Thomas Barclay.

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II.] The Sands of Fate 69

heaven! {Pause,) To His Imperial Majesty the
Czar Nicholas.

Von Etting

Your Majesty has not forgotten that Your Ma-
jesty has given orders that nothing was to be done
till after the Naval Council meeting to-morrow
morning, when the Crown Prince will be back. I
hope Your Majesty will forgive my reminding him
of his orders.


Quite right, Etting, but I know what I am about.
I may get a reply by to-morrow morning and stop
the whole cursed thing. Even if we have little
chance of success, we must make the effort.
Write : —

"Heard with anxiety," better "with great
anxiety," "impression caused by Austro-Hun-
garian action against Serbia." — Stop. —
"Unscrupulous agitation going on for years in
Serbia led to revolting crime against Arch-
duke Franz Ferdinand."

No, that won't do — he was only the victim.
Say "of which the Archduke was the victim." He
was a nice fellow, Franz Ferdinand, Etting. Quite
different from what one would suppose. I could n't
realise it when I heard it. I was spinning across
Kiel Harbour when the news came — in the mid-
dle of the race. I shoved the despatch Into my
pocket and forgot all about it till close on dinner-

70 The Sands of Fate [n.

time, and then I suddenly realised the horror of it
— those two fine human beings — he, an honest,
straightforward man who would have been a true
friend of his people and of mine, and she, as sweet
a woman as ever trod this earth. It was a devilish
thing to do, Etting, — a hellish thing, Etting.
Those Serbians have won all they have by assas-
sination, and assassins they remain, one and all. I
don't wonder at Franz Josef being infuriate
against them. Yet under a strong government they
might be all the better citizens. Still, what a brutal
thing the assassination of their King was ! I '11 refer
to that. [Dictating.

"The spirit which made the Serbians mur-
der their own King . . . and his consort still
dominates that country."

That will appeal to Nicholas. Who was it who
said the Russian constitution was a "despotism
tempered by assassination"? For Slavs it does n't
matter what the form of government is. They
would assassinate Nicholas just the same, though
he has given them their Duma. Just the same
{drawing out words). [Dictating.

"Doubtless you will agree with me that both
of us . . ."

Why us alone .^ It applies to sovereigns generally.


"And all other sovereigns . . .{declaiming)
have a common interest to insist that those


.] The Sands of Fate 71

who are responsible for this horrible murder
shall suffer their deserved punishment."

I had better say something about Russian sym-
pathy with the Serbians. [Dictating.

"On the other hand, I do not undervalue", say "Overlook": "Undervalue" is
better: "the difficulty you may have in resist-
ing the clamour." No, that won't do. "In
stemming the tide" — well, you'll adjust
that — "of — of — of race affinity " ! No,
that won't do. That seems to . . . — no, say
"public opinion" ... I suppose there is none
in Russia. That'll flatter Sazonoff. I must say
something about our friendship.

"In view of our cordial and long-standing
friendship, I will use all my influence to in-
duce Franz Josef" — no, that won't do. It
is that animal Tisza who has engineered all
this mess. No, say "Austria-Hungary. . . to
obtain a frank . . . and . . . satisfactory" . . .
it must be satisfactory to me . . . "under-
standing with Russia." That will do. No, wait
a moment. Say : " I hope confidently that you
will support me in my efforts to overcome all
difficulties . . . all difficulties . . ." Add "which
may arise."

"Your most sincere and devoted friend and

Sign it "Willie."

Now, get that off as fast as you can. It is half-
past ten. He can read it to-night still. We may

72 The Sands of Fate [n.

have an answer before breakfast. Fly, man. (Von
Etting disappearing into adjoining room.) Etting!
(Von Etting turns round.) You understand: I
don't want it ciphered. I don't mind indiscretions.


[VoN Etting returns., packs papers into

despatch-case, locks it, and carries it away,

turning the light down to a single lamp, on






At Berlin. The Kaiser's study — very like that
at Potsdam. The two A.D.C.'s.

First A.D.C.

It's all right. No escape this time. We shall go
straight for Paris.

Second A.D.C.

It's funny, all the same. Little Willie's done it
— smart boy. Made his father sit up. The old
chap ^ was keen on peace, but the young 'un,^
Fatty,^ and Longshanks^ made him understand.
I believe the new 42 ^ was the strongest argument.

First A.D.C.

I know nothing about artillery. Is it a Ganz ^ or
a Krupp.?

Second A.D.C.

Both, I understand, but its very existence is a
secret, so take care.^ Germany's filled with Eng-
lish spies. That governess to the young 'un's kiddies

^ Der alte. ^ Der kleine.

8 Nickname for Chief of the Staff, von Moltke.
* Nickname for Admiral von Tirpitz.

^ The new siege-gun which demolished the fortifications of
Liege and Antwerp.

' Austrian, ' Achtung.

74 The Sands of Fate [m.

is a spy. All these English governesses are spies.
They are subsidised by the English Government.
That's why we get 'em so cheap. They are just
like Russian women, pry into everything. Born
spies both. German women are no good for any-
thing but dollars.

First A.D.C.

Shut up !

Second A.D.C.

I know: delicate subject — all right, old chap.
Beg your pardon. Too serious now. Look out.

[Steps heard.

Enter Von" Etting {placing despatch-box on desk,

trying quill, etc.)

Von Etting

You need not wait. His Majesty is preparing
a speech to his people {slightly ironical in tone).
He'll deliver it from the balcony in a few minutes.

[A.D.C. 's hurry out.
[VoN Etting throwing open the windows and
doors. Noise of crowd and cheers heard
from distance.

Enter the Kaiser.


It's splendid, Etting. Splendid. The hour of my
life: to hear my people's voice thunder out its love
for their Kaiser. Vox populi, vox Dei. How true!

III.] The Sands of Fate 75

The Kaiserin enters and the sovereigns embrace.

[Distant cheers.

Kaiserin {sobbing)

It's terrible and yet so beautiful, I have just
seen. The whole Platz and streets are one mass of
heads, all uncovered as if in God's house. [Ring.

Von Etting {taking up receiver. Mumbling)
Good God I

What is it, Etting?

VoN Etting

Will Your Majesty take the receiver?


Secret! {Taking receiver?) Has it gone? Two
hours ago! Where are you? Come at once. {Puts
down receiver?) All right, Etting.

[Exit Von Etting.

What is it, dear?


I '11 tell you afterwards. I have learnt my speech.
It's quite short. I'll say it off to you.

[Distant noise of crowd.
'A fateful hour has fallen upon Germany.


7^ The Sands of Fate [m.

Envious peoples on all sides are driving us to

"The sword has been forced into our hands.
If my efforts at the last hour are not successful
in bringing our opponents to see aright and in
maintaining peace, with God's help the sword
shall not be restored to its scabbard without

"War will demand of us enormous sacrifices
of blood and treasure {Gut und Blut), but we
shall show our enemies what it means to at-
tack Germany.

"And now I commend you to God, Go to
your churches, and on your knees before the
Almighty pray for His help for our gallant

It's beautiful, William, beautiful!

[Exit the Kaiser, then the Kaiserin.
[Frantic cheering heard in the distance. The
Kaiser's voice heard from moment to

Enter the Chancellor, walks nervously up and

down. - [Pause.

Enter the Kaiser, looking pale and anxious. Shakes
hands with the Chancellor.

Too late, Bethmann.

Surely not, Your Majesty.

III.] The Sands of Fate 77


Too late, Bethmann. Austria has no right to
yield without my consent. Too late, too late, too
late ! {Thumping his desk.) Oh, the cursed thing.
It's all out of hand, Bethmann. You are a pack of
fools, Bethmann. Nicholas has shamefully de-
ceived me. Tschirschky and the whole gang have
deceived me. Berchtold is an ass. It's too late,
Bethmann, to talk of peace now. Did you see those
crowds? Do you suppose we can draw back after
we have picked up the glove in the face of the whole
world t God knows, I tried my best to avoid war,
and if I had done my duty to my country and the
world I should have had every one of the gang shot.
But now, it is too late, too late, too late !

[Sits and holds his right hand over his eyes.

I wanted peace, Bethmann. Now, I want war.
The lion in me is roused. When I heard those shouts
of triumph I knew they were the shouts of the na-
tion behind them, the shouts of those fifty thou-
sand cheering Germans! The voice of the nation
• — the cry of the nation to their leader. There's no
longer an open question, Bethmann. The die was
cast when those crowds cheered. It's the Divine
will spoken through the tongue of the humble, I
must obey that will — the will of God which tells
me that this nation is destined to rule the earth.
Its armies are the hosts of the chosen people of God.
Like the hosts at Leipzig, they will sweep back the
hordes of Germany's enemies. They will assert her
right to the first place in the world. She has earned
it. She shall have it, and now, Bethmann, I de-

78 The Sands of Fate [m.

cree a state of war.^ Give those Russian dogs
twelve hours to demobihse. Leave them no alter-
native, nor Pourtales ^ either. Lose not an instant.
Call the Council together. Tell Tirpitz and Moltke.
Put on the gag of war. Let loose its hounds. God
Almighty, why did I hesitate? I -see now it is the
voice of Providence, the hand of God. My head
is too hot, Bethmann. I must go out.

[Exit rather wildly.
[Bethmann stands irresolute. The Profes-
sor and Ballin enter from side door.


His Majesty sent for us. He seems to have for-

I never saw him in such a state. It's war.


Good Lord, deliver us! War w^ith France and
England, as well as Russia, perhaps also Italy and
Japan. It's sheer madness!

I am afraid it is.


Can nothing be done?

His Majesty will listen to nothing. I wanted
to tell him about England.

1 Kriegsgejahrzustand. ^ German Ambassador at Petrograd.

III.] The Sands of Fate 79

England will surely not join our enemies?

Chancellor {uneasily) .
Indeed she will.


England has never acted except according to her
interest. She will fight us, if we do anything she
thinks detrimental to her naval or colonial suprem-
acy. Not otherwise. It will be a mistake to touch
Belgium, because Belgian independence is a factor
in her historic and traditional policy.


But if we can't get at France except through
Belgium ?


Then you will be right to count England among
our enemies.

It's suicide.

Too late, as His Majesty says.


Che sard sard. It will be a long job.

[Exit the Chancellor.

But it's so idiotic!

8o The Sands of Fate [m.


My dear man, you and I know that. But there's
something wrong with the world in general. It's
got out of hand. Our leaders have not grown to the
size necessary for the management of enterprises
so gigantic.

And what about our army leaders ?

Probably the same. Poor old world !


Poor old Germany! She has had a good time,
Professor. We may never have another as good.
The madmen have won {gesiegt).


There has always been a strange fascination
about persons suffering from certain forms of

And epileptics!


Yes, they have always had some charm about
them. I suppose Nietzsche was one. At any rate,
he looked as if he had been one.

in.] The Sands of Fate 8i

His extravagance, too!


Well, just that extravagance has a fascination.
In antiquity, madmen in that sense, just on the
borderline of genius, were worshipped.

This afternoon's scene!


Ballin {offering him a cigar)

Poor old Kaiser! These are the kind I imported
for him. I have only a few left. They'll be the last
for some time.

[Light their cigars in silence and go out.

Enter Von Etting.

Von Etting

At any rate, we shall see no more of these damned
civilians for a time.

[Packing papers together in despatch-box in
a great hurry.



{BERLIN, MAT 5-23, igis)



The Kaiser.

The Kaiserin.

The Crown Prince.

Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg, the Imperial Chancel-

Grand Admiral von Tirpitz, Minister for the Navy.

Prince von Bulow, Ambassador to Italy.

Herr von Jagow, Minister for Foreign J fairs.

General von Bernhardi.

Herr Ballin, General Manager of the Hamburg-
Amerika Steamship Company.

Dr. von Helfferich, Minister of Finance.

Herr von Gwinner, Manager of the Deutsche-Bank.

Herr Possehl, leading Lilbeck merchant.

Herr von Etting, Private Secretary to the Kaiser.

The Professor.

Patriotic Citizen.

American Writer.

Grafin Emma, lady-in-waiting.

Frau Professorinn {born in England).

Her Daughter.

Old Man.




MJY s, 191 5

At the Professor's home. Drawing-room. Books
in abundance. Engraving of Field Marshal von
HiNDENBURG on Wall. Englishwoman'' s taste obvious.
Daughter with spectacles dressed as Red-Cross nurse,
looking at illustrated papers.

Enter Frau Professorinn.

Frau Professorinn
Why do you look so angry, dear?


I think there's plenty of reason to look angry.
But I'd much rather not speak of the war at all,
mother, while I am at home, seeing that we can't
possibly agree. You are English at heart, I am
German. And, however much I love you, mother,
English though you be, I hate England and the
English and everything English.

Frau Professorinn {taking up an unfinished sol-
dier'' s sock and knitting)

It is such an ugly thing, hatred. You don't wish

86 The Sands of Fate [i.

to punish the innocent with the guilty, do you,

They are all guilty.

Frau Professorinn

Guilty of what?


Of this whole war. And now they are urging
Italy, bringing her to join them. Look at this.

[Handing her mother a paper.

Frau Professorinn {reading)
But that is only what the newspaper says. How
do you know it is true ?


It is obviously true — Oh, mother! {Impa-
tiently^ I hate this war — What a time they are
at dinner! Oh! Here they are. [Door opens.

Enter VoN Tirpitz, Von Helfferich, Von Gwin-
ner, Possehl, the Professor, and several lay
figures. Only Von Tirpitz in uniform, other-
wise evening dress. Shaking hands in turn with
mother and daughter. Cofifee, cigars. Guests
falling into groups. Ladies serving.


But you have only the alternatives of govern-
ment by majority or government by an oligarchical
minority or an autocracy.

I.] Missing Links 87

Von Tirpitz

Pardon my temerity, Professor, in venturing to
differ from so great an authority as you, but I think
there is a fourth. [The Professor surprised.

There is a mixture of all three, as in England.


But it did n't work, Admiral. That was one
of the causes of England's slow progress compared
with the progress of Germany and the United
States. Since she made the Lords subordinate to
the Commons she has been able to cover much of
the ground lost. In the case of Germany progress
has been due to a benevolent autocracy, an efficient
bureaucracy, and a docile, highly educated though
intellectually starved majority.

VoN Tirpitz {surprised)
Highly educated and intellectually starved!


Yes, we have been overeducated, and overeduca-
tion is like overfeeding. Both produce forms of
starvation. [VoN Tirpitz surprised.

Yes, overfeeding a physical organism has the
same effect physiologically as overworking it. It
starves from exhaustion of the power to assimilate.
You statesmen ought to . . . {Bell rings.

That will be Ballin or Biilow. Poor Ballin's
physical organism generally has to starve when the
Kaiser sends for him.

88 The Sands of Fate [i.

Ballin {walking in hastily)

So sorry. His Majesty kept me. When I man-
aged to mention I was coming to you, he sent me

Professor {emphatically)

Have you fed ?


Please don't trouble. I always take a sandwich
with me to Imperial audiences. Well, Professor,
what do you think of the English now?


I am aghast at the skill with which they get the
whole world into line against us.


Get them into line? It's because they have
beaten us.

How have they beaten us ?


Do you mean to say, my dear Professor, that you
join in the self-satisfied chorus of our victories?
Why, we are merely racing for a place now. When
England captured the sea, the race was won.

Von Tirpitz

But, has she captured the sea? Our navy is

I.] Missing Links 89


Yes, our only hope was a smashing blow at the
English naval power. We did not risk it and it is
now too late. The odds have grown and are grow-
ing against us. Too late! Surely, Admiral, you
don't think you have shaken British supremacy
at sea ?

Von Tirpitz

Everything has gone wrong in this accursed war.

[Moving away.

That comes of wanting to be too clever. And if
we don't hurry up, it will be too late for peace as
well. Between ourselves. Professor, all we have won
has been due to cheating. Our idiotic diplomacy,
which could not see farther than the length of its
own nose, has not only misled us as to probabili-
ties, but, with its deplorable want of tact and under-
standing for human character, has given itself
away or been found out, the sin of sins in practical


But does not that apply to all diplomacy? Look
at all these official apologies for its breakdown,
every one blaming the other like a pack of cham-
ber-maids over a broken slop-pail.

Worse! How could Bernstorff and Dernburg
think they could work American public opinion as
if Americans were well-drilled Germans ?

9° The Sands of Fate [i.

How true, Ballln! We are hopeless.


That wily old fox Asquith saw our mistake at
once and stopped Kipling and Hall Caine from go-
ing over to counter-agitate. He knew the Anglo-
Saxon character. To try and drill it into any opin-
ion produces just the opposite effect. The only
result of the pro-German agitation in America has
been to increase the irritation against Germany.
The English have been cleverer. They have held
their tongues and let facts speak for themselves.


By the b^^, you were rough on poor Tirpltz. What
do you think of his strategy?


Too prudent at first and too brutal afterwards.
He has not come up to my expectation. Of course
he niay be accumulating for a final spring, but I am
afraid it is too late.

And the submarines?


In theory all right, in practice degrading. Our
marine officers feel the humiliation deeply.

[Glancing towards Von Tirpitz.

Poor Tirpitz! He looks awfully crestfallen. He
must feel it.

I.] Missing Links 9^

How humiliation?


In the Navy, Professor, there is a lofty spirit of
gallantry and humanity. It is not so inherent to
the naval profession as such as to the mariner as
such. All our seamen in the mercantile service feel
it. There is not a man on my liners who would not
risk his life to save life. You understand what I
mean now?


Yes! But why?


In the sea, they all have a common friend whom
they love and a common foe whom they dread.
They love and dread the vast, unending, mysteri-
ous ocean, the waves which can turn from one hour
to another from caressing tenderness and fascinat-
ing smiles to scowls and lashing fury . . .


Like a beautiful and spoilt woman. I did not
know you as a poet, Ballin. [Laughing.


Yes, every sailor is a poet. Contact with the
ocean, its glories and dangers, soon makes you one.
The sailor's business is to preserve and save life.
To destroy it is as foreign to his nature as it is to

92 The Sands of Fate [i-

that of a St. Bernard dog. I feel it myself. I loathe
and despise this destruction of life and even of
property. To capture property and appropriate
it does not diminish the world's stock, and leaves it
still available for business exchanges. To destroy
is the work of the unconscious brute.

But war changes human character.

Enter the American Writer and the Patriotic


American Writer {shaking hands with the

I am mighty glad to see you, Sir, and to meet
your distinguished company. [Presentations.

{To Herr von Helfferich.) I hope, Sir, you
have interesting news from the front.

VoN Helfferich {abruptly)

None at all.

[The American Writer attacks others in the
background. Group of the Professor,
Ballin, Von Helfferich, and Von Tir-
PiTZ in deep conference seated on couch and
chairs at other extremity.

What Is the use of telling the public lies?

Von Helfferich

Use ! Why, lying has been turned into a weapon.

I.] Missing Links 93

Not only by us, Helfferich.

VoN" Helfferich

I mean by all the belligerents. I get all the com-
muniques and have them pasted alongside each
other on large sheets of paper. You might trans-
pose them without changing anything essential.
All boasting of the same gains, all retaking trenches
lost, and so on. There is only one fact that stands
out and can't be denied even by the cleverest of the
official liars; it is that the war has reached a dead-


But you'll not get the German people to under-
stand that.

VoN Helfferich

Tliat just shows the danger of official lying in a
country like Germany where people have been dis-
ciplined into believing everything they are told.


Don't you think people believe what they want
to believe?

VoN Helfferich

Maybe. But you can't get away from a patent

94 The Sands of Fate [i.


And a patent fact Is that we are in possession of
enemy territory, and, without suppressing the truth,
it is difficult to make people understand that's not
necessarily victory. Thank God, anyhow, we are
not in the same position as the French. Suppose
the French had been able to overrun Westphalia
and had possession of Cologne, Diisseldorf, Elber-
feld, Essen, etc., the whole of our chief manufactur-
ing area, I wonder if we should have been as able
as they to keep afloat.^

The French used not to have the faculty of meet-
ing misfortune with good humour. But a great
change has come over them since 1871. Besides,
the presence alongside them of the English has
been like a cord along a precipice. It has steadied
their footsteps, though it would not have saved
them had they slipped.


We have all along underrated England. Even
her army of amateurs will beat ours in the long run.
{General surprise.) Because it is an army of vol-
unteers who have gone in to win, just as they go
into a football match to win, and, when all Europe
is exhausted, they will still be pouring in thousands
of men from all their empire — perhaps America
included. I know the Anglo-Saxon. England is the
common home, and rather than see a German army
in England, fifty-odd millions of Americans would
force the United States to join England.

I-] Missing Links 95

Don't you think the Americans are divided ?


Not the Eastern States, where the safety of Eng-
Hsh cathedrals and Oxford and Cambridge and
Westminster Abbey and Stratford-on-Avon are
concerned. England is always the home of the
Anglo-Saxons, wherever they be. They may have
family squabbles, but Old England belongs as much
to them as to the resident English. Besides, no-
body is taken in but ourselves over the causes of
the war. We began it badly, and I can tell you, from
a long experience of business, that any business
which begins badly goes on badly and ends badly
and that is what is going to happen in this business.
The only thing to be done in such cases is to stop
and wind it up as fast as possible.


It is very difficult to stop. We must have some-
thing to show for all this expenditure of life and


Well, we have beaten the Russians on land, if the
others have beaten us at sea.

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