Copyright
Thomas Barclay.

The sands of fate; dramatised study of an imperial conscience, a phantasy online

. (page 10 of 11)
Online LibraryThomas BarclayThe sands of fate; dramatised study of an imperial conscience, a phantasy → online text (page 10 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


tried to typify German culture. You know how,
in the face of discouraging prophecy and even in-
sult, I fought the battle of science against philos-
ophy and learning; how I succeeded in raising
the polytechnics of Germany to their present tran-
scendent position; how I have ent:ouraged scien-
tific research; how, in the teeth of the Senatuses
of our universities, of officialdom, and all the silly
routine of German old-fogeyism, I placed Profes-



II.] In Gremio Deorum 219

sor Wilhelm von Jasmar at the head of the greatest
chemical institute the world has ever seen. Nor do
you forget it is I who persuaded the rich men of
Germany to subscribe the largest sums ever col-
lected for educational purposes. Nor have you for-
gotten the howl of the intellectual wolves who
thought their loyal services made them the equals
of genius.

I have always sought to put the right man In the
right place. What was Jasmar doing when I took
him by the hand? He was earning a precarious
livelihood by odd jobs — he, our greatest chemist,
doing work any public water-inspector could do,
jeopardising even his scientific reputation because
he had to earn private fees for a living. Gentlemen,
it was a disgrace to the country, and I thank God
that I had the initiative to see that he was as much
a part of our national wealth as our mineral re-
sources. If we had been like the English, we should
have sterilised Jasmar in some post where any fool
would have done just as well. {With emphasis.)
Chemistry, gentlemen, has made Germany. I am
going to found a new vast chemical institute. The
cost of one of our useless dreadnoughts will pay for
it. Another Jasmar shall be the head of it, and
we '11 conquer the whole world again with chemistry.
Chemistry, as much as electricity, is a weapon of
the future. And don't think, gentlemen, that I
mean weapons of war. I mean the peaceful weapons
with which German trade and German industry
and German science had gained their ascendancy
before the War.



220 The Sands of Fate [n.

We have been accused of being a nation of spies.
Gentlemen, every man who crosses the national
frontier should be a spy for knowledge if he is a
genuine patriot. And I intend to develop the Geo-
graphical Institute at Gotha into a still more effi-
cient centralisation of geographical knowledge of
every kind. The miniature of the whole world shall
be reproduced there, and every German shall be
proud to see his mite of knowledge duly classed and
reproduced on maps ten times more vast and more
useful than even at present. The English are prom-
ising themselves a geographical institute, but we
are thousands of miles ahead of them already, and,
generous as the English are to hospitals and chari-
ties, they are the most niggardly people on the face
of the earth when the endowment of research is
concerned, and yet, gentlemen, what can charity
do alongside the immensity of the social ramifica-
tions benefited by additions to science and dis-
covery f

There are many men in this land of ours still
vegetating in the struggle for life who are capa-
ble of rendering transcendent service to their coun-
try. I shall drag them out of their holes. For,
gentlemen, the genius of a nation is its greatest
asset. We must seek for it as we seek for its mines.
Germany's ideal has hitherto been a cornfield in
which the minimum of root and maximum of ear
are achieved by artificial and scientific methods.
You can't raise genius in rows and furrows. I see
that now, and that the rooting out of the tares may
be the destruction of what is the most precious of
Its growths.



n.] In Gremio Deorum 221

If I have dwelt on these projects for the future,
it is because I wish you, gentlemen, to see that I
can speak in the same frank spirit to you as you
have done to me. We have a joint trust to fulfil
and a joint task to perform. We must put our heads
together and see how we can best fulfil and per-
form them.

I thank you for your suggestions respecting the
Constitution. May I ask if you have them in
writing ?

[The Court Chamberlain touches a button
on the wall. Dr. Kaempf, steppi7ig for-
ward, hands the Kaiser a scroll tied in
black silk ribbon. The Kaiser takes it and,
bowing to Dr. Kaempf and the deputation,
turns; the doors are thrown open, the Hal-
BARDiERS take up their posts on either side,
and the Kaiser walks out.

Court Chamberlain
Gentlemen, you will find refreshments and cigars
in the adjoining room.

[Most of the deputation follow the Court
Chamberlain. Dr. Kaempf and two
members remain behind.

Dr. Kaempf

I don't know what to think. We shall have to
issue some statement. His Majesty is quite uncon-
scious of the danger. He can't understand that his
subjects should want something besides prosperity,
a good administration, and clean streets. He does
not realise that his old professional army is prac-



222 The Sands of Fate [n.

tically gone, and that the army now in the field is
one of citizen officers, who can't be counted on to
shoot down their fellow-citizens.

First Member of Reichstag

He made a tactical mistake in striking out the
Social-Democrat names.

[Nods of assent — a pause.

Dr. Kaempf

I don't expect His Majesty to yield, anyhow, till
things are worse. {Distant cadenced shouts.) What 's
that.? {Listening — shots — then a volley.)

Second Member of Reichstag

It's the Elberf elder — Good God!

[All pour from the adjoining room and rush
to the door.

Enter Officer and four soldiers.

Officer
Gentlemen, you are under arrest.

Dr. Kaempf
But we are immune from arrest.

Officer

I can't help my orders, Sir. In the adjoining room
you will await His Majesty's pleasure.

[All file hack into the adjoining room. The
officer turns the key, and, followed by his
men, goes out himself.

curtain



ACT III

Kaiser's study. Von Etting, The Professor.

Enter Ballin.

Professor
Well, what is the crowd Hke?

Ballin

Difficult to say. I am going back in a few min-
utes. What's the programme?

Von Etting

His Majesty has prepared a speech. The Pro-
fessor knows more about it than I do. I 'm maid-
of-all-work, you know.

Ballin

Anyhow, the slaughter is going to stop.

Professor

Yes, but now the real war begins — the war of
brains against brains. Hitherto we have had a mere
war of the brute in man. The brute has failed, as
the brute has always failed to do more than eat and
drink and destroy. It Is not the brute In man which
has added aught to the progress and thought and
beauty of the world. His work has been uniformly
destruction. What has the war to show as its



224 The Sands of Fate [m.

achievement? Nothing but the charred remains of
the achievements of artists and builders, the broken
hearts of women, bereaved famiHes of fatherless
children. Glory! What glory is there in such an
achievement as that? Compare with it the master-
pieces of human genius destroyed. And now the
brute in man is to subside for a time, and the war
of wits is to begin. And whether the ignorant blind-
lings, ambitious politicians, and unscrupulous ad-
venturers who engineered the War have obtained
satisfaction or not, the real war, the war which is
to emancipate Europe for a time from their man-
oeuvres, now begins. It is round the green baize
that the fate of nations and peoples will be decided,
and all the War will have been in vain.

Ballin

Yes; yet the great shipping companies have to
cut rates and do other acts of hostility before they
settle down to a conference.

Professor

That's what France and the United States and
Italy and Switzerland did with their customs duties,
till they came to terms. But even that was only
because they were not wise enough to count the
cost. {Em'phatically.) But they did not sink each
other's ships and destroy ten millions of the youth
of the world.

Ballin

Oh, I am not defending war of any kind, even
tariff war — so you need n't be so emphatic.



in.] In Gremio Deorum 225

Professor

The war of wits may take almost as long as the
brute war, and I believe will be nearly as futile,
because there are too many conflicting interests for
all of them to receive satisfaction.

Ballin
That's what Biilow has said all along.-

PROFESSOR

His Majesty never appreciated Biilow till now,
because they are the distance of the poles asunder.
The one is as impatient and impetuous as the other
is cautious and cold-blooded.

Von Etting

A wonderful change has come over His Majesty.
If you want to go back into the crowd, gentle-
men, you had better go at once. As soon as it
reaches certain dimensions, the gates will be
closed.

[Exeunt the Professor and Ballin, salut-
ing. Noises in the streets, increasing shouts^
shrill voices of women, and more shouting.
VoN Etting closes the shutters in haste.

Enter the Kaiser.

Kaiser

Why have you closed the shutters ?

VoN Etting
I thought Your Majesty would prefer not to hear.



226 The Sands of Fate [m.

Kaiser

Quite the contrary, Etting. Fetch Her Majesty.
[Exit Von Etting. The Kaiser walks up
and down the room, and takes out a scroll
and looks at it from time to time. It is ap-
parent he is memorising a speech. Enter
the Kaiserin followed by Von Etting.
The Kaiser kisses her hand.
I sent for you to hear the speech I am going to
dehver from the balcony.

Kaiserin

Oh, William, you can't go on to the balcony with
that angry crowd below !

Kaiser

My mind's made up. Etting, is the Chancellor
downstairs ?

VoN Etting
Yes, Sir.

Kaiser
Tell him I want to see him at once.

[Exit Von Etting.
I want him to read you my speech before I de-
liver it. I may tell you, dear, he and the Professor
have advised me to make it. The Professor wrote
it out — I can't write. My hand trembles as if it
were the palsied fist of an old man. The respon-
sibility has been too great for me. Besides, I can
only exist in fresh air now.

[Opening the shutters and windows wide.
Noise again becomes audible. Shouts and
shrill voices.



in.] In Gremio Deorum 227

Enter the Chancellor.
Billow, read the speech to the Kaiserin.

Kaiserin
Don't you think Willie ought to hear it?

Kaiser

Yes, quite right. Where is he.? Etting, telephone!

[Von Etting takes receiver.

Von Etting

Excellency von Etting. His Imperial Highness
gone out in plain clothes.? Where.? Don't know.?

Kaiserin
Oh, William, I hope there's nothing wrong!

Kaiser

Probably on his way here. He could n't have
gone into the crowd in uniform. The police know
him all right. Etting, go and enquire. {Exit Von
Etting.) What sort of crowd is it, Biilow.?

Chancellor

Threatening, but unarmed, and the guard and
the police are all loyal. I have had all the other
troops sent out of town. So there is no danger of
bloodshed.

Enter Von Etting.

Kaiser
Well?



228 The Sands of Fate [m.

Von Etting

His Imperial Highness has not been seen at any
of the entrances.

Kaiser

Well, read it, Biilow, and it can be read to the
Crown Prince again when he does come.

Chancellor {reads)

"When I last addressed you from this bal-
cony I said that if our enemies forced Germany
to draw the sword it would not be returned to
its scabbard without honour.

"The hour of destiny struck. Germany
drew the sword, and if we are now sheathing
it, we are doing so without any abatement of
our glory. Germany has seen ranged against
her, one after another, all the Powers of the
earth, and without wavering she has fought
against these ever-increasing odds.

"We are not beaten. Yet we are farther
than ever from victory.

"This war has been a gigantic object-les-
son in the futility of war. We have experi-
mented with every conceivable engine of de-
struction. We have tried every available
method of intimidation. We have climbed into
the highest reaches of the air and descended
into the bowels of the earth to destroy and
to daunt. We have wrought havoc from the
unseen depths of the ocean. Thousands of
innocent lives and harmless ships have been



III.]



In Gremio Deorum 229



sacrificed — and all this frantic endeavour of
the mental and physical forces of a nation has
only had the effect of passing novelty. Equally
effective counter-effort has uniformly foiled us,
and all our engines of slaughter and devasta-
tion have only served as steps towards more
effective effort on both sides. Intimidation
has only added to the number of pur enemies
and, as for our submarine warfare, It has col-
lapsed, outraced by the enemy's shipyards,
amid the loathing of the brave men who have
had to carry it on and the ridicule of the world.

"War is bankrupt. War can no longer adjust
the differences of mankind. Science has placed
in the hands of friends and foes alike the same
means of destruction.

"Why, then, continue this bloodshed, which
can lead to nothing but further bloodshed till
all the youth of Germany is dead, wounded, or
prisoner In the hands and lands of our enemies ^

"Germany has gone through a terrible trial,
but she has come out of it showing that the
vast majority of the nation have the political
wisdom in time of trial necessary for self-gov-
ernment. The nation needs that self-govern-
ment to toughen still more the bonds of union
this War has forged. I have granted it to my
faithful subjects, and now it will be for the
whole nation to advise me through Its consti-
tutional representatives whether this country
shall have peace or continue the struggle. It
is a stupendous responsibility. I dare not face



230 The Sands of Fate [m.

it alone, and I am thankful to my Ministers
and my Parliament that they are willing to
share it with me.

"Germany will resume her civilian life a
wiser nation, and therefore a better and a
greater one. She has paid for her wisdom, and
the stout hearts of her citizens will do the rest.

"At the outbreak of the War I sent you to
your churches to pray for our gallant armies.
I now ask you to pray for peace, a peace for
centuries to come, a peace not only between
nations, but a peace which will secure us
against bitterness of political faction and strife
within the boundaries of this fair land.

"May God's blessing attend you and me in
this new endeavour to promote the cause of
right and justice, and to secure the emancipa-
tion of humanity from the curses of inter-
national hatred, unscrupulous ambitions, and
the ill-fated delusion that war can ever be
but the sanction of crimes against God and
God's creation."

Kaiser
Well, is that all right.?

Chancellor

I think, with Her Majesty, that His Imperial
Highness should know to what he is pledged.

Kaiser

Listen! Do you hear.^* "The Kaiser! The Kai-
ser!" They are clamouring for me. Biilow, those



III.] In Gremio Deorum 231

are not angry shouts. {Listening.) No, they are
calling for their leader. I must go.

Kaiserin {trying to stop him)
William, I have a presentiment of danger!

Kaiser

Wife, danger is not a reason for disobeying the
call of my people.

Kaiserin
But you are more necessary than ever, William.

Kaiser
You are mistaken.

[The Kaiserin stands back aghast at the Kai-
ser's fierce pallor. Exit the Kaiser with
the Kaiserin. The Chancellor and Von
Etting stand at doorway and listen. The
Kaiser's voice is heard for a few seconds,
then there are several shots and shrieks and
loud voices. The ELaiser staggers in, sup-
ported by the Kaiserin and the Chan-
cellor.

Kaiser

Nothing at all — a mere bruise. I got dizzy. No,
I am not hit; I tottered from dizziness.

Enter Geheimrath Von Schultze.

Von Schultze

Your Majesty will be good enough to He straight
on the floor. {Unbuttoning and feeling him.) It's



232 The Sands of Fate [m.

all right — absolute rest! {Apart to the Chan-
cellor.) There may be one in the muscle of the
arm. If so, it will be stiff in half an hour. {Apart to
the Kaiserin.) Get His Majesty to bed as fast as
possible.

Kj^iser {meanwhile being helped to his feet by Von
Etting and the Chancellor)

Etting! See whom they have arrested. {Exit
Von Etting.) I 'm all right again — a little stiff
in the arm. I fell against the wall. What the devil
did the idiots want to fire at me for? Besides,
Billow, they had no firearms, you said.

Chancellor

They were pistol-shots. But it is not certain that
any were fired at Your Majesty.

Enter Von Etting.

Von Etting

A few boys and Liebknecht, who was pointed
out to the police by his friends {sarcastically).

Kaiser

I want to see him. By the by, where 's the Pro-
fessor?

Professor {just entering)
Here, Sir. [Exit Von Etting.

Kaiser
That's right. You did not hear the speech.



in.] In Gremio Deorum 233

Professor
Yes, Sir, I did. I was in the crowd.

Kaiser
Well, was the crowd friendly?

Professor
Yes, Sir, to you personally.

Enter Von Etting.

Von Etting

The guard are bringing him up.

[Stamping of guard. Door thrown open, and
LiEBKNECHT in handcuffs enters.

Kaiser

Take off his handcuffs. {Officer does so.) You
don't look like an assassin. You are Liebknecht?

LiEBKNECHT

Yes, Sir.

KIaiser
What did you want to kill me for?

Liebknecht

I want to kill you? I want to kill nobody. If
shots were fired, they were not fired by anybody
known to me.

Kaiser
Then why have they arrested you ?



234 The Sands of Fate [m.

LlEBKNECHT

I don't know.

Kaiser
Have you heard my speech?

LlEBKNECHT

Nobody could hear It.

Kaiser

Do you know Its tenor? Do you know I am
your friend? I knew your father. (Silence.) He
was an honourable combatant, and though I have
fought him and you and all your gang of outlaws all
my life, the son of old Liebknecht, who stands alone
for what he holds to be right, and is denounced
by his fellows, has my respect. Officer, Mr. Lieb-
knecht is free.

[Exit Officer. Liebknecht salutes and exit.

Exit the Kaiser on arms of the Kaiserin

and VoN Etting.

Professor

Thank God, that's the end of military dreams
in Europe.

Chancellor

The Kaiser has always been a medley of contra-
dictions. He has never really been a soldier. He
merely loves the panache as a woman loves a fancy
gown. Is this the twilight or the dawn?



III.] In Gremio Deorum 235

Professor

Let us hope It may mean both, and that there
will be no night between.

Chancellor

In any case it Is the birth of Germany as a civi-
lised State and the death of that monstrum ingens
the Prussian oligarchy.

Professor
"The Galilean has won."

CURTAIN



CHRONOLOGY



CHRONOLOGY

OF EVENTS ON WHICH THE "PHANTASY"

IS FOUNDED
1914.

July 19. The Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung publishes a
note stating that people are coming more and more to
the view that Austria-Hungary is justified in demand-
ing a clear understanding of her relations with Serbia.
"We concur in the hope expressed on diiferent sides
that a serious crisis will be avoided by speedy action
of the Serbian Government. In any case the common
interest of Europe, which has hitherto, in the long-
enduring Balkan crisis, preserved the peace among
the Great Powers, requires that the discussion] which
may arise between Austria-Hungary and Serbia shall
remain localised."

July 20. The Berliner Tagehlatt anticipates "warm weeks'*
again and hopes England will exert influence on the
Serbian Government and not encourage Pan-Serbian
propaganda.

July 21. Count Berchtold, who spends an hour with the Em-
peror at Ischl, submits to His Majesty the note the
Austro-Hungarian Government is about to hand in
to the Belgrade Government. He had sounded Cabi-
nets of European States concerned and found them
favourable to the proposed step. {Vossische Zeitung.)
According to Tdglische Rundschau, Serbia and Mon-
tenegro are preparing feverishly for war.

July 22. Strikes in Russia. {Times.)

Berliner Tageblatt announces from Prague that offi-
cials are returning to their posts and it is expected
that trouble will follow the handing of the Austrian
note to the Serbian Government.

July 23. Austrian ultimatum handed in at Belgrade at 6 p.m.
with forty-eight hours peremptory notice.

The Times correspondent at The Hague reports
that Mr. A. R. Zimmermann, the Burgomaster of
Rotterdam, had made to him the following state-



240 Chronology



ment in regard to the licence recently granted by the
Dutch Government to a German undertaking, the
Vulkan Company, for the construction of a private
harbour near Vlaardingen on the New Waterway, a
few miles west of Rotterdam. "The Government,"
said the Burgomaster, "has taken a decision which in
my opinion will prove to be most important and in its
consequences more far-reaching than any action taken
by the central authority for some time. They have
granted to the Vulkan Company — in other words, to
Mr. Thyssen, for the two names are practically syn-
onymous — a licence to establish a private harbour
on the New Waterway at Vlaardingen. The harbour
will be available for ocean-going vessels and will be
equipped for dealing with coal and ore. The ground
will also be large enough to allow for repairing-shops
and a repairing-wharf. From this and from the fact
that the New Waterway is one of the most important
outlets to the sea on the whole Continent of Europe,
it will be seen that this development is of great impor-
tance. All the more so in that this action on the part
of the Government constitutes a departure from the
principles which hitherto have governed the adminis-
tration of all harbours, docks, and waterways in Hol-
land — namely, that they should be under public con-
trol. Administered on these lines, the Dutch have
become great, and Rotterdam itself has become the
second port on the Continent of Europe. For a small
country these principles have obvious advantages;
under any other system important docks and harbours
could be sold to any one irrespective of nationality.
Rather more than two years ago Mr. Thyssen made
great efforts to obtain an independent position on the
Waterway. It was soon made evident that the entire
public opinion of Rotterdam was strongly opposed
to the scheme. The City Council unanimously re-
quested the Burgomaster and Aldermen to use every
means at their disposal to oppose the establishment
of private docks, and this the city authorities have
done. Nevertheless, the Government has now granted
a licence to a German firm which is a rival, if not in
some respects superior, to Krupp."
The Burgomaster declined to express to the corre-



Chronology 241



spondent his opinion as to the future. As a magistrate,
he said, it was not for him to criticise the action of
the Government or to point out international conse-
quences. {Times, July 24, 1914.)
July 24. Breakdown of the Ulster-Home-Rule negotiations.

The Times correspondent at The Hague wires that
the announcement of the Thyssen concession, where-
under a German harbour is to be constructed on the
New Waterway, has caused deep concern there. Strong
comments are made about the granting of the conces-
sion while the Chamber is in recess and the Gov-
ernment can escape interpellation. According to the
Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, the Minister respon-
sible had promised Parliament that he would intro-
duce legislation to insure harbours remaining under
public control, but after giving the promise he did
nothing. No sooner, however, had the recess begun
than the Thyssen licence was granted.

Prince Regent of Serbia to Czar: "II nous est im-
possible de nous defendre et nous supplions Votre
Majeste de nous donner aide le plus tot possible."
July 25. The Times correspondent at Belfast reports that
"all preparations have been made for the institution
of the Provisional Government, but that it would only
be resorted to as a final move in the event of its being
made perfectly clear that Ulster is to be put under a
form of government to which it will not submit."

He adds that, "though for the present peace con-
tinues, there is, as far as I can see, no change in the
spirit of Protestant Ulster. The War Office Order
published to-day, in which Reservists are forbidden to
take any part in the Volunteer movement, has been
greeted with contempt. An officer of the Ulster Vol-
unteers of high standing told me that the Order was
the subject of laughter and ridicule, and that not a
single man would pay the smallest attention to it."

The Times Dublin correspondent wires that Union-
ists "believe that a General Election is now inevitable.
They refuse to think that the country will allow the
Government to involve it in the horrors of civil war.
Everybody admits, however, that a situation of the
gravest kind has been created by the failure of the
Conference. It will stimulate the activities of the Na-


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10

Online LibraryThomas BarclayThe sands of fate; dramatised study of an imperial conscience, a phantasy → online text (page 10 of 11)