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lation of periodicals or party papers. On various occa-
sions the name of Siberia escaped from his lips, and he
admitted that he had been there a long time ; but he did
not care to talk about a country visited against his will.
He would merely smile modestly, showing plainly that
he did not wish to make any further revelations.

The morning after the return of Julio Desnoyers, while
Argensola was talking on the stairway with Tchernoff,
the bell rang. How annoying! The Russian, who was
well up in advanced politics, was just explaining the plans
advanced by Jaures. There were still many who hoped
that war might be averted. He had his motives for
doubting it. ... He, Tchernoff, was commenting on
these illusions with the smile of a flat-nosed sphinx when
the bell rang for a second time, so that Argensola was
obliged to break away from his interesting friend, and
run to open the main door.

A gentleman wished to see Julio. He spoke very cor-
rect French, though his accent was a revelation for
Argensola. Upon going into the bedroom in search of
his master, who was just arising, he said confidently,
"It's the cousin from Berlin who has come to say good-
bye. It could not be anyone else."

When the three came together in the studio, Desnoyers
presented his comrade, in order that the visitor might not
make any mistake in regard to his social status.

"I have heard him spoken of. The gentleman is Ar-
gensola, a very deserving youth."

Doctor Julius von Hartrott said this with the self'
sufficiency of a man who knows everything and wishes ttJ


be agreeable to an inferior, conceding him the alms of
his attention.

The two cousins confronted each other with a curiosity
not altogether free from distrust. Although closely re-
lated, they knew each other very slightly, tacitly admit-
ting complete divergence in opinions and tastes.

After slowly examining the Sage, Argensola came to
the conclusion that he looked like an officer dressed as a
civilian. He noticed in his person an effort to imitate the
soldierly when occasionally discarding uniform the am-
bition of every German burgher wishing to be taken for
the superior class. His trousers were narrow, as though
intended to be tucked into cavalry boots. His coat with
two rows of buttons had the contracted waist with very
full skirt and upstanding lapels, suggesting vaguely a
military great coat. The reddish moustachios, strong
jaw and shaved head completed his would-be martial
appearance ; but his eyes, large, dark-circled and near-
sighted, were the eyes of a student taking refuge behind
great thick glasses which gave him the aspect of a man of

Desnoyers knew that he was an assistant professor of
the University, that he had published a few volumes, fat
and heavy as bricks, and that he was a member of an
academic society collaborating in documentary research
directed by a famous historian. In his lapel he was wear-
ing the badge of a foreign order.

Julio's respect for the learned member of the family
tvas not unmixed with contempt. He and his sister Chichi
had from childhood felt an instinctive hostility toward the
cousins from Berlin. It annoyed him, too, to have his
family everlastingly holding up as a model this pedant
who only knew life as it is in books, and passed his exist-
ence investigating what men had done in other epochs, in
order to draw conclusions in harmony with Germany's


views. While young Desnoyers had great facility for
admiration, and reverenced all those whose "arguments"
Argensola had doled out to him, he drew the line at ac-
cepting the intellectual grandeur of this illustrious rela-

During his stay in Berlin, a German word of vulgar
invention had enabled him to classify this prig. Heavy
books of minute investigation were every month being
published by the dozens in the Fatherland. There was
not a professor who could resist the temptation of con-
structing from the simplest detail an enormous volume
written in a dull, involved style. The people, therefore,
appreciating that these near-sighted authors were in-
capable of any genial vision of comradeship, called them
Sitzfteisch haben, because of the very long sittings which
their works represented. That was what this cousin was
for him, a mere Sitzfteisch haben.

Doctor von Hartrott, on explaining his visit, spoke in
Spanish. He availed himself of this language used by
the family during his childhood, as a precaution, looking
around repeatedly as if he feared to be heard. He had
come to bid his cousin farewell. His mother had told him
of his return, and he had not wished to leave Paris with-
out seeing him. He was leaving in a few hours, since
matters were growing more strained.

"But do you really believe that there will be war?"
asked Desnoyers.

"War will be declared to-morrow or the day after.
Nothing can prevent it now. It is necessary for the wel-
fare of humanity."

Silence followed this speech, Julio and Argensola look-
ing with astonishment at this peaceable-looking man
who had just spoken with such martial arrogance. The
two suspected that the professor was making this visit
in order to give vent to his opinions and enthusiasms. A*


the same time, perhaps, he was trying to find out what
they might think and know, as one of the many view-
points of the people in Paris.

"You are not French," he added looking at his cousin.
"You were born in Argentina, so before you I may speak
the truth."

"And were you not born there?" asked Julio smiling.

The Doctor made a gesture of protest, as though he
had just heard something insulting. "No, I am a German.
No matter where a German may be born, he always be-
longs to his mother country." Then turning to Argensola
"This gentleman, too, is a foreigner. He comes from
noble Spain which owes to us the best that it has the
worship of honor, the knightly spirit."

The Spaniard wished to remonstrate, but the Sage
would not permit, adding in an oracular tone:

'You were miserable Celts, sunk in the vileness of an
inferior and mongrel race whose domination by Rome but
made your situation worse. Fortunately you were con-
quered by the Goths and others of our race who im-
planted in you a sense of personal dignity. Do not for-
get, young man, that the Vandals were the ancestors of
the Prussians of to-day."

Again Argensola tried to speak, but his friend signed
to him not to interrupt the professor who appeared to
have forgotten Ins former reserve and was working up to
an enthusiastic pitch with his own words.

''We are going to witness great events," he continued.
"Fortunate are those born in this epoch, the most inter'
esting in history! At this very moment, humanity is
changing its course. Now the true civilization begins."

The war, according to him, was going to be of a brevity
hitherto unseen. Germany had been preparing herself to
bring about this event without any long, economic world-
disturbance. A single month would be enough to crush


France, the most to be feared of their adversaries. Then
they would march against Russia, who with her slow,
clumsy movements could not oppose an immediate de-
fense. Finally they would attack haughty England, so
isolated in its archipelago that it could not obstruct the
sweep of German progress. This would make a series
of rapid blows and overwhelming victories, requiring
only a summer in which to play this magnificent role.
The fall of the leaves in the following autumn would
greet the definite triumph of Germany.

With the assurance of a professor who does not expect
his dictum to be refuted by his hearers, he explained the
superiority of the German race. All mankind was
divided into two groups dolicephalous and the brachi-
cephalous, according to the shape of the skull. Another
scientific classification divided men into the light-haired
and dark-haired. The dolicephalous (arched heads) rep-
resented purity of race and superior mentality. The
brachicephalous (flat heads) were mongrels with all
the stigma of degeneration. The German, dolicephalous
par excellence, was the only descendant of the primitive
Aryans. All the other nations, especially those of the
south of Europe called "latins," belonged to a degenerate

The Spaniard could not contain himself any longer.
"But no person with any intelligence believes any more
in those antique theories of race ! What if there no
longer existed a people of absolutely pure blood, owing
to thousands of admixtures due to historical conquest!"
. . . Many Germans bore the identical ethnic marks
which the professor was attributing to the inferior races.

"There is something in that," admitted Hartrott, "but
although the German race may not be perfectly pure, it
is the least impure of all races and, therefore, should
have dominion over the world."


His voice took on an ironic and cutting edge when
speaking of the Celts, inhabitants of the lands of the
South. They had retarded the progress of Humanity,
deflecting it in the wrong direction. The Celt is indi-
vidualistic and consequently an ungovernable revolution-
ary who tends to socialism. Furthermore, he is a humani-
tarian and makes a virtue of mercy, defending the ex-
istence of the weak who do not amount to anything.

The illustrious German places above everything else,
Method and Power. Elected by Nature to command the
impotent races, he possesses all the qualifications that dis-
tinguish the superior leader. The French Revolution
was merely a clash between Teutons and Celts. The
nobility of France were descended from Germanic war-
riors established in the country after the so-called in-
vasion of the barbarians. The middle and lower classes
were the Gallic-Celtic element. The inferior race had
conquered the superior, disorganizing the country and
perturbing the world. Celtism was the inventor of
Democracy, of the doctrines of Socialism and Anarchy.
Now the hour of Germanic retaliation was about to strike,
and the Northern race would re-establish order, since
God had favored it by demonstrating its indisputable

"A nation," he added, "can aspire to great destinies
only when it is fundamentally Teutonic. The less Ger-
man it is, the less its civilization amounts to. We rep-
resent 'the aristocracy of humanity/ 'the salt of the
earth/ as our William said."

Argensola was listening with astonishment to this out-
pouring of conceit. All the great nations had passed
through the fever of Imperialism. The Greeks aspired
to world-rule because they were the most civilized and
believed themselves the most fit to give civilization to
the rest of mankind. The Romans, upon conquering


countries, implanted law and the rule of justice. The
French of the Revolution and the Empire justified their
invasions on the plea that they wished to liberate man-
kind and spread abroad new ideas. Even the Spaniards
of the sixteenth century, when battling with half of
Europe for religious unity and the extermination of
heresy, were working toward their ideals obscure and
perhaps erroneous, but disinterested.

All the nations of history had been struggling for some-
thing which they had considered generous and above
their own interests. Germany alone, according to this
professor, was trying to impose itself upon the world
in the name of racial superiority a superiority that no-
body had recognized, that she was arrogating to herself,
coating her affirmations with a varnish of false science.

"Until now wars have been carried on by the soldiery,"
continued Hartrott. "That which is now going to begin
will be waged by a combination of soldiers and profes-
sors. In its preparation the University has taken as much
part as the military staff. German science, leader of all
Sciences, is united forever with what the Latin revolu-
tionists disdainfully term militarism. Force, mistress of
the world, is what creates right, that which our truly
unique civilization imposes. Our armies are the rep-
resentatives of our culture, and in a few weeks we shall
free the world from its decadence, completely rejuve-
nating it."

The vision of the immense future of his race was
leading him on to expose himself with lyrical enthusiasm.
William I, Bismarck, all the heroes of past victories, in-
spired his veneration, but he spoke of them as dying
gods whose hour had passed. They were glorious an-
cestors of modest pretensions who had confined their
activities to enlarging the frontiers, and to establishing
the unity of the Empire, afterwards opposing themselves


with the prudence of valetudinarians to the daring of the
new generation. Their ambitions went no further than
a continental hegemony . . . but now William II had
leaped into the arena, the complex hero that the country

"Lamprecht, my master, has pictured his greatness.
It is tradition and the future, method and audacity. Like
his grandfather, the Emperor holds the conviction of
what monarchy by the grace of God represents, but his
vivid and modern intelligence recognizes and accepts
modern conditions. At the same time that he is romantic,
feudal and a supporter of the agrarian conservatives, he
is also an up-to-date man who seeks practical solutions
and shows a utilitarian spirit. In him are correctly bal-
anced instinct and reason."

Germany, guided by this hero, had, according to Hart-
rott, been concentrating its strength, and recognizing its
true path. The Universities supported him even more
unanimously than the army. Why store up so much
power and maintain it without employment? . . . The
empire of the world belongs to the German people. The
historians and philosophers, disciples of Treitschke, were
taking it upon themselves to frame the rights that would
justify this universal domination. And Lamprecht, the
psychological historian, like the other professors, was
launching the belief in the absolute superiority of the
Germanic race. It was just that it should rule the world,
since it only had the power to do so. This "telurian ger-
manization" was to be of immense benefit to mankind.
The earth was going to be happy under the dictatorship
of a people born for mastery. The German state, "ten-
tacular potency," would eclipse with its glory the most
imposing empire of the past and present. Gott mit uns!

"Who will be able to deny, as my master says, that
there exists a Christian, German God the 'Great Ally/


who is showing himself to our enemies, the foreigners,
as a strong and jealous divinity?" . . .

Desnoyers was listening to his cousin with astonish-
ment and at the same time looking at Argensola who, with
a flutter of his eyes, seemed to be saying to him, "He is
mad ! These Germans are simply mad with pride."

Meanwhile, the professor, unable to curb his enthusi-
asm, continued expounding the grandeur of his race.
From his viewpoint, the providential Kaiser had shown
inexplicable weakenings. He was too good and too kind.
"Deliciae generis humani," as had said Professor Lasson,
another of Hartrott's masters. Able to overthrow every-
thing with his annihilating power, the Emperor was
limiting himself merely to maintaining peace. But the
nation did not wish to stop there, and was pushing its
leader until it had him started. It was useless now to
put on the brakes. "He who does not advance recedes" ;
that was the cry of Pan-Germanism to the Emperor.
He must press on in order to conquer the entire world.

"And now war comes," continued the pedant. "We
need the colonies of the others, even though Bismarck,
through an error of his stubborn old age, exacted nothing
at the time of universal distribution, letting England and
France get possession of the best lands. We must con-
trol all countries that have Germanic blood and have been
civilized by our forbears."

Hartrott enumerated these countries. Holland and
Belgium were German. France, through the Franks,
was one-third Teutonic blood. Italy. . . . Here the
professor hesitated, recalling the fact that this nation was
still an ally, certainly a little insecure, but still united by
diplomatic bonds. He mentioned, nevertheless, the
Longobards and other races coming from the North.
Spain and Portugal had been populated by the ruddy


Goth and also belonged to the dominant race. And since
the majority of the nations of America were of Spanish
and Portuguese origin, they should also be included in
this recovery.

"It is a little premature to think of these last nations
just yet," added the Doctor modestly, "but some day the
hour of justice will sound. After our continental
triumph, we shall have time to think of their fate. . . .
North America also should receive our civilizing in-
fluence, for there are living millions of Germans who have
created its greatness."

He was talking of the future conquests as though they
were marks of distinction with which his country was
going to favor other countries. These were to continue
living politically the oarne as before with their individual
governments, but subject to the Teutons, like minors re-
quiring the strong hand of a master. They would form
the Universal United States, with an hereditary and all-
powerful president the Emperor of Germany receiv-
ing all the benefits of Germanic culture, working dis-
ciplined under his industrial direction. . . . But the
world is ungrateful, and human badness always opposes
itself to progress.

"We have no illusions," sighed the professor, with
lofty sadness. "We have no friends. All look upon us
with jealousy, as dangerous beings, because we are the
most intelligent, the most active, and have proved our-
sef^es superior to all others. . . . But since they no
longer love us, let them fear us ! As my friend Mann
says, although Kultur is the spiritual organization of the,
world, it does not exclude bloody savagery when that be-
comes necessary. Kultur sanctifies the demon within us,
and is above morality, reason and science. We are going
to impose Kultur by force of the cannon."


Argensola continued, saying with his eyes, "They are
crazy, crazy with pride ! . . . What can the world
expect of such people !"

Desnoyers here intervened in order to brighten this
gloomy monologue with a little optimism. War had not
yet been positively declared. The diplomats were still
trying to arrange matters. Perhaps it might all turn out
peaceably at the last minute, as had so often happened
before. His cousin was seeing things entirely distorted
by an aggressive enthusiasm.

Oh, the ironical, ferocious and cutting smile of the Doc-
tor! Argensola had never known old Madariaga, but it,
nevertheless, occurred to him that in this fashion sharks
must smile, although he, too, had never seen a shark.

"It is war," boomed Hartrott. "When I left Germany,
fifteen days ago, I knew that war was inevitable."

The certainty with which he said this dissipated all
Julio's hope. Moreover, this man's trip, on the pretext
of seeing his mother, disquieted him. . . . On what
mission had Doctor Julius von Hartrott come to
Paris? . . .

"Well, then," asked Desnoyers, "why so many dip-
lomatic interviews? Why does the German government
intervene at all although in such a lukewarm way
in the struggle between Austria and Servia. . . .
Would it not be better to declare war right out?"

The professor replied with simplicity: "Our govern-
ment undoubtedly wishes that the others should declare
the war. The role of outraged dignity is always the most
pleasing one and justifies all ulterior resolutions, how-
ever extreme they may seem. There are some of our
people who are living comfortably and do not desire war.
It is expedient to make them believe that those who
impose it upon us are our enemies so that they may feel


the necessity of defending themselves. Only superior
minds reach the conviction of the great advancement
that can be accomplished by the sword alone, and that
war, as our grand Treitschke says, is the highest form of

Again he smiled with a ferocious expression. Mor-
ality, from his point of view, should exist among indi-
viduals only to make them more obedient and disciplined,
for morality per se impedes governments and should be
suppressed as a useless obstacle. For the State there
exists neither truth nor falsehood; it only recognizes
the utility of things. The glorious Bismarck, in order
to consummate the war with France, the base of German
grandeur, had not hesitated to falsify a telegraphic des-

"And remember, that he is the most glorious hero of
our time ! History looks leniently upon his heroic feat.
Who would accuse the one who triumphs? . . . Pro-
fessor Hans Delbruck has written with reason, 'Blessed
be the hand that falsified the telegram of Ems !'

It was convenient to have the war break out imme-
diately, in order that events might result favorably for
Germany, whose enemies are totally unprepared. Pre-
ventive war was recommended by General Bernhardi and
other illustrious patriots. It would be dangerous indeed
to defer the declaration of war until the enemies had
fortified themselves so that they should be the ones to
make war. Besides, to the Germans what kind of
deterrents could 1'aw and other fictions invented by weak
nations possibly be ? . . . No ; they had the Power,
and Power creates new laws. If they proved to be the
victors, History would not investigate too closely the
means by which they had conquered. It was Germany
that was going to win, and the priests of all cults would


finally sanctify with their chants the blessed war if it
led to triumph.

: 'We are not making war in order to punish the Servian
regicides, nor to free the Poles, nor the others oppressed
by Russia, stopping there in admiration of our disinter-
ested magnanimity. We wish to wage it because we are
the first people of the earth and should extend our
activity over the entire planet. Germany's hour has
sounded. We are going to take our place as the powerful
Mistress of the World, the place which Spain occupier 1 .
in former centuries, afterwards France, and England to-
day. What those people accomplished in a struggle of
many years we are going to bring about in four months.
The storm-flag of the Empire is now going to wave over
nations and oceans ; the sun is going to shine on a great
slaughter. . . .

"Old Rome, sick unto death, called 'barbarians' the
Germans who opened the grave. The world to-day also
smells death and will surely call us barbarians. . . .
So be it ! When Tangiers and Toulouse, Amberes and
Calais have become submissive to German barbarism
. . . then we will speak further of this matter. We
have the power, and who has that needs neither to hesi-
tate nor to argue. . . . Power ! . . . That is the beauti-
ful word the only word that rings true and clear. . . .
Power ! One sure stab and all argument is answered
forever !"

"But are you so sure of victory?" asked Desmoyers.
"Sometimes Destiny gives us great surprises. There are
hidden forces that we must take into consideration or
they may overturn the best-laid plans."

The smile of the Doctor became increasingly scornful
and arrogant. Everything had been foreseen and studied
out long ago with the most minute Germanic method.


What had they to fear? . . . The enemy most to be
reckoned with was France, incapable of resisting the ener-
vating moral influences, the sufferings, the strain and
the privations of war; a nation physically debilitated
and so poisoned by revolutionary spirit that it had laid
aside the use of arms through an exaggerated love of

"Our generals," he announced, "are going to leave her
in such a state that she will never again cross our path."

There was Russia, too, to consider, but her amorphous
masses were slow to assemble and unwieldy to move. The
Executive Staff of Berlin had timed everything by meas-
ure for crushing France in four weeks, and would then
lead its enormous forces against the Russian empire
before it could begin action.

"We shall finish with the bear after killing the cock,"
affirmed the professor triumphantly.

But guessing at some objection from his cousin, he has-
tened on "I know what you are going to tell me. There
remains another enemy, one that has not yet leaped into

Online Library1867-1928The four horsemen of the Apocalypse → online text (page 10 of 36)