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anti-preparationists, disregarding the fact that preparedness is not a temporary issue, maintain that when the present war is over, the nations of Europe will be exhausted and therefore of necessity harmless. But this is not true. The precedents of history prove the exact reverse to be true. Nations are never so strong morally and politically, and their armies are never so effective, as immediately following a long conflict. "Practice makes perfect."
Greece was never stronger than after Platæa and Salamis, nor Rome than after the Second Carthaginian War. The Netherlands were politically most powerful at the termination of forty years of combat with Spain, during which they were on the receiving end of nearly every blow. In 1862, France dared to disregard the Monroe Doctrine and invade Mexico to protect her citizens from persecution by the irresponsible savages who inhabit that territory. In 1865 she meekly agreed to abandon Mexico and Maximilian, for even Napoleon III had no wish to try conclusions with the veteran army that marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in May, 1865. A nation may begin a war with five million men, and a year later may have lost one million of them, but any two million of the survivors could
probably defeat the entire unseasoned five millions of the year previous. At the end of a long war a nation's credit is poor, but this is not vital. It means only what it says. It means that big prices must be paid for loans. It does not necessarily mean that no loans whatever can be obtained.
Driven from this last position, the few remaining anti-preparationists announce that they would not defend even their ideals and their conception of right by force of arms. They advocate immediate and complete surrender in case of attack, a well-intentioned perversion of the turnthe-other-cheek principle. This willingness to be a part of a nation's martyrdom, while it may suggest a kind of passive courage, is largely born of a lack of imagination, an utter inability to picture the fruits of such a policy, and is woefully inconsistent with the laws of our domestic life and of the workings of our National Government. It is a position which is swept by cross-fires from nearly every side. The Germans hesitated to shoot down the Russians they had surrounded in the quagmires of the Mazurian Lakes. Even so one hesitates to train one's mental artillery upon people whose illusions have already rendered them helpless.
(In the December number of THE CENTURY, Mr. Wood will explain the requirements of the United States in the matter of preparedness exactly as these have been stated to him by America's qualified military experts.)
HROUGH the glass darkly, with lack-luster gaze And mute, mysterious mouthings, goblin-wise, You stare at me with cold, cadaverous eyes And mystic wavings in the crystal haze. What means this mask of goggle-eyed amaze? Think you my fearful soul to mesmerize? Or is it the dissembler's fond disguise, To cloak the consciousness of evil ways?
Know then, O goldfish, the futility
Of all this mummery and make-believe,
Your lying scales have no false weight with me.
Your tinsel tail would not a child deceive.
Come, own your gilt! Confess the wealth untold
Author of "Three Men in a Boat," "Passing of the Third Floor Back," etc. Illustrations by George Wright
HE evidence of the park-keeper, David Bristow of Gilder Street, Camden Town, is as follows:
I was on duty in St. James's Park on Thursday evening, my sphere extending from the Mall to the northern shore of the ornamental water east of the suspension-bridge. At five and twenty to seven I took up a position between the peninsula and the bridge to await my colleague. He ought to have relieved me at half-past six, but did not arrive until a few minutes before seven, owing, so he explained, to the breaking down of his motor-bus; which may have been true or may not, as the saying is.
I had just come to a halt when my attention was arrested by a lady. I am unable to explain why the presence of a lady in St. James's Park should have seemed in any way worthy of notice except that for certain reasons she reminded me of my first wife. I observed that she hesitated between one of the public seats and two vacant chairs standing by themselves a little farther to the east. Eventually she selected one of the chairs and, having cleaned it with an evening paper, the birds in this portion of the park being extremely prolific, sat down upon it. There was plenty of room upon the public seat close to it, except for some children who were playing touch; and in consequence of this I judged her to be a person of means. I walked to a point from where I could command the southern approaches to the bridge, my colleague arriving sometimes by way of Birdcage Walk and sometimes by way of the Horse Guards' Parade.
Not seeing any signs of him in the direction of the bridge, I turned back. A little way past the chair where the lady was sitting I met Mr. Parable. I know Mr. Parable well by sight. He was wearing the usual dark suit and soft felt hat with which the pictures in the newspapers have made us all familiar. I judged that Mr. Parable had come from the Houses of Parliament, and the next morning my suspicions were confirmed by reading that he had been present at a tea-party given on the terrace by Mr. Keir Hardie. Mr. Parable conveyed to me the suggestion of a man absorbed in thought, and not quite aware of what he was doing; but in this, of course, I may have been mistaken. He paused for a moment to look over the railings at the pelican. Mr. Parable said something to the pelican which I was not near enough to overhear; and then, still apparently in a state of abstraction, crossed the path and seated himself on the chair next to that occupied by the young lady. From the tree against which I was standing I was able to watch the subsequent proceedings unobserved. The lady looked at Mr. Parable, and then turned away and smiled to herself. It was a peculiar smile, and again in some way I am unable to explain reminded me of my first wife. It was not till the pelican put down his other leg and walked away that Mr. Parable, turning his gaze westward, became aware of the lady's presence.
From information that has subsequently come to my knowledge I am prepared to believe that Mr. Parable, from the beginning, really thought the lady was a friend of his. What the lady
1 Copyright, 1915, by JEROME K. JEROME. All rights reserved.
thought is a matter for conjecture; I can only speak to the facts. Mr. Parable looked at the lady once or twice. Indeed, one might say with truth that he kept on doing it. The lady, it must be admitted, behaved for a while with extreme propriety; but after a time, as I felt must happen, their eyes met, and then it was I heard her say:
"Good evening, Mr. Parable."
She accompanied the words with the same peculiar smile to which I have already referred. The exact words of Mr. Parable's reply I cannot remember, though it was to the effect that he had thought from the first that he had known her, but had not been quite sure.
It was at this point that, thinking I saw my colleague approaching, I went to meet him. I found I was mistaken, and slowly retraced my steps. I passed Mr. Parable and the lady. They were talking together with what I should describe as animation. I went as far as the southern extremity of the suspension-bridge, and must have waited there quite ten minutes before returning eastward. It was while I was passing behind them on the grass, partly screened by the rhododendrons, that I heard Mr. Parable say to the lady: "Why should n't we have it together?" To which the lady replied: "But what about Miss Clebb?"
I could not overhear what followed, owing to their sinking their voices. It seemed to be an argument. It ended with the young lady laughing and then rising. Mr. Parable also rose, and they walked off together. As they passed me I heard. the lady say:
"I wonder if there 's any place in London where you 're not likely to be recognized."
Mr. Parable, who gave me the idea of being in a state of growing excitement, replied loudly:
"Oh, let 'em!"
I was following behind them when the lady suddenly stopped.
"I know!" she said. "The Popular Café." The park-keeper said he was convinced he would know the lady again, having
taken particular notice of her. She had brown eyes, and was wearing a black hat supplemented with poppies.
ARTHUR HORTON, waiter at the Popular Café, states as follows:
I know Mr. John Parable by sight. Have often heard him speak at public meetings. Am a bit of a socialist myself. Remember his dining at the Popular Café on the evening of Thursday. Did n't recognize him immediately on his entrance. for two reasons: one was his hat, and the other was his girl. I took it from him and hung it up. I mean, of course, the hat. It was a brand new bowler, a trifle ikey about the brim. Have always associated him with a soft gray felt, but never with girls. Females, yes, to any extent; but this was the real article. You know what I mean the sort of girl that you turn round to look after. It was she who selected the table in the corner behind the door. Been there before, I should say.
In the ordinary course of business I should have addressed Mr. Parable by name, such being our instructions in the case of customers known to us. But putting the hat and the girl together, I decided not to. Mr. Parable was all for our three and sixpenny table d'hôte, he evidently not wanting to think; but the lady would n't hear of it.
"Remember Miss Clebb," she said.
Of course, at the time, I did not know what was meant. She ordered thin soup, a grilled sole, and cutlets au gratin. It certainly could n't have been the dinner. With regard to the champagne, he would have his own way. I picked him out a dry '94 that you might have weaned a baby on. I suppose it was the whole thing combined.
It was after the sole that I heard Mr. Parable laugh. I could hardly credit my cars, but half-way through the cutlets he did it again.
There are two kinds of women: there is the woman who, the more she eats and drinks, the stodgier she gets; and the woman who lights up after it. I suggested a peach melba between them, and when I