: you know, Frankl, _where she is_!"
"Me? O, my Good God, what is this! Me, poor sinner, know where your
sister is, my Lord King? Why, spare me! spare me, God of Hosts! Why,
you've only got to ask yourself the question--"
"Listen to me, Frankl", said Hogarth, bending his blazing brow low
over the Jew: "I have searched for that woman through the world, and
have not found her. All the time, mind you, I felt convinced that
you know where she is; and you may wonder why--years ago--I did not
have you seized. I will tell you why: it was because I had a sort of
instinct that God, whom I serve continually with tears and prayers,
would not fail in His day to show me her face: and to-day you are
here. Do you suppose, Frankl, that you will go away without telling
me where she is? And in order to hurry you, listen to what I say to
He touched a button in the balustrade, and to the warders said: "If
at any time this man should demand pencil and paper, supply them,
and take to your Admiral what he writes. To-day his food shall be
fare from your own table; to-morrow three loaves and water; from the
third day one loaf and water; till further orders".
Up shot Frankl's shivering arms, while Hogarth, training his ermines
and purples, paced away.
That was on the day following the Manifesto.
By the time Frankl's three loaves had become one, that amazement
with which men received the Manifesto had commenced to give place to
more coherent impressions.
He was not a "Monster"! that was the first realization--no pirate,
nor lurid Anti-Christ, nor vainglorious Caesar! And in two days, the
first astonishment over, there arose a noise in the world: for the
Lord of the Sea had given to the nations one month only in which to
do that thing: and the peoples took passionately to meetings.
In England Land Leagues, Chambers of Agriculture, Restoration
Leagues, Nationalization Leagues, many Leagues, were organizing
furiously, stretching the right arm of oratory; deputations,
petitions in wagons, demonstrations _en bloc_, party cannonades,
racket heaven-high. Sir Moses Cohen, the Jew-Liberal Leader,
appealing to the strongest prejudice in Englishmen, spoke one night
at Newcastle of "the interference of a foreign prince in the affairs
of Britain"; used the word: "_Never!_", and on this cry secured an
enormous following: so that, within a week, he was instrumental in
forming the formidable League of Resistance--destined to prove so
tragic for Hogarth, and for England.
It was in the midst of this world-turmoil that--on the third day--
the marriage-morning of Miss Cecil Stickney dawned; and that same
evening Rebekah Frankl, convalescent from influenza, was seated over
a bedroom fire in Hanover Square, a cashmire round her shoulders,
her sickness cured by herbs, her physician then hobbling with a
stick down the stairs--Estrella of Lisbon--her back almost
horizontal now with age.
And as Rebekah mused there, two newsboys below, whose shouts pursued
each other, went proclaiming through November gloom as it were the
day of doom, crying, even in that uproar of Europe, a private event:
LORD ALFRED COWERN
AND MISS CECIL STICKNEY
And soon a girl ran in, gasping: "Miss Frankl!--this is too awful--
The news, having been flashed to Paris by Mackay-Bennett cable, now
appeared in detail after the _New York Herald's_ French edition, and
Rebekah's eyes ran wildly over details as to the "bevy of beauty",
daughters of "the Thirty-four", and the church of waiting ladies,
the carpeted path between palms and exotics, and how the ticket-
holders heard the organ tell the Cantilenet Nuptiale and Bennett's
Minuet; and then the multitudinous stir: behold the bridegroom
cometh!--the little necessary bridegroom of no importance, and then
the white entry of bride and bridal train, while the choir knelt to
sing "O Perfect Love".
Perfect love, however, was hardly the order of that day, but rather
perfect hate: for in Madison Square--the church being at the upper
end of Fifth Avenue--a mob was being harangued on the subject of
this very wedding: and when they heard and realized the thing that
was being done before their eyes they were swept as by a wind of
fire, and under its impulse set out like some swollen Rhone with a
rushing sound to pounce upon the church, full of perfect hate: and
the choir sang "O perfect love".
What happened now was described as a nightmare. The same elemental
instincts of the Stone Age which had exhibited themselves in the
$5OO-worth of food wrought in another form, but with no less
savagery, in assassins as in victims: and a massacre ensued, bride
and bridegroom passing away like bubbles, of "the Thirty-four" five
only escaping. The report ended with the words: "The ringleaders
have been arrested; quiet reigns through the city"; then a list of
the guests, with asterisks indicating those killed.
Rebekah searched for her father's name, and when she became certain
that it was not there, her lips moved in thanksgiving.
But since Frankl was not at the wedding, where, then, was Frankl?
She counted the days on her fingers: he could not have been late.
Unless there had been an accident to his ship....
Her brows knit a little; she peered into the fire: and thought of
It was possible that when her father's steamer stopped to pay sea-
rent, Hogarth might have heard, and seized him. That notion occurred
And at once it threw her into an extraordinary fever, her bosom
swelling like elastic in her heavings to catch breath, though she
did not realize the wild thought that was working up to birth within
her. She rose and paced, furiously fast.
If he was in the hands of Hogarth?
"He is a British subject", she muttered: "Hogarth has not the
right...Oh, he has not the right...!"
She was fearfully agitated! something fighting up and up within her,
stifling her, working to burst into birth; she flung the cashmire
from her shoulders, her bosom rowing like two oarsmen. "Because we
are Jews...!" she went.
"If he _dared_ do that--!"
What then? Say! Rebekah!
"I would go to him myself--"
All at once that thought was born, and she stood shockingly naked to
her own eyes, her hands rushing to cover a face washed in shame.
"But, surely", she whispered, "I could never be so _bold_, good
Heavens? Why, Never! Never--!"
However, an hour later, with flaming eyes, she was writing a letter
to Frankl's manager.
Frankl's Bank was scanning the agents' yacht-lists for her, when Sir
Moses Cohen, who was closely associated with Frankl, placed his own
three-master at her disposal; and she set out from Bristol, with her
being three Jewish ladies, Frankl's manager, and a snuffy Portuguese
rabbi who resembled a Rembrandt portrait.
It was late at night, and Hogarth, who had lately acquired a passion
for those Mathematics which touch upon Mysticism, was bent over
Quaternions and the quirks of [Proofers note: checkmark symbol] (--i)
in an alcove of his _Boodah_ suite hardly fourteen feet square, cosy,
rosy, and homely: he sitting at a sofa-head, and, lying on the sofa,
Loveday, his head on Hogarth's thigh, escaped from office and frockcoat,
in happy shirt-sleeves, between sleeping and waking.
Hogarth was interrupted by a telephone bell.
"Well?" he answered.
"My Lord King", from Quilter-Beckett, "Frankl has handed to his
warder something written: will your Lordship's Majesty see it now?"
"Yes!" Then: "John! Frankl has yielded!"
Up Loveday started with "Thank God!" while Hogarth: "When does my
"At midnight"--from Quilter-Beckett.
"She starts back immediately for England with me and Mr. Loveday".
Now an officer entered to present an envelope, and the two looked
together over these words:
"Your Lordship's Majesty's sister, Margaret Hogarth, is at No. 11,
Market Street, Edgware Road, London. She goes under the name of
Rachel Oppenheimer, I don't know why. As God is my witness, I repent
in ashes. Won't your Lordship's Majesty have mercy on a worm of the
earth? I am an old man, getting on, and starved to madness. The ever
devoted slave, from this day forth, of my Lord King.
Hogarth 'phoned up: "Give Frankl food now, and put him where it is
not cold...." and to Loveday he said, "Well, you see, she is there:
'No. 11, Market Street'. And under the name of--what? 'Rachel
Oppenheimer'...John Loveday, do you fathom the meaning of that?"
"No--don't bother me about meanings, but shout, like her, 'O Happy
Day!' I say, Richard, you remember that singing? how we would hear
her from the forge? All day, washing, cooking--melodious soul! There
was 'O Happy Day', and there was--By God, how charmingly holy! how
English! And, Richard, you remember--?"
Another telephone bell: Hogarth turned to hear.
"Just arrived in the yacht, _Tyre_, my Lord King", said Quilter-
Beckett's voice, "four Jewish ladies, a Jewish gentleman, and a
rabbi, who request early audience to-morrow; they lie-to, and have
sent a boat--"
"Rubbish! I shall not be here to-morrow, and even if I was--Who are
they? By the way, no sign of the yacht?"
"Not yet. They are Miss Frankl--"
"Miss Rebekah Frankl--"
"God", went Hogarth faintly, stabbed to the heart.
"Miss Agnes Friedrich, Mrs.--"
But the rest fell upon ears deaf as death, the teeth of Hogarth now
chattering as with cold, that haggard, gaunt yellow, which was his
pallor, overspreading his face. So long was he speechless, that
Quilter-Beckett asked: "Are you there, my Lord King?"
"Yes, my Lord King?"
"Will you go _yourself_--for me--to them? _Make_ them sleep here,
will you? This is most urgent, I assure you. And go quick, will
That night did not the Lord of the Sea sleep: she under his roof...
Nor did he go that night to find Margaret--nor the next day, nor the
next, though Loveday chafed: for, gyrating through the giddy air of
a galaxy where Margaret was not, he forgot her.
At that time Hogarth, personally, was in close relation with the
score of Embassies that inhabited the belly of the _Boodah_, these
intriguing incessantly for half-hours at his ear, and in
communication, meanwhile, with their Governments through O'Hara's
_Mahomet_: so that Hogarth had to get up early, and his mornings
sweated with audience and negotiation.
The German and Russian Emperors, with the Prince of Wales (then
virtually Regent), had hurriedly met at Vienna--presumably for the
discussion of the Manifesto; and immediately after it, the Prince,
who had the reputation of being one of the most tactful of men-of-
the-world, took a step which hinted that the Royal House, as often
before, meant to come to the rescue of the country which loved it
however the politicians might bungle: Hogarth was invited to accept
He accepted: and the ceremony in the _Boodah_ was witnessed, as it
were, by Europe, King-at-Arms in a new tabard, with his suite, going
to invest him, taking the Statute of the Chapter, with the Great
Seal of England, and a set of habiliments--white-silk stockings,
gold sword Spanish hat, stars, gloves. And the effect was speedy,
the other rulers, dumbfounded before, said now: "England will comply
with the Manifesto; and, if before us, the taxed sea opens to
her....Yield, moreover, we must: let us make haste!"
But to consent was one thing: the _how_ another: the mere suspicion
of the willingness of Kaiser or Tsar shook their thrones. Whereupon
Russia said to Hogarth: "Recently dispossessed, they cling dyingly
now to their lands, so I will _buy_ the land from them, and _you_
will lend me the money"; to which Hogarth virtually replied: "It is
too childish to talk of buying part of a heavenly body from a
Russian: have you no sense of humour? You may give the Russian
'nobles' some money, if that pleases you: but without my help. If
His Majesty the Tsar is more afraid of them than of me, my only way
will be to prove myself more truly terrible than they".
But high words hurl down no hundred-headed hydra: in France--fast,
faster--with dizzy vertigo--millions were forming themselves into
secret societies, while in England was One only--but stronger than
the many of France.
By the date of Rebekah's pilgrimage Hogarth had so far failed and
yielded, as almost to decide that from the _Boodah_ nothing could be
done, unless he went to the extent of ruining and starving. The
other alternative was the fixing upon one nation, becoming its
recognized ruler, and there furnishing an example both of _modus
operandi_, and of a subsequent state of happiness, which others
could not long refrain from imitating.
But this modification was still in the air; and, meanwhile, he
listened, weighed, revolved: using men, impressing, convincing,
extracting for his use the wisdom of their experience, estimating
the exact pressure of the Time, the _timbre_ of its roar.
So on the morning after Rebekah's arrival his Gold Stick became his
rack from the moment of the bow from the throne till noon: name
after name--cordons, orders, gold-lace, sashes, stars, tiaras; till
enter the four Jewesses, the bank-manager, the rabbi, Hogarth's
pallor showing up his three moles and nose-freckles, adding a glare
to his eyes, he suffering from the runaway drumming of his heart.
The ladies stoop through curtseys; the men do reverence; Hogarth
There like a Begum of Bhopal stood Rebekah, floridly reflected in
the glassy floor, sallow under the eyes, smiling at him, he at her;
and very quickly now, she once in his sight, he recovered
comparative calm, and the strength of his heart.
"Your first visit to the _Boodah_, I think?"--looking at her.
"Yes, my Lord King"--curtseying.
"Do you like her?"
"Why, yes: she is solid, and mighty, and rich. In my own, and the
name of my friends, I beg to thank your Lordship's Majesty for your
Lordship's Majesty's kind and good hospitality to us".
"Humbugging little beggar", thought Hogarth, his mind slowly
gathering tone, but rushing meanwhile into a species of frivolous
assurance after those agitations, his hands still cold.
"Well", he said, "but you have not seen her! I think I know her
fairly well, and I propose to be myself your guide, if that will
The Rabbi spoke with trembling voice: "It is gracious, my Lord King.
We are here, however, humbly to present an urgent petition to your
Lordship's Majesty. Baruch Frankl, at present a prisoner in the
_Boodah_, a man no longer young, and habituated to comfort--"
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