Thomas Barclay.

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

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Enter the Professor — handshaking.


Please do not let me Interrupt. You were mak-
ing a very true remark about the intellectual dul-
ness of money-making communities. Look at the
Phoenicians, who, for all their wealth and com-
mercial enterprise, have not left behind them a
vestige of anything of the slightest value to pos-

Enter VoN Etting.

Von Etting

His Majesty will see Your Highness. Her Ma-
jesty will be here in a few minutes.

[Exeunt the American Writer and the
Professor in conversation.

Von Bulow
Well, Etting, things don't seem very brilliant.

Von Etting

Just the same chaos as ever. No policy, no di-
rection, no system, only a huge machine churning
on and on.


My poor Etting. You'll have to come to Italy
and rest your nerves.

VoN Etting

Nerves ! I have none left. I am a bit of the gear
of this highly efficient machine.


.] Missing Links 121

Von BiJLow
The thing everybody admires!

Von Etting

I thought the war would save us from this abom-
inable bourgeois materialism, but it is all hopeless.


You need a rest, Etting.

VoN Etting

I have not had a fortnight off since I left you in

Von BiJLow

His Majesty simply does not think of it. Shall
I say a word to him? [Steps approaching.

Enter the Kaiser and the Kaiserin, followed by
Grafin Ejvima. Handshaking,

How is the Princess?

Von Bulow

Never better. She has no time for ailments.
Does not His Majesty look well?

Nothing to complain of. Good news — good

122 The Sands of Fate [n.

sleep. Well, what are those confounded Italians

up to?

[Takes the Prince by the arm, and exeunt.
[The Kaiserin, dressed in black, settling
herself to work, among the scattered ma-
terials, GrAfin Emma mixing something
from bottles with labels. Hands glass to the


It's not disagreable — a taste of almonds !^ I
suppose that's to make it palatable. Everything
ought to be made palatable in life, dear Emma.
Oh, this dreadful war! Is it never coming to an
end? [Looks out into the trees »

[Grafin Emma silent.

Has it not struck you, Emma, how wonderfully
patient and considerate the Germans are? After
all, they might have blamed us. [A pause.

His Majesty was right, Emma. He did not want

Grafin Emma {without conviction)

Yes, Ma'am.

KLaiserin {surprised)

You think His Majesty did want it?

Grafin Emma

If Your Majesty will allow me to express a mere
private individual opinion, I think His Majesty's
feelings {Gefuhle) were against it, and his reason
{Vernunft) was for it.

II.] Missing Links 123


I think, Emma dear, you are quite wrong. It
was his feeHngs that carried him away. You were
not at Berhn when His Majesty spoke to the crowd
in front of the Palace. It was wonderful, Emma.
It was the enthusiasm of the crowd. And you know
how crowds aifect His Majesty. [Pause.

The Crown Prince ought to be here by this time.

Grafin Emma

Yes, Ma'am. His Imperial Highness has a sore
throat, and . . .


Oh, the poor boy! How do you know, Emma.?
They never tell me anything. I don't think the poor
boy is really strong.

Grafin Emma

They say. Ma'am, he is much stronger than he
was. Sore throat is very common just now.

You mean at the front.

Grafin Emma
Yes, Ma'am. They say it is the gas.

What gas, Emma? They tell me nothing.

1 24 The Sands of Fate [n.

Grafin Emma

The English use a poisonous gas, and when the
wind permits, they pump it into our trenches.

Just think. Do our men die of it?

Grafin Emma
It suffocates them and they die in terrible agony.


The English are such hypocrites, not truly re-
ligious, or they would have more respect for human
suffering. All through the war their behaviour has
been scandalous.

Grafin" Emma

Yes, Ma'am, barbarous ! They even mutilate the

Do you believe that, Emma?

Grafin Emma

Yes, Ma'am. It's awful to see the number of
cases of blindness in our hospitals.

But you said prisoners, Emma dear.

II.] Missing Links 125

^ Grafin Emma

Yes, but it Is just the same. Our wounded men
say the English are perfectly ferocious — like wild


Have you spoken with them about it yourself,

Grafin Emma

No, but everybody says so.


And what about the French and Russians .? What
does everybody say about them?

Grafin Emma
Nothing at all, Ma'am.

By the by, Emma, who are everybody?

Grafin Emma
Everybody I see, Ma'am.


The ladies about the Court and their wounded

Grafin Emma

Not their husbands. They are not allowed to say
anything even to their wives about the war.

126 The Sands of Fate [n.

Then how do you know, Emma?

Grafin Emma

Perhaps the ladies do hear it from their husbands.
Besides, Berlin is full of officials and officers who
know the truth.


My dear Emma, what is one to believe? By the
by, Emma, why do you think the Italians will go
against us ?

Grafin Emma

My brother, Ma'am, says the Italians hate the
Germans almost as much as they do the Austrians.
That was when he was one of the attaches there, —
some ten years ago.

Do you mean during the Morocco affair?

Grafin Emma

Yes, Ma'am, I remember his indignation quite
well. He said the Marquis Visconti Venosta was
a notorious Anti-German. He was sent as chief
delegate to Algeciras on that account.


Yes, I remember. His Majesty spoke very
strongly to the Ambassador about it. [A pause.
Read that letter to me again, Emma.

II.] Missing Links 127

Grafin Emma (taking a letter out 0} her satchel and


"His last words in his delirium were
*Deutschland iiber Alles,' which he was singing
when his heart stopped."


It is terrible, Emma! Such a splendid boy, so
handsome, so clever, so brave, and such a patriot!
He felt the sense of the words. Germany truly held
the first place in his heart. Oh, to think of all these
fine boys being killed ! When one of them dies of an
accident, the whole family mourns the cruel fate
which carried off their hope in the prime of his
youth, and here are millions being killed artificially,
and for what? However much I dislike that awful
Professor and his pedantic ways, I can't help think-
ing he is right about this war. It is a mere explosion
of national anger, and if we had all kept our heads
cool and not been in such a hurry, the war might
have been averted.

[Grafin Emma looks incredulous.

You don't think so, Emma?

Grafin Emma

I have no opinion of my own, but if Your Ma-
jesty will permit me to suggest . . .

[Picks up an envelope from among the ma-


What is that, Emma?

128 The Sands of Fate [n.

Grafin Emma

It seems to be a letter, but it has no writing out-


Open it, dear Emma. Probably another petition
for peace.

Grafin' Emma {opening it and reading)

"Your Majesty — I am merely a maid in
Your Majesty's service. I am engaged to a
corporal in a Berlin regiment. He has been
brought back wounded, with half his face shot
away, and blind. He, whom his father and
mother, crippled with age and rheumatism,
relied upon to till their small holding, who rose
with the sun, sober, hard-working, and honest
as God's daylight, can see no more. He, whose
fine, manly voice sang with the birds in praise
of God in the morning and in the evening,
when he was still not too tired to make the
valley resound with his song, is now dumb and
a cripple. That, Your Majesty, is what this
war means to his father and mother, and to me.
I wish Your Majesty to know that I am mad
with grief, and that I have vowed vengeance
on you and all your kind for this cruel war.
You think the German people are blind to
your guilt. It is you who are blind. No Ger-
man mother, wife, or bride (Braut) will ever
forgive you. Nobody believes your lies. . . .'*

II.] Missing Links 129

Kaiserin {sobbing)

Oh ! stop, Emma, stop ! [Grafin Emma stops.
Go on, Emma, I must do something for that

Grafin" Emma {reading)

"Nobody beUeves your lies. At first, we
thought Germany was defending herself against
enemies. But now we know from our wounded
the real truth. I dare say Your Majesty has
a kind heart, but what avails a kind heart if
Your Majesty does nothing but be kind 1 I am
not threatening Your Majesty with an assas-
sin's dagger, but I give Your Majesty a
solemn warning that your house is doomed,
that the German people, so patient, so good-
natured, so peaceable and hard-working, con-
sider that you have forfeited their trust.
Socialism, anarchy, anything is better than an
autocrat who can do. Madam, what your hus-
band has done."

Kaiserin {indignant and aghast)


Grafin Emma {reading)

"His hand is against every man, and every
man's hand is against him."

Kaiserin {clutches Grafin Emma's arm)

Oh, Emma ! Oh, Emma !

[Sinks into her seat, staring.
[Grafin Emma jumps up in alarm.

130 The Sands of Fate [n.

Kaiserin {waving her off)

The girl is so right, Emma. That's the worst of
it. Look around us. Every civilised nation in the
world is against us in spirit, if not in arms.

[Grafin Emma sohhing.

{Taking her in her arms.) What, Emma! You!

Grafin Emma
Yes, my brother.

The Captain?

Grafin Emma
Yes, Ma'am, killed.


And all his young family and his farm {Pacht),
Oh, how shocking, my poor, dear Emma, and you
there so calm and I did not know.

[The two women embrace.

Don't let us read any more of that terrible letter.
It has quite unnerved me.

Grafin Emma

I hope Your Majesty will pardon my saying so,
but I think Your Majesty sympathises with the
poor broken heart of the writer of this letter.

Kaiserin {looking astonished)
Dear Emma, is it your letter?

II.] Missing Links 13^

Grafin Emma {sobbing)
No, Ma'am.

You helped the girl to write it?

Grafin Emma

No, Ma'am. I know the girl who wrote it,
such a good, kind girl, who was devoted to Your


That pretty parlour-maid — I should like to
see her.

Grafin Emma

Shall I read the rest of the letter?


No, Emma, give it to me.

{Taking it and reading. Throwing herself on
her knees and burying her head in the arm-
chair on which she had been sitting.


{Rising and looking determined and speaking

with decision.

Emma, my mind is made up. His Majesty was

carried away by that crowd at the Palace gates,

and made war because he heard in their cheers the

voice of God, I too have now heard the voice of

God. God has come to me through that girl. He

has put a great resolve into my soul, and when I

132 The Sands of Fate [n.

prayed for His help He gave it, and now I know my
duty to Him. It is to stop this war.

Grafin Emma {throwing herself on her knees and
kissing the Kai serin's hand with fervour)

Oh, Madam!

Enter the Kaiser.


Well, motherkin. Why, you have been crying!
What's the matter?

[The Kj^iserin nods to Grafin Emma. Exit,


Kaiserin {throwing her arms around His Majesty's
neck and heaving with sobs)


Kaiser {mistaking Her Majesty^ s emotion for joy

at being with him)

Well, well, here we are again, still both of us in
the land of the living. [The Kaiserin still sobbing.

{Getting impatient.) Come now, sit down,
motherkin, and let me tell you something about
the war.

Kaiserin {sitting down and wiping her eyes)

No, William, no, tell me nothing about it. Noth-
ing about the war. It is nothing but misery —
cruel, unending misery — fatherless children, weep-
ing widows and mothers, destitution everywhere,

II.] Missing Links 133

destruction of the work of ages, human and divine.
The war, WiUie, is a wanton crime {passionately)
a wanton, unpardonable crime. I have just heard
the voice of God. He has raised it against us in the
hearts of mankind. We are branded with the mark
of Cain.

Kaiser {astonished)
But, motherkin . . .


You don't understand. I want Peace. {Almost
shouting.) Peace at once!


But, my dear wife ! How can I give you peace at
once or at all, except as the fruit of victory? We
shall have peace in due course, when we have over-
come our enemies, and down to now we have de-
feated them all.


You don't see the war. You see only victories
and brave men on their way to destruction, with
the lust of fighting and blood in their eyes. You
don't see them lying dead on the battle-field, every
one of them a tragedy, their mothers and wives and
children longing at home for their return, and the
loved one lying dead, killed with less concern for
his dear life than for that of a . . . Oh, William,
you don't see the mothers, and widows, and chil-
dren as I do, or you'd not be so heartless.

134 The Sands of Fate [n.

I am not heartless, dear. But war is war.


For God's sake, William, don't use that hack-
neyed phrase. War is murder, assassination, blas-
phemy, treachery, robbery, burglary, arson. It
means every sin against God and man that man-
kind is capable of. It is nothing but a vast organized
crime. How are you going to give back the mil-
lions of husbands, sons, and fathers you have had
killed, to the families you have made destitute?

[The Kaiser dumbfounded.

You thought you heard the voice of God when
those poor, ignorant people acclaimed you. You
insulted God when you thought He spoke through
their besotted cheers. God has spoken to me in the
voice of the heart-broken, of those who look to Him
for pity. You are blinded by your own blood-
stained eyes. I see the suifering world, and God has
stirred within me my mother's heart. It has gone
out to the other women of Germany. What can
you give us back, in return for what you have taken
from us? We have given you the strong limbs of
our children to make, create, and build up a great
nation. They were beautiful children and they made
Germany the greatest nation among God's peo-
ples, a sober, honest, hard-working nation. What
have you done with this greatest of God's gifts to
a sovereign ? If, on the Day of Judgment, God asks
you that, William? The whole world sees what
you do not see, your guilt, William.

II.] Missing Links 135

Kaiser (in greatest agitation)

But I did not want the war.

[Walking faster and faster up and down —
stopping in front of the Kaiserin.
It can't be stopped.

Kaiserin {firmly)
It can and must be stopped.


I don't know how, but stop it must.


You don't mean that we, the victors, must sue
for peace!


Is diplomacy so helpless that it can't find some
method t

Kaiser {irresolute)
I'll see. You know Italy has turned against us?

Yes — But I thought ...


Billow tells me she may declare war only against
Austria-Hungary . . .

136 The Sands of Fate [n.

But is not that the same thing?


It's frightfully complicated. Peace is frightfully
complicated — a great deal more complicated than
war. I hardly understand it myself. None of us
are fighting our real enemies. The worst of it is
we have to disguise our true purposes or the whole
scaffolding would crumble to the ground. We are
not yet ready for a diplomatic grouping in accord-
ance with our ultimate objects, and you must trust
me, my dear, to . . .

{Putting his hand to his head.) The Magyars want
peace and the Czechs are openly hostile to us. We
might have peace through Franz Josef! He has
been hinting at it ever since the fall of Przemysl.
That's why he appointed Burian. I don't like
Burian. I believe him to be a Pro-Englander and
Anti-German, but he is a very clever fellow, and if
our enemies had not been so ignorant and stupid-
they would have taken advantage of his ap-
pointment and kept Italy quiet and forced peace.
Franz Josef appointed him in Berchtold's place to
spite us.


Can't he be used ? If you would only just stop
hostilities for a little and try to see if you can't
come to terms.

II.] Missing Links 137

What terms?

Are you not fighting for anything?

We are defending ourselves.


Oh, William! How can you say such a thing,
when you know you declared war on Russia.


Well, if we had not, Russia would have declared
war on us.


How can you tell what Russia would have done?
What sort of a life should we lead if we were to at-
tack everybody we suspected as capable of attack-
ing us? Besides, you know Russia was quite un-
prepared for war, and told me so yourself.


She would have been ready in 19 17 when her
strategical railways were completed and then . . .
Oh, my dear, sometimes I think I am not equal to
the job I have inherited.

You are the only sovereign in the world who is

138 The Sands of Fate [11.

equal to it, and now you must apply your mind to
the task of peace. {Pleadingly) You have done
the task of making war so magnificently that you
alone can say with honour — "I have beaten you
all, but I am not a mere bloodthirsty ogre — I
think we all must have had enough of this awful
war. I now offer you peace."


That would be all right if we had sensible people
to deal with, but we have n't. They would all say
we had been forced to yield, and the German peo-
ple would revolt at such an indignity. However,
I will see what can be done through Burian, to try
and conciliate Italy almost at any price. "Au
revoir," my darling. It has done me good to hear
you. What a lecture you have given me! You
never gave me a lecture before . . .

[The Kaiserin smiling. Exit the Kaiser.
[The Kaiserin resumes work, stops, puts her
hand over her eyes in deep contemplation.


Enter the Crown Prince unperceived by the


Kaiserin {suddenly becoming aware of the Crown
Prince's presence, jumps to her feet)

My darling boy!

Crown Prince

Mother! {Embracing.) I have just seen father.
How splendid he looks ! But I say, mother, — we 're


.] Missing Links 139

in an awfully bad fix. The whole blessed thing 's
going wrong.

Kaiserin {bidding him sit down)
How, dear.?

Crown Prince

We're going to lose. Of course, all the blame is
being shoved on to me. I had n't any say in the
matter, and have little even now.

Who's putting the blame on to you, dear?

Crown Prince

I don't say anybody is actually putting the blame
on me. It Is n't what is said so much as what is not


Said or not said by whom, Willie?

Crown Prince
I don't say anything about father. Only . . .


Crown Prince

I did n't want the war. It is all very well to say
when things go badly, "I did it for you," and when
they go well, "I did it for myself." You know,
mother, I had nothing really to do with it.

HO The Sands of Fate [n.


But, my dear, you seemed so enthusiastic about
it when you came that day to Potsdam.

Crown Prince

You quite misunderstood me, dear mother. I
only meant that it was inevitable. Father would
n't see the inevitable. It lay with him and him alone
to decide for or against it, and he must bear the
whole responsibility of it. I wipe my hands of all

Enter Grafin Emma.

Grafin Emma

May I remind Your Majesty that she has prom-
ised to visit the wounded at the Orangerie-Laza-
reth this afternoon.


Oh, Emma, I had almost forgotten.

[Exit the KLaiserin on the Crown Prince's
arm. Grafin Emma arranging the mate-


II.] Missing Links 141


The Kaiser's study at Schloss, Berlin, as in Part
I, Act III.

Von Etting in officer^ s uniform. Maid brings in
tray with tea and sandwiches. VoN Etting begins
pouring out tea. Burns his fingers. Tea too weak.
Waits. Begins again. Slices lemon. Listless. In-
terrupts operations to go to desk and look at a docu-
ment. Returns — sips, etc., etc. Passes hand over his
head — evidently tired. Throws himself into an arm-
chair and puts a handkerchief over his eyes. A few
moments pass.

Enter Maid, who, seeing Von Etting apparently
asleep, goes out again and knocks at door.
Voices. Von Etting, standing up.

Von Etting
Come in.

Enter the Chancellor, Prince von Bulow, and
General von Bernhardi.


Then, General, you do not think it would be a
good thing if railway and mining accidents and
shipwrecks could be avoided.

General von Bernhardi

You mean that if I think war is necessary as a
reaction against materialism, I ought to regard

142 The Sands of Fate [n.

occasions for display of the same virtues as in war
as welcome as war. Logically, the parallel might be
right if accidents could be organised. — But all
that is by the way. The main thing now is to see
we get an adequate return, and where essentials
are concerned there is no distinction between
friends and foes. Austria must go. Germany must
have Trieste.

Von Bulow
And if the Italians get it?

General von B^rnhardi

We'll turn 'em out.

Von Bulow

Bead possidentes.

General von Bernhardi

Trieste is Germany's bone and she'll let no two-
penny-half-penny Power keep it. We can't get it
at once, but we can get nearer it, and, just as a dis-
lodged rock rolls down a slope, we'll roll down the
Alps to the Mediterranean.


Do you think the English and French would not
see that game ?

General von Bernhardt

See it? No! Why, you'd have to take a hammer
and chisel to open their eyes to anything so obvious.

II-] Missing Links 143

Von BtJLow

Their fatuity is only different from ours, my
dear General, in the character of the blindness.
We fill up the horizon with fanciful pictures of
Eldorados. They sling their missiles at random,
hoping some of them have hit, but, imable to dis-
tinguish friend from foe. Who could imagine that
they would throw Austria-Hungary, the Balkans,
and Turkey into our arms! But you can trust
political wiseacres to gobble any fly.

General von Bernhardi

If Italy fails us, there can be only one policy for
Germany, that is to secure an outlet over Bulgaria
and Turkey down to the Persian Gulf and make a
bee-line for Asia. That would divide the eastern
hemisphere into two longitudinal areas. Western
Europe — that is, England, France, Spain, Italy,
and the smaller Atlantic States — on the one side,
and Germany, with her line of domination through
Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey,
on the other. Russia would be driven out of Poland
and the Baltic and have to fight out the Far-East-
ern problem with England and Japan by herself.


A heavy task for Germany, my dear General.
Alsace was more than an armful.

General von Bernhardt

Yes, but that was because we did not strike
down opposition with the mailed fist.

144 The Sands of Fate [n.

Von Bulow

So you propose to rule Bulgaria and Serbia with
the mailed fist?

General von Bernhardi

It will be no question of choosing. They have
been trained in subjection and are born to it. They
will appreciate intelligent German rule under which
they will develop and prosper.

And Turkey?

General von Bernhardi
It will be the German India.

Von Bulow

Upon my soul, you would shoulder a big burden,
and do you think His Majesty would lend himself
to that gigantic scheme?

General von Bernhardi

His Majesty will do, you may be sure, what will
commend itself to his people, and his people will
want a big crop after such a sowing of blood and

Von Bulow

And you think the Bulgarians and Turks will
rise to your scheme.

General von Bernhardt
They will not be asked. We are in possession.

11.] Missing Links 145

The Turks have tried again and again to wriggle
out of our grip and have failed. Every day we are
strengthening it.


And you fear no revolt.'*

General von Bernhardi

None. We have that silly mystic, Enver, to shove
forward as the Saint and machine-guns to play the
part of the Devil.

Von BiJLow
Good Lord!

General von Bernhardi

My dear Prince, you belong to old Germany.
You don't realise that we are in the midst of an up-
heaval which may settle the conditions of Europe
for a thousand years. The old races have had their
time. It is a new one — the German race — that
is now going to have its time. For a hundred years
the German race has been preparing for this war.
It has come. Rome had her day, England has had
hers. Germany's turn has come, and we shall only
sheathe our sword when the German Empire ex-
tends from the Baltic to the Indian Ocean.

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