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The one alternative

Le 23 juin 2017, 06:22 dans Humeurs 0

The one alternative was tried, and failed. We proffered our good offices, we urged our counsels of moderation, all in vain. That, at any rate, is among the certainties. And it is also among the certainties that, although this alternative failed, it brought us two signal benefits, in the unity of our own people and the goodwill of the world.

About the other alternative, which was not tried, we cannot of course speak with the same sureness. If Sir Edward Grey had taken the step which {34} M. Sazonof desired him to take, he would at once have been vehemently opposed and denounced by a very large body of his own fellow-countrymen, who, never having been taken frankly into the confidence of the Government with regard to the foundations of British policy, were at this early stage of the proceedings almost wholly ignorant of the motives and issues involved. This being so, if war had ensued, we should then have gone into it a divided instead of a united nation. On the other hand, if peace had ensued, it must have been a patched-up ill-natured peace; and it is not improbable that Sir Edward Grey would have been driven from office by enemies in his own household, playing the game of Germany unconsciously, as on previous occasions, and would have brought the Cabinet down with him in his fall. For at this time, owing to domestic difficulties, the Government stood in a very perilous position, and it needed only such a mutiny, as a bold departure in foreign affairs would almost certainly have provoked among the Liberal party, to bring Mr. Asquith's government to an end.

As one reads and re-reads the official documents in our present twilight, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that on the main point Sir Edward Grey was wrong and M. Sazonof right. Germany, with her eyes wide open, had determined on war with Russia and France, unless by Russia's surrender of her prestige in the Balkans—a surrender in its way almost as abject as that which had already been demanded of Servia—the results of victory could be secured without recourse to arms. Germany, nevertheless, was not prepared for war with Britain. She was reckoning with confidence on our standing aside, {35} on our unwillingness and inability to intervene.[11] If it had been made clear to her, that in case she insisted on pressing things to extremity, we should on no account stand aside, she might then have eagerly forwarded, instead of deliberately frustrating, Austria's eleventh-hour negotiations for an accommodation with St. Petersburg.

No one, except Germans, whose judgments, naturally enough, are disordered by the miscarriage of their plans, has dreamed of bringing the charge against Sir Edward Grey that he wished for war, or fomented it, or even that through levity or want of vigilance, he allowed it to occur. The criticism is, that although his intentions were of the best, and his industry unflagging, he failed to realise the situation, and to adopt the only means which might have secured peace.

The charge which is not only alleged, but established against Austria is of a wholly different order. It is that she provoked war—blindly perhaps, and not foreseeing what the war would be, but at any rate recklessly and obstinately.

The crime of which Germany stands accused is that she deliberately aimed at war, and that when there seemed a chance of her plan miscarrying, she promptly took steps to render peace impossible. Among neutral countries is there one, the public opinion of which has acquitted her? And has not Italy, her own ally, condemned her by refusing assistance on the ground that this war is a war of German aggression?


[1] The name of the Russian capital was not changed until after the declaration of war, and therefore St. Petersburg is used in this chapter instead of Petrograd.

weary of his coach drive

Le 9 juin 2017, 06:01 dans Humeurs 0

However, Linois may have remembered that he who fights and runs away will live to fight another day. He had been compelled to fly before Dance, but this time he got his revenge. You may ask what England was doing to leave those seas unpoliced. The answer is that as a matter of fact Indiamen had to rely on naval convoys when they could be got, and Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge, who had been one of Nelson’s captains at the Battle of the217 Nile, was actually escorting, in H.M.S. Blenheim, eleven more Indiamen. The two courses were converging and presently we shall see them meet.

Needless to say, it was with great grief that Captain Grant, all his officers and midshipmen (excepting the chief officer and surgeon) were put on board the Marengo, whilst the frigate went in pursuit of the Sarah. The latter, however, ran herself ashore with all sail set, but the crew were saved. Admiral Linois received Captain Grant with every courtesy, and the Brunswick was ordered to a rendezvous nearer the Cape of Good Hope. Before the month was out, when a fog which had settled down lifted for a while, the Marengo suddenly found herself close to a large convoy of Indiamen. The former instantly cleared for action and firing began. It was Troubridge with his convoy! But nothing much came of this, and the contending forces separated during the night. To cut the story short, Addison and his shipmates were landed in South Africa, whence they were taken to St Helena by an American brig. From there they reached England in a British frigate, landing at Spithead, and so making their way to London. As for the poor old Brunswick, she drove ashore on the South African coast, and so ended her days.

THE THAMES,” EAST INDIAMAN, 1,424 TONS.

This was one of the finest vessels employed in the East Indian trade.

Larger image

If Addison had been unfortunate in the ending of his first voyage, so in this he was again unlucky. According to the Company’s law,” he writes in his journal, having been captured by an enemy, or the ship in any way wrecked or destroyed, the captain, officers and crew forfeit their pay and wages, consequently we have no claim upon the owners of the late Brunswick for at least twenty months’ hard duty218 on board of her.” However, he was now wedded to the sea, and the next time he went in his first ship, the Marquis Wellesley, as fifth mate, with Charles Le Blanc as captain, and in her he served during the following years till he went as second mate in another of the Company’s ships. I make no apology to the reader for giving so much detail in this connection, for Addison’s and Eastwick’s accounts tell us just those intimate details which show the risks of many sorts which had to be encountered in the old days when the sailing ship was still far from perfect, and those handsome, fast China tea-clippers had not yet come into being to startle the world with their record runs. No doubt the captains of these East Indiamen of which we are speaking were often hated by their men for their severity: but those were no kid-glove days, and a voyage was not a thing of certainty as with the modern liner, which maintains a punctuality almost equal to that of a passenger train. If a captain retired after a few voyages with a nice little fortune, he certainly deserved it. For he was a long time before he reached a command, and there was scarcely a day during the whole of those long voyages when he was not plunged into some sort of anxiety. Anything might happen; from having his sails blown out of his ship and carrying away his best spars to losing the ship herself, her cargo, her men. Every force seemed to be up against him—gales of wind, uncharted seas, coasts and rivers, privateers, warships of the enemy: even the warships of his own country snatched out of his vessel his best men. And then, to add insult to injury, he came home to find either his managing owners gone bankrupt or a by-law219 which prevented him from receiving his hard-earned pay Polar .

Yes, taking it by and large, he deserved his good luck when it came his way; but when it was absent, he did his best and more for the British capitalist and merchant princes than the latter ever cared to acknowledge. In the history of Eastern development and civilisation the shipmaster of these old Indiamen ought to occupy a high place of respect and admiration. He has left behind a magnificent example for his successors to follow dermes .

When a passenger in the olden days joined an East Indiaman as she lay in the Downs he had to be rowed off by one of the Deal boatmen. These sharks” often made a fine thing out of such passengers, for the latter were completely at the mercy of the former. In calm weather the boatman was willing to row the passenger aboard for the sum of five shillings (or more if he could get it). But in the case of dirty weather and the nasty lop which gets up here with onshore winds the passenger had to pay as much as three guineas and sometimes even five: it was all a question of bargaining between himself and the boatman. Inasmuch as the passenger had to get aboard the big ship at all costs, and since the only method possible was to employ one of these Deal boatmen, the competition was solely between the boatmen themselves. But these fellows were so closely bound together, owing to the ties of relationship and their co-operation in extensive smuggling, that the passenger could scarcely help being fleeced dr bk laser .

Having at last arrived on board, weary of his coach drive from London, drenched with the sea220-spray scooped up by the Deal galley, the passenger bound for India in those days set forth with not the light heart and eagerness with which the modern traveller embarks on an East-bound liner. If contemporary accounts are to be trusted, the mere anticipation was a kind of terrible nightmare. The passenger often enough would retire at once to his cot, and remain there for days prostrate with sea-sickness. The cuddy would not see him at meals until the Bay of Biscay had been passed and finer, warmer weather encountered. Some of the Company’s cadets bound out to enter this corporation’s Indian army were utter scamps, and the only way to get them out of their cots was to cut the lanyards which kept the latter up. Before they had reached the Equator they had begun to find their sea-legs, and they were compelled to take part in the usual ceremonies of crossing the line. In the accompanying illustration will be found one of these young gentlemen undergoing this initiation in one of the East Indiamen ships.

What do you see

Le 11 mai 2017, 05:41 dans Humeurs 0

Then how can they tell if they've been exploded or not when we go submarining around them?

It's up to us to see if we can dodge the wires or contrive some way to disconnect them.

That disconnecting idea doesn't appear very feasible Conventions in Hong Kong .

No, it does not, agreed Ned; but I think I can find a way to evade them, for all that.

Hum! So long as they're not loaded, I don't care even if we run bumpety-bang into one, declared Herc; but a loaded mine—no, thank you!

Our orders after that are general. We are to use our own discretion entirely, acting as the eyes and ears of the Red fleet, and forwarding to the flagship, via wireless, every scrap of information we think might be valuable to the attacking party.

That's one thing I don't like about this command, muttered Herc.

[Pg 95]

What is that?

Why, we're supposed to be enemies to the flag.

But only supposed to be, Herc, for the purposes of perfecting the strength of Uncle Sam's defenses, and playing a useful part in exposing any weakness in our nation's fortifications.

Huh; well, that's all the kind of enemy I ever want to be—a supposed one.

I'm going into my cabin to lay out our course, said Ned, after a few more words. I want you on deck, Herc, to see how things are going on. It won't take me long and—— What on earth is the matter? Got a stroke?

There was a large glass skylight over the wardroom and, owing to the warmth of the weather, the flaps of this had been raised. With the expression of one who has been suddenly hypnotized, Herc was staring with open eyes and mouth straight up at the wardroom roof custom woven labels .

What do you see? demanded Ned, springing[Pg 96] to his feet. Shall I get you a glass of water? Shall I——

Umph! You might get me a gun, snorted Herc.

A gun! What on earth do you want with a gun?

I want it to shoot a skunk!

A skunk! Do you think you're back on the farm?

No, but just the same I'd like to go gunning with grandpap's old scatter gun.

I wish we had a doctor on board, Herc. Any fellow who can go around seeing skunks——

Ought to shoot 'em on sight, muttered Herc belligerently. Well, Ned, this was a skunk I saw, all right, all right! And what do you think his name was?

Without waiting for a reply, Herc rushed on, Kenworth! He'd been listening to every word we were saying!
CHAPTER XII.  SAKI—STEWARD.
For the time being there was no opportunity to investigate the case of the eavesdropper. It was important that they should get under way at once. Herc hastened on deck after a few hurried words with Ned dermes .

Just at that moment two bells—one o'clock—sounded in the slow, deep, mellow tones of the ship's bell. Simultaneously there appeared, through a doorway at one end of the wardroom, the figure of a dapper Japanese, dressed in white garments.

Hullo! Who are you? demanded Ned, looking up from a reverie into which he had fallen, following Herc's departure.

Me Saki. Officer steward. Me getee lunch for honorable capitan, rejoined the Jap with a low bow.

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