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Full text of "The fall of a nation [microform] : a sequel to The birth of a nation"

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1653 East Mo n Street 

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THE FALL OF A NATION 






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From cviry window th.y r. roivod a hail of l.uilets' 



[Patie Slo] 




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THE FALL 
OF A NATION 



A SEQUEL TO 
THE BIRTH OF A NATION 



BY 



THOMAS DIXON 

AUTHOR OF "THI CLANSMAN," "THB SOUTHBIUniB," 
"THB FOOLISB VIBOIN," KTC. 




rCLCBTRATBD BT 

CHARLES "WRENN 



COPP CLARK CO., LIMITED 
TORONTO 
1916 



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Copyright, 1916, by 
THOMAS BIXON 



Copyright, 1915. 1916. by The National Sunday Maoazin. 

M rights reserved, including thai of translation into 
•H foreign Iwiguages, including the Scandinavian 



Printed in th* United States of America 



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TO 
MY FRIEND 

JAMES B. DUKE 



V:A "M,« 



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TO THE READER 

This novel is not a rehash of the idea of a foreign 
conquest of America based on the accidents of war. 
It is a study of the origin, meaning and destiny of 
American Democracy by one who believes that the time 
is ripe in this country for a revival of the principles 
on which our Republic was founded. 

IThomas Dixok. 



Los Angeles, GAUFoivaA 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

"From every window they received a hail of 

*^""et8" Frontispiece 

"»T-/-'^j» t_ - . . . .... Facing Paob 

In God s name, what regiment s that ? ' " . . .200 
"'It'salllove's victory, dearest'" . . . . 253 

" Tommaso staggered to the breastworks and stood 

one man against an army" g7g 

"A battery of artillery cleared the barricades and 

the slaughter began" 3ig 

"Angela swept close . . . fired and circled to 

fire again" 3qq 



HP»* ' 



\£;:!e.-'!a\Lil:-3E 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



PROLOGUE 

OVER a bleak hillside in Scotland the sun is sink- 
ing in the sea. A group of humble men and 
women stand before the King's soldiers ac- 
cused of disobedience to Royal command. They have 
been found guilty of worshiping God according to the 
dictates of their own conscience and not according to 
the ritual of the Church of England. 

The sheriff appeals in vain that they yield and live. 
The grim prelate advances, reads the death warrant, 
and offers pardon if they renounce their faith. With 
quiet smiles they lift their heads and pray. 

The King on his throne has failed. The King within 
the soul of man is rising to reign. 

The martyrs are bound to a stake, the fagots piled 
high, the torch applied. Above the crackle and roar of 
flames over the hills by the western sea rises their song 
*— the battle hymn of a coming republic of freemen. 

The women they reserve for kindlier treatment, these 
gallant servants of the King. Beside old Margaret 

1 



PROLOGUE 



!/•" 



McLaughlin stands a Beautiful girl •£ nineteen with 
wide ejes hungry for the joy of living. The poor father, 
faithful to the Church, has bought the life of his younger 
daughter for a hundred pounds in gold. He offers 
more for his first born. The older one they refuse to 
sell. 

With generous chivalry the soldiers drive their stakes 
within the tide line of the sea. Drowning they say is 
an easy death. Old Margaret sinks quickly beneath the 
waves. Life has been hard for her. There's a far-off 
eager look in the old eyes as they are lifted to the sky. 
The young girl fights for life with the instinctive 
will to live that beats in every mother soul. The prelate 
watching smiles. He sees a convert to his forms and 
signals to the guard. The girl is loosed and dragged 
ashore. Bending over the prostrate figure on the sands 
he offers life for an oath. 

"Your King commands it!" the minion urges/ 
The girl answers in gentle tones : 
"I am Christ's child— I follow Him !" 
The prelate frowns, rises and gives the sign to his 
executioners. The soldiers tie her again to the stake, 
and the red shadow of the flames on the bleak hill faU 
across the white young face and mingle with the scarlet 
of the setting sun. 

Every dungeon groans throughout the realm with 



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,1 



PROLOGUE 



the madness of the King. The gentlest and the noblest 
are held as common felons. John Milton, brooding 
ulthin his soul his immortal song, is gripped by prison 
bars. Roger Williams, his friend and fellow dreamer, 
sits by his side reading to the blind poet the principles 
of liberty proclaimed by their Dutch brethren across 
the channel. 

From every dark port the ships lift their wings and 
sail westward. From the decks of one our Pilgrim 
Fathers land on Plymouth Rock and pray. Strange 
mixture of fine and common clay these ancestors of ours ! 
They land first on their knees and then on 'he abo- 
rigines. The pilgrim becomes the invader. And he 
wins every battle for the simplest possible reason. He 
carries a weapon superior to the one in the hand of the 
imtutored Indian. The bow and arrow goes down before 
the death dealing bolt hurled by gunpowder. 

The simple aboriginal had made no preparation 
against invasion. His wigwam is burned, his land and 
goods taken, his children slain. 

On other ships come nobler men who lift high the 
light of a new civilization. 

Roger Williams, exiled from England and driven 

from Massachus€ftts by the Pilgrims, lands on Narra- 

gansett Bay. and proclaims religious liberty as the 

first principle of human progress. William Penn in 

3 




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PROLOGUE 



Pennsjlvania and Roger Williams in Rhode Island at 
least atone for some of our early sins. The light they 
kindle on our shores streams across the sea to far-off 
king-ridden Germany whose men and women starve and 
freeze on snow-wrapped hills and mountains while 
crowned heads, aping the Court of the Grand Monarch 
of France, dance and drink in their palaces. As the 
snows melt an endless line of human misery pours along 
the banks of the Rhine to Rotterdam— wi^h eyes fixed 
on the far-off new western world. 

From the green hills of Ireland leaps another stream 
toward the western sea. An absentee landlord, wearing 
a coronet and loafing at the Court t f Royalty, needs 
more money for his games. He decides to double his 
income by raising his rents. The Marquis of Donegal 
promptly evicts all tenants who cannot pay. The lordly 
example is followed by his landowning neighbors and 
thirty thousand Irish immigrants flee to America in a 
single year. 

But strangest sign of the ages, the children of the 
Inquisition themselves at last feel the thumbscrew, rack 
and torch and turn their frightened faces westward to 
the new free world! Lord Baltimore leads his Catholic 
exUes lo the shores of the Chesapeake and builds in 
new-found wisdopi a free state with religious liberty its 
cornerstone. 

4 







1. ' 



■■1*1*' "t 



PROLOGUE 



From a rose bower in the Royal gardens at Fon- 
tainebleau the blackest cloud of a bloody century rises 
to darken the skits of sunny France. A gayly dressed 
page places a cushion and footstool and prostrates him- 
self as before approaching divinity. A courtier enters, 
examines the cushion, kneels, kisses the footstool and 
stands at attention. The Grand Monarch, Louis XIV, 
approaches leaning heavily on the am. of his bespangled 
attendant. The King is bent with the consciousness of 
a life of sin. His fat legs totter, and there is a haunted 
look in his feverish eyes. Remorse for a brutal career 
is gnawing at his fear-strirken soul. The white hand 
of Death is beckoning and he sees. 

Madame de Maintenon, his evil genius, hovers in the 
background, a black-robed priest whispering in her will- 
ing ear. 

The King is seated by his c. .tiers. He roughly 
commands that they call his mistress- wife and waves 
them aside with imperious gesture. 

De Maintenon's keen eye catches the order, the priest 
disappears and the harlot who rul-s a world approaches 
with cat-like tread, her face a study of quiet triumphant 
cunning. She protests her undying love and with 
pious eloquence points the way by which his gracious 
majesty may yet earn his heavenly crown. A million 
industrious Huguenots have unfortunately survived the 

5 



PROLOGUE 




massacre of St. Bartholomew. If thT^ Z 

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The /rontier^en of the wilderness of North Caro • 
-ca. .e .he. . .e BaU.e of'^atrltT; 



:>i 



PROLOGUE 



16, 1771, and hangs six of their leaders. As young 
James Pough stands with his arms pinioned behind his 
back he turns to his executioners and shouts: "My 
blood will be seed sown on good ground !'* 

Our fathers in Boston hear the shout and when the 
King attempts to enforce his stamp act they board 
his ship and throw the cargo into the sea. 

The Colonies are at war with the King. The big 
bcll in Philadelphia is calling all to unite in common 
defense and Thomas Jefferson reads his immortal Decla- 
ration of Independence to the assembled leaders. His 
voice rings with a strange prophetic elation : 

''We hold these truths to he self evident^that all 
men are created equal!" 

The startled kings of the earth hear the new heresy 
in sullen wrath and join hands to crush the rebels. The 
German rulers hire to George III more than thirty 
thousand Teutonic soldiers with which to stamp out the 
threatening conflagration. The Hessians land on our 
shores and join hands with the scarlet ranks of the 
King of England. 

To mock their shame a noble Prussian, trained in the 
school of Frederick the Great, offers his sword to Wash- 
ington and becomes the Inspector Greneral of our ragged 
half-starved army. 

Steuben stands beside Lafayette and Rochambeau 

7 



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PROLOGUE 



while Lord Cornwallis surrenders the British army at 
Yorktown. 

Through ten years of defeat and anguish, of blood 
and suffering God lead, the American Colonies at last 
.nto the sunlight of victory. George Washington, first 
president of the established union of free sovereign 
democratic States, delivers his inaugural address. A 
free nation rises from blood-red soil to haunt the dream 
of kings. 

•nie rulers of earth are not slow to note the signs 
of the times. Democracy must be crushed. The hand- 
»ntmg on their palace waUs is plain. He who runs 
may read. Imperialism challenges DemocrMv for a 
fight to the finish. The kings of Austria, Ru;sia and 
Prussia meet in Paris and form the Holy Alliance. The 
purpose of their treaty is expressed in plain language 
It has the ring of a bugle call to arms. They do not 
mince words: 

"The high contracting parties, wett convinced that 
the system of representative government is as incom- 
patible rcith the monarchical system as the maxim 
of the sovereignty of the people is opposed to the prin- 
ciple of Divine Right, engage in the most solemn man- 
ner to employ all their means and unite all their efforts 
to put an end to the system of representative govern- 
ment wherever it is known to exist in the States of 

8 



•dSi/ ir"«i 



PROLOGUE 



Europe a«d to prevent it from being introduced into 
thou State, where it U not knotm." 

Alexander I of Russia, Frederick Wflliam HI of 
Prus«a, and Francis I of Austria sign the solemn com- 
pact and fix their Royal seals. In due time the Bourbon 
Kmg of France joins the Alliance against the rising 
Democracy. They would first crush the spirit of the 
F- «ch Revolution in Europe and halt the spirit of 1776 
m America. They must re-establish the Crown over the 
revoltmg colonies of Central and South America and 
establish Russia's claim to Northwestern America. 

James Monroe, president of the United States, an- 
swers this challenge with the doctrine of a free America 
ruled by her own people. The leader of world democ- 
racy does not nince words. His message rings also 
with the note of a bugle call to arms: 

"The political .y.tem of the AUied Power, i, e,,en- 
t>My different from that of America. To the defen.. 
of our own, which ha, been achieved with the lo„ of ,o 
much blood and trea,ure. thi, whole nation i. devuied 
and we .hould comider any attempt o» their part to 
extend their ,y,tem to any portion of thi, hemisphere 
a, dangerou, to our peace and .afety. It i, impo..itle 
therefore that the Allied Power, .hou}d extend their 
pohtKol .y.tem to either Continent of North or Souh 
America without endangering our life." 

9 




PROLOGUE 



'^ m 



Imperial Europe has flung down the gantlet. Amer- 
lean Democracy accepts the chaUenge and tfie fight 
is on to a finish. 

The King of Prussia wins the first skirmish and 
strangles with iron hand the murmurs of the people 
of Germany for freedom. Karl Schurz, Franz Siegel, 
Jacobi and their feUow students crawl through the 
sewers, elude the Prussian soldiers, and reach our shores 
to swell the rank of mUitant Democracy. All Europe 
rmgs with the headsman's ax and from a thousand 
hiUtops the ropes of hangmen swing in the stark 
heavens. 

Those corpses of young men. 

Those martyrs that hang from the gibbets— those 

hearts pierced by the gray lead. 
Cold and motionless as they seem, live elsewhere 

with unslaughtered vitality. 

They live in other young men, O kings ! 
They live in brothers, again ready to defy you! 
They were purified by death-they were tought 
and exalted. 

Not a disembodied spirit can the weapons of 

tyrants let loose. 
But it stalks invisibly over th. .^h, whispering, 

counseling, cautioning. 
10 




PROLOG UE 

Democracy hears the^e invisible councilors and sets 
her house in order for the coming world crisis. 

The old Federal Union of sovereign states has proven 
too frail for the strain of the new era. A stronger 
Union must be laid with new and deeper foundations. 
Liberty and Union one and inseparable now and for- 
ever" ceases to be merely the eloquent prayer of a great 
statesman. It has become the first necessity of the 
political system of Democracy. Abraham Lincoln 
realizes this in his soul stirring cry from the great bat- 
tlefield : 

''That Government of the people hy the people and 
for the people shall not perish from the earth!" 

From her baptism of blood and tears the New Nation 
strong, free, united, rises at last to face a hostile world,' 
her house in order, her loins girded for the conflict. 

Imperial Europe hastens to test her mettle. A prince- 
ling is proclaimed emperor of Mexico in a palace in 
Vienna, Austria, and sails for our shores. His reign 
is brief. 

A few short months and Maximilian stands beside 
an old Spanish waU in a Mexican village and bids fare- 
well to his friends. He is allowed to embrace Miramon 
and Mejia. With imperial gesture he throws his 
gold to the soldiers and bids them fire straight at 
his heart. The three fall simultaneously and the smoke 

11 






.•:« 



PROLOGUE 

lifts once more on a Western nation ruled by the 
people. 

Europe has not forgotten. She is Busy for the 
moment setting her own house in order for the supreme 
conflict which her leaders foresee with the advance of 
the dangerous heresy of people claiming the right to 
govern themselves. 

The Emperor of Germany sounds the keynote in an 
address to his magnificent army— The Divine Right of 
Kings was never so boldly proclaimed by any ruler of 
the world. He speaks the last word of Imperial Cul- 
ture to Modem Democracy : 

"VTe Hohenzotterns hold our crown from God alone. 
Who opposeg me I shall crush to pieces!*' 

The American Republic is but a lusty youth of 
untried strength among the nations of earth. The real 
battle between the Crown and the People for the mas- 
tery of the world is yet to be fought. Eternal vigOance 
is the price of liberty today as yesterday and forever. 



1fe%'^ "" ^ 



«, 1.1. f-V"- V^TBPI 



CHAPTER I 



THE liveried flunkey entered the stately library 
and bowed: 
"You rang, sir?" 
He scarcely breathed the words. In every tone spoke 
the old servile humility of the creature in the presence 
of his creator the King. He might have said, "Sire." 
His voice, his straight-set eyes, his bowed body, did 
say it. 

His master continued the conversation with the two 
men without lifting his head. He merely flung the order 
with studied carelessness: 

'•Lights, Otto—the table only." 

The servant bowed low, pressed the electric switch, 
and softly left the room, walking backward as before 
royalty. 

The two men with Charles Waldron in his palatial 
house in New York passed the incident apparently 
without knowledge of its significance. An American- 
born boy of fourteen, seeing it twenty-five years ago, 
would have wondered where on earth the crtature came 
from. Of one thing he would have been certain — ^this 

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THE FALL OF A NATION 



flunley could not have been m«le in the United SUte. 
of A»enc.. Within the p.rt quarter of . century, 
however, the i„.portod denial h.. become one of ou 

ch«nj w.th.n the n^d of the cl.„ ,ho have ruled our 

».ve tab e m the center of the room flooded the gold 
and scarlet cloth with light. ^ 

Waldron with a quick trntm^ _« 
sharply: command .poke 

"Be seated, gentlemen." 

The two men inrtinctively brought their heels together 
and took seats within the circle of light. The faster 
of the house paused a moment in deep thought before 
the stately Louis TTV w;,J„- 1_ i.- 
water. of'theHurn.'"'"'^ '"""■•«■*'"'"«' 
His yacht, a hujje ocean greyhound whose nose had 
scented the channels of every harbor of the world. U^ 
^ anchor m the stream along the heights of u;per 
Manhattan, her keen prow bent «.,ard by the ^fl 

The strong face of the master of men was flushed 
w.tha^„wardfire. His gray eye. glowed. His jaw. 
suddenly came together with decision. He turned from 
the wmdow a. ,f to join the two at the table and paused 

14 






THE FALL OF A NA TION 

in his tracks studying the face of Mejer, the taU an- 
gular fellow who was evidently impatient at the delay. 

Waldron had suddenly made up his mind to trust 
this man with a most important mission. And yet he 
disliked him. He was the type that must be used, but 
held with an iron hand-the modem enthusiast with 
scientific knowledge. 

The smaller man, Mora, was easy— the nose of a 
ferret, coarse black cropped beard and thick sensuous 

lips. He could be managed— yes. He could be trusted 
— ^yes. 

The other-he studied again-the strongly marked 
angular features, the large brilliant eyes, big nostrils 
and high forehead. He could be used for the first 
steps— it might be necessary to hang him later. AU 
right, he would use him and then let him hang himself 
— suicide was common with his type. 

Waldron smiled, quickly approached the table 
and took his seat He nodded to Meyer and spoke 
suavely : 

"Your invention has been perfected?" 

The deep lines about the thinker's mouth tNvitched. 

He suddenly thrust his hand in his pocket, drew out a 

box and placed it under the light. 
"I have it with me." 

Mora bent close and Waldron watched keenly as 

15 



4 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



Meyer opened the leathern case and exposed the new 
device which he had promised to perfect. 

"Examine the mechanisms," he said, passing it to 
Waldron. "It's perfectly harmless at present. The 
clockwork inside is as delicate as a Swiss watch." 

The master of the house placed the smooth round 
surface to his ear, listened, laughed softly and passed 
it to Mora. 

Meyer spoke with the certainty of positive knowledge, 
holding Waldron's eye with a steady gaze. 

"I guarantee to stop the trade of this money-grab- 
bing nation with all belligerents. I'll sink a ship from 
inside her hold as slick as that torpedo ten days ago 
got the Lusitania — " 

Waldron made no reply. His jaw merely closed 
tightly. 

The throb of an automobile climbing the steep road- 
way from the river drive struck the window. Waldron 
rose, listened a moment, walked to the casement and 
looked out. 

A tall, distinguished-looking man with deep-cut lines 
in his strong face, who moved with military precision, 
opened the door of the tonneau without waiting for the 
chauffeur and leaped out. 

The flunkey in the hall was evidently expecting 
his arrival. Villard whispered to the servant who 

16 



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THE FALL OP A NATI ON 

closed th§ door qmckly and led the way to the 
library. 

The new guest was evidently nervous in spite of his 
well drilled manners. In his right hand he gripped an 
extra edition of a New York sensational evening paper. 

ViUard Iiimself brushed the flunkey aside and rapped 
on the library door. Waldron opened and closed it 
instantly on his entrance. There was no mistaking the 
fact that the newcomer bore an important message. 
His deep, cold, blue eyes glowed with excitement and his 
hand visibly trembled. He drew his host to the window, 
opened the crumpled copy of the paper and pointed to 
its huge head lines: 

CONGRESSMAN VASSAR OF NEW 
YORK INTRODUCES BILL DEMAND- 
ING A GREAT NAVY AND A MILLION 
iTRAINED MEN FOR DEFENSE! 

"This is a serious busines8"--Villard said curtly. 
Waldron smiled: 

"Serious—yes— unless we know how to meet the 
crisis. I happen to know — " 

"It can be defeated then?" 

"It wiU be defeated," was the quiet reply. "Many 
bills are ntroduced into our supreme law-making body, 

17 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



■i ,jr '1; 



Villard-^ut few are passed. Thi. is one that wiU die 
an early and easy death — '» 
"You are sure?" 

"As that I'm living. Come— sit down." Waldron 
moved toward the table and ViUard quickly followed. 

Waldron handed the paper to Meyer without com- 
ment and quietly watched him explode with excitement. 
IVfora, too, was swept from his feet for the moment. 
"It means — sir?" Meyer gasped. 
"That we will move a little more quickly— that is 
all," .Waldron answered. 

The three men leaned close, each awaiting with evi- 
dent deference the word of the master mind. 

There was no mistaking the fact that one mind 
dominated the group. The high intellectual forehead 
of the man of millions marked him at once as a bom 
leader and master of men. There was a consciousness 
of power in the poise of his big body and the slow move- 
ment of his piercing eyes that commanded attention 
and respect from his bitterest foe. 

"Of course, gentlemen," he began calmly, "if we 
had in this country an intelligent and capable govern- 
ment we would be up against a serious situation. We 
have no such government. The alleged Democracy 
under which we live is the most asinine contrivance ever 
devised by theorists and dreamers. It never makes 

18 



"%:» 



■r^» 



■0 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



an important move until too late and then will certainly 
do the wrong thing in the moment of crisis, ^ere i« 
but one thing »you can always depend on at every ses- 
sion of Congress. They will pass the bill dividing the 
Pork Barrel among the Congressional Districts. The 
average Congressman considers this his first duty — the 
rest is of but slight importance — ** 

Villard laughed heartily. Jhe two others joined 
feebly. They were not so sure of the situation. Their 
knowledge of Waldron's power and the accuracy of his 
judgment was not so clear as the older man's. 

"Not only have we the most corrupt and incompetent 
government of all history," Waldron went on, **but 
to add to its confusion and wefilcr.ess we Have lately 
thrust the duties of the ballot upon millions of hys- 
terical women utterly unfitted for its responsibilities. 
It is an actual fact that the women now enfranchised 
in the Middle and Western states hold the balance of 
power — '* 

Villard suddenly leaped to his feet. 
, "And they will vote solidly against every programme 
of preparation !" 

Waldron nodded. 

**How fortunate at this moment!" Villard went on 
enthusiastically, "that the women rule American men. 
I begin to see the reason for your confidence. You 

19 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



will enlist of course the eloquent young leader who 
addressed the mob in Union Square last week?" 

"At once," Waldron answered quickly. "Virginia 
Holland is one of the feminine gods at the moment. It's 
amazing with what blind worship her disciples follow — " 

"She's a stunning young woman, sir !" Villard broke 
in gallantly. "By Jore, she stirred me.. You can't 
neglect her — " 

"I shall cultivate her at once," was the quiet answer. 
"In the meantune, Meyer"— Waldron paused and held 
the enthusiast's eye for an instant and went on rapidly 
— "we will forget the ships — " 

Meyer frowned in surprise but had no time to 
answer before he received the curt order in an imder- 
tone. 

"Wait for me — ^I've more important work for »ou." 
Waldron rose and drew Villard and Mora aside. 

.Without ceremony he placed five yeUow-backed one 
hundred dollar bills in Yillard's hands and a single one 
in Mora's. 

"We hold a great Peace rally to launch the popular 
movement against this bill to establish militarism in the ' 
United States. The classes who cherish varied theories 
of peace will join us. The Honorable Plato Barker is 
at the moment the leader of the peace yodelers. He is 
a professional lecturer who loves the sound of hia ov *. 

20 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



voice. He knows you, ViUard, and prizes your opinions 
on Peace — " 

ViUard gavr . dry IlHlc laugh. 
"You will TM-onally e the Honorable Plato and 
secure him as oui pxiii-ipal speaker. And you, Mora, 
happen to know the Reverend A. Cuthbert Pike, D.D., 
President of the American Peace Union. His church 
maintains some missionaries in your benighted native 
land. His office is at the Bible House. I want him to 

introduce the Honorable Plato Barker ^* 

Mora smiled and bowed, and the two hurried to 
execute their orders. Villard's car was waiting. The 
master of the house took Meyer's arm, led him to the 
corner of the library and for half an hour gave explicit 
instructions in low tones. 

Before showing Meyer to the door another roll of 
bills was duly delivered for defraying the expenses of 
his important work. The enthusiast brought his heels 
together with a sharp click, saluted and hurried down 
the broad stairs. He declined the offer of an auto- 
mobile. He didn't like millionaires. He only used 
them. 

Waldron watched him go with a curious smile, drew 
on his gloves and called for his hat and cane. 

The flunkey who hovered near obeyed the order with 
quick servility and stood watching his master go by 

21 



■s? 



r* i 

1 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



the broad porte-cochere, wondering why the^^i^d^Th^ 
not been given him for the car. 

.Waldron signaled his night chauffeur, and the big 
limousine darted to the stoop. As the driver leaned 
out to receive his orders, Waldron spoke in low tones; 

"To Miss Virginia Holland's on Stuyvesant 
Square — " 

The driver nodded and closed the door of the limou- 
sine. He had been there before. 



f! 



'^ 



CHAPTER II 

VIRGINIA HOLLAND, at her desk preparing 
an address on the Modem Feminisf Movement, 
dropped her pencil and raised her head with 
a look of startled surprise at the cry of a newsboy in 
the street below. The whole block seemed to vibrate 
with his uncanny yell : 
"Wuxtra! Wuxtra!" 

A sense of impending calamity caught her heart ror 
a moment. It was a morbid fancy, of course, and yet 
the cry of the boy kept ringing a personal warning. 

Work impossible, she opened her door, called and 
asked her brother Billy to get a copy of the paper. 

Before he returned her anxiety had increased to the 
point of pain. She rapidly descended the stairs and 
waited at the door. 

Billy entered reading the headlines announcing Vas- 
sar's new programme of military preparation. Virginia 
flushed and gazed at the announcement with increas- 
ing excitement. The name of John Vassar had caused 
a flush before the announcement of his bill had made 
an impression. Her handsome Congressman neighbor, 

23 



! 



THE FALL OF A N ATION 

though they had never formally met, had for some 
months past been a disturbing factor in a life of 
hitherto serene indifference to men. That ho should 
have antagonized in this bill her well known position 
as the uncompromising advocate of peace and of uni- 
versal disarmament was a shock. His proposal to arm 
the American Democracy came as a slap in her face. 
She felt it a personal affront. 

Of course she had no right to such feeling. John 
Vassar was nothing to her! She had only seen him 
pass her window three times during the year. And yet 
the longer she gazed at the announcement the more 
furious she became. At least he might have consulted 
her as the leading public-spirited woman in his district 
on this measure of such transcendent importance. He 
had not done so, for a simple reason. He knew that 
she opposed militarism as the first article of her life 
faith. Her hand closed on the paper in a grip of re- 
sentment. She made up her mind instantly to force 
his hand on the suffrage issue. She would show him 
that she had some power in his District. 

Her mood of absorbed anger was suddenly broken 
by Billy's joyous cry: 

"Hurrah for John Vassar, sis. Me for West Point! 
Will you make him appoint me?" 

She turned in sudden rage and boxed her yourjr 

M 



r, 

I; 



ii 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



brother's ears, smiled at his surprise, threw her arms 
around his neck and kissed him. She boxed his ears 
for crying hurrah for Vassar. She kissed him for the 
compliment of her supposed power over the coming 
statesman. 

To hide her confusion she began at once a heated 
argument over the infamies of a military regime. The 
quarrel broke the peaceful scene of a game of checkers 
between the father and mother in the sitting-room, and 
brought the older people into the hall ; 

"In heaven's name, Virginia!" her father exclaimed. 
**What is the matter?" 

**Read it" — she answered angrily, thrusting the paper 
into his hand. 

The Grand Army veteran read with sparkling eyes. 

"Good !" he shouted, 

"That's what I say, father!" Billy echoed. 

"It's absurd," Virginia protested. "War on this 
country is impossible. It's unthinkable — " 

The old soldier suddenly seized her hand. 

"Impossible, is it? Come with me a minute. Miss!" 

He drew her into the library followed by Billy — the 
mother striving gently to keep the peace. 

Holland led his eloquent daughter to the rack above 
the center bookcase and took from its place his army 
musket. 

25 



m 



THE FALL OE A NA TION 

"That's what they said, my girl, in '61. Here's 
the answer. That's what your grandmother said to 
your grandfather. That's why we've bungled every 
war we ever fought and paid for it in rivers of blood !'• 

The famfly row started anew— the father and boy 
for preparation against war, the daughter and mother 
for peace — ^peace at any price. 

The quarrel was at its height when JValdron's car 
arrived. 

Old Peter, the stately negro butler of the ancient 
regime, closed the folding doors to drown the din before 
ushering the distinguished guest into the parlor. Wal- 
dron was a prime favorite of Peter's. The millionaire 
had slipped him a twenty-dollar gold piece on a former 
occasion and no argument of friend or foe could shake 
his firm conviction that Charles Waldron was a gentle- 
man of the old school. Besides, Peter was consumed 
with family pride in Virginia's hold on so distinguished 
a leader of the big world. 

The old butler bowed his stateliest a! tHe Hoor of 
the parlor with the slightest hesitation on his exit as 
if the memory of the twenty-dollar gold piece lingered 
in spite of his resolution to hold himself above the 
influence of filthy lucre. 

"I tell Miss Virginia, right away, sah— yassah!" 
Waldron seated himself witK confidence. Virginia 

26 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Holland lingered a few minutes merely to show the 
great man that she was not consumed with pride at his 
attentions. That she appreciated the compliment of 
his admiration she would not have denied even to John 
Vassar. .Waldron had made the largest single con- 
tribution to the Woman's Movement it had received in 
America. She had gotten the credit of winning the 
great man's favor and opening his purse strings. 

That the millionaire was interested in her charming 
personality she had not doubted from the first. He 
left no room for doubt in the eagerness with Trhich 
he openly sought her favor. 

And yet it had never occurred to her to think of him 
as d. real lover. There was something so blunt and 
material in his personality that it forbade a romance. 
She could imagine him asking a woman to marry him. 
But in the wildest leap of her fancy she had not been 
able to conceive of his making love. In her strictly 
modem business woman's mind she was simply using her 
influence over the great man for all it was worth in a 
perfectly legitimate way and always for the advance- 
ment of the Cause. 

She greeted him witH a gracious smile anH Ee Bowed 
over her hand after the fashion of the European cour- 
tier in a way that half amused her and half pleased her 
vanity. 

27 



^^^ ^ALL OF A NATION 



■f 



H 






He held a copy of the evening paper. 
"You have read it?»» 
Virginia nodded. 

Waldron went straight to the point in his cold, im- 
personal buc impressive way. 

"You are the most eloquent leader of American 
women, Miss Holland. Your voice commands the widest 
hearing. You stand for peace and universal brother- 
hood. Will jou preside at a mass meeting tomorrow 
night to protest against this infamous bill?" 

Virginia Holland had given her consent mentaUy until 
he used the word "infamous." Somehow it didn't fit 
John Vassar's character and instinctively she re- 
sented it. 

She blushed for an instant at her silly Inconsistency. 
But a moment ago she had herself denounced the 
young statesman with unmeasured violence. In 
the next moment she was resenting an attack on 
him. 

VTaldron watched her hesitation with surprise and 
renewed his plea with more warmth than he had ever 
displayed. 

Virginia extended her hand in a quick business-like 
way. 

"Of course I'll preside. We are fighting for the same 
great end." 



II 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Waldron made no effort to press his victory. He 
rose at once to go, and bowed low over her hand. 

"Aurevoir— tomorrow night," he said in low tones. 

Virginia watched him go with a mingled fcehng of 
triumph and fear. There was something about the man 
that puzzled and annoyed her— something unconvincing 
in his apparent frankness. And yet the truth about his 
big life purpose never for a moment entered her 
imagination. 






CHAPTER m 

WHEN Meyer reached the quarter of the East 
Side where eager crowds surge through a 
little crooked thoroughfare leading from the 
old Armory on Essex Street he encountered unexpected 
difficulties. 

He ran into a section of John Vassar's congressional 
district saturated with the young leader's ideals of a 
new Americanism. Cle was coldly received. 

Benda, the Italian fruit-dealer on the comer, Meyer 
had marked finally as his opening wedge in the little 
clannish community. The Italian was the most popular 
man on the street, his store the meeting-place of the 
wives and children for three blocks. 

Meyer entered the store and to his surprise found it 
deserted. The sounds of laughter in the little suite 
of hvmg-room and kitchen behind the store told of 
festivities in progress. He waited impatiently for the 
proprietor to return. 

Benda was presiding at a function too important 
to be interrupted by thoughts of trade. With Angela, 
his wife, and the neighbors, he was celebrating the fifth 

80 



THE FALL OP A NATION 



b.rthd.y of ,h.ir only boy. Ton,™..„. J,. The kid, 
from f.r and noar were bringing their little present, 
and Pa,quale. h„ be,t friend, who wa. returning to 

monkey and hand-organ. Benda him,elf had eseorted 
Pa^iuale .nto the room and had j„,t ,prung the big 
•urpnse on the assembled party. 

P.«,uale wa, putting the monkey through hi, trick, 
anud scream, of laughter when Meyer's dark face 
clouded the door leading from the ,tore. 
He beckoned angrily to Benda. 
"May I see you a minute?" 

Benda ,prang to meet the unexpected appari- 
t.on ,n h., doorway while Angela led Pa,quale and the 
children into the street for a grand concert. Meyer's 
tense face had not passed without her swift 
glance. 

She left the children dancing and entered the .tore 
from the front. Meyer had just offered Benda good 
v^ages for his services in the cause and the Italian was 
tempted and puzzled. 

Angela suddenly confronted Meyer. His suave ex- 
planation that the alliance which he had invited Benda 
to jom was a benevolent order for self-protection was 
not convincing. 

, .The wife swung her husband suddenly aside and 

81 



! 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



I 

•I 



li 



•tepped between the two. She fairljr threw her word, 
into Meyer's face. 

"You go now ! My man stick to his beesness. He 
mak good mon. We got our little home.'* 

Meyer attempted to argue. Benda tried to edge in 
a word. It was useless. Angela's shrill voice rose 
in an endless chorus of protest. 

Benda threw up his hands in surrender and re-entered 
the store. Meyer angrily turned on his heel and crossed 
the street to see Schultz, the delicatessen man on the 
opposite corner. 

Schultz proved impossille from the first. His jovial 
face was wreathed in smiles but his voice was firm in 
its deep mumbling undertone. 

"No— mein frient— no more drill for me— I fight no 
more except for tj,e flag dot give me mein freedom and 
mein home!" 

The two men held each other's gaze in a moment of 
dramatic tension. The menace in Meyer's voice was 
unmistakable as he answered: 

"I'll see yod again!" 



CHAPTER IV 



JOHN VASSAR'S triumphant return to his home 
on Stujvesant Square, after the introduction 
of his sensational bill in Congress, was beset with 
domestic comph-cations. Congratulations from his 
father, nieces, and Wanda had scarcely been received 
before the trouble began. 

"But you must hear Miss Holland!" Zonia pleaded. 

John Vassar shook his head. 

"Not tonight, dear — '» 

"Pd set my heart on introducing you. Ah, Uncy 
dear-please! She's the most eloquent orator in 
America — " 

"That's why I hate her and all her tribe--»» 

A rosy cheek pressed close to his. 

"Not all her tribe—" 

"My Zonia-no-Hut I could wring her neck for 
leading a chick of your years into her fool move- 
ment — " 

"But she didn't lead me, Uncy dear, I just saw it 
all in a flash while she was speaking— my duty to my 
sex and the world — »* 

33 



il 



I.J 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

"Duty to your sex! What do you know about duty 
to your sex?-you infant barely out of short dresses! 
Your hair ought to be still in braids. And it was aU 
my fault. I let you out of the nursery too soon—" 
He paused and looked at her wistfully. 
"And I promised your father's spirit the day you 
came to us here that Pd guard you as my own-you 
and little Marya. I haven't done my duty. IVe been 
too busy with big things to realize that I was neglect- 
ing the biggest thing in the'world. You've slipped away 
from me, dear— and I'm heartsick over it. Maybe I'U 
be in time for Marya— you're lost at eighteen— '» 
"Marya's joined our Club too — " 
"A babe of twelve?" 

"She's going to be Miss Holland's page in the suf- 
f rage Pageant — " 

John Vassar groaned, laid both hands on the girl's 
shoulders and rose abruptly. 

"Now, Zonia, it's got to stop here and now. I'm 
not going to allow this brazen Amazon — " 

His niece broke into a fit of laughter. 

"Brazen Amazon?" 

"That's what I said. This brazen Amazon is my 



_»» 



enemy — 

The girl lifted her finger laughingly. 
"But you're not afraid of her? John Vassar, a 

84 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



descendant of old Yan Vasa in whose veins ran the 
royal blood of Poland~ten years in Congress from this 
big East Side district—the idol of the peopIe-<:hair- 
man of the National House Committee on Military 
Affairs"— she paused and her voice dropped to the 
tensest pride— "my candidate for governor of New 
York— you positively won't go to the meeting in Union 
Square tonight?" she added quietly. 

"Positively— » 

**Then, Uncy dear, I'll have to deliver the message—" 

She drew a crumpled note from her bosom and handed 
it to him without a word. 

He broke the seal and read with set lips; 

Hon. John Vassar, M, C, 
16 Stuyvksant Square, 

New York. 
Dear Sir: Our committee in charge of the can- 
vass of your congressional district in the cam- 
paign for woman's suffrage have tried in vain to 
obtain an expression of your views. We are mak- 
ing a house to house canvass of every voter in 
New York. You have thus far side-stepped us. 
You are a man of too much power in the State 
and nation to overlook in such a fight. The Con- 
gressional Directory informs us that you are 
barely thirty-six years old. You have already 
served ten years in Washington with disUncUon 

35 



11 



,THE FALL OF A NATION 



■ ■ 4 



and have won your spurs as a national leader. 
A great future awaits you unless you incur the 
united opposition of the coming woman voter. 

I warn you that we are going to sweep the Em- 
pire State. Your majority is large and has in- 
creased at each election. It is not large enough 
if we mark you for defeat, I have sincerelj; 
hoped that we might win you for our cause, 

I ask for a declaration of your position. You 
must be for us or against us. There can be no 
longer a middle course. 

I should deeply regret the necessity of your 
defeat if you force the issue. Your niece has 
quite won my heart and her passionate enthusiasm 
for her distinguished uncle has led me to delay 
this important message untU the introduction of 
your bill for militarism has forced it. 

Sincerely, 

Virginia Holland, 
Pres't National Campaign Committee. 

John Vassar read the letter a second time, touched 
the tips of his mustache thoughtfully and fixed his eyes 
on Zonia. 

"And my little sweetheart will join the enemy in this 
campaign !*' 

A tear trembled on the dark lashes. 

"Ah, Uncy darling, how could you think such a 
thing!" 

86 









THE FALL OF A NATION 



"You bring this challenge — " 
«I only want to vote-to-elect-you-govemor-" 
The voice broke in a sob, as he bent and kissed the 
smooth young brow. 

She clung to him tenderly. 

"Uncy dear, just for my sake, because I love you so 
-because you're my hero-won't you do something for 
me — Just because I ask it?" 
"Maybe—" 

"Go to Union Square with me then—" 
He shook his head emphatically. 
"Against rr- principles, dear — " 
"It's not against your principles to make me happy?" 
He took her cheeks between his hands. 
"Seeing that I've raised you from a chick— I don't 
think there ought to be much doubt about how I stand 
on the woman question as far as it affects two little 
specimens of the tribe — do you?" 

"AH right then," she cried gayly, "you love 
Marya and me. We are women. You can't refuse 
us a little old thing like a ballot if we want it- 
can you?" 

She paused and kissed him again. 
"So now, Uncy, you're going to hear Miss Holland 
speak just to make me happy — aren't you?" 
He smiled and surrendered. 

37 



ll 



d 



I 



t 



'I 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



tif 



if 



*To make you happy — ^yes- 
He couldn't say more. The arms were too tight 
about his neck. 

He drew them gently down. 

"This is what I dread in politics, dear — ^whcn the 
women go in to win. We've graft enough now. When 
the boys run up against this sort of thing— God help 
us !— and God save the country if you should happen 
to make a mistake in what you ask for! Well, you've 
won this fight— come on, let's get up front and hear 
the argument. I hate to stand on the edge and wonder 
what the hen is saying when she crows—" 

Zonia handed his hat and cane and, radiant with 
smiles, opened the door. 

"I suppose we'll let Marya stay with Grandpa.?" he 
asked. 

"They've been gone half an hour!" 
"Oh— » 

"I had no trouble with Grandpa at all. He agreed 
to sit on the platform with me — " 
"Indeed!" 

"But I don't think he really understood what the 
meeting was about — " 

"Just to please his grandchick, however, the old 
traitor agreed to preside at my funeral — eh?" 

"He won't if you say not— shall I tell lum to keep 

S8 



THE FALL OF A NAT ION 

off? Marya wiU be awfully disappoii^i^TiT^^T^ 
them get down — " 

"No— let him stay. Maybe he can placate the enemy. 
They can hold him as hostage for my good behavior." 

The hand on his arm pressed tighter. 

"It's so sweet of you, Uncy !" 

"At what hour does this paragon of all the virtr s, 
male and female, harangue the mob?" 

"ifou mean Miss Holland?" 

''Yes." 

"Oh, they'll aU be there tonight. Miss HoUand is 
the principal speaker for the Federated Women's Clubs 
of America— she's the president, you know—" 
"No— I didn *: know—" 

"She won't speak until 9 :30. We can hear the others 
first. There'U be some big guns arr-^^g the men too- 
the Honorable Plato Barker and the Keverend A. Cuth- 
bert Pike, the president of the American Peace Union 
-and Waldron, the multi-miUionaire, he presides at 
Miss Holland's stand — " 
"Indeed—" 

''Yes— they say he's in love with her but she doesn't 
care a rap for him or any other man—" 

John Vassar had ceased to hear Zonia's chatter. The 
name of Charles Waldron had started a train of ugly 
thought. Of all the leaders of opinion in .A^nerica this 

S9 



<'■ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



If 



• 






man was his pet aversion. He loathed his personality. 
He hated his newspaper with a fury which words could 
not express. It stood squarely for every tendency of 
degenerate materialism in our life, a worship of money 
and power first and last against all sentiment and all 
the hopes and aspirations of the masses. He posed 
as the Pecksniffian leader of Reform and the reform he 
advocated always meant the lash for the man who 
toils. His hatreds were implacable, too, and he used 
the power of his money with unscrupulous brutality. 
He had lately extended the cham of banks which he 
owned in New York until they covered the leading 
cities of every state in the Union. His newspaper, the 
Evening Courier, was waging an unceasing campaign 
for the establishment of an American aristocracy of 
wealth and culture. 

Vassar was cudgeling his brain over the mystery of 
this man's sudden enthusiasm for woman suffrage and 
the Cause of Universal Peace. It was a sinister sign 
of the times. He rarely advocated a losing cause. That 
this cold-blooded materialist could believe in the dream 
of human emancipation through the influence of women 
was preposterous. 

Zonia might be right, of course, in saying that he 
had become infatuated with the young Amazon leader 
of the Federated Women's Clubs. And yet that would 

40 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

hardlj account for his presence ^^^^^^^c^^^^^~^^ 
of a grand rally for suffrage. There were too many 
factions represented in such a demonstration for his 
personal interest in one woman to explain his activity 
m bringing those people together. His paper had, in 
fact, led the appeal to co-ordinate Demagogery, Labor, 
Peace Propaganda, Socialism, and Feminism in one 
monster mass meeting. 

The longer Vassar puzzled over it, the more im- 
penetrable became Waldron's motive. His leadership 
in the movement was uncanny. ,What did it mean? 










I 



€\ 



CHAPTER VI 

IT was barely seven when they reached Union Square. 
It was alreauy packed by a dense crowd of good- 
natured cheering men and women. Seventy-five 
thousand was a conservative estimate. The air was 
electric with contagious enthusiasm. 

"We'll hear the apostle of peace first," Vassar said 
to Zonia, pushing his way slowly through the crowd 
toward a platform with three-foot letters covering its 
four sides: 

PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! 

The Reverend A. Cuthbert Pike, president of the 
Peace Union of America, was delivering the opening 
address as the chairman of his meeting. He was a 
funny-looking little man of slight features, bald and 
decorated with a set of aggressive side whiskers. His 
manner was quick and nervous, electric in its nervous- 
ness, his voice in striking contrast to the jerky pug- 
nacity of his body. The tones were soft and dreaming, 
as if he were trying to Subdue the tendency of the 
flesh to fight for what he believed to be right. 

42 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



He leaned far over the rail of the platform and 
breathed his words over the crowd: 

"Two great powers contend for the mastery of the 
world, my friends," he was saying. "The spirit of 
Christ and the spirit of Napoleon. The one would over- 
come evil with good. The other would hurl evil against 
evil. One stands for love, humility, self-sacrifice. The 
other stands for the hate, pride and avarice of the 
militarism of today — " 

Vassar lost the next sentence. His mind had 
leaped the seas and stood with brooding wonder over 
the miracle of self-sacrifice of a thousand blood- 
drenched trenches and battlefields where millions of 
atout-hearted men were now laying their lives on the 
altar of their country—an offering of simple love. They 
had left the selfish pursuit of pleasure and wealth and 
individual aggrandizement and merged their souls and 
bodies into the wider life of humanity— the hopes and 
aspirations of a race. Was all this hate and pride and 
avarice? Bah! The little fidgety preacher was surely 
crazy; the thing called war was too big and terrible and 
soul-searching for that. Such theories were too small. 
They could not account for the signs of the times. 

The preacher was talking again. He caught the 
quiver of hate in his utterance of the name of the great 
German philosopher. 

43 



14' 



Mi 




if 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"In Nietzsche's words we have the supreme utterance 
of the modem anti-Christ in his blasphemous rendition 
of the Beatitudes. Hear him : 

***Yc have heard how in olden times it was said, 
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth; 
Hut I say to you, Blessed are the valiant, for they 
shall make the earth their throne — »» 

"Militarism, my friends, is the incarnate soul of 
blasphemy ! It is confined to no country. It is a world 
curse. The mightiest task of the times in which we 
live is to cast out this devil from the body of civiliza- 
tion. We demand votes for women because we believe 
they will help us in the grim battle we are fighting with 
the powers of Death and Hell — ^'» 

Vassar turned with a sigh and pressed toward the 
next platform. The Honorable Plato Barker, silver- 
tongued orator of the plains, was soaring above the 
heads of his enraptured listeners. His benevolent bald 
head glistened in the sputtering rays of the arc light. 
He was supremely happy once more. He had resigned 
the cares of office to ride a new hobby and bask in the 
smiles of cheering thousands. He had ridden Free 
Silver to death and grown tired of Prohibition. He 
had groomed a new steed. His latest hobby was Peace. 
He too was demanding votes for women because they 
would save the world from the curse of war. 

44 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vawar listened to the man whom he had once cheered 
and foUowed with growing wonder and weariness. With 
pompous pose and high-sounding phrase he inveighed 
against arms and armament. In the next breath he 
denounced his old opponent for the attempt to abolish 
armaments bj an international organization to enforce 
peace through a central police power. He demanded 
that America should stand alone in her purity and her 
unselfish glory. He believed in America for the Amer- 
icans. But he would not fight to maintain it-nor 
would he permit an entangling aUiance with any nation 
which might make safe the doctrine without a fight 
We would neither fight nor permit anyone else to fight 
for us. He demanded that we should not arm ourselves 
for defense and in the next breath declared that he 
was not in favor at present of dismantUng the forts 
we now possessed or of disbanding the army. He de- 
nounced aU arms and all wars and yet favored being 
half armed and half ready for an inadequate defense. 
He asked that we stand absolutely alone in the world 
and half armed maintain the guardianship of the West- 
ern Hemisphere against the serried millions of veteran 
soldiers of armed Europe. He demanded that we up- 
hold international law and order and yet ridiculed any 
organization for that purpose. 

Each empty platitude the crowd cheered. Each pre- 

45 



M 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




|i 



posterous demand for the impossible thej cheered again 
with redoubled power. 

His last proposition was evidently his favorite. He 
dropped his voice to low persuasive tones: 

"Even suppose the unthinkable thing should happen. 
Suppose that some misguided nation in an hour of 
madness should send a hundred thousand soldiers across 
three thousand miles of sea and attempt to invade this 
country— what then? This country, mark you, peopled 
by a nation of vastly superior numbers, equal intelli- 
gence, mechanical genius and political organization—" 
He paused and thundered: 
"What would happen? 
"Those hundred thousand invading soldiers would 

never see their old homes again ** 

Tremendous cheers rent the air. 
"And what's more, dear friends, they would never 
desire to see their homes again. We would march out 
to meet them with smiles and flowers. We would 
bid them welcome to our shores. We would give 
to them the freedom of our city and greet them as 
brethren !" 

Again the cheers leaped from the throats of thou- 
sands. 

To John Vassar with the bitter memories of the might 
of kings that yet shadowed the world the scene was sick- 

46 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



ening in its utter fatuity. He mopp*«a ..,e perspiration 
from his forehead and hurried on. 

He passed the platform on which Jane Hale stood 
repeating in monotonous reiteration the plea for peace 
which she vainly spoke into the ears of Europe on her 
tour during the war. The speakers' stand was draped 
in red and behind Miss Hale's solid figure the young 
statesman recognized the famiHar faces of the Socialist 
leaders of the East Side. 

How vain this Socialist symbol of the common red 
blood that pulses from every human breast ! How piti- 
fully tragic their faUure in the hour when the war 
summoned the world to the national colors. The red 
flag faded from the sky. It was all talk— all wind- 
all fustian— all bombast— all theory. Men don't die for 
academic theories. Men die for what they believe. And 
yet these American Socialists were as busj with their 
parrot talk as if nothing had happened in IHe world 
since that fatal day in July, 19i*, when old things 
passed away and all things became new. 

Vassar pressed past the crowd around tlie Socialist 
stand and saw beyond the platform from which the 
woman leader of the new Anti-Enlistment Ceague was 
haranguing the mob. She too «7as a suffragette for 
peace purposes — an aggressive fat female of decisively 
militant aspect. Her words were pacific in their import. 

47 



■1 




THE FALL OF A NATION 




H« ™im,er .„d .pint .poke b.«le in every accent and 
ge.t„re. She wa. determined to have peace if .he had 
to Jtill every man, woman and chUd oppowd to it 

She waved the pledge of the league above her head 
and rected ,t, form in ra.ping. chaUenging. aggravating 

"I, being over eighteen eesr. of age, hereby pledge 
»y«If againrt enlistment a. a volunteer for any miM- 
lary or naval .ervice in an international war, and 
agam.t giving my approval to .uch enlistment on the 
part of others." 

She paused and shouted: 

"The Anti-EnHstment League does not stand for 
punj non-resistance! .We appeal to the militancy of 
the spirit — ^** 

John Vassar looked at his watch. 

'*We»ve yet time to hear Brother Dehs. I like his 
kmd. You always know where to find him." 

"No-no-Uncj," Zonia urged, *Ve must hurry to 
our stand — '* 

**Our stand, eh?»* 

'TTes— you mustn't miss a word Miss Holland says. 
She doesn't speak long-but every word counts-" 
JShe has one loyal follower anyhow," Vassar smiled. 
'Tm going to win her for you, Uncy dear—" 
**0h, that's the scheme?" 

48 



THE FALL OF A NATI ON 

"Yes— '» ~ 

"I don't think it can be done, little sweetheart. I 
never could like a hen that crows—" 

Zonia waved her arm toward the big platform of 
the Woman's Federated Clubs. 

"There they are now!" she cried-«Marya and 
Grandpa—they're sitting on the steps—" 
"So I see—" Vassar laughed. 

Old Andrew Vassar was beaming his good-natured 
approval on the throng that surged about the stand, 
his arm er ?rcling his little granddaughter with lov- 
ing touch. 

The younger man watched him a moment with a 
tender smile. His father was supremely happy in the 
great crowd of strong, healthy, free men and women. 
He knew nothing of the meaning of the meeting. He 
never bothered his head about it. The thing was a 
part of the life of America and it was good. He was 
seventy years old now— lame from an old wound re- 
ceived in Poland-but had a fine strong face beaming 
generous thoughts to all men. He had landed on our 
shores thirty years ago broken, bruised and ruined. He 
had dared to lift his voice in Poland for one of the sim- 
plest rights of his people. A bruUl soldier at the order 
of their imperial master had sacked h^ home, murdered 
his wife and daughter before 2iU.eyes, robbed 

49 *^ ^ 



i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



h ■ 



U i 



i 



! 



',.>•' 



I 



hiin of all and at last left him in thr street, bleed- 
ing to death with a baby boy of five clinging to his 
body. His older son had smuggled him aboard a 
ship bound for New York. He had prospered from 
the day of his landing. A tailor by trade he had 
proven his worth from the first. For ten years he 
had been head cutter for a wholesale clothing house 
and received an annual salary of ten thousand dollars. 
Ten years ago the might of kings had gripped the son 
he left behind. His goods too were forfeited, his life 
snuffed out and his children orphaned. Big free 
America had received them now, and the old man's 
strong arm circled them. The little terror-stricken 
boy, who had clung to him the day the soldiers left 
him in the street for dead, was the Honorable John 
Vassar, the coming man of a mighty nation of free- 
men. 

Old Andrew Vassar made no effort to grasp the cur- 
rent of our social or political life. It was aU good. 
He went to aU the political meetings, Democratic, Re- 
publican, Socialist, Woman's Suffrage. He Uked to 
test his freedom and laugh to find it true. 

He caught John's eye, waved his arm enthusias- 
tically and lifted Marya high above the heads of the 
crowd that she might throw him a kiss. 

Zonia answered with a little cry of love and thev 

50 ^ 








THE FALL OF A NATION 



quickly pressed through the throng to a position di- 
rectly in front of the speaker's stand. 

Waldron had just risen to make his opening ad- 
dress. His automobile had brought him quickly from 
another important engagement with a committee of 
Western bankers who had met in the stately library 
of his palatial home on the heights of upper Manhattan. 
There was no mistaking the poise of the man, his 
dignity and conscious reserve power. Vassar studied 
Lira for the first time at close range with increasing 
dislike and suspicion. 

He faced the crowd with a look of quiet mastery. 
A man of medium height, nxassive bull neck, high 
forehead, straight intellectual eyebrows and piercing 
steel gray eyes. There was no mistaking the fact that 
he was a bom leader of men. 

A high collar covered the massive neck well up to 
the ears, concealing the lines of brutality which lay 
beneath; and a pair of glasses attached to a black 
silk cord and gracefully adjusted, gave to his strong 
features a touch of intellectuality on which his vanity 
evidently fed. 

A curious little smile played about the comers of 
his eyes and thin lips as if he knew a good joke that 
couldn't be told to a crowd. The smile brought a 
frown to John Vassar's sensitive face. He in- 

51 



J !;■ 



!?*>- 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



-J4' 



stinctively hated a man with that kind of smile. He 
couldr/t tell why. The smile was not a pose. There 
was something genuine behind it. A crowd would like 
him for it. But the man who looked beneath the 
surface for its real meaning felt intuitively that it 
sprang from a deep, genuine and boundless contempt 
for humanity. 

Tht sound of his voice confirmed this impression. 
He spoke with a cold, measured deliberation that pro- 
voked and held an audience. His words were clean 
cut and fell with metallic precision like the click of 
a telegraph key. 

"I have the honor, tonight, ladies and gentlemen," 
he began slowly, "of introducing to you the real leader 
of the women of America — " 

A cheer swept the crowd and Zonia stood on tiptoe 
trying to catch a glimpse of her heroine. 

"She's hiding behind the others—" she pressed her 
uncle's arm—«but you'll see her in a mmute, Uncy!" 
"Doubtless!" Vassar .aughed. "She's too wise' an 
actress to stumble on the stage before her cue—" 
Waldron's metallic voice was clicking on. 
"Before I present her, aUow me as a spokesman 
of this great meeting to give you in a few words my 
reasons for demanding votes for women. The su- 
preme purpose of my life is to do my part in ushering 

6% 






into the world the reign of uoiversal peace Th. 
greatest . sue ever presented to the An^e^an peo^ 
3 now demanding an answer. ShaH this natioffo 
low the lead of blood-soaked Euron. a 
teeth? Or 1, II P^ *°^ *'°^ *o *he 

wl s ta,;; '^ "^ ""^'^^''^ *^^ -^ P-P^e of this earth 
Who stand for peace and good will to all? 

"The militarists tell us th«f «,„ • 
an-d; that hu^an „at„e cannot be chang.dfS 

^ the end of ti.e, that war ,„,n„ or W wUl ooL 
and that we must prepare for it. 

w.7tZ *'''"'7°""'" *^ •»"«" ««1 »he wm find . 
way to prevent war! 

"The alarmist tells ii« +l,o* 
„ 7 "* *"** armaments are our 

«:';:iT''^'" ^'^- '^^ » >- And that 

« now bemg shot to piece, in Europe before 
our eyes. Armaments provoke war T„ rt 7 
%Ht of this hen-Ht cLa«ratire.en t ^11 
*o^d see that armaments We never ,et gnarantld 

"Europe in torment caUs to us todav n 
RepuWic of the West, beware- I™» . ' * "' 

guarantee, of peace The! t""""™*'"" »»* 

"I peace. Tliej are not insurance. Make 

your new world different from the old. Bewar^o 
«uns. Down with the machinery „f slaughtfr W 

"■ "'""'■ «-•= ^"'"^ ■■" your fellow'men. bS 

53 



'&"•■ 



, -j4 •, €> 



V ' I -^.^ 



ft 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

your life on love not hate. Proclaim the coming of 
the Lord— the Prince of Peace— »» 

Vassar glanced quickly over the sea of uplifted faces 
and wondered why they did not applaud. Barker's 
crowd had gone wild over weak platitudes poorly ex- 
pressing similar ideas. The words of this man were 
eloquent. The silence was uncanny. Why didn't they 
applaud? 

He turned his head aside and listened intently. It 
was the metallic click of Waldron's cold penetrating 
voice that killed applause. There was something in 
it that froze the blood in the veins of an enthusiast- 
and yet held every listener in a spell. 

"Your alarmists," he went on deliberately, "are 
busy now with a new scare. When this war is over 
they teU us we must fight the victors, for they wiU 
move to conquer us. Let us nail another Ke. This war 
wiU leave Europe exhausted and helpless for a genera- 
tion. We will be the strongest nation in the world— our 
strength intact, our resources boundless. 

"Besides, we have the men and the means for arming 
them instantly if we are threatened. We have equipped 
and supplied armies of millions for England, France 
and Russia. What we have done for them we can 
surely do for ourselves. Our factories are now pro- 
ducing more military supplies for Europe than we 

54 




j,"i,; 



_. r- 





could use for our defense. Our navy is more efficient 
ha^ ever before in history. Our chief ports are de- 
fended by great guns that make them impregnable 
Our army is small, but I repeat the Honorable Plato 
Barker's axiom as a truth unassailable-*We can raise 
an army of a n^llion men between the suns!' yes and 
five million more within a week if they are needed-" 
John Vassar ground his teeth and set his firm jaw to 
prevent an outburst of mad protest. As chairman of 
the House Committee of Military Affairs he knew that 
every statement in this subtle demagogue's appeal 
was but half truth, and for that reason the most 
dangerous lie. The navy ^as more efficient than 
ever before-so was ever^ navy in the world. Our 
navy was still utterly inadequate to defend us against 
any first-class combination of Europe or any single 
power of the rank of Germany. Our coast guns were 
good, but a hostile navy triumphant at sea would never 
come in range of them. They would land at their 
leisure at any one of a hundred undefended harbors 
and take our forts from the rear. We could manufac 
ture ammunition-but to no purpose, because we have 
few guns for field artillery and not enough trained 
artillerymen to man them if we had the guns. It takes 
years to train the masters of war machinery. A mil-. 
Hon men could be raised between the suns, but they 



I, 




«•;» 



*t-: 



if' 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



would be mowed down By field, of hidden artillerv 
beyond the range of our gunner, before we could get 
in sight. *^ 

the cold-blooded thinker who wa. .r^ng hto the face 
of this crowd knew the.e facts with a knowledge even 
clearer than his own. 

What wa, the sinister motive back of that frozen 
smile? 

Again and again Yasser asked himself the question. 
He was stiU puzzling over the mystery of Waldron»s 
motive when a ringing cheer burst from the crowd and 
Zonia pressed his arm. 

"There she is, Uncy—there she is!" 

.Waldron was leading to the rail a blushing girl. 

**No, no— sweetheart— that's someone else-can't be 
the Amazon — " 

"Of course, you silly— she's not an Amazon— she's 
my heroine. Isn't she a darling? Now honestly?" 

Vassar was too dumfounded to make reply. 

Waldron was introducing her, the same cold smile 
on his thin lips, the same metallic click of his voice. 

'Terniit me, ladies and gentlemen, to present to you 
tonight a new force in the world— a real leader of 
modem women, our Joan of Arc, the President of the 
Federated Clubs, Misc Virginia Holland!" 

06 



il 

3 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

Again the crowd burst into applause. 
The little head bowed with the slightest inclination 
and a smile of pure sunlight illumined an exquisite 
face. The Amazon he had hated stood before him a 
gentle creature of delicate yet strongly molded features, 
her high smooth forehead crowned with a tangled mass' 
of auburn blonde hair. 

Vassar laughed at the sheer absurdity of it all. Such 
a woman couldn't be the leader of the brazen mob 
of clamoring females he had grown to hate. It was 
too preposterous for words. She was speaking now. 
He didn't know what she was saying. No matter. It 
was her personality that held him in a speU. Her voice 
was the most startling contrast to Waldron's— soft 
and clear as the round notes of a flute. Its volume was 
not great and yet the quality was penetrating. It found 
the ear of the farthest listener in the wide circle of the 
crowd and at the same time the depths of his inmost 
being. 

There was no resisting her personal appeal. 

Before she had spoken two sentences Vassar was 
ready to agree to any proposition she might make. 
She seemed so sweet and sane and reasonable. Her 
appeal was to both the head and the heart of her 
hearers. 

The young statesman mopped his brow in a vague 

en 



t, ■■' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



\y''\ 



*'->^^T*-.' 




P«mc. If th!. w„ the U«le, who had marked him 
fo- defeat the .ituation ra. .eriou.. If ,he and her 
kind .hould n»ke a per.onal c«,ya„ of the voters of 
hi. district, he would have to rise early and go to 
bed late if he ever expected to see the Capitol at 
Washington again. 

And yet it was not the fear of defeat that reaUy 
disturbed him. It wa, the confusion into which her 
personah-ty had thrown aU hi, preconceived ideas. 
Great God! If this .ort of woman had gotten into 
the movement where would it end? How could she 
be denied? He laughed again at his preconceived 
.deas of the le^ler of Amazon, and the sweet reason- 
ableness of this gentle, brilliant, exquisite girl on whose 
words the crowd hung breathless. 

He was stunned. It was impossible for the moment 
to adjust his thinking to the situation. He was miss- 
ing an her speech. For the life of him he couldn't 
recall a sentence. He pulled himself up with . frown 
and listened. 

"I am not sure, dear friends, that we can prevent 
^ar,» she was saying, **but I am sure that we wiU try. 
And I am absolutely sure that the clothing of women 
with the sovereign power of the ballot will introduce 
into the councOs that decide peace or war a new 
element in human history. Man alone has fafled to 

08 



THE FALL OF A N A TION 

keep the peace. Surely if we help ^ can do no 
worse. I hare an abiding faith that we can do 
better—" 

She paused and a look of enraptured emotion 
illumined her face as she slowlj continued: 

"If a city were besieged and soldiers were defending 
Its strong places, and a breach had been made in the 
embattlements, the men within would close that breach 
with the first thing at hand. They would not spare 
even the priceless marble figure on which an artist had 
spent years of loving toil-unless the defending soldier 
were the artist who created the masterpiece! He could 
not hurl this treasure into the breach to be crushed 
into a shapeless mass. He would find another way or 
die in the effort. 

**Man is woman's masterpiece. For twenty-five years 
she broods and watches and works with loving care to 
fashion this immortal being. Give to her the decisive 
voice in war and she wiD find a better way to fill the 
breach. She will not hurl her masterpiece -nto this 
helL Man has failed to find a better way. May not 
we who love most and suffer most at least have the 
chance to try?" 

The sweet penetrating voice died softly away and she 
had taken her seat before the crowd realized that she 
had stopped. 



•s .1 



il: 

■ 'I I 



THE FALL OF A NATION, 



A momenf. dead .iknce and th^i cheer after cheer 
•wept the throng. 

An excited man lifted high hi. hand and thouted: 
**Weni give you the chance. Ye»— yesr» 

Zonia'i grip tightened suddenly on John Vamr'. 
arm. 

*YouTl let me introduce you, Uncy?" 
Vassar laughed excitedly. 
•*Wfll I? Be quick, girl-liefore she gets away I- 



t,f 






n'A 



CHAPTEH VI 



ou c n«?»» Zonia asked 



L- I 



tPt 



t away '^ith 



A RENT you gjua 
eagerly. 
"Hurry! T)oa 
Waldron— »» 

The girl darted iroin h <i v'Jc -iid pushed rapidly to 
the platform. The crowd h^d r^nr ; Ud Virginia and a 
hundred people were trym.? i. grasp her hand at the 
same time. There was no help for it. He must wait. 
At least he was glad the jam made it equally impossible 
for Waldron to reach her. He saw him wave his hand 
to her over their heads, bow and leave the platform fo» 
his waiting car, 

Vassar was glad to be rid of his presence. That frozen 
smile poisoned the air. He could breathe deeply now. 

It was fully fifteen minutes before he caught the signal 
Zonia waved from the steps. 

His niece was radiant with joy as she proudly intro- 
duced them. 

"Uncle John, this is my heroine, Miss Holland, and 
you've got to shake hands and be good friends now—" 
"I trust we shall!" Vassar cried laughmgly. 

61 








THE FALL OF £ N^JTTni^ 



yirginia smiled seriously. 

•^t depends on you, Mr. Congressman," she «. 
sponded quietlv «Vo„ i, t, "^ 

, He lifted his hand in protest 

«'Don.t-pIe„e! If, unkind now that I know you 
l™ had such a sflly idea of your personalitri " 
P*nt in sackcloth and ashes-'. ^ """"'*'■ ^ "'■ 

"ResHy?" 

an'^'T ^'" *" "*"* "" '"^"y- "Yo" know I h«^ 

He called you an Amazon, Mis. HoUand r" 
Virguu. blushed and broke into a n,us,c.I laugh. 
John Vassar shook his head menadnrir at h^ ni„ 
"That'll do for you now. Miss!" ' ■"""• 

sJng/""""""^""-'" ^««^»"Wsti« 

"Before I saw you, yes " 

"And now?" 

"Now, I've a new grudge against Waldron for usin^ 
first an expression on which I could improrc^" ' 



it I 

ill 



.y'^' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



«<1 



JWhat'. that?" .he asked, pulled. 
•'He called you 'our Joan of Arc'— " 
"And you could improve on that?" 

"Yes-you're Joan of Arc without the cold touch of 
sainthood, You'r*. w«r»« - j i , ^ 

the leaderJ. "' '"^ "^ '''"»" «»<' »«" 

»w that he was ,„ dead earnest. There was no fencing 
o banter. He meant it. A little smile of tr'Zh 
played about the comer, of her mouth ^ 

"We're going to be friends?" 
"If jou'll let me—" 
Her ejes still held his steadily. 
"There are conditions, of course—" 
"All right." 

"You wish to know them?" 
"At once — " 

"My! My- You can come to the po;nt-<»„'t you?" 
ane laughed. 

"My political life may depend on it, you know?" 
he replied lightly. 

"Why not walk home with me—" 
'*With pleasure!" he broke in. 
«And we'll have a chat in the library. Pa, free to 

63 




rttjipf^f5_; "^ 









Mil- 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



confess, Mr. Congressman, that we would like verj much 
to come to an understanding with you." 

"And I'm going to confess, Miss Holland, that I'm 
very much ashamed of myself that 1 haven't made an 
effort to understand you." 

"Well, you know what the old preacher down South 
always shouted in the revivals?" 

"No—what?" 

"As long as the lamp holds out to bum th.' vilest 
sinner may return !" 

"Good. We'll hope that my repentance is not too 
late — '* 

"My only fear is, to tell you the truth-that it's a 
little too sudden — " 

"But it's genuine!" he cried. "You'll have to admit 
that!" 

He looked in vain for his father and Marya. 

"Zonia may go with us?" he asked. 

"Indeed she can! Everybody has tried his hand to 
draw out our young statesman aad she succeeds. She's 
my little mascot!" 

Virginia pressed her arm around the girl and she 
blushed with pride. 

"Cc-ne; it's only a short walk to Stuyvesant Square— 
we spend most of our time now at our country place at 
Babylon, but we're in for this week's rallies." 

64 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vaasar looked for Zonia and discovered her in deep 
converse with a smihng blond youth of fourteen, the 
sparkle of whose eyes made no secret of their interest. 
Uj infant brother Billy-" Virginia explained 

"Indeed!" 

"They're old friends." 

"Evidently!" he laughed. 

"Come," Virginia said in quick business-like tones, 
the kids will follow. I want you to meet my father 
and mother before they're off to bed. In spite of 
modem progress they are the most pig-headed and 
persistent pair of fossils with whom I have to con- 
tend — " 

"Pve ofteB «eeii your father at the soldiers' reunions 
-the youngest and finest looking man of the Old Guard, 
I've always thought." 

"He is— isn't he?" she said thoughtfully 

"I wonder that the daughter of a soldier should 
Wee seriously all this talk ..bout universal peace-" 

"Perhaps that's the reason—" 

"Nonsense !" 

"Seriously. IVe listened by the hour to his stories 
of the war. When I was very young I saw only the 
glamour and the romance and the glory and then as 
I grew older I began to think of the blackened chim- 
neys of Southprn homos and feel the misery and the 



■i-'^T-?- 





■A' t'.i 



■/ ' 




THE FALL OP A NATION 



desolation of it aD. And wc began to quarrel about 
war." 

"Your father was in Sherman's army, I beUeve?" 
"Yes— he ran away from his Western home at four- 
teen and joined the colors. Think of it! At eighteen 
he was mustered out in Washington a veteran of 
twenty-six pitched battles. He's only sixty-odd today 
with every power alert except a slight deafness-and 
by the way—" she paused and smiled -«I should tell 
you that his hobby just now is the immigration ques- 
tion. Don't mind anything silly he may say, wiU you?" 
"Certainly not!" Vassar agreed. "I too am fighting 
agamst the invasion of this country by a foreign 
army — " ** 

"Yours a dream— my father's grievance quite real 
you must admit." 

"Seeing that a Pole is his Congressman neighbor-" 
Vassar admitted good-humoredly. "It must get on the 
nerves of the old boj^S who can't see our point of view 
The man or woman bom in free America inherits 
It all as a matter of course. He rarely thinks 
of his priceless birthright. To my old father every 
day of life is a Fourth of July! To me it is the same 
A frail half-starved little orphan clinging to his hand 
thirly-one jjrears ago, I stood on the deck of a steamer 
and saw this wonderful Promised Land. You ..« 

66 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

American by the accident of birth. You had no choice 
,We are American because we willed to come. We love 
th.8 land because it's worth loving. We know why we 
love it. We lifted up our eyes from a far country- 
am,d tears and ashes and ruins-and saw the light of 
Lberty shining here across the seas. We came and you 
received u. with open arms. You set no hired spies 
to watch us. You made our H.mes and our firesides 
holy ground. >Ve kiss the soil beneath our feet It 
« o«r country-our flag, our nation, our people as it 
can't be yours who do not realize its full meanings 
can't you see?'* 

"Yes," she answered softly. "And I never thought 
of it in that way before." 

She glanced at the tall, straight, intense figure with 
new interest. They walked in silence for a block 
and he touched her arm with a movement of in- 
stinctive chivalrous protection as they crossed Second 
Avenue. 

She broke into a laugh in spite of an effort at self- 
eoiicrol when they had reached the sidewalk. 
He blushed and looked puzzled. 
"Why do you laugh?" he asked in hurt surprise. 
"Oh, nothing—" 

"You couldn't have laughed at the little confession 
I just made to you — " 

67 



ni 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



She laid her hand on his arm in gentle quick pro- 
test. 

•^ou know I could not. It was too sincere. It 
was from the depths of jour inmost heart. . And I see 
you and aU your people who have come to our shore, 
in the past generation through new eyes after this 
revelation you have given me-no, I was laughing at 
something miles removed — ♦» 

Again she paused and laughed. 

"Tell me"--he pleaded. 

"Come in first— we can't stand here on the side- 
walk like two spooning children— this is our house—" 



if 

•} 

: I 

I 

I 
i. 



;^i a jiF 'L* 



CHAPTER VII 



WITH light step Virginia mounted the low stone 
stoop, fumbled for her keys, unlocked the 
massive door and ushered John Vassar into 
the dimly lighted hall. 

"Come right into the sitting-room in the rear and 
meet my father and mother," she cried, placing her 
little turban hat on the rack beside his, man-fashion. 

Vassar smiled at the assumption of equal rights the 
act implied. She caught the smile and answered with 
a toss of her pretty head as he followed her through 
the hall. 

The older folks were bending over a table deeply 
absorbed in a game of checkers. The picture caught 
Vassar's fancy and held him in the doorway, a pleasant 
smile lighting his dark strong face. 

"Mother," Virginia began softly, "it's time for chil- 
dren to quit their games. I want you to meet Mr. John 
Vassar whom I'm trying to dragoon into our cause — " 

The prim aristocratic little woman rose with dignity 
and extended her hand in a gesture that spoke the in- 
inheritance of gentle breeding. She was a native of 

69 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




Colu^b... South Carolina. He, .took joke of .elf-pii, 

Z T.T. T *' '"' """^ » «''»™" Buler 
who had he.p«, to bu™ her native city. She exeu«d 
h.m alway. „«. the apology tt.t he wa. „ y„ung he 
wa, really not responsible for the bad company „ 
wh.ch she found Hn.. A, a matter of fact he ha^ driven 
« ««.« of drunken marauders from their house and de- 

unt.l order had been restored. It was ten year, later 

t^rrr!:rr:""''''''^""^^««"^^"-'^-««''^' 

"Delighted to meet you. rm sure," Mrs. Holland 
a«, qujet y "You must be a Southerner, with that 
tall dark look of distinction—'' 
Vassar bowed low over her hand. 

"I wish I were, madam-if the fact would win your 
approval — " "^ 

"To look like a Southerner is enough to win Mother 
on sight," Virginia laughed. 

The father extended his hand in a cordial greeting 
Without rising. * 

"Excuse me, young man. for not getting up." he said. 
I m lame with the gout You're a suffragette?" 
Vassar looked at Virginia, smiled and promptly an- 
swered. 

"I'll have to confess that I'm not—" 

70 



.aa^ ^•n'T?: 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Holland extended his hand again. 

"Shake once more! Thank God for the sight of a 
sane man again. I thought they'd all died. Wc never 
see them here any more — " 

Virginia lifted her finger and her father took the 
outstretched arm and drew it around his neck. 

"I have to put up with the nincompoops for Virginia's 
«ake. But I'm going to explode some day and say 
thmgs. I can feel it coming on mc— » 

He stopped abruptly and leaned forward, releasing 
Virginia's arm. 

"Young man, I can talk to you-you're not a suf- 
fragette—you're a real man. Between the women, the 
Jews and the foreigners this country is not only going 
to the dogs-it's gone-hell bent and hell bound. It's 
no use talking any more. I've given up and gone to 
playmg checkers — " 

"We may save it yet, sir," Vassar interrupted cheer- 
fully. 

"Save it? Great Scott, man, have you been down 
Broadway lately? Look at the signs-Katzmeyers, 
Einsteins, Epsteins, Abrahams, Isaacs and Jacobs ! It 
would rest your eyes to find a Fogarty or a Casey. 
By the eternal, an Irishman now seems like a Son of 
the American Revolution ! The Congressman from this 
district, sir, is a damned Pole from Posen !" 

71 



THE FALL OF A NATION 






Virginia burst into a fit of laughter. 

"What's the matter. Miss Troublemaker?" Holland 
growled. 

"You didn't get the name, father deai -this is Mr. 
John Vassar, the damned Pole Congressman to whom 

you have so graciously referred *» 

Holland frowned, searched his dau -" ^er's face for the 
joke, and looked at Vassar helplessly. 

"It»s not so !» he snorted. «I never saw a finer speci- 
men of American manhood in my life, strong-limbed, 
clean-cut, clear-eyed, every inch a man and not a suf- 
fragette. It's not so. You're putting up a job on me, 
Virginia — " 

John Vassar smiled and bowed. 

"For the high compliment you pay me, Mr. Hol- 
land, I forgive the hard words. I understand how the 
old boys feel who fought to make this country what it 
is today. And I love you for it. I don't mind what you 
8ay~l know where to find your kind when the hour of 
trial comes — " 

"You are Congressman Vassar?" the old man gasped. 
"Guilty!" 

The mother joIrc>d in the laugh at his expense. 
Holland exttrd'd his hand again and gracped 
Vassar's. 

"I have no friends in this house, sir! V^e make up. 

72 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



I apologize to Poland for your suke. If they've got 
any more like you, let »era come on. But mind you— »» 
he lifted his finger in protest— «*I stand by every word 
I said about the other felIow»— €very word!" 

**I understand!" Vassar responded cheerfully. 

««That wfll do now, Frank," Mrs. Holland softly 
murmured. 

"And you come in to see me again, young man— 
I want to talk to you some time when there arc no 
women around. You're in Congress. By Geeminy, I 
want to know why we've got no army while twenty 
mfllion trained soldiers are fighting for the Lasterj of 
the world across the water. Just count me in on the 
fight, will you? By the eternal, I'd like to meet the 

traitor who'll try to block your bill " 

"I've important business with Mr. Vassar," Virginia 
broke in. "Excuse us now, children—" 

**That'8 the way a suffragette talks to her old daddy, 
Vassar—" Holland cried. "I warn you against their 
wiles. Don't let her bamboozle you. I'm lanie, but I'm 
going to vote against 'em, if I have to crawl to the 
polls election day — so help me God !" 

Mrs. Holland beamed her good night with a gentle 
inclination of her silver-crowned head. 

"He barks very loudly, Mr. Vassar," she called, **but 
he never bites — " 

73 



'U^^MJikJkL \.,j^^ ^MMi^mmimmLSi'^ 




MICROCOPY RESOLUTION TEST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 



1.0 


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S^ '653 East Main Street 

S'.J Rochester. New York U609 USA 

'-^ (716) *82 - 0300 - Phone 

^S (716) 288 - 5989 - Fax 




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TiJ£; 2<^^I,£, 02?' A NATION 



A'irginia led her guest upstairs into the quiet library 
in the front of the house. 

Zonia and Billy were chattering in the parlor. 

She pointed to a heavy armchair and sat down op- 
posite, the oak table between them. 

"Now, Mr. Congressman, what is it—peace or 
war?" 

There was a ring of subtle defiance in her tones that 
both angered and charmed her opponent. He had met 
many beautiful women before. For the first time he had 
met one who commanded both his intellect and his con- 
sciousness of sex. The sensation was painful. He re- 
sented it. His ideals of life asked of women submission, 
tenderness, trust. Here sat before him the most charm- 
ing, the most fascinatingly feminine woman he had ever 
Jnet who refused to accept his opinions and had evl- 
dently determined to bend his mind and will to hers. To 
think of yielding was the height of absurdity. And yet 
he must meet her as his intellectual equal. He could 
meet her on no other ground. Her whole being said, 
"Come, let's reason together." He had no desire tJ 
reason. He only wished to tell her the truth about the 
impression she had made on him. He smiled to recall 
it. He had a perfectly foolish— an almost resistless- 
impulse to leap on the speaker's stand, take her in his 
arms, kiss her and whisper; 

74 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"Dear little mate, this is silly — come away. I've 
something worth while to tell you — something big, 
something wonderful, something as old as eternity but 
always new — '* 

He waked from his reverie with a start to find his 
antagonist holding him with a determined gaze that 
put sentiment to flight. 

"Peace or war.?" she firmly repeated. 
"If I am to choose," he fenced, "I assure you it 
will be peace — ^* 

He paused and studied her expression of serious 
concentration. In spite of every effort to fix his mind 
in politics he persisted in the silliest old-fashioned ad- 
miration of her wistful, appealing beauty. Confound it. 
She had no right to use such a power for the propa- 
ganda of crackbrained theories! He felt the founda- 
tions of the moral world tremble at the shock of this re- 
sistless, elemental force. The man who desires a woman 
will sell principle, country, right, God, for his desire. 
Was he going to be trapped by this ancient snare? 
Such a woman might play with a victim as a cat a 
mouse until her purpose was accomplished. Sex at- 
traction is the one force that defies all logic and scoffs at 
reason. The government of a democracy was a dif- 
ficult task under present conditions. What would it 
become when the decision on which the mightiest issues 

75 



m 




:. ■^». 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



hung could be decided by the smile of a woman's lips 
or the dimple in her cheek? 

He felt the pull of this fascination with a sense of 
inward panic. What the devil was she laughing at a 
while ago as they crossed the street? He had forgotten 
it for the moment, and she hadn't explained. He would 
fence a little for time before meeting the issue. He 
touched the tip of his mustache thoughtfully. 

"Anyhow, suppose we shake hands before we begin 
the fight. It's one of the rules of the game you know—" 
She leaned across the table with a puzzled expres- 
sion. 

"Shake hands?" 

"Yes— spiritually, so to speak. I'd like to get on as 
friendly footing as possible to appeal to your mercy if 
I'm defeated. Would you mind telling me at what you 
were laughing when we crossed Second Avenue?" 

An exquisite smile illumined her face and a twinkle 
of mischief played about the comers of her mouth. 

"Shall I be perfectly frank?" she asked. 

*Tlease— " 

"I laughed at the silly contradiction of allowing you 
to touch my arm In token of your superior strength as 
yeu drew about me the sheltering protection of chivalry. 
There were no plunging horses near— not even a push- 
cart in sight. The nearest street-car was five bl*cks 

76 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



away. Why did you think that I needed help in walk- 
ing ten yards?" 

He held her gaze steadily. She was charming- 
there was no doubt about it. He had to bite his lips 
to keep back a foolish compliment that might anger 
her. How should he bear himself toward such a 
woman? Her whole oeing breathed tenderness and 
femininity, yet there was a dangerous challenge of in- 
tellect about her that upset him. 

"Why did you think I needed help?" she softly re- 
peated. 

"To tell you the truth," he answered gravely, "I 
didn't think at all. The act was instinctive— the in- 
heritance of centuries — " 

"Exactly! Centuries of man's patronage, of man's 
tyranny, of his boasted superiority. As long as woman 
submits to be treated as a doll, a weakling, an incom- 
petent, the supposed superior being must try to do 
the proper thing in an emergency — " 

"You resented it?" he broke in. 

"No. I, too, am suffering from the inheritance of 
centuries — of dependence and of the hypocrisy inbred 
by generations of chivalry. It was at my own sneaking 
joy in your protection that I laughed—" 

Vassar moved uneasily, drew his straight brows low 
and looked at her through their veil for an instant. 

77 






r,i 



'li 




ft^ 



«7 



He wa, making a desperate effort to keep his brain 
clear. It would be ridiculous to surrender to such . 
charming little siren at the first encounter 

"Well, sir." she cried briskly, "now that we've 
shaken hands the first round is on. Shall I lead?" 
Vassar bowed. 

"Bj all means— ladies first!" 
"Why do you refuse to give me the ballot?" 
"I never knew until tonight that women like vou 
wished it. If I had— '» 

•You would have agreed?" 

'My dear Miss Holland, I not only would have 
agreed but I would hav gone out after it and brought 
^t to you. And all against my better judgment. If 
women are allowed to vote, there musL be a law against 
your kmd entering politics—" 
"Yes?" 
"Decidedly." 

"And may I ask why?" she demanded. 
He smiled and hesitated. 

"If you ever get into Congress-I can see the finish 
of that aggregation as a deliberative body. You would 
be a majority from the moment you entered the Cham- 
ber—" 

"Please, Mr. Vassar—" she protested. «We have 
no time for chaff — " 

78 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



He rose abruptly from .ho depth, of the armchair 
T " "f ' "-• "«'-'' ■•' -arer to the corner of the 
table .at down and bent close to his charming opponent. 
I.n not chaffing," he began eagerly. "V^ ;„ 
earnest Your personality has upset all my precon- 
cved .deas of the leaders of this woman's movement. 
I am more th„„ ever alarmed at its sinister significance, 
iou take my judgment by storm because you're charm- 
ing. You stop the process of reasoning by merely lift- 

o further (he ends of justice or perfect the organi^a- 
t.on of ,oc.cty. The power you wield defies all law-" 
^.rgmia laughed in spite of an effort at self-control 
Are you making love to me, Mr. Vassarf she cried. 
±le blushed and stammered. 
*WeIl— not— deliberately— '» 
^Unconsciously ?'* 

He mopped the perspiration from his brow in con- 
fusion. 

"Perhaps." 

Virginia rose, and her lips closed firmly. 
^ «I think our interview had better end. We a-e wast- 
ing each other's time — " 

^ "Please, Miss Holland," he begged with deep humH- 
ity, "forgive me. I was never more sincere in my life 
I should have been more careful. But there's something. 

79 ^ 



*n 



«i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 








^ 



...i-'V t "'"l^ 



m 



about jour frank manner that disarmed me. You 
seemed so charmingly friendly. I forget that we are 
enemies — forgive me — " 

"There's nothing to forgive. You are the type of 
man who cannot understand my position— and for that 
reason cannot meet me as an intellectual equal. I re- 
sent it — »* 

"But I'm not the type of mau who cannot under- 
stand. I will meet you as an intellectual equal. I'll do 
more. I concede your superiority. You have bafl3ed 
and defeated me at every turn tonight— I go puzzled 
and humiliated. I refuse to accept such a defeat. You 
cannot dismiss me in this absurd fashion. I'll camp 
on your doorstep until we have this thing out." 
*You'll not call without an appointment, I hope?" 
*0h, yes, I will. I'm going to cultivate your father. 
I'll accept his invitation. I'll make your house my 
happy home until we at least come to an intelligent 
understanding of our differences — " 

"Tomorrow then.?" she said. "I'm tired tonight. 
Tomorrow at eleven o'clock — " 

Vassar smiled at the business-like hour. 
"I've an important engagement at eleven that will 
keep me an hour. It's Flag Day at my schools— the 
kiddies expect me — ** 
"Flag Day?" 

80 



<o 



«/ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"A little device of mine to teach our boys and girls 
to love their country— won't jou join us tomorrow at 
the old Tenth Armory and inspect my forces?" 

Virginia hcstitated. 

'All right, I will. I'll ask Mr. Waldron to pick me 
up there at noon." 

**I*ll expect you at eleven." 

He pressed her hand with a new sense of uneasiness, 
defeat and anger which Waldron's name had aroused. 



*:, 



-1 



I H 



< ) 



CHAPTER Vm 



I' i 



m> 



JOHN VASSAR'S sleep had been fitful and unsat- 
isfying. Through hours of half-conscious brood- 
ing and dreaming he had seen the face of Vir- 
ginia Holland. He had thus far found no time for 
social frivolities. The air of America was just the tonic 
needed to transform the tragic inheritance of the Old 
World into a passion for work that had practically 
ruled women out of the scheme of things. 

He had dreamed of a home of his own in the dim 
future — yes — when the work of his career, the work he 
had planned for his country should have been done. 
This had been his life, the breath he breathed, his in- 
spiration and religion — to lead an American renais- 
sance of patriotism. America had never had a national 
spirit. His ambition was to fire the soul of thoughtless 
millions into a conscious love of country which would 
insure her glorious destiny. 

A woman's smile had upset this dream. Through the 
night he had tried in vain to throw off the obsession. 
At daylight he had fallen into a sleep of sheer exhaus- 
tion. It was nine o'clock before he was roused by a 
gentle knock on his door. 

82 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Marya's voice was calling somewhere out of space. 

"Uncle Jolm — breakfast is waiting — may I come in?" 

"All right — dea--. — break right in !" he groaned. 

"And I've a letter for you — a special letter — " 

The sleeper was awake now, alert, eager — 

"A special letter?" 

"A big black man brought it just now. He's waiting 
in the hall — says Miss Holland would like an answer." 

Vassar seized the letter and read with a broad grin. 
The handwriting was absurdly delicate. The idea that 
a suffragette could have written it was ridiculous! 

My dear Mr. Vassar: 

I'm heartily ashamed of myself for losing my 
temper last night. Please call for me at ten 
o'clock. I wish a little heart-to-heart talk before 
we go to your Flag Festival. Please answer by 
the bearer. 

Virginia Holland. 



Vassar drew Marya into his arms and kissed her 
rapturously. 

"You're an angel — you've brought me a message from 
the skies. Run now and tell the big black man — Miss 
Holland's butler — to thank her for me and say that I'll 
be there promptly at ten. Run, darling! Run !'* 

The child refused to stir without another kiss which 

83 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




she repeated on both his checks. She stopped at the 
door and waved another. 

"Hurry, Uncle John — plcose— we're all starved.*' 

"Down in five minutes !" he cried. 

The weariness of the night's fitful sleep was gone. 
The world was suddenly filled with light and music. 

"What the deviPs come over mo!" he muttered, as- 
tonished at the persistent grin his mirror reflected. "At 
this rate I can see my finish — I'll be the secretary of the 
Suffragette Campaign Committee before the week's 
over — bah !" 

Old Peter, the black butler, ushered him into the par- 
lor with a stately bow. 

"Miss Virginia be right down, sah. She say she 
des finishin' her breakfus' — yassah!" 

Vassar seated himself with a sense of triumph. She 
must hare written that note in bed. He flattered him- 
self someone else had not slept well. He hoped not. 

Her greeting was gracious, but strictly business-like 
— he thought a little too business-like to be entirely 
convincing. 

She motioned him to resume his seat and drew one 
for herself close beside. She sat down in a quiet de- 
termined manner that forbade sentimental reflections 
and began without preliminaries. 

84 



i 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



*We lost track of our subject last night, Mr. 
Vassar, in an absurd personal discussion. I've asked 
you to come back this morning to make a determined 

effort to win you for our cause " 

She paused, leaned forward and smiled persuasively. 
"We need you. Your influence over the foreign-born 
population in New York would be enormous. I see by 
this morning's paper an enthusiastic account of your 
work among the children. You aro leading a renais- 
sance of American patriotism. Good! So am I— a 
renaissance of the principles of the Declaration of In- 
dependence. *We hold these truths to he self-evident: 
that all men are created equal! that they are endowed 
by their creator with certain inalienable rights ; that 
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of hap- 
piness. That to secure those rights, governments are 
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from 
the consent of the governed.' Come now, I api^cal 
to your sense of justice. What right have you to 
govern me without m£ consent? Am I not created your 
equal.?" 

Her eloquence was all but resistless. The word of 
surrender was on his lips, when the voice of an honest 
manhood spoke within. 

"You're not convinced. The magnetism of a woman's 
pes is calling. You're a poltroon to surrender your 

85 



11 % 





I 



a 







.' ! 




W' 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



principles to such a force. In her soul a true woman 
would despise you for it." 

She saw his hesitation and leaned closer, holding 
him with her luminous eyes. 

"Come now, in your heart of hearts you know that 
I am your equal.'"* 

Something in the tones of her voice broke the spell — 
just a trace of the platform intonation and the faintest 
suggestion of the politician. The voice within again 
spoke. There was another reason why he should be 
true to his sense of right. He owed it to this woman 
who had moved him so profoundly. He must be true to 
the noblest and best that was in him. 

He met her gj^ze in silence for a moment and spoke 
with quiet emphasis. 

"If I followed my personal inclinations. Miss Hol- 
land, I would agree to anything you ask. You're too 
downright, too honest and earnest to wish or value such 
a shallow victory — am I not right?" 

The faintest tinge of red colored Virginia's cheeks. 

"Of course," s,he answered slowly, "I wish the help 
of the best that's in you or nothing — " 

"Good! I felt that instinctively. I could fence and 
hedge and trim with the ordinary politician. With all 
respect to your pretensions, you're not a politician at 
all. You're just a charming, beautiful woman entering 

86 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



a field for which God never endowed you cither physi- 
cally, temperamentally or morally " 

Virginia frowned and lifted her head with a little 
gesture of contempt. 

"I must be honest. I must play the game squarely 
with you! Pm sorely tempted to cheat. But there's 
too much at stake. You ask if you are not my equal? 
I answer promptly and honestly. I know that you are 
more— you are my superior. For this reason I would 
save you from the ballot. It is not a question of right, 
it is a question of hard and difficult duty. The ballot 
is not a right? or a privilege. It is a solemn and dan- 
gerous duty. The ballot is force— physical force. It 
is a modern substitute for the bayonet — a device which 
has been used to prevent much civil strife. And yet 
man never votes away his right to a revolution. The 

Declaration of Independence embodies this fact 

'Whenever any form of government becomes destructive 
of those endsy it is the right of the people to alter or 
abolish it — ' There you have the principle in full. Back 
of every ballot is a bayonet and the red blood of the 
man who wields it — " 

"But we will substitute reason for force!" 
**How, dear lady? Government is force — never was 
anything else — never can be until man is redeemed and 
this world is peopled by angels. Man is in the zoolog- 

87 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



i\ 




3*1 



r-. 




ical period of his development. Scratch the most cul- 
tured man beneath the skin and you find the savage. 
Scratch the proudest nation of Europe beneath the 
skin and you find the elemental brute. I do not be- 
lieve in forcing.our mothers, our sisters, our wives and 
sweethearts into the blood-soaked mud of battle 
trenches. That work is the dangerous and diflicult duty 
of man. So the ballot, on which peace or war depends, 

is his duty — not his right or privilege " 

"Give us the ballot and we wiU make war impossible," 
Virginia broke in. 

"How? If women vote with their men, their vot- 
ing will mean nothing. We merely multiply the total 
by two. We do not change results. If women vote 
against the men on an issue of war or peace, will men 
submit to such a feminine decision? Certainly not. 
Force and force alone can decide the issue of force. 
Back of every ballot is a bayonet or there's nothing 
back of it. The breath of revolution will drive such 

meaningless ballots as chaff before a whirlwind " 

"We'll stop your blood-stained revolutions!" Virginia 
cried. 

"All right. Do so and you stop the progress of 
humanity. The American Revolution was blood-stained. 
It gave us freedom. The Civil War was blood-stained. 
It freed this nation of the curse of slavery and sealed 

88 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



the Union for all time. There are good wars and bad 
wars. True war is the inevitable conflict between two 
irreconcilable moral principles. One is right— the 
other wrong. One must Ilv^the other die. Wrong 
may triumph for a day. Right must win in the end 
or else the universe is ruled by the Devil, not by God. 
You cannot abolish war until the Devil is annihilated 
and God rules in the souls and lives of men and in their 
governments as well." 

For the moment the woman was swept from the 
moorings of her pet arguments. She quickly recovered. 

**We are going to make America the moral and 
spiritual leader of mankind!" she cried with elation. 

"Yes, I know. In the Pariiament of Man, the Federa- 
tion of the World— your poet's dream as far removed 
from the beastly realities of life today as Heaven is 
from Hell—" 

"We are going to make this dream a living fact in 
the worid— and free America shall lead the way—" 

"And how will you begin.?" 

**By setting the proud example of building our 
national life on spiritual realities first, not on guns and 
forts. We will begin the disarmament of the world—" 

"And end your movement by surrender to the armed 
bullies of Europe!" 

"At least my dream is a dream," Virginia laughed, 

89 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




- 



**your8 a silly nightmare. But I give you up for the 
Dresent. I see that Ephraim is joined to his idols. My 
mission is a failure. At least I thank fjrou for your 
candor. I shall have to turn v ou over now to the tender 
mercies of Mr. Waldron and the Executive Committee. 
Come, we'll see your flags and the children. The sight 
will be rostful after our battle." 

She rose quickly, led the way to the hall, adjusted 
the little turban on the mass of auburn blond hair and 
opened the door. 

Vassar passed out with a queer sense of defeat. He 
hh I vanquished her in the argument. But the trouble 
was she had not argued. She had merely demanded 
his submission without argument. 



■ ' ' \ 



Lii^a^-ariHirir - M*m!L^ --'^.•i. f :• 



CHAPTER IX 



ANOTHER thing that had upset Vassar's equa- 
namitj; was the baffling quality of Virginia Hol- 
land's character. The more honestly he had 
tried to approach her in friendly compromise the more 
bristling her mental resistance had Become. She held 
him at arms' length personally. 

He was surprised at her final decision to go to the 
Armory. No doubt only an uncompromising honesty 
had caused her to fulfil a promise. Clearly she was 

bored. 

As a matter of fact she was anything but bored. 
She was lashing herself at every step with reproaches 
at her idiotic inconsistency in accompanying an East 
Side politician on a fool's errand. No doubt the whole 
thing was a scheme to pose before enraptured coj 
stituents. Why had she consented to come? She askea 
herself the question a hundred times and finally ac- 
cepted the weak lie that she was studying his eccentric- 
ities to make his defeat the more sure. 

J/Vith each moment of her association she had become 
more and more clearly conscious of his charm. Its 

91 



M 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



strength and its antagonism were equally appealing. It 
would be sweet to demonstrate her own power in his 
defeat at the polls and then make up to him by con- 
fessing her admiration. 

She began to receive striking evidence of his popu- 
larity. At every street-corner and from almost every 
door came a friendly nod or wave of a hand. 

Schultz, the fat German who kept a delicatessen store 
on the corner, waved to him from the doorway. 

"Mein Frau und der kids— all dere, gov'ner. I vish 
I could be !" 

On the next block BrodskI gripped his hand and 
whispered a word of cheer. 

"They all seem to know you down here, Mr. Con- 
gressman," Virginia laughed. 

"Yes, Ls mj only hope — if we fight — " 

"You'll need help if we do," she answered quietly. 

He didn't like the tone of menace in her words. 
There was no blust?r about it. There was a ring of 
earnestness that meant business. 

"Perhaps I'm going to win you to my cause before 
you know it," he ventured. "I'm going to show you 
something today that's really worth while — " 

"Meaning, of course," she interrupted, "that the 
cause in which I am at present expending my thought 
and energy is not worth while — " 

92 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



tii 



*I didn't say that !" he protested. "And I most hum- 
bly apologize ^f I implied as much—" 

"All the same you think it, sir—" 

She stopped short in amazement at the sight of her 
brother Billy standing straight and fine beside Zonia 
at the door of the old Armory, a marshal's sash across 
his shoulder, arrayed in a captain's uniform of the Boy 
Scouts of America. 

Zonia grasped her outstretched hand in loyal greeting, 
her eyes sparkling with pride at her uncle's triumphant 
march beside her heroine. 

Virginia's gaze fixed Billy's beaming counte- 
nance. 

"Well, Mr. Sunny Jim!" she exclaimed, "will you 
kindly give an account of yourself. How long have 
you been a marshal of the empire?" 

"Oh, ever so long, Virginia — Mr. Vassar didn't 
know I was your brother, that's all. I'm a captain 
now. I didn't let you know 'cause I thought you might 
raise a rumpus. Father and mother know. They don't 
care. I like it." 

He turned abruptly to Vassar and saluted. 
"Everything ready, sir !" 

Virginia shook her head and smiled at Zonia. She 
too wore a marshal's sash. 

"I want vou to meet some of the mothers. Miss Hol- 

9S 



THE FALL OF A NATION 





land," she whispered eagerly. "I made a lot of them 
go to our meetings." 

"With pleasure, dear." She smiled at Vassar. 
"We'll take occasion to mend some of our fences in 
this benighted district today !" 

The young Congressman turned his guest over to 
his niece and hurried away with Billy to inspect the 
assignment of kids fc r the ceremonies of the Flag. 

Virginia was surpiised to find the hall packed with 
women and children, nore than a thousand, of all ages 
and nationalities. Th^y were chattering like magpies 
—a babel of foreign tongues— German, Italian, Polish, 
Bohemian, Russian, Greek, Yiddish. 

"I must introduce you first," Zonia whispered, "to 
my favorite mother, an Italian with the cutest little 
darling boy you ever saw. She hen 1 you speak in 
the Square — " 

She darted into the crowd and led forth a slender, 
dark-haired young Italian mother with a beautiful boy 
of five clinging to her skirts. 

"Miss Holland, this is my good friend Angela Benda 
and Mr. Tommaso!" 

Angela bowed and blushed. 

"Ah, Signorina, I hear you speak so fine — so beauti- 
ful ! I make my man Tommaso vote for you or breaka 
his neck ! I done tell him so too — " 

04 



.k^i^wM^mk' 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



( 



ii 



«( 



*And did he promise?" 

*Si, si, signorina — I male him — " 
Virginia stooped and gathered the child in her arms. 
Shy at first, he put his hand at last on her shining hair, 
touched it gracefully, and looked into her face with 
grave wide eyes. 

Virginia pressed him suddenly to her heart and kissed 
him. 

"You glorious little creature!" she cried. The act 
was resistless. In all her career she had never before 
done so silly and undignified a thing in public. She 
blushed at her folly. What crazy spell could she be 
under today? She asked the question with a new sense 
of uneasy annoyance as her eyes swept the room in 
search of the hero of the occasion. 

Vassar could scarcely walk for the crowds of joyous 
women and children who pressed about him and tried 
to express their love and pride in his leadership. 

A fight suddenly broke out between the Benda and 
Schultz kids close beside Virginia. 

Zonia tried in vain to separate them. Vassar saved 
the situation by picking up Angela's boy by his sus- 
penders, and the German kid by the seat of his pants. 
He lifted them bodily out of the scene and carried them 
into a quiet corner. 

Virginia laughed heartily. 

95 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vaasar demanded mutual apologies. 

''He called me «Sau«igc.'» complained the Schultz 
kid. 

"He calla me a Dago," answered the Italian. 

"Now salute each other with a handshake!*' Billy 
commanded. "And remember that you're good 
Americans." 

"He made them both take off their caps and yell: 
"Hurrah for Uncle Sam!" 

Virginia looked about the old hall with increasing 
amazement at the effective way in which the interior 
had been decorated. Around the walls in graceful fes- 
toons the beautiful red, white and blue emblems hung 
an endless riot of color. From the ceiling they feU in 
soft, billowing waves stirred by the breezes from the 
open windows. The eye of every child kindled with 
delight on entering. 

The exercises began with a song. 
A band of six pieces led them. Everybody rose 
and sang one stanza. John Vassar first wrote it in big 
plain letters on the blackboard where all could read: 

MY COUNTRY, 'TIS OF THEE, 
SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY, 
OF THEE, I SING ! 



96 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Thej sang it with a fervor that ttirred Virxrinia'. 

Vassar took the chair as presiding officer and directed 
the exercises, Billy acting as his chief lieutenant to Vir- 
ginia s continuous amusement 

"Now, children, give me the cornerstone of the Amer- 
ican nation-let's get that in place first. Now every- 
body! All together !»» ^ 

From the crowd came a shout that stirred the big 
flags m the ceiling: 

"ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQU.iL!" 

Again he wrote it on the blackboard and asked them 
to repeat it. 

They did it with a will. 

"Now, children," he said, "I've a distinguished artist 
here today who gives us this valuable hour of his useful 
life to draw a picture on the board. Watch him closely 
and don't forget the message. 

With quick, sure stroke the cartoonist drew a wonder- 
ful symbolic Stairway of Life for the American child. 
On the left of the scene appeared Uncle Sam holding 
the lamp of knowledge to light the way to success for 
the crowd of eager boys and girls at the bottom of the 
hm. In sharp outline he drew the steps upon whicK 
they might mount-each step a book they could master. 
The first step was marked— Primer, the next First 

97 



k 



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.nmmt^^lfrj^ 










THE FALJL OF A NATION 



Roackr and then came Elementary Arithmetic, Second 
Reader, Grammar, Geography, History, Physiology, 
Rhetoric, Algebra, Physics, Latin, Greek, Geometry, 
Political Economy and Trigonometry. The last step 
faded out in the blazing light of the Sun of Success 
at the top of the hill. He drew the figures of little 
boys and girls on the lower rounds, bigger boys and 
girls on the middle ones, young men and women mount- 
ing the hill crest. At the bottom of the cartoon he 
wrote : i 

"Uncle Sam invites all his children of every race 
and kindred and tongue to come up higher!" 

"Now, once more, children," Vassar cried, "tell me 
on what this country's greatness rests?" 

Again the shout came as from a single throat: 

"All men are created equal!" 

"Good! Now give me the passwords!" 

"Liberty!" 

"Equality!" 

"Fraternity!" 

The three shouts came as three salvos from a battery 
of artillery. 

On another blackboard he wrote the words in huge 
capitals and left them standing. 

"Now, children, I want you to think for just one 
minute every day of your life what it means to be a 

98 



ri 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



citizen of this mighty free Domocraoy — where men are 
learning to govern themselves bctler than any king has 
ever done it for them. I want you to realize that the 
inspired founders of this nation made it the hope and 
refuge of the oppressed of all the world. And I want 
you to love it with all your heart — ** 

He lifted his hands and the crowd rose singing "The 
Star Spangled Banner." They sang it with a swing 
and lilt Virginia had never heard before. For the first 
time in her life it had meaning. Her eyes unconsciously 
filled with tears. 

At a wave of Vassar's hand the crowd sank to their 
seats. 

Vassar stooped over th platfoim and motioned to 
Angela to hand to him he- 

The mother proudly pas.cd the child to the leader. 
Vassar lifted the smiling youngster in his arms and held 
him high. In ringing tones he cried: 

"Don't forget, my friends, that the humblest boy 
here today may become the president of the United 
States !" 

A ringing cheer swept the crowd. 

Vassar passed the child back to the mother and con- 
tinued his address. The rest of it was lost on Angela. 
A new light suddenly flashed in her brown eyes. 

She sat down, flushed, and r'^""» again. Tommaso 

99 



ill 



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It 



THE FALL OF M NAT ION 

tugged at her dress and begged her to sit down. Her 
soul was too full. The act of the speaker was a divine 
omen. She must know if he reallj meant that her 
httle Tommaso might be the president of a great free 
nation. The thought was too big. Her heart was 
bursting. She tried timidly to attract Vassar's atten- 
tion. 

Tommaso, alarmed, drew her back to the seat. 

Angela looked across the side aisle and saw Virginia 
in the front row. Bending low she approached and 
whispered ; 

"My own bambino— he may be president— yes?" 

Virginia nodded tearfully. 

Angela darted back to her seat, snatched the head 
cloth from her rich brown hair and seized one of her 
husband's earrings. The fight was brief. The Italian 
struggled to save his ornaments but the wife won. He 
also lost a gay sash about his waist. The mother pressed 
the boy to her heart and whispered passionately to her 
man : 

"We Americano now— our bambino be bigga de boss 
president !** 

Tommaso succeeded finaUy in quieting her before Vas- 
sar noticed the disturbance. 

"Now, Captain," Vassar called to Billy, "give us 
the order of the day for the Boy Scouts of America » 

100 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



Billy sprang on the little platform, lifted his smiling 
face, his hands tightly gripped behind his back and 
spoke in firm, boyish tones : 

"My only regret is that I have but one life to give 
for my country!*' 

"And what do you say to that, children?" Vassar 
shouted. 

"Three cheers for Uncle Sam !" they answered. Three 
times three they gave it without the need of a prompter. 
Vassar waved a signal to the right and from the 
dressing-room slowly marched a procession of children 
of all nations, dressed in their native costume, each 
child bearing the tiny flag of their old-world allegiance. 
The line of floating color circled the open space in 
front of the platform, and, as they passed Vassar sur- 
rendered the old flag and received from his hand the 
Stars and Stripes which each waved in answer to a 
cheer from the crowd. 

When the last nation had surrendered allegiance the 
procession marched again around the circle to the con- 
tinuous cheering of the crowd and took their places 
about Vassar who held aloft the regimental standard 
of the nation with its golden eagle gleaming from the 
staff. The little children crowded close and about them 
gathered a ring of Boy Scouts and beyond them the 
n>others of the kids. 

101 



^^^m: 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




He lifted high the flag and every Scout and grown 
up and every child saluted it with uplifted hands and 
cheered. 

"Now, boys and girls!" Vassar cried to the outer 
circle. 

They solemnly responded in chorus : 
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic 
for which it stands— ont nation, indivisible, with liberty 
and justice for all." 

"Now, kiddies !" he shouted to the little ones. 

The answer came in straggling unison : 

"I give my hand and my heart to God and my coun- 
try. One country, one language, one flag — " 

"And now!" the leader cried: 

"Hurrah for the President of the United States !" 

With a shout they gave the cheers and the ceremony 
ended again in a babel of joyous polyglot chatter. 

Vassar found Virginia surrounded by a mob of 
mothers struggling to shake hands under the guidance 
of Angela. 

"I must say," he laughed, "that your methods are 
quite up to date." 

"I assure you I'm not trying to take advantage 
of my host to seduce his constituents. I'm only 
doing my best to make Angela happy by meeting her 
friends — '* 

102 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



•*Si, signor — we will vote for the signorina — and you, 
too, is it not so?" 

"Apparently they need no seduction," Vassar 
laughed. 

Virginia blushed and lifted her hands in protest. 

"Well," the young leader asked in conciliatory tones, 
"how did you like it?" 

"I've been charmed beyond measure," was the quick 
answer. "I've got a new view of my country. I've 
a new view of the possibilities of political leadership. 
I'm more determined than ever to wield a ballot — " 

"You're not willing to trust me with that duty?" 

"No. We can add something you can never give 
to these people. These mothers know instinctively that 
I can understand them as you could not." 

"And I had hoped," he said regretfully, "that I might 
win you for a helper in this work. You're determined 
to be my rival — " 

"Not unless you fight — " 

"Can't you see," he persisted, "that what America 
needs today is not the multiplication of her voting 
population by two — ^bat the breathing of a conscious 
national soul into the people and giving that soul ex- 
pression. What we need is not more millions of voters 
bvt a deeper sense of responsibility developed in those 
who already vote. We must show the world that de- 

103 



Wi^mil 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



t Ti 



■•"■'',■■■ "-/J 






fi 



:-:-:;f 



n.occy ,. a ,ucce«, that democracy „ea„, the best 
m government, the best in commerce, the best in art 
and lUerature. I grant you that many of our new 
fore.gn voters are ignorant, but. dear Miss Holland. 
the.rw.ve. and mothers are far more ignorant. Why 
add to th,s sum toUI of inefficiency? New York is in 
real.ty a foreign city set down here in the heart of 
Amenca. More than one-half of the men of voting age 
are fore.gn-born. Only thirty-eight per cent of them 
are naturalised. More than half a million of these 
n.en are in no way identified with our political life 
Twenty thousand a year in our city claim their right 
of citizenship and become voters. We have before us 
a gigantic task to teach these men the meaning of true 
Americanism. This work has not been done. It has 
been left to chance. We must break up these foreigr 
groups. Eighty per cent of our foreign population 
live m groups and take no interest in any problem 
which does not directly affect their group life. They 
neither know nor are known Dy American-born citizens 
Men like your father should get acquainted with these 
people. They are yet speaking a foreign tongue, living 
withm the narrow ideals of their European origin. In 
time of supreme trial if this nation should call on them, 
what could one expect? What have we a right to' 
expect?" 

101 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



i 



Virginia shook her head in hopeless protest. 

"Always your nightmare of an imaginary impossible 
attack by a foreign foe 1" 

"I wish it were imaginary," he answered thought- 
fully. "Do you think for a moment that there is a 
foot of soil in the old world of Northern and Central 
Europe on which I could stand and dare to write the 
sentences and mottoes on that blackboard? Do the 
rulers of Europe believe that all men are created equal? 
Remember, dear lady, that Democracy is a babe not 
yet out of swaddling clothes. The might of kings is 
as old as the recorded history of man. The kingly con- 
ception of government and its divine right to govern 
is inbred into the human race through thousands of 
years until it is accepted without question. The idea 
becomes as fixed and automatic as the beat of the human 
heart. 

"The American Republic is but a little over a hun- 
dred years old. We reckon in years, they reckon by 
centuries. The founding of this nation was one of 
the happiest accidents in the history of the world. But 
it was an accident. The kings were too busy fighting 
one another in the stirring years of the American Revo- 
lution to give their attention to you. Your fathers won 
on a lucky fluke. And thanks to the barriers of two 

vast oceans you grew and waxed strong with incredible 

105 



2..iL' 



jweKi 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




'■} 



■j; 



1 t: 

■fi, 



rapiditj. You were safe as lon„^ IT^ 

fpnf«^ , "^ *^ *^<^so oceans nro- 

tected jou and no longer TKn , ^ 

abolished fh. T *^'"'"' °^ '"^n ha« 

aooiished the ocean barrier. There \h ^« 

The ocean ia „„w the world., hi^v .». T" ""■ 

by water .-s swifter „„a safer than tlL T r'"' 

no longer protect you. Thev ar/ . 

to jour existence^. "^ " ""'""' "'™''- 

'TTou are assuming that the world is not civilized- 

that we are sti„,i.ng in the Bar. .ges,. Virginia! 

w::;rsr;L::tr""°"™"^-"-* 

fk * XI. * *"** government is force- 

that there are two for™, of government and only two' 
and that they are irreoo„ei,abIe-g„vemn,e„t ly2 

water.. The world must yet be conquered by one of 
them. You .ssume that we have settled our form o 
government for all time. We have-provided we are 
ready to demonstrate to the imperial ruler, that we 
can defend it against all comers-'' 

yij.ia threw up her hands in a gesture of despair, 
xou're hopeless!" 
"Can you not see this?" he pleaded 

lellow man." 

106 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



If 



He looked at her flushed exquisite face with deep 
tenderness — lifted his eyes and saw Zonia and Marya 
the center of an admiring group of children. 

"You like my little Zonia?" he asked in apparently 
irrevelent tones. 

"I love her—" 

"Her father, my elder brother, lived in Poland's hap- 
piest tomb — in German Poland — " 

He stopped abruptly and gave a bitter little laugh. 

"His home took fire one night and burned to the 
ground. By decree of his Imperial master he was not 
permitted to build a dwelling on his own land. He 
loved this land, poor fool. His wife and babies loved 
it. He couldn't be dragged away. He took refuge 
in a bam. Through the summer they managed to live 
without a fire inside. They cooked in the open. But 
when the winter came and the snows fell, he was forced 
to smuggle a little stove into the barn to boil some eggs 
and cabbage and make tea for his children. He hid 
the stove in a deep hole under the floor. Ten davs 
later an officer of the Imperial government, passing, 
saw the smoke, forced his way in and uncovered the 
secret. The stove had made the barn a dwelling and 
he had forfeited his estate and his liberty. He fought 
— as any man with a soul must fight — for his own ! The 
end was sure. He shot the officer. But there were 

107 









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J^Li 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



lepon. of th«c Imperial .oldier.. They ....„,ted hi. 
fr^ barncd. and riddled hi. body with bullet,. Hi. 
faithful w,fe died with him. And little Zoni. and M.rya 
-ere aent to n,e in free America. And .o you .eo I 
lack faith in some men *» 

He stopped abruptly at the sight of Waldron's heavy 
face with its arctic smile. 

The millionaire lifted his hat, bowed slightly and dis- 
appeared from the doorway. 

"Come with mo to Mr. Waldron', home, we mu.t 
nave a final conference there—'' 

"Waldron'. hou.e?» he asked incr.duiou.Iy 
"Certainly. Hi, library ha. become our campaign 
headquarters — " * 

"You'll have to excuse me '» 

_"But I won't excu« you. .We're going to fight thi, 
thmg out today." 

"I've nothing to say to Waldron." 

"But he has something very important to say to 
you — »* "^ 

"All right — ^he knows where I live »» 

Virginia laid her hand on his arm in a gesture of 
appeal that was resistless. 
•'Won't you come with me?" 

The frown slowly faded, and he smiled an answer 
**With you— yes." 







CHAPTER X 



BILLY volunteered to take the chUdren home, 
Vassar waved his farewell to the crowd and 
hurried to the waiting automobile. 
Virginia presented him to the banker. 
"Our irreconcilable foe, Mr. Waldron!" 
The millionaire merely touched his hat with the barest 
suggestion of a military salute and Vassar bowed. It 
was not until they were seated in the car th ".t Waldron 
spoke — the same cold smile about his lips. 

'I've wanted to meet you for a long time, Mr. Vas- 
sar—" 

"I'm surprised to hear that," was the light reply. 
"Our views could hardly be the same on any subject 
within my scope of knowledge — " 
Waldron smiled patronizingly. 

"Anyhow, let us hope that we'll get together to- 
ri iv—" 

"We must," Virginia responded. 
The one thing Vassar couldn't endure was patronage. 
The tone Waldron assumed was offensive beyond en- 
durance. If he tried it again the young leader had 

109 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



go back to his office. 

To hi. relief the ,„a„ of „„„ey „ade no further .t- 

tempt at conversation, .ave for an occaaion.. whispered 

order to h„ hvoricd ehauffeur. Vas^r', e,e, rested on 

the ™,htary cut of thi, chauffeur', clothe, with new 

ir, '^''^ «■"■''«» «■" of am,, on the door of 

bcs,de ^.rg,„„. Nor wa. the lordly manner in which 
the new master of n,en condescended to t.ll< with hi, 
-rvant at the wheel I„t on the young leader of dc- 
mocracy. 

He wondered what Virginia Holland could .ee i„ 

.uch a man. He refused utterly to believe that she 

could love him. Elemental brute strength and stark 

physical courage he undoubtedly possessed. The solid 

n.as. of h,s bull neck and the cold brilliance of his gray 

eyes left no doubt on that score. 

There could be but one explanation of her associa- 

t.on w,th Waldron. He had generously loosed his purse 

"tnngs and given her cause the unlimited credit needed 

under modern conditions to conduct a great political 

movement. No one could blame her for that. It wa. 
good politics. 

All the same he would give a good deal just now 
to know whether she cared for the man. He must yield 

110 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



the devil his due. Waldron was the type of domineering 
brute that appealed to many women. He wondered if 
Virginia Holland had felt the spell of his commanding 
character. 

For the hundredth time he asked himself the question 
why fhould he care. There was the rub. Devil take it, 
ho did care. He had never been so foolishly happy 
in his life as in the hours he had spent by this girl's 
side. It infuriated him to think how easy had been 
his conquest. But yesterday he had scorned her name. 
They had mot and talked a few hours and ho had become 
her lackey. At her bidding he was now on his way to 
the house of the man he hated. 

He caught himself grinning for sheer joy to find 
himself seated close beside her in the smooth gliding 
car of his enemy. He could have enjoyed this wonder- 
ful ride had they been alone. 

The afternoon was one of glorious beauty. The 
rains of the first days of July had swept the city clean. 
The sun had broken the clouds into billowing banks of 
snow-white against the dazzling azure of the skies. A 
brisk inspiriting breeze swept in from the sea and rip- 
pled tne waters of the North River into little white 
lines of foam. The trees along the Drive flashed in 
splendor. 

T le temptation was all but resistless to touch her 

111 






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THE FALL OP A SMTinx r 

hand. He sUrted with terror at »!.« ~, ~ 

Anyhow she was worth a fi^ht It w«. -xu 

own. CouJd any man really do it? Of 

course he could! With fKn i. l / "" "'^ "' 

•♦ J ^"^ *^^ °<^^t breath h- doubt- -^ 

it, and trembled at fJ,« i, • , aouor. ., 

°^^'^^ «t the happiness he felt bubbhW 

m Ins soul when he felt the nearness of her ex,uisit! 

terin^J^ " ^'"' ""'• ^°°«— ^" «he asked ban- 
JTo^ten you the truth, r. s.^^^^^^ 

"Of the great man in front?- she whispered. 
Vassar's jaw closed with decision. 
"Far from it, I assure you!" 
"You're not afraid of an automobile?" 

une more guess ** 

112 



THE FALL OP A NA TION 

"You couldn't be afraid of little me?" .he aaked de^ 
murclj. 

"Yesterday I would have «aid no with a verj loud 
emphasis. Fm free to confess the more I've seen of jou 
the more I dread your opposition—" 

She laughed in his face with a deliberate provokinir 
challenge. 

"Now that's unkind of jou ! I expected a much more 
gallant answer from a tall handsome apostle of ro- 
mance and chivalry." 

"Perhaps I was afraid you'd laugh at me—" 
"No. I hold that the age of true chivalry is only 
dawning-the age in which man will honor woman by 
recognizing her as worthy to be his pal and best friend 
as well as his toy." 

There was something so genuine to the appeal of her 
personality that the man who intellectually disagreed 
with her philosophy yet found himself in foolish accord 
with every demand she made, 

Vassar was silent a moment, and glanced at her to 
see If she were chaffing or sparring to uncover his de- 
fenses. 

He was about to say too much— to confess t r ^^eh 
and do it clumsily in the presence of the man he hated 
when the machine suddenly swung toward the cliff, swept 
up to a massive iron gate and stopped. 

113 



i 'It 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



i J 



The chauffeur sounded his horn and an old man 
dressed In the peasant costume of the lodge-keeper of 
a feudal estate of Central Europe emerged from the 
cottage built into the walls of the cliff and opened the 
gates without a word. He bowed humbly to the lord 
of the manor. Waldron nodded carelessly. 

The banker's medieval castle, perched on the highest 
hill on upper Manhattan, was one of the sights of the 
metropolis. Vassar lifted his eyes and caught the 
majestic lines of the granite tower thrusting its grim 
embattlements into the skies. An ocean-going yacht 
lay at her anchor in the river like a huge swan with 
folded wings. The Italian boathouse which he had 
built at the water's edge was connected with his castle 
by an underground passage bored through the granite 
cliff into a hall cut out of the stone a hundred feet be- 
neath the foundations of the structure above. A swift 
elevator connected this hall with the house. 

The machine shot gracefully up the steep winding 
roadway and stopped beneath the vaulted porte- 
cochere. 

Liveried flunkies hurried down the stone landing to 
greet their master and his guests. There was nothing 
for them to do but open the door of the toe- eau with 
obsequious bows. 

"Will you kindly make our prisoner as comfortable 

114 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



as possible, Miss Holland," Waldron said in his even 
metallic voicp. "while I give some orders outside. You'll 
find the J brary at yc ir disposal." 

"Thanx, 3 ou," Tii- ^inia answered, mounting the steps 
without further certmony. 

A feeling of resentment swept John Vassar. How 
dare this bully assume such familiarity with Virginia 
Holland! She had met him as a patron of the cause 
of woman's suffrage. One would think he had the right 
to her soul and body by the way he asked her to act 
as the hostess of his establishment. The thought that 
enraged him was that the banker was so cocksure of 
himself, his position. No robber baron of tht Middle 
Ages could have felt more irresponsible in the exercise 
of his power. The consciousness of this power oozed 
from the fat pores of Waldron's skin. He exuded the 
idea as he breathed. 

Vassar's first impression or. entering the great house 

confirmed his idea of the man's character. The whole 

conception of the place rested squarely on the royal 

splendors of the Old World. The lines of the huge 

building were a combination of two famous castles of 

medieval France, both the homes of kings. The great 

hall was an exact copy in form and decoration of the 

throne room of Napoleon in the palace at Versailles. 

His library walls above the bookcases bristled with 

115 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

arms and armor. Aajthing more utterly undem^i^ 
could not have been found in the centers of Europe. 

The atmosphere of the place was stifling. 

Vassar turned to Virginia with a movement of im- 
patience. 

"You like this.?" he asked. 

"I think it very imposing," was the diplomatic 
answer. 

"So do I » he snapped, "and that's why I loathe it. 
Such ostentation in a democracy whose life is just be- 
ginning can mean but one thing. The man who built 
this castle to crown the highest hiU of a city is capable 
of building a throne in the East Room of the White 
House if the time ever comes that he dares—" 

Virginia shook her head good-humoredly. 

"I'm afraid you're prejudiced against our patron 
saint." 

"No," Vassar answered steadily, "I'm not prejudiced. 
I hate him with the hatred that is uncompromising- 
that's aU. There's not room for the two things for 
which we stand in this republic. One of us must live, 
the other die." 

"I suppose a woman doesn't look on such a house as 
this with your eyes," she answered smiling. 

"No, that's just it—you don't— and it's one of the 

reasons why I'm afraid of you " 

116 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



\ issar turned to examine the collection of chain 
armor at the end of the room without waiting for her 
answer. He was in a bad humor. The place had gotten 
on his nerves. 

When he returned again, regretting his curt speech, 
she was standing at the entrance talking in low tones 
to Waldron. His footstep had made no sound on the 
cushion of oriental rugs which covered the inlaid marble 
floor. 

Without so much as a look his way she passed Wal- 
dron and left the library. 

The banker walked briskly toward Vassar and waved 
his short, heavy arm toward a chair. 

"Won't you sit down, sir?" he asked coldly. 

With mechanical precision he opened a jeweled cigar- 
ette box and extended it. 

"Thanks," Vassar answered c^-elessly, «I have a 
cigar." 

He struck a match on his heel, lit the cigar and seated 
himself leisurely. 

Waldron sat down opposite and began his attack 
without delay. 

"Miss Holland has just informed me that you are 
unalterably opposed to woman's suffrage?" 

"Until I see it differently, I am," was the tense 
reply. 

117 



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^BE FALL OF A NATION 






"I take it then that it will be a waste of words for 
us to discuss that question?" 

"Yes— and before we waste words on an^ other ques- 
tion I must ask whom you represent in this conference 
concerning mj career?" 

^^ "ril tell you with pleasure," was the quick answer. 
"I am perhaps the largest contributor to the cause of 
woman's suffrage — " 

"Do you believe in it?" Vassar interrupted sharply. 
Waldron weighed his answer and spoke with metallic 
emphasis. , 

"Whether I do or do not is beside the mark for the 
moment. You have settled that issue between us, and 
my views are of no importance. I am pressing for a 
woman's victory for a more important reason than my 
faith in her ballot or my lack of faith in its ultimate 
effects. The immediate result of women's vote will be 
to make war remote. My big purpose is to prevent this 
nation from sinking into the abyss of militarism in 

which Europe now flounders " 

"In other words," Vassar broke in, "you mean to 
prevent this country from preparing to defend herself 
from the power of Imperial Europe?" 

Waldron searched his opponent for a moment of in- 
tense silence and slowly answered : 

"If you care to put it that way— yes. I represent 

118 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



the combined forces of peace and sanitj in this nation. 
We have determined that America sliall not be cursed 
by the military caste. We are determined that our 
country shall not foUow in the mad blind race of the 
Old World in building armaments with which to mur- 
der our fellow men. I have made no secret of my pur- 
pose and I am going to win. I am going to defeat your 
bill to place our army and navy on the footing of war- 
cursed Europe — " 

"My bill does not propose to establish a military 
caste," Vassar protested. "It only demands a trained 
citizen soldiery for adequate defense, armed and ready 
to enter th^ field, an effective wall of patriotic fire if 
we are assailed. I ask a navy that will be absolutely 
sure to sink the fleet of any power that may attack 
us. I do not ask that this fleet shall be in constant 
commission, only that it shall be built and ready for 
service.'* 

"Your demand is preposterous," Waldron coldly an- 
swered. **You ask for a Hond issue of $500,000,000 for 
naval purposes only — ^ 

^'Anything less will He inadequate. We are Behind 
the world in guns, behind the world in aircraft, Behind 
the world in submarines. We invented the aeroplane. 
We invented the machine gun. We invented the iron- 
clad. :We invented the submarine. We must lead the 

119 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



I 



'H 




world in these arms of defense— not foUow, the last lame 
duck in the march! An inadequate navj no matter how 
great its size is worse than none. It wiU merely lead us 
into trouble and murder our defenders. War is now a 
merciless science. Skill, not physical courage, wins. 
The machine has become the master of the world—" 
"Please !» Waldron cried with hand uplifted in a ges- 
ture of impatience. «'I know your speech by heart. 
It's old. It doesn't interest me. Come to the point. 
If you'll agree as chairman of the Committee on Mili- 
tary Affairs to modify your bill to train and arm a 
million citizen soldiers, and reduce your naval pro 
gramme to two battleships, four cruisers, twenty-four 
submarines and twenty-four aeroplanes, we can come 
to terms — " 

Vassar rose, fixed his opponent with a searching look 
and said : 

"I'll see you in hell first—" 

"All right," Waldron snapped. "I'm going to wipe 
you off the map. ITiere'U be a new chairman of your 
Committee when Congress meets in December — ^" 

Vassar held his enemy with a steady gaze. 

"You haven't enough dirty money to buy my dis- 
trict, Waldron," he answered. **We're a humble people 
on the East Side, but I'll show you that there are some 
things in this town that are not for sale — " 

120 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



A smile of contempt played about the banker's cold 
lips as he rose. 

•^Tll be there when you make the demonstration," he 
responded with careful emphasis. 

**^'^ou'll excuse me now?** Vassar said politely. 

"Certainly. My car will drop you at any address 



. »» 



you name.' 

"Thank you, I prefer the subway.** 
"As you like,'* the metallic voice clicked. 



:ii 



I 



• 



^'l'-\ 



I 



!:*-' 



CHAPTER XI 

VaSSAR turned with a quick moreraent, passed 
into the hall and ran squarely into Virginia 
who was about to enter the library. 
"Your interview at an end so soon? I took a turn 
in the garden for only five minutes. I was to join your 
conference. You have quarreled?" 

"No— just agreed to fight, that's all— ♦» 
"A compromise is impossible?" 
"Utterly—" 

"I am sorry," she answered gravely. 
The iron doors of the elevator softly opened with a 
low click and two slender young men of decidedly for- 
eign features stepped briskly out, accompanied by the 
tall, straight figure of ViUard. They crossed the hall 
and ascended the broad stairway as if at home. The 
clothes of the younger men were fitted with extreme 
care. The waist line was gracefully modeled. It was 
evident that they both wore corsets. They walked with 
the quick, measured tread of the trained soldier. From 
their yachting caps it was evident they had just entered 
the house through the tunnel from the river landing 

123 



'i;i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Their slight waxed mustaches particularly caught Vas- 
sar's attention and brought a smile of contempt. Un- 
doubtedly they were the pampered darlings of a foreign 
court, friends of Waldron's whom he was cultivating 
for some purpose. The Congressman wondered what 
the de" U th<-y could be doing in America when all the 
Old World was at war? He also wondered who Villard 
was — Villard with his fierce upturned mustache after 
the style of von Hindenberg. They might be South 
Americans or from the Balkan states of course. Wal- 
dron's banking house was one of the international 
group and his agents came from every comer of the 
globe. 

When they had passed Virginia quietly asked: 

"May I go downtown with you?" 

In the tumult of anger that still raged within over 
Waldron'*:! challenge the incongruity of the proposal 
struck him with new force. The offer seemed almost 
brazen. Under conditions of a normal environment it 
would have meant nothing more than a pretty attempt 
to console him in an hour of disappointment. Coming 
at the moment of his departure from the sinister estab- 
lishment of the man he hated, it struck him as suggestive 
of a secret understanding between the two. 

His one desire now was to be alone and breathe clean 



air. 



123 




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if 



THE FALL OP A NATION 




1 m afraid," he protested. 

"You wiU not return in the car?" .he a,ked in .ur- 
prise. 

"I prefer to walk—" 

J ^^,"'" '^""""''"'^ "' "■* '''"•'•" '••« -"""l firmly, 
you II go with me-and I'm not going to walk " 

"You must excuse me"— he persisted. 

"I will not. And I'll never speak to you again 
unless you obey my orders for this one afternoon at 
least. 

He searched her face to see if .he meant it. caught 
the look of de..rmination and answered in quick tones 
of apology. 

"Of course, if you really wish it. you know that it 
Will give me pleasure " 

Virginia returned to the library, spoke to Waldron 
and .„ a few minutes they were again seated by each 
other's side swiftly gliding down the Drive 

"Stop at the Claremont." she called to the chauffeur. 

Im starved. We would have had lunch served in the 
library If ,„^^^^ ^ ^^ ^^ ^ 

particular — »♦ 

"I couldn't eat at Waldron's table. Pd choke," he 
answered in low tones. 

"Pm afraid you're not a good politician after aU » 

19^ * 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



<ii 



(o 



she observed. "You are too emotional. You allow 
your temperament to betray you into errors of dip- 
lomacy. You should have cultivated Waldron, flattered 
his vanity and studied his character — " 

"I know it already — " 

"I thought so at first myself," she answered thought- 
fully. "The more I see of him the less I know him. 
He's a puzzle — " - - ti*-. 

*He'8 merely an ape of foreign snobs — that's all." 

*You utterly misjudge him," Virginia protested. 
"He has too much strength for that. His ambitions are 
too great." 

"Then he's more dangerous than I have thought." 

"What do you mean?" she asked in surprise. 

"Nothing that I could put into words without making 
myself ridiculous in your eyes perhaps, yet the idea 
grows on me — " 

Virginia laughed. 

"You can't do an opponent justice, can you?" 

"No — can you?" 

The car swept gracefully up the roadway to the rose- 
embowered white cottage on the hill. They leaped out 
and found a table in the comer overlooking the majestic 
sweep of the river and Jersey hills beyond. 

Vassar was moody in spite of the inspiring view and 
the radiant face opposite. Again and again he tried 

125 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



f 



to pull himself out of the dumps and enjoj this wonder- 
ful hour with the most fascinating woman he had ever 
met. It was no use. Waldron's frozen smile, his rojal 
establishment, his corseted pets, his big friend with ihe 
fierce mustache, his white yacht and the soft click of 
the doors of that elevator filled his mind with sinister 
suggestions. 

"I'm so disappointed in you," Virginia said at last. 
"Why?" 

"I'd planned to relax a little this afternoon. It's 
Saturday you know. I thought you might be human 
enough just to piay for a few hours. I wanted to 
find the real man side of you— not the statesman or the 
politician — " 

"To study me under the microscope as another speci- 
men of the species and plan my extermination?" 

"No — to get acquainted in the simplest kind of old- 
fashioned way. But I see it's no use today. You're a 
greater enigma to me than Waldron. But I'm not 
going to be beaten so easily. I'm going to find you 
out now that I've made up my mind. I've a proposal 
to make before we begin the scrap in your district " 

"A proposal?" he asked mischievously. 

"Yes! It's hardly decent I know. Anyhow, I'm 
not wholly responsible for it. You've made a won- 
derful hit with my old soldier Dad. He has talked 

126 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



nothing else but your bill for an adequate national 
defense. He has positively ordered me to make you 
our guest for a couple of weeks at our country place 
on Long Island — ** 

Vassar blushed like a schoolboy. 

"I should be only too happy — " 

"I warn you that the Old Guard will talk you into 
a spell of sickness about war and the certainty of this 
country being captured by the Germans or Jap» — " 

"He can't say too much to me on that subject,'* 
Vassar declared. 

"And if you'll bring your father and the children 
I'm sure we could keep you until I've wormed the last 
secret out of you — " 

"It wouldn't be imposing on you?" 

"You would do us a favor. Zonia would keep Billy 
at home. Marya and your father would be an endless 
source of joy to my mother. We've a big old house 
and a lot of vacant rooms. You'll bring them all?" 

"My dear Miss Holland," he answered gratefully, 
"you overwhelm me with your kindness. My father and 
the kids have never been so honored. You will make 
them supremely happy — " 

"You see," Virginia interrupted, *Tve a scheme back 
of this invitation. I've not only determined to find you 
out, but I'm a politician whether you like it or not, 

in 



n 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



li 



■f- 



Vm going to make it just as difficult as I possibly can 
for jou to fight me. You'll walk into the trap with 
your eyes wide open — " 

"I absolve you from all responsibility for my ruin,'* 
he laughed. 

"You'll join us at Babylon on Sunday?" 

"Tomorrow?" 

"The sooner the better. We go down this evening—'* 

The clouds suddenly lifted. Vassar couldn't keep 
his face straight He was so happy it was absurd. An 
hour ago he was in the depths of despair. The founda- 
tions of the nation's life were sinking. The sky had 
cleared. The sun was sparkling on the waters of the 
river in dazzling splendor. The world was beautiful 
and the country safe. 

His mind was planning absurd programs for each 
day. He wondered for just a moment if she could be 
capable of plotting with Waldron to remove him from 
the district for two weeks, to lay the foundations of a 
movement to wreck his career — 

He looked into the depths of her brown eyes and 
threw the ugly thought to the winds. 









R 



CHAPTER XII 



VASSAR (determined that every day of the two 
' weeks at Babylon should be red lettered in his 
life. He had never taken a vacation; nor had 
his father. It was time to adopt this good custom of 
the country. It was mid-July. The campaign would 
not really be under way until October. There was 
nothing to worry about. Neither the suffragettes with 
their organization nor Waldron with his money could 
break his hold on the hearts of his people. 

He gave himself up to the sheer joy of living for 
the first time in life. Through the long glorious early 
days he drove with Virginia in her little dogcart about 
the beautiful country roads of Long Island. He had 
never dreamed the panoramas of ravishing landscape 
that stretched away in endless beauty. He found gentle 
hills and valleys, babbling brooks and shady woods and 
always seaward the solemn white sand dunes of the 
beach and the changing mirror of the bay reflecting 
their shining forms. On days when the wind was right 
the far-away roar of the surf could be distinctly heard. 
Each day alone with the charming and brilliant 

129 






f^ 



, -,t ■ 



M 



THE FALL OF A NAT ION 

woman by his side had led him deeper and deeper into 
the mazes of a fascination that had become resistless. 
They talked with deep earnestness of the great things 
of life and eternity. She made no effort to conceal 
her keen personal interest in the man she was studying. 
With deliberate purpose she had abandoned herself 
to the romantic situation of being sought and courted 
by a handsome, fascinating man. He wondered vaguely 
if she were experimenting with her own character, and 
merely using him for the moment for the purpose of 
chemical reaction? He shivered at the uncanny idea. 
It was disconcerting. She might be capable of such 
a gruesome process., For the life of him he couldn't 
make out as yet whether such a woman was capable of 
real passion. 

There was no longer any doubt about his own situ- 
ation. He had faced the fact squarely. He was in 
love— madly, passionately, hopelessly— the one grand 
passion of mature manhood. Its violence frightened him. 
He was afraid to put it to the test with a declaration. 
He must wait and be sure of a response on her part. 
There was too much at stake to bungle such an issue. 
If he could win her by surrender on the suffrage ques- 
tion, he would give her two ballots if she wanted them. 
He knew her character too well to believe that such 
ignoble surrender of principle merely to please could 

130 



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- ti^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



succeed. She would accept his help in her cause and 
despise him for a weakling in her heart. 

As the time drew near that he must go he knew with 
increasing fear the supreme hour of life had struck. 
He must put his fate to the test. He took his seat 
in a rowboat facing her and drifted into the silver 
sea of moon, fully determined. An hour passed and he 
had only spoken commonplace nothings. With each 
effort his courage grew weaker. 

If she were like other girls h^ would have dared it. 
"Faint heart ne'er won fair lady," he kept repeating 
as he tried in vain to screw his mind up to the point 
of speed It was no use. She was not the fair lady 
of song and story. She had a disconcerting way of 
demanding the reason for things. 

He gave it i^p at last and spent an evening of su- 
preme happiness drifting and listening to the soft round 
flute-like notes of her voice. He would speak tomorrow. 
They had two days more. Tomorrow they were to 
take a long ride down the smooth road to Southampton 
in her little runabout. She was an expert at the wheel 
of an automobile and they had explored the whole south 
side of Long Island in the past five days. 

He had grown to love the peace and charm of this 
wonderful isle — ^homes — homes — homes — everywhere ! 
laughing children played beside the roadways. Smil- 

131 




* 

.\lfff fli < 



'i: 



'^-i 



,^V^'f 



.M 



•■^. V 



If] 






ii 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



ing boys and girls made hill and valley ring with 

joy. 

He had promised Zonia and Marya to take the cot- 
tage across the tumpilce in front of the spacious lawn 
of the Holland homestead and let them spend the sum- 
mer there. His father had joined in their clamor and 
he had consented. The cottage was furnished and a 
power launch went with it for a reasonable rent. They 
were to move down next week. Thore would be but 
two days' break in the new life they had begun in this 
fairyland of sun and sky, trees and flowers, laughing 
waters and shining seas. 

Why should he press his suit? He would wait and 
see more of her. And then the crisis came that hurled 
him headlong into a decision.* 



■i ■ 



'i,! 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE idea that her child might attain the highest 
honor within the reach of any man on earth 
had stirred Angela to the depths an aiven 
new meaning and dignity to life. She lifted h( nead. 
She had borne a child whose word might bend a million 
wills to his. The world was a bigger, nobler place in 
which to live. 

She was stirred with sudden purpose to leave no stone 
unturned to bring this dream to pass. She bought 
books of the lives of the presidents. Twice she read 
the life of Abraham Lincoln, the humble backwoods- 
man rail-splitter who became p. ident 

But her vivid Italian imagination loved the stories 
of George Washington, the first president, best. He 
was nearest in history to Columbus, the Italian who 
discovered America. She read the legends of little 
George Washington's adventures and began to play the 
mighty drama of her own son's career by guiding his 
feet in the same path. 

She had laughed immoderately over George cutting 
his father's cherry-tree. She was sure her bambino 

133 



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' ; ' 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



was capable of that! If George cut cherry-trees, of 
course his father had cherries to eat. She got at once 
a lot of cherries and fed them to the boy, laughing and 
nursing her dream. 

She found a picture of Washington in his Colonial 
dress. The style pleased her fancy. She went forth- 
with, bought the material and made her bo;^ a suit with 
cockade hat exactly like it. 

Tommaso was amazed on entering the living-room 
from the fruit store to find the kid arrayed in the 
strange garb. Angela' was stuffing some cotton under 
the cockade hat to make it fit, studying the picture to 
be sure of the effect. 

When she explained, Tommaso joined in the play 
with equal zest. 

When the boy had exhausted the admiration of his 
father and mother he sallied forth into the street to 
meet his little friends and show his clothes. 

He had scarcely cleared the door when "Sausage" 
emerged from the Schultz delicatessen store and the two 
met halfway. No hard feelings had lingered from their 
fight in the old Armory. Sausage's admiration was 
boundless. He had just persuaded little Tommaso to 
go home and show them to his own mother when they 
turned and saw Meyer unloading a truck filled with 
curious looking long boxes. 

134 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



They ran up to investigate just as a case fell and 
a gun dropped to the pavement. 

The kids rushed to Benda's to tell Angela and 
Tommaso. 

«1 told you that man was no good !» Angela exclalme J. 
"Go — and see quick and we tell Vasa' — " 

Tommaso hurried across the street and found Meyer 
standing over the broken case. Meyer faced the Italian 
without ceremony: 

"Cost your life to open your yap about these guns- 
see?" 

Tommaso snapped his finger in the other's face : 
"Go fell!" 

He turned on his heel to go, saw his wife and the 
children near, rushed back and snapped his finger again 
in Meyer's face: 

"Go t*ell two times — see — two times!" 

Meyer merely held his gaze in a moment of angry 
silence and turned to his work.' 

Tommaso rushed back into his flat, pushed things 
from the table, seized a pen and wrote a hurried note to 
his leader. 



f 



Congressman Vasa: 

Men unload guns in our street. He say killa 
me if I teU. I tell him go fell. I tell him go 

135 



I 111 



|! ! 







THE FALL OF A NATION 



My kid he be 



fell two times. I Americano, 
president — maybe — 

ToMMAso Benda. 



He hurried Angela into her best new American cut 
dress and sent her with the boy to Long Island to tell 
Vassar. 

The visit .11 but ended in a tragedy for poor Angela. 
While searching the spacious Holland grounds for her 
leader, the boy suddenly spied a hatchet with which 
the master had been mending a box in which he was 
cultivating a precious orange-tree that had been 
carefully guarded in a hothouse during the winter 
months. 

The kid saw his chance to emulate the example of 
Geor/re Washington. He lost no time. The tree was 
well hacked before Holland poUnced upon him. 

The old man had him by the ear when Angela dashed 
to the rescue. She saw the scarred tree with horror 
and her apologies were profuse. 

"Ah, pardon, signor! You see his little suit— he 
play George Wash — and cutta the cherry-tree — " 

She paused and shook the boy ficercely. 

*'Ah — you maka me seek!" 

Holland began to smile at the roguish beauty of the 
boy glancing up from the corners of his dark, beauti- 
ful eyes. 

136 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vassar, Virginia, Zonia and Marja hearing the com- 
motion, rushed up. 

Angela extended her apologies to all. 

**You see, he really think he*s leetle George Wash—* 
I mak him speak his piece — ^you like to hear it?" 

Her offer was greeted by a chorus of approval 

Angela fixed the child with a stern look. 

"Speeka your piece!" 

The boy shook his head. 

"Speeka-your-piece!" The order was a threat this 
time and little Tommaso yielded. 

Bowing gracefully, he faced the group and recited 
with brave accent: 

My Country, 'tis of thee 
I cutta the cherry-tree. 
Sweet land of libertee 
My name is George Wash! 

He bowed again as all laughed and applauded. Vir- 
ginia took him in her arms and kissed him. While 
she was yet complimenting the boy on his fine si)eech 
Angela whispered to Vassar : 

"My man Tommaso — he want to see you, signor! 
He send this — " 

She slipped the note into Vassar*8 hand, repeated 
her apologies and hurried from the lawn, shaking 
Tommaso : 

137 



il 



¥ *'i4 ''* 



«!&•:,,. ' 














• Jf!' T t 




THE FALL OF A NATION 

"Ah,youlectlemik! You maka me ««k— ! I tell* 
you play George Wa«h and cutta the cherry-tree-and 
oh, my Mother of God! You play hell and cutta the 
oran^r-tree ."» 

Little Tommaso took the scolding phaosophically. 

Orange or cherry-trees were all the same to him. He 

merely answered his mother's dramatic rage with a 

twinkle of his eye unta she stooped at last and kissed 
him. 



CHAPTER XIV 



VASSAR looked at the scrawled note and saw 
that he must return to the city. The incident 
probably meant nothing and yet it brought to 
his mind a vague uneasiness. 

He instinctively turned to Virginia who was look- 
ing at him with curious interest. She spoke with 
genuine admiration: 

"I had no idea that any politician in America could 
win the hearts of his people in the way you hold 
yours — ** 

"It's worth while, isn't it?" 

"Decidedly. It makes my regret all the more keen 
that you wiU not accompany me on my tour of the 
state—'* 

**You go soon?" he asked. 

"I leave Monday morning for a month. It has been 
one of my dreams since we met that I'd win you— and 
we'd make a sort of triumphal tour together—" 

**You're joking," he answered lightly. 

"I know now that it is not to be, of course," she 
said seriously. 

189 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




i 







ii 



He hadn't thought of Iier being on such a fool trip. 
Waldron no doubt as her campaign financier would 
meet her at many points. The thought set the blood 
pounding from his heart. 

"Shall we sit down a moment?" he suggested. 
"By all means if I can persuade you," she consented. 
Behind a rich fir on the lawn stood a massive marble 
•eat. They strolled to the spot and sat down. Hours 
of debate they had held here and neither had yielded 
an inch. A circular trellis of roses hid the house from 
view and sheltered the seat from the gaze of people 
who might be crossing the open space. The hedge 
along the turnpike completely hid them from the high- 
way. 

^ By a subtle instinct she felt the wave of emotion from 
his tense mind. 

A long silence fell between them. Her last speech 
had given him the cue for his question. He had brooded 
over its possible meaning from the moment she had ex- 
pressed the idea. He picked a pebble from the ground, 
shot it from his fingers as he had done with marbles 
when a boy. 

Lifting his head with a serious look straight into her 
brown eyes he said; 

"Did you believe for a moment that I could go with 
you on such a campaign tour?" 

140 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



She met his gaze squarely. 

"I thought it too good to be true, of course, and yet 
your unexpected sympathy and your — ^your — shall I 
say, frankly expressed admiration, led me into all sorts 
of silly hopes." 

"And yet you knew on a moment's reflection that 
such a surrender of principle by a man of my character 
was out of the question." 

"It has turned out to be so," she answered 
slowly. 

"Could you hare respected me had I cut a complete 
intellectual and moral somersault merely at the wave 
of your beautiful hand?" 

"I could respect any man who yields to reason," she 
fenced. 

He smiled. 

"I didn't ask you that—" 

"No?" 

"You're fencing. And I mi st come to the real issue 
between us. I do it with fear and trembling and with 
uncovered head. I had to be true to the best that's in 
me with you for the biggest reason that can sway an 
honest man's soul. I have loved you from the moment 
we met — " 

He stopped short and breathed deeply, afraid to face 

her. His declaration had called for no answer. She 

141 






..■''4' •>' 




ll: 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



i I 



remained silent. From the corner of his eye he noted 
the tightening of her firm hps. 

"I've tried to tell you so a dozen times this week 
and failed. I was afraid, it meant so much to me. I 
had hoped to be with you another month at least in this 
beautiful world of sunlight and flowers, of moon and 
sea. I hoped to win you with a little more time and 
patience. But I couldn't wait and see you go on this 
trip. I had to speak. I love you with the love a 
strong man can give but once in life. It's strange that 
of all the women in the world I should have loved the 
one whose work I must oppose ! You'll believe me when 
I tell you that the fiercest battle I have ever fought 
was with the Devil when he whispered that I might win 
by hedging and trimming and lying diplomatically as 
men have done before and many men will do again. At 
least you respect me for the honesty with which I have 
met this issue?" 

He had asked her a direct question at last. Her 
silence had become unendurable. Her answer was 
scarcely audible. She only breathed it. 

"Yes, I understand and respect you for it " 

His heart gave a throb of hope. 

"I don't ask you if you love me now. I just want 
to know if I've a chance to win you?" 

The impulse to seize her hand was resistless. She 

142 



*-* u:.' i ■■■*»■■ W 4-"..'' 1 ti'*ri*f ^ *■ ■/■' ■■ ■' 



TH^ ^^iZ, 02^ A NATION 



made no effort to withdraw it and he pressed it 
tenderly. 

A wistful smile played about the sensitive mouth and 
she was slow to answer. 

"Tell me — hare I a chance?" he pleaded. 

Her voice was far away but clear-toned music. He 
heard his doom in its perfect rhythm before the words 
were complete. 

"T can't see," she began slowly, "how two people 
couia enter the sweet intimacy of marriage with a vital 
difference of opinion dividing them. I couldn't. Your 
honesty and intellectual strength I admire. This 
honesty and strength will keep us opponents. Such an 
union is unthinkable — " 

"Not if we love one another," he protested eagerly. 
**There is but one issue in human life between man and 
Jroman and that is love. If you love me, nothing else 
matters — '* 

She shook her head. 

"It isn't true. You love me— but other things matter. 
Otherwise you would give them up to win your love. I 
claim to be your equal in brain and heart if not in 
muscle. You say that if I love nothing else matters and 
yet you say in the same ht'xtH fliat you risk your love 
to save your principles. In your hea-^ you know that 
other things do matter, and with me they matLsr deeply 

143 



m 



* ■ c 






r<i^ 



.',.rir 





f i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



I believe with every beat of my heart that the progress 
of the world waits on the advent of women m the or- 
ganization of its industries, its politics and its think- 
ing. This consciousness of her mission in the modem 
woman is the biggest fact of our century — *' 

She paused and faced him with a look of iron pur- 
pose. 

"No matter if I did love you — I*d tear that love out 
of my heart if it held me back from the fulfilment of 
the highest ideal of duty to my sex — " 

"What higher ideal can any woman hold than her 
home?" 

"For the woman whose horizon is no larger there can 
be none. She can only see the world in which she 
moves. To some of us God has given the wider view. 
What is one life if it is sacrificed to this higher ideal? 
You are leading the renaissance of America. So am 
I. Our beautiful country with her teeming millions 
must rise in her glory and live forever when you and I 
have passed on. The soldier sees this vision when he 
dies in battle. So I see it today.** 

He stooped again and gathered a handful of pebbles, 
rolling them thoughtfully in his hand. His eyes were 
on the ground. 

"It isn't Waldron?'* he asked. 

She smiled with a touch of mischief. 

144 



, I 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



.» 



. 



"No. But I confess such a man might tempt m^ - 
He threw the pebbles on the ground with a gesture 
of impatience. 

"It's not true !'• he cried, facing her suddenly. With 
a fierce resolution he seized her hand. 

"I won't take any such answer," he breathed 
desperately. «Y„u're not playing this game fairly with 
•ne. I've torn my heart open to you. You're hedging 
and trimming. I won't have it. You haven't dared to 
deny your love. You cant deny it. You love me and 
you know it and I know it— » 

She lifted her free hand in a gesture of protest. 
"You love me! I feel it! I know itl» he repeated 
fiercely. 

With quick resolution he swept her into his arms 
and kissed her hps again and again. For just an in- 
stant he felt her body relax. 

The next minute she had freed herself and faced him 
her eyes blazing with anger. Her anger was not a 
pose. He saw to his horror that he had staked all on a 
mad chance and lost. 

He stammered something incoherent and mopped his 
brow lamely. 

"I suppose it's useless for me to say I'm sorry—" 
"Quite," she said with cold emphasis. 
"All right I won't. Because I'm not sorry I did it 

145 








THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vm only sorry you resent it. I love you. True love is 
half madness. I won't apologize. If I must die for that 
one moment, it's worth it." 

"There can be nothing more between us after this," 
she said evenly. 

He bowed in silence. 

"Please play the little farce of polite society before 
my father and mother as you leave tonight It's the 
only favor I ask of you." 

"I understand," he answered. 







/I 





CHAPTER xy 

THE perfection with which Virginia played her 
part in the Kttle drama of deception at their 
parting was a new source of surprise and anger 
to Vassar. Her acting was consummate. Neither the 
chHdren nor her parents could suspect for a moment 
that there had been the shghtest break in their relations. 
Self-respect compeUed him to act the part witli equal 
care in detail. 

The old soldier had grown very fond of Marya. 
He held her in his arms chattering like a magpie. 

"Now don't you go back on me when you get to 
town and fail to take that cottage!" he protej^'sd. 

"Oh, we're coming on Tuesday—aren't we, Jncle 
John?" she cried. 

Virginia watched his face. He caught the look and 
answered its challenge by an instant reply. 

"Certainly, dear. Everything's fixed. I can't be 
with you much but grandpa'll be here every day." 

The child clapped her hands. 

"You see"— . 

"All right," Holland answered. **I'll meet you at 

147 




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1 ?t 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



the station! The fact is— »♦ his voice dropped to con- 
fidential tones— **between you and me— I haven't any 
little girl. My girPs grown clean up and out of my 
world. She's going on a wild goose chase over the 
country and leave her old daddy here to die alone, ^wt 
youMl be my little girl, won't you, honey?" 

Marya slipped her arms around his neck and 
whispered: 

"I'd like two granddaddies. I never had but one you 
know — " , 

Virginia wondered at Vassar's audacity in persisting 
in the plan of thrusting himself and his people under 
her nose. She had thought he would have the decency 
to change his plans now that any further association 
between them had become impossible. She listened in 
vain for any protest on his part against the plans of 
happiness between her father and his little niece. His 
face was a mask of polite indifference. 

She had worked herself into a rage when he extended 
his hand in partmg. The others were looking or he 
would have omitted the formality. He made up his 
mind to part without a word. 

The children and his father turned to enter the coach. 
Billy was saying good-bye to Zonia assuring her for the 
tenth time that he would drive with his father to the 
train for them on Tuesday. 

148 



m 




THE FALL OF A N A TION 

With the touch of her hand Vassar's angry resolution 
melted. Soul and body was fused suddenly into a re- 
sistless rush of tenderness. If she felt this she was 
complete mistress of her emotions. There was no sign. 

In a voice of studied coldness she merely said: 

"Good-bye." 

His hand closed desperately on hers in spite of her 
purpose to withdraw it instantly. 

"I won't say it," he answered fiercely. "I won't give 
jou up. You haven't treated me fairly. I won't submit. 
I'm coming again — do you hear?" 

She stared at him a moment with firmly set lips and 
answered ; 

"There is nothing in common between us, Mr. Cave- 
man. We live in different worlds. We-'were born in 
different ages — " 

He dropped her hand and sprang to the platform 
of the moving train without looking back. 








■m''^ 




CHAPTER XVI 

ARRIVING at Stuyvesant Square, Vassar de- 
cided to go at once and see Angela's husband. 
The door of his tiny apartment opened on 
the little crooked street before the old Armory. He 
caught the gay colors of Angela's dress at the window. 
She was leaning far out over the flower boxes, and 
gesticulating to her man in the street below. 

Benda, the center of a group of children, was play- 
ing the hand organ which Pasquale had given the boy. 
The kids were dancing. 

He stopped short his music at the sight of his leader, 
waved the children aside and hurried to meet him. 

"Ah, you come so soon, signer!" he exclaimed. "I 
am glad. Angela — she tell you?" 

"Yes. What's the trouble?" 

"You see the house over dere?" 

He pointed to the low apartment across the way. 
"Yes." 

"Well, signer, men unload and swing boxes — beeg 

long boxes inside. One of them fell and brak — " 
He stopped and looked about. 

150 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"It was guns, signer!— all bright, new. I ask them 
what for thej put so many guns in the old house. The 
boss say I must join his Black Hand Alliance—" Benda 
laughed. "I tell him go fell— 

"He say it's war and I die unless I do— I tell him 
go fell two times. And I send word to you, signor. 
What you tink?" 

"I don't know. I'll find the owner of the building 
and teU you. Thanks, Tommaso," he added cordially. 
"I appreciate your confidence. I'll see about it." 

"Si, si, signor!" 

With another wave of his hand to the children Benda 
resumed his concert. 

Vassar walked to the door and glanced at the build- 
ing. There was nothing to mark it from a number of 
dingy structures along the East River. A speculator 
was probably buying old guns from our government for 
their transfer in secret to the agent of a faction in 
Mexico or South America. Naturally the trader must 
use the utmost caution or a Secret Service man would 
nip his plans in the bud. He was so sure of the ex- 
planation that he took it for granted, and dismissed 
the incident from his mind. 

He was destined to recall it under conditions that 
would not be forgotten. 



m 



!|,; 



* ! ■ 



_ 1 



CHAPTER XVn 

VASSAR plunged next day into his fight. 
Waldron had moved rapidly. His opponents 
had already nominated an Independent 
Democrat of foreign biith, a Bohemian of ability, 
whom he knew to be a man of ambition and good 
address. 

.The women had begun a house to house canvass of 
voters and the number of fairy-tales they had started 
for the purpose of undermining his position and in- 
fluence was a startling revelation of their skill in the 
art of lying. 

Virginia Holland was booked for a canvass of each 
election district the last week in October. He knew 
what that meant. Waldron had held his trump card 
for the supreme moment. 

The depths of vituperation, mendacity and open cor- 
ruption to which the campaign descended on the part 
of his opponents was another revelation to Vassar of 
woman's adaptability to practical methods. Never 
since the days of Tweed's regime had the East Side 
seen anything that approached it. 

162 



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:jL:m^0^ 



y -^- 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



He .te«if„,Iy „,„„d ,„ ,„„ ^^ ^^ 

Waldron h«, .d,pt«, ,„ i„eo„oo,v.bk. V...„ 
watched the .pprcch of her cnva.. with indifference. 
If h.. people were weak enough to f.11 f„r Waldron 
«d h,. crowd of hireling,, he had no desire longer to 
represent the district 

He ceased to worry about results. He fo«saw that 
h.. niajonty would be reduced. He decided to let it 
go at that. 

The gulf which «,parated him no>, from the woman 
he loved was apparently too^eep to be bridged. On the 
I"t night of the canvas, he slipped into the meeting at 
wkch she .poke just to hear her voice again. He half 
hoped that she might say something so false and pro- 
Tokmg about his record that he might hate her for it. 
Her address wa. one of lofty and pure appeal for the 
redemption of humanity through the trained .piritual 
power of womanhood. She even express d her regret at 
the necessity of oppo.ing a man of the tvpe of John 
Vassar. 

A hundred of Vassar's partisans were present and 
burst into a fierce round of applause at the mention 
of his name. He watched the effect with breathless in- 
terest. The cheers were utterly unexpected on the 
part of the speaker, and threw her for the moment off 

153 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



1 . i 



her balance. She blushed and smiled and hesitated, 
fumbling for words. 

Vassar's heart was pounding like a trip hammer. He 
could have taken the boys in his arms and carried them 
through the streets for that cheer. No one knew of his 
presence. He had slipped into a back seat in the 
gallery unrecognized in the dim light. 

Why had she blu8h*»d when they cheered his name? 
The crowd, of course, could not know of the secret be- 
tween them. Would she have blushed from the mere 
confusion of mind which the hostile sentiment of her 
hearers had provoked? It was possible. And yet the 
faintest hope thrilled his heart that she cared for him. 
He had played the fool to lose his head that day. He 
realized it now. Such a woman could not be taken 
by storm. Every instinct of pride and intellectual 
dignity had resented it. 

He went home happy over the incident with the 
memory of her scarlet cheeks and the sweet serious- 
ness of her voice filling his soul. His managers 
brought glowing reports of the situation in his dis- 
trict. It didn't matter if he had a chance to win Vir- 
ginia. 

The results proved that his guess of a reduced 
majority was correct. He barely pulled through by 
the skin of his teeth. His margin was a pakry seven 

154 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



hundred and fifty. At the election two j-m before 
it had been more than six thousand. 

When Congress met in December he was confronted 
with a situation un r ,., the history of the Republic. 
A lobby had gath. rod r -^^< ,r,.:on so distinguished in 



personnel, so gro/i 



if! U !'7;hoi 



ggressive in its pur- 



pose to control i ...kti.in, tlu-f U national represent- 
atives were af aid ci ♦h..r >rdaow«. 

The avowed urn oi iLn vaU gathering was the 
defeat of his bill fr the uLquate defense of the 
nation. The outlines of his measures had been 
published and had the unanimous backing of the 
Army and Navy Boards, the National Security 
League and aU the leaders of the great political 
parties. 

Both of our ex-Presidenti.: Roosevelt and Taft, had 
endorsed it and asked for its adoption. It was known 
that the President and his Cabinet approved its main 
features. And yet lU chances of adoption were con- 
sidered extremely doubtful. 

The lobby, which had swarmed into Washington, 
overran its hotels, and camped in the corridors of the 
Capitol, was composed of a class of men and women 
who had never before ventured on such a mission. What 
they lacked of experience they made up in aggressive 
insolence— -an insolence so cocksure of itself that « 

155 



tl 



^.mfil*.m.-l^ 



X Mns..:Mmt^mMz'sA. 



THE FALL OF A NATION 





Congressman rarely ventured from the floor of the 
Chamber if he could avoid it. 

The leaders of the movement were apparently acting 
under the orders of the Reverend A. Cuthbert Pike, 
President of the Peace Union. Vassar was amazed to 
find that this Union was composed of more than six 
hundred chartered peace societies. He had supposed 
that there might be half a dozen such associations in the 
country. To be suddenly confronted by five thousand 
delegates representing six hundred organizations was 
the shock of his political life. But one society alone, 
the National Security League, was there to preach the 
necessity of insurance against war by an adequate de- 
fense. 

Against this lone organization were arrayed in a 
single group the five thousand delegates from the six 
hundred peace societies. They demanded the defeat of 
any bill to increase our armaments in any way, shape or 
form. Their aim was the ultimate complete disarma- 
ment of every fort and the destruction of our navy. 

In co-operation with this host of five thousand 
lanatics stood the Honorable Plato Barker with a 
personal following in the membership of Congress as 
amazing as it was dangerous to the future of the Re- 
public. The admirers of the silver-tongued orator 
labored under the conviction that their leader had been 

156 



.■ ^MMii^m^M -j^-- jrcK* 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



inspired of God to guide the destinies of America. They 
bdieved this with the faith of children. For sixteen 
jears they had accepted his leadership without question 
and his word was the law of their life. 

Barker was opposed to the launching of another ship 
of war, or the mounting of another gun for defense. 
He was the uncompromising champion of moral suasion 
as the solution of all international troubles. He be- 
lieved that an eruption of Mount Vesuvius could be 
soothed by a poultice and cured permanently by an 
agreement for arbitration. He preached this doctrine 
in season and out of season. The more seriously out of 
season the occasion, the louder he preached it. 

That he would have a following in Congress was 
early developed in the session. Barker was not only 
on the ground daily; his headquarters had been sup- 
plied with unlimited money for an active propaganda 
and his office was thronged by delegates from his mass 
meetings called in every state of the Union. 

The Socialists had once more swamped the American 
labor unions with their missionaries and the labor 
federations were arrayed solidly against an increase of 
our army or navy. 

But by far the most serious group of opponents by 
whom Vassar was confronted were the United Women 
Voters of America, marshalled under the leadership 

167 



•Igt%,^ 




;■ t ,. 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



of the brilliant joung Joan of Arc of the Federated 
Clubs. In the peculiar ah'gnment of factions produced 
by the crisis of the world war the women voters held 
the balance of power. They practically controlled the 
Western states while the fear of their influence domi- 
nated the Middle West and seriously shaped public 
opinion in the East. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 
New York had defeated the amendnients for woman's 
suffrage, yet the vote polled by their advocates had 
been so large the defeat waa practically a triumph of 
their principles, 

A convention of five hundred delegates, represent- 
atives of the women voters, had been called to decide 
on the casting of the votes of their senators and repre- 
sentatives. That their orders would be obeyed was 
a foregone conclusion. To refuse meant political 
suicide. 

The thing which puzzled Vassar beyond measure was 
the mysterious unifying power somewhere in the 
shadows. The hand of this unseen master of ceremonies 
had brought these strangely incongruous forces to- 
gether in a harmony so perfect that they spoke and 
wrote and campaigned as one man. Behind this master 
hand there was a single master mind tremendous in 
grip, baffling, inscrutable, always alert, always there. 
That Waldron was this mysterious force he suspected 

158 



f 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



from the first. On the day he was booked to make the 
final address in closing the debate on his biU, the banker 
boldly appeared in the open as the responsible leader 
of the movement for the defeat of national defense. 

Vassar, with a sense of sickening rage, saw him in 
conference with Virginia Holland and her executive com- 
mittee. They held their little preliminary caucus at 
the door of the House of Representatives, as if to in- 
sult him with a notice of coming defeat. The young 
leader knew that if there were yet a man in the House 
who could be reached by money, Waldron would fii.>d 
him. And he knew that there were some who had 
their price. 

The influence of such a man in a free democracy was 
to Vassar a cause of constant grief and wonder. That he 
despised the principles of a democratic government he 
scarcely took the trouble to conceal. His poae was for 
higher ends than party gains or even the selfish glory of 
nation. He was large, his vision world-wide. He 
pleaded always for the advancement of humanity. His 
following was numerous and eminently respectable. 
Vassar had never for one moment believed in Waldron's 
adherence to the principles of American democracy. 
That he would form a monarchy if given the chance 
was a certainty. One of his hobbies was the criminal 
extravagance and inefficiency of our state and municipal 

159 



^1 



'I..,' 








'4! 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



governments as compared to the imperial kingdoms of 
the Old World. In season and out of season he pro- 
claimed the superiority of centralized power over the 
ignorant, slipshod ways of the Republic. The Em- 
peror of Germany and the German ways of ruling were 
his models. 

To accuse Waldron of a conspiracy with the crowned 
heads of the Old World would be received with scorn- 
ful incredulity. And yet there were moments in his 
brooding and thinking when Vassar felt that that 
was the only rational solution of the man's life 
and character. That he was the personal friend of 
three crowned heads was well known. That he was in 
constant consultation with the ambassadors of a dozen 
European nations was also well known. The ex- 
planation of this fact, however, was so simple and plaus- 
ible that no suspicion of treachery would find credence 
in America. His bank had branch establishments in 
London, Paris, Berlin, Petrograd, Vienna, Constan- 
tinople and Rome. 

And yet, why in God's name, Vassar kept asking 
himself, should all these peace societies and all these 
labor organizations and all these women's clubs move 
heaven and earth in unison to kill this one measure of 
defense, and leave our nation at the mercy of any first- 
class European power? Their sentimental leanings 

160 




Were against anna and armaments — of course. But 
who set them all barking at the same moment? Who 
had kept them at it in chorus continuously from the 
first throb of the patriotic impulse to put ourselves in 
readiness to defend our life? Who had held them to- 
gether in this fierce and determined assault on the 
Capitol to arouse and threaten Congress? No such 
movement could be caused by spontaneous combustion. 
Such an agitation against patriotic defense could not 
happen by accident. The world war could not have 
caused it. ,The great war should have been the one 
influence to have had precisely the opposite effect. The 
world war should have spoken to us in thunder tones : 

"Remember Belgium ! Eternal vigilance is the price 
of liberty!" 

Instead of this, the advocates of peace suddenly rose 
as a swarm of locusts to tell us that, as umbrellas cause 
rain so guns cause war, and the only way to save our- 
selves in a world of snarling, maddened wild beasts is 
to lay down our arms and appeal to their reason ! This 
strange crusade to make the richest nation of the world 
defenseless was no accident. The movement was sinister. 
Vassar felt this on the last day of his struggle in the 
House with increased foreboding. 

He rose to deliver his final appeal with quivering 
heart. His eye rested on "Waldron's stolid, sneering 

161 



i 




Im:i 



.i^m^:^^^^^mi^.^skY3^^m^rm^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



'-j(^,\_ **.•'■■ 



face in the gallerj. On his right sat Barker, on his 
left Virginia Holland. 

Every seat on the floor and in the galleries was 
packed. Every foot of standing room above and below 
was crowded. A solemn hush fell on the throng as the 
young leader of the House rose. 

He began his address in low tones of intense 
emotion : 

"Mr. Speaker, I rise to give to this House my solemn 
warning that on the fate of tliis bill for the defense of 
th'? nation hangs our destiny. I've done my work. 
I*ve fought a good fight. The decision is in your 
hands. A few things I would repeat until they ring their 
alarm in every soul within the sound of my voice to- 
day. 

"I tell you with the certainty of positive knowledge 
that while we aie the richest nation of the known 
world we are the least prepared to defend ourselves 
under the conditions of modern war. Our navy is good 
—what there is of it. But if it is inadequate, it is of 
no value whatever. I tell you that it m inadequate 
and my statement is backed by every expert in the 
service. If we were attacked tomorrow by any nation 
of Germany's sea power our ships would sink to their 
graves, our men to certain death. 

"No braver men walk this earth than ours. They 

162 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



are readj to die for their country. We have no right 
to murder them for this reason. If thej die, it should 
be to some purpose. We should give them the best 
weapons on earth and the best training. They have 
the right to a fair chance with any foe they face. We 
have a mobile army of thirty thousand men with which 
to defend a hemisphere! We assert our guardianship 
of all America. It is known to all men that a modem 
army of one hundred and fifty thousand landed on 
our shores could complete the conquest of the Atlantic 
.seaboard in twelve days. 

"Our friends who clamor for peace in a world at war 
tell us that an attack on our nation is a possibility too 
remote for discussion. The same men in June, 1914, 
declared that war in Europe was a physical and 
psychological impossibility. Now they tell us with 
equal solemnity that this war, which they declared could 
never be, is so appalling that it will be the last. They 
tell us that the world will now disarm and we must lead 
the leay! 

**If the world disarms, Europe must lead the way. 
We are already practically disarmed. 

"Who in Europe will dare to lead in such a move- 
ment ! 

"Will Germany disarm? 

**Will she at this late hour surrender her ambitions 

16S 



^^mMum: 



,r: r 



i» 1 



ii 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



i 



to expand? iWiU she sign the death warrant to the 
aspiration, of the men who created her mighty Em- 
pire? ,WiU she expose her eastern frontier to the raids 
of Cossack hordes? 

"Could Russia disarm? 

«*Would she consent to risk the dismemberment of her 
vast domain? 

"Could England with her empire on which the sun 
does not set-could England disarm and lay her centers 
of civilization open to the attack of black and yeUow 
millions? 

"To ask the question is to answer it. 

"The disarmament of the modern world is the dream 
of an unbalanced mind. 

"Take any group of nations. If the Allies win, 
would Germany and Austria-Hungary agree to disarm? 
If they should ever tear the German Empire into pieces 
could they stamp out the fighting soul of the Germanic 
race? 

"If Germany and Austria-Hungary win, can Eng- 
land, France, Italy, and Russia disarm before the 
menace of world dominion? 

"Do you believe that out of the vast horror of 
this war a compact of international peace may be 
signed by all nations? 

"Let us remind you that the heart of Europe is aristo- 

164 






W':^Mi^ 




cratic and imperial. Their nilerg hate democracy as 
the devn hates holy water. The lion and the Iamb 
cannot yet lie down together— except the lamb be inside 
the lion. 

'This nation is the butt of ridicule, jibes, caricatures 

I and coarse jests of the aristocrats of the Old World. 

Our government and our people are cordially loathed. 

"International peace can rest only on international 
democracy. The great war has brought us face to face 
with grim realities. We must see the thing that is— 
not the thing our fancy says ought to be. 

"Belgium has taught us that the only scrap of paper 
we can be sure of is one backed by millions of stout 
hearts with guns in their hands, aeroplanes above their 
heads, ships under the seas and afloat and big black 
steel eyes high on their shores bent seaward. 

"Men of America! I call you from your sleep of 
fancied safety ! The might of kings is knocking at your 
doors demanding that you give a reason for your 
existence! If you are worthy to live you will prove 
it by defending your homes and your flag. If you 
are not worth saving, your masters will make your 
children their servants. 

"The fate of a nation is in your hands. The sea 
is no more. The world has become a whispering 
gallery. And such a world caanot remain half slave 






THE FALL O F A NATION 

and half free. It is for you to deode whether your 
half .haU sink again into the aby.. of centuries of 
human martyrdom and human tyranny. 

*! warn you that the fight ,^een autocracy and 
democracy has just begun. Poland attempted to 
establish a free commonwealth in Central Europe. She 
was ground to powder betwsen imperial powers. The 
one big issue in this world today is the might of 
kings against the liberties of the people. Never be- 
fore in human history has imperial power been so firmly 
entrenched. And the rulers of Europe know that 
sooner or later they must crush Amercan democracy 
or be crushed by its reflex influence." 

Yassar ceased to speak and resumed his seat amid 
a silence that was painful. Hi? eloquence had swept 
the House with tremendous force. So intense was the 
spell that a demonstration of any kind was impossible. 
A murmur of relief rippled the crowd and the hum of 
whispered comment at last broke the tension. 

.Waldron's ic^en cold eye had seen the effect of the 
young leader^s appeal. He lost no time in taking 
measures to neutralize its influence. 



Hi 



#Yi.#"^JFl«WJI»-f 







CHAPTER XVin. 



THE caucus of the delegates of the Women's Con- 
vention was booked to meet at six o'clock. The 
House would hold a night session and the vote 
nn the Defense Bill would be called between ten and 
eleven, f 

To prevent the possibility of any influence from 
Vassar's speech reaching the caucus, Waldron suc- 
ceeded in changing the hour to three o'clock. He 
would prolong the discussion until six and deliver their 
orders to the members of Congress in ample time. 

Vassar saw him whispering in earnest conference 
with Barker and Virginia, guessed instinctively a 
change of program and in ten minutes his secretary 
had confirmed his suspicions* 

There was no time to be lost. He made up his mind 
instantly to throw pride to the winds and make a per- 
sonal appeal to the one woman whose influence in the 
crisis could dominate the councils of the opposition. 

He called a cab and reached the Willard at the 
moment Barker was handing Virginia from Waldron's 



car. 



167 



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1653 F:ast Main Street 

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THE FALL OF A NA TION 

An instant of hesitating doubt swept him as he 
thought of the possibility of a puWic refusal to meet 
or, confer.. He couldn't believe she would be so un- 
gracious.^ Jle must risk it. The situation was too 
critical to stand on ceremony. 

...-He raised his hat and bowed with awkward excite- 
nientT** 

"May I have a few minutes of your time, Miss 
Holland?" he asked. 

She blushed, hesitated and answered nervously. 

"Certainly, Mr. Congressman. Your speech was 
eloquent but unconvincing. I congratulate you on 
your style if I can't agree with your conclusions." 

Barker laughed heartily and .Waldron's face remained 
a stolid mask. 

"You will excuse me, gentlemen," she said to her 
associates. "I'll see you in ten minutes—" 

She paused and smiled politely to Vassar: 

"The ladies' parlor?" 

"Yes," he answered, leading the way to the elevator, 
and in two minutes faced her with his hands tightly 
gripped behind his back, his eyes lighted by the fires of 
tense emotion. 

Her control was perfect, if she felt any unusual stir 
of feeling. He marvelled at her composure. He had 
vaguely hoped this first meeting after their break 

168 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

might lead to a reconciliation. But her bearing was 
as coldly impersonal as if he were a book agent trying 
to sell her a set of ancient histories. 

He throttled a mad impulse to tell her again that 
he had loved her with every beat of his heart every 
moment since they had parted. 

"You know, of course," he began, "that in this 
crisis you hold the balance of power in a struggle 
that may decide the destiny of America?" 

"I have been told so — " 

"It is so," he rushed on, "and I've come to 
you for a last appeal to save the nation from the 
appalling danger her defenseless condition will pre- 
sent at the close of this war. My bill will place 
us beyond the danger line. If we are reasonably 
ready for defense no great power will dare to attack 
us—" 

'^Preparation did not prevent the war of the twelve 
nations — " she interrupted sharply. 

"Certainly not. Fire engines do not prevent fires, 
but our organized fire department can and does pre- 
vent the burning of the whole city. Preparation in 
Europe did not prevent war. But it did save France 
from annihilation. It did save Germany from invasion. 
It did save England from death. "^ The lack of it 

snufifed out the life of Belgium. I only ask that a mil- 

169 






^HE FALL OF A NATION 



■ ....-vi 



ii 





ill 



lion of our boys shall bo taught to hold a riBe on a 

mark and shoot straight " 

"And that mark a human body over whose cradle a 
mother bent in love. I do not believe in murder-" 
"Neither do I! I'm trying to prevent it. Cant you 
.ee th,s.^ Our fathers shot straight or this Republic 
had never been bom. Your father shot straight or the 
Union could never have been preserved. Conflict is the 
law of progress. I didn't make this so. but it's true, 
and we must face the truth. You are the daughter of 
a soldier. I beg of you for the love of God and country 
to save our boys from butchery, our daughters from 
outrage and our cities from devastation!" 

"I'm going to do e^ctly that by doing my level best 
to prevent all war — »» 

Vassar lifted his hand and she saw that it was trem- 
bling violently. 

"Your decision is final?" he asked. 
"Absolutely — '> 

"Then all I can say is," he responded, "may God 
save you from ever seeing the vision my soul has 
dreamed today!" 

She smiled graciously in response to his evident suf- 
fering. 

"I shall not see it," was the firm answer. "Your 
fears are groundless. I will be a delegate to the first 

170 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World which 
this war will create." 

He turned to go, paused, and slowly asked : 
"And I may not hope to see you occasionally? You 
know that I love you always, right or wrong — " 

She shook her head and gazed out of the window 
for a moment on the majestic shaft of the Washington 
Monument white and luminous against the azure skies 
of Virginia. Her voice was tender, dreamlike, im- 
personal. 

"Our lives were never quite so far apart as now — " 
He turned abruptly and left her, the sense of tragic 
failure crushing his heart. 



\*\ 



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i! 'i 




CHAPTER XIX. 

WOMAN'S political power was hurled solidly 
against an increase of armaments, and 
yassar's Bill for National Defense was de- 
leated. 

Waldron's triumph was complete. His lawyers drew 
the compromise measure which Congress was permitted 
to pass a few weeks later. It made provision for a 
modest increase of the Army, Navy and the National 
Guard. 

The banker's newspapers led the chorus of approval 
of this absurd program and the nation was con- 
gratulated on its happy deliverance from the threatened 
curse of militarism. 

Waldron chartered two trains and took the entire 
delegation of five hundred women members of the Con- 
vention as his guests. He entertained them for a week 
at the best hotels and closed the celebration with a 
banquet at his palatial home in honor of Virginia Hol- 
land. 

At the close of the dinner when the last speaker had 
finished a brilliant panegyric of praise for the modern 

17« 



THE FALL OK A NATION 



Joan of Arc, the master of tHe feasf whispered in her 
ear; 

"Will you remain a few minutes when the others have 
gone? I've something to tell you." 

She nodded her consent and .Waldron hurried their 
departure. 

She wondered vaguely what new scheme his fertile 
brain had hatched, and followed him into the dimly 
lighted conservatory without a suspicion of the sen- 
sation he was about to spring. In his manner chere was 
not the slightest trace of excitement. He found a seat 
overlooking an entrancing view of the cold, moonlit 
river below, and began the conversation in the most 
matter of fact way. 

"I have a big announcement to make to you, Miss 
Holland," be began evenly. 
"Indeed?" 

"My life work is rapidly reaching its consummation. 
You like this place?" 

He adjusted his glasses and waved his hand com- 
prehensively. The gesture took in the house, the 
grounds, the yacht, the river and possibly the city. 

Virginia started to the apparently irrelevant ques- 
tion. In her surprise she forgot to answer.. 
"You like it?" he repeated. 

"Your place," she stammered, "why, yes, oi course, 

173 



■y 

i 




>.'-M^> ■■ 



I 






i,:* 



UK 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



It's Beautiful, and 1 think the Banquet a triumph of 

generosity. Our leaders wiU never cease sounding your 

praises. I must say that you're a master politician. 

I wonder that you became a banker—" 

Waldron's cold smile thawrxi into something like 
geniality. 

"I had good reasons for that choice, you ma> rest 
assured. The man who does things. Miss Holland, 
leaves nothing to chance which his will may determine. 
It was not by accident that I became a multimillionaire. 
It was necessary — " 

He stopped abruptly and fixed her with his steel-gray 
eyes. 

"The triumph of my life work is in sight. I may 
breathe freely for the first time. I have chosen you 
to be the queen of this house. I offer you my hand in 
marriage — " 

Virginia caugLt her breath in genuine amazement. 
Never before had he even hint-d that the thought of 
marriage had entered his imagination. He had made 
his proposal with a cocksure insolence which assumed 
that the honor was so high the girl had not been bom 
who could refuse it 

A little angry laugh all but escaped before she re- 
pressed it. The situation was dramatic. She would 
play with him a moment— and test his sense of humor 

174 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"You honor me beyond my deserts, Mr. Waldron," 
she answered naively. 

"I must differ with you," he answered briskly. "On 
the other hand I am .ure there is not a woman in 
America who could grace these halls with your poise, 
your brilliance, your beauty. The home I have built 
is worthy of you— yes. That you will fill the higli 
position to which I have called you with dignity and 
grace I am sure — " 

She L'fted her hand with a movement of impatience— 
a mischievous smile playing about her mouth. 

"But you haven't told me that you love me— '» she 
protested. 

"You arc a modern woman. You have outgrown 
the forms of the past— is it necessary to repeat the 
formula? Can't you take that much for granted in 
the offer of my hand?" 
Virginia shook her head. 

"I've traveled pretty far from the old ways, I know," 
she admitted. "I can't give up all the past. I've an idea 

that a man and woman should love before marriage " 

"If the centuries have taught Europe anything," he 
argued, "it is that reason, not passion, should determine 
marriage. I hold to the wisdom of the ages on the 
point. I ask you to be my wife. Don't joke. You 
cannot refuse me." 

175 



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■ -i jj^. 



WLMM^'^BmK^.^fm 



i 








yg^ F^LZ. OF ^ NATION 

Virginia rose with decision. 
"But I do refuse jou." 
The banker was too surprised to speak for a 
moment. It was incredible. That a girl with a paltry 
dowry of a hundred thousand should refuse his offer 
of millions, his palace in New York, his estates in 
Europe— a feeling of blind rage choked him. 
"You cannot mean it?" his cold voice clicked. 
"Such high honor is not for me," she firmly re- 
plied. "I do not intend to marry—" 

He studied her with keen eyes, rubbed his glasses 
and readjusted them again. 

"You will accept the position I offer without mar- 
riage?" he asked eagerly. 
Her f ^ went white and her body stiffened. 
"If you will call the car please— I will go—" 
Waldron's heels came together with a sharp military 
click, his big neck Hent in the slightest bow, and he 
led the way into the hall without a word. 

He made so pretense at politeness or apology. He 
left her to his servants and mounted the grand stairway 
m a tumult of blind rage. ^' 



H 

mi 



..f'-i: 







CHAPTER XX 

FOR two years the nation drifted without a 
rational policy of defense, while the world war 
continued to drench the earth in blood. The 
combination of forces represented by Waldron had 
succeeded in lulling the people into a sense of perfect 
security. We had always been lucky. A faith that 
God watched over children and our Republic had become 
one of the first articles of our creed. 

John Vassar became an officer in the National 
Security League and attempted to extend its organiza- 
tion ,nto every election district of the Union. For 
two years he had given himself body and soul to the 
task. At every turn he found an organized and mili- 
tant opposition. They had money to spend and they 
had leaders who knew how to fight. 

In spite of his hatred of Waldron he was compelled 
to acknowledge his genius for leadership, and the in- 
flexible quality of his will. Within a week of the date 
his Security League was organized in a district, a fight- 
ing "peace" organization appeared overnight to de- 
stroy his work. 

177 



X 



THE FALL OF A NATION 







The opt,„,i,„, of the An,^Z^^r^~ir^;Z^^ir^ 
roc .«..„. h... h. hop.. ,ere c„„,U„t„ dald 

Ho .gnored the f.ct th«t Virgin!. Holland w.. the 
n<.,t eloquent and dangorou, opponent of hi. pr p 

M I h., .oIe„,„ dutjr to devote every energy „f hi, 
>.fo to conAating the cause for which .he Tod 
;^asthew.„ofOod.Heaccepteditno.indu..-.u:' 

In the midst of his campaign for Congressmen 
P «.«ed to national defense, the great war !udden y 
collapsed and the professional peace advocate, filled 
the world with the tumult of their rejoicing 

It .ra« useless to argue. The danger had passed. 
Men refused to listen. Vassar was regarded with a 
mild sort of pitj. 

The first rush of event, were all with hi, enemle. 

ano^cnt-c^e war had heen fought to an impassah,: 

Germany entrenched had proven invincible against 
the offen,.ve a„aults of the Allie,. The Allies were 
equally .mpotent to achieve an aggressive victory. 
When the conv.ction grew into practical certainty that 
the struggle might last for ten years, the German Em- 
peror gave the hint to the Pope. 11« Pope s„u„<,ed 
the wamng nat.on, and an armistice wa, arranged 

178 



■•«— . ..„ «4 * 'jr::::;,;';' "• 

rencc of ,o terrible and costlv .„ "■■" 

'tr«g«Ie ju.t ending, had Wh """'""' "' "■" 

the Federation of the World- ""' """""'' 

Waldron proclaimed this achievement tK 

»;op in human progress since the ZT" h I ''™*"' 
claimed also that his n.» ''"'^- "" 

■•" •"e.-r ««Ht a Jnst rZlLto 't"'°''*" 
He announced the dawn of th n ;! a V""'^-; 
peace and good will among men """""' 

section Of the eastern soahnai.^ • 
which held an election in Novell ' "" """ '*"'' 

pre?n:i„::rrrn°Ja"'"'"""'^'-^«''«- The 
-y session i^as comDOfiPf? nf *k i 

leading state, «»*• ™P°«ed of the rulers of the 

ng states nations and empires of the world. 
Through the influence of Japan th f t 
-liions of China were excluded "' '""'^^^ 

It was well known m *k« • 

powers of Eur„; th!t L'T: V"""" ""^ *'^«* 
elusion was th. V ""' ""'"' ^»' her ex- 

was the avowed purpose of the ruler, of 
179 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



Europe and Japan to divide the vast domain of the 
Orient into crown dependencies and reserve them for 
future exploitation. 

Their scholars had iwinked gravely at the charge of 
a lack of civilization. What they meant was a lack of 
the weapons of offense and defense. China was .the 
center of art and learning when America was an un- 
trodden i wilderness and the fath-rs of the kings of 
Europe were cracking cocoanuts and hickory nuts in 
the woods with monkeys. China had lost the art of 
shooting straight—that was all. India had lost it too 
and her three hundred millions were not even permitted 
the courtesy of representation in the person of an alien 
viceroy. A handful of Englishmen had ruled her mil- 
lions for a century. India had ceased to exist as a 
nation. 

One-half the human race were thus excluded at the 
first session of the Committee. 

When the roll was finally called, each nation answered 
in alphabetical order, its ruler advanced and took the 
seat assigned amid the cheers of the gallery. I'he Pres- 
ident of Argentina, the Emperor of Austra-Hungary. 
the King of Belgium, the President of Brazil, the King 
of Bulgaria, the President of Chile, the King of Den- 
mark, the President of France, the Emperor of Ger- 
maay, and King of Prussia,— and with him the King of 

180 






i--*i 



-f ♦•■ 



Uukc of Brunswick, the Grand Duke of Hesse thp 
Grand Duke „f Mecklenbur^-StreHt.. the G^Tt^I 

o Src"b" ^"'"^ °' S-Altenber,. the DuL 
of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Duke of Saxe-Mein 
>ngen, the Grand Duke of Saxe-We.Wr thT P 
of Weldeck _tl,« IT- ,„ "^"""> the Prmcc 

of jT .r ^"^ °' ^"^^ ^■•'""■■' ^-d Emperor 
Ind.a the King „f Greece, the King of Italv he 

"^^rl-d :r; "■' ^™'"' °"'-^- of Lu.el'u ^ 
the Kng of N„„,y^ ^^^ p^^^^^^^ . 

■^ing of Servia, the TTino- «f c • .1 

Q J ., ^ °^ Spain, the Kinff of 

Sweden, the President of Switzerland, the Sultl' o 

Jurke. and the President of the Cnited States of 

Virginia Holland saw the Chief Magistrate of the 

calW on^the roll and take his seat beside the Sultan 

The minor republics of South and Central America 
had all been excluded by the ron,™;« „ ^™"'ca 

as .mflf* J -.L . Committee on Credentials 

lir wel '" *'' "'' •" *'■■' ^—n'^. or 

lult r' "■°" ""' P"'^^ '" -'' - his 

-gust assembly. Only Argentina, Brazil and Chile 

181 



W£^ 



from South Americ, «,d Mexico from Central Americ 
were allowed seats. 

The principle of monarchy was represented by 
th,rty.,our reigning emperors, king,, princes ,.nd 

The first art,cle on which the organization agreed was 
the reservahon by each of the full rights of sovereignty 
w.th the nght to withdraw at any moment if conditl^nl 
arose which were deemed intolerable. 

To find a working basis of development, therefore, it 
was not merely necessary to obtain a majority vote. 
It was absolutely necessary that the vote should be 
uncnimous. otherwise each decision would cause the 
loss of one or more members of the Federation. 

Queen Wilhelmina. of the Netherlands, the only full- 
fledged .woman sovereign was unanimously elected the 
presidmg officer of the assembly. 

The women representatives of the suffrage states of 
the American Union were admitted to the gallery a, 
spectators. They rose en m«sse and cheered when 
the gracious Queen ascended the dais and rapped for 
order. 

They kept up the demonstration until the Emperor 
of Germany became so enraged that on consultation 
with the Emperors of Austria-Hungary and the Tzar 
of Russia, the sergeant-at-arms was ordered to clear 

182 



^ .„* jJt:Sf.%; 



THE PALL OP A V^tt^.. 



the women's gallerv Tl^ ^ 

their chco. in the s;ree?Urd"™'' "7" """"""' 

For the first ti„,eT„ h """^ ^""'P'"'■'^• 

lost patience with h , '""" ^"*""" """■'"<' 

or skirts. Her £ t^ " *^°"^"'' ■'"■^''erboekers 
"^ath of a deep LT'T "' '""«''* *"-= «"' 

the President of the Unit Sta 7 "°'^"'''" "' 

-ati.. But a sin«,e ™X of « " ^'""'^ "^'''« 

agreed with hi„ on everi T eVT '"'^ ""^ 
«rland alone appeared to T ""'™' "' ^•'t- 

-HourchiefC;;:;--::--^^^^^^^^^^^ 

onLePortt^STarirrr- "^^ "-•*"' 

^nd the four presidents of tuth .Jc:: T r"''""- 
were the social Kons of royalty fl ^K f """"" 

.The President of the UnitpH <5fo+ 

, pi ^*^*^' accepted the sit- 



>;*!' 



MJk'^ma^jtj^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



uation in dignified silence. The Parliament of Man 
was less than one day old before he realized that he 
was a single good-natured St. Bernard dog in a cage 
of Royal Bengal tigers. How long his position would 
remain tolerable he could not as yet judge. As a 
Southern-bom white man he rejoiced that the full 
right of secession had been firmly established in this 
Union ! 

He composed his soul in patience. 

The first three days were consumed in congratula- 
tions and harmless flights of oratory. The kings had 
never had such a. dp ice before to indulge in declama- 
tion. They were like a crowd of high-school boys on 
a picnic. They all wished to talk at one time and each 
apparently had a desire to consume the whole time. 
The smaller the kingdom, the louder the voice of the 
king. 

On the fourth day the Parliament got down to busi- 
ness. The treaty of peace which closed the great war 
had fixed the boundaries of the belligerent nations. 
They were practically identical with the status preced- 
ing the struggle. 

The Parliament unanimously reafBrmed the decision 
of this treaty and fixed the boundaries for all time. 

The partition of China was immediately raised by 
Japan and again the United States of America and 

184 



i. 



A. ... jt- Ji^:'. 




THE FALL OP A NATI ON 

switzoriand .,„„e ^tood^;;^^";!^^;;;:;;:;^^ 

000 men of the yellow race. 

France and Portugal, Brazil, Chile. Argentina and 
lMfe..co «ded with the royalist apoiler, against our pro- 

China waa divided into spheres of influence bj a vote 
of forty against two. Both the United State, and 
Switzerland registered their protest in writing and re- 
corded their possible secession. 

The continent of Africa was next divided by the same 
recorded vote forty against two. 

The Pre..dent of the United States rose from hi. 
uncomfortable seat beside the Sultan of Turkey and 
was recognized by the presiding Queen in a silence that 
was deathlike. 

"With the permission of your Majesty," he began 
gravely, «I wish to introduce at once the following 
resolutions." He calmly adjusted his glasses and read : 
Resolved: That the Parliament of Man recognize 
the pnnciple that a people shall have the right to main- 
tain the form of government which they may choose 
consistent with the laws of civilization. That the West- 
ern Hemisphere, comprising the Americas, have chosen 
the form of free democracy. That the Monroe Doc- 
trine shall therefore be affirmed as the second basic 
principle «b which the Federation of the World ahaU 

1S5 



** 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



III 



I'' 



■•,'-3*="'' 



t^ i 



be established, and that the rojal rulers unanimously 
agree that their standards shall never be lifted on the 
continents of North or South America." 

The sensation could not have been greater had an 
anarchist's bomb exploded beneath the presiding Queen. 
A babel of angry protests broke forth from the 
thirty-three royal and imperial rulers. France and 
Portugal remained silent and distressed. Brazil, alone, 
of the South American republics, raised a voice in 
support of the proposition. Even Switzerland smiled 
skepticaUy. Argentina, Chile and Mexico joined the 
pandemonium of abuse with which the crowned rulers 
of the world received the first American tender of 
principle. 

The session ended in confusion bordering on riot. 
In vain the gracious Queen attempted to restore order. 
The President of the United States stood with folded 
arms and watched the indignant sovereigns sweep their 
robes about their trembling figures and stalk from the 
Palace. 

A caucus of imperial rulers was held at which the 
Emperor of Germany presided. It was unanimously 
resolved that the proposition of the United States was 
an insult to every monarch of the world and in the 
interests of peace and progress he was asked to with- 
draw; it. 

186 



I I 




THE FALL OF A NATION 

Our President stood his ground, refused to retreat 
an inch and demanded a hearing. His demand was 
refused by a strict dirision of monarchy against de- 
mocracy, thirty-three imperial rulers casting their 
votes solidly against the eight presidents. 

The moment this vote was announced, the President 
of the United States seized his hat and started to leave 
the chamber. The South Americans crowded around 
him and begged him to stay. The little President of 
Chile, the fighting cock of the South Pacific, led the 
cliorus of appeal. 

"Stay with us," he cried, "and I promise to pour oil 
on the troubled waters. I have a compromise which 
will be unanimously accepted. I have conferred with 
the three great emperors and they have assured me 
of their support." 

Our President smiled incredulously but resumed his 
seat. 

Chile declared that South America had always 
scorned the assu-nptions of the Monroe Doctrine. The 
raonarchs cheered. He declared that the nations of 
the South no longer needed or desired the protection 
of the United States. They sought the good will of 
oilmen. They feared invasion by none. He proposed 
an adjournment of six months in order that a Pan- 
American Congress representing all interests might 

187 



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\''^%^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



meet in Washington and decide this issue for them- 
selves. Their decision coula then be reported to the 
Parliament of Man. 

His suggestion was unanimously adopted and the 
Parliament successfully weathered its first storm by 
adjourning for six months. 

Again the world rang -^Ith the shouts of the orators 
of peace. A beginning had actually been made in the 
new science of war prevention. The Appeal to Reason 
had triumphed. 

Waldron remained a day to congratulate his friends 
among the crowned heads and hurried home to organize 
a great Jubilee to celebrate this meeting of the Pan- 
American Congress and hail its outcome as the first 
fruits of the reign of universal peace. 

Virginia Holland returned to her home with a great 
fear slowly shaping "'self in her heart. 



It 




I , 



V 



■I- 



L«. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE outcome of the First Parliament of Man 
was hailed by the professional peace-makers 
as the sublimest achievement of the ages A 
way had been found at last to banish w.r. The dream 
of the poet had been fulfilled. They called on all men 
to beat their guns into plowshares, their swords into 
pruning-hooks. They proclaimed the end of force, the 
dawn of the Age of Reason. 

Our nation once more demonstrated its love for the 
orator who preaches smooth things. The Honorable 
Plato Barker praised the President for his brave stand 
for the rights and dignity of the Republic in his heroic 
defense of the Monroe Doctrine. 

In the same breath he acclaimed the President of 
Chfle who led the way to the court of reason as a new 
prophet of humanity. He would not yield one inch 
m the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine-no! But 
it had been demonstrated that such issues could be 
settled by moral suasion! The next session of the 
august Parliament of Man, he declared, would ratify 
the decision of the Pan-American Congress without" a 
dislenting voice. 

189 



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L ^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



1 






1T>e long pent energies of our nation drove u. for- 
ward now at lightning .peed. During the la,t year 

to do at, ,^ „„^,, Km<:i^,,i,^ condition, at its 
c««e. Congress passed a new high tariff which closed 

our port, to the flood of cheap goods Europe was 
read, t d„„p ,„ „„ ,,^,^, ^^^^^ ^^^_ ^^ ^P^^ J 

tre?s It """"f "^ *" '"'''■^"''-''f ««"-• The dis- 

A hundred million An,ericans went »ad with pros- 
pen y. Our wealth had already counted steadily dur- 

2h a"' "^^ "" "°* '""^ '''' -h-' -«- on 
earth, there was no rival in sight. 

New York ascended her throne as the money cen-er 
of the world, and wealth beyond the dreams of avarice 
poured mto the .offers of her captains of industry. 

The one thing on which we had failed to make 
relative progress was the development of our national 
defenses. ,We had more ships, more guns, more forts, 
more aircraft and more submarines than ever before 
but our relative position in power of defense had 
dropped to the lowe.t record in history. 
At tlie beginning of the great war in 19U our navy 

190 ' 



.«M»i-.^..#i&SfL.4«:_,^; 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



«tood third on the list in power and efficiency. Onlv 
Great Britain and Germany outranked us and Ger- 
many's balance of power was so slight that our ad- 
vantageous position was deemed sufficient to over- 
come it. 

At the end of the great war we had sunk to sixth 
place among the nations in power and efficiency of 
defense. 

Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Japan 
outranked us so far that we could not consider our- 
selves in their class. The armies of each of these 
powers were so tremendous in their aggregate the mind 
could not grasp the import of such figures. 

In spite of all the losses, Germany's mobile forces, 
ready at a moment's notice, numbered 6,000,000 
trained veterans with muscles of steel and equipment 
unparalleled in the histbry of warfare. Russia had 
9,000,000 men armed and hardened by war, France 
had 8,000,000, Great Britain 3,000,000, Austria- 
Hungary 3,000,000, Japan 4,000,000. 

The navies of the world had also grown by leaps 
and bounds in spite of the few ships that had been 
sunk in the conflict. Great Britain stiU stood first, 
Germany next and then France, Russia and Japan. 
The navies of each of these nations not only outranked 
us in the number of ships, submarines, hydroplanes 

191 



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.(■■ 

■V 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

and the range of their guns, but the completra^ 
perfect organization of their governing and directing 
powers more than doubled their fighting efficiency as 
compared to ours, gun for gun and man for man. 

iWe were still trusting to blind luck. We had no 
general staff whose business it is to study conditions 
and create plans of defense. We l,ad no plans for 
conducting a war of defense at all either on land or 
sea. Our admirals had warned the Government and 
the people, under solemn oath before Congress, that it 
would require five years of superhuman effort properly 
to equip, man and train to battle efficiency a navy 
vhich could meet the ships of either of the five great 
nations with any hope of success. 
And nothing had been done about it. 
The energies of a hundred million people were now 
absorbed, under the guidance of Waldron and his as- 
sociated groups of propagandists, preparing to cele- 
brate the great Peace Jubilee the week preceding the 
meetmg of the Pan-American Congress called to settle 
the problem of the Monroe Doctrine. 

This celebration was planned on a scale of lavish 
expenditure, in pageantry, oratory, illuminations, pro- 
cessions, and revelry unheard of in our history. The 
programmes were identical in New York, Boston, Phil- 
adelphia, Pittsburg, Washington, Baltimore, Norfolk, 

192 



it 



.2 « - 



^ -' 



THE FALL OF i NATION 

New Orleans, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Denver^ 
San Francisco, and Los Angeles and a score of sma.ler 
cities. 

John Vassar refused to accept the invitation of the 
Mayor of New York to address the mass meeting of 
naturalized Americans in the Madison Square Garden. 
Virginia Holland not only refused to lead the grand 
Pageant of Peace in its march up Fifth Avenue to the 
speakers' stand, but she resigned as president of the 
Woman's Federation of Clubs of America, shut her- 
self in her room at their country place oi. Long Island 
and refused to be interviewed. 

John Vassar read the announcement with joy. The 
leavtn of his ideas had begun to stir the dep*^ \ of hei- 
brilliant mind and pure heart! The defer , the 
past were as nothing If they brought her ag«m into 
his life. 

He wrote her a long, tender, passionate appeal that 
he might see her again. 

He posted it at midnight on the opening day of the 
Jubilee. He had read of her resignation only in the 
afternoon papers. The managers of the ceremonies 
had taken for granted her approval and announced 
that she would lead the pageant of symbolic floats on 
a snow-white horse as grand marshal. 

Vassar waited with impatience for her answer t^- 

193 




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'»■■■•♦■■* f •' 7 





THE FALL OF A NATION 



next daj. If the mails were properly handled his 
letter should have reached her by noon. An immediate^ 
answer posted in Babylon at one o'clock might be 
delivered at Stuyvesant Square by six. He started at 
every caU of the postman's whistle in vain. He was 
sure an answer would come in the morning. Nothing 
came. He put his hand on the telephone once to call 
her and decided against the possibility of a second 
bunglmg of his cause. 

Instead he called the post-office and learned that a 
congestion of mail, owing to the disorganization of the 
service by the Jubilee, had caused a delay of twenty- 
four hours in the delivery to points on Long Island. 

He waited in vain another day. He walked alone 
through the crowded streets that night studying the 
curious contagion of hysteria which had swept the en- 
tire city from! its moorings of an orderly sane life. 

The din of horns and the shouts of boys and girls, 
crowding and jostling on tlie densely packed pave- 
ments, surpassed the orgies of any New Year's riot 
he had ever witnessed. Every dance haU in Greater 
New York was thronged with merrymakers. The com- 
mittee in charge of the Jubilee, supplied with unlimited 
money, had hired every foot of floor space that could 
be used for dancing and placed it at the disposal of 
the social organizations of the city. Wine was flowing 

194 



— M, - 'J—>- ■ 






THE FALL OE A NATION 



like water. The police winked at folly. A world's 
holidaj^ was on for a week. 

Vassar visited Jack's, Maxim's, Bustanobj's, Rec- 
tor's, and Churchill's to watch the orgie at its height. 
Every seat was filled and surging crowds were waiting 
their turn at the tables. Hundreds of pretty girls, 
flushed with wine, were throwing confetti and thrust- 
ing feathers into the faces of passing men. The 
bolder of them were seated on the laps of their sweet- 
hearts, shouting the joys of peaceful conquest. 

Professional dancers led the revelry with excesses 
of suggestive step and pose that brought wild rounds 
of approval from the more reckless observers. 

Vassar left the last place at 12:30 with a sense of 
sickening anger. The fun had only begun. It would 
not reach the climax before two o'clock. At three the 
girls who were throwing confetti would be too drunk 
to sit in their chairs. 

He drew a deep breath of fresh air and started up 
Broadway for a turn in the park. 

He paused in front of a vacant cab. The chauffeur 
tipped his cap. 

"Cab, sir? Free for two hours. Take you any- 
where you want to go for a song. All mine on the 
side. Engaged here for the night. They won't be 
out till morning. They've just set down." 

195 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




A sudden impulse seized him to drive past Wal- 
dron's castle and see its illumination. No doubt the 
place would be a blaze of dazzling electric lights. 
He called his order mechanically and stepped into 
^ the cab. His mind was not on the glowing lights or 
pleasure mad crowds. He was dreaming of the woman 
who had taken him to that house a little more than 
two years before. Every detail of that ride and inter- 
view with Waldron stood out now in his miagination 
with startling vividness. His mind persisted in pictur- 
ing the two corseted young men who stepped from the 
elevator so suddenly. He wondered again what the 
devil they had been doing there and where they came 
from— and above aU why they were accompanied by 
Villard. 

Before he realized that he had started the river 
flashed in view from the heights south of Waldron's 
castle. He had told the chauffeur to keep off the Drive, 
stick to Broadway and turn up Fort Washington Ave- 
nue which ran through the center of Waldron's estate. 
To his amazement the banker's house was dark save 
the light from a single window in the tower that gleamed 
like the eye of a demon crouching in the shadows .f 
the skies. The tall steel flag staff on the tower had 
been lengthened to a hundred and fifty feet Its white 
line could be distinctly seen against the stars. And 

196 



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M''''i 



_■!!**„ r*' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



from the top of this staff now hung the arm of a wire- 
less station. Waldron had no doubt gone in for wire- 
less experiments as another one of his fads. 

Far up in the sky he caught the hum of an aeroplane 
motor. He leaped from the caH and listened. The 
sound was unmistakable. He had been on the Congres- 
sional committees and witnessed a hundred experiments 
by the Army Aviation Corps. 

"What the du il can that mean at one o'clock at 
night?" he muttered. 

He leaped into the cab, callmg to his driver: 

"Go back to Time^; Square and drop me at the Times 
Building — quick.*' 

He made up his mind to report this extraordinary 
discovery to the night editor and try by his wireless 
plant to get in touch with Waidron's tower. 

The cab was just sweeping down Broadway between 
two famous restaurants and the orgies inside were at 
their height. The shouts and songs and drunken calls, 
the clash of dishes, the pop of champagne corks and 
twang of music poured through the open windows. 

The cab suddenly lurched, and rose into the air, 
lifted on a floor of asphalt. An explosion shook the 
earth and ripped the sky with a sword of flame. 

The cab crashed downward and lit squarely on the 
flat roof of a low-pitched building right side up. 

197 



n» 



:M^^mm*<mmi 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vassar leaped out in time to hear the dull roar of the 
second explosion. 

The first had blown up and blocked the subway and 
elevated systems. The second had destroyed the power 
plants of the surface lines. 

It had come — the war he had vainly fought to pre- 
vent ! And he knew with unerring certainty the hand 
and brain directing the first treacherous assault. 



CHAPTER XXII 



VASSAR smashed the skylight of the low roof on 
which he had been hurled, reached the ground 
floor and kicked his way through a window. 
The half-drunken crowd of revelers were pouring 
out of restaurants close by. The electric lights on 
the four blocks about the gaping hole had been extin- 
guished and only the gas lamps on the side streets 
threw their dim rays over the smoking cavern. 

The merrymaker.* were still in a jovial mood. What 
was one explosion more or less? A gas main had merely 
blown up— that was aU. They took advantage of 
the darkness to kiss their girls and indulge in coarse 
jests. 

A fat Johnny emerging from a restaurant shouted: 

"Where was Moses when the light went out?" 

A wag who was still able to carry his liquor to the 

street wailed in maudlin falsetto: 

"The question 'fore the house is, 'Who struck Billy 

Patterson?' " 

A series of terrific explosions shook the earth in rapid 
succession, and the crowd began to scramble back into 

199 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



the banquet halls, or run in mad panic without a plan 
or purpose. 

A company of soldiers in dull brown uniforms with 
helmets of the pattern of the ancient Romans swung 
suddenly into Broadway from a vacant building on a 
darkened side street and rushed northward at double 
quick. 

*'In God's name, what regiment's that?" Vassar asked 
half to himself. 

A gilded youth with . attered hat slouched over his 
flushed face replied: 

"Search me, brother— and what's more I don't give 
a damn— just so they turn on the lights and send me. 
a cab— I've just gotter have a cab— I can't travel with- 
out a cab— What fell's the matter anyhow?" 

Vassar left him muttering and followed the troops at 
a brisk trot. 

They turned into Sixty-second Street, into Columbus 
Avenue, and poured through the smashed doors at the 
Twelfth Regiment Armory—they had been blown open 
with dynamite. 

A sentinel on the comer stopped him. 

**Will you tell me what company just entered the 
Armory?" 

The soldier answered in good English with a touch 
of foreign accent, 

200 



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'In God's name, what regiment's that ? ' 




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THE FALL OF A NATION 



"Certainly, mein Herr— Company C, Twelfth Regi- 
ment of the Imperial Confederation, at present on gar- 
rison duty in the city of New York — " 

"How the devil did you land?" 

**We've been here for months awaiting orders — ^ 

He saw the terrible truth in a flash. The secret agent 
of Imperial Europe had organized a royal army and 
armed them at his leisure, Villard acting under Wal- 
dron's guidance. The six months' delay in the meeting 
of the Pan-American Congress was made for this pur- 
pose. They were all trained soldiers. Their officers 
had landed during the past three months. The Peace 
Jubilee was the mask for their movements in every great 
center of population. 

At a given signal they had blown in the doors of 
every armory in Greater New York, disarmed the Na- 
tional Guard and mounted machine guns on their para- 
pets. 

In ten minutes machine guns were bristling from the 
comers of every street leading to the captured armories. 

7 1 was a master stroke ! There were at least a million 
aliens, trained soldiers of Northern and Central 
Europe, living in the United States. 

A single master mind could direct this army as one 
man. 

He tVanked God that his father and the girls were 

201 



m^' 



THE FALL OP A NATION 



in i 
f : 




f(. 



at Babylon. Ho h.d *„t th«„ there to .void the «e„o. 
of the Peace Jubilee. He w„ too cuUou. now to pUy 
into the hands of the enemy. ^ 

to call the Mayor's house. 

There wa, „„ answer from Central. The telephone 
•ystem was out of commission. 

He hurried to a Western Union office to wire Wash- 
ington. Every key wa, silent and the operator, were 
tandmg .„ terror-stricken groups discussing the mean- 
ing of it all. 

Ho hurried to the Times Building to try and reach 

the Prcs,dcnt by wireless and found the plant a wreck. 

It was ton o'clock next day before the extent of the 

n.ghts horror wa, known to little groups of leading 

™on who had been lucky enough to escape arrest by the 

imperial garrison. 

Vassar stood among his friends in the dim back room 
of Schultz's store pale and determined, speaking in sub- 
dued tone. 

Scrap by scrap the appalling situation had been re- 
vealed. 

A federation of crowned heads of Northern and Cen- 
tral Europe had decided in caucus that the United 
Sta e, of America was the one fly in the ointment of 
world harmony. They determined to remove it at once 

208 ' 




^g^ V-ALL OF A NATION 



and extend the .ysten, of government by divine right 
not only into South America but North America a, 
well. The great war had impoverished their treasuries. 
The money had flowed into the vaults of the despised 
common herd of the 'Tnited States. They would first 
indemnify themselves for the losses of the world war 
out of this cKhaustless hoard and then organize the 
.ocial and mdustrial chaos of the West into the imperial 
efficiency of a real civilization. 

The result would make them the masters of the West- 
ern World for all time. Their system once organized 
would be mvincible. The slaves they had rescued from 
anin-chy ,uld kiss the hand of their conquerors at last. 
rh.8 w;..s the whispered message a trusted leader had 
received from an officer half drunk with wine and crazed 
by the victory they had already achieved for the ap- 
proaching imperial fleet. 

Their business was to arrest and hold as hostages 
every man of wealth in New York, guard the vaults and 
bank, to prevent the removal of money, garrison and 
control the cities until the fleet had landed the imperial 
array. 

The corapleteness with which the uprising of royalist- 
subjects had been executed was appalling. They had 
taken the trunk lines : every railroad in America. Not 
a tram had arrived in New York from any point south 

203 



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THE FALL OF A NAT IfiM 

^r SO.H .V„„.„ „„ ,,. ^„ ,.„,, ,^^ ^_ ^__^ 

A ™„t„r-cKle reached New York fro„ Philadelph!. 
beanng to the Mayor the ,tart,i„« information Lt 
the Navy Yard had been captured, the Quaker City.. 
lr«..portation .y„e„ par.Iy.ed and that the Mayor 
had surrendered to the co„,n,anding general of . Ll 
army corp. of twenty thousand foreign .oldier.. 

An automobile arrived from Boston with the same 
.t-rthng mformation from the capital of New England 
Not only had the Navy Yard at »„.» , „ . 
th. »,.„j , XI ^'"''"' '''"™ into 

H.e hand, of the enemy but the Yard at Portsmouth. 
New Hampshire, as well. 

tio!l°'fV"t":' *""'■"« '■" '^^ «"'' '""""■'1 "«- 

t.on, of New York. The telephone and telegraph and 
cable systems were in the hands of the enemy. To make 
the w.eek of the mean, of communication complete every 
wreless plant which had not been blown up wa, in the 
hands of an officer of the imperial garrison. 

It was impossible to communicate by wire, wireless 
or by 1 „,, 3 „^ ^^^^^^^^^ ^^ . J 3 

mg of the cities further inland. 

Hour by hour the startling items of new, crept into 
the stricken metropolis by automobile and motor-cycle 

804 ^ 




THE FALL OF A NATION 

mosscngers. The motor-cjcle had^i^^^^T^hT^ Te- 
llable means of communication. Pickets were now com- 
mandeering or destrojring everjr automobile that at- 
tempted to pass the main highways. But one had 
gotten through from Boston. The motor-cycles had 
taken narrow paths and side-stepped the pickets. 

Not only had the great cities and navy yards been 
betrayed into the hands of a foreign foe mobilized in a 
night, but every manufactory of arms and ammunition, 
and every arsenal had been captured with trifling loss 
of life. The big gun factory at Troy, the stores of 
ammunition at Dover, New Jersey, the Bethlehem Iron 
Works, the great factories at Springfield, Bridgeport, 
Hartford, Ilion, Utica and Syracuse were defenseless 
and had fallen. In short, with the remorseless movement 
of fate every instrument for the manufacture of arms 
and ammunition was in the hands of our foes, locked 
and barred with bristling machine guns thrusting their 
noses from every window and every street corner lead- 
ing to their enclosures. 

The thing had been done with a thoroughness and 
lightning rapidity that stunned the imagination of the 
men who had dared to think of resistance. 

.The only problem which confronted their commander 
was to hold what he had captured until the arrival of 
the fleet and transports bearing the first division of 

205 



|!- 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



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Iff; 



i' 



lii 



the regular army with its mighty guns, aeroplanes and 
submarines. 

Unless this fleet and army should arrive and land 
within a reasonable time, the overwhelming numbers of 
the populated centers, the scattered forces of the reg- 
ular army of the United States and the National Guard, 
with the volunteers who possessed rifles would present 
a dangerous problem. The amount of dynamite and 
other hifeii explosives yet in the hands of the people 
could not be estimated. 

They had yet to reckon with the regular army. The 
traitors had already found foemen worthy of their steel 
in the police force of New York. Our little army of 
ten thousand policemen had given a good account of 
themselves before the sun had risen on the fatal morning. 
A force of five thousand reserves fought for six 
bloody hours to recapture the Armory of the Seventy- 
first Regiment at Park Avenue and Thirty-fourth 
Street. They used their own machine guns with ter- 
rible effect on a regiment that had been rushed to assist 
the garrison inside. This regiment had been annihilated 
as they emerged from the tunnel of the Fourth Avenue 
Street car system at Thirty-third Street. The police 
had received word that they were in the tunnel, placed 
their machine guns to rake its mouth and when the 
gray helmets emerged, they were met with a storm of 

206 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



% 



death. Their bodies were piled in a ghastly heap that 
blocked the way of retreat, .iot the men inside were 
invisible. Their machine g ms and sh -.. pshooters piled 
our blue coats in dark heap.^ over Thi ty-fourth Street, 
Fourth Avenue, Thirty-third Street and Lexington 
Avenue. At ten o'clock their commander determined 
to smash the barricade of the main entrance where the 
doors had been dynamited and take the armory or wipe 
out his force in the attempt. 

In this armory had been stored enough guns for the 
new National Guard to equip an army large enough to 
dispute possession of the city with their foes. Behind 
the cases containing these rifles were piled five 
hundred machine guns whose value now was beyond 
estimate. 

The Colonel of the regiment quartered inside knew 
their value even better than his assailant. The fight at 
the barricades of the door was to the death. 

When the firing ceased, there was no bluecoat left 
to give the order to retreat. Their bodies were piled 
in a compact mass five feet high. 

The police force of the metropolis were not defeated. 
They were simply annihilated. In pools of blood they 
had wiped out the jibes and slurs of an unhappy past. 
Not one who wore the blue surrendered. They had 
died to a man. 

207 



THE FALL OF A NATION 





1- 



1 

i • 
li 



The Brooklyn Navy Yard escaped the fate of the 
yards at Boston and Portsmouth by a miracle. 

The superdreadnought Pennsylvania had not been 
assigned to the fleet which had just been dispatched 
through the Panama Canal to the Pacific. She had 
entered the basin to receive slight repairs. By a 
curious piece of luck her Captain had refused shore 
leave to his men to attend the festivities of the Jubilee. 
A premonition of disaster through some subtle sixth 
sense had caused him at the last moment to issue the 
order for every man to remain on the ship. The sailors 
had pleaded in vain. They had turned in cursing their 
superior for a fool and a tyrant. 

The explosions which wrecked the doors of the ar- 
hiories and paralyzed the traffic of the city found the 
Captain of the Pennsylvania awake, pacing her decks, 
unable to sleep. 

When tht division of the Imperial Guard assigned 
to storm the yard rushed it they ran squarely into the 
guns of the big gray monster, whose searchlights sud- 
denly swept every nook and corner of the inclosure. 

In ten minutes from the time they dynamited the 
gates and rushed the grounds the shells from the Penn- 
sylvania were tearing them to pieces and incidentally 
reducing the Navy Yard to a junk heap. 

When the Yard had been cleared, the Captain landed 

SOS 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



his marines, searched the ruins and picked up a wounded 
officer who in sheer bravado, cocksure of ultimate vic- 
tory, gave him the information he demanded. 

"Who the hell are you anyhow?" the Captain asked. 
^'Lieutenant Colonel Harden of the Sixty-ninth Im- 
perial Guard of the American Colonies—" 
"Colonies, eh?" 
The young officer smiled. 

"From tonight, the United Stetes of America dis- 
appears from the map of the world. It will be divided 
between the kingdoms comprising the Imperial Feder- 
ation of Northern Europe. England and France are 
yet poisoned with your democratic ideas. They have 
remained neutral, following your illustrious example 
in the world war. We don't need them. Our task is 
so easy it's a joke. You have my sympathy. Captain. 
You're a brave and capable man. You would do honor 
to the Imperial Navy. You surprised me tonight. I 
was informed— reliably informed— that you and your 
men were celebrating the reign of universal peace—" 
"Who is your leader?" 

"A great man, sir, known in New York as Charles 
Waldron. The Emperor in command of the forces of 
United Europe has been informed already by wireless 
that America is in his handii. .Tomorrow morning this 
leader's name will be Prince Karl von Waldron, Gov- 

209 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



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^■^1 j^ 







ernor-General of the Imperial Provinces of North 
America." 

"So?" 

"I advise you, Captain, to make the best terms you 
can with your new master." 

"Thank you," was the dry reply. 

The Captain dispatched a launch to Governor's 
Island reporting to General Hood the remarkable in- 
formation he had received. His guns had lalready 
roused the garrison. The launch met General Hood's 
at the mouth of the basin. 

The two men clasped hands in silence on the deck 
of the Pennsylvania, 

"The first blow, a thunderbolt from the blue. Gen- 
eral — without a declaration — " 

"A blow below the belt too — a slave msurrection is 
honorable war compared to the treachery that would 
thus abuse our hospitality!" 

I They tried the telephones and telegraph stations in 
vain. A council of war was called and through the grim 
hours from two a. m. until dawn they sat in solemn 
session. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



VASSAR'S Committee of Public Safety in the 
rear room of Schultz' store grew rapidly into 
a recruiting stand for volunteers. 

Before twelve o'clock the old Armory across the way 
was packed with hundreds of excited followers eager to 
fight. A bare hundred of them had permits to carry 
revolvers. A few had secured sticks of dynamite from 
builders. A hundred old muskets Vassar's East Side 
Guard had used were there — ^but not a shell. 

While they talked and raged in stunned amazement 
over the situation, a newsboy's hoarse cry of extra 
startled the meeting. The morning papers had all gone 
to press before the blow had been struck. 

"Get a paper — quick!" Vassar cried to Brodski, his 
district leader. 

The familiar call of the two newsboys yelling from 
each side of the street could now be heard. This time 
their words were clearly heard above the dm. 

"Wuxtra ! Wuxtra !" 

"New York City captured !" 

"Proclamation of Prince Karl von Waldron P' 





THE FALL OF A NATION 

"Wuxtra! Wuxtra! Wuxtra!" 

Brodski returned with copies of the Herald, Tribune, 
Timet, World, Sun, and Press. 

Each had issued a morning extra. 

On the front page, in double-leaded black-faced type, 
surmounted by an imperial coat-of-arms supporting a 
crown, the proclamation of the new Governor-General 
was printed: 

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED 
STATES 

Your Republic no longer exists, The invincible 
fleet of the Imperial FederaUon of Northern and 
Central Europe is now rapidly approaching New 
York. The transports which it guards bear the 
first division of the Imperial Army of Occupation, 
one hundred and fifty thousand strong. 

The chief cities of the country have already 
surrendered to my garrisons of 200,000 veteran 
soldiers. Under my immediate command in 
Greater New York are 50,000 soldiers — ^25,000 
infantry and cavalry and 25,000 men equipped 
with 8000 machine guns. 

We are here to preserve order, guard your 
property and deliver the first city of America in- 
tact to the Commander-in-Chief of the approach 
ing Imperial Army. 

All salmons are ordered closed until opened by 

212 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



ne. 



a 
al 



l.cen,e „f u^ new go,e™ment AU assemblie. 
M school,, churehes, theaters, public hall, or on 
ofVeltt " " *'"''■' °" fo'bidden under penalty 

All person, f„un^ with ^rearms, explosive, or 
weapons of any ki„d which might be used in war 

noon tomorrow to deposit the same in the 
Seventy-first Regiment Armory, Park Avenue and 
Thirty-fourth Street. 

After that hour the penalty for any citizen. 
=.ale or female, caught bearing arms, will be in- 
stant death and the confiscation of property. 

All automobiles, motor-cars, bicycles and horse, 
are hereby proclaimed the property of the Im- 
pcna Government and it i, fo^idden under 
^na ty of death for any person save a soldier in 
royal uniform to use them. 

The railroads will be opened for traffic under 
I-pcrial control within forty-eight hours. N„ 
nncasiness need be felt, therefore, that your fooa" 

S /t ■^'-"•'-^' and surface li^^ 
W.U be ready for use within twenty-four hours. 
All persons are ordered to resume their usual 

the means of ransportation have been restored. 

m Prodent of the United States and his entire 
Cabinet are prisoners of war, and your Capitol 
"■Jy guarded, is i„ my hands. Your fleetTst' 

ftlS 



THE FALL OF A NATION 






I 





the Pacific, and I have destroyed the locks of the 
Panama Canal. 

The Imperial Government earnestly desires 
that all bloodshed be avoided. We have the best 
interests of the people at heart. We will estab- 
lish for the first time in your history a govern- 
ment worthy of this nudon. My Imperial Master 
will treat all loyal subjects as his beloved chil- 
dren. His foes will be ground to dust beneath 
his feet. For these no quarter will be asked, none 
given. 

I have already caused the arrest and imprison- 
ment of two hundred well-known citizens to be 
held as hostages for your good behavior. 

Your great churches, your municipal buildings 
and your big commercial houses have all been 
mined. At the first outbreak of rebellion, your 
hostages will be shot and your city reduced to 
ashes. 

In the name of my Imperial Master I command 
the peace. 

Prince ^Carl von Waldron, 
Governor-General of the 

Provinces of North America. 

Vassar read this remarkable proclamation aloud 
amid a silence that was strangling. 

He opened the papers and glanced at the editorial 
columns. It was as he feared. 

214 



THE PALL OF A NATION 



A free press in America no longer existed. 
Waldron was dictating every utterance from his 
to) er on the heights of Manhattan. 

Each paper earnestly appealed to aU citizens to re- 
frain from violence and ma^e the best of their situat'on 
until intelligent advice could be given after a sufficient 
time had passed for reflection and conference with aU 
parts of the nation. 

Vassar mopped his brow and groaned. 
"Well, boys," he began, «we must give them credit 
for doing a good job. They don't bungle, they don't 
muddle, they don't leave anything to chance. They've 
got us for the moment. There's but one thing to do 
submit — '* * 

"No!— No!" came the angry growl. 
Vassar smiled. 

"Submit for the present, I was trying to tell you, 
until we can find the nucleus of an army to support. 
He didn't mention our forts or our little army. They 
failed to get those forts from the rear and they're in- 
tact. There are half a dozen battleships somewhere 
on the Atlantic side. The main fleet cannot reach us 
withm a month. The Panama Canal has been blown 
up of course. But the ships that are here with two 
dozen efficient submarines and aeroplanes wiU be heard 
from before the army lands^»» 

£15 



THE FALL OF A NATION 






r*.] 



V 




**We*re all 



"That*, the talk!" Benda cried 
American!, signer!" 

"Ya, gov'nor!" Schultz whispered. "Tiiis is mj, 
country now-I fight-if you'll give me a gun." 

A boy of eighteen, smeared with dirt and mud, pushed 
his way into the crowd and thrust a note into Vassar's 
hand. 

^^ "In God's name, Billy!" the young leader cried. 
"What are you doing here?" 

The boy saluted. 

"My duty, sir. When I heard what was happening 
I reported to General Hood. I'm on secret dispatch 
work." 

Vassar gripped the boy's hand, dropped it, tore the 
letter open, read it hastily, and turned to the crowd: 

"Now men, listen! The forts are intact. General 
Wood appoints me on his staff, with the rank of 
colonel. He is establishing his headquarters at South- 
hampton, Long Island. The Pennsylvania has slipped 
to sea and is gathering our fleet. She has picked up 
wireless messages which leads her to believe that the 
landing will be made at that point. Our little fleet 
is getting ready for the fight. I vant every man that 
can find a gun to hustle over to Jamaica. The army 
holds the Long Island Railroad from Jamaica. Trains 
are now waiting for you there. 

216 



i 

I 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

"They can't begin to enforce that proclamation until 
their army lands. The garrison, here will stick to the 
armories and their machine guns until reinforced—" 

A suppressed cheer swept the crowd. 

Vassar lifted his hand for silence. 

"Now I want volunteers to take this order to every 
election district in New York—" 

"Si-si, signor," Benda cried. "Angela and my 
bambino--they go too. I play and shout for the 
Emperor. Angela she beat the tambourine and play 
for the soldiers. We get the word in the danger places 
quick !" * 

"Good boy !" Vassar exclaimed. "I'll send you where 
the others might fail—" 

In rapid succession he sent his five hundred followers 
through the city bearing the whispered word to every 
district. ^ 

When the last m.„ had hurried away he turned to 
Billy. 

"Your sister and the children?" 

"Virgina's gone to a mountaineer's cabin in the 
Ad.rondack»-left the night the Jubilee began-" 

"No wonder sle didn't reply-" Vassar muttered. 
She II be back here in double quick time, though, 
when she hears of this. You know VirginU's got no 
commonsense — " 

217 



^ 




« 




THEPAl OF A NATION 



"And the kids?" 
old m„ .„d yo„ ,.th„.. ^,^ j^_^ 

VM.ar .miled grimly at the bo,', f,ith 
'•Report to General Hood that I will reach Jamaica 
-.th,n .„ to eight hour, and that he may expect twenty 
Jou.and men to be there before nine o'clock tonight 
How'd you get here?" * 

bridge-"^ ^'^'^' '" ^''°''^^° *°^ ""^^^'^ '^"^^ ^' 

on7 ?r T ' '"°" '"'''' ' ^^" p"* -y '^-d 

on « good bicycle or two at the Athletic Club-" 
Billy saluted and hurried on his mission. 
At nine o'clock, the Jamaica terminal was jammed 
with forty thousand volunteers armed with every weapon 
conce ^.le. from a crowbar to a yacht cannon. A 
sailor had actually smuggled an old brass saluting 
piece into a ramshackled automobile and gotten into 
the staUon with it These relics from the ark were 
left in the basement of the terminal. 

General Hood had succeeded in getting sixty 
thousand rifles from the BrooMyn Navy Yard 
Governor's Island, the Forts and one uncaptured 
armory in Brooklyn which the guns of the Pennsylvania 

£18 




until occupied by hit 



had torn 
troops. 

^ night the VoIu„t«r. fro. Brooklyn .„d N« 
York .treamed into J.„,.ie.. Before da^ght . hu7 
dred thou.and men were .truggling to board If 
for Southampton. * "" '""" 

But fifty thou,a„d were .flowed to leave. There 
were no more g„n.. The remaining fifty thousand wer" 
held a. reserve, with .uch rude weapon, a. they Z 

to Brooklyn and New York and a camp e,tawLd f^ 
d nUmg and training the new recruit, into the .emblal 
Of an armj. 




¥^^-' 



'-".?','■■ 




,-v*i, .-I 







^'V 




CHAPTER XXiy 

THE sun rose on a day never to be forgotten by 
the people of Long Island. Refugees were 
pouring along every road from the city. A wild 
rumor of the bombardment of New York had spread 
and they were determined to get behind General Hood's 
thin Hne of half-armed defenders. They were still 
imbued with a blind faith that somewhere our mighty 
nation had an army of adequate defense, 

Virginia Holland had reached home by automobile 
to find her father's house turned into a recruiting 
camp. Old soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic 
and the Confederate veterans of New York and Brook- 
lyn, were out in their faded uniforms demanding guns 
with which to defend the flag. 

Holland received them in his house and began to 
driU on the lawn. Virginia with sinking heart hurried 
to serve refreshments to the mob of excited men. 
Marya and Zonia joined with enthusiasm. 

Bcnda was there awaiting Vassar's arrival with a 
squad of his friends for whom he had procured 
uniforms and a few guns. He was drilling them in his 

2«0 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



earnest, awkward way when Angela suddenly appeared 
in the line of refugees from New York. 
He rushed to stop her: 

"Ah, my Angela, you here! And I told you stay 
home !" 

Angela tossed her head with contempt for his fears, 

"I come with you — '* 

"Go back — back — I say!" 

Angela merely laughed and resumed her march with 
the refugees. If they could live she could. 

Tommaso threw up his hands in despair and returned 
to his drill. 

At noon Vassar approached at the head of a division 
of raw troops. The road was lined with cheering 
people. He halted his men at the gate, dismounted 
and entered the Holland lawn, hoping against hope for 
a word with Virginia. He watched for a moment old 
Holland at the pathetic task of drilling his blue and 
gray veterans. 

"It won't do, Mr. Holland," he said with a smile. 
"Your fighting is done — " 

"Nonsense !" Holland protested. "I'll show you—" 

He put his line of veterans through the manual of 
arms and one of them fainted. 

Vassar slipped his arm about him tenderly. 

"It's no use. I need your guns. Give them to me— " 

221 



■'# '-t -T 





tin ■■ 





THE FALL OF A NATION 



Tommaso marched in and took the half-dozen guns 
against the bitter protests of the old men. 

They gathered at the gate and cheered and cried as 
the boys answered the assembly call. 

Vassar met Virginia and extendeQ his hand in 
silence. She turned away fighting for self-control. 
Her heart was too sore in its consciousness of tragedy 
for surrender yet. His tall figure straightened, he 
turned and hurried to his men. 

It was not until she saw him riding bravely toward 
the enemy to the certain doom that awaited our men 
that she lifted her hands in a vain effort to recaU him 
and sob her repentance in his arms. 



IS 



18 



CHAPTER XXy 

IN vain officers tried to stem the torrent of humanity 
that poured out in the wake of the volunteers. 
The wildest rumors had deprived them of all 
reason. They had heard that the city would be shelled 
by the foreign fleet within six hours and reduced to 
ashes. It was reported that the enemy's giant sub- 
marines had already passed the forts at Sandy Hook 
and the Narrows and were now taking their places 
around the city in the North and East Rivers. The 
guns of these dreadnaugl.c submarines threw five-inch 
shells and New York was already at their mercy. 
, It was useless to argue with these terror-stricken 
people. They merely stared in dumb misery and 
trudged on, mothers leading children, dirty, bedraggled, 
footsore and hungry— little boys and girls carrying 
their toys and pets— the old, the young, scrambling, 
crowding, hurrying they knew not where for safety. 

Vassar arrived at General Hood's headquarters in 
time to witness the clash of our squadfon with the 
advance fleet of the enemy. 

The battlft was not more than five miles at sea in 
plain view of the shore. 



/V' 







'':".,.:' 



-^.J 



:y: 




TH^ FALL OF A N ATION 

He watched the struggle in dumb misery. 
It was magnificent. But it was not war. He felt 
this from the moment he saw our five ships with their 
httle flotilla of torpedo boats and submarines head for 
the giant armada that moved toward them with the 
swift, unerring sweep of Fate. 

Our great red, white and blue battle flags suddenly 
fluttered in the azure skies as the Pennsylvania's for- 
ward turret spit a white cloud of smoke. A long 
silence, ominous and tense followed and the sand dunes 
shivered with the roar of her mighty guns. 

The big cruiser leading the van of the advancing 
foe answered with two white balls of smoke and Vassar 
saw the geysers rise from their exploding shells five 
hundred yards short of our ship. 

From out of the distant sky above the armada 
emerged a flock of gray gulls-tiny specks at first, 
they gradually spread until their sceel wings swept 
a space five miles in width. The hydroplanes of the 
enemy had risen from the sea and were coming to 
meet our brave airmen with their pitiful little fleet of 
biplanes. 

Higher and higher our boys climbed till but tiny 
specks in the sky. The great gray fleet of the hostile 
gulls began to circle after them. 

The guns of our battleship were roaring their de- 

224 



THE FALL OF A NATION 






fiance now in salvos that shook the earth. The im- 
perial armada, with twenty magnificent dreadnaughts, 
advanced to meet them with every gun thundering. 

"O my God !" Vassar groaned. "To think our people 
closed their eyes and refused to see this day!" 

Had his bill for national defense become a law our 
navy would have ranked second, if not first, in the 
world. It would not have been necessary to shift it 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We could have com- 
manded both oceans. It would be too late when our 
main fleet returned by the Straits of Magellan. 

Our ships were putting up a magnificent fight. One 
of them had been struck and was evidently crippled, 
but her big guns were still roaring, her huge battle 
flags streaming in the wind. 

Vassar lowered his glasses and turned to General 
Hgod. 

"They're going to die game!'» 

The General answered with his binoculars gripped 
tight, gazing seaward. "They're gamecocks all right- 
but I'm just holding my breath now. You notice the 
enemy does not advance?" 

"Yes, by George, they're afraid! There's not a 
dreadnaught among them that can match the guns of 
our flagship!" 

"Nonsense," Hood answered evenly, "they've slowed 

225 



~; -i '.1 



^.>K 




■"I 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



down for another reason. Unless Tm mistaken they've 
led our squadron into a school of submarines-- 

The words were scarcely out of his mouth before a 
hugh column of water and smoke leaped into the 
heavens beside the flagship, her big hull heeled on her 
beam's end and she hung in the air a helpless, quiver- 
ing maw of twisted steel slowly sinking. 
"They've got her!" Vassar groaned. 
Before the Pennsylvania had disappeared her three 
sifller ships had been torpedoed. They were slowly sink- 
rng, the calm waters black with our drowning men 

The sea was literally alive with submarines. The 
connmg towers of dozens could be seen circling the 
doomed ships. 

The OklahoTna had been disabled by shell fire before 
the submarines appeared. She was running full steam 
now for the beach, with a dozen submarines closing in 
on her. The white streak of foam left by their upper 
decks could be distinctly seen from the shore. Utterly 
reckless of any danger from the after guns of the dy- 
ing dreadnaught they were racing for the honor of 
launching the torpedo that would send her to the bot- 
tom. 

Her after guns roared and two submarines were 
smashed. Their white line of foam ended in a widening 
mirror of ofl on the dark surface of the sea. 

«26 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



At almost the same moment a torpedo found her bow 
and sent the huge prow into the air. She dropped and 
her stern lifted, the propellers still spinning. Two 
swift submarines making twenty-two knots an hour had 
circled her on both sides and brought their torpedoe, 
to bear on her bow at the same moment. Her battle 
flag was flying as she sank headforemost to her grave. 

The wind suddenly shifted and the men who watched 
with beating hearts heard the stirring strains of "The 
Star Spangled Banner" floating across the waters from 
her slippery decks. Weird and thriUing were its notes 
mmgling with the soft wash of the surf at low tide. 
. The music was unearthly. Its strains came from the 
deep places of eternity. 
I Instinctively both men lowered their glasses and 
stood with uncovered heads until the music died away 
and only the dark blue bodies of our boys were seen 
where a mighty ship had gone down, 
f ' "We've but one life to give !" Hood exclaimed. "It's 
a pity we haven't the tools now to make that life count 
for more !" 

I The little torpedo boat flotilla closed in and dashed 
headlong for the submarines. To the surprise of the 
watchers not one of the undersea craft dived or yielded 
an inch. Their five-inch disappearing guns leaped from 
the level of the water and answered our destroyers 

< 227 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




'• ' 



8"n for gun. Their deck, were awash with the «a 
and armored .o heavily that Uttle danger could be done 
by our shells. 

The battle of the sharks was over in thirtj minutes. 
Not a single destroyer escaped. They had dashed head- 
long into a field of more than a hundred dreadnaught 
submarines. One by one our destroyers broke in 
pieces and sank to rise no more. 

A few dark blue blots on the smooth waters could 
be seen-all we had left afloat~and they were sinking 
one by one without a hand being lifted to their rescue. 
The imperial armada was mistress of the seas. The 
great ships moved majestically in and prepared to 
shell the shores to clear the way for their landing. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

SO inUn«e and spectacular had been the battle of 
the fleet, that neither Va.8ar nor hi, superior 
officer had lifted their eye, to the dim struggle 
of the skies. The birdraen had climbed to such heights 
they were no larger to the eye than a flock of circling 
pigeons. The tragedies of this battle were no le„ 
gnm and desperate. Two of these daring defenders 
of our shores had been ordered to stay out of the fight 
and report to General Hood if the fleet should be sunk 
They saw one of these courier, descending in swift 
graceful circle,. He landed on the sand dunes, 
sprang from his seat and saluted the General 
"Well, sir.'" General Hood cried. 
The birdman was a smiling young giant with blond 
ha.r and fine blue eyes. They were sparkling with 
pride. 

"It was some fight, General-believe me! Our fel- 
lows covered themselves with glory-thafs alH I 
nearly died of heart failure because I couldn't go in 
with'em." "rnutgom 

"How many escaped?" 

ft^9 



IL 








■--i"j 




•It didn't ^ „j, „, th, y^^^ j^ 

"They aU fell?" '^ 

"Oh, ye. .ir. of coum. they all fell-but. take it 

He paused and mopped hi. bro». 

';»ly. !"■»;*•» hot down he«!'. he complained. "They 
looked hke fierce eagle, up there and every time thej 
made a dash at an enemy their claw, brought blood. 

.ma.h ..X taube. and .end them .wirling into the .e. 
before they got him. They were a, thick afto. him 
a. bee. too. He'd climb up and then dip for then, 
w.th a dev.li.h .woop-hi. machine gun playing a 
dev.l.. tattoo on the fellow below. Si. time, he got 
h« man, and then I .aw them clo.e in on him-„ot 
two to one or ten to one-it wa. twenty to one! He 
d.dn t have a chance. It wa, a crime. If our fellow, 
had j„.t had half a, many machine., they'd have won 
hand, down. There were only „i„e of them in the fight 
agamst fifty of the enemy—" 

, """" T' "^ ""' ™™^ "" '"" *'<' ""^y oocount 
tor?" Hood asked sharply. 

"God knows-I couldn't take it all in. But I ,aw 

fifteen of them go down. There wasn't one of our 

men that failed to Kore. They fought like devil. T 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

never 5aw .uch skill. I never saw such daring. Pm 
proud I'm a citizen of this Republic. We gave the 
world the aeroplane and we're going to show them how 
to use it before we got through!" 

The General scribbled an order and handed it to the 
birdman. 

'Take that to the commander at Fort Hamilton, 
and report to me at Patchogue, my new headquarters.'' 
The birdman touched his goggled cap, his assistant 
started the engines and in a minute the great bird was 
•winging into the sky. With two graceful circles 
mounting steadily she straightened her course for the 
Narrows and Vassar turned to the General. 
"You will retreat to Patchogue?" 
"There's no other course possible. We can't fight 
the guns of those ships. They can land at their leisure. 
My hope is that they wiU be delayed by the weather. 
God may help us a little if Congress wouldn't.'* 
"You want time to Intrench?" 

"Yes and get our artillery in position. If we can't 
get some big guns in place to meet theirs— it's no use. 
I've asked the forts to send me two battalions of coast 
artillery organized for the field. We'll get a battalion 
of artillery from Virginia by boat tomorrow. Our 
men are coming as fast as they can get here over 
hundreds and thousands of miles, with our railroads 

231 



'*.-4 1 I'l 




*H.. 



.^> 



X' ■'•♦. 



I 







^^ f'Ai ^ OF A NATION 



blocked If the weather delay, this landing until we 
can maa. two hundred guns against their four hun- 
tired we may make a stand bj digging in. Vll have my 
niob underground by tomorrow night in some sort of 
fashion. If they give me a week^it may take some 
time to smoke mc out — " 

"It»s breezing up!" Vassar interrupted excitedly. 
"And it»s from the right point too, thank God," 
the General responded. "I could have shouted when 
I heard the first strains of that band floating in from 
sea." 

Already the sea was roaring with a new angry note. 
The barometers on the armada had given the signal 
too. The mighty fleet was standing far out to sea now 
awaiting a more favorable moment to spring on the 
land that lay at the mercy of their great guns. 




CHAPTER XXVII 



THE General hastened tc give orders for the re- 
tirement Bj noon the next day his battle- 
line stretched from Patchogue through Holts- 
ville to Port Jefferson and a hundred thousand men 
were wielding pick and shovel with savage determina- 
tion. There was one thing these men didn't lack what- 
ever was missing in their equipment. Thej hadn't 
enough guns. They had no uniforms— «ave on the 
handful of regulars sprinkled among them. They hadn't 
much ammunition. They did have courage. They 
were there to do and die. 

For three days the wind blew a steady gale from 
the southwest and piled the white foaming breakers 
high on the sand dunes. 

Through the pounding surf the sea lifted our 
bloated dead until they lay in grim blue heaps on 
the white sands at low tide. General Hood despatched 
Vassar to see that they were buried. He piled them 
in big trenches one on top of the other. 

The wind died to a gentle caress as Vassar stood and 
watched them dumped into unmarked trenches — brave 

23S 




1. !' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



si!' 



A, 



boyg whose lives we could have saved with a few paltry 
millions spent in preparation. 
His thoughts were bitter. 

Had we been prepared no nation on earth had dared 
attack us. Our fighting force in men would fill an army 
of 16,000,000. Our strength in money was greater 
than Continental Europe combined. We had the men. 
^We had the money. We were just not ready— that was 
all. \Ve could have whipped combined Europe had we 
been prepared, and combined Europe, knowing this, 
would have courted our favor with bows and smiles. 

The thin line of the new moon broke through the 
soft fleece of clouds and the stars came out in countless 
thousands. The lights were playing far out at sea too, 
the big searchlights of the scouts and battle cruisers. 
They flashed on the grave diggers now, held steady for 
a moment and swung in search of guns. They were 
not interested in the dead. 

Vassar's heart went out in a throb of pity as he 
watched the scene — pity for the men whom a mighty 
nation had murdered for nothing — pity for the well- 
meaning but foolish men and women whose childish 
theories of peace had made this stupendous crime pos- 
sible. 

He thought too with the keenest pang of the an- 
guish that would come to the heart of the woman 

S34 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



he loved when the magnitude of this betrayal of a 
nation crushed her soul. Men like Barker and Pike 
would continue their parrot talk perhaps until Death 
called them. The heart of Virginia Holland would be 
crushed by this appalling tragedy. If he could only 
take her in his arms and whisper his love! 

At dawn next morning Vassar stayed to watch from 
the hills the landing of the armada. They had scorned 
to waste a shot from their big guns to cover the land- 
ing. It was unnecessary. Their airmon had recon- 
noitered and reported th defending army miles away 
hastily digging their trenches. 

"Good!" the imperial commander replied on receiv- 
ing this report. "The bigger and longer their trenches, 
the bigger the battle. What we want is one fight and 
that settles it.'* 

Through four days the landing proceeded with 
marvelous precision, each man at his post. The whole 
great movement went forward without a hitch with 
scarcely an accident to mar its almost festive char- 
acter. 

Twenty-five huge transports lay in the offing dis- 
charging their thousands of troops from barges and 
lighters. The men swarmed on the sands like locusts. 
Nothing had been left to chance. Nothing had b*N r ior 
gotten. They had cavalry in thousands — huge artillery 

235 



if 



I I 



THE FALL OP A NATION 




that covered aores. Fifty magnificent horse, w..e 
hitched to a single gun of the largest type. Their food 
»upp he, were apparently exhaustle,,. Each regiment 
had .ts movmg kitchens, it, Uundry wagons, it, bakery. 
The „gnal corps were already stringing their wires. 
A wreles, plant had been in communication with the 
connnander on the flagship .ince the work of landing 

known that four full army corps, each with complete 
equipment of cavalry, artillery and machine guns, had 
been landed and that this first division of the invlding 
host consisted of not less than one hundred and sixty 

good English a, well a, hi, native tongue 

The new, spread with lightning rapidity through 
he arniy of *fen,e and on past their line, into the 
terror-stricken city. The thousand, „f half-mad 
refugee, who had fled to the country began now to 
tu™ again toward New York. They had slept in the 
field, and wood, for more than a week. Their con- 
dition was pitiful and their suffering a source of con- 
stant worry to the officers. 

(te the day that the invaders began their march from 
the beach to form on the turnpike for their final sweep 
agauist the trenches. Hood had massed from all sources 

236 



;:« 










■..'-;; «»-' ■■•.^ i*/ 
.." - - ■■-, •>■■,- "' ' *•■■■ . 



fill, 

■tat™ < 



TH^ FALL OF A NATION 



two hundred pieces of artillery to defend his trenches 
against more than five hundred of the enemy. What 
the range and caliber of these hostile guns might be 
he could only guess. He knew one thing with painful 
certainty—whatever their range and caliber might be 
they were manned by veteran artillerymen who had 
fought them for years under the hideous conditions of 
modem war. Not a man in his army had ever been 
under the fire of modem artillery. That his gunners 
would give a good account of themselves, however, he 
had not the slightest doubt. 

The mH would come when they began to fall. 
Trained men to take their places were not to be had. 
If it should come to cold steel, he could tmst the raw 
volunteers in his trenches to defend their homes against 
a horde of devils. The trouble was but a handful of 
his men were equipped with bayonets. 

He had just inspected his lines and given his final 
instructions to his brigade commanders when an ex- 
traordinary procession marched into his lines from 
Brooklyn, headed by the Honorable Plato Barker and 
the Reverend Dr. A. Cuthbert Pike, still president of 
the Poace Union. 

The General refused to see or speak to them. Pike 
sought Vassar and begged him as an old political asso- 
ciate of Barker's to secure ten minutes' interview. 

237 




I i 



I i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"I assure jou, Congressman," Pike insisted in his 
nervous fidgety way, «Uat Barker may be able to open 
negotiations with the invaders if you will let us through 
the lines!" '^ 

Vassar sought for ten minutes to dissuade Pike from 
his purpose. His faith was unshaken-in sheer 
asmme fatuity it was sublime. It was so ridiculous 
that the young leader decided that the best thirg that 
could happen to the country was to get both Barker 
and Pike inside the enemy's lines. 

Barker had not been able to reach New York for 
the Peace Jubilee. He had regarded this great work 
of his career completer-crowned with glorious success. 
He had passed on to greater things. So remarkable 
had been his triumph in the Parliament of Man, so com- 
plete the vindication of his theories of arbitration and 
moral suasion as a substitute for war, that he had been 
able to raise the price of his Chautauqua lecture fees to 
five hundred dollars guarantee and one third the gate 
receipts. 

When the tragic crash came which threatened at one 
stroke to dislocate his process of reasoning and destroy 
his lecture bookings at the same moment, he was at the 
little town of Winona, Indiana, lecturing to five thou- 
sand enraptured Chautauqua peace enthusiasts. He 
had just finished counting the gate receipts, twenty-five 

238 



1|! 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



hundred dollars on the day. His share was five hun- 
dred dollars and the half of the remaining thousand, 
making fifteen hundred dollars — the largest fee ever 
received bv a lecturer in the history of the country. 

With a regretful look at their pile, he was congratu- 
lating the management on having so much left over 
after he had been paid, when the astounding message 
was read announcing the insurrection of two hundred 
thousand armed foreigners, their capture of the Pres- 
ident, his Cabinet, the Capitol and the fall of the cities. 

The great man laughed. 

"It's a huge hoax, my friends !" he shouted in sooth- 
ing tones. "A wag is putting up a joke on me— that's 
all. I'm an uld timer. I take these things as they 
come — don't worry." 

His soothing words quieted the crowd for an hour 
until the second message arrived announcing the sur- 
render of Chicago, and St Louis to the same mysteri- 
ous power and announcing that the landing from a 
great armada of the hostile army was hourly expected 
at New York. 

The silver-tongued orator at once took up his burden 
and hastened East to meet the coming foe. 

He lifted his hand in solemn invocation over the 
vast throng of panic-stricken hearers as he took his 
departure. 

S39 



r 



i 



'1- 



n 




THE PALL OF A NATI OM 

"Be of good cheer, »y friends!" he cried. ^iZ 

of the m.,«u.ded foe who invade, our .oil we can ™ake 
h.m . good American. I, for one, wiU .et n,y ,ifc on 
^e "sue. I wm g„ „ y„„ ^j,^^^^^^ ^^ ^.^ 

He a, a „an of the .an,e hope, and faith even a, you 

haveJ.«ed„,fron.theharhari,n,of,arwecan,ave 

"Have no fear-thi, i, aU .en,ele„ panic. Per- 
sonaDy I do not beUeve this wUd canard of a foreign 
.n™..on. Our citie, may be the victim, of a wi^ 
conspiracy of dissatisfied SociaUsts and Anarchists- 
but . fore,g„ foe-bah- I go to meet him with faith 
serene !" 

Pike related the story „f this scene with a hush of 
awe m h,, voice as if he had seen a vision of the living 
God and the sight had stricken him partly dumb. 

Vassar appealed finally to the General to give them 
a pass through the lines. 

"Tell those two windbags to go through my lines if 
they wish-I don't give a damn where they go," Hood 
-apped. "I only hope and pray that a friendly 
bayonet lets the air out of them so that we shall never 
hear them again. I won't see them. I won't speak to 

them. I won't give them a scrap of paper. If they 

840 



•i-j^. 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



dare to pass with any fool proposition of their dis- 
ordered brains, it's their affair— not mine. Tell them 
to get out of this camp quick-I don't care whch way 
they go." 

At Pike's solicitation Vassar escorted Barker 
through the lines and watched the pair disappear arm 
m arm down the turnpike toward Southampton. 

They walked five miles before they found a con- 
veyance. They tried to hire a rig from a farmer. He 
refused to move at any price-even after Barker ex- 
plamed who he was and the tremendous import of his 
mission. 

Through much dickering they succeeded in buying 
of him an old horse that had been turned out to graze. 
The Long Islander drove a hard bargain. After loud 
protests, and finally denunciation for his lack of 
patriotism. Barker counted out two hundred and fifty 
dollars of his last lecture fee. He still carried the 
fifteen hundred dollars in cash in his inside pocket. 

They tried in vain to find another horse. For this 
one they had no saddle. As Barker was getting stout, 
and puffed painfully at the hills, Uttle Pike insisted 
that he ride. 

"You first. Brother Pik^» the orator maintained. 
"No— no-Brother Barker, you ride, I can walk !» 
Pike protested. 

241 



III 





THE FALL OF A NATION 



They finallj compromised on the principles of the 
peace propaganda and both of them mounted the old 
steed— the silver-tongued orator in front and his faith- 
ful henchman behind holding to his ample waist. 

The compromise worked until the horse got tired of 
it. At the end of an hour's journey he refused to move 
another inch, bucked and threw them both in a heap. 
In vain they tried to move him. He not only refused 
to carry double, he bucked and threw Barker, who 
ventured to mount alone. To Pike's horror the great 
orator lost his temper, swore a mighty oath and smote 
the beast with a gold-headed cane which he had re- 
ceived as a token of his supremacy a? an advocate of 
peace. 

They now had the horse on their hands as an en- 
cumbrance. Barker refused to let him loose. He was 
of a thrifty turn of mind even in a crisis. He de- 
termined to ship that horse West and make him earn 
the two fifty. So leading the steed, with stout b-urts 
still undaunted, the two aposties passed on toward the 
coming; foe. 



ifci 






CHAPTER XXVin 



WHEN the unique voluntary peace aelegation 
finally reached the headquarters of the im- 
perial army, the commander was conducting 
a prayer meeting. They must jrait. 
They waited with joy. 

Pike's little wizened face beamed with good will to 
men. From the moment he heard that the army was 
at prayers he had no doubt of the final outcome of 
their mission. 

He turned once more to the soldier who had ar- 
rested and brought them in. 

**Your General always leads the serrice?" he asked 
genially. 

"Always—before a battle—" 

"Of— yes, yes, I see— I see— '» Pike fluttered. 

"If it's going to be a real battle," the man continued, 
"he prays all night in his tent sometimes. For this 
little skirmish we're going into, I don't think* the ser- 
vice will last more than ten minutes.** 

Pike didn't like this soldier's conversation. He had 
a rude way of smiling while he talked. The President 

24S 






it < 



THE FALL OP A NylTin^j 

inh «!.-« 1, ^ .1 ^^^ Sinister bnown- 

wih "fl that knelt i„ p„,er leaped to the.> feet 

wrth . fierce cry that rent the heaven.: 

"For God and Emperor!" 

The Peace delegate, were .lightly di.t„„ed by thi, 
trange end.ng of . pr.y.r meeting. It had an un 

LTVTt r*~ ""'o-fing about the leap 
^'„e '"'' '^' """^ ^ ^ o' host, in.' 

him. Smce Barker'. faU and oath and blow, on that 
hor«.. head he h«l moment, of doubt, about the 
orator', perfect purity of faith. StUI for one right- 
eou. man the Lord woujd .pare a city . 

.mt ad.urted h.. hmp. dirt..meared white bow tie and 

ToT^L'T^^er ""' ''' "^ -^"^ ' ^'- «■- -" 

noble .dd,e« that he remained obliviou, ,„ his di. 
hovelled condition. Hi. .flk hat had been crushed in 
the .econd fall. .„d refused to be .traightened. It 

244 






??^^' 



iK!&. 



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■3'' J- 



*^. 'ti'; u».- . , "1; 



^^^ PALL OF A NATION 



wa. thi> fact that had caused him to lose hit temper 
and smite the horse. 

His broken tile drooped on one side in a painfuUy 
funny way that worried Pike. He gently removed 
the great man's hat and tried to straighten it. 

"Permit me, Brother Barker,- he said nervously. 
Your hat's a little out of plumb." 
Barker's moon-like face was beaming now with in- 
spiration. He made no objection. He was used to 
being fussed over by women and preachers. Barker 
turned his horse over to an obliging army hostler and 
took Pike's arm from his habit of being escorted 
through crowds to the platform. 

The soldier led them without further ceremony to 
the tent of the commander of the advancing army. 

From the pomp and ceremony, salutes and clicking 
heels, the peace pioneers knew that they were being 
ushered into the presence of the Commander-in-chief 
General Villard, who had dashed from Waldron's side 
to assume first command, came out laughing to meet 
them-^a tall, stately figure, booted and spurred-his 
entire staff following. He carried a silver-mountcd 
ndmg-whip in his hand and looked as if he had been 
born in the saddle. 

"You bear a message under a flag of truce from the 
enemy?" he asked sharply. 

245 






iil 



THE FALL OF A NATTOK 

.tood holding .t on . l.v.1 with hi. .houlder .ft. th. 

H., bald h..d «,d .miling ,^ ,.„ ^^ 
plunged .t once into hi. eloquent «ldre,.. 

"We h.v. come, General." he began .uarely. "!„ 
he n.n,e of . hundred „i.,ion happy, peacefu,. cLn. 
0/ th., great Republic to bid you welcome to our 
.hore.. Our v..t and gloriou. don,ain, wa,hed by two 
ocean,, .tretching fron, the frozen peak, of AIa,ka to 
the eternal ,un,hine and flower, of the tropic,, i. J.rge 
enough for all who ble„ u. with their coming 
•■Wo welcome you a, brother, ! We want you to rt.y 

dom. We do not meet you with gun,. We come with 
«m.le, and flower,, extend our hand, and .ay: «God 
bles, youP" ' 

.ound of h.. own Toice. He replaced hi, cru.hed hat 
ftu,ia7r° "^ '^ " " "^ of «'°-ing en- 

With a .udden crad. the ..Iver-mounted riding-whip 
wh.,tled through the air and tore through the orator'. 
We. The battered hat fell into piece, and dropped to 
the ground reveaUng an ugly r«l lane aero., the great 
man's shming bald pate. 

«46 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

Barker was too dumfoundcd to dodge or protest. 
The thing happened with such swiftness, it had stunned 
him into silence. 

Pike danced nervously on first one foot and then 
the other, lifting his hands in little Ui-pts at 
apologies. 

"Hats off in the presence of you. v.p r; - !'' tii* 
General thundered. 

Pike's hat was already off. He .adn' - rnoui .: to 
put it on. Still he ducked his head \r^s^\v':i\ cij and 
then rushed into the breach. 

"My dear General,** he pleaded. "You uo nut un- 
derstand, I am sure. No possible offense could have 
been intended by my distinguished colleague. It is the 
custom of our country often to speak with hats on in 
the open air. The Honorable Plato Barker is a 
veteran outdoor speaker, your Excellency. He is ne 
of the most distinguished men in America—" 

"That is nothing to me,*' the General curtly in- 
terrupted. "He stands in the presence of an officer of 
his Imperial Majesty's Army. Your greatest civilian 
is my inferior. Keep that in mind when in the pres- 
ence of your superiors — proceed !" 

Barker was too astonished and hurt to say more. 
For the first time in his illustrious career as a peddler 
of words, he had failed to move his audience to ac- 

247 



■^1^ 




f 



THE FAL L OF A NATION 

cept his wares at any price. His world had collapsed. 
He could only rub the swelling red line on his head and 
glance uneasily about his unpromising surroundings. 

The preacher's hour had struck. He rose grandly 
to the occasion. His manner was the quintessence of 
courtly deference, nervously anxious deference 

"My name is Pike," be began tremblingly-" the 
Heverend A. Cuthbert Pike, D.D., president of the 

American Peace Union '» 

"Proceed, Cuthbert!" was the short answer. 
"We have come, your Excellency-" he paused and 
bowed Iow-«to initiate here today for all the world 
a constructive policy that will eliminate the necessity 
for war. Our plan is the appeal to reason. 

"We marvel at the amazing delusion that has led 
Europe into this unprovoked and unnecessary assault. 
Nobody wants war-least of all Vm sure the great 
General who knows its full horrors. 

"The only question, therefore, is how be.t to prevent 
It. This nation has always been too strong, too great 
m the consciousness of her strength, to desire war 
We have sixteen miUion men ready to die at our call' 
Why should we sacrifice their precious lives? To what 
end if we can by any means save them? 

"The prime cause, your Excellency—" again he 
bowed low— "of war is excessive armament—" 

248 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



The General laughed heartily, and adjusted his 
glasses for a better look at Pike. The little man was 
slightly flustered at this act of uncertain import, but 
went on bravely in spite of Barker's look of dejection. 

"We proclaim it to all nations that we are not ready 
to fight, and that we are glad of it because it is not 
possible in this condition for us to threaten or bully 
anyone ! An unarmed man has ten chances to one over 
the armed man in keeping out of trouble!" 

Again the General laughed and looked the preacher 
over from head to foot. 

"Boundaries," Pike proceeded, "when armed con- 
stantly provoke clashes of the forces on either side. 
Boundaries unarmed, as the long line between us and 
Canada, promote fellowship and good will. 

"We say to your Excellency, come let us reason to- 
gether. We are determined not to be dragged into 
war. We have negotiated thirty treaties with the 
nations of the world, some of whom your army repre- 
sents, providing for a year's delay before hostilities 
can begin. 

"We claim our rights under these solemn treaties 
and ask of you an armistice for twelve months for the 
discussion of our differences. 

"Name your demands and we will lay them before 

our Congress. Tell us your real mission and we will 

S49 



ill 



WM 







/ 



sli 




ii 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

help you to accomplish it. U^^^^^^^,^^^ 
fellow workers. Why have you come?" 

"I'll tell yuu," snapped the General. "For two 
hundred years you have been keeping a great pigsty on 
this continent, in which swine have rooted and fattened 
on the abundance of nature which you haven't had 
the brains to conserve. 

"Well— it's time to clean up and make sausage' 
We have come for that work. We have come to teach 
a race of slatterns the first principles of law, order 
and human efficiency. We have come to clean this 
pigpen, put swine-herders into aprons and give them 
the honor of serving their superiors-and therefore 
for the first time in life doing something worth 
while. 

'' "You are sick with overeating and much prosperity. 
Our Emperor sends you a tonic of blood and iron war- 
ranted to cure all ills. Our benign sovereign is the 
world's physician. He takes his crown and divine com- 
mission from God alone. On him the Divine Spirit has 
descended. In his luminous mind is the wisdom of the 
ages. He who dares to oppose his royal wiU shall be 
ground to powder beneath the iron heel of his soldiers. 
You speak of a hundred million people as if their 
opinion was of the slightest value. Public opinion is 
the source of public ills. You speak of treaties. 

260 



rSm^ms.^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Treaties are the thin disguises by which divinely chosen 
leaders conceal their ultimate aims ! 

"Might is right and the right can only be decided 
by the sword. War in itself is the fiery furnace that 
tries man's character. The dross perishes. The pure 
gold shines with greater splendor. Efforts to abolish 
war are foolish and immoral. Peace is not our aim or 
de;^ire. The sight of suffering does one good. The in- 
fliction of suffering does one more good. This war will 
be conducted as ruthlessly as st jnce and human genius 
can make possible — " 

He paused and turned to an orderly. 
"The bald-headed one to the bakery! He has for- 
feited his life by daring to purchase a horse that be- 
longs to his Majesty. I graciously spare his life. Tell 
my head cook to make him a scullion. If he's any good 
report to me at the end of the month and I'll promote 
him to the honor of acting as my valet. He has a 

beautiful voice. He could be trained to yodel " 

Barker lifted his hand to protest and the '.orderly 
kicked him into a trot. When he turned to protest, 
the bayonet changed his mind. 

Pike watched his chief disappear with a groan of 
amazement. 

The General and his staff gathered around the 
Reverend President of the Peace Union with jovial 

251 




'^•■'^^ i 



1 



i 



THE FALL OF A IfJTTnur 

face«. They were mcIin^Tfo^ZTr ~~~— 

tributed so„,eth!„g „ew to thfl. . ^^/'«' «»- 
They put on t),.- i "^"^^ •"' »««''■"• 

... a::'<,r;r •" *^^ ^~--Hi .ve.. 

It Jooks like a man— -'» 
"Can't be!" 

"It might have been once!" 

"But not now!" 

"A new microbe?" 

"Sure-that's it-the microbe Pacfficu, .„eric«>„, .» 

it's all !„ ft, A , ^^ ^""^ ""'^ Jokes- 

Th r 7 "°''~'° '" 'J«'"'-- it -re." 

The Commander turned to a sergeant. 

Put an apron on this little man and make him . 
d,sh„asher-.tin dishes-he might ruin ^T^l^Z^ 
ine officers roared. 

I.ke h« wh,skers. They're distincUy English- 



>» 



^HE FALL OF A NATION 



With a loud guffaw the staff dispersed and the Gen- 
eral turned to his tent. 

Pike danced a little jig in his effort to recall the 
judge and correct the error of his sentence. 

The sergeant gave him a resounding smack on the 
side of his head that spun him round like a top. 

Pike was livid with rage. He bristled like a bantam 
rooster for a minute to the amazement of his guard 

"Don't do that! Don't do it-don't do it again! 
Upon my soul, this surpasses human belief, sirt I 
shaU denounce the whole proceeding in a series of 
resolutions that will resound over this nation-mark 
my word!" 

The soldier waited until Pike's breath ran short anj 
then kicked him three feet, lifting hin. clear of the 
ground. When the preacher struck he fell flat on his 
face. 

The blow took out of him what wind there was left 
He scrambled to lu. feet and edged out of reach. 
"I-I-retum~good for evil, sir-" he stammered 

at last. -I bless them that despitefuUy use me-God 

bless you!" 

The soldier snorted with rage and gave him another 
kick, crying: -The same to you! And many of 'em'" 

When Pike scrambled to his feet again and wiped 
the dust out of his lips he shook his head in despair- 

253 





sriK...' 




M^L^j^m^'^ZM.^^sumiL^smfm.^i 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

"God bless my soul! God bless my soul!" 
The Sergeant grinned in his face. 
"Cheer up, Cuthbert, you'll soon be dead "' 
Ten rninutes later he thrust poor Pike into the 
kitchen mclosure and shouted to the cook; 

"The sooner you kill him the better-go as far as 
you like!" 



",..4'y 



1 ^ w- 1 « 



CHAPTER XXIX 

TO Vassar sleep had been impossible for the past 
two nights. He dozed for an hour during the 
day from sheer exhaustion, but the nearer the 
hour came for the test of strength between the opposing 
armies on which hung the fate of a hundred million 
people, the deeper became his excitement. 

All life seemed to mirror itself in a vast luminous 
crystal before his eyes—the past, the presfent, the 
future. 

He nodded in the saddle as he watched the construc- 
tion of the second line of entrenchments five miles in the 
rear of the first. He wondered at the long reach of that 
first possible retreat. It was an ominous sign. It revealed 
the fear in the heart of the American commander. 

He fell into a fevered dream. Far up In the sky he 
saw the sneering face of the Devil bending low over 
our shores and from his right hand shaking dice. The 
dice were the skulls of men. They rattled over the 
wide plain of our coming battlefield. The hideous 
face twisted with demoniac laughter as he shook the 
skulls and threw again. 

S55 





ti! 







THE FALL OF A NA TION 

He watched the game with bated breath. The count 
was made at last and we had lost! 

And jet somehow it was well with the dreamer's 
soul. An angel took him by the hand and led him 
from the field on which the skulls laj. 

He looked at the angel and it was the face of his be- 
loved. With a cry of joy he woke to find a courier by 
his side with a message from General Hood. 

He rubbed his eyes and smiled for the joy of the 
dream that still lingered in his heart and quickly read 
the order. 

To CoLONEi, Vassar: 

Please report immediately to the officer in com- 
mand at Babylon and tell him to entrench his men 
at once. We shall make our third and last stand 
there. 

(Signed) Hood. 

Vassar scribbled a reply and turned his horse's head 
to the staff headquarters. 

Babylon was home! He would see his little girls on 
the eve of battle-but more than all he hoped to see 
Virginia. 

He was stiU hoping and fearing as he delivered his 
horse to the hostler and ordered an automobile. 
He was just leaping into the machine when Billy 

256 



22£^''4:, 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



appeared on his motorcycle and handed him a crumpled 
sealed note. 

The boy saluted, smiled and turned back. 

It was too good to be true — and yet there it was 
in his hand — ^a letter from Virginia! 

He waved to the chauffeur: 

"To Babylon — headquarters — Ihird reserves — ^* 

The machine swept down the white smooth turnpike 
and he settled into his seal still holding the precious 
message unopened. 

He broke the seal at last and read through dimmed 
eyes J 

"Come to me at the earliest possible moment. I 
have much to tell you. I can't write — ^»* 

There was no formal address. There was no name 
signed. He kissed the delicately lined words and placed 
the note in his inside pocket. 

What did the foolish happiness in his soul mean? 
Could fate mock him with an hour's joy and send him 
to his death tomorrow? He would ride where men were 
falling like leaves before the sun should set — ^there 
could be no doubt of that. He shut his eyes and could 
see only the face of the woman he loved. He wondered 
what she would sf\y? He wondered if she would ^nake 
him ask her forgiveness for the wrong she ber?wif had 
done, woman-like? 









if ' 




It again if. he died for it 

rious bloom again. " '" ' 

The .un wa. sinking behind the tree, in ,c.rl.t an^ 
purple g,or,. Hi. father stroHod thought^; 1: 
the lawn with one am ftrn.,«^ v • f "cross 

clasped in hi.. "'* ""'' *^'"-^"'' '""'d 

A. the car turned into the drive and .wept toward 
<he ho„.e, the girl, .aw Mm and rushed with crieT f 
joy to smother him with ki.se.. 

<^ur men are ready?" hi. father asked gravely. 

out drilT""' ' "" " ""''^ «» 'h^y »■> >« with- 

out dr., or qu.pment-„r artillery to defend them." 
Ihe old man shook hi. head. 
"And the enemy— they are many?" 
•'A hundred and sixty thousand hardened veteran, 
and ^the most magnificent equipment of the .odem 

^^Old Andrew Vassar Wt«i U, J.,nd, i„ , g,,t„, „, 

"God help us!'* 
^^^•^ly He can now. We've done our be.t^th.t,, 

5258 



1 1^ 




'It'a uJl Jove's victory, Ucorcsl 



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MICROCOPY RESOLUTION TEST CHART 

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156 



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(716) 482 - OJOO - Phone 

(716) 288- 5989 -Fax 





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THE FALL OF A NATION 



He paused and turned to Zonia whispering softly- 
"Where is she?" 1- K J- 

toward the rose-cmbowered 



girl nodded 



Billy telephoned us. She's 



The 
oak. 

"Waiting for you. 
been there ever since." 

Vassar hurried across the lawn. The twilight ^as 
deepening and the new moon hung a half crescent in 
the evening sky. 

She rose as he passed the trellis and stood smiling 
tenderly until he came close. Her hands were clasped 
tightly. Neither was extended to greet him. 

She lifted her eyes to his in a long, tender gaze, 
deliberately slipped both arms around his neck and 
kissed his lips. 

He held her close in a moment of strangling joy 
She lifted her lips to his again, and spoke in tones so 
low that only the heart of love could hear: 

"M^ darling— my own— my hero— my mate! I've 
loved you always from the first. I was too proud to 
surrender my will and mind, my body and soul to any 
man. I went away into the mountains to fight it out 
and love conquered, dear! I surrendered before I 
knew that your prophetic soul was right in sensing this 
black hour in life. Pm glad I gave up before I knew. 
It's all love's victory, dearest. I love you. I love you 

259 





THE FALL OF a NATION 



shadow between us " 

A sob caught her voice. 

J'Tr\t'^^ '""^ '"" """"Sh all eternity and 

Ww ? Z *' '"' •'°" '■" '^•"•* - -t a 
Know, face to face " 

J"' ^°. *:'°"°"' ''°"" *'"=^ '"' ««' h^W oa, 

And then he rose, kissed her again and swif,,^ „< 
into the night toward the red dawn of Death. 




%" 




y and I 
leet and 

Id each 
d moon, 
-ly rode 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE grim gray wave of destruction from the 
sand dunes had rolled into battleline and 
spread out over the green clothed hills and 
valleys of the Island-swiftlj, remorselessly, with an 
uncanny precision that was marvelous. 

The scouts were soaring in the clear blue skies with 
keen eyes searching for the position of our guns 

As they found them, a puff of black smoke streamed 
downward and the distant officer, perched high on his 
movable observation tower, took the range and called 
It mechanically to the gunners of his battery. 

Our rifles cracked in vain. The birdmen laughed and 
paid no attention. We had no high-powered, high- 
angle guns that could touch them. Over every sec- 
tion of our lines the huge vultures hung in the air and 
circled. 

The giant guns miles away beyond the distant hills 
toward Southampton began to roar. Their first shells 
fell short from five to six hundred yards. 

Our boys gazed over their earthworks and watched 
the geysers of earth and stone and smoke leap into the 

261 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




' ' I 



■■:' . ■: w 




heavens and sink back in dull crashes. The wii 
brought in the acid fumes of the poisonous gases. 

They stood in silence, clutching their rifles and wai 
ing for the word to fire. 

The vultures circled again and dropped more smol 
balls. The invisible gunners at their places caught th 
singsong call from the tower, touched a wheel an^ 
raised the noses of their graj monsters the slightes 
b:'h. 

Again the earth trembled. The air vibrated with th< 
rush of projecJles like the singing of telegraph wires 
far above the heads of the listening men. 

They struck within a hundred yards of where Vas- 
sar sat with the field telephone at his ear r waiting Gen- 
eral Hood's orders— a giant sh-^ll landed squarely in 
our trenches, tore a cavern in the earth , sixteen feet 
deep, hurling our mangled men in every direction. 
Within a radius of a hundred feet no living thing could 
be seen when the smoke and dust had cleared. Those 
who had not been killed by stone and flying fragments 
of iron had been smothered to death where they stood 
by the deadly fumes. 

Our guns answered now in deep thunder peals that 
shook the trenches. 

For two hours without a pause the artillery of both 
armies sent their mighty chorus crashing into the 

S62 




THE FALL OP A NATION 



Wens, their .i.i,.3 of death wi,.tn„g through the 

The fire of the enemy was incredibly aecurate. Their 
hells struek our trenehes with unerrin, eertainty-l 
and where one struek there was nothing left but an 

ugly crater in the ground --^h., • i , 

■ . . fc™"na. ^hey simply ann hilated 

rja:^;::*"'^*-"-^— -"— 

Gun after gun of our batteries were silenced. 

The vultures were .till soaring aloft ca:iing the 
range of each concealed battery as the fight revealed 
Its place. 

The battle had opened at dawn. By ten o'clock 
fifty pieces of our artillery had been reduced to 
junk and one-third of our trenches pulverized into 
shapeless masses of dust, broken stone and gaping 
caverns. ^ t- s 

. ^PP-'^ntly our heavy gun fire had made no impres- 
sion on the enemy. Their long range pieces were hurl- 
■ng death with a steacfy clock-like regularity that was 
appaUing. Our army was being ground to dust with- 
out a chance to strike their hidden foe. We had never 
possessed an aviation corps of any serviceable strength. 
The year before the nucleus of one had been authorized 
by Congress. This little group of efficient men had 
followed the fleet into the Pacific and the remaining 

263 ^ 




THE FALL OF A NATION 




pM. 



J 



dozen };ad been left to die in our tragic meeting witl 
the annada. 

General Hood possessed but two aeroplanes. It wai 
madness to send them up against two hundred of the 
enemy. By an accident to his machinery a taube haci 
fallen within our lines. The men had been captured, 
their uniforms taken, and delivered to General Plood 
The machinery of the hostile aeroplane was promptly 
repaired, our blond sky pilot forced himself Into the 
greenish-gray suit and stood by waiting for the chance 
to rise in a cloud of smoke and take his chance among 
the enemy as a spy. 

At noon a wave of fog slowly crept in from sea and 
the guns had died away. As the mist rolled over the 
battlefield Hood stood beside the courier of the skies. 
"Up with you now, boy, in this fog bank. Mix with 
the enemy and take your chances. Stay until the 
firing is resumed and give me the position of their gans. 
I must know whether we have reached them with our 
shells." 

The birdman saluted and swung the taube into the 
clouds. He circled toward the sea and disappeared in 
the mists. 

It was three o'clock in the afternoon before he landed 
far in the rear of our lines and made his way by auto- 
mobile to headquarters. 

264 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Hood sprang from hi. de,k and rmjied to meet 
nun. 

"WcU?» 

"Got over th.ir lines all right, sir,- the scout an- 

Tr /ff '' °"' ^'''"' '°' "" '«'-• Not one 
of them feU closer than half a mile short of their bat- 
teries." 

The General pressed his hand in silence 

"All right. It's as I thought You're a brave bo., 

my son. you're marked for promotion for this da;>. 

work." ^ 

There was nothing to be done but move his lines five 
miles back to the second trenches. They were being 
pounded into pulp without a chance to strike back 

We had exhausted half our stock of shells without 
sconng a hit. Our losses in men and guns had been 
frightful. The tragic feature of the day was the loss 
of tramed artillerymen whose places could not be filled 
It takes three years to train the man behind the gun 

By daylight the retreat of five miles had been 
effected. The ground iu front was more favorable 
here for long range work. From captive balloons the 
position of the batteries could be located. We hoped 
that some of them could be reached and put out of 
action. If so, we would give them a taste of cold steel. 
All night the great guns growled in the distance 

«65 



I 



a . iii.r" 



. i>^>' ii 





If 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



while our shattered lines retreated and reformed in the 
second intrenchmcnts. 

At dawn the vultures signalled the retreat and the 
green-gray wave of Death rolled forward with incred- 
ible swiftness. 

By noon their greatest guns, each drawn by fifty 
magnificent horses, had been brought up and were 
sweeping into position along the low hills that would 
form their new battleline. 

Our commander made up his mind to pot at least one 
of those guns. He planted a battery of heavy artillery 
to sweep the road that curved gracefully over these 
hills. A clump of trees concealed its presence from 
the circling scouts. 

The moment the huge siege gun swept into view 

its fifty horses plunging forward with steady leaps, 
their sides a lather of white foam — our battery roared 
a salvo and four shells sang in chorus. The gunners 
lifted their glasses and watched. Every shell struck 
within dead range of the long line of plunging horses. 
A cloud of smoke and dust rose high on the crest of 
the hill and when it lifted the tangled mass of torn and 
mangled horses and men blocked the way. A second 
salvo landed squarely in the wreck and blew the tangled 
mass into fragments — the glasses could no longer find 
a moving object. 

266 



,1 I 



THE FALL OF A N A TION 

The vultures circled above the hidden battery, tli^ 
signals flashed and then from five different points be- 
hind the hills the shells beg. - to shriek. In thirty 
minutes they were silenced and .om to bits. But two 
men were left alive to reach headquarters with the brave 
story. 

The second battle began in earnest at three o'clock 
in the afternoon. The pitiful story was repeated. With 
remorseless accuracy their guns tore our men to pieces 
They held their own just half a mHe beyond the range 
of our artillery. 

All night our men clung blindly to their position and 
at the dawn of the third day the enemy's infantry in 
solid formation, their bayonets flashing, moved swiftly 
and silently into line for their flrst charge. 

A hundred machine guns were concentrated to relieve 
them. They formed at their leisure in plain view of 
our ragged trenches. Our field artillery got their range 
and began to pour a storm of shrapnel on their ranks. 
They closed up the gaps with clock-like precision and 
moved forward at double quick. Round after round of 
our artillery failed to stop them. The ranks closed 
automatically. They were cheering now—the breeze 
wafted their cries across the little valley that separated 
them from our trenches : 
"For God and Emperor!" 

267 






'■'*'«• 




B. '■"■■•%< 




r//^ FALL OF A NATION 

When the rariKs in front fell, the mass behind rushed 
over their bodies and shouted again ; 
"For God and Emperor!" 

Our machine guns were mowing them down as wheat 
falls beneath the teeth of a hundred singing harvest 
machines on the prairies of Minnesota. 

When the first division had been wiped out the sec- 
ond came rushing over their bodies as if they had been 
denied their just honors in losing the privilege of 
dj:ng. The second wave of green reached the earth 
of our trenches before the last man fell and still a third 
wave was moving across the valley. Their shouts rang 
a mighty chorus now in the ears of our crouching men : 
"For God and Emperor!" 

Our fire was held until the third wave was within a 
hundred yards. The low words of quick command from 
charging officers could be distinctly heard as their 
waving swords flashed in the sunlight. 

Vassar watched the thrilling scene with a smile of 
admiration. He saw their flag now for the first time— 
a huge scarlet field of silk, in its center an imperial 
crown wrought in threads of gold. 

The Federated Monarchs of Europe had taken the 
red emblem of the Socialists to proclaim the common 
cause of royal blood against the mob, and on it set the 
seal of imperial power. 

268 



iff' 



Tl,c cheering, rushing wave rolled within fifty v^rds 
and then from every trench poured a sheet of blinding 
fl«n,e So terrific waa the shock, the .hole division 

Those who had not fallen staggered as if drunk and 
urned .n blind circles as if g„pi„, , Heir way in h! 

host had alien and the slopes of the hill below were 
Piled w,lh the dead, the wounded and dying. 

The charges ceiscd. 

The big guns in the distance beyond the hills broke 
for h agam in a savage chorus, continuous and infernal 
m Its incredible power. 

Vassar listened with new interest. There was a deep 
bass vo.ce now in this artillery oratorio that had not 
been heard before. The monster guns were booming for 
the first t.n,e. The effect, of their explosions were ap- 
Pallmg. They spoke between the roar of the smaller 
guns as ,f the basso were answering the cry of a chorus 
of superhuman singers. A single shot from one of these 
guns rang with the volume of a salvo of ordinary „r- 
Jlory. Their sheUs weighed two thousand pounds- 
two thousand pounds of dynamite. 

IWar heard one of them coming toward the crest of 

he hdl that was red with heroic blood. It came through 

the air with the uncanny roar of an express train. The 

!ii9 



' ibbJ&'iiyrr.w^k^Kal^Honik 



I 




tl \ 




m 


; 


1 





.\r 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



sound rose until the heavens quivered with the howl of a 
cyclone. 

And then came the crash squarely in the center oF 
our trenches! An explosion followed that rocked the 
earth and sent a great billowing cloud of smoke and 
dust high over the treetops into the skies. Fragments 
of the debris were hurled half a mile in every direction. 
No living thing was left to tell the story within a hun- 
dred yards of the spot. A breach had been made in 
the trenches through which a regiment might have 
charged as over an open field. For eighteen hours this 
terrific hail of huge projectiles continued without pause. 
The dull thunder was incessant and its vibration shook 
the world in tremors as from an earthquake. 

With grim persistence oar men still clung to what 
was left of their trenches until the night of the second 
day. 

Hood sullenly ordered the retreat to his last line of 
entrenchments resting on Babylon. The discovery of 
the movement lead to a fierce rear guard action with the 
pursuing cavalry of the enemy. Their great field 
searchlights now swept the heavens and fiooded every 
open space with deadly glare. 

The attacking cavalry fell into ambush carefully pre- 
pared and were annihilated. They didn't repeat the 
attack. But our guns had no sooner limbered up and 

270 



.rf^_^_ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



withdrawn from their position when a squadron of the 
new steel cavalry, guided by the searchlights, charged 
at full speed seventy miles an hour down the turnpike 
straight into our retreating infantry. An armored 
automobile, spitting a storm of lead from its machine 
guns, plunged headlong into a regiment of volunteers, 
worn and half-starved and ready to fall for the lack 
of sleep. The huge wheels rolled over prostrate men 
like a great juggernaut, hurling others into the fields 
and dashing them among the limbs of trees. 

The monster stopped at last choked by the mangled 
bodies caught in its machinery. A hundred desperate 
men swarmed over its sides and in a fierce hand to hand 
fight captured the car and killed its crew. 

Again and again through the night of this terrible 
retreat these tactics were repeated. Not one of the 
six machines that charged our lines ever returned to 
tell the story. Not one that charged failed to pile the 
dead in heaps along the white shining turnpike. 

The Holland house was inside the third line. Vassar 
hurried forward to beg Virginia to return with the girls 
and the older people to New York. 
They refused to stir. 

"What's the use, sir?" Holland snapped. **We're as 
safe here as anywhere. If Hood can't hold this rail- 
road ja»ctf«i— it's all over. The wildest reports come 

271 



xsmm. 



v>%:,., 







1 I 




! i 



THE FALL OP A NATION 



in hourly from New York. The looting and outrages 
surpass belief — " 

"Your house has been raided?" Vassar asked. 
"I've just heard that every house on both Stuyve- 
sant Square and Gramercy Park has been smashed and 
wrecked. The soldiers have been looting private dwell- 
ings at their leisure— while mobs of thieves and cut- 
throats join in the sport." 
There was no help for it then. 

He whispered a hurried good-bye to Virginia, kissed 
Zonia and Marya and rushed for his horse. 

The first gray streaks of dawn were already tinging 
the eastern sky. The invading army had followed 
with amazing rapidity. Whole regiments armed with 
machine guns had been hurled forward by automo- 
bile transports. Hood had destroyed the railroad 
as he retreated. The advancing hosts didn't need it. 
The hardened veterans who marched, with quick swing- 
ing gait, smoking their pipes and singing, could make 
thirty miles a day and be ready for a fight at the end 
of their march. They meant to rush our trenches 
today and make quick work of it. They were not going 
to waste any more big shells which might be needed 
elsewhere. 

The wiud was blowing directly in the faces of our 
men for the first time since the landing had been made. 

272 



\ I 
:[;i 



«W« .J 



<.-' ■•*• 



i^mT- 4>i^ 




use of po,s„„„as gases and liquid fire in the great war 

«n2to bJ 'T ""^'""^t*- The day was des- 
tined to bring a rude awakening. 



* 






I 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE first day's battle brouglit to many a raw 
recruit the sharp need of military training. 
Many a man who had never consciously known 
the meaning of fear waked to find his knees trembling 
and hung his head in shame at the revelation. 

Tommaso had led his squad into the trenches before 
his bitter L M, . of self-revelation came. He had caught 
a glimpse of his wife and boy in a group of panic- 
stricken refugees and the sight had taken the last ounce 
of courage out of him. He was going to be killed. 
He knew it now with awful certainty. What would 
become of his loved ones? All night in the trenches 
he brooded over it. When the sun rose he was only 
waiting for a chance to run in the excitement of battle. 
He swore he would not leave his wife and child to 
starve ! 

Angela carrying the poor little fear-stricken monkey, 
with the boy tightly gripping his dog Sausage, trying 
to save his kitten and his mother lugging a huge bundle 
had penetrated the American lines and found Vassar 
the day of the opening fight. 

274 



M..^m- ^i^i 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



The leader had hustled thorn Iron, the field and they 
had taken refuge in a cabin behind the trenches. With 

"h: cibin'" """' ^""•' -•"^^'' ''"•'■> --^ 

Angela leaped to the door, gathered her boy and pet, 
and shouted to her terror-stricken neighbor. 
JCorn^uick! we will be torn to pieces-we must 

In dumb panic, Mrs. Schult. gathered her own boy 
convulsively ,„ her arms and refused to stir 

the\l" '^r^;"""«'' *^ ""« ""O hurried across 
the h,Ils The others crouched in the comer of the 
cabm and waited. 

A black ball again shot downward, crashed through 
h roof of the cabin, exploded and sent the frail struc 
ture leapmg into the heavens. 

The airmen far up in the sky saw the column of flame 
and smoke and debris: 

^^itZ ^°' '™ '^' """'"" t"-^ "J-- shouted 
above the whirr of his motor. 

By one of the strange miracles of war Sausage 

rawled over the dead body of his mother stiU clingin! 

to^thekjuen and found his way into the woods without 

Angela was just staggering to the crest of the ridge 

275 



m 



^~i"«'',«<J 









.1 



I^E FALL or A ^ ,r,,r... 



triod to rouse her hL ^' ^'^ ""= 

h« mother. She lav fl . . "^^'^ ^^ «^< 

and saw Sau.aire's smnt v t^ar-stained fa 

«'^<jun>b„«„is;:::^;j:«~ew..«„athe,o. 

_^at.» the matter?.. ti,e bo, sobbed. 
My »a„^,,, kaied»-.a, the low answer 
The swarthy face of the little It.I- 



III 




R;||'"i 



1 into space, 
nd she sud- 
» the monk 
eyes swept 
again and 
^is fallen 

^e on the 
face. His 
all. He 
- in spite 
he shook 
ir chalk- 

mdge of 
ned face 
the look 



'i close 
d each 

IS and 

imaso 




'"""aso sfa,^gcn.I to ihe hroasfworks and st..od ono 



ii^^iiinst an arniv 



man 



4^ ^^ 



^^mMF" ilfcr 




waw^?^ 



^RJli'''*i' 




THE FALL OF A N ATION 

crawling on hands and knees in mortal terror fronTu^ 
battlefield, suddenly came upon them. 

In her surprise and joy over his protection Angela 
failed to note at first the meaning of his sudden appear- 
ance. ^'^ 

"0 my Tommaso!" she cried, throwing herself into 
his arms. 

He held her close for a moment and whispered ex- 
citedly : 

«I come to take you home, my Angela. You will be 
Jciiled—you must net be here—" 

It was not until he had spoken that the wife caught 
the note of cowardly terror in his voice. Her arms 
slipped slowly from his neck. 

He hurried to repeat his warning: 
"You must go quick, my Angela!" 
The wife searched his soul and he turned away. She 
put her hand on his shoulder and her own eyes filled 
with tears. 

"Come-we must hurry"— Tommaso urged, seizing 
his gun and starting to rise. 

Angela held his hand firmly and pointed to the smoke- 
covered field below. 

"No— no— my man. Your place is there to fight for 
our bambino and his country-you just forgot for a 
little while. I know-I understand. I felt my heart 

277 






U 



.lih 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



I h: 



ill* 



melt and my poor knees go down— you go now and fight 
fo- us!" 

The man trembled and could not meet her eye. 

A shell exploded near, hurling the dust and gravel in 
advance clear above them. A piece of iron buried itself 
in the earth but three feet away. 

Angela cried in terror. The man suddenly stiffened, 
looked into the face of his boy, rose, seized his rifle, 
kissed his wife and rushed down the red lane of death 
to the front. 

Angela watched him with pride and terror. He was 
still in plain view in the little valley below when he met 
the ragged lines of our retreating men. The color- 
bearer fell. Tommaso seized the flag and called the men 
to rally. 

Through a hell of bursting shrapnel and machine- 
gun fire he turned the tide of retreat into a charge 

a charge that never faltered until the last man fell on 
the slippery slopes of blood below the trenches of the 
enemy. 

Tommaso staggered to the breastworks and stood 
one man against an army cheering and calling his 
charge to the field of the dead. 

The enemy rose in the trenches and cheered the lone 
figure silhouetted against the darkened heavens until he 
sank at last exhausted from the loss of blood. 



(! :. ; 




r..\ 



CHAPTER XXXII 

OUR observers in a captive balloon had made 
out before sunrise the massing of machine 
guns in front. They were still coming on in 
endless procession of swirling auto-transports that 
hfted clouds of white dust that swept toward our lines 
m billows so dense at times the field was obscured. 

Hood decided to close in on those guns before they 
could be assembled and mounted. 

With a savage yell a brigade of regulars led the 
charge, followed by ten thousand picked men. Pressing 
forward before a dust cloud the regulars penetrated 
withm a hundred yards of the enemy's lines before they 
were discovered. The rush with which they crossed the 
space was resistless. The splutter of pompoms filled 
the air and half the line went down. The remaining half 
reached the first crews. Hand to hand now and man to 
man they fought like demons— bayonets, revolvers, 
clubs, fists and stones ! Friend and foe mingled in a 
mad holocaust of death. While still they fought, the 
second line of our charging men reached the spot and 
joined the fray. Twenty machine guns had been cap- 

279 



■ a 









it*' 



i « 



4 i 



i' 






ill 



T///^ FALL OF A NATION 

turcd and turned on their foes. An ominou. quiet behind 
the scene of this bloodj combat followed the first roar 
of the clash. 

The commander of the invaders, seeing that he had 
lost some guns, instantly drew back his lines and re- 
formed them fan-shaped with each gun bearing on the 
breach. 

A tornado of whistling lead suddenly burst on the 
mass of our victorious troops. Five hundred machine 
guns had been concentrated with a speed that was stun- 
ning. 

Our men dropped in platoons. They swayed and 
rallied and once more faced the foe for a second charge. 
Machine guns seemed to rise from the earth. They were 
fighting five regiments of men all armed with them. 

The commander of our charging division tried in vain 
to rally. In thirty minutes there was nothing to rally. 
They lay in ghastly moaning heaps while whistling bul- 
lets sang their requiem in an endless crackle that came 
like the popping of straw before the roar of flames in 
a burning meadow. Whole regiments were literally 
wiped out with every officer and every man left torn 
and mangled on the field. 

The reserves in the trenches saw the hideous butchery 
in helpless fury. No moving thing could live within 
the radius of those guns. 

280 






When the last man had faUen, the spluttering pom- 
poms died awax and a green billow of smoke began to 
roll toward our lines. It swept on in a steady, even 
wave three miles long. The wind was carrying the cloud 
straight across the trenches in which our men crouched 
to receive the charge they expected to follow our failure. 
The dust clouds had been pouring in their faces ull 
morning. They paid no attention to the changing 
greenish tints of the new dust bank. The deadly fumes 
poured over our trenches in silence. The men b.eathcd 
once and dropped in strangling horror, clutcliing and 
tearing at their throats. The guns fell by their sides 
as their bodies writhed and twisted in ' «rtal agony. 
The pestilence swept the field scorchin, 1 cur'. ng 

every living thing. 

Behind it in the shadows stalked a new figure in the 
history of war— ghouls in shining divers* helmets with 
knife and revolver to complete the assassin's work. 

A thousand fiends of hell charging in serried ranks 
with faces silhouetted by the red glare of the pit could 
not have made a picture more hideous than these crouch- 
ing diving machines as they scrambled over the shambles 
of the trenches and ruthlessly shot the few surviving 
figures, blindly fighting for air. 

Behind those monsters who were proof agair-*^ the 
poison fumes advanced the dense masses of infantry. 



2S 



0Q1 




.-.^ilRi 



li JH 



1 • ! 



! !. i'^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



The way was clear, the backbone of the defense had 
been broken. Three miles of undefended trenches lay 
in front. It was the simplest work of routine to give 
the order to charge and watch them pour through the 
far-flung hopeless breach, swing to the right and left 
and roll the broken ranks up in two mighty scrolls of 
blood and death. 

It was done with remorseless, savage brutality. Our 
men asked no quarter. They got none. 

The leader of the charging hosts had orders to ex- 
terminate the contemptible little army of civilians that 
had dared oppose the imperial hosts. 

They were setting an example of frightfulness that 
would make the task of complete conquest easy. 

«*KiU! Kill! Kill!" shouted the stout bow-legged 
General in command of the cavalry. "It's mercy in 
the long run! Let them know that we mean what we 



say 



i»» 



When our men saw their methods and knew that the 
end was sure, they sold each life for all It would bring 
in the shambles. Many a stalwart foe bit the dust and 
lay cold and still or writhing in mortal agony among 
the heaps of our dead and wounded before the awful 
day had ended. 

The cries of the wounded were heartrending. A 
weird, unearthly sound came from the vast field of 

282 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



groaning, wailing, dying, gibbering men. The most 
hideous scenes of all were enacted by maniacs who 
laughed the red laugh of death in each other's faces. 

The horizon toward Southampton was black now 
with the smoke of burning villages. They had set them 
on fire with deliberate wanton purpose of destructive 
terror. 

Would they burn Babylon in the same way? Would 
these maddened brutes break into our homes and make 
the night still more hideous with crimes against women 
and children? 

A wave of horror swept Vassar's soul as he thoughi; 
of his nieces and the woman he loved. He crept through 
the shadows of the woods and hurried toward the Hol- 
land home. 




''h. 



warn 




CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE twilight was deepening on scenes of stark 
horror in the streets of Babylon when Tassar 
slipped through the field and along the hedge- 
rows toward the center of the town. 

Flames were leaping from a dozen homes along the 
turnpike. He saw the brutal soldiery enter a pretty 
lawn, call out the occupants and as they emerged fire 
in Tolleys on old men, women and children. They fell 
across the doorsteps and lay where they fell. A dark 
figure approached the open door, hurled a quart of 
gasoline inside, lighted his fire ball, and walked away, 
his black form outlined in the night against the red 
glare of hell. 

A crowd of panic-stricken women and chfldren with 
a dozen boys of fourteen rushed down the streets toward 
the squad of incendiaries. Without a word they raised 
their rifles and fired until the last figure fell. 

^ A child toddled from the burning home carrying her 
kitten in one hand and a toy lamb in another. She 
was sobbing bitterly in one breath, and trying to re- 
assure her kitten in the next. 

284. 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



Vassar heard her as she hurried past on the other 
side of the hedge. 

"Don't you cry, kitty darhng, I won't let them hurt 
you." 

Her people were dead. She was hurrying into the 
night alone. From every street came the shrieks of 
women dragged to their doom by beasts in uniform. 

Vassar set his jaw and crept along the last hedgerow 
to the gate of the Holland home. 

The lights were burning brightly. A sentinel stood 
at the steps of the porch, his burly figure distinctly out- 
lined against the cluster of electric lights in the low 
ceiling. 

A sentry was on guard at the gate not ten feet away. 
A battery of artillery rolled past, its steel frame, rat- 
tling and lumbering. 

Vassar saw his chance. 

As the last caisson wheeled away beyond the flicker- 
ing street lamps the guard turned into the hedge out of 
the wind to light his pipe. 

^ With a tiger spring Vassar leaped on him, gripped 
his throat, pressed an automatic to his breast and 
fired. 

He took the chance that the passing battery would 
drown the muffled shot. The sentry crumpled in his 
arms and he held his Breath watching his companion at 

285 



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Ill 





THE FALL OF A N ATION 

the house. The steady step showed that he had not 
heard. 

He drew the dying soldier into the shadows inside 
the lawn and exchanged clothes. He threw the body 
close under the hedge, seized the rifle and took his place 
at the gate. 

He would side-step the ofBcers, guard the house and 
make the men who dared attempt to violate it pay for 
their crime. It was evident that a commander had se- 
lected the house for his headquarters for the night. He 
watched the drunken revelers who passed and wondered 
what was happening inside. 

So long as the officer of high rank remained and was 
sober the women were safe. He would stand guard 
until daylight and make his escape. 

He watched the figures pass the lighted windows with 
increasing anxiety. A disturbance had occurred. The 
sentinel stopped, glanced toward the house, lowered his 
gun, watched a moment and resumed his beat. 

Vassar crawled on his hands and knees halfway 
across the lawn, gripped his rifle, and waited. 



i ! = 



CHAPTER XXXiy 

THE orderly who searched the house found two 
shotguns. The Colonel who had quartered hi, 
^ staff for the night pointed to the two old men. 

•Arrest them— you understand." 
Andrew Vassar knew what the brief clause with which 
the order ended meant. He crossed himself and breathed 
a prayer for the safety of his loved ones. 

Zonia and Marya burst into tears. Virginia and her 
mother drew themselves erect and waited white and 
Silent. 

Hofland faced the commander, erect, defiant 
"I am a soldier, sir," he began with dignity. "I 
fought for my country through four bloody years in a 
hundred skirmishes and twenty-six great battles. I 
have the right to bear arms. I have won that right 
w.th my blood. I claim it before any court on earth 
over which a soldier presides." 

The commander fixed him with a stern look. 
"You have disobeyed the proclamation of ihe Gov- 
emor-General, the servant of my Imperial Master. 
You have therefore forfeited all rights." 

287 



'HE FALL OF A NATION 



■jiy=^ . 



#'i i; 




*'I demand a trial bj drum-head court martial!" Hol- 
land answered. 

"You shall have it— you and jour companion. Take 
them away.*' 

Between two soldiers they were marched across the 
fields. 

The children burst into incontrollable weeping. 

The Colonel spoke in sharp tones: 

"Come, come, my children. It is nothing. I must 
respect the forms. Their lives are forfeited, but I spare 
them for your sakes. They will return, both, tomor- 
row — have no fear!" 

Zonia seized the officer's hand still sobbing: 

"Thank you I Thank you !" 

Marya in her joy kissed him. 

The crisis passed, the Colonel turned to the ladies 
with a courtly bow. 

"I am sorry to have to be so rude in your presence, 
madam," he said, addressing Virginia's mother. "We 
are soldiers. I must obey the orders of my superiors. 
I have no choice. We are sorry to put you to the 
trouble — but we are tired and hungry and we must dine. 
I will appreciate a good dinner and I shall see to it 
that your home is safe from intrusion on this unhappy 
evening." 

His heels clicked again and he resumed his seat. 

S8S 



THE FALL OF A NATION 

"We will serve you dinner at once," Virginia quickly 
replied before her mother could answer. "We are sorry 
that it will be so poor. We have had no market for 
the past two days — " 

"Some good wine will go far to make up for what else 
you may lack," a Lieutenant interrupted. 

"By all means, some wine—" the Colonel added. 
^ The three men were bidden to enter the dining-room 
with a bow from Peter, the black butler. 

"We dine alone?" the Colonel asked in surprise. 

"De ladies is feelin' very po'ly, sah— Dey axe to be 
'cused — " 

"Say to the ladies," was the stem answer, "that we 
cannot sit down without their presence. We await 
them. Ask them to come at once." 

The request was a command. 

The women held a council of war. 

"I'll die first," Mrs. Holland calmly answered. 

"You will not," Virginia firmly declared. 

"We've something big to live for now. Our country- 
needs us. We too are soldiers from tonight. We play 
the war game with our enemy — come all of you " 

Without delay she forced them to enter the dining- 
room. Virginia, Zonia and Marya took seats opposite 
the intruders, the mother, her accustomed place at the 
head of the table. 



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m - !- 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



The dinner moved with quiet and orderly dignity 
until the officers' faces began to flush with wine. 
The Lieutenant's leering eye continually sought 
Zonia's. 

She avoided his gaze at every turn. 

"Come, now, you little puss !" he cried at last. "Don't 
freeze me with dark looks and averted gaze. I like 
you!" 

Zonia blushed and dropped her head lower. 

"I suggest. Lieutenant," Mrs. Holland began, "that 
your remark is a little rude. I trust we are in the 
presence of gentlemen of culture and refinement." 

Virginia held her breath in painful suspense. She 
saw the Colonel give a wink aside to his subordinate. 

The Lieutenant tossed off his glass of wine, rose, 
clicked his heels and bowed. 

"I assure you, madam," he said with a laugh, "you 
do me great injustice. 1 have been honestly smitten 
with admiration for the charming and beautiful young 
lady. We are enemies, but she has conquered. I 
acknowledge defeat. To show you my sincerity, I will 
apologize — " 

With a quick swing, his word clanking, he walked 

around the table and leaned close over Zonia's soulders, 

his reddened eyes searching her frightened face. 

"You will forgive me, my dear!" he drawled, 

290 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



His head touched the girPs dark hair and she shrark 
with a little cry of horror. 

"Please!" 

"So! I'm not to be forgiven!" he growled. 

"Please leave me!" Zonia breathed timidly. 

"Come now— don't be silly—" he protested. "Am 
I a leper?" 

The girl lifted her eyes to his flushed, lecherous face, 
sprang to her feet, rushed into the hall and up the 
stairs. The Lieutenant followed with a loud laugh and 
oath. 

Virginia and her mother leaped from their chairs to 
follow. The Colonel stood in front barring the way. 

"Enough of these high and mighty airs, if you 
please ! he commanded sterrly. "We are the masters 
of this house. It is a woman's place to obey. Sit 
down!" 

"Colonel, I beg of you—" Virginia pleaded. «I 
must protect this girl. She is under my care " 

"I will protect her ! My oflScer means no harm. Your 
suspicions are an insult. He is only having his little 
fun with a foolish girl. It is the privilege of the con- 
queror — " 

He seized Virginia's arm and forced her into her 
seat. Marya was sobbing bitterly. Mrs. Holland 
san\ helplessly into a chair where she stood. 

291 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



The Colonel opened the front door and beckoned 
the guard. 

The sentinel entered. 

"Attend us. The ladies will not leave this room 
until our dinner has been properly served." 

The man saluted and took his place bcs''de the door. 

The noise of a struggle in the room above brought a 
moment of dead silence. The Colonel smiled. Marya 
screamed and Mrs. Holland fainted. 

Stop! Stop, I say!" Virginia heard the Lieutenant 
shout. 

A vulgar oath rang through the house and Zonia's 
swift feet were climbing the second flight of stairs, a 
man stumbling after her. 

Virginia rushed instinctively to the rescue. The 
guard seized her arms and forced her into a chair. 

My dear young lady," the Sublieutenant cried, ap- 
proaching her with a leer. "It's only a little fun ! Not 
a hair of her precious head will be harmed. He only 
fired to frighten and bring her to terms." 

The Colonel continued to eat. 

Virginia rushed to her mother's aid with a glass of 
water as her limp form slipped to the floor. 

The Colonel bent low over his cups and laughed at a 
joke the Sublieutenant whispered. 

A shot rang out from the wall of the house. 

292 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



A piercing scream echoed from the tower against 
the roof. 

Something crashed through the vines and struck the 
stone walk with a dull thud. 

"O my God!" Virginia moaned, covering her ears. 
Virginia leaped fr.m the floor and heard the quick 
familiar step of Billy passing the back door. 

He was hiding on the lawn, heard Zonia's first scream, 
and had killed the officer. Virginia saw it in a flash. 

Their vengeance would be complete when they knew 
the truth. She must escape. There was work to be 
done for her country and she meant to do it. Life 
was too precious to be thrown away tonight. 

She i ded silently toward the door, reached the hall, 
seized Zonia's hand, passed the guard and reached 
the lawn. 

"Follow her !" the Colonel shouted. "Bring her back 
dead or alive— I'll not be flouted by women !" 

The man plunged after Virginia, and called once: 
"Halt!" 

He raised his rifle to fire as she rushed squarely into 
the arms of the sentry who held the gate. 

She struggled fiercely to free herself from the hated 
uniform and felt his arms tighten witli savage power. 

Vassar spoke in low, tense whispers; 

"Be still, my ov !" 

293 





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•*QllF 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



She lifted her eyes in joyous terror and saw the 
face of her lover tense with rage. 
"God in heaven!" she cried. 
"Sh, still now — on your knees," he breathed. 
"Oh, Uncy darling!" Zonia moaned. 
Virginia's body slowly dropped as if in prayer that 
her life bo spared. 

The sentinel from the house leisurely approached. 
"Good work, old pal!" he called. 
The Colonel and Sublieutenant rushed from the 
house, followed by Marya and Mrs. Holland who had 
revived. The commander blew his whistle and the en- 
tire guard who patrolled the grounds hurried to the 
spot. 

Billy stepped from the shadows, and spoke in low 
tones to Vassar. 

"It's all up with me now. I shot the devil who was 
after Zonia." 

"Billy darling!" Virginia moaned. 
"Keep still, sis — it's all right!" he whispered. 
The Colonel approached the group at his leisure, 
smoking a cigarette. 

He* merely glanoed at Vassar and began in quick 
business-like tones: 

"Who shot that man?" 

Billy stepped forward. 

S94 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"I did, sir— »» 
"So?'» 

"Virginia Holland's my sister — *» 
The Colonel touched his mustache and looked the 
youngster over with admiration. 

"A boy alone defies a victorious army. I like you. 
I want you in our ranks — ** 

He paused thoughtfully as Mrs. Holland and Marya 
crept close, clinging to each other in dumb misery. 
Zonia slipped close to Billy — 

"My darling boy !" his mother moaned. 
"It's all right, mother," he called cheerfully — 
"What's the odds? They shot John Vassar's father 
and mine an hour ago — " 

A low moan came from Virginia's iips. 
The mother was silent. Her eyes were fixed on the 
rigid figure of her boy with hungry, desperate yearn- 
ing. 

The Colonel caught the look of anguish and felt 
for a moment the pull of its tragedy. He too had a 
mother. 

He turned to her and spoke in friendly tones : 
"Madam, your son is of the stuff that makes heroes. 
I'm going to spare his life — " 
"Thank God—" she sobbed. 

"On one condition — I want him in the service of 

S95 



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THE FALL OF, A NATION 



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the Emperor. Frederick the Great called thousands 
of conquered foes to the colors — ^they made good. If 
he will take off his cap and give three cheers for the 
Emperor— I will place him on my staff and he shall 
live to find new paths of glory.'* 

Billy smiled. 

His mother, Virginia, Marya and Zonia pressed close 
and pleaded that he yield. 

His mother held him in her arms in a long, desperate 
embrace. 

"0 my baby, heart of my heart, you must — I com- 
mand it. Your father is gone. You must live and 
care for your poor mother — " 

"Do it, boy," Virginia whispered, "and give them 
the slip — fight the devil with fire — you must." 

"Please, Billy !" Marya pleaded. 

Zonia slipped her arms around his neck. 

The boy looked into the wistful face of the girl — bent 
and kissed her. 

"All right, Zonia," he cried steadily. 

"I'll do it for your sake and mother's — " 

"Sensible boy!" the Colonel cried. "Now atten- 
tion!" 

He clicked his heels as the guard fell in line behind 
him. With quick wit John Vassar tooi. Jiis place wita 
the others. 

S96 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"The ladies by my side, please, in honor of the cere- 
mony," the Colonel callrd. 

Virginia, Marya and tb? mother nuddled in a group 
beside the commander. 

"Now, sir," he cried, "we'll have three cheers for his 
Imperial Majesty, the Emperor!" 

The boy's face went white and his voice failed. 

"Billy—" his mother pleaded. 

"Billy !" Virginia sternly commanded. 

"Billy!" Zonia pleaded. 

The youngster's body suddenly stiffened and a smile 
overspread his face. The tense scene was unearthly 
in the pale moonlight. His voice was quick and rang 
in deep, manly tones. 

"Hurrah for the President of the United States I — 
to hell with all emperors !" 

The Colonel drew his pistol and shot him down be- 
fore their agonized gaze. 

The mother swooned, Marya fled in terror to the 
woods. 

Zonia caught the crumpled figure in her arms. 

Vassar with a single leap was by Virginia's side, 
seized her and rushed toward the shadows of the hedge. 

He shouted to the commander: 

"She's mine, Colonel — ^by right of conquest!" 

To Virginia he whispered hoarsely : 

297 



ni 






i I 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



tit 



*Shout, fight, scratch, scream to him for help — " 
Quick to catch his ruse, she struck wildly with her 

hands, and called for help. 
The Colonel laughed. 
"I had reserved higher honors for you !" he shouted. 

"You're not worth it — ^go with gour man!" 



7 , 



! I 'I 



im' 



CHAPTER XXXV 



MRS. HOLLAND rallied from her swoon and 
Marya helped her to rise as Zonia shouted 
joyfully: "Come quick! He's alive— he's 
alive !" 

Billy opened his eyes feebly and raised his hand to 
the ugly wound in his breast. Zonia caught it, bent 
and kissed him. 

Mrs. Holland staggered to the group and knelt by 
their side. 

"Oh— my boy— you'll live— I feel it— I know it. God 
has heard my prayer — " 

She paused and turned to Marya — 

"Go, darling, quick — ^bring some water and tell Peter 
to come." 

Marya darted across the lawn, entered the house, 
summoned Peter and seized a glass of water. 

In ten mmutes the faithful old butler had carried 
Billy from the lawn and was leading the stricken group 
toward the road for New York. 

Vassar's trick succeeded. He reached his post with- 
out interference, thrust Virginia into the edge of the 

299 





i 



II I i' 




it m- 




THE F^I-I- OF A NATION 



dense hedgerow and waited until the guards had 
returned to their places. Not a moment was to be 

lost. 

He seized her hand and rushed down the street lit 

by the glare of burning houses. 

"Play your part now!" he commanded. "It*s the 
only way and it's safe. It's the order of the night's 

work." 

They pushed through mobs of panic-stricken flee- 
ing refugees and groups of drunken soldiers revelling 
in every excess. Again and again they passed brutes 
wit:i captive girls as their prey. Some had them tied 
with cords. Others relied on a blow from their fists to 

insure obedience. 

They waved their congratulations to Vassar and 

his captive as they passed. 

They reached the outskirts of the town without ac- 
cident and ran into the stream of horror-stricken hu- 
manity that was pouring now toward New York. 

A great murmur of mingled anguish, rage and 
despair rolled heavenward. It seemed a part of the 
leaping flames and red billowing smoke of the burning 

city behind them. 

Lost children were crying for their parents and 
trudging hopelessly on with the crowd. 

A farmer with a horrible wound across his forehead 

300 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



was pushing a wheelbarrow bearing his mangled child. 
Beside the body sat a little three-year-old girl clutching 
a blood-smeared doll. 

A big automobile came shrieking through this crowd 
of misery. Beside the chauffeur sat an officer in glit- 
tering uniform, behind two soldiers, their bayonets 
flashing in the glare of the conflagration. In the rear 
seat alone, in magnificent uniform with gold epaulets 
and cords, sat the Governor-General of the fallen 
nation. 

Waldron saw Virginia with a look of surprise and 
rage and lifted his hand. The car stopped instantly. 
The guard sprang out and opened the door of the 
tonneau. 

**Quick!" Virginia whispered. "He has seen me. 
He will recognize you — run for your life!" 

"1*11 not leave you to that beast's mercy — " 

"Run — run I tell you, if you love me!" she cried in 
agony. "I can take care of myself now. I'll manage 
Waldron — and I know how to die!" 

He gripped her hand fiercely. 

With sudden resolution, she tore from his grasp 
and rushed to meet her rescuer. 

Vassar no longer hesitated. She had made it im- 
possible for him to linger a moment. He leaped the 
fence and disappeared in the shadows. 

301 









THE FALL OF A NATION 



Waldron grasped Virginia's hand in genuine sur- 
piise and distress. 

"My dear Miss Holland," he said with a touch of 
royal condescension, "what does this mean?" 
"I was a prisoner," she gasped. 
"A prisoner?" 

"The brute w^o ran had seized and dragged me 
from the lawn xnd through the streets." 

"I*m proud and happy in this chance to prove to you 
my devotion. You have treated me cruelly. I show 
you tonight my generosity." 

"Tliunk you," she murmured gratefully. 
With a lordly bow he handed her into the car and 
ordered his chauffeur to drive down the turnpike toward 
the Holland house. 

The home was in flames. The Colonel had fired it 
in revenge for the death of his Lieutenant and sought 
new headquarters for the night. 

Virginia found her mother, Zonia, Marya — ^with old 
Peter nearby holdirg Billy in his lap — standing in 
dazed horror watching the flames leap and roar and 
crackle. 

Waldron helped the stricken mother and girl into his 
car. 

Yirginia lifted her white face. 

'Tkly father was shot — " 

802 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



"Tonight?" 

"Yes—" 

Waldron turned sharply to a guard. 

"Find his body. It can't be far and bring it to 
New York for burial." 

"If you will permit me, Miss Holland," Waldron 
said with a stately bow, "I will take you and your 
mother to your house on the Square. I fear it has been 
looted by the soldiery who got out of hand for a few 
hours. But you will be safe there from tonight. I will 
place a guard at your door. You are under my pro- 
tection now — " 

"Thank you ! Thank you," Virginia answered in low 
tones. 

The Gr/ernor-Gcneral drove by the army head- 
quarters, spoke for a moment to the Commander-in- 
chief, arranged the programme for the triumphal entry 
into the city, secured a cavalry escort and leisurely 
drove back into New York through miles of weary 
plodding, stunned and maimed refugees still fleeing 
before the savage sweep of the imperial army. 

He placed Virginia and her mother in their wrecked 
home and stationed a guard at the door. 

With lordly condescension he took her hand in part- 
ing: 

"Please remember, Miss Holland, that I'm the most 

303 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



powerful man in America today. My word is law, 
and I am yours to command." 

"You are generous," she answered softly. 

He lifted his hand in protest, bowed and took his 
seat again in his automobile. 

Virginia stood beside a broken window and watched 
the swiftly galloping horses of his escort sweep past 
the little park toward Broadway. 

She walked with wide staring eyes through the lit- 
ter of broken furniture, a dim resolution slowly shap- 
ing itself in her soul. It came in a moment's inspira- 
tion — the way of deliverance at last. Her heart gave 
a cry of joy. The nails of her slender fingers cut the 
flesh as she gripped her hands in the fierce decision. 

"I'U do it— I'll do it!" she breathed with uplifted 
head and chalk-white face. 





Itf"' 



I r 

i •: 



CHAPTER XXXVI 



VASSAR succeeded in making his way to Fort 
Hamilton anr? joined General Hood. He had 
cut his way through Waldron's garrison 
which had mobilized in Brooklyn to join its levies with 
the invading army. 

General Hood disbanded the handful of surviving 
officers and men and ordered each individual to join 
him at a secret rendezvous on the plains of Texas. He 
kept intact two companies of cavalry for an escort. He 
would take his chances with these by avoiding the fallen 
cities. 

He placed final orders to his faithful secret service 
men in New York in Va^^sar's hands. 

**You wish to stay a few days in New York. All 
right. Disguise yourself, travel by rail and join me 
later. Tell our people everywhere to play the fox, 
submit, take their oath of allegiance, and wait my 
orders. They'll come in due time. I'm going to re- 
treat to the Sierra Nevadas if necessary and get 
ready." 

Vassar pressed the General's hand. 

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THE FALL OF A NATION 



"You will surrender the forts?" 

"Certainly. I shall leave them intact. We'll need 
them again." 

"I could blow them up. It would be foolish. The 
city they were built to defend is lost for the moment. 
The submarines are already lying in the harbor and 
hold the Navy Yard." 

With a quick pressure of hand the men parted. 
The General embarked his cavalry on a small army 
transport that lay under the guns of Fort Hamilton, 
slipped to sea at night and sailed for Galveston. 

Vassar reached New York disguised as a Long Island 
truck farmer. He drove .* wagon loaded with vege- 
tables, circled Stuyvesant Square next morning and 
called his produce for sale. 

He looked for an agonized moment at his battered 
house, snapped the iron weight strop on his horse's 
bridle and rushed up the stairs. 

The wreck within was complete and appalling. 

He hurried across the Square to the Holland house. 
He was sure that Waldron would give his protection. 

He could kill him for it and yet he thanked God Vir- 
ginia was safe. Waldron loved her. He knew it 
by an unerring intuition. He would use his wealth 
and dazzling power again to win her. He knew that 
too by the same sixth sense. 

306 



1 


1 


' i 

ill 


%k 



THE FALL OF A N ATION 

He couldn't succeed! If ever a woman loved,^r- 
ginia Holland loved him. With her kind it was once 
for life. 

And yet he trembled at the thought of what such a 
brute might do when every appeal had failed. Would 
he dare to use his power to force her to his will? Such 
things had been done by tyrants. A new day was 
dawning in a world that once was the home of freedom— 
the day of the jailer, tyrant, sycophant, and soldier 
who asks no questions. 

It strangled him to think that he must leave her 
here. He wouldn't! He would make her come with 
Marya, Zonia and her mother into the West and take 
her place in the field by his side. 

The thought thrilled him with new life. 
In ten minutes he was holding her in his arms— war 
and death, poverty and ruin lost in love's mad rap- 
ture. 

"You must come with me, my own!" he breathed. 
"I will find a tent for you on the great free plains— 
you, your mother, and Marya and Zonia. You can 
follow when I send you the word »* 

She shook ner head sadly. 

"No, my lover, I cannot surrender to our enemies 
like that— my place is here." 

"Your life is not safe in Waldron's hands." 

S07 




I 

i 



rf- 



K'.'flill 



i ^'^ 




THE FALL OF A NATION 

"I'm in God*8 hands. I have work to do. You 
shall do [jrours on the plains training our brave boys 
for the day that shall surely come. I must do mine 
here—" 

"I can't leave you!** he protested bitterly. 

"You must. My mother can't live. I know this. 
The shock of a journey would kill her. Mary a and 
Zonia shall be my sisters.** 

For half an hour he pleaded in vain. There was 
but one answer. 

"My work is here. I*ve thought it out to the end. 
I shall not fail. 1*11 tell you when I'm ready and you 
will come then — " 

There was an inspiration, a lofty spirit of exalta- 
tion, in her speech that hushed protest. 

He pressed her lips. 

"I will not see you again," he said at last. "My 
coming is dangerous to us both. My work is done to- 
day. We may be watched by other eyes than Wal- 
dron's guard on your block — " 

"I am grateful for his help. I shall be sorry for 
him when the day I d: eam comes. But it must come. 
I have betrayed my country by folly beyond God's for- 
giveness. I shall do my part now to retrieve that 



»» 



error- 

Vassar moved uneasily. 



308 



"THE FALL OF A NATION 



"You shall know and approve— and I shall not 
fail!" 

She paused and held his gaze with a strange, glowing 
light in her eyes-the light of religious enthusiasm. It 
filled him with fear and thrilled him with hope. Her 
faith was contagious. 

"You cannot work here-" she went on, «a price is 
on your head." 

He left her at the door, the same dreamy brilliance 
in her sensitive face. She stood as if in a trance. He 
wondered what it meant-what her mysterious work 
was going to be? 



•p 



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*i! 



T 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

HREE days later the magnificent imperial 
army entered the fallen metropolis, its scarlet, 
gold-embossed standards flying, its bands play- 
ing. 

Waldron marched to meet them at the head of twen- 
ty-five thousand picked men of his garrison. His 
division more than made good the losses of battle. 

When the grand march began at the entrance of the 
Queensboro Bridge-one hundred and sixty-five thou- 
sand men were in line. The immensity of the spectacle 
stunned the imagination of the curious thousands that 
pressed close to the curbs and watched them pass. When 
the German army entered Antwerp in the world war, 
the streets were absolutely deserted save for stray dogs 
and cats that howled from wrecked buildings. New 
York was consumed by a quenchless eagerness to look 
on their conquerors. 

All day from seven o'clock in the morning until dark 
the torrent of brown kahki poured through Fifty-ninth 
Street and down Fifth Avenue. When the Avenue 
was filled by the solid ranks from Central Park to the 

SIO 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

Washington Arch, the imperial host at a given signal 

raised their shout of triumph. 
"For God and Emperor!" 

Until this moment they had moved in a silence that 
was uncanny. Their long-pent feelings gave the united 
yell of a hundred and sixty thousand an unearthly 
power. They shouted in chorus first from every regi-' 
ment m one grand burst of defiant pride. And then 
they shouted by regiments, beginning with the first 
The shout leaped from regiment to regiment until it 
swept the entire line far out on the plains of Long 
Island. Each marching host tried to lift the note 
higher until the frenzied bursts came with the shock of 
salvos of artillery. 

And then they sang the songs of their grand army 
on the march. For an hour their voices rang the 
death knell of freedom while conquered thousands stood 
in awed silence. 

Waldron moved at the head of the column on his 
white horse in gorgeous uniform. Beside him rode in 
service suit the Commander-in-chief on a black Arabian 
stallion with arched neck and sleek, shining sides. 

The ceremonies at the City Hall were brief. The 
grand procession never paused. Timed to a dot, the 
lines had divided as they passed the cross streets lead> 
ing to our great tunnels. At Forty-second Street a 

311 









i 







THE FALL OP A NATION 

division swirng into the Grand Central Station to en- 
train for service In the interior. The cars were waiting 
with steam up and every man at his place under the 
command of army officers. 

At Thirty-fourth Street another division swung into 
the Pennsylvania Station. At Twenty-third Street an- 
other swept toward the Lackawanna and the Erie. At 
Fourteenth Street another swung toward the Chelsea 
piers, where transports were waiting to bear them to 
Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, New Orleans, Jack- 
sonville and Galveston. 

These transports had been seized in the harbor. The 
great armada was already loading the second division 
of a hundred and sixty thousand more men at the 
wharves of Europe. The imperial army of occupation 
would consist of a million veterans. They would be 
landed now without pause until the work was done. A 
A fleet of a hundred submarines lay in wait for our 
Pacific fleet in the Straits of Magellan. Its end was 
sure. 

The conquest was complete, overwhelming, stunning. 
The half-baked desperate rebellions that broke out In 
various small towns where patriotism was a living thing 
were stamped out with a cruelty so appalling they were 
not repeated. At the first ripple of -trouble the town 
was laid in ashes, its population of males»massacred, Its 

31« 



t \ 



I 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



women outraged and driven into the fields to crawl to 
the nearest viUage and tell the story. One short-lived 
victory marked the end. 

The Virginians raised an army of volunteer cavalry, 
led by a descendant of Jeb Stuart raided and cap- 
tured Washington. The garrison were taken by 
complete surprise at three o'clock before daylight. 
The fight was at close quarters and the enemy was 
annihilated. 

A battle cruiser promptly swept up the Potomac 
from the Chesapeake Bay, opened with her huge guns 
and reduced our capital to a pile of broken stone. 
Incendiary shells completed the work and two days 
later the most beautiful city in America lay beneath 
the Southern skies a smouldering ash-heap. The proud 
shaft of shining marble to the memory of George Wash- 
ington was* reduced to a mass of pulverized stone. A 
crater sixteen feet in depth gaped where its founda- 
tions had rested. 

An indemnity was levied on New York that robbed 
the city of every dollar in every vault and sent its 
famous men into -beggared exile. Waldron's list of 
proscription for banishment included every leader in the 
world of finance, invention and industry. 

He had marked every man with a genius for political 
leadership for a term of ten years' imprisonment. 

SIS 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



h" 






^HBi 


1 ^■ 


W^' 


^ 



Exile was too dangerous an experiment for these 
trouble-makers. They were safer in jail. Ten years in 
darkness and misery would bring them to reason. 

The world's war had cost the Imperial Federation a 
staggering total of thirty billions. Waldron promised 
his royal master to replace every dollar of this loss 
within five years by a system of confiscation and taxes. 
His first acts of plunder sent treasure ships to Europe 
bearing fifteen billions. The revenue from all the con- 
fiscated railroads, mines, and great industries taken 
over by the new government would reduce taxation in 
Europe to a trifle. 

When the conquest was complete the net result was 
that Imperial Europe had fenced in a continent with 
bristling cannon. Inside the inclosure were a hundred 
million of the most intelligent and capable slaves the 
world had seen since the legions of Rome conquered 
Greece and enslaved her artists and philosophers. 

There was no pause in the ruthless work until the 
last spark of resistance had been stamped out. 

By one of the strange ironies of fate the fiercest of 
the futile rebellions broke out on the East Side of New 
York, where the attempt was made completely to dis- 
arm our half-baked foreign population. The men who 
sulked in the tenement districts below the Bowery had 
been accustomed to fight constituted authority in the 

314 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Old World from habit. The first squad of soldiers 
sent into this quarter to disarm them had never re- 
turned. Not one of their bodies were found. 

When a regiment with machine guns rushed in they 
found the side streets below Fourteenth barricaded with 
piles of trucks and lumber. From every window they 
received a hail of bullets. 

A battery of artillery cleared the barricades and 
the slaught r began. After four hours of butchery in 
the streets, the commander discovered that the old 
Tenth Regiment Armory was crowded. More than a 
thousand women and children accustomed to attend 
Vassar's school of patriotism had sought refuge there. 
The children had found the flags and their mothers in 
foolish superstition had pinned them on their breasts 
for protection — ^the flag they had been taught to love ! 
The Imperial Guard turned their artih y on the 
armory and tore the flimsy front wall into fragments. 
When the screaming children and frantic women ruf bed 
through thfc breach, a withering fire from the pompoms 
piled their writhing bodies on the blood-soaked pave- 
ments. 

Benda had been killed in the second intrenchments on 
Long Island. Angela faced the storm of lead at the 
door, holding her boy behind her back to shield him 
from the bullets. 

316 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




If 



A shell exploded inside and a fragment buried itself 
in the child's breast. The mother felt the stinging 
shock and heard the thud of the iron crash into the 
soft flesh. 

The boj made no cry. The iron had torn through 
his heart. The little hand was lifted feebly and 
clutched the tiny flag that covered his breast. 

With a cry of anguish she clasped the bleeding bundle 
of flesh in her arms, ran through the building and 
found her way into the darkened basement. 

When the building was cleared the commander en- 
tered with a squad of soldiers, lighted a cigarette and 
inspected the ruins. 

On the blackboards still were standing in clear white 
chalk the sentences and mottoes Vassar had written : 
ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. 

The Conmiander laughed and wrote beneath it: 

BUT YOU COULDN'T STOP A SIXTEEN-INCH 
SHELL WITH HOT AIR! 

The men cheered. 

On the next blackboard stood the words : 
LIBERTY— EQUALITY— FRATERNITY. 
The officer struck a line through each word and 
wrote beneath: 

authority:— OBEDIENCE— EFFiaENCY. i 

816 




i 



'A battery of artillery cleared the barricades and the slaushter 

began" 



1 



, J 

1 i" 



i Si 



r-^. 



si' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



Again the soldiers cheered. 

iWithin three months the fallen nation had been com- 
pletely disarmed and rendered helpless. 

The penalty of death was enforced against everyone 
who dared to conceal a pistol, rifle, shotgun or piece of 
explosive. The manufacturing plants making arms and 
ammunition were under the control of the invaders. 

They not only controlled these gun and shell 
factories, they took possession of every chemical 
laboratory and every piece of machinerj^ that could be 
used to make explosives. It was no more possible ta 
buy a piece of dynamite for any purpose than to buy 
a forty-two centimeter siege gun. All blasting for 
building and commercial purposes was done by an of- 
ficer, who charged well for his services. 

Every street railway and tnink line was manned by 
the army. The ammunition f&ctories were all working 
with double shifts of American laborers, compelled by 
their conquerors to tuxn out shells for future use 
against their fellow-countrymen. 

Every newspaper, magazine and publishing-house 
had installed an Imperial censor. Not a line was al- 
lowed to be printed under penalty of death except by 
his order. 

Freedom of speech and press was relegated to the 
dust heap as j3ead heresies against constituted author- 

817 





\l" 



\m 




If 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



ity. The people were only told what their masters per- 
mitted them to hear. Our press, of course, was 
unanimous in its praise of the new Imperial regime. 
"Law," "Order," and "Efficiencj" were the new watch- 
words of America. The people were not asked to do 
any thinking. Their masters did it for them, their 
part was to oHey, 

Waldron determined to make Virginia Holland the 
leader of a new woman's party to proclaim the bless- 
ings of the imperial and aristocratic form of govern- 
ment. 

He honored her with an invitation to his palace to 
discuss his scheme. When Virginia received the per- 
fumed, crested note, her cheeks flushed with joy. 

"Thank God!" she murmured fervently. 



jil 



CHAPTER XXXVin 



VIRGINIA had just dressed in dead black for her 
visit to the palace of the Governor-G.neral 
on the Heights. Waldron insisted on sending 
a state automobile. The machine was at the door 
w:th liveried flunkies standing in stiff servant attitudes. 
A slender Italian woman passed them with a listless 
stare and rang the beU of the Holland house. 

Virginia answered. She had seen the somber figure 
from the window, 

"Angela !» she cried in surprise. 
Si. Signorina, I may see — ^you?" 
**Yes"— was the quick, sympathetic answer. 
The drooping figure shambled to a seat and 
dropped. 

"Tell me—what has happened?" Virginia urged. 
"You see the papers?" 

"About the riots on the East Side— yes— the people 
were very foolish — " 

The woman leaned close— her breath coming in deep 
quivering draughts. 

"They kill my bambino— signorina ! The sheU tore 
* 319 





J 



r.. 



THF ^ALL OF A NAT ION 

hi* little heart all out— gee ! I bring the flag he wore— 

all red with blood. And now I come to you you 

■peak so grand, I want my revenge — " 

She paused, strangled with emotion. 

♦*I keep this flag and I love it too! I will kill and 

km and kill! You will tell me how? They kill your 

father— they kill your brother— you tell me, Signorina! 

We fight now— you and me — we fight for this flag- 
is it not so?" 

She held in her hand the blood-stained emblem. 

Virginia took the stricken mother in her arms and 
sobbed with her. 

"Come with me," she said in low tones, leading 
the way to the sitting-room in the rear. She closed 
the doors, and pressed Angela to her knees. 

Into the ears of the kneeling woman she whispered 
an oath. 

"You swear ?»» 

"By the mother of God and all the Saints!" came 
the quick answer. 

For ten minutes Virgmia gave instructions m tones 
80 low that they could not be heard even by the keen- 
est ear at her door. 

There was a light of wild joy in the swarthy face 
as she rose. 

"Now— I live— I breathe— Signorina ! Si— si. I 

S20 




THE FALL OF A \ATlON 



under.tand! I take the littje opg.„ .„d mr i 

«». I «e .11 the people. I whi.per to tho« 1 vr„.t. 
We meet. I g„ again to Wert Side .„d do the .ame. 
I 6^ everywhere and I tell you. Si—i. ni„.g„i„,.. 
She threw her arm. about Virginia, held her in 
..lence and left with quick, eager .tep-the light of 
purpo« flashing in her dark eye.. 




*.T •>. * .". 




m 




CHAPTER XXXIX 

THE Governor-General received Virginia in royal 
state. His manner was gracious and genial. 
He led her to a seat in his great library and 
closed the doors. The royal guard took his stand out- 
side. 

"I told you, Miss Holland," he began eagerly, "that 
I had high ambitions. You see that I am a man'of my 
word. Of course, the thing that happened was in- 
evitable. It was written in the book of Fate. Had I 
not seized the reins— another would. Conditions made 
my coup possible. For the excesses of the Imperial 
Conquering Army I have no words in palliation. Such 
is war. Had I known the peril of your father and 
mother, I assure you I would have hurried to their 
rescue — you believe me when I say this?" 

"I am sure of it, now," she answered promptly. 
"I hurried to Babylon the moment I learned that 
the defense had collapsed and our troops were vic- 
torious- — " 

He paused and leaned closer. 

"I want to apologize for the unpardonable blunder 

S2S 



^^m 



.■■;s». 



THE FALL OF A NA TION 

I made the last time we met in this house. I did not 
realize then how deeply and madly I love you. In 
anguish I learned it too late. But I have bided my 
time. I have lived to prove my devotion in the hour 
of your peril and I have only begun what I wish to do 
for you — '* 

Again he paused, his eyes devouring her pensive 
beauty. 

"I had rather win you than rule the Empire 
that's mine. I would win as a n,an woos and wins 
the one woman he ves—you believe me when I say 
this?" "^ 

"Yes," was. the frank reply. "I believe now that 
you are in dead earnest." 

"Good. I don't ask if you love me. I know that 
you do not. I do not ask you to marry me immediately. 
I know that I must first win your regard. I prize 
you all the more for this reason " 

**Man-like, of course," Virginia interrupted with a 
smile. 

"First, I wish to pay you personally the highest 
tribute a man in my position can give to any man or 
women. I am going to offer you the second highest 
place in the Empire next to mine. Your fortune has 
disappeared in the wreck of war. You tl i.i -ci^inid 
it tenfold through the work I shall place in yojr hands 

3^3 



m 



fW<h"i I 



frns 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




My first ambition now is really to pacify the mind of 
the States. It can be done through our women. 

"I appeal to your reason. Here is the situation. 
The last hope of successful rebellion has been stamped 
out. The millions of America, completely disarmed, 
are helpless to resist our army of occupation. I wish, 
not only to complete the crushing of the last hope of 
insurrection; it is my ambition to convince the people 
that the central monarchical and aristocratic form of 
government is the only natural order of life and there- 
fore a divine law. 

"The quick intuitions of women have been always 
more open to this truth than the more brutal and 
anarchistic male mind. Women have always been the 
bulwark of aristocracy and imperial monarchy. Man 
is an anarchist — ^woman a royalist by instinct. 

"The American democracy was only an accident of 
time and space. The oceans are now the King's high- 
way and he owns them by right of eminent domain. 
Democracy can never survive this bringing of the ends 
of the earth together. Democracy cannot live because 
when brought face to face with the monarchical form 
it is not worthy to live. The United States of America 
gave the human race the one supreme example of a 
weak, corrupt and contemptible government. The like 
of it ^as never known before in the history of man. 

3U 



THE FALL OF. A NATION 



«i 



^Democracy is a disease — a form of crowd ego- 
mania which drives millions of people mad with the 
insane delusion that they have been called of God to 
do something for which they are utterly unfitted. 

"AH government worthy of the name must be con- 
ducted by a few brilliant minds — divine leaders — ^pre- 
sided over by a supreme leader whom we call emperor 
or king. This is true in so-called democracies. The 
people only pretend to govern— imagine that they 
govern. They do not. A few master minds and brutal 
wills do it for them. Hence the system of bosses whose 
foul record we have ended forever. 

"No nation can have an art or literature unless 
monarchical and aristocratic — America has never had 
a literature. It will have one only when its conscious 
life is reincarnated in the soul of a sovereign who takes 
his crown from God, not man. 

"The people of this country were never fit to govern 
themselves. They got the kind of government 
they deserved. In Central Europe government has 
long been reduced to a science. Their cities are 
clean — their life as orderly as the movement of the 
stars. 

"The monarchical form of government only can an- 
swer the questions of Socialism. Germany did this a 
generation ago. When the world-war came the 

S25 




''A\!^ 



■'''";^!'^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



W 



Socialists were as loyal to the Emperor as the proudest 
prince of the blood. 

**The conquest of America has been the best thing 
that could have happened. Its battles were of minor im- 
portance. Had not a powerful Imperial government 
come to our rescue we would have been deluged in blood 
by a second French Revolution within this generation. 
"The noblest minds in this country have felt this 
for years. They have gradually been turning in dis- 
gust from our corrupt legislatures, our corrupt courts, 
our corrupt municipalities, oar rotten boroughs, our 
corrupt Congress. I tell you this to show you that I 
have been led by no weak or vulgar ambition into a 
betrayal of the liberties of a people. I believe in what 
I have done— believe in it with every ounce of my man- 
hood. We owe the progress of the human race to 
aristocracy, not democracy. Democracy is the great 
leveler of the world— the destructive force that presses 
humanity downward and backward. Aristocracy .is 
the inspiring power that leads, uplifts, creates and 
beckons onward and upward. 

"All the achievements of thought and science are By 
the chosen few. The herd merely eats and sleeps and 
reproduces its kind. But for the pressure from their 
superiors the masses would all lapse to elemental 
savagery within a few brief generations—" 

826 



THE FALL OF A N ATION 

Waldron stopped suddenly and gazed on the^Udd 
waters of the Hudson. 

Virginia watched him with genuine astonishment. 
He had revealed a new side of his strong character. 
She had not dreamed that his philosophy of life had 
been so logically wrought. She had not believed since 
his betrayal of his country that he had a philosophy 
of life at all. ^ 

"You astonish me beyond measure," she said at 
last. 

He smiled coldly. 

"I understand. You did not think me capable of 
such sweeping thoughts or such close reasoi.inu-con- 
fess it!" ^ 

"It's true, I didn't—" 

"You know now that I am in earnest in my political 
ambitions also?" 

"I'm thoroughly convinced " 

"Good ! You are a woman of rare intelligence and 
high ambitions. It is therefore easy for me to speak, 
now that you know that I am sincere—" 

He held her gaze in a moment's searching silence. 

"I may trust you now I'm sure with a secret that 
is not a secret if I should be accused. You will know 
that I mean something very definite when I say that 
this nation is too great, its resources too exhaustlesg 

327 







(■"Er*! 



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I 



f 1; 



( 



ii 



ft;, 



f'l (i 

-i 




to remain forever a conquered province of Imperial 
Europe. Am I not right?" 

"At least I hope so," was the diplomatic reply. 
"Exactly," Waldron answered confidentially. "In 
other words the day will come when a political leader 
of supreme genius will win the utter loyalty and con- 
fidence of the soldiers who hold these millions in 
hand. The man who does that will ascend a throne in 
Washington in a palace worthy of a Continental Em- 
pire washed by two oceans— you understand?" 
"I see!" Virginia breathed. 

"Remember t|ien, dear young lady, that I am your 
servant from today. If I have high ambitions and 
glorious dreams for my people and my country, I 
dream new glories for you — " 

"And the commission you would offer me?" she asked 
steadily. 

"That you organize the women of America into loyal- 
legions who will sustain the government against the 
possible forces of anarchy and rebellion. If you wiU 
consider the offer I will place unlimited money at 
your command. The old regime is gone forever. 
You can help me now to organize a nobler one on its 



rums. 



(( 



K 



And my reward?" 

I shall lay at your feet all that I am and have and 

328 



ever hope to be. I offer it now without condition if 
you will accept my hand in marriage—" 

"Vour commission I accept at once," was the prompt 
reply. "If I succeed we shall meet on term, more 
nearly equal." 

Waldron sprang to his feet, seized her hand and 
Kissed it. 

Could we have seen the expression of her white face 
when his lips touched her flesh he would not have 
smiled as he led her to the waiting car. - 




C ! 



lii 



n,-i 



U 'M 



m 






CHAPTER XL 

THE jails were crowded with our leading states- 
men. The President and his Cabinet had been 
transferred to Fort Warren at Boston before 
the Capitol was destroyed. 

The Honorable Plato Barker, for reasons deemed 
sufficient by the Govemor-General, was placed in the 
United States penitentiary at Albany. I„ spite of his 
n.ania for peace, Waldron thoroughly mistrusted him. 
His passion for oratorical leadership he knew to be in- 
3atiate. What fool scheme he might advocate in secret 
could not be guessed. In vain Barker offered to take 
the iron-clad Imperial oath. Waldron was deaf to all 
entreaties even when the petition was borne to him by 
the officer of the army who had captured the silver- 
tongued leader and made him a scullion. ViUard, the 
Commanding General, had allowed Barker to deliver 
Sunday lectures to his soldiers on harmless themes of 
Chautauqua fame. The Commander had grown to like 
the orator as a harmless sort of court jester. He was 
particularly fond of his illustrations and jokes He 
declared that Barker had missed his calling-he should 
have been an evangelist or a clown. 

3S0 






THE FALL OF A NAT ION 

Failing to release his favorite captive the General 
interceded to save liis reason. 

Barker could not endure the silence to which he 
had been doomed. His mind began to break under the 
strain. He was saved from madness by an order which 
permitted him to preach to the prisoners on Sunday. 
His first discourse was on "The Extraordinary Food 
Value of Grape Juice." 

The men who were living on bread and water didn't 
like it. 

The lecture was interrupted by an incipient riot 
He wa. compelled to drop the subject and stick to 
historical religion. He switched to a discourse on 
Saul of Tarsus, which was well received. It in no 
way mocked the appetites of his hearers. 

Pike proved to be another proposition for his captor. 
He became so peevish and sullen that his taskmaster 
went out of his way to make his life unendurable. The 
bow-legged Commander not only continually repeated 
Pike's former expressions on the dangers of being 
armed and the wickedness of being prepared for de- 
fense in the presence of the preacher while he danced 
attendance as a waiter at his headquarters, but he 
added insult to injury at last by forcing the advocate 
of peace to become an expert shot by daily target 
practice. 

331 



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THE FALL OF A N ATION 

When Waldron ordered the doughty cavalry leade 

to St. Louis, he dragged Pike with him to continu 

h« systematic torture. He piled the last straw on th 

httlo man's back the day after their arrival in th, 

new quarters by ordering him to don the uniform oi 

the Emperor, join a firing squad and shoot a deserter 

The preacher refused point blank. To have hi^ 

fun the General ordered two guardsmen to bring 

the rebel to his room and force him into the uniform 

-his horse was standing at the door saddled and 

ready to gallop to the field and watch Pike faint at the 

ordeal. 

The General roared with laughter when he finally 
stood forth arrayed in the brown uniform of the army 
The guardsmen in their shirtsleeves were laughing too 
He had struggled manfully to prevent the outrage and 
they had only drawn the clothes on him by main force 
It took the hostler at the door finally to win the con- 
test. 

•Theer up, Cuthbert, you'U soon be dead!" the of- 
ficer cried. 

The boys roared. 

With a sudden panther leap Pike was on the General 
snatched his automatic from his belt, shot him dead and 
killed the throe men before they recovered from the 
shock. 

dS2 



^HE FALL OF A NATION 



With a second leap he was on the waiting horse and 
calmly galloped through the camp before the guards 
discovered the incident. 

He found his way to General Hood's headquarters 
m the Sierra Nevadas and reported for duty. 

"Keep your uniform !»' Hood laughed. «We»ll need 
it for scout work." 

"Sure I'll keep it," the preacher snapped-" and 
use it myself, sir! I'll show them that my name's Pike 
—not Piker!" 

The General despatched him to the Coast on an 
important and dangerous mission. 








i I 



* 



ft I! 
I 



CHAPTER XL! 

VIRGINU HOLLAND'S conrersion to the open 
advocacy of the principles of monarchy and 
aristocracy was Waldron's first sensation in 
the campaign in which he began to destroy the American 
conception of liberty. 

Her confession of faith was a liberal outline of 
the ideals which the Governor-General had proclaimed 
in his library;. Waldron was elated at his complete 
triumph. 

Her brief statement and appeal to the women of 
America to support her movement of loyalty he ordered 
printed in every newspaper in the country. It duly 
appeared on the front pages, accompanied by a por- 
trait of the distinguished young convert. 

Her first year's engagements in organizing the 
Woman's Imperial Legion of Honor covered the prin- 
cipal cities of every state. 

Her appeal had been received by the women of. 
America with secret rage, amazement and horror. The 
Government had commanded their attendance on her 
lectures. Her reception at first had been cold and 

334 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



formal. But her magnetic per.onalitj turned the tide 
Within a month there was no hall large enough in 
America to hold the breathless throngs of women who 
hung on her words. And strangest of all, they cheered 
her with an enthusiasm that amazed Waldron. 

His agents reported this enthusiasm with oft-re- 
peated praise of her uncanny gerl,.,. 

The secret of her popularity Lr- ^ had not dreamed. 
In each town she took into ?.. ^onR ., c, but one 
woman on whose love for .oun.ry .,V cuu! f depend 
with absolute certainty. 7'his s.wrox ■\- wore in 
secret to organize an inn. r cin. v1 o.. „am< to them 
was the Daughters of Jael. TJk .pi,, ,.,^ £^jj„^^j 
her tour to report to the Gow- . r-G. .oral never 
reached this inner circle. In it were taken under 
solemn oath those whose love for liberty was a religion. 
The Daughters of Jael comprised only the wisest 
women leaders, and with them the strongest and most 
beautiful girls in the glory of youth from twenty to 
thirty years of age. 

They were taught in secret two things—to keep 
their lithe young bodies hard and sun-tanned and learn 
to wield a steel knife whose blade was eight inches long, 
slender and keen. When a million had been sworn and 
trained the order would come to strike for freedom. 
The rank and file knew nothing of this purpose. Only 

335 



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Jfe'/: 



r'VS 



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^t if 






thje: f^lx o/^ a nation 



their leaders knew. Each had sworn to lay their souls 

and bodies a free offering on their country's altar and 

to obey their commander's word as the law of God. 
It was two years from the beginning before Virginia 

ventured to meet her lover in a deep mountain gorge 

of the inner Sierras. 

Their embrace was long and silent. They spoke at 

last in low, half-articulate sounds that only love could 

hear and know. 

When the first wave of emotion had spent itself, 

she asked him eagerly: 

"Your last invention — the aerial torpedo?" 
"A failure like the rest !" he answered sadly. "Great 
inventions that revolutionize warfare have all required 
years to perfect — ^the ironclad a generation, the sub- 
marine ten years, the aeroplane ten years. They re- 
quired the genius of hundreds in their experiments and 
the lives of thousands. The hope of miraculous in- 
ventions in an hour of crisis is only the vain dream 
of the novelist. We have ceased to hope for such de- 
liverance. We are training men to master the already 
perfected mechanism of the submarine — ^thousands of 
them. Lake, the inventor. Is an admiral. We have a 
model at work six thousand feet above the sea. I 
command the Eagle's Nest, the camp on a great 

mountain plateau where we are training thousands of 

836 



■■'■',* .'" !■ 



"JT*!" 



THE PALL OF A NATION 



aviators. On another peak among the stars we are 
teaching men to use the range finders and swing big 
guns to strike a target at twelve miles. Most impor- 
tant of aU we are teaching each and every man how to 
use cold steel at close range " 

"You fully accept my scheme then?'* she inter- 
rupted. 

"A. an inspiration of God! The staff has tested it 
with a hundred hostile suppositions. It is sure to win 
If you can train a million girls to co-operate with us 
m the uprising, win to our cause one man in ten in the 
Imperial Army, and wield a knife with deadly power. 
The only question is, can you get those girls?" 

"I have them already — '» 

"A million?" 

"And more-I had to stop. I could have sworn 
another million." 

"We will be ready in three months—" 
"You can have four — " 
"You have fixed the date?" 

"Yes. There can be but one— the Emperor's birth- 
day — " 

Vassar clasped Virginia in his arms. 
"Dearest— you're inspired— I swear it!" 
"I have positive assurance," she went on eagerly, 
"that our girls have already won more than two 

837 






i,l* 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



hundred thousand soldiers of the enemy who will join 
us the night we strike. Every officer will be in his 
cups that night. A Belshazzar's feast, with Waldron 
as their toastmaster !" 

"And not merely in New York—" he added, ''but in 
every city in America— on every ship— in every avia- 
tion hangar and on board every submarine — once their 
guns are in our hands — !" 

"We'll take them — never fear — »' she cried. 
"If we can only get our hands on half their rifles, 
half their machine guns, half the ships and half the 
aircraft we'll win ! The fiends of hell never fought as 
we shall fight ! We'll get them too—" he stopped over- 
whelmed with emotion. "It's the knife at close 
quarters in the dark, man to man, muscle and steel, and 
dauntless hearts, that will turn the trick. How 
little we've traveled after all our boasted science! All 
your girls will have to do is to get them drunk that 
night, rally your converts, strike down the outer guards 
— smuggle in a few guns and we'll do the rest. 

"We'll give your men more than half their rifles," 
Virginia promised. "And what's more we will put 
their trained artillerymen, aviators and submarine ex- 
perts out of commission to a man that night. We will 
detail two girls for each of these men — tliere'll be no 
blunder — ** 

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THE FALL OF A N ATION 

"There's just one thing I don't like—" he broke in 
with clenched fists. 

"Yes, I know, my lover!" she smiled. 
•^You've got to make love to those brutes, flatter 
and cajole them for weeks. You are risking what we 

hold more precious than life " 

"We have sworn to give as God has given us— all— " 
"I don't like it-I don't like it !" he protested bitterly. 
She slipped her arms about his neck. Her eyes 
sought his with yearning in their depths. 

"Never speak or think that thought of me again, my 
own," she whispered. «- too, know how to die as well as 
you. This is the third and last lesson we shall teach the 
Daughters of Jacl before the Day dawns! Those who 
give their honor will scorn the cheaper gift of life. The 
new sun will rise on a clean and glorious womanhood, 
redeemed by sorrow and humbled by a divine passion for 
country we could learn in no other school but this!" 
She held him at arm's length and slowly slipped her 
hands from his and waved him back. 
*No more — until the Day dawns!" 

•Until the Day dawns, my love!" he breathed ten- 
derly. 

She leaped on her pony and gaUoped into the solemn 
night alone— to deliver her orders to the Daughters of 
Jael for their third and final lesson. 



«i 



«i 




^ 




CHAPTER XLII 

THE preparations for the grand celebration 
the Conqueror's birthday by the people 
America were complete to the last detail 
noon on the day preceding. 

The Governor-General was determined to make tl 
event an example in promptness, glorious display ai 
perfect efficiency. How prompt and efficient i 
real managers were going to make it he could n 
dream ! 

Every suspicion of disloyalty had been put at re 
by the eager enthusiasm with which the Woman 
Legion of Honor, with its five thousand chapters, ha 
taken the lead in preparation under Virginia's bri 
liant direction. For three months the most beautifi 
girls in America had vied with one another in courtin 
the favor of the army for the approaching festiva 
From the Governor-General down to the sailors of th 
fleet our girls had eyes only for the Imperial Arm 
uniforms. 

The artillerymen, the aviators, and the submarin 
experts were the favorites. The conquerors began t( 

S40 



THE PALL OF A NAT inx 

feel a contemptuous pity tor the poor native devil, 
the.r charm, had put out of the running 

Even the chauffeurs and railroad ofBcial, were every- 
-here courted and f^ted by the fair ones. Every ral 

Ts a^I • ^'"r:' '''''"*^'""' -^^ '"Perintendent 
was an officer m the Imperial Army. These men, who 

had rarely shared the glory of the regular rmy 

we e particularly elated over their triumphs with the 

girls. 

When the Day dawned every terminal and every 
tra^n .n America was decorated with the royal flags 
The sp.r.t of abandonment to joy in a strange, sub- 
dued man,a swept the nation. Beneath it beat the throb- 
bmg hearts of a million Sons of the New Revolution and 
a mUhon Daughters of Jael who had offer«l their souls 
and bod,es a living sacrifice for the glory of the Day. 
The c„ntag,on of earnestness from these eager millions 
of young men and won,, „ set every heart to beating 
with eipectant awe. 

Angela rc-eived her final instructions at the Holland 
house at si. o'clock. The magnificent display of fire- 
work, would Login at eight-thirty, the dancing at nine- 
thirty, the banquet at eleven-thirty. 

"You have a girl with every chauffeur.'" Virginia 
•sied sharply. 

"Si. signorina-" Angola paused and smiled 

3« 



l\-_^r*JK:' 



THE FALL OF A NATION 







t 



III 





it 



» 



3>f 



*And they have learned to drive, too— yes — they hav 
had some fun these three months !'* 

"At the Seventy-first Armory, a girl for every sailo: 
of the fleet?" 

**For every one — " 

"At the Twelfth Regiment?" 

**For the birdmen's chauffeurs — I have two — veri 
prettiest girls — two for each- 

"At the Seventh Regiment?' 

"A girl for every waiter to help them serve. Mj 
girls they help the waiters everywhere — " 

A look of fierce triumph overspread the dark fea- 
tures of the little mother. Her eyes grew misty. She 
fumbled in her bosom and slowly drew out the blood- 
stained flag her boy had worn on his breast. 

"Ad I have the flag, signorina! When I tear the 
red crown from the staff I wave this one and shout 
for my bambino." 

Virgii a merely nodded. Her mind was sweeping 
the last possibility of accident. 

"You haven't been able to reach a single man among 
the wireless operators of the Wool worth tower?" she 
asked dreamily. 

"Not one, signorina. The old devil up there don't 
like the girls. He is not human — " 

"There's no help for it then," she answered. **We'll 

342 






"Jice 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



try another way. When all i, ready attend .„e at the 
Palace of the Governor-General. When the .ignal 
fl«he. from the Metropolitan tower I want the Zl 
always drive at the door instantly—" 

"Si, »ignorina-n,y chauffeur he like n,e very much 
—1 must think of my bambino when I strike "• 
"You will not faU?" Virginia sternly asked 
Angel, touched the little flag and shook her 
head. 

"Do not fear-I shall not fail!" She paused, bent 
close and whispered, "My chauffeur join our men, sig- 
norma-the Sergeant of the big guns, too. He swear 
to me the guns shall be ours!" 

With a quick pressure of her hand Virginia hurried 
to enter the car of state which was already standing at 
the door. 

The streets were thronged with thousands who talked 
m subdued tones. They had felt the iron hand on their 
throats too often during the past three years to 
abandon themselves to the occasion. 

There were no screeching horns, no riotous boys and 
girls hurling confetti. Such crude expressions of 
liberty were forbidden. 

Beneath the outer quiet slumbered the coming 
volcano. 

Virginia drove to the Waldorf-Astoria, sent her card 

343 



I» 



! 






!^ 




11^^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




to a distinguished guest and was ushered into hi 
parlors. 

The dark foreigner with a Van Djke beard bowe< 
over her hand. 

"Your Lordship had a pleasant trip across I trust?' 
she asked. 

The door closed and they were alone. 
>Vith a smothered cry she was in Vassar's arms mur- 
muring foolish, inarticulate sounds. 
She freed herself with quick decision. 
"There's not a moment to be lost," Virginia whis- 
pered. "I've failed to reach a single man in the Wool- 
worth tower.?* 

"It must be taken then!" he answered firmly. "I 
have ordered the other stations destroyed. W^e must 
hold that before we strike in the banquet halls. I've 
made my plans to call our cavalry and automobile 
orders from there. Our first line of men must mobilize 
and be on their way within five minutes after the 
searchlight signals from the Square — " 
He paused thoughtfully. 

"There's not a moment to be lost. I'll take that 
tower myself. Send three of your girls to meet me 
there at nine o'clock dressed as country folks on a 
sight-seeing trip to the city — " 
"Armed of course?" 

344 



f .'■■'^IL .SI«.',Vi.ftisl(, 



THE FALL OF A NATION 




"Ye—with automatic, if you have them-I'U 
find a way to get them up to see the fireworks." 

At nme o'clock a nofsy group of country louts sue 
ceeded m reaching the room that led by a narrow wind- 
mg stairs to the upper room of the Woolworth tower 
They were singing loyal songs for God and Emperor I 
Their pilot wa. drunk but good-natured and deter- 
mined to show them the pinnacle. 

The cautious red-faced Captain in charge of the 
wireless, who had been celebrating a little on the quiet, 
had thawed to a genial mood. 

"T'ree cheers for Zemperori" the jovial pilot from 
the coufifry shouted. 

The Captain laughed and joined the chorus. He 
glaBced contemptuously at the giggling girls. 

"Say, Cap," the leader cried, leaning heavily on his 
shouIder-«my girls gottcr see the fireworks-from 
the top-tip top! I promised »em Td take »em to 
the very tip top— gotter make good—" 

His legs wobbled and his breath was heavy with beer. 
The Captain laughed. 

'•Think you could climb these winding stairs?" 
"Surest thing you know." 

The drunken man staggered to the steps, rmshed 
half way up, slipped and fell, sprawling to the floor. 
The Captain roared. 

S45 



If 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



^fl'! 



^ 



Hi- 




"Try again!" he rfiouled. "ni kt you go but n 

these women!" 

The girls joined in the laughter while he mac 
another ludicrous effort and slipped again. 

The two operators left their instruments end pcere 
down the shaft. 

"Go back to your places-^this is my show!" th 
Captain called. 

The drunken countryman watched them withdraw 
with wagging head but keen eye. He saw there wer 
only two. He knew his task now. 

He made another desperate effort to climb the spiral 
turned a complete somersault and came down headfore 
most. 

The Captain slipped to a sitting posture weak with 
laughter. 

"Shay, pardner, help me!" the drunken one 
pleaded. 

"No—this is my show^it's too good to lose— I'm 
the audience — help yourself!" 

The drunken countryman tried it backward this time, 
holding first to the* rail. 

The Captain wiped the tears from his eyes and bent 
again to laugh as th. fool reached the last step and 
waved in triumph. Ife turned and staggered against 
the wall feeling liis way to the door beyond. 

346 



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Th« girl, crowded .bout the"^^ 
^fea. H u. go too... the, chi„,ed i„ .h„„.. 
*" C«Ptam wa. adamant. Thev kenl .m ,1. • 
parrot crie. until the c,„h above cal Th \ I 

the blow that fclled the fi„t opera" th T «"^ 
left tu. *• operator — the thuffle of 

f«t. the tiger .pring, the smothered cry 

It wa. aU over with the Captain before the crv 

Three fierce .thietic gir,, bore him ,o the fl or 7d 

he d h.. .r.thi„g body unta !t wa« ,tiU. 

AU right!" Va«.ar called "SUnJ 

«.e door leading from the eievat^-Lrl"!:' 

Let no one pass !» °°'- 

He ook h.s place at the operator's table «,d answered 
a c,U, from the tower of the Governor-Oeneral'. paW 

™ach^::.:r' '"""' '-^^ -" ""««"■• «•« 

"All"_wa. the brief answer. 

"I'll give you the signal for the Emperor's toast on 
the stroke of twelve." 

"Good!" Vassar answered with a grim smile. 



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CHAPTER XLHI 



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BEFORE eleven o'clock the Daughters of Jael, 
accorded the place of honor at every banquet 
hall, had succeeded in slipping from drunken 
soldiers and sailors thousands of arms. Swift auto- 
mobiles, commandeered bj their persuasive voices, or 
taken by direct attack from maudlin chauffeurs, were 
speeding with these guns to the appointed places. More 
than two hundred thousand soldiers of the Imperial 
Army have deserted to our colors. 

Ten thousand rough riders from the Western plains 
had been smuggled into the suburban districts of New 
York since the embargo on horses had been lifted. They 
were armed with lances and only awaited the advent 
of revolvers to lead the attack. 

Each soldier from the Far West had reached the 
Eastern seaboard as an individual and reported se- 
cretly to his commander. They were in their brown 
kahki suits tonight stripped for action, awaiting the 
signal to strike. 

Billy Holland, a captain of infantry, had been 

chosen by Vassar to lead the assault on Waldron*s 

848 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



place. His sweetheart and sister were behind the wails of 
the Governor-General's magnificent house and tlie divi- 
sion leader knew the boy's mettle. That he would give 
a good account of himself Vassar was absolutely sure. 

As Waldron entered the grand ballroom, accom- 
panied by Virginia, Marya, Zonia and a group of 
young admiring officers, Billy led his men cautiously 
through the underbrush toward the house. 

On the signal of the toast to the Emperor, the 
Daughters of Jael had agreed to join their lovers, ex- 
tinguish the lights, strike down the sentinels and the 
rest would be easy. 

The men in the palace were joyously drunk before 
eleven. Only a few officers survived the siren call of 
the cup urged by the charming girls in their white and 
gold uniforms. 

Waldron led the dancing with Virginia Holland. 
He mwed with the easy grace of a master, never miss- 
ing for an instant the perfect rhythm of her lithe, 
graceful body. 

The surprise of the evening for the Governor-Gen- 
eral had been the appearance of every American woman 
wearing the shining helmet of the soldier of the ranks 
in token of their full surrender to Imperial authority. 

"A beautiful idea — those helmets!" he whispered as 
they swept through the throng. 

S49 



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THE FALL OF A NATION 



3)» 



"You are pleased?' 

"I am more than pleased, I am happy tonight. ] 
know that only your brilliant imagination could have 
conceived so graceful a tribute to my Imperiai 
Master — " 

He paused. 

"You are closer to me tonight than ever before," he 
said softly. "I feel it, I know it." 

She turned her head and breathed her answer : 

The dancing ended at eleven-thirty. Waldron 
gave his arm to Virginia and led the way to the 
banquet tables. A band of stringed instruments, 
concealed in bowers of roses, filled the room with 
exquisite music. The waiters moved with swift, noiseless 
tread. 

The revelry steadily grew faster, the drinking 
deeper, the dancing more exciting. 

Billy's men had dropped flat and were crawling 
toward the open space in front of the palace when a 
light footfall was distinctly heard approaching. Billy 
lifted his head and saw Zonia. She halted with quick 
precision and gave the countersign. 

In a moment she was in his arms. 

•*What on earth's the matter, little girl?" he whis- 
pered excitedly. 

S50 






THE FALL OF A NATION 



"Virginia fears thai Waldron suspects,', was the 
quick answer. 

"Nonsense" — 

"He has doubled the miar.^— v;,»- • 
Kof* X . guard—Virginia sajs vou'd 

better retreat until a full division comes up-" 

"I'll not do it,'^ Bill, broke in. «v,,r to one, or 

ten to one, I'm going to take that house-" 

.a™ ^""" ''' '^'' ' ' '-'^ --." Zo.ia 
;'A11 right-r™ ready," was the firm response. I„ 
q«.ck business fashion Billy led Zonia baek of his 
Imes. "Wait here and report if I fail"— 

The young Captain crept back to his place and 
watched for the flash from the Madison Square tower 
and the signal of lights out from within. 

On the stroke of twelve, Waldron rose, lifted his 
gla^s and gave the toast-the e=cact form of which he 
had sent to every toastmaster in America: 

"To the Lord of War-master of the world-the 
Emperor !" 

Virginia's left hand clasped the glass, her right was 
hfted wiih nervous intensity giving the sign of the 
Daughters of Jael to Marya whose hand was on the 
electric switch. The searchlight on the Madison Square 
tower flashed and every whistle in the city and harbor 
screamed its tribute. 

351 




i' 



•;%;''1l|i 





THE FALL OF A NATION 



With a sudden click the lights went out. In to 
darkness again and again the blows of the dag| 
found their mark on the sentinels at the door. O^ 
the curses, groans and shouts rang the shrill bat 
cry of the Daughters of Jael: 

"For our God and country!" 

Waldron's keen eye caught the tremor of VirginiJ 
fingers as she gave the sign to Marya. The uplift 
gUjs came down with a crash and his iron fist clos 
on her right hand. 

"So!" he growled. 

She fought with tigress strength to free her hai 
and reach the knife concealed in her bodice. 

Waldron shouted through the darknes , "Light 
Lights I" 

His servants threw the switch in vain. The currei 
hafl been cut. 

With muttered curses he choked Virginia still, cai 
ried her in his arms into his library, tore the knil 
from her bodice and flung her across the room. 

"Move a muscle now— damn you ! and I'll blow you 
brains out." He had found a pair of automatics ii 
his table drawer. 

He called from the doorway and two guards who ha< 
rushed in from the lawn answered. 
He pointed to Virginia. 

S52 




J 

In total 
! dagger 
r. Over 
ill battle 



THE FALL OP A N^Tin^ 



irginia's 
uplifted 
it closed 



er hand 
'Lights ! 
current 



tower. H„ operator sat lifokss i„ his chair. 

.oS::::"'^^^^'-*'-"'''-"-"-^-voo,- 

"The Garrison to arms ' Af rm,.,^ 
«] J ^'^ '^"^<^— ^^^■^^ry man to his 

place and every ship's deck cleared!" 

The tower answered O. K. 

Irr.TT^ *° ■"' feet" trembling with alarn,. 

He! ,? ' "* *■" ^'''"«- ^'>'" did it .ea„? 

Her hfe was m peril. There could be no doubt of it 

North Atlantic. Not one answered. 
"Good!" he muttered. 

He summoned the nearest operator to his relief i„ 
the tower: 

"Come for God's sake, quick" he called to Brook- 
pTuceT' ' " " "'-*'•"''' *">""» -' *e 

"Coming!" the answer sang. 

In fifteen minutes an automobile dashed across the 
bndge and drew up on the curb at the Woolworth 
building. 

The new operator took his instructions and Vassar 
turned to the chauffeur: 

853 




THE FALL OF A NATION 



«/ 



•Quick now— to the Sixty^inth Regiment Armo 
We have men and guns there." 

Angela had waited in the machine for her leai 

to leap from the Palace and drive to the first cava 

rendezvous in Westch-ster. Her chauffeur sat by ] 

side, smiling, his belt and automatic about her wai 

She heard the shout of Waldron for the guards a 

knew that the complete plan had faHed. Billy's ra 

had been crushed by superior numbers and driven 

the foot of the hill. The great man's servants we 

trained soldiers. They would fight like devils insic 

With quick wit she threw in the clutch and the b 

touring-car shot down the road and flew over t 

smooth open way of Riverside Drive. In fifteen mi 

utes she overtook the first division of horsemen on t] 

outskirts of the city galloping to tieir appointed rei 

dezvous. 

"To Ihe Palace of the Governor-General! Quick 
she shouted to the Captain. "Take my car— I ca 
take your horse— quick! Quick! Our leader's 
prisoner— or dead— they fight and fight. Quick!" 

The Captain sprang from his horse, called to th 
chauffeur, leaped into the car and gave his horse t 
Angela. She had learned horsemanship too in these tw 
years of training. 

"You know the rendezvous?" the Captain called. 

354 




ir leader 
t cavalry 
t by her 
er waist. 
ards and 
ly's men 
Iriven to 
tits were 
s inside, 
the big 



l»EFALLOF^tV.^r.... 



S,, signor!" Angela answered -i u , ' 

b-n to every spot. I ,vas to dr" T' ""'^' 

I*"! I tell them You ! ^ '"^' '"«''' "'"»• 
»ake-q„iek,.. ^'"' «° '° •■" lu-k-for God's 

the men. ^ "*'' ^ ""''"^ ""d on to sun.mon 

Waldron returned to tl,„ i, 
-«c in eaeh hand. I^e ,":»?"'/,""'-""""•"- 

«^^- To^ %Hts were o.: ;:r" r^™?^^^ -- 

«eer had found the break afd L r, '' '"* ""«'- 
The magnificent hall „ . '' '''P'"''''' ''*• 

The DaughLs of Jae. d . °" "'^ ^"'"P"^- «-• 

-their task to dl artthe "'^" '"" ""<' «"- 

-nt, to our warn™ t:"7 """ """" '"^ ^O-P" 

"atic had fallen into Z .7' '""'^ ""^ """>- 
laiien into their hands excent tl,„ 

h the sleeping guard in their quarte 'Ld 7 T,? 

^p^'-a.^ua^'orvit^ir^'^'-''''''^^'-^--^ 

He ^h-heratei, took her in his arms and kissed her 
' "- """<' was stil, stunned by the anguish of 

355 



^'p 




THE FALL OF A NATION 




her failure. There was no longer feeling in body 
soul. Nothing mattered. 

"You're mine!" he cried fiercely. "I hold you C 
sack fashion now!" 

He paused in breathless rage, stepped close a 
struck her a stinging blow with his open hand. S 
fell across a divan and he stood over the prostn 
body with clenched fists. 

"To think," he growled, "that I made this idio 
blunder to win your smile ! Well, it's mine ! I've w 
it — do you hear? You've failed! My men are co 
ing — do \ )U hear?" 

The slender, graceful form lay limp and still — t 
face chalk-white. She had swooned at last. The bL 
was more than unconquered pride could endure. 

He gazed a moment with bloodshot eyes, dropp 
suddenly on his knees and took her in his arms. 

"I love you — I love you — and you're all mine n< 
— all — all mine, body and soul! My Lucretia Borg 
^-eh? Well, you've found your master. And you' 
worth the fight!" 




, i!.;!F 



•ti'"' 4i r 






body or 
you Cos- 
lose and 
ad. She 
prostrate 

IS idiotic 
I've won 
ire corn- 
till— the 
rhe blow 
re. 
dropped 

IS. 

line now 
, Borgia 
I you're 



CHAPTER XLIV 



WALDRON ,cft y;.,;„u to „c„v„, ., He .new 
h. would, and hurried again to the tow!' 
'o rush his (tarrison Tk 
once: gowison. The answer came at 

"The men are on the way, sir." 
They were! Ten thousand cavalrymen with .u . 
streaming from their lances' A th "^ "'"' «""''™' 
-ore sweeping with Ih '' "■""""'''i'" 

each machL pi ed tu '", T"""''" °' '^™'^- 
Oattle .andardrX:::^ '■"'-« '"o.-r 
Tl,. « X J. . ^ speeding cars. 

-I he first division of cavalrv r^h- u k 

-ed rescued BiVsha^tLrmettioutT 

ore Waldrons guard .nside realized their presence 

^as.rdhorf-— 
Of the United States Army. 

He slammed the massive doors of th. ru 
tr^^ Virginia through another e. ll^' 

the upper story by the rear stairway. 

3o7 



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'. 1 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



The Captain held the lower floor. Waldron's gu 
with their rifles and autoinutlcs commanded the la 
ings of the two stairs. Vassar found his men hold 
a council of war when he leaped from his car i 
entered the blood-stained doorway of the banq 
hall. 

Vassar had just formed his men in solid mass 
rush the stairway and batter in the door above, wl 
the big elevator shot down the shaft, showing Waldi 
with Virginia under guard. In a flash he recalled tl 
the entrance from the Drive passed through the \ 
to this shaft. If Waldron could reach the pier he mig 
yet escape on his yacht. 

Vassar rushed to the window and looked toward t 
river. 

The yacht lay beside the wharf, her portholes gleai 
ing, her funnels belching flame and smoke. The en^ 
neer had gotten the signtil. He was using oil to for 
the steam. 

With a fierce cry of rage Vassar called to Billy ar 
a dozen men leaped after them. 

They reached the foot of the hill as Waldro 
emerged from the tunnel to dash across the fifty-yar 
space that separated him from the Drive. The yacli 
was but a hundred yards beyond the road. 

The Governor-General formed a hollow square witl 

358 




f,„..-jj 



I's guard 

the land- 

1 Iiolding 

car and 

banquet 

mass to 
ve, when 
Waldron 
lied that 

the hill 
lie might 

7&rd the 

s gleam- 
he engi- 
to force 



TBE FALL OF a N AT^r^.r 



Ws faithful ffuard— V.V„- • * 

circle of steeh ^ " ' ^'^^^^^ ^'^'^-^ their 

Waldron «houtcd to his men: 
A fortune and a tlMo /«. 
-y to the wat„, .;;!;!" ''"' -"■ "-o %<>'» hi. 

The guard fired a vollev nf v 
-n and dashed r„. ...e .ll ; ^^ """"-"'•'■^ 
-nded the eu.ve. .din, iH^^^Zt^TT 
-n,pany of the Daughter, „f J^,/ ^^ '"'"' "' » 

--h.a„to:it°:trvsr^^^^^^ 

pressing the trigger when A„go.!reptl T "' 
"voiver into his ,aee. fired and cI7t„ tr ' " 

-t !=:::-' --- ■» -- - 

V.rgi„ia thre. herself into Vassar's .r™,. 
i fcar I have failed, my love '" 

d„,;:f ^""^ ""'^ ""«» " ^'"- nation fron. the 
It was true. 
A hundred cities ran red with bl„„d-bul dav 



■»'• 





THE FALL OF A NATION 



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itrajed, hundreds of suspected women arrested a 
imprisoned. The serious part of it was in these t 
harbors were stationed four huge dreadnaughts a 
forty submarines with accompanying hydroplanes. 

In New York the insurrection had swept all befc 
it. The crews of the submarines were wiped out. ( 
all who had gathered at the dance and banquet ha 
—Angela's work had been perfect— not a sailor frc 
the fleet set foot again on their decks. Our bo} 
dressed in thei>- uniforms, had captured every sh 
before day— hand to hand, muscle against muscle, wi 
sixtinches of cold steel ! 

The aviation corps had been practically wiped ou 
Their machines were circling the skies at dawn passir 
the signals to our commanders. Every arsenal fell ar 
every ammunition factory. 

When the sun rose on the harbor of New York tl 
Stars and Stripes flew from every ship and every foi 
and an army of five hundred thousand men, half c 
them with the best rifles in their hands and big gun 
lumbering in their lines, were mobilizing under Genen 
Wood to capture Boston and Norfolk. 

The battles that followed were brief, bloody an 
glorious in their end. Norfolk they abandoned an 
their fleet was concentrated on Boston. 

The Imperial Army and Navy fought with reckles 

860 






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sted and 
hese two 
;hts and 
anes. 
II before 
3Ut. Of 
let halls 
or from 
ir boys, 
ry ship 
:Ie, with 

)ed out. 
passing 
fell and 

ork the 
ry fort 
half of 
ig guns 
Greneral 

ly and 
ed and 

•eckless 




Angola swept close . . . fi^,. 



d and circled to fire 



again 



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bravery, but the end was .^iZ~^l^Z ' 

bered „„w. two to one Th u ^ *"' °'""'""- 

superhu™:, coura^ an ™ ' T^r ''""^ ''"' 
thousand o, our blTs Zl T T '' ^'"' ''' 
they wont down. """' «'"'"'=' '"='<'" 

the'"".?.*"" "' "" ''-'"'"'"■8''t^. when they saw 

the end had con,e. swung their prows into the tl^h T 

our fleet and sank with colors flying '' "' 

Ou the day our arn,y marched into Boston with 

hundred thousand Bostonians stood in silence ad tear" 
and watched the™ pass the o,d State House, In" 

itr : tr"" "^ ^'^■"""* «'-* ■"><» thro:; 

"hrrdt:""^'^-^'"'- — -- 

"My Country, 'tis of thee. 
Sweet land of Liberty, 
Of thee I sing." 

The President and his Cabinet, released from Port 
Warren, revewed our victorious fleet the following day 

There were no vulgar cheers. Their souls were 
stirred to greater depths. 

When the triumphal procession swung past the old 
Armory on the East Side of New York, Virginia Hoi- 
^nd, w,th Zonia and Marya, rode at the head of a 
division of fifty thousand Daughters 



61 



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'Aid 




rf^ 



THE FALL OF A NATION 



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orderly outrider on her left was a slender Italian mothe 
on whose breast was pinned a tiny blood-stained fl« 
of the Republic. 

Congress met in December. The Senate used tl 
East Room of the Executive Mansion, the House ( 
Representatives met in the Belasco Theater. Thes 
two buildings stood intact. 

John Vassar was elected speaker of the House witl: 
out a dissenting voice. His bride from her seat in th 
gallery watche ^h^ough tear-dimmed pyes as he too 
his seat on the dais, and two wistful girls, with smilinj 
faces, sat beside her. 

The first bill for consideration was passed withou 
debate in just the time it took to call the roll— the bil 

which Vassar had introduced five years before ^pro 

viding for a mobile army of citizen soldiers of a mil 
lion men with heavy artillery and perfect equipment 

The cost of our defeat and humiliation with twc 
years of slavery had been more than thirty billions oi 
the wealth of the people. This fabulous sum could 
have been saved by a paltry half billion invested in a 
navy. 

Taught wisdom at last in the school of defeat, a 
mighty nation lifted her head and girded her loins 
for a glorious future. 

(1) 



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mother, 
led flag 



sed the 

ouse of 

These 

le with- 
: in the 
le took 
smiling 

nthout 
bhe bill 
— pro- 

a mil- 
pment. 
:h two 
ons of 

could 
d in a 

eat, a 
loins 



It " 



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