Edward Maitland.

By and by : an historical romance of the future (Volume 2) online

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recognise the supremacy of beauty and good-
ness over rank and wealth. But how is it
that you, who are all Greek, could so far
abandon the traditions of your race as to pro-
pose to your newly discovered son a course
incompatible with honour ?"

'' For one side of your mental composition ,
you may possibly be indebted to me," re- j
turned his father. *' I mean the Esthetic. \
But there you must stop. The Greeks, no
more than the Jews, are to be credited with the
other qualities you ascribe to them. If Jacob
be their type, Ulysses is ours. Morality
was never our forte ; but on the contrary,
with all our addiction to philosophy and art,
we have ever been an insincere and venal
people. No, for what you possess of moral
sentiment, you must thank your mother, not
me ; or rather her mother, for there you
obtained your Teutonic characteristics."

"■ I have Teuton blood in me ! I am j
indeed glad. The blood of the race to which

2i8 ^V AND BY.

Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley, Tennyson, and
Goethe belonged ! as well as of the race of
Homer, ^schylus, and Plato ! In addition to
that of Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, and Paul t
What a privilege, but also what a responsi-
bility ! I am so glad to be a Teuton ! I
understand now the secret of my sympathetic
yearnings towards the grandest of the world's
races, in its combination of the intellectual
with the moral ; the first race in which Con-
science was elevated to its proper supremacy."
" Well," resumed his father, *' you see you
have judged our conduct by some code which
finds no recognition here. Neither my pro-
position that you should appropriate the
throne of Soudan; nor that of the Chief of the
Sanhedrim, that you should retain the Talis-
man of Solomon, to grace the restored crown
of Israel, rather than follow a sentimental
impulse, shocked the prejudices of any of our
people. Following the divine law anciently
given to them, the Jews, now as ever, refuse
to recognise as right anything that tells
against themselves. Whatever makes for
them is good, whatever against them evil.
This in Jerusalem is the sole standard of

' BV AND BY. 219

morality. I, as a Greek, follow them in this ;
only, also as a Greek, I prefer things to be
pretty rather than ugly.

'' Besides, I consider myself entitled to hate
those who robbed me of my Zoe. It was
through the persecutions your grandfather
suffered from the reigning branch in Soudan,
that he fled, and she was lost to me. It was
nothing to me that he deserved their enmity.
Right or wrong, I suffered by it, and I
resented it. But I have been avenged. For
it is I who have been chief agent in grinding
down their people by taxation, and so bring- I
ing about the revolution with all its dread I
results. It is I who have kept the Committee
from accedinor to all entreaties for a mitio^ation. I
If I wished you to supplant that branch, it
was for personal vengeance. If I now wish
you to become sovereign of this country, it is
as much for the sake of seeing my son the
instrument of their punishment, as for any
other ambition.

**And now that we perfectly understand
each other, come to my palace and abide
with me. Being my home, it is yours also.
We shall have much to tell each other.

220 BY AND BY.

Together we will pen the acceptance of the
offer conveyed to you by the Chief of the
Sanhedrim, an acceptance which will make
me father of a far greater sovereign than any
Emperor of Central Africa can ever be. For
as King of Israel, the wealth of the world
will be at your command. At your bidding,
mighty capitalists will loosen or tighten their
purse-strings, and the nations that are afar off
will follow peace or rush to war. Hail!
Christmas, Sovereign of Judea ! What a
coronation will thine be ! When, amid the
glories of the noblest edifice of the modern
world, noblest in its uses, noblest in its
architecture, infinitely in every respect sur-
passing its famous predecessors on the same
site — even the temple reared by him whose
sacred Talisman will adorn thy brow. — Ah !
I forgot. Oh, my son, relinquish this infatua-
tion. Keep, keep the gems, and let them
not go to the barbarians of Africa. Solomon
himself refused nothing to his father David,
not even his dying request, involving, as it
did, at least according to your code — the
Teuton code — crime and dishonour. Surely
you, then, as sitting on the throne of David

BY AND BY. 221

and Solomon, will not have the presumption
to affect to surpass them in virtue, and con-
demn the morality of that great Semitic race
whose blood you share ! The cost is indeed
a slight one to pay for such an heirloom."

" We place a different estimate on the cost
of such a deed," replied Criss, speaking with
less restraint in his manner than before, for
he was beginning to regard his father as
partially deranged, rather than wilfully dis-
honest. " But you forget that the objection
I raised before the committee was not against
being king of Soudan merely, but against
being a king at all."

" My son, you will have to forget what
you said on that point. The Jews have too
long set their hearts on precisely such a solu-
tion of their political difficulties as the dis-
covery of you presents. They will not con-
sent to waive their nation's longings in defe-
rence to your fantasies. Being in Jerusalem,
you are in their power, and should you persist
in your refusal, they are quite capable of
taking you by force and making you their
king. Even flight will serve you little when
they are determined, for Mammon is the god

222 jBV and by,

of this world, and they are his priests. No
nation can or dare harbour you from them.
And I warn you that I for one shall not
interfere with their action."

** Well," said Criss, in a light and cheerful
tone, " we will not talk more about that just
now. You can understand that at the heights
from which I am accustomed to survey the
world, its loftiest eminences are apt to seem
very low. But I really must leave you now.
My friends will be expecting me at the hotel.
Farewell for to-night, my father. An event-
ful day, such as this has been, merits extra

" What ! will you not enter and sleep be-
neath my roof on this the first night of our
meeting ? It is true I have no family to
whom to introduce you. I dwell in this
palace," he said, pointing to a magnificent
edifice before which they had now arrived,
'' solitary and sad. No new ties have been
mine. It is as if I had waited expressly for you
to come to me — you, who are the sole heir
of my heart and my wealth. At least enter
and eat with me, if you cannot all at once re-
concile yourself to your new ties."

BY AND BY. 223

It was late when Criss returned to his
hotel. Going straight to Bertie's room, he
roused him from a light sleep, saying,

*' Now, dear Bertie, we must be off. Is
the Prince prepared, think you ?"

" Perfectly, and impatient to start. He is
congratulating himself on having a friend and
relative in the King of the Jews."

'' Ah," said Criss, " we shall have to devise
some other means for reducing taxation in
Soudan. Now, come softly, and say not a
word. Unless I have been misinformed, it
is necessary that our departure be made very
much like an escape."

" Escape ! But will you not accept

the ?"

" Accept ! Why, my dear Bertie, don't
you know I am a Republican ?"

*' That may be a reason for refusing to
have a King over one, but not for re-
fusing to be a King oneself Besides, in
putting back this Prince, you are setting up a

" Oh, yes. I do not dictate to others. If
they prefer a monarchy, they are welcome.
Here is the Prince's door."

224 -Sy AND BY,

The three descended in silence to the
aeromotive-house, and having deposited an
ample payment with the custodian, were soon
aloft and far away on their flight across the
desert towards the capital of Soudan, the
Prince travelling with Bertie in his capacious
car, and Criss keeping near them in his own
little Ariel.

Ere they lost sight of the lights of the
sleeping city, Criss cast a look back upon it,
and murmured,

'' Oh, Jerusalem ! mightiest upon earth in

thy power for good, by means of the wealth

at thy command ; feeblest, in thy ignorance

of that wealth's high uses ! To think that I

could stoop to be king of a people who value

money for its own sake, and whose chief

men counsel treachery ! Was it for this

that thy prophet -poets of old heralded thy

restoration ! Not until thou hast exchanged

thy father Jacob as thy type, for that nobler

exemplar, even the Son whom, while rejected

\ of thee, all other nations revere, wilt thou

I become in truth a People chosen and blessed."

And when morning came, and the cool

stars overhead melted away and vanished in

BY AND BY. 225

the hot desert blasts, and the travellers rose
high in search of fresh airs and favouring
currents, Criss again thought of what money
might do to redeem the earth, could its pos-
sessors but consent to the sacrifice ; and how,
under its present misuse, it was little better
than a curse. And a longing came over him
to bury all the wealth of himself and his race
in the sands of the Sahara, in the hope that,
peradventure, such descent Into Hades of the
god Mammon, might be followed by a resur-
rection and ascent to better things for the
whole human race.

A few days later, and the universal press
of the world contained an account of the suc-
cessful expedition of the Federal aerial fleet
to Soudan, and the restoration of the Em-
pire. The rejoicings on the occasion were
described as being of a somewhat novel cha-

'' The young Emperor," they stated, "wish-
ing to impress his subjects with a sense of
the advantages of a higher civilisation than
they have as yet attained, and anxious to lose
no time in improving their condition (for it

VOL. II. 15

226 BY AND BY.

appears that he has developed a hitherto
unsuspected tendency to philanthropy), re-
quested the admiral to signalise his accession
by an exhibition of the destructive powers of
the squadron.

" The admiral, deeming that the expense
of such a demonstration would be amply
compensated by its moral effects, consented,
and was accordingly requested to destroy the
poorest and most unhealthy quarter of the
Bornouse capital. For this comprehensive
measure, the Emperor obtained the consent of
the inhabitants of the district in question, en-
gaging on his part to rebuild and furnish the
doomed quarter in a greatly improved fashion,
and to provide for the population during the

" The proffer was accepted, and an even-
ing fixed for the pyrotechnic demonstration ;
the inhabitants of the doomed district being
first comfortably accommodated in various
barracks and other public buildings. The
admiral then detached a couple of vessels for
the service. These, cruising slowly round and
round over the town within the assigned
limits, at a moderate elevation, dropped at

BY AND BY, 227

short intervals during a period of two or
three hours, shells containing explosives and
combustibles, the native troops being em-
ployed to keep the fire from spreading be-
yond the doomed quarter.

'' The inhabitants seem to have been so
delighted with the spectacle, that there is
some reason to fear that its beauty may have
tended to counteract the wholesome impres-
sion intended to be produced, and that an
attack on the w^hite settlers will henceforth
be considered a cheap price for such a dis-
play of fireworks. A subsequent examina-
tion showed that not only was every street
and building, no matter what the strength of
its construction, utterly destroyed, but the
very foundations on which they stood were
ploughed and dug up by the bursting of the
shells after they had buried themselves in
the earth.

*' It is rumoured that the sudden collapse
of the revolution, and restoration of the Em-
pire, have been achieved under British in-
tiuence, and accompanied by some very ex-
traordinary circumstances. However this
may be, we trust that the spirit shown by the

IS — 2

228 BY AND BY.

young ruler, and the good understanding sub-
sisting between him and his people, will be
productive of the happiest results to the
country at large.

" The Federal fleet has since returned





-^ HE commencement of the reign of
the new Emperor of Soudan was
contemporaneous with three notable
events in Europe. The first con-
cerned France.

After oscillating for centuries between a
rule founded upon the ignorance of its
peasant masses, namely, the rule of a priest-
hood that fostered and throve upon that
ignorance ; and a rule emanating from and
sustained by the enlightened and naturally
impatient denizens of its towns and cities, —
France at length found at her head one who,
while inheriting the most celebrated name in
her historic roll, possessed also the Con-
science, through the lack of which his an-
cestors had failed to secure stability for their
dynasty and nation.

232 BY AND BY.

A Napoleon had now arisen, who had the
courage to follow an English example, and
adopt the only method that could free his
country from the evil which had led to all Its
misfortunes. Seeing that a Henry VIII.
was as necessary to complete the Emancipa-
tion of France as it had been to commence
the Reformation of England, this prince deter-
mined to play such a part. It is owing to
this determination, and the success with which
it was carried into execution, that the Gallican
Church is now independent of the Papacy, its
priests deriving all their honours and emolu-
ments directly from the head of the State,
with liberty to marry, and be as other
citizens in interest and heart. But this is
not all. The race of the Napoleons has
never been an altogether unselfish one. The
example of England and his own perceptions
convinced the French ruler that there could
be no element of permanency in a State the
bulk of whose citizens were too ignorant to
comprehend the obligations of citizenship.
It was not enough that Napoleon had set the
church free from Rome ; he must also set the
people free from the church. The second

BY AND BY. 233

feat was harder of execution than the first.
It might suit the priests to hold their func-
tions and benefices from a home instead of
from a foreign authority ; but it assuredly
would not suit them to lose their own autho-
rity over their people. They declared them-
selves content with the change already
made, and which, following English prece-
dents, they called the Reformation. But the
government was firm in its resolve not to
remain behind its great neighbour in respect
of that which had been the chief agent of her
greatness. France must follow England in
having an Emancipation as well as a Re-
formation. The National Church must
identify itself with the National School, and
the teaching in both must aim at the free
development of the understanding and the
conscience. This, as we know, involved the
substitution of evidence and utility for authority
and tradition, as the basis of all education.

I need not dwell upon the despair of the
French priests in presence of the necessity
thus forced upon them of going to school again
to unlearn all their old habits and ideas. The
Government was firm with them, but it was


ider. Time was allowed. The old ones
were pensioned off. The younger adapted
themselves to the new regime. And so it
has come that France now at length sees her
youngest generations growing up in the en-
joyment of their rational faculties rationally
developed, and her institutions endowed with
a stability they have never before known.
I Under an educational regime which re-
. pudiates all dogmatic teaching in favour of
/ j that of experience, her ancient race of Com-
j I munistic Doctrinaires have learnt to regard
security of individual property as the first
essential of civilisation. In short, France
has, through the education of her people,
passed out of what geologists would call the
catastrophic era, into the era of gradual evo-
lution, long ago entered upon by the Anglo-
Teutonic races, and to be adopted finally, as
we shall see, even by the dark-skinned Tu-
ranians of Central Africa.

But France was not the last of the Celtic
race to tread the inevitable path of modern
civilisation. Ireland remained. And it is to
Ireland that the second notable event of this
period relates. It was a co-ordinate of the

BY AND BY. 235

event just described as occurring in France.
Kindred alike in race and religion with
France, Ireland could not remain uninfluenced
by the progress of that country. Ireland suf-
fered France to do for her what she had
persistently refused to accept from England.
The essential basis of all modern civilisation
consists, as cannot too often be repeated, in
the early development of the popular intelli-
gence. Ireland, preferring the priest to the
schoolmaster, had kept her people in the
same condition of ignorance as the peasantry
of France. France emancipated, and her
people educated, Ireland must not lag

But Ireland had not, like France, a strong
ruler to urge her onward. It had long been
the policy of England to let Ireland do as
she pleased, provided only she remained in
close political alliance with her. Ireland
might emancipate herself, and England would
rejoice thereat, but could not help her. So
invincible were the antaisfonisms of race and
religion ; so strong England's sense of justice
and respect for the individuality of peoples.

It was in accordance with the inveterate

236 jBV and by,

papalism of the Irish character, that even the
" Protestant" church of that country was
constituted. A once famous EnorHsh states-
man, having acquired power by the popular
sympathies which distinguished one side of
his mind, used it for the gratification of the
ecclesiastical tendencies which had possession
of his other side. Availing himself of a
period of dissatisfaction with the then existing
state of the Irish branch of the National
Church, he declined to wait until the public
mind should be fairly enlightened, and took
advantage of a political crisis to detach that
branch altogether from the nation, and erect
it into a sect, endowing it at the same time
with a large portion of the National Church
property. Thus, deprived of the fund and
organisation set apart by the providence of
previous generations for promoting the
highest welfare of its whole people, and
handed over almost helpless to the two great
religious parties which divided nearly the
whole country between them, the progress of
Ireland was for centuries put back. Her sole
hope lay in the system of national education,
which the British Government had already

BY AND BY. 237

set in operation ; a sorry reed to lean upon,
when the two dominant parties of Catholic
and Protestant Episcopalians, as they were
uncouthly denominated, were equally opposed
to the development of the popular mind
apart from ecclesiastical traditions, and one
of them could bring to bear against such
development the wealth of the national estab-
lishment, with which it had been so unfairly

Spain, influenced by emancipated Italy,
had long been free, and her people educated.
France and Ireland alone of European
peoples remained beneath the shadow of the
Dark Age. The former having now emerged,
the latter ventured timidly to set her foot on
the path of human progress.

Her leading sons said —

" Let us amalgamate the resources of all
the religious sects whose principles and di-
visions have so long ministered to our hin-
drance. Let us set ourselves free from the
trammels of tradition, by remodelling the
churches upon the basis of the school, so that
we too, like Italy, like Spain, like France, aye,
and like England, may have one all-compre-

238 BY AND BY.

hending national organisation, devoted to the
promotion of our highest welfare, intellectual,
moral, and spiritual ; and constituting at once
the national church and national school system
of Ireland."

They could not say like America also.
America never has possessed a national
church which she could turn to account in de-
veloping the national mind. Her young, it
is true, come, as a matter of course, under the
beneficial influence of an education provided
by the State on a broad basis ; but, leaving
school early, as her children almost Invariably
do, they find no high standard of knowledge
and thought to sustain them in after life ; so
that America Is still, so far as regards the
general education and sentiment of her people,
behind the European standard. Her own
people, however, say that It Is because they
have so much land to look after, in com-
parison with other peoples. This may to
some extent account for the defect. Too
much of Earth Is apt to be an impediment
to the cultivation of the higher nature, which
regards the heaven of the Ideal.

BY AND BY. 239

The third notable event of this time took
place, not upon the arena of nations, but in a
chamber in the Triangle. It was a consul-
tation between Christmas Carol and Lord
Avenil on the subject of the trigonometrical
survey of Central Africa, which was being
made by the Emperor of Soudan, at the in-
stance of his cousin.

The two former events were in no way
connected with our story. They are referred
to only for the purpose of illustrating the
condition of Europe as compared with that
of its comparatively barbarous neighbour.
Europe, freed from pressure of physical cir- r
cumstance, could devote herself to matters
of high moral import ; while Africa, as the
event last named shows, was still concerned
with the material elements affecting her future
welfare. In short, much in the same way
that a tribe of savages now existing in one
part of the world, represents the former con-
dition of civilised races now existing in other
parts, so Soudan represented for us very much
the condition in which we were at a time not
long previous to the Victorian era.

The survey in question was sufficiently

240 BY AND BY.

complete to demonstrate the feasibility of an
idea which had occurred to Criss. As it was
a practical idea, and one promising vast ma-
terial results, it was adopted with alacrity by
Avenil. To his own surprise and delight,
Avenil found himself admiring a vast concep-
tion, and encouraging a vast project, that
conception and that project having originated
with his dreamy idealistic ward. As with all
vast projects, it would, probably, for some
time have remained a project, had not special
circumstances occurred to hasten it into re-

A terrible plague broke out in Soudan,
ravaging in particular the plains which ex-
tend from Lake Tchad to the mountains, and
not sparing the white settlers on the hill
sides. The plague was caused by an extra-
ordinary overflow of the lake and its tribu-
taries, which kept the surrounding country in
the condition of a swamp for a much longer
period than was usual. The overflow and
the plague were the circumstances which,
hastened the execution of Criss's • project.
This project itself was nothing less than the

BY AND BY. 241

draining of the Plateau, by converting the
river Shary, the main feeder of the lake, and
the lake itself, into a regular well-ordered
navigable water-system, which should dis-
charge itself into the Sahara, and either by
the deposit of its sediment there form a
new delta, akin to that of Egypt, or flow, a
continuous river, to the sea.

On the breaking out of the plague, Criss,
ever on the watch for an opportunity of being
useful, had gathered a powerful staff of doc-
tors, and transported them by aerial transit,
with all the appliances of their art, to the
afflicted region. As the disease contained
symptoms which were new, some little time
elapsed before the precise nature of its essen-
tial poison was ascertained and the antidote
found. When at length the doctors were
able to work with good effect, myriads had
fallen, and among them the whole family of
the Hazeltines, Nannie's relations. Nannie
herself escaped unharmed. Utterly forlorn,
she accepted Criss's offer of a home with his
friends in London, until at least her father
could be communicated with. She was, ac-
cordingly, brought over, at Criss's instance,

VOL. II. 16

242 BY AND BY.

by Bertie Greathead, and consigned to the
care of the Miss Avenils, while Criss re-
mained at his post of benevolence in Central

Actuated by Criss's influence and example,

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Online LibraryEdward MaitlandBy and by : an historical romance of the future (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 14)