The Secret Of The League Part 37
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progressive ambitions. And when Japan had taken over the "awakening"
arrangements of a sister-nation on terms that gave her fifty million potential warriors to draw upon and train (warriors whom one of England's most revered generals had characterised as "Easily led; easily fed; fearless of death"), non-amusement in some quarters gave way to positive trepidation.
The sympathetic nations spoke together, and agreed that something must be done to give "Poor England" another chance; as, in the world of commerce, friendly rivals will often gather round the man who has fallen on evil days to set him on his feet again.
So England was to have a fair field and liberty to work out her own salvation. But she was not to wake up and find that it had all been a hideous dream. Egypt had been put back to the time of the Khalifa. India had lost sixty years of pacification and progress. Ireland was a republic, at least in name, and depending largely on Commemoration Issues of postage stamps for a revenue. South Africa was for the South Africans. There were many other interesting items, but these were, as it might be expressed to a nation of shopkeepers, the leading lines.
If the worst abroad was bad enough, there was one encouraging feature at home. With the election of the new government industries began to revive, trade to improve, the money market to throw off its depression, and the natural demand for labour to increase: not gradually, but instantly, phenomenally. It was as though a dam across some great river had been removed, and with the impetus every sluggish little tributary was quickened and drawn on in new and sparkling animation. It was not necessary to argue upon it from a party point of view; it was a concrete fact that every one admitted. There was only one explanation, and it met the eye at every turn. Capital reappeared, and money began to circulate freely again. Why? There was security.
It was not the Millennium; it was the year 19--, and a "capitalistic"
government was in office; but the "masses" discovered that they were certainly not worse off than before. Working men now wore, it is true, a little less of the air of being so many presidents of South American republics when they walked about the streets; but that style had never really suited them, and they soon got out of it. The men who had come into power were not of the class who oppress. The strife of the past was being forgotten; its lessons were remembered. What was good and practical of Socialistic legislation was retained. So it came about that the vanquished gained more by defeat than they would have done by victory.
It was undeniable that, in common with mankind at large, they still from time to time experienced pain, sickness, disappointment, hardship, and general adversity. Those who were employed by gentlemen were treated as gentlemen treat their work-people; those who were so unfortunate as to be in the service of employers who had no claim to that title continued to be treated as cads and despots treat their employes. Those among them who were gentlemen themselves extended a courteous spirit towards their masters, and those among them who were the reverse continued to act towards employers and the world around as churls and blusterers act, and so the compensating balance of nature was more or less harmoniously preserved.
And what of the future? Will the nation that was so sharply taught dread the fire like the burned child, or return to the flame as the scorched moth does? Alas, the memory of a people is short, even as the wisdom of a proverb is conflictingly two-edged.
Or, if the warning fades and the necessity grows large again, will there be found another Stobalt to respond to the call? "For those whom Heaven afflicts there is a chance," contributes the Sage of another land; "but they who persistently work out their own undoing are indeed hopeless."
Or may it be that the faith of Tirrel will be justified, and that in the process of time there will emerge from man's ceaseless groping after perfection a new wisdom, under whose yet undreamt-of scheme and dispensation all men will be content and reconciled?
The philosopher shakes his head weightily and remains silent--thereby adding to his reputation. The prophets prophesy; the old men dream dreams and the young men see visions, and the dispassionate speculate.
On all sides there is a multitude of the counsel in which, as we must believe, lies wisdom.
It is an interesting situation, and as it can only be definitely settled beyond the dim vista of future centuries, the pity is that we shall never know.
_UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME._
1. The Marriage of William Ashe.
2. The Intrusions of Peggy.
3. The Fortune of Christina M'Nab.
4. The Battle of the Strong.
5. Robert Elsmere.
6. No. 5 John Street.
8. Incomparable Bellairs.
9. History of David Grieve.
10. The King's Mirror.
11. John Charity.
13. If Youth but Knew.
14. The American Prisoner.
15. His Grace.
16. The Hosts of the Lord.
17. The God in the Car.
18. The Lady of the Barge.
19. The Odd Women.
20. Matthew Austin.
21. The Translation of a Savage.
22. The Octopus.
23. White Fang.
24. The Princess Passes.
25. Sir John Constantine.
26. The Man from America.
27. A Lame Dog's Diary.
28. The Recipe for Diamonds.
29. Woodside Farm.
30. Monsieur Beaucaire, and The Beautiful Lady.
31. The Pit.
32. An Adventurer of the North.
33. The Wages of Sin.
34. Lady Audley's Secret.
35. Eight Days.
36. Owd Bob.
37. The Duenna of a Genius.
38. His Honor and a Lady.
40. Selah Harrison.
41. The House with the Green Shutters.
42. Mrs Galer's Business.
43. Old Gorgon Graham.
44. Major Vigoureux.
45. The Gateless Barrier.
49. French Nan.
50. The Food of the Gods.
52. Cynthia's Way.
53. Clarissa Furiosa.
54. Love and Mr Lewisham.
55. The Lonely Lady of Grosvenor Square.
56. Thompson's Progress.
57. The Primrose Path.
58. Lady Rose's Daughter.
60. The War of the Carolinas.
61. Katharine Frensham.
62. The Professor on the Case.
63. Love and the Soul-Hunters.
The Secret Of The League Part 37
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The Secret Of The League Part 37 summary
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