Edward Maitland.

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admiral (for owing to Avenil's sagacious
intervention, and powerful interest, Bertie
was indeed there). '' Bless the boy ! what
does it all mean ? I know he left the prince
at Jerusalem yesterday morning. Can they
be trying to deceive us ? Yet this is his
writing, sure enough."

" Who is he f" asked the admiral.

" A difficult question to answer all at once,"
replied Bertie. " For the last twenty-one
years he has occupied the position of ward
to Lord Avenil and myself ; and now having
come to his fortune, he is looking for an in-
vestment for it."

*' Laree ?" asked the admiral, who de-
lighted in the laconic, and spoke as if his
habit of navigating the air had made him
short of wind : so reluctant is professional
mannerism to yield to the advance of civili-

" Millions," replied Bertie, unconsciously
adopting the admiral's style ; and in his
desire to win credit for Criss, totally forget-
ting his pledge of secrecy.

" What has he to do with these people ?"

BY AND BY. 171

** Has friends here, and came to save

''All by himself?" said the admiral, with
an incredulous air.

" But for him we should probably have
been too late."

"We should have taken ample revenge^

'' So that he has saved the city as well as
the settlers."

** Humph," said the admiral.

" Please, sir," said an officer , entering, " a
visitor has called to see the officer command-
ing the expedition."

It was Criss, who, seeing the fleet resting
over the city, had steered straight for the
admiral's car. Havinor attached his own to
it, he came on board.

" Mr. Carol, my late ward," said Bertie,
introducing him.

" Glad to see you, sir," said the admiral.
*' Can you throw any light on this docu-
ment ? What do these people mean by tJic
prince f

" They mean me," said Criss, smiling ; and
he briefly related the circumstances under

172 BY AXD BY.

which the threatened outrage had been
averted, and the dynasty restored.

" You have got yourself into a mess, young
gentleman," said the admiral, when he had

" Not a bit of it," said Bertie, somewhat
brusquely, and to the admiral's surprise, for
he was not used to being contradicted, least
of all in his own fashion and on board his
own vessel, and he did not like it. But
Bertie, gentle and patient as he was, would
not brook the least snub to Criss.

" How can anyone be in a mess," he asked,
" when he can fly away to the ends of the
earth, without a possibility of being tracked
or overtaken ?"

" I see the difficulty plainly enough," said
Criss ; '' but it is in your power, admiral, and
Bertie's, if he will join, to set things right."

"How so ? I am not here to meddle
with local politics," said the admiral, who
entertained considerable respect for Criss's
millions. '' I have nothing to do with re-
storing dynasties, or changing governments
for the folks here. That is their own affair.
But I must send an answer down. How

BY AND BY. 173

do I know that the foreign residents are
safe ?"

*' I have just left them returning to their
homes untouched," replied Criss, " having
first seen the troops in the trains, and on
their way back."

*' You have done excellently well," said the
admiral ; '' but it will not do for me to to
home and say I have been told such and such
things. I must report on my own authority."

'' Then leave part of your force here ; at
least until the troops have returned, and go
with another part to the hills, and visit the
settlers yourself," suggested Criss.

" And how about the mock prince ? Be-
sides, I must exact guarantees for the future."

'' Let us get the true prince over, and he
will give them to you."

" By Jove !" exclaimed the admiral, un-
consciously illustrating by his choice of an
adjuration, the marvellous vitality of the
ancient Pagan theism.

*' But they suppose him to be already here,"
remarked Bertie ; " and will probably be ex-
asperated on discovering their mistake."

'' Why need they discover it ?" said Criss.

174 B\ AND BY.

" Admiral, what do you think of this plan ?
That you go and visit all the settlements,
taking three or four days about it, and letting
the authorities here suppose that the prince
has accompanied you. And in the mean-
time Bertie and I will go to Jerusalem and
fetch the prince, and put him on board of
you, before he assumes the throne."

'' Humph," said the admiral ; and taking a
tablet he wrote upon it, and showed them
what he proposed to send down. It was to
the effect that he should leave part of his
force to threaten the city, and send part to
the settlements to inspect the condition of the
foreigners. On its return they would be at
liberty to reconstruct the government. In
the meantime a telegraph to Europe must
be placed at the service of the expedition, for
which purpose he would let down a connect-
ing wire, and mooring tackle.

*' Expedition arrived off Bornou. All well.
Settlers reported safe." This was the first
message sent to relieve anxiety in Europe.

While the admiral was superintending the
€xecution of these details, Criss and Bertie

BY AND BY. 175

conversed together. The matter was one on
which they seemed unable to make up their
minds ; for, addressing the admiral, Bertie
said, —

" Admiral, we want your advice, not pro-
fessionally, but as a man of practical know-
ledge and wisdom. You may, or may not,
know that in this country the prestige of the
crown has long been bound up with its pos-
session of a certain heir-loom, called the
Talisman of Soloinon. It consists of an ex-
ceedingly magnificent set of diamonds and
other gems — crown jewels, in fact, of the
ancient empire of Abyssinia, — whose royal
family, as you doubtless know, claim direct
descent from Solomon, — and now of the
united empires of Abyssinia and Soudan.
I cannot, perhaps, better illustrate the tran-
scendent importance attached in this country
to the possession of this talisman, than by
comparing it to the place formerly occupied
in any country by the sacred books of its
religion ; as, for instance, in our own land,
prior to the Emancipation, by the Bible. We
now hold the Bible to be of such high intrinsic
value as to be incapable of gaining in prestige

176 BY AND BY.

by being converted into a Fetich. It is the
same with these jewels, only the people here
are still ignorant and superstitious, and so
think more of traditions and sorceries than
of any intrinsic worth and beauty.

" Well, the Talisman of Solomon has been
believed to be lost. The prince himself sup-
poses it lost, and mistrusts the stability of his
throne for want of it. Thus he may, when
it comes to the point, hesitate to trust him-
self back in the country. My young friend
here, however, has pledged himself to the
people to bring back not only the prince, but
also the crown jewels, provided the dynasty
be restored. We have agreed to go and
fetch the prince at once. What do you think
about the jewels ? Is it better that they come
with the prince, or after a certain period ; and
then on condition of the continued good con-
duct both of people and Emperor ?"

Criss could not help smiling at this very
elliptical statement. He was not sure whether
it was by accident or design that Bertie had
made the omission which rendered it utterly

*' It strikes me you are in a second scrape.

BV AND BY, 177

young sir," said the admiral to Criss. " It
is a pity they are lost, for one great blow is
worth any number of successive taps. The
prince's return with the Talisman they think
so much of, would produce far greater effect
than any subsequent proceedings. There is
nothing for it, that I can see, but to postpone
the diamonds until paste ones can be

This ingenious solution of the supposed
difficulty drew hearty laughter from both
Criss and Bertie. The admiral looking sur-
prised, Bertie hastened to explain.

"We are laughing, admiral, at my
stupidity in omitting to mention that, so far
from being really lost, the jewels in question
are safe in England, and actually in posses-
sion of my young friend here. How they
came so, is too long a story to be told now.
No, the question is, whether we shall let
them remain there for the present, or tele-
graph for them to be sent to meet us and the
prince at Jerusalem, and then bring them on
with us."

The admiral was too stupefied with
astonishment to be able to make a sugges-

VOL. II. 12

178 BY AND BY.

tion. The point was finally settled by Criss's
remarking, —

" I am thinking that I ought to have some
guarantee for the good conduct of the prince,
as well as you for that of the people. So I
have made up my mind to retain possession
of the jewels for the present, and make their
return conditional. I shall fix his coronation
for the anniversary of his accession, and if I
am satisfied with him, let him wear them for
the first time on that occasion."

'' Well, gentlemen," said the admiral, " I
remember reading the Arabian Nights in my
youth ; but I do not remember that the Genii
who played with kingdoms ever took the form
of a young man of twenty-one. Supposing,
however, that I am not in an Arabian Night
at this moment, and that everything about
me is real and genuine, I can only say that
the last notion strikes me as an exceedingly
sensible one. When one has a hold on great
people, as you seem to have on this prince, it
is well to keep it. That settled, there is no
longer any cause for delaying your start. I
presume you feel confident he will consent to
return with you ? If he does not, you must
lose no time in telegraphing the fact to me,

BY AND BY. 179

that the return of the fleet be not needlessly

'' What do you think," asked Bertie, '' of
lending us an escort, Admiral ?"

" Impossible, without leave from home ;
and Jerusalem is about the last place with
which the Council would run the risk of
having a misunderstanding. Besides, you must
not lose time ; and my heavily armed craft do
not sacrifice everything to speed. I shall
not, however, hesitate to take upon myself
the responsibility of granting you, Mr.
Greathead, the leave of absence needful to
enable you to quit the fleet. And when the
prince returns, with the approbation of the
country, I shall be happy to join in any de-
monstration that may both serve as a compli-
ment and mark the termination of a success-
ful mission."

So Criss and Bertie set off, Criss in his
favourite Ariel, and Bertie in his more capa-
cious vessel, for Jerusalem, Bertie being fur-
nished with a formal document, granting him
leave of absence from the expedition for one
week in the interests of the foreign settlers in

12 — 2


HE Prince desired, before returning
to occupy the throne of his an-
cestors, to fulfil an appointment he
had made with the Soudan Bond-
holders' Committee of the puissant Stock
Exchange of Jerusalem. Between the fears
entertained by these of a total repudiation of
the debt, and the desires of his countrymen
to be relieved of the burden of its interest, he
hoped to effect a compromise agreeable to
both parties.

Criss readily agreed to the delay of a day,,
or even two, before returning, as he was
anxious to visit Damascus and the Lebanon
in order to ascertain some particulars about
his family. Bertie accompanied him on this
quest, but before quitting Jerusalem, they

BY AND BY. i8i

consulted a solicitor respecting the laws of
inheritance and abandoned property.

The solicitor perfectly remembered the
fact of the disappearance of the old merchant
and his family from the country, and said that
the property thus left without a claimant
would remain in the custody of the local
authorities for twenty-one years, at the ex-
piration of which it would be sold, and the
proceeds applied to the public use. These,
however, were liable to be reclaimed by the
natural heirs at any time during a further
period of twenty-one years.

" The twenty-one years," he said, referring
to a register, '' since the disappearance to
which you refer took place, have quite re-
cently expired. You will probably find,
therefore, that the houses in question are at
this moment being inspected and cleared, in
order to be taken possession of by some in-
coming purchaser. Property in this country
is too valuable to be long left idle."

It was not without considerable emotion
that Criss found himself at length about to
visit the home of his mother. Of her un-
happy fate there was no room for doubt. But

i82 BY AND BY.

he did not know whether his father was living.
If he were, Criss thought, surely he would
put in a claim for the property of his wife's
father. If he had not done so, surely the
fact might be accepted as an assurance of his

On enquiring in the proper quarter, Criss
found that shortly after the disappearance an
attempt had been made to obtain possession
of the property in question. It had been
done through an agent, who had kept the
name of his principal a profound secret.
The attempt had failed, owing, it was sup-
posed, to the inability of the applicant to
prove himself legally entitled to the succes-
sion, for the claim had never been renewed.

The story told by Bertie before the local
court in Damascus created extraordinary in-
terest. Many of the older members declared
that they perceived a strong resemblance be-
tween the young man and the members of
the lost family. The case could not be finally
decided at once, but in consideration of all
the circumstances, and upon securities being
given for the restitution of the property in
the event of the claim being ultimately dis-

BY AND BY. 185

allowed, Criss was permitted to take posses-
sion of all documents and other movables
found in the houses.

These articles, therefore, were put into the
train (for this excursion had been made by
railroad), and taken to the hotel in Jerusalem,
where Criss and Bertie spent a great part of
the night in examining and deciphering their

The result of the interview between the
Committee and the Prince had been unsatis-
factory, owing to the inability of the latter to
give any confirmation of the intelligence upon
which he had relied to influence their decision.
The telegraph between Bornou and Jerusa-
lem had been stopped by the revolutionary-
chiefs, and the Jews knew that such a result
as the restoration of the Empire did not
come within the scope of the Federal Expe-
dition. In common with the rest of the
world, they had learnt the news of the safety
of the settlers. But the Prince did not deem
himself justified in revealing at present the
grounds of his expectation of a speedy and
happy restoration.

He himself, in relating all this to his two

1 84 BY AND BY.

friends, ascribed much of his difficulty with the
Board to the hostility of one of its members,
who seemed to have a personal feeling against
him and his cause. This was the President,
a man of vast repute for commercial sagacity,
not famous for scrupulousness, and believed
to be mainly of Greek origin, though natural-
ised as a citizen of Jerusalem.

In answer to a taunt from this personage,
the Prince had requested an adjournment of
the Conference, until the following afternoon,
in order that he might consult with his friends
as to the expediency of placing the Com-
mittee in possession of further information.

The result of the previous day's conference
had been to excite immense interest respect-
ing the affairs of Soudan. The confident
tone and bearing of the fugitive Prince, had
produced a profound impression on the Board,
although its members had studiously con-
cealed the feeling from him. His positive
assertions that his father Avas dead ; that the
throne was awaiting his acceptance ; and that
the indispensable Talisman had survived one
more startling chance, and would be forth-

BY AND BY. 185

coming on his coronation, had excited the
curiosit}^ of the milHonaires of Jerusalem to
the highest pitch ; and it needed only the
notification which the Prince sent them after
again seeing Criss and Bertie, that he would
produce his authorities, to fill the Great Salon
in the Hall of Commerce with an attendance

The question for the money-kings of Israel,
whose fortunes were to a great extent in-
volved in the stability of Soudan, was whether
the Prince should be regarded as virtually
Emperor, and entitled to their highest con-
sideration, or whether he should be regarded
as a penniless fugitive, and the dupe of un-
principled adventurers.

The Stock Exchange of Jerusalem — a new
and magnificent building — stands upon the
site once occupied by the famous Temple of
Solomon, and subsequently by the Mosque of
Omar. The arrangements of the salon are
such as to give it the aspect of a court
for state trials. The place assigned to the
Appellant, as persons holding the Prince's
relation to the Committee are styled, is a

1 86 BY AND BY,

small, Isolated stage, situated opposite the
centre of a vast semi-circular platform, but at
a somewhat lower level.

On this platform sat the Committee and a
large assemblage of the principal members of
the Stock Exchange, the heads of all the
ofreat mercantile houses, and the oroverninof
chiefs of the Jewish people. It was an as-
sembly representative of the world's wealth
of accumulated industry and realised property ;
an assembly transcending in mere money-
power that of any government on the face
of the earth.

The meeting was only so far not public, in
that the reporters of the press were not ad-
mitted in their recognised capacity. But that
the press did not lack competent representa-
tives on this occasion may be seen by the
report of the conference contained In the fol-
lowing chapter, which appeared the same
evening in a special late edition of the Zion










Zion Herald Office, lo p.m.
E doubt whether, since the days of
Hezekiah, when the Assyrian emis-
sary Rabshekah held his memor-
able interview with " the men that
sat on the wall," Jerusalem has witnessed a

j88 by and by.

more remarkable meeting than that which
took place this afternoon in the Hall of Com-
merce. Certainly the only event of modern
times which can parallel it in interest is that
of the Restoration itself. We have kept our
readers so well posted in the affairs of Central
Africa, that we need not waste their time and
ours in recapitulating the situation of which
to-day's occurrences are the climax.

It will be remembered that on the breaking
out of the revolt, the Emperor Theodoros
disappeared, together — in point of time, at
least — with the crown jewels, which are
reckoned the palladium of the country ; and
that his son and heir, the Imperial Prince of
Abyssinia, took refuge in this city. Our re-
port of yesterday's meeting of the Soudan
Bondholders' Committee, conveyed to our
readers the startling change in the demeanour
of the Prince, who, for reasons entirely un-
known to them, had suddenly exchanged his
role of suppliant for that of dictator.

The meeting was scarcely less remarkable
for the number and standing of the persons
who attended it, than for the singularity of
the events which it witnessed. Among those

BY AND B\. 189

present were the heads of all our great mer-
cantile and banking houses, numerous mem-
bers of the Sanhedrim, including the vener-
able chief of that august body, the repre-
sentatives of the allied provinces of Persia,
Arabia, and the Euphrates, and nearly all the
foreign ministers accredited to the Jewish
Government. The predominant expectation
was that the Prince would fail utterly to show
ground for the new position he had taken up,
and the betting was accordingly against him.

On entering the salon, which was already
crowded, we found the Prince with two other
foreign gentlemen, one somewhat past middle
age, the other considerably younger, sitting
in the appellant's box, awaiting the com-
mencement of the interpellations. These
began by the president of the committee, who
is also president of the Stock Exchange, ad-
dressing the Prince, saying that the Board
readily acknowledged his status as heir to the
throne of Soudan, and sympathised in his
misfortunes ; but that before admitting his
right to represent that country by entering
into business-relations with its creditors, they
must have sufficient ground for believing, first,


that the Emperor, his father, was dead ; and,
secondly, that the country acknowledged him
as successor to the crown.

Here the Prince rose and, bowing with
dignity, repHed that he was now prepared to
afford the Court the same information that he
himself possessed. He would first, therefore,
present to them his friend Mr. Carol, of Lon-
don, and request him to state what he knew
of the late Emperor's death.

The young man whom we have mentioned
as sitting beside the Prince, then rose and
stated that he was ready to answer any ques-
tion affecting the matter before the Court, but
should reserve to himself the right to be silent
respecting matters which were private to him-
self — a reservation at which the President
very visibly arched his eyebrows ; while the
Prince himself appeared somewhat surprised,
not to say disconcerted. The elder stranger,
however, unmistakably betrayed his amuse-
ment by a smile, and a glance at his com-
panion, which was easily interpretable as sig-
nifying, " Well, you are a cool hand, young
sir." As the sequel proved, the occurrence
formed no exception to the maxim contained

BY AND BY. 191

in our Jerusalem Normal-school copybooks,

*' It is easy to be self-possessed in the
presence of millionnaires, ^uhen one kappejis to
be a millionnaire oneself!'

" We will endeavour to respect the reserva-
tion," said the President, with the formal
courtesy of the man of the world w^ho knows
the value of such a demeanour. '' The Prince
has described you as his friend. We will not,
for the present at least, dispute the satis-
factoriness of his voucher. Pray, then, be
so good as to state the circumstances which
are within your own knowledge respecting
the death of the late Emperor of Soudan."

The young man then proceeded to narrate,
in a manner so simple and voice so touching
as to win all hearts, how that about the mid-
dle of last month, while returning from a visit
in Central Africa to keep his birthday with
his friends in England, and travelling as he
was accustomed, by himself, in an aerial car,
he passed over the Bornouse capital while the
insurrection was in full progress and the royal
palace in flames. That continuing his way
without touching ground, he chanced, while

192 BY AND BY.

traversing the Sahara at a very low altitude,
to hear a sound as of some one in pain ;
and on alighting, found a disabled flying
machine of old-fashioned construction, whose
sole occupant was a wounded man. That
he carried with him to Algiers this man, who
must otherwise have perished in the desert,
and deposited him with a surgeon, and would
have remained by him to the last had not his
duties required his presence in England. He
had, therefore, after remaining in Algiers a
couple of days, committed him specially to the
care of the British Minister, intending to re-
turn to Algiers with all speed. That this
intention was frustrated, as on Christmas eve
a special messenger came from the Minister,
stating that the man he had rescued from the
desert had died of his wounds, and bearing a
packet with a written communication, which
made it absolutely certain that he who had
been thus picked up, was no other than the
unfortunate Emperor of Central Africa.

This statement was received with profound
astonishment by the Court ; but, what seemed
most curious, by no one was it received with
such evident surprise as by the Prince him-

BY AND BY. 193

self. It was clear that even with him his
friend had made certain '' reservations," and
that he was now for the first time learning the
particulars of his father's death.

" May we be made acquainted more fully
with the nature of the communication to which
you refer ?" asked the President.

" Its main purport," replied the young
Englishman, " was to thank me for my ser-
vices in his behalf, and to commend his son
to my friendship. The original is in London

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Online LibraryEdward MaitlandBy and by : an historical romance of the future (Volume 2) → online text (page 8 of 14)