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tinent of Europe has implied continual war, England has only occasionally had to fight to maintain her sea-rule. The uninhabited waves do not revolt.
The free use of the seas is a vital necessity to the English. They have tried to secure this by force. At times their navy has been strong enough to face all the world combined, but those times were long ago. For a while they had a tradition that their sea-force must equal any two other navies combined. But this "two-power standard," which they have found too expensive to maintain, would be utterly insufficient if any strong third power had joined the hostile combine. For many years Britannia has ruled the waves because the rest of the world did not object.
Far-sighted Englishmen have always realized that their maritime interests demanded a policy which would reduce the amount of hostility to their sea-rule to a minimum. What they really want is security for their immense mercantile fleet. It is manifestly to their disadvantage to offend other people unnecessarily in attaining this end. It is hard to find any seafaring nation which their recent policy has not offended.
The "phantom blockade" has immensely increased the unpopularity in Europe of the British sea-rule.
If the war should end to-day, the British admiralty would have to take into account the possibility that the Scandinavian countries and Holland, Spain, and Greece might join in any hostile naval combination. None of these nations has a strong fleet, but their sum is considerable. Regarded as a purely European problem, England's use, or misuse, of her sea-power has largely increased the number of her ill-wishers, and this will be reflected in the size of her future naval budgets.
The situation in regard to the United States may become even more serious. Nothing would seem more stupid than for Britain to make us dissatisfied with her manner of controlling the sea. Since 1812 Iwe have had few serious conflicts on the water with our ex-mother country. We
certainly do not want trouble. We are in no sense of the word a rival in naval matters, as we have no ambition to rule the waves. But without doubt peevishness at England's arbitrary actions in this war, nominally to punish Germany, has strengthened the hands of our navalists. And every battle-ship we lay down is an added menace to British supremacy at sea -a new unit to be reckoned as a possible element in an anti-English naval coalition.
It has happened that whenever vexation has run high against England in this war, Germany has committed some worse stupidity, like the sinking of the Lusitania, and has relieved the tension. But Sir Edward can hardly claim credit for this.
The British sea-rule is threatened from another quarter. During the course of the war it is manifestly to the interest of all her allies to have England rule the waves. So far her naval action has been her chief contribution to the struggle. But as soon as the common aim is attained,— the defeat of Germany, -the situation. changes at once. France and Italy are maritime and colonial powers. If the Dardanelles are opened, Russia becomes a Mediterranean power. They are as much interested, aside from the abnormal circumstances of this war, in the freedom of the seas as Holland or Germany.
England can regain her old position only by convincing her possible rivals that she will rule the waves as much in their interests as in her own. It will be hard to do. For, under Sir Edward's administration, the ententes, while maintaining their vigor as fighting pledges, have become decidedly less cordial. Britain seems doomed to share the expense-and gloryof sea-rule with some allied maritime nation.
While such a decentralization of naval power, a step toward the internationalization of the sea-routes, will be welcomed by the rest of the world, it will be a bitter pill for the imperialists of Britain. Sir Edward could not have prevented it, but he will go down in history as the foreign minister under whose administration the empire of the seas passed from the British.
Children of Hope'
By STEPHEN WHITMAN Author of "Predestined," "The Woman from Yonder," etc.
Illustrations by F. R. Gruger
THE FATES LEAD THE GRACES TO THE
N the first of June the Goodchild family left Paris for Switzerland. They entered a land where the sky was filled with amethyst and silver peaks, where lakes spread green ripples between steep heights of verdure, where steamboats released one into villages clinging round the skirts of precipices, the chalets shaded by a row of chestnut-trees, the casino a-twitter with flutes and violins, and, clustered behind the church, some graves adorned with wreaths of metal pansies encircling a photograph. They saw the Falls of the Rhine, the Lion of Lucerne, the bear-pit at Bern. They peered through the clouds on Rigi-Kulm, shaded their eyes from the splendor of the Matterhorn, or, in the thin air of the Brünig Pass, bought from a mountainchild bouquets of edelweiss.
Then they descended into different country. The rounded hills, which all seemed sloping to the south, were covered with vineyards. The German stationsigns gave place to French. As the train curved down through a meadow of spring flowers, all at once Lake Leman spread its sheen afar, while high above three motionless felucca sails, that nearly melted into the scintillations of the water, Mont Blanc sent forth lambence, like a daytime. moon. Geneva was close at hand.
But Thalia, staring out across Lake Leman, thought, "Every change of landscape separates us more and more!"
Meanwhile, she reflected, the blackhaired young woman of the Cherbourg tender was no doubt in Paris still, continually seeing him, laughing at all his jokes, and able, if she learned of his behavior in the music-hall, to tell him he was forgiven! And Thallie pictured to herself the attitudes of such a reconciliation-sweetly magnanimous gestures which even ended, maybe, in a caress?
Her thoughts were scattered by the shout, "Gare de Cornavin!" The train had reached Geneva.
The blue Rhone, tumbling beneath its bridges, separated long quays lined with whitish buildings and avenues of trees. From the balconies of a pension in the Rue des Alpes one looked across the lakeend toward a park behind which ascending roofs and spires fringed the panorama of the snow-caps. In the evening, when Mont Blanc reluctantly withdrew its glimmer from the sky, the shores of Lake Leman were defined by miles of twinkling lights, and from the courtyard of the pension there rose, with a scent of dewy foliage, the quaver of a wandering minstrel, whose impromptu ballad, just as in the days of Bonivard, meandered through a tale of piety and patriotism, imprisonment and lingering death.
The pension was inhabited by some pleasant, quiet gentlewomen who seemed
1Copyright, 1915, by STEPHEN WHITMAN. All rights reserved.
to have wandered over Europe half their lives. The after-dinner talk was about dressmakers' prices, towns where peculiar laces could be bought, the relative merits of pensions in Switzerland and Italy. All agreed that the nicest place in Florence was the Pension Schwandorf, kept by an old lady who had once seen better days. Aglaia made a note of the address.
She begrudged the time she had to spend in wandering about Geneva, in visiting Coppet, Lausanne, Montreux, Chillon. As soon as she was attired for the day, she slipped into the parlor, seated herself at the pianoforte, and uttered, full voice, a phrase from "Madame Butterfly." At her first pause the crystal chandeliers gave forth a clash: some one up-stairs had jumped violently out of bed. But Aglaia went on singing till Thallie, Frossie, and Mr. Goodchild bustled in.
The father wore his loose black cutaway coat with wrinkled tails; a stringtie of black satin was negligently knotted. underneath his bushy beard; his pearl-colored trousers descended in baggy folds to his Congress gaiters, and he was ready to clap over his high, pallid brow the widebrimmed black felt hat which his daughters could not persuade him to abandon.
"Have you got the Baedeker, Aggie?" "Aggie, are my new gloves in your
"Please, Aggie, see what 's the matter with my waist."
"Come, children! We'll have to hurry if we 're to do the art museum, the cathedral, the town hall, the Russian church, and catch the train for Ferney!" For that afternoon they were going to inspect. Voltaire's château.
At Ferney they passed through a gateway into a fine estate, the landscape tinged with that melancholy which pervades the site of a departed greatness. Here he had wandered in old age, reaching out his clouded cane, nodding his wig, and showing his sardonic, gentle smile! The girls, as though the spring breeze had been wafted to them from the eighteenth century, seemed to see, at the end of leafy vistas, ladies whose silken gowns could
be passed through finger-rings, whose small heads, covered with curls, turned slowly at the sighs of gallants in black satin coats embroidered with forget-menots. But far down the charmilles, a tall modern, approaching at a measured pace, head lowered and hands clasped behind his back, drove all those charming ghosts away. He drew near, and raised his face. It was "Mr. Holland," whom they had seen in a New York restaurant!
With impersonal courtesy, he raised his hat and stood aside. But Aurelius Goodchild, finding in this strange land one face that he had seen before, was as much delighted as though he had met a long-lost friend.
"You have forgotten me?" he exclaimed, eagerly holding out his hand.
The stranger's glance, amiable, but puzzled, passed from Aurelius to Aglaia, to Euphrosyne, to Thalia. He replied in his quiet voice:
"How small the world is!" Mr. Goodchild cried. "But my daughter Thallie was the one to realize that fact when she insisted that we 'd run into you again somewhere over here."
Mr. Holland had no trouble in identifying Thallie by her blushes.
He, on his every visit to Geneva, made a pilgrimage to Ferney. He knew the place well, and offered to guide them. through it. As they set out toward the château, the girls scrutinized Mr. Holland furtively from head to foot.
He wore an outing suit of tweeds, a cloth hat to match, a soft collar pinned under a cravat of knitted silk, gloves of dogskin, tan boots covered with dust. He had walked to Ferney from beyond Coppet, a distance of fifteen kilometers. On the garden terrace he tried to point out that route, but the three Graces kept looking up sidewise at his face.
That was the countenance of a man who had lived forty years in self-respect-a visage at once fine and rugged, not in the slightest handsome, yet capable of expressing as much gentleness as sternness.
None of them could imagine him flying into a rage or flushing from shame or giving way to despair. He irradiated calmness, strength, success. Surer than ever that he was in some way famous, they hung upon his speech in hopes that he would let fall the enlightening word; but Mr. Holland went on talking of Voltaire.
The château explored, he seated them round a tea-table on the garden terrace. He took off his gloves; again they saw on his left hand the gold ring set with a graved carnelian. Aurelius admired the stone, which bore, in intaglio, two classic figures, one riding a ram, the other falling into waves.
"See, children, it is Phrixus and Helle! Am I not right, sir?"
Mr. Holland, glancing at him sharply, assented. The seal had been dug up in Asia Minor; indeed, he had found it himself.
An archæologist? But they had imagined archæologists as absent-minded old fellows in snuffy coats, with spectacles pushed up on their foreheads, and frowzy sheafs of manuscript protruding from all their pockets.
Mr. Holland remarked that there were some extraordinary intaglios in the Naples Museum. Aurelius announced that in two days he and his daughters would be in Italy themselves. Aglaia, he explained, was anxious to take up her singing-lessons, Euphrosyne her novel-writing, Thalia her painting.
"And I may be moved to do something of my own with pen or brush. I have a feeling that Florence will inspire me." His mild eyes burned suddenly with their old-time fire as he raised his sensitive face and added: "Look at Titian! Look at Mommsen! An immortal picture, a great history, can be conceived only by a mind that has had time to ripen." Aurelius took a great gulp of tea, passed a trembling hand across his beard, and gazed earnestly at Mr. Holland.
The latter smiled a sympathetic, grave assent, while his eyes, by the faintest gleam, betrayed his pleasure in the novelty of this encounter.
But the girls were more interesting than their father. Aglaia, in a dainty. foulard gown the hue of autumn leaves, leaned back in her chair, her emerald eyes half-veiled. Her copper-colored tresses nearly matched the burnt-straw of the outing-hat which she herself had made. after seeing the original in a show-window of the Place Vendôme. Her thin lips, which looked at the same time satirical and ardent, failed to express her thoughts; but her repose was pervaded by the subtle tension of a woman who is never off her guard.
Euphrosyne sat erect, her hands clasped, in the attitude of an hieratic statue. This pose, her firm young features, her eye-glasses, the prim arrangement of her bright-red hair beneath a violet toque, gave her a look of gravity. But hers was a natural, if somewhat stiff, composure, a rigidity that confessed a moral no less than a physical sedateness.
Thalia leaned forward, her plump elbows on the table-top, her fingers knotted before her milk-white throat, of which the double rimple showed between the ruffles of her corn-yellow gown. Everything about her seemed fluffy, soft, and yielding, impregnated with a vernal sweetness. Rich auburn ringlets were tumbling down before her ears. A peach-like flush extended over her cheeks clear under her small chin. The whites of her wide eyes were still faintly tinted with the bluishness of childhood. And her parted lips, "like rose-leaves filled with snow," seemed made to surrender to the first ravishments of love.
Mr. Holland, contemplating that eager, naïve face, all at once looked sad.
"Where do you stay in Florence?"
He approved of that choice. He had known Mme. von Schwandorf for nearly twenty years. "Ever since I was young," he added, with a smile at the three Graces.
A warmth of satisfaction tinged Aglaia's pallor. Here was another who did not suspect her thirty years!
All together they walked back to the gate, between the trees that had spread their shade for the creator of Zaire. The girls wondered if this meeting was due to fate, if some solid benefit was not likely to result from it. A man of this sort, so polished, so impressive; who seemed to know all countries, who was undoubtedly acquainted with the most brilliant people!
He took train with them for Geneva, and even saw them to the pension door. Did this mean that he desired to call? Timidity prevented them from inviting him to do so.
"So you leave day after to-morrow?" "Oh," laughed Aglaia, "our plans are always hit or miss. We may find ourselves still here next week."
"By that time," said Mr. Holland, "I may be back in this neighborhood."
Stooping to pick a scrap of timothy from her skirt, she bit her lip.
"At any rate, tell Mme. von Schwandorf that her old friend John Holland sends his love."
He shook hands with Aurelius, with Aglaia, with Frossie, with Thallie. So, after all, he had divined the sisters' relative ages! They watched him walk across the Quai du Mont Blanc, toward the landing-stages for the lake-boats.
Two days later they passed through the Simplon Tunnel down into Italy.
They tried to pronounce the new wayside names, which they found romantic and sonorous-Domodossola, PallanzaFondo Toco, Stresa, Arona. They called
another's attention to mountain shrines, rustic pergolas, marble-quarries, lush fields where peasant-women straightened their sturdy figures and stared. They rounded a lake, near the shores of which three islets bore up chrome-yellow masonry surrounded by cypress trees, like the bright little realms of fairy-tales where the lovers live happily ever after. At dusk, they rumbled into a station that echoed the cry, "Milano! Milano! Milano!" The Goodchilds, believing they saw on every side the Camorra, the Mafia, and countless independent assassins, hardly drew breath till they found themselves safe in
the nearest hotel. That night Thallie's sleep, disturbed by the rattle of tramcars, was full of stilettos and shrieks.
In fourteen hours they viewed the cathedral, the castle, the parks, and the cemetery, bought gloves, tramped the picture-galleries, ate a risotto, praised the "Last Supper," tried on some hats, mailed post-cards to far-off Zenasville, watched a religious procession, a dog-fight, a parade of soldiers, a runaway, a performance of "Il Trovatore" at La Scala. In that opera-house Aglaia recalled Mme. Bertha Linkow. With curling lip, she reflected that some fine day, when she, too, was a famous singer, the volatile prima donna would manage to remember her very well -would even pretend, no doubt, that she had discovered her!
Meanwhile, with this endless sight-seeing, how many precious hours were going to waste! But at last, without having witnessed a single murder, they took the train for Florence.
At first they thought they were going to have the second-class compartment all to themselves; but just as the train was about to start, there scrambled in a swarthy, lean, shabby man, with mustaches brushed straight up from his flat, vermilion lips. He threw himself into a corner seat, spread a newspaper, and, over the page, kept staring at the sisters with the eyes of a vagabond who watches, between the half-drawn curtains of a great house, a supper of pheasant, truffles, pineapples, and champagne. When sunshine flooded the car, to their horror they saw on the ragged cuff of his shirt a blood-red streak! Whom had he killed?
They sat perfectly still, cold tremors running over their heads, not daring to look again lest he realize they had discovered his dreadful secret. They pretended to admire the landscape; their voices died. in their throats; at every movement made by the stranger their nerves contracted. At last the conductor made his rounds, accompanied by a carbineer in a three-cornered hat. And the Goodchild family, shrinking back against the cushions, awaited the moment of recognition, of