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Full text of "The island of sheep"

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LIST JAN 1 1922 





THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



THE 

ISLAND OF SHEEP 



BY 

CADMUS AND HARMONIA 




HODDER AND STOUGHTON 
LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 



MCMXIX 



THE PEOPLE IN THE BOOK 



Colonel Arthur Lamont The host and hostess, 
and -his wife. 

Phyllis Their niece. 



The Rev. John Macmillan Minister of the Parish. 



The Lady Guidwillie of 
Waucht. 

Mr. James Burford . 
The Lady Sevenoaks. . 

Mr. Albert Wyper . . 

The Lady Penelope 
Wyper. 

Mrs. Martha Lavender . 
Mrs. Ursula Aspenden . 

Mr. Christopher Normand 
Sir William Jacob 



A Highland landowner. 

A Labour ex-Member 
of Parliament. 

Wife of a former Liberal 
Minister. 

A progressive j ournalist . 
His wife. 

An American resident 
in England. 

A lady given to good 
works. 

A Conservative. 
A Liberal lawyer. 



THE PEOPLE IN THE BOOK 



Mr. George Stanbury- 
Maldwin. 

Mr. Penrose MacAndrew 

Mr. D. C. Jonas . . . 
Mr. Philip Lenchard . 
General Ferdinand Morier 

Mr. Archibald Strath- 
bungo. 

Mr. Merryweather Malone 
The Lord Linkumdoddie 



Late of the Grenadier 
Guards. 

Lieutenant in the Third 
United States Army. 

A Labour Leader. 
An Imperialist. 

Lately commanding an 
Army of France. 

A Coalition Member of 
Parliament. 

An American politician. 
A Captain of industry. 



VI 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



I 



Prologue, in which two retired gentlefolk are dis- 
tressed about the future of their country. To them 
enter the Lady Guidwillie and Mr. Burford. 

IN a pleasant arbour looking down on 
spring meadows which sloped towards the 
western sea, a gentleman was reading aloud 
from Matthew Arnold. " The sunshine in 
the happy glens is fair," he read. 

" And by the sea, and in the brakes, 
The grass is cool, the sea-side air 
Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers 
More virginal and sweet than ours. 
And there, they say, two bright and agdd snakes, 
That once were Cadmus and Harmonia, 
Bask in the glens or on the warm sea shore, 
In breathless quiet, after all their ills." 

He looked up from his book. " Singu- 

7 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

larly like us, my dear," he observed to his 
wife. 

" Yes, darling," she replied. " I feel 
aged, but not very bright." 

Colonel Lamont rose, revealing six feet 
of 'lean manhood clad in the most ancient 
of tweeds. He stared for some minutes at 
the delectable landscape beneath him. A 
shallow glen, seamed by a shining river, 
wound to a pale blue ocean. It was bright 
with the young grass of May, and patched 
with snowdrifts of blossoming hawthorn. 
There was no sound in the valley except 
the ripple of the stream and the faint 
calling of curlews from the hill. 

" I've been looking forward to this for 
four years," he said. " Peace, you know 
the real peace in one's own place among 
one's own people. And npw that I have 
got it I don't seem properly to enjoy it. 
There are too many empty houses in the 
glens. Too many good fellows who will 
never gillie for me more. And this old 
8 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

world has got such a twist that I can't see 
it settling down in our time. I wish to 
heaven I knew where we all stood. Kathie, 
my dear, I am feeling very much older, and 
I am losing my nerve." 

The lady looked at him with troubled 
eyes. " Do you think we ought to be 
entertaining on such a big scale, Arthur, 
if we are so much poorer ? " 

" Confound it, my dear, it is not the 
money. Jennings went through my posi- 
tion with me yesterday, and we are still 
pretty well off. I wouldn't mind paying 
fifteen shillings in the pound in taxes for the 
rest of my days. No. It is the country I 
am worrying about. Here we have gone and 
sacrificed the better part of a million of 
our picked men, and crippled hundreds of 
thousands more for life. And for what ? 
We have won, of course, but we don't 
seem to know what we've won. Those 
damned politicians are at the job again. 
I thought we had washed all that out." 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" And Bolshevism, dear ! " said his wife. 

" And every little faction on the globe 
wanting to turn itself into a State ! " 

" And our own Labour people so dis- 
contented ! " 

" And all this business of the League of 
Nations ! How on earth are we going to 
give up our Navy and trust the fortunes of 
Britain to a collection of Kilkenny cats ? " 

" It's very puzzling, dear. And Agatha 
writes me such miserable letters about 
Reginald. He's simply wretched at being 
out of Parliament, and she has had to 
change her cook twice since Christmas. " 

This amoebean plaint was interrupted by 
the appearance of a young woman. She 
was a pretty, fair-haired creature, with eyes 
too old and too tragic for her years ; yet 
even the listlessness of her walk and the 
sombre black of her dress could not muffle 
the grace of her youth. She carried a 
telegram,, which her aunt opened. 

" Martha is coming by to-morrow's 
10 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

boat," Mrs. Lament announced. " How 
very fortunate ! I hope you will like 
Martha Lavender, Phyllis. She is so buoy- 
ant and kind and American and devoted to 
Arthur. Without her I do not think I could 
have faced Jeanne Sevenoaks." 

The young girl showed only a conven- 
tipnal interest. 

" Who are the others ? " she asked. 

:< Nobody young, I fear. You see there 
are so few young men nowadays ; only 
boys. There are the Wypers Albert and 
Pen. Pen is Arthur's niece, you know, and 
she wrote and said they both wanted a 
rest." 

Colonel Lamont snorted. " I wish she 
were coming by herself. Ton my word, 
Kathie, I don't find it easy to be civil 
to Wyper. He patronises me so infer- 
nally." 

' Well, he has lost his seat now, and 
probably he is quite humble. We must be 
nice to him for Pen's sake. Then " 
ii 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

counting on her fingers " there is Sir 
William Jacob. Jeanne told me to ask 
him, and he has been at Oban on some 
Land Commission. The great lawyer, you 
know, my dear." 

" I don't know/' said Phyllis. " And 
besides him ? j: 

" There's Ursula Aspenden. You must 
like her. So good and charitable, and oh ! 
so pretty." 

" I scarcely know her," said the girl. 

" There's Christopher Normand." 

" I like him," said Phyllis emphatically. 
" He was a friend of Charlie's. How awful 
for him to be fairly young and healthy and 
the best shot in England and yet not to be 
allowed to fight because of his lameness ! 
That would have driven me mad, Aunt 
Kathie." 

" Well, dear," and the older woman 

patted the girl's hand. ' You must be 

very kind to him. Poor Kit ! His mother 

was such a joy to me till she went mad 

12 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

about religion. That's the lot, I think. 
Except, of course, Margaret Guidwillie." 

" Thank God, she is coming," Colonel 
Lamont said fervently. " She has a tongue 
that would take the skin off a rhino, but I 
would sooner have her at my back in a row 
than any ten men. She ought to be here 
for tea, for she is coming by the ferry from 
Rona. I sent the wagonette to meet her." 

The girl seemed unsatisfied. " Didn't 
Uncle Arthur say something about a 
Labour Member ? " 

" Oh, my dear, I forgot. Yes, he is one 
of Martha's friends. He has been very ill 
and recruiting in Scotland. His name " 
and she consulted a small address-book 
in her bag u is James Burford. Martha 
calls him ' Jimmie,' and often * My 
Jimmie.' " 

" I must confess that the thought of him 
makes me confoundedly nervous," said 
Colonef Lamont. " I don't a bit trust 
Martha Lavender's judgment. You re- 

13 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

member when she planted me with a 
young Hindu who was some beastly kind 
of a god. The fellow may be as spiky as 
a hedgehog, if he is not as mad as a hatter. 
I never met a Labour Member in my 
life." 

" He is not a Member/' said his wife. 
" He was beaten by ten thousand votes by 
the man who makes all the potted meats. 
Martha says he is a saint." 

" A what ! " exclaimed Mr. Burford's 
prospective host in dire alarm. 

Then he turned and gazed at the grass 
slopes beyond the sunk fence, for someone 
was making his way towards them from 
that quarter. The stranger was obviously 
out of breath and took a long time to cross 
the ha-ha. Then he caught sight of the 
house and stood blinking at it, till he be- 
came conscious of the presence of people 
in the arbour. 

As he turned towards them Colonel 
Lamont saw a squarely-built man of about 

14 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

thirty-five, with a broad, cheerful face. 
Short-sighted blue eyes peered through 
horn spectacles, and a thatch of untidy hair 
was revealed, since he had removed his hat 
to cool his brow. He was curiously dressed 
for that part of the world, wearing a black 
coat and a bowler hat. In his hand he 
carried a small kit-bag, which he dumped 
on the gravel walk. 

:< Is it Colonel Lament ? '' he asked, 
beaming at the party in the arbour. 

" I am James Burford, sir/' he con- 
tinued. " I was due to come to-morrow, 
but the weather was so fine that I got a 
small boat to put me over to Kylanish and 
I walked the rest . It 's a bit of an intrusion, 
but you know what we city folks are like 
when we get on holiday." 

He spoke in a soft West-Midland voice 
with a slurring of " s's " and a slight burr 
in the " r's " ; and he looked so friendly 
and boy-like as he made his apologies that 
his three hearers vied with each other in 

15 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

declaring their pleasure at the sight of 
him. 

Presently across the lawn came the 
butler, followed by a footman and a 
parlourmaid with the materials of tea. 
Ere Mrs. Lamont had poured out a single 
cup ,the butler appeared again, ushering 
another guest, at the sight of whom Colonel 
Lamont leaped to his feet in a fervour of 
welcome. 

The newcomer was a tall lady clad in a 
dark green tartan skirt, a tweed coat and a 
well-worn leather hat. She might have 
been any age between forty and sixty, for 
her face bore the marks rather of weather 
than of time. In her big, gauntleted 
hands she swung a stick like a shepherd's 
crook, and her walk was that of one more 
familiar with the moors than the pavements. 
Mr. Burford once again removed his 
bowler as he was presented to the Lady 
Guidwillie of Waucht. 

" Tea, as you love me, Kathie," she 
16 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

said. " I've got an appetite like a hunter/' 
and, seizing two buttered scones, she began 
her meal. 

Colonel Lamont detained the retreating 
butler. " What about your luggage, Mr. 
Burford ? " he asked. 

" It's all here," said that gentleman, 
handing over his little bag. :t I'm one 
that travels light." 

* You know something about food, 
Kathie," observed Lady Guidwillie when 
she had taken the edge off her hunger. 

' I hope you don't think it wicked to 
have tea in the old-fashioned way," said 
the hostess to Mr. Burford. " We cut 
off cream and sugar and cakes during the 
war, but Arthur made me have them back 
again." 

" And quite right too. I am not going 
to let the war or anything else come be- 
tween me and a good tea." 

Lady Guidwillie regarded him with 
curiosity mingled with approval. He had 
17 c 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

suddenly risen and was staring towards the 
west, where a very beautiful golden shim- 
mer lay on the sea. " That beats cock- 
fighting," was his tribute. Then he an- 
nounced his wish to get to higher ground 
to see what lay behind a certain woody 
cape, and Phyllis was commandeered to 
show him the road. 

" Who on earth is he ? " asked Lady 
Guidwillie, as soon as the two were out of 
earshot. 

" A Labour Member," said Mrs. La- 
mont. " At least he was before the last 
election. He is a friend of Martha Laven- 
der. She says he's a saint." 

c< Let me hear what sort of menagerie 
you have brought me into. I have been 
so bored at Waucht that I want to go into 
society. First, who are the women ? I 
think you told me that Martha was 
coming ? " 

" By to-morrow's boat. You like her, 
don't you, Margaret ? >: 
18 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" I love her. What is her latest form of 
mischief -making ? " 

" Oh, I don't agree. She never makes 
mischief. She is always on the side of the 
angels." 

" The elves, you mean. Her father 
didn't make a fortune in the Chicago 
wheat-pit. Her father was Puck, and she 
follows him in putting a girdle round the 
earth. Next?" 

" Ursula Aspenden." 

! * Kind and silly. I make it my business 
to shock her on every possible occasion." 

" And Jeanne Sevenoaks." 

" I retire. She'll do the shocking. Why 
does she insist upon being called Jeanne ? 
Her good father christened her Jane. He 
was a most excellent man who used to 
take one of Guidwillie's moors and made a 
great deal of money in floorcloth some- 
where near Falkirk. . . . Arthur, I hear 
you are getting peevish. You are not like 
Doris Cranlegh, I hope, who thinks that 
19 c 2 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the war has been fought in vain because 
she can't get under-housemaids ? >] 

Colonel Lamont smiled down on his old 
friend. " I don't think I am peevish, but 
I am a little out of my bearings. We all 
are. I want something extra fine to^come 
out of the business when the price has been 
so high. You see, I cannot bear to think 
that our best have died except for the 
very best." 

" No," said Lady Guidwillie, in what 
for her was a very gentle tone. " No, that 
is not to be borne." 

" And since the whole nation has suf- 
fered everyone must feel thesame." 

" Has the whole nation suffered ? Some 
have led very sheltered lives. Our own 
class has paid nobly, and the poor, and the 
lower middle class most of all. The little 
tradesmen and professional men, I mean. 
But there have been big ugly patches of 
embusques and profiteers, and I do not see 
why the working classes at home should 
20 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

take so much credit to themselves. They 
worked hard, no doubt, but they were 
never in danger and had mighty fine wages, 
while the soldiers flirted with death for a 
shilling a day. I. wonder what your black- 
coated friend says to that ? " 

Mr. Burford and Phyllis were returning. 
As he reached the arbour a footman 
approached and asked him for his keys. 

f< Never had any," he said cheerily. 
" The old bag's got a broken lock." 




21 



II 



In which the ears of the company are assailed by 
sundry political phrases. . 

LADY SEVENOAKS and Mrs. Lavender on 
the evening of their arrival were walking 
on the south terrace awaiting the summons 
of the dressing-bell. They were a re- 
markable contrast, the first tall, slim and 
golden-haired, with somewhat languid blue 
eyes, the second dark and small and alert 
as a linnet. Both were libertines in speech, 
the one with a talent for epigrammatic 
extravagance, the other shrewd and racy 
as one of her husband's cowpunchers. 
That gentleman, indeed, was wont to 
remark that he would back his Martha 
to talk down a Democratic primary, and 
that if her old-time namesake of the Scrip - 

22 



. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



tures had been like her he reckoned Mary 
would have quit business. 

" Martha, darling," said Lady Seven- 
oaks. "Did you ever ever in your life see 
such a collection as Kathie has got to- 
gether ? Her parties were always like a 
table d'hote, but this beats how do you 
say it, darling ? " 

" The band/' said Mrs. Lavender. 

"It is so difficult for me, you know, 
feeling as I do about George's career and 
the shameful way he has been treated- 
William Jacob, of course, is a true friend. 
But it was Wyper and his horrid cranks 
that wrecked our party. And the Labour 
man Bunyan, isn't it ? I know just 
how unpleasant he will be, talking nonsense 
about the triumph of democracy and ex- 
ulting in the destruction of what he calls 
the Old Gang." 

" Jimmie was beat himself," said the 

other. " And he never exults. It isn't 

n his nature. You had better be nice 

23 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

about Jimmie, my dear, or you will rouse 
the lurking savage in me. Remember I'm 
only one generation removed from the 
pioneer." 

" Well, if he won't exult, Margaret 
Guidwillie will. I can see it in her rude 
old eyes. Some day soon I shall detest 
her. Poor Guidwillie ! She never ap- 
preciated him. He died of a surfeit of 
haggis and -brown sherry such an odd 
death, darling, but so characteristic. George 
always loved dining with him." 

" She is the only woman in the world," 
said Mrs. Lavender, " that I think I am 
a little afraid of. Your grand dames don't 
worry me a cent. They're always acting 
stylish, and if you kick away their little 
pedestal they look foolish. But she's so 
sure of herself that she never wants to 
be anybody else. Twenty generations of 
cold north-masters and high-handed 
economy and the Presbyterian religion 
give a woman something to stand on. I 

24 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

feel new and raw before her, like a small, 
impudent Israelite looking up at the walls 
of Jericho/' 

At that moment the dressing-bell 
sounded, and as the two ladies moved 
upstairs they encountered 'Mr. Albert 
Wyper. He carried an attache case and 
several weekly papers. He had a soft, 
shapeless face, a humourless eye and an 
untidy person. 

" I have found a new theory of demo- 
cracy in a French review/' he said, " and 
am writing a letter to the New Republic 
on the subject. It may interest you, Lady 
Sevenoaks, for one of your husband's 
speeches is the text." 

" Martha," said that lady at her bed- 
room door, " this is a very foolish world. 
When I was a young girl Democracy 
meant the Liberal majority, and was 
chiefly mentioned in the House of Lords. 
Then the Labour Party discovered the 
word and it came to mean the Poor. 

25 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Now it stands for everything which 
any speaker likes and agrees with. If 
we had come in, we should have been 
triumphant Democracy ; as it is we are 
effete aristocrats whom the democrats of 
Carlton House Terrace and Eccleston 
Square are going to slay. I wish we could 
go back to Whig and Tory. They were 
prettier words and meant something. I 
know they will all talk about Democracy at 
dinner and I shall be quite unwell." 

But at dinner the high clear voice of Mrs. 
Aspenden discoursed of history. 

" I have been reading all about this 
place," she announced. " Do you know 
that St. Brandan came here on his great 
voyage ? It is his Island of Sheep, where 
he found the lamb for the Paschal sacrifice. 
There is a beautiful passage about it 
translated out of some old Latin chronicle. 
He sailed, you remember, out of tempes- 
tuous seas and came suddenly to a green 
isle of peace with sheep feeding among the 
26 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

meadows. And long after him the monks 
had their cells on the west shore looking out 
to the sunset. Who can tell me more 
about it ? " 

"You had better talk to Mr. Mac- 
millan," said the host. :< He is the 
minister, and you'll hear him preach to- 
morrow." 

:f He is the great scholar of these parts, " 
Lady Guidwillie volunteered. " But he's 
not very interested in the monks. He 
prefers the ruffians from whom I descend 
the Northmen who came down on the 
islands and cleared out the saints." 

" How horrible ! " said Mrs. Aspenden. 
" It sounds as if he were a Prussian." 

Colonel Lamont laughed. " He'd be 
amused if you told him that. In the war he 
was chaplain to one of the Cameron batta- 
lions, and he used to go over the top with 
the men and lay about him. He's a good 
man of his hands, Macmillan." 

Mr. Christopher Normand was sitting 
27 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

next to Lady Sevenoaks. He was a strongly- 
built man of forty-five, whose clean-shaven 
face had the high gloss given by much open 
air and a good digestion. But for his 
lameness he was a fine figure of masculine 
strength. A curious sadness in his eye and 
a delicacy about the mouth and chin 
softened the impression of vigour given 
by his bodily presence, and his brow was 
rather that of a scholar and dreamer than of 
a Yorkshire hunting squire. 

" I like the story, " he said to his neigh- 
bour. " To come out of stormy seas to a 
green isle of quietness ! It is what we are 
all seeking. Democracy is a great and 
wonderful thing, but it does not make for 
peace." 

* There ! " exclaimed Lady Sevenoaks. 
;< I knew it. Already we have reached that 
odious subject. " 

11 Which ? " asked the man. " Peace 
or Democracy ? " 

" She means Democracy," said Mrs. 
28 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Lavender. " Jeanne is sore about it, for 
it has jilted her." 

" My dear Jaiie," said Lady Guidwillie, 
"it is you who are inconstant. Six years 
ago the word was never out of your mouth. 
Whenever your party was in a hole you 
declared it was fighting the battle of 
Democracy. When you were told that 
you had lost the support of sensible people, 
you said that anyhow Democracy was on 
your side. You once announced, I re- 
member, that triumphant Democracy would 
make short work of people like me . . . 
Surely the thing can't have changed so 
utterly in six years." 

Lady Sevenoaks raised her languid eye- 
lids. 

" It has. Then it meant something. 
Now it means precisely what a few thousand 
different people choose to make it mean. It 
is democracy to make Germany pay all our 
bills, and democracy to forgive our enemies. 
It is democratic to establish new nationali- 
29 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ties, and democratic to get rid of nationality 
altogether. The whole of political debate 
nowadays is one welter of crudities and 
contradictions/' 

The fine voice of Sir William Jacob was 
heard. " We must stick to proved defini- 
tions. For me it has been defined once 
and for all by Lincoln government of the 
people by the people and for the people." 

" An idle dream," said Mr. Normand. 
" Of the people yes. For the people- 
perhaps in good time, when we have hanged 
a few score political arrivistes. But by 
the people never. Government is an 
expert business, like any other science. You 
can choose your administrators from any 
class, but they will still be a sect apart. 
You can no more give all the people a share 
in the practice of government than you can 
make them all their own dentists." 

Mr. Wyper's eye brightened, for this 
kind of discussion was after his own heart. 
1 That is an old difficulty, but it seems to 

30 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

me to rest in a confusion of thought. The 
people reign, but they do not govern 
except at intervals. No. I don't mean 
General Elections. Three-fourths of ad- 
ministration they are content to entrust to 
their chosen representatives without much 
supervision. But in greater matters and 
the things which affect them deeply they 
exercise, and should exercise, a direct 
control through many channels. " Our busi- 
ness is to devise a machinery of government 
which will make this direct control easy 
and exact at the proper moments ... I 
do not complain of the last election. A 
nation is entitled to its hour of pique and 
prejudice as I am permitted an occasional 
fit of bad temper/' 

" Democracy, then, may be Tory and 
Radical and Socialist by turns and yet 
remain Democracy ? " asked Mr. Nor- 
mand. 

" Certainly/' 

" It is a comforting doctrine for the poli- 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tician. But we ordinary folk want some- 
thing more. We want it to be wise. What 
is the good of making safe the world for 
something called democracy unless that 
thing is worthy of safety ? We are too 
much concerned with machinery for doing 
this or that, and we do not stop to consider 
whether this or that is worth doing. We 
are very German, you know." 

" Surely," said Sir William Jacob, " it 
is worth doing to make the will of the 
people prevail." 

" I don't see why, unless it is a good will 
and a reasonable will. If it is bad and 
unjust I want to put every obstacle in the 
way of its prevailing." 

Sir William laughed. " So that is your 
Tory Democracy, my dear Normand. It 
is you who are the Prussian. You are 
prepared to let the people govern only if 
they behave as superior persons direct 
them. That is not my notion of liberty." 

Christopher Normand demurred . * ' The 

32 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

sovereignty of the people is a fact, and only 
a fool would try to upset it. But I don't 
see why it should be necessarily a good 
thing. It may be extraordinarily muddle- 
headed and perverse, if the people are 
foolish. That's my objection to the com- 
mon eulogists of Democracy. The sys- 
tem is the best or the worst according 
to the way it is worked, but it has no in- 
trinsic guarantee of goodness. When it's 
good it's very very good, and when it is 
bad it's horrid." 

Mr. Burford had so far not spoken a 
word, but had eaten his dinner with much 
contentment. Now he observed that it 
was high time politicians stopped being 
mealy-mouthed about the People. " We 
can't get on/' he said, " without a bit of 
rough-tonguing when we deserve it. 
There's been a deal too much of the cap- 
in-hand business. Working folks don't 
like it." 

"I sat for a great working-class con- 

33 D 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

stituency for many years/' said Sir William. 
" I found they responded most readily to 
any appeal to their higher instincts . . . 
But I confess that these higher instincts 
seem for the moment to be submerged/' 

" Not a bit of it," said Mrs. Lavender. 
" They're out on the bust. It does them 
good to kick up their heels now and then, 
the same as you and me." 

The picture of Sir William Jacob kicking 
up his heels in the company of Mrs. 
Lavender was too much for the gravity of 
Mr. Burfprd. He laughed merrily, but 
there was no response from the other 
guests. Lady Sevenoaks was fretful, Mr. 
Normand sunk in apparently painful medi- 
tations, Mr. Wyper cross, and Sir William 
abstracted, while the host and hostess had 
had their worst fears confirmed by the pre- 
ceding conversation. Dinner ended in a 
mood of dismal resignation to fate. 

In the drawing-room later Mr. Burford 
sat beside Phyllis. 

34 






THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

I hate everybody's pessimism," said the 
girl. 

" They ain't pessimistic/' said the man. 
" They're only puzzled, You see, none 
of them have been fighting, except the 
Colonel." 

;< But you're cheerful, and you weren't 
fighting." 

" No," he said sadly. " I wasn't. They 
wouldn't have me even for a Base job. 
My eyesight's nothing to boast of." 

" And yet you don't stand aside and 
prophesy darkly about the People, as if 
they were some new kind of influenza." 

" I'd have to get outside my skin to do 
it," he said, tilting up his spectacles and 
peering at her with his curious, merry 
eyes. "I'm one of them, just an ordinary 
sample of the forty million working folk 
they're so scared at. You wouldn't ask 
me to get scared at myself ? " 



35 



Ill 



An Island Sabbath morning. The Minister of the 
parish mounts the chaire de vente. Two young men 
and a Labour leader enliven a depressed gathering. 

THE Sabbath morning dawned blue and 
shining, with that delicate clear light which 
is found only in an island set amid miles 
of sea. A light wind came from the main- 
land, bringing scents of spring. Under 
ordinary circumstances Colonel Lamont 
would have been in good spirits and would 
have whistled his one tune, " Auld Lang 
Syne," while dressing, but the memory of 
the depression of the previous evening 
weighed him down. 

" We've got a nice collection of Job's 
comforters/' he informed his wife. 

" I can't understand it," was the plain- 

36 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tive reply. " Even Ursula, who used to be 
so sweet, is difficult." 

" Burford is the only fellow who isn't 
afraid to laugh. I like him immensely. 
He reminds me of an old collie my father 
had when I was a child. Same jolly, 
trusty eyes." 

' I think Jeanne is in a very bad temper," 
said his wife. " Poor darling, she has much 
to try her. But she really is very rude. 
Ursula was telling us about the Havering 
engagement, and said they were touchingly 
happy. Jeanne said in her gentlest voice, 
which always frightens me, * Yes, I saw 
them last week lunching at the Ritz. As 
happy as two little birds. And such ugly 
little birds, dear.' " 

So tonic was the air, however, that the 
company at breakfast were in better spirits. 
Mr. Burford, who had been early abroad, 
had some colour in his face, and his stub- 
born thatch of hair was in more than its 
usual disorder. 

37 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mrs. Aspenden had a grievance. The 
night before she had inquired as to the 
whereabouts of the church, and, being 
uninstructed in the theological differences 
of her country, had set out according to 
custom for early service. She had been 
sadly disappointed. 

" I found a square building like a furni- 
ture repository," she complained. ' It 
was locked, and there was nobody about 
except a man in a garden, a man in his 
shirt sleeves smoking a pipe." 

" That would be Macmillan," said 
Colonel Lamont. 

" The parson ! " exclaimed Mrs. Aspen- 
den in horror. ' Why wasn't his church 
open, if only that one might pray in 
it ? " 

:< Dear Ursula is very High," whispered 
Lady Sevenoaks to her neighbour, who 
happened to be Mr. Wyper. " She finds 
spiritual consolation in attending private 
theatricals before breakfast." Mr. Wyper, 

38 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

who professed agnosticism, received this 
piece of irreverence with sympathy. 

" I did a bit of praying my self, " said Mr. 
Burford. " But I did it on the lawn. You 
don't want churches on a May morning." 

It was weather which did not permit of 
lethargy, and when the Lamonts appeared 
equipped for church they found among 
their guests an unexpected desire to ac- 
company them. Even Mr. Wyper set 
down his attache case, from which he 
was rarely separated, and looked for his 
hat. Lady Sevenoaks was late and was 
therefore compelled to accompany Mrs. 
Aspenden, who was driven by her con- 
science to attend some place of worship 
in spite of the irregularities of the smoking 
parson. 

The minister was a man of fifty-five, 
short in stature, black-bearded, and as 
strong as a Highland bull. His battered 
brown complexion and far-sighted grey 
eyes gave him the air of a deep-sea skipper 

39 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

masquerading as a landsman. He was a 
bachelor who had led a peaceful life of 
honest parochial work, varied with ex- 
cursions into scholarship and fishing when- 
ever fish were to be caught, till the war had 
swept him to France for four strenuous 
years. His voice, as happens sometimes 
with such a figure, was one of great sweet- 
ness and melody, and he spoke pure 
English with a soft Gaelic intonation. 

In the bare little kirk, through whose 
plain glass windows might be seen the 
wheeling of gulls and plovers on the moor, 
there was but a slender congregation. 
Most waited for the Gaelic service in the 
afternoon, for Mr. Macmillan's English 
discourses were sometimes hard for his 
parishioners to understand. The big sheep- 
farmer from Lith, having had a heavy week 
at Oban, was soon asleep. The family 
from the Kylanish inn had new clothes 
and sat in self-conscious pride ; the inn- 
keeper's son, late of the Argylls, was self- 
40 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

conscious too, for he was a hero just 
returned to his native land. A few fisher- 
men and herds made up the rest of the 
flock, save for Colonel Lament's party. 

Mr. Macmillan, taking as his text the 
First Epistle of St. Peter, the first chapter, 
the twelfth verse and the last clause of the 
verse, " Which things the angels desire to 
look into," discoursed upon the present 
discontents and asked questions. 

Everyone, he said, knew roughly for 
what we had been fighting. We had been 
resisting Germany's claim to impose her 
will upon the world. We should have 
been right in our opposition, even had that 
will been a good will ; but as a matter of 
fact it was in the main a bad will. That 
point, at any rate, was clear. 

But now came the difficulty. We were 
in danger of labelling every part of Ger- 
many's creed as evil and of affirming as our 
own creed the direct opposite. For ex- 
ample 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Germany stood for the super-nationality, 
the big co-ordinating union of peoples. 
Bad, no doubt, as she conceived -it. But 
was the principle wrong ? The alternative 
was a chaos of feeble statelets based on 
trivial differences economically weak, poli- 
tically unstable. Were we prepared to 
put all the emphasis on self-determination ? 
If we did, we should not get freedom, but 
anarchy. We should undo the long work 
of civilisation. 

Again, Germany stood in an arrogant 
and offensive way for nationality itself, 
fidelity, as Burke said, to the platoon in 
which men are born. We entered the war 
for the same principle, because Germany 
had pressed hers so far that it had become 
incompatible with the existence of any 
other nationalism. But some of the oppo- 
sition to Germany came from people to 
whom the whole notion of nationality 
was repugnant. During the war we made 
a pet of the extreme German Socialists 
42 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

who would divide the world horizontally 
by classes. Let us beware lest in opposing 
Germany's foolish exaggeration we denied 
a doctrine which lay at the root of civilisa- 
tion, and allied ourselves with civilisa- 
tion's arch enemies. " Non tali aumlio" 
said Mr. Macmillan. 

Lastly, Germany stood for something 
not wholly material or base. She had an 
ideal, cross-grained and perverted in the 
hearts of many of her classes, but amongst 
simple folk capable of affording an honest 
inspiration. At its worst it was something 
not utterly without moral value, something 
which involved renunciation and sacrifice. 
It was nobler than mere loaves and fishes. 
She believed in the historic state, enriched 
with the long-descended gifts of time j 
though in her folly she mistook the 
mechanical for the organic. But were 
there no mechanists among her opponents ? 
There were those, even in Britain, who 
sought to defeat Germany only to replace 

43 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

her blunder by one of their own to set 
up a British or American or French world- 
mechanism instead of a Teutonic. The 
selfish rich on the one side and the crude 
demagogue on the other both dreamed of a 
Prussianism not a whit nobler and far less 
well-considered than Germany's. " For 
God's sake," said the preacher, " do not 
let us forsake the complex legacy of the past, 
with its equipoise and balance and deep 
foundations, for a jerry-built usurpation of 
some raw new class. Let us oppose 
Germany's darkness, not her gleams of 
light. Those who would base the world 
on a shallow Marxian materialism are more 
Prussian than the Prussians. The Junker 
creed has more idealism than the Spartacist, 
and the Russians who fought for a corrupt 
Czardom were better men than the Bolshe- 
viks who fight for their own pockets." 

Mr. Macmillan, conscious of an honour- 
able record in the war, thus paid his tribute 
to our late enemies. Himself a determined 

44 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Calvinist, he now said a good word for the 
Church of Rome. 

:< I have no particular weakness for the 
Vatican/' he observed, <!< but, again, let 
us fight against darkness and not against 
light. The Roman Church stands for 
much which the world dare not lose. We 
have been irritated by its apparent weakness 
and time-serving, but let us consider its 
strength. It is for the historic bequest of 
Europe against crude novelties, for a 
spiritual interpretation of life against a 
barren utilitarianism, for dogma and ascer- 
tained truth against the opportunist, the 
sciolist and the half-baked. Those of us 
who believe in God cannot do without its 
aid. By all means let us condemn its 
blunders in diplomacy and politics, but do 
not let us abuse it as a dead hand on a living 
world. For, if it is dead, then the world 
also is dying." 

" I appeal to you/' he concluded, " to 
cultivate honesty and scrupulousness of 

45 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

mind. In the present welter of ideas we 
may drift towards false gods. If we make 
our creed the exact opposite of all that 
Germany strove for, then without doubt we 
shall slip into a worse kind of Germanism, 
shoddier, narrower, falser than that which 
we have fought in the field. Let us try to 
forget political tactics and do a little serious 
thinking about principles." 

This appeal had no effect upon the sheep- 
farmer from Lith, who slumbered through 
it, or on the young ladies from the inn, who 
did not understand it. The native con- 
gregation were waiting for the good gospel 
in Gaelic in the afternoon. But Colonel 
Lament's party listened with an attention 
which few of them had been in the habit 
of according to a sermon. 

As they walked home by the white moor- 
road Mrs. Lavender approached her 
hostess. 

' Tell me, Kathie dear, when are the 
boys coming ? You said you expected 
46 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

George Maldwin and my little cousin 
Penrose." 

" They should be here after dinner. 
They get a boat from Rona. George was 
to motor there this "morning. " 

" I hope you won't mind, but I asked 
Penrose to bring on D. C. Jonas. He was in 
Glasgow for an engineers' conference, and 
I thought he would be the better for your 
sea breezes. Besides I want you all to see 
him. An hour or two of Dan will do you 
highbrows a deal of good." 

Mrs. Lamont wrinkled her brows as if 
personally affected by the word, !< De- 
lighted, my dear. But won't he make us 
more depressed ? Jeanne is so angry with 
the Labour people, and none of us seem to 
be in the best of spirits." 

" Oh, Dan won't depress you," said Mrs. 
Lavender. " He'll cheer, you up. We 
need it too, for Jimmie is no earthly use. 
He's so happy here that he talks no more 
than a graven image." 

47 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Luncheon was a silent meal, and there- 
after, when the party sorted itself into 
groups for the afternoon walk, Christopher 
Normand chose a book from the library and 
settled himself with it in the arbour. He 
was in a sad reflective mood, and the work, 
which was the " Homilies " of St. Gregory 
the Great, fitted his temper. He found one 
sentence in it which so pleased him that he 
transcribed it into a note-book. ;t If we 
yet love such a world as this, it is not joys 
but wounds that we love." 

Mr. Normand about tea-time had come to 
the conclusion, from the examination of his 
own mind, that at the moment there was a 
deplorable lack of good-humour in the 
world. His conclusion was not weakened 
by the return of the walking parties. Lady 
Sevenoaks by some mischance had been 
paired with Mr. Wyper, who had treated her 
to that peculiar form of patronage which 
made him unpopular with his own sex. 
His habit was to lay down some thesis and 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

invite criticisms, and to receive such criti- 
cisms with the smiling condescension with 
which a governess greets the crude efforts 
of a backward child. He had what is 
called a " mobile " countenance, and his 
eyebrows and eyes were in constant move- 
ment, so that Lady Guidwillie had occasion 
to observe to her host that she wished 
something could be done to make the man 
demobilise his face. 

Mrs. Lavender, too, was out of temper 
with Mr. Burford. He, alone of the party ? 
was in the best of spirits, but he refused to 
communicate the secret of his content. He 
had hunted enthusiastically for the eggs of 
the black-headed gull when Mrs. Lavender 
would fain have had him show his intellec- 
tual paces before her friends. On the 
subject of the sermon of the morning he had 
refused to be drawn, only remarking that 
" he liked the look of the chap, and meant to 
have a good yarn with him some day 



soon.' 



49 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

At dinner, which, owing to the mildness 
of the air, took place out of doors on the 
south terrace, Mr. Wyper was much dis- 
posed to argument. 

" I had hoped," he said, " to see Mac- 
millan here this evening. Isn't it the cus- 
tom in country houses that the parson dines 
on Sunday night ? " 

He was informed by Colonel Lamont 
that Mr. Macmillan had strict views on the 
observance of the Sabbath and would as 
soon think of dining out on that day as of 
setting up a confessional. " He's coming 
here one night soon if he gets back in time 
from the fishing. You can't depend upon 
him if the sea trout are running in Lith 
Water." 

u He interests me enormously," conti- 
nued Mr. Wyper. " An honest obscuran- 
tist ! His point of view is, of course, 
very much that of our late enemies. Had 
everyone been as honest as he the war 
would have died away in the first month 

50 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

from very shame. The school of thought 
to which I belong is the extreme antithesis 
of Germanism, but we opposed the war 
because we knew very well that this country 
did not fight with clean hands. Macmillan, 
you tell me, was ardently bellicose and 
served in the field, and now that he has won 
he is in terror lest his victory should be 
complete. He realises that he has been 
fighting against his own creed. It is all 
very typical of our national confusion of 
thought." 

Sir William Jacob shook his head. !< I 
see no confusion. I think w r e had some 
very good sense this morning some truths 
which to me personally were very dis- 
quieting. The parson's advice was to keep 
our heads clear, and, because we had to 
smash a perversion, not to be betrayed into 
a denial of the truths which had been per- 
verted. That seems to be plain enough." 

* That is a fair debating point, Jacob," 
said Mr. Wyper. : ' But it has no substance. 

51 E 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

My argument is that these doctrines must 
from their very nature be liable to constant 
perversion. So soon as you accept nation- 
ality and the historic state and the large 
political organism you slip insensibly into 
the vice of Prussianism. Will anyone 
deny that our British Imperialists held in 
reality the German faith, and only missed 
its enormities because they were less able 
and logical than the Kaiser and his 
Marshals ? " 

All, including Sir William Jacob, seemed 
disposed to deny it, but their hostess 
anticipated them. 

" We shall have Mr. Philip Lenchard 
here on Tuesday. We had better leave the 
British Empire to be defended by him." 

" I sincerely hope so," said Mrs, Laven- 
der pensively. " Philip promised me to let 
nothing stand in the way. But you know, 
my dear, he is in serious danger of being 
made a god. His visit to India was far 
too successful. He is just that mixture of 

52 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Herbert Spencer and Buddha that Orientals 
love. I hear that there is quite a powerful 
body already which worships him and burns 
Blue-books in his honour." 

" I wish," said Lady Sevenoaks, " I 
wish that some of our politicians could 
be deified. It would be such a dignified 
way of getting rid of them. They won't 
be satisfied with ordinary peerages, so we 
might make them Divi. It would be a very 
complete way of kicking them upstairs, 
for of course it would be sacrilege if they 
came back to politics. Mr. Hepplewhite, 
for example. I simply cannot tell you the 
mess that man made of things in Paris. 
George says they imported hundreds of 
clerks, and, took hotels and stuffed them 
with experts on every kind of irrelevant 
question like the origin of the Kurds and 
the land system of Nebuchadnezzar, and 
the whole shepherded by nosy young men 
in big spectacles, which is the new Foreign 
Office type. George says the French began 

53 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 
by giggling at us and then grew very 



cross/' 



" It seems," said Colonel Lamont dole- 
fully, " that we have won the war and 
are doing our best to lose all the fruits of 
it. Nothing has gone right since that 
infernal Armistice." 

The tone was so dejected that Christopher 
Normand's sense of comedy was stirred. 
" Cheer up, old man," he said. :< In time 
we'll get used to the horrors of this Peace 
to end peace . . . We're all getting too 
pessimistic. After all, none of our troubles 
are new. Read the Memoirs of a hundred 
years ago and see the fools our people made 
of themselves at European Congresses 
hordes of smart women and flimsy bureau- 
crats cumbering the busy men. Even 
our Labour troubles, every one of them, 
have a long ancestry. I am prone to the 
dumps myself, and the best cure is to read 
a little history." 

Mr. Normand had raised his voice, as his 

54 



I 

hat 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



habit was when he was in earnest, and 
three new-comers had approached the table 
ere the diners were aware of their presence. 
Two were tall young men ; one was small 
and middle-aged, with a thin face, fiery 
red hair, and restless brown eyes. This 
last caught the concluding words of Mr. 
Normand, for he signalised his advent with 
loud approval. 

" 'Ear ! 'Ear ! " he said. " That's well 
spoken. What we all want is to learn a bit 
of 'ist'ry." 

While they were being welcomed by the 
host and hostess Lady Sevenoaks asked Mrs. 
Lavender their names. 

" The tallest is George Maldwin Stan- 
bury-Maldwin. A great friend of mine, 
and the best man to hounds in Northamp- 
tonshire." 

" A Guardsman, I suppose," said Lady 
Sevenoaks. " They all have double names 
and places in the Midlands. " 

c The other boy is my cousin, Penrose 

55 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mac Andrew. He is just back from keeping 
watch on the Rhine." 

" The third ? " asked Lady Sevenoaks. 
" I have seen him before, but where and 
when I can't remember. Probably on 
some platform." 

" Not on your George's, I bet. That's 
D. C. Jonas." 

Lady Sevenoaks exclaimed, " The 
Labour man ! Fm going home to-morrow. 
Why in the name of goodness does Kathie 
invite all these people here just when we're 
tired and want cheering ? " 

!f Because," said Mrs. Lavender, " they 
seem to be the only cheerful folks left alive 
in this little old world. I asked her to get 
Dan and Jimmie here. You highbrows 
want a lot of talking to. You may call me 
every kind of fool, my dear, if they don't 
turn out to be the cheeriest members in 
this congregation of undertakers." 



IV 



In which two Leaders of the People essay the sports 
of the idle rich, Mr. Jonas expounds the meaning of 
Bolshevism and the temperament of the British 
nation. 

COLONEL LAMONT examined his corre 
spondence at breakfast with a puzzled air. 

' We must be getting very popular 
people," he told his wife. " Malone pro- 
poses to come here on Wednesday for a 
day or two and to bring with him the 
French Army Commander for whom I did 
liaison on the Somme. I never thought to 
entertain old Morier in this island. I must 
say I am uncommonly pleased. Do you 
know Mr. Malone ? " he asked Mrs. 
Lavender. 

" Merryweather ! Why yes. He was 

57 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

a beau of mine before I met William and 
married beneath me. He's a bright boy. 
Say, Penrose, what do you think of Merry- 
weather Malone coming here ? " 

The young American, who had a curi- 
ously solemn face and very bright, 
humorous eyes, ejaculated u Fine " and 
continued his breakfast. 

" And, Martha dear," said the hostess, 
" Mr. Lenchard arrives to-morrow, god 
or no. I suppose he will behave like ordi- 
nary people." 

" Indeed he won't. I can promise you 
that, Kathie. But he eats the same food as 
you and me." 

" Thank Heaven, there's plenty of it," 
said the Colonel. " That is the advantage 
of having your own land nowadays. But 
the cellar has been shockingly neglected 
for four years." 

' You needn't worry about that," said 
Mrs. Lavender. " Merry weather has gone 
dry like the rest of the U.S.A. Your 

58 



, 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



French General won't want more than a 
glass of white wine, and Philip is all for 
barley water. Pour your cellar into the sea, 
Arthur, and join the ranks of the bone- 
dry. You'll be a happier and a healthier 
man. And, you boys, quit the flowing 
bowl, or you'll get whipped at polo every 
time." 

: ' I am waiting to take on America," said 
Mr. Maid win, " when she has given up 
alcohol for ten years and then rediscovers it. 
It will be like the South Sea Islanders when 
they had measles. She will have lost the 
gpwer to resist it." 

"*" And that's the youth of England ! " 
the lady exclaimed, flinging up her hands. 
!< For the Lord's sake, don't corrupt little 
Penrose. I promised his mother I would 
look after his morals." 

The arrival of the young men had worked 
a change in the party comparable to the 
introduction of effervescent salts into flat 
water. It was a clear, fresh morning, and 

59 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

everyone sought the open air. Mr. Maid- 
win, who announced that he had long ago 
resolved to make a pet of himself after the 
war, arranged with Mr. Jonas for a trip in 
their host's racing cutter. Mr. Burford, 
Penrose MacAndrew, and Phyllis proposed 
a day's fishing on the Lith, while Christo- 
pher Normand and Colonel Lamont were 
to try for brown trout in the Black Loch. 

" I'll come with you, George," said Mrs. 
Lavender. ;< If you drown Dan and there's 
nobody else on the scene, they'll say it was 
a plot of Capital to weaken Labour." 

"No they won't," said Mr. Maldwin. 
" I voted Labour at the last election and 
I'm going to join the party as soon as they 
clean up their stable and engage a better 
class of jock." 

' You'll come to a bad end, dearie. Your 
kind of demagogue always gets knifed in the 
flower of its youth." 

Mr. Maldwin, as they set off for the 
shore, was heard to remark that a pro- 
Go 



I 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

longed sojourn in the Ypres Salient had 
made him a trifle blase about murders. 

That evening dinner was deferred, for 
the fishers were late, and it was not till the 
stroke of nine that the sailing party returned 
with ravenous appetites and deeply sun- 
burned faces. The tremendous news was 
announced that Mr. Burford had caught 
a salmon and had landed it after a long run 
during which he had twice fallen into the 
river . Phyllis recounted the exploit . 

" He stuck to it like a Trojan and did 
everything I told him quite right, but his 
reel jammed and he had to play the fish 
with his hands. I have just had them 
bandaged, Aunt Kathie, and he's having 
a bath and changing/' 

The sportsman entered the room and was 
overwhelmed with laughing congratula- 
tions. 

E< My word," he said, beaming on the 
company, " that was fun all right. I 
haven't enjoyed myself so much since I was 
61 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

a kid. It wasn't so much me catching a 
salmon as the salmon catching me. I 
would walk a hundred miles to get that 
thrill again when the reel screams. Dan, 
I'm feeling on the side of what you'd call 
the idle rich to-night. " 

" 'Ear, 'Ear/' said Mr. Jonas. " I've 
been 'aving the time of my life too." 

" They nearly drowned me," said Mrs. 
Lavender. " You never saw such a pair 
of mountebanks. Twice George made the 
sheet fast and left the tiller to me, while 
he and Dan sat and argued like coster- 
mongers in the bottom of the boat. It's 
a mercy my old dad taught me something 
about sailing." 

" I wouldn't have left you in charge if I 
hadn't known all about you," said Mr. 
Maldwin appreciatively. 

!< It hasn't done your complexion any 
good, Martha dear," said Lady Sevenoaks. 

Presently, when the edge had been taken 
off healthy appetites, Mr. Jonas began to 
62 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

look round him and encountered the eyes 
of Lady Sevenoaks. She had had a dull 
day, for she had stayed at home to write 
letters and had been condemned to the 
society of Mr. Wyper, who had remained 
behind for the same purpose. Mr. Wyper 's 
conversation had roused her many political 
grievances, and she was prepared to wreak 
her vengeance on Mr. Jonas. 

' They tell me you say that Liberalism 
is dead/' she began. 

" Not a bit of it," he replied cheerfully. 
:< Nothing of that kind ever dies. But 
the old Liberal Party is dead, if that's what 
you mean." 

1 You call yourself a moderate man," 
said the lady sadly. " And so I suppose do 
Christopher and Mr. Burford. And yet 
you are happy at the prospect of the 
country being left without a middle party 
and brigaded into two extremes." 

1 What do you mean by a middle party ? " 
Mr. Normand asked. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" A party of mediation," was the answer. 
* You have Labour on one side making 
extreme demands and Capital on the other 
indisposed to yield. To mediate you must 
have a party which sees the justice of both 
sides and the blunders. Otherwise you 
have a struggle of the * haves ' and ' have 
nots,' and the victory of either is ruin to 
the nation. " 

Mr. Normand lifted his eyebrows. ' Is 
that a fair description of the Liberal Party 
of the last twelve years ? " 

" It was what we aimed at/' said Sir 
William Jacob. "If we failed it was 
because we were too successful." 

" That's* a true word," said Mr. Jonas. 
" You failed because you waxed fat and 
kicked. You were the * 'aves ' and you 
prided yourselves on your cleverness in 
getting, and the people who believed in 
idealism finally got sick of you. I've been 
in Glasgow and talking to our chaps there, 
and I asked them to explain the downfall 

64 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

of Liberalism in Scotland. I took Scot- 
land as a test case, for you were at your 
strongest 'ere. This is what they told me. 
Scotland, they said, 'ad been Liberal ever 
since the days of John Knox and the 
Covenanters, and when there was a chance 
of the thing dying Gladstone came along 
and gave it a new lease of life. Scotsmen 
were Liberal because they were conserva- 
tive and liked the old ways. Their creed 
was traditionalism touched with emotion. 
They liked old things and they liked 
also to think that they were on the side 
of the angels. Why shouldn't they ? Well, 
the great Liberal Party became the most 
powerful Government of modern times. It 
developed a most efficient caucus and made 
a speciality of every electioneering dodge. 
You prided yourself on it and that was the 
beginning of your downfall. Then came 
the spectacle of your stalwarts, who wanted 
the land for the people and scorned the 
'Ouse of Lords, scrambling after peerages 

65 F 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and setting up as county magnates as soon 
as they got them. Jock Willison was telling 
me about one of them who 'was all for 
abolishing squires and lords, and the last 
Jock 'eard of him was a picture in the papers 
showing him in his peer's robes and describ- 
ing the welcome of the tenantry when he 
returned to his new ancestral seat. That 
about finished the job, with the J elp of 
Marconi. And now the 'ard 'eaded Scot is 
taking none of your Liberals. He wants 
honest Tory or honest Labour/' 

Lady Sevenoaks sighed. " There's 
some truth in that. Many of our people 
were the vulgar est of God's creatures. But 
they were no worse, surely, than the 
Unionists." 

" Oh, yes, they were," said Mr. Jonas, 
" for the poor old Unionists didn't make 
any noble professions. There's no special 
'arm in going to a casino, I take it. But if 
you find the President of the Anti -gambling 
League punting you get a bit sick." 
66 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" Then do I understand you to say that 
the revolt against Liberalism is a revolt 
against middle-class vulgarity ? " asked 
Sir William. 

" Partly, and partly a revolt against silli- 
ness. Your party got into the 'abit of not 
arguing fair and square, but referring to 
* Liberal principles ' as if they were a new 
Ten Commandments. God knows what 
they meant by them, but that 'abit was the 
worst kind of Toryism. And then you 

talked a lot of slush" Take the old " 

and Mr. Jonas mentioned a well-known 
weekly paper. 

Mr. Wyper, who was one of that jour- 
nal's most valued contributors, bridled. 
" I deny that utterly. It endeavours to 
explore every question from the standpoint 
of eager, vital people who are striving to 
make a new world. It is the only organ 
left of serious political thought." 

Mr. Jonas, whose face was scarlet from 
the sea winds, was not easily silenced. 

67 F 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" I make no personal allusions, and I 
ask everybody's pardon, but I don't see 
where the eagerness and vitality come in, 
unless it's eager to be as pettish as an old 
maid and vital to be always on the edge of 
tears. You won't argue well if you're 
'aving 'ysterics all the time. I've got tired 
of a paper that's shaken in every column by 
a passion of sobs." 

" You're going too far, Dan," said Mr. 
Burford. " There's a heap of good writing 
in it, and you know you read it yourself 
every week." 

" I do, but I never shut it up without 
feeling what a funny little cellar it lives in. 
No, Jimmie. You're not going to reform 
the world by being spiteful and tearful. 
The people of this country ain't one or the 
other." 

" All that's beside the point," said Lady 

Sevenoaks. " Of course we had our faults 

bad faults. But how is the country to 

get on without us ? You must have a half- 

68 



I .; 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

way house where both sides can meet. 
Otherwise you have two extremes which 
never touch. And these extremes will tend 
to grow more extreme in the absence of a 
trait cT union, till you have Bolshevism 
on one side and Junkerdom on the 
other." 

Mr. Jonas refused a glass of port, leaned 
his elbows on the table, and collected the 
eyes of the company. 

" We'd better 'ave this out," he said. 
" Lady Sevenoaks, you're what the Ameri- 
cans call a * stand-patter,' begging your 
pardon. You still think of the nation as 
split up into classes each utterly different 
in temperament and outlook. That's 
where you're wrong. You Liberals are 
the worst reactionaries. You 'aven't any 
notion of the ordinary man. Nothing like 
as much as the Tory. Why, in my old part 
of the world people used to ' sir ' the Liberal 
member and touch their 'ats to him, while 
everybody called the Tory candidate by his 
69 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Christian name. There ain't much in that, 
but it's a parable of the way you have got 
into the 'abit of cast-iron class notions. 
This war has shown that all classes are much 
the same at bottom. Ask the soldiers. 
They've learned more about the British 
people in the trenches than you'd learn in 
politics in a hundred years." 

Mr. Maldwin signified his assent. 
" That's true of the two things I know 
anything about sport and fighting. I 
always guessed it, but I learned it pretty 
thoroughly in France. That's why I'm 
for the ordinary man, who's the chap 
that won the war. I'd be for the Labour 
Party to-morrow if it would buck up and 
reform its stable. It ain't the horses 
that's to blame, it's the poor stamp of 
jock." 

" What I say," continued Mr. Jonas, 

" is that so long as we go on talking about 

classes as if they were things established by 

Eaven since the creation of the world, 

70 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



we are asking for trouble. You'll never get 
to understand about folks in a different 
walk of life from you if you think of them as 
somehow different by nature. Things are 
easier in America, because they fell me that 
classes are fluid there and their boundaries 
are always shifting. That's so, Mrs. 
Lavender ? " 

" True/ 1 said the lady. " William was 
raised in a shack in Idaho, and if the present 
rate of taxation goes on my boys will be 
getting back to that shack. " 

;< I'm not speaking about classes/' said 
Lady Sevenoaks. " I am speaking about 
creeds. Do you mean to deny that Bol- 
shevism is rampant in British labour to- 
day ? " 

" Of course I do. It's a bad 'abit to call 
a thing names when you don't understand 
it. Of course the workers are restless, 
same as everybody else ; and since they 
'ave won the war they want a square 
deal with the fruits of peace. But they 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ain't Bolsheviks barring a few dozen 
miscreants who should be in gaol. What's 
Bolshevism anyhow ? Judging by the 
Russian specimens, apart from their liking 
for 'olesale 'omicide, it seems to mean a 
general desire to pull things up by the 
roots. Well, that ain't the line of the 
British working man. He is the soundest 
conservative on the globe, and what he 
wants is to get his roots down deeper. 
In other countries the poor man has 
a grip on the soil. In this country he 
'asn't 'ad that for two hundred years. 
We are over-industrialised, as the saying is ; 
but a root's got to be found somewhere, 
and he finds it in his Unions. That's why 
he's so jealous about them, and quite 
right too. He wants to find security and 
continuity somewhere. Now that's the 
opposite of Bolshevism. The true Bol- 
sheviks are the intellectuals that want to 
make him only a bit of scientific termin- 
ology, as Jock Willison says, and the pluto- 
72 



1 

rrats tVi 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

crats that want to make him a cog in a cold- 
'earted machine. They're the folk that 
are trying to upturn the foundations of 
things/' 

" I should define Bolshevism differently," 
said Sir William. " Its chief motive seems 
to be the establishment of the tyranny of 
a class. It's the same thing as Prussianism, 
only its class is the proletariat." 

" I'm dead-sick of that word ' prole- 
tariat,' " said Mr. Jonas. " It's part of 
the bastard scientific jargon that's come 
over from Germany. P wouldn't call my 
dog such a 'ard name. But you're right, 
Sir William. Only what I'm arguing is 
that Bolshevism is a very old thing, and 
that there isn't much of it in the British 
working classes. I'll tell you who were 
'earty Bolsheviks in their day. The Man- 
chester School and the Utilitarians. They 
wanted to run the world mainly for the 
benefit of one class, and they considered 
only material ends. It's true they didn't 

73 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

dabble in crime, but that was because they 
were rich, frock-coated gents and didn't 
need to." 

Sir William Jacob was far from pleased 
at Mr. Jonas's assent to his definition, 
followed as it was by this unexpected 
illustration. " You misread the Man- 
chester School very gravely, Mr. Jonas, " 
he said. 

."Why?" asked Mr. Jonas. " They 
objected to all war, except their own kind. 
So does Lenin. They asked about every- 
thing only what cash value it produced. So 
did Marx and his lot. They chose a 
fraction of the State and said everything 
must serve its interests, seeing that it was 
the People and wisdom would die with it. 
So does Trotsky. What more do you 
want ? " 

" The great Cobden " began Sir 

William, but he was interrupted. 

" Cobden," cried Mr. Jonas, with some- 
thing approaching passion. " Cobden was 

74 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the biggest Bolshevik there's ever been. 
I reckon 'im the 'orridest character in all 
'ist'ry. I was reading a bit 'about 'im the 
other day, a letter he wrote during the 
Crimean War, where he fairly gloats 
because what he calls the governing class 
was losing sons at Balaclava. He 'adn't the 
stuff in 'im to love his country, but he could 
'ate all right. I'll give you a definition 
of Bolshevism, Sir William. It's the 
creed that's based on 'ate. And if you 
think that's common among the British 
people, you greatly misjudge your country- 



men." 



Mr. Jonas, as if conscious that he had 
been too fervent, sat back in his chair and 
spoke in a quieter voice, that soothing voice 
which aforetime had calmed great gather- 
ings at great crises. 

* We are going through a difficult time, 
I don't deny. But it will come all right if 
we remember two things. The first is 
never to 'ate, for it's un-English and un- 

75 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Christian and don't pay. The other is to 
remember 'ist'ry and to realise that none 
of our troubles are new. Our grandfathers 
'ad them, but they faced up to them like 
men, and didn't confuse their 'eads with 
bad science." 

" It's like," he continued, " a time of 
thaw. The bitter binding winter of war is 
over. War was a cruel thing, and nipped 
young life and killed the weaklings and put 
a stop to growth. But its frosts were 
exhilarating too, and keyed us all up. 
Now we're in the thaw, with muddy roads 
and dripping skies, and our tempers are 
getting short. It's a 'ard time, for there's 
neither the tonic of winter nor the comfort 
of summer, but only grey weather over a 
grey world. But you can't 'ave Spring 
without it. That's what we 'ave to remem- 
ber. And the time is coming when the 
sun will shine again and we will walk in 
green fields." 

A strange gentleness and beauty had 
76 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

>me into the speaker's rugged face. Sud- 
lenly he began to laugh. 

Dearie me/' he said, <:< I'm getting 
eloquent. 'Ow's that for a peroration ? 
[t only wants a reference to the sunrise and 

ie 'ills of Wales to be up to one of the 
'.M.'s efforts." 



77 



\ 



A wet day. The ladies proffer their cures for the 
present discontents. Mr. Normand discourses on 
Liberty. An Apostle of Empire arrives. 

BREAKFAST next morning was made re- 
markable by the cheerfulness of Mrs. 
Lamont. Usually of a shy and timid habit, 
as of a dove in a world of eagles, she now 
blossomed into a sober merriment. She 
rallied Mr. Burford on his damaged hands, 
and Mr. Jonas on his garb, for that gentle- 
man, resolved to emulate his friend's 
fishing exploits on the Lith, had borrowed 
a pair of Colonel Lament's trench boots 
and a shooting-coat which hung loose on 
his shoulders. 

c Your ruthless optimism last night has 
gone to Kathie's head," Lady Sevenoaks 
told the latter. 

78 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Yes," said the hostess, ' I was so 
teered with what you told me. I know 
little of the working classes, apart from 
our own people here, and the papers are 
full of such disquieting stories. " 

Mr. Jonas, who was standing up eating 
porridge in imitation of his host, and 
making rather a messy job of it, set down 
his plate and announced that breakfast was 
not the time to talk politics, but that he 
was bound to issue a warning. 

" Our people are sound at J eart," he 
said, " but the situation is disquieting right 
enough. They're asking for big changes in 
their life and work, and they mean to 'ave 
them. There's plenty of folk in the country 
who won't be got to understand what the 
workers want, and plenty who understand 
and won't agree to it. That means a fight, 
and whether it's a decent fight or a bitter, 
long battle depends just upon the amount 
of good temper and good sense both sides 
put into it. I 'aven't any doubt which side 

79 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

will win, but I want it to be a fair win, 
leaving no bad blood behind it. The mis- 
chief is that unless the masters show a good 
spirit they'll get up the backs of the men, 
and the men will make demands that 
'aven't justice in them. That's always 
apt to 'appen. So a lot depends on you, 
my friends. The People aren't very clever 
and they're pretty slow, but when they 
make up their mind and get earnest they're 
always right. It isn't going to be pleasant 
for everybody to admit this, and no amount 
of nice phrases will get over the unpleasant- 
ness." 

Mrs. Lament's face fell, but Mr. Jonas 
was relentless. 

"'Then there's the trouble abroad and 
all the mess of wickedness that the 'Un has 
created. There's plenty of Bolshevism 
about in Europe real Bolshevism and 
we've got to get the thing straight, for a 
country can't live to itself alone any more 
than a 'uman being. We're all members 
80 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

one of another. We won't get peace at 
'ome till we get peace abroad. Why, every 
little industrial dispute in England is in the 
long run a world problem. " 

" I should like to hear you develop 
that/' said Mr. Normand. 

But Mr. Jonas refused. " No," he said, 
" I'm going fishing. This isn't the 'appy 
breakfast table of No. 10 Downing Street. 
I'll tell you all about it to-night, if Jimmie 
doesn't drown me." 

The day passed somewhat slowly for the 
ladies. The only man left behind was 
Christopher Normand, who was busy in 
the library, for even Mr. Wypef had 
departed for the Black Loch, where he 
proposed not to fish like the others but 
to ascend an adjacent mountain. In the 
late afternoon a slight drizzle began, and 
the party assembled for tea in the hall, 
where a fire of logs burned with the ferocity 
which characterises fires in summer lit 
rather for cheerfulness than for warmth. 
81 G 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

The group presented a comfortable spec- 
tacle to Mr. Normand as he returned from 
a constitutional in the rain. 

" We were discussing what Mr. Jonas 
said at breakfast/' Mrs. Lamont informed 
him. ' What do you think the workers 
really want, Christopher ? >3 

" A little kindness and putting their hair 
in curl-papers/ ' was the reply. 

" I wish you'd be serious," said the 
lady, who did not recognise the quotation. 
!< I can't help feeling that they only want 
sympathy. " 

" Just what I said," replied Mr. Nor- 
mand. 

' I mean," said Mrs. Lamont, her kind 
eyes looking into vacancy, " I mean they 
want a more human relationship than that 
between the employers of a company and 
a board of directors whose names they 
don't know. My father used always to say 
that joint stock companies would be the 
ruin of our working classes. I think no 
82 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

one should be allowed to be an employer 
of labour who does not know personally 
every one of his men." 

" And has a nice wife who takes them 
soup when they are ill," said Mr. Normand. 

" That would be a good thing too," said 
Mrs. Lamont innocently. 

! Nonsense, Kathie," said Lady Seven- 
oaks. ' You're always harking back to the 
Lady Bountiful business. The working 
classes only want what we all want more 
money and more leisure. I am all for high 
wages and a short working week, and the 
country can well afford them/if it does not 
cripple itself with idiotic schemes of Tariff 
Reform." 

;< I think you are too material," said the 
intense voice of Mrs. Aspenden. " I can- 
not believe that a war which has been won 
by the spirit should lead only to an increase 
of loaves and fishes. What we need is 
more religion true religion." 

" I agree," said Mr. Normand gravely. 

83 G 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" How can we expect tHe poor to be 
happy, " said the lady, " when our churches 
are so ugly and our services so few and 
uninspiring ? As dear Father Mabbett 
used to say, if we want to restore Merrie 
England, we must have priests serving all 
day before our altars, and the poor regard- 
ing the Church as their true home, and the 
bells of every town and village in the land 
ringing to welcome in the days of the 
Blessed Saints." 

" You think you could rally Labour on 
that cry ? " asked Mr. Normand. 

" I am sure of it," said the lady with 
enthusiasm. 

" Like Sir Vavasour Firebrace and the 
bitter wrongs of the baronetage." 

But his gibe missed fire, for Mrs. 
Aspenden was not a student of Disraeli. 
' You have no idea what good work the 
Toil and Spirit movement is doing," she 
continued. " Faith Brantwing told me 
that she had a shop-steward to tea and he 

84 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tayed till midnight and poured out his 
heart to her. People like her can lift the 
workers out of their materialism/' 

At the last word Mr. Normand, who 
remembered the toilettes of the lady in 
question, could not repress a smile. 

" What do you say, Pen, dear ? " Mrs. 
Lamont asked her niece. 

Lady Penelope Wyper, who habitually 
wore clothes more suited for a Three Arts 
Ball than the Hebrides, was busy fitting 
a tiny cigarette into an elaborate holder. 

" Oh, I don't know," she said. " I live 
only for the beautiful in life and Pm not 
interested in economics. I don't think 
anybody is, except the people who make 
their living by teaching them. I agree 
with Ursula that the change must be in the 
spirit, but a few thousand extra High 
Church parsons won't work the change. I 
think the people are craving for colour 
and form. Now, if Augustus John " 

But, unnoticed by the speakers, the 

85 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

party from the Lith had returned, and 
Phyllis and the two fishermen were standing 
between a Coromandel screen and the 
passage to the drawing-room. They had 
been listening to the last part of the con- 
versation, and Mr. Normand was a de- 
lighted witness of the slow amazement 
which overspread their faces. Phyllis, who 
could not see it direct, caught the reflection 
of it in Christopher's eyes and broke into 
merry laughter. 

" Have you got a fish ? " Mr. Normand 
asked. 

" I 'ave," said Mr. Jonas. " And I've 
put Jimmie's nose out of joint. Mine's a 
pound and a 'alf 'eavier than 'is." 

* You must be dreadfully wet, you poor 
people," said Mrs. Lamont. " Hadn't you 
better change before you have tea, or shall 
I have it sent up to you ? " 

They disappeared, protesting that they 
would be down in ten minutes, and in the 
interval conversation languished. It was 
86 






THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



impossible to induce Lady Penelope to 
expound her views further. 

" But you must contribute something, 
Christopher/' Mrs. Lament told him. 
" We are trying to be public-spirited and 
helpful, and you only jeer." 

" Well, if you want to know my views, 
I think the workers of this country at the 
moment want liberty above all things." 

" But surely they've got it." 

" Not quite the right sort. Kathie, 
your grandfather was one of the 1832 
Whigs." 

" He was, the more shame to him," said 
Lady Guidwillie. 

" Why shame ? " Mrs. Lamont asked. 
!< He was a very good man, Margaret." 

" He was," said Mr. Normand, " and 
he fought in what was on the whole a very 
good cause. He wanted the people to have 
political liberty. Well, industrial politics 
are the vital politics of the workers. They 
want the same kind of liberty there that 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

your grandfather helped to win for them 
in the constitutional field. " 

" Rubbish, Christopher/' said Lady 
Guidwillie. " They have ample liberty. 
They can carry their labour to any market, 
and drive a hard bargain for the price of 
it. What more do you want ? " 

" Price isn't everything. They want to 
have a say in running the world by which 
they live. I believe that if they had it 
they would be better workmen and that 
every industry would yield a bigger profit. 
Production is what we need, more and more 
production, for the war has starved the 
world of everything ; and this is a way 



to it. 5 



: I don't in the least know what you 
mean," said Lady Guidwillie. " Do you 
want to nationalise everything ? That, no 
doubt, would give the workpeople some 
say in the management of business, for 
the whole nation would be the employer." 

" I believe that in one or two cases 
88 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



nationalisation would be right," Mr. Nor- 
mand replied. " But I don't want to see 
it carried too far, for the State should stand 
a little outside the industrial world and be 
able to interfere with some prestige when 
things get at loggerheads. If it were the 
universal employer it would have no inde- 
pendent status." 

" Then what do you want ? You surely 
wouldn't argue that a committee of ig- 
norant workmen was as capable of running 
a business profitably as the highly-trained 
employer. They've tried it in Russia and 
made a pretty mess of it. You would only 
decrease production, and that would put 
up the cost of living and lower wages. 
Really, Christopher, you're very illogical." 

Mr. Normand laughed, and put a ques- 
tion. ' You would admit, wouldn't you, 
that a despot, if he were really able and 
benevolent, would run a country better 
than a democracy ? " 

" Certainly." 

89 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" But the world has decided against the 
despot, partly because you can't count 
either on his ability or his benevolence, and 
partly because men like to be free and 
would rather have an imperfect govern- 
ment for which they are responsible than 
a perfect government for which they are 
not. You agree ? " 

Lady Guidwillie nodded doubtfully. 
Being very shrewd, she saw where she was 
being led. 

* Well, there's the same feeling about 
the present system in industry. Men want 
to have a say in what concerns them more 
nearly than the government of the State, 
and that is the management of the work by 
which they live. They don't believe in 
the divine right and infallibility of em- 
ployers any more than in the divine right 
of Kings and the infallibility of the Pope. 
If you reply that they must trust the expert, 
they are incredulous and declare that that 
is pure Prussianism. You see, the average 
90 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

man in Britain has learned very completely 
the lesson of the war." 

Mr. Maldwin and Sir William Jacob had 
returned from a long tramp and were 
listening with interest to p the discussion. 

;< I don't believe in the unvarying com- 
petence of employers," said the latter. 
* I have cross-examined too many and 
found out how little they knew of their 
own business. To that extent I sympathise 
with the workers, and as a Liberal I am in 
favour of carrying the principle of self- 
government into all things. But surely, 
Normand, you are perilously near the 
ground of the Syndicalist and the Guild 
Socialist. I thought Tory Democrats be- 
lieved in the historic continuity of things. 
You are prepared to scrap a machine which 
on the whole works, and put in its place an 
empirical toy." 

" I wish," said Mr. Normand, " I wish 
that people would stop calling me a Tory 
Democrat. I don't know what the silly 

9* 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

phrase means. I'm a Tory or a Democrat. 
I should prefer to be a Tory if the world 
were what it was long ago. No, I am not 
sentimental about the past, but I don't 
believe greatly in the merits of what we call 
progress, and I should have preferred a 
simpler and poorer and happier England. 
But I'm not "blind, and Toryism, except 
for a few eternal principles, belongs only 
to history. As it is, Fm a democrat sans 
phrase , and I maintain that it's a natural 
transition from honest Toryism." 

Sir William apologised. " But what 
about your Syndicalism ? " he asked. 

' Syndicalism is simply a proof of the 
widespread instinct I've been talking about. 
You will always find people to fit an ab- 
stract absolutist creed to any instinct. 
Syndicalism goes too far, and would en- 
throne one human relation at the expense 
of all the rest. Guild Socialism is uncom- 
monly interesting, but I believe that it is 
too exotic to work well in the world as we 
92 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ow it to-day. But both are exaggera- 
ons of what I believe to be sound doctrine, 
have never been much of an enthusiast 
bout the blessings of self-government, 
but if it's good for the things that matter 
less it is better for the things that matter 




more." 



Lady Guidwillie was not convinced. 
" I have always been told that an army 
would be beaten if it were commanded by a 
debating society, and I don't see how that 
doesn't apply to business. Expert know- 
ledge is expert knowledge, and the workman 
who tends a single machine will make a 
mess of it if he interferes with the organisa- 
;ion in which his machine is only a part, 
jn't there a passage in the Apocrypha 
ibout the man whose talk is of bullocks 
icking to them and not trying to sit in the 
>uncils of the State ? " 

That text is on my side," said Christo- 
pher Normand. " We are dealing with the 
management of bullocks, not with things 

93 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

like foreign policy. Besides, the rank and 
file will obey the real expert better if he is 
the man of their own approval. Give the 
ordinary man a fair chance and he'll pick 
good leaders and be loyal to them." 

Mr. Maldwin, who had been listening 
intently, took up the parable. 

" I believe all your life youVe practised 
what Normand's saying," he told Lady 
Guidwillie. :< I've been pretty often to 
stay at Waucht, and I must say the sport 
was better run there than anywhere I 
know. But did you ever dare to interfere 
with Donald Matheson ? He used to run 
the stalking like a tyrant, and run it jolly 
well too. Why, IVa heard him give 
Guidwillie a proper keel-hauling for some 
mistake, and Guidwillie always admitted he 
was right. And the same with Anderson, 
the river keeper. Do you think you would 
have got as good work out of these fellows 
if you had been always supervising them 
and telling them what to do, instead of 

94 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

letting their show be their own concern 
and making them feel proud of it ? " 

Mr. Burford and Mr. Jonas, dry and 
reclothed, had entered the hall and were 
busy making up arrears. It was for them 
a solemn duty, for both were in the habit 
of declaring that they would rather give up 
every other meal than tea. Muffins sealed 
Mr. Burford 's mouth as dust dimmed the 
eyes of Helen, but Mr. Jonas had still a 
voice. 

" I 'ad the privilege of 'earing a little 
time ago some very interesting views from 
the ladies as to what the workers really 
want." 

The ladies in question looked guiltily at 
each other. 

" Very interesting and enlightening they 
were. And now I've 'eard some very good 
sense from our friends Mr. Normand and 
Mr. Maldwin 'ere. But I've got to protest 
again about the 'abit of thinking of the 
workers as if they were an unfeatured class, 

95 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

like a field of corn. We'll get on better if 
we think of Jack and Bill and Tom as 
individuals. Our job is to restore the 
ordinary man's individuality, which 'as 
been submerged. Everything comes back 
to that, and if you think of the question in 
that way you'll find it easier going. Bill 
Thomas, let's say, wants better wages and 
more leisure and more interest and respon- 
sibility in his job. And we all want to see 
Bill a better citizen, with some notion of 
'ow it takes all kinds to make a nation, and 
'ow 'is own interests 'as to be squared with 
other people's. Well, that means that 
Bill's g6t to be better educated. Go for 
Bill, and never mind his class that you call 
the ' workers,' for if you think of an 
abstract thing like a class you'll never get 
to grips with the problem. I'm speaking 
to my own address as well as to yours, for 
God knows I've talked a bit of nonsense in 
my day." 

Lady Guidwillie approved. 
96 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

' Workers ' is a horrid, question-beg- 
ging word," she said, " like * Democracy ' 
id ' the People.' But all this talk seems 
me most disquieting. You want a mil- 
jnnium, but unless you get it universally 
it will be a pandemonium. Industry and 
commerce are world-wide things, and while 
we are busy giving Bill Thomas a good 
time, his slender output will be swamped 
by the products of less fortunate countries, 
and the latter end of Bill will be starva- 
tion." 

Mr. Normand looked up sharply. 
c YouVe put your finger on the crux of 
te whole business. I'm not afraid of 
giving our people more self-government in 
idustry, for that is a subject in which they 
deeply concerned and in his own way 
rery one of them is an expert. * But 
democracy is apt to be terribly self-centred 
in its interests. It suffers from a short- 
range imagination geographically. The 
purer a democracy we become, the less are 

97 H 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

we fitted to handle world-problems intelli- 
gently, and these world-problems are just 
as vital to our well-being in the end as any 
domestic question. I agree with what you 
said at breakfast, Jonas. Every little in- 
dustrial dispute we have is in the long run 
a matter for the whole world." * 

Mr. Jonas was about to reply, when he 
was interrupted by the dressing-bell. At 
the same moment there came a sound of 
wheels from without, and Mrs. Lamont 
rose in some excitement. ' That must be 
Mr. Lenchard. Martha went to meet 
him." 

" Favete linguis" whispered Mr. Nor- 
mand to Lady Sevenoaks. " When half- 
gods go, the gods arrive." 

Dinner was a pleasant meal which passed 
swiftly, for the new guest, who had travelled 
straight from London, brought news of the, 
outer world which was greedily received 
by people dependent upon irregular Scot- 
98 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

tish papers and a belated Times. He had 
just been in Paris, and gave an amusing 
account of the jumble of nationalities at 
work in that perplexed city. Mr. Lenchard 
was one of those figures who in every 
generation intrigue their contemporaries. 
Most people knew him only as a name, for, 
like the god Baal, he was often on a journey. 
Still in early middle life, he had a singular 
air of youth, but of monastic youth. His 
hair, though plentiful, somehow suggested 
a tonsure ; and whatever garment he as- 
sumed had the appearance of a monk's 
robe. His searching black eyes were pre- 
ternaturally solemn, but his face now and 
then broke up into a slow smile. Perhaps 
it was his voice that suggested the Church ; 
it seemed made to intone chants and 
offices. As the founder of that admirable 
quarterly, The Square Deal, he had some 
claim to be a shaper of political opinion, 
and he had gathered round him a group of 
men who in their several spheres had done 
99 H 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

distinguished work for their country. His 
critics declared that he was Prussian in his 
complete humourlessness and his inhuman 
persistence ; his friends found in him both 
humour and modesty. Under his coercion 
the British Empire had altered much of its 
constitutional practice and wholly revised 
its constitutional theory no small achieve- 
ment for a single patriot. 

The party assembled after dinner round 
the hall fire, for the coming of rain had 
brought a slight chill into the air. 

Lady Sevenoaks was eager to make Mr. 
Lenchard talk, for she wickedly anticipated 
a row with Mr. Wyper. 

" How is the Empire going to come out 
of all this ? " she asked. " We have to be 
very chary in using the name now. What 
is the new phrase ? The British Common- 
wealth ? " 

" Yes," said Mr. Lenchard. " That is 
a safer word and a more exact description. 
I like ' Empire * myself, but the Germans 
100 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ive given it an ugly sound ... I think 

dngs are going very well. The British 
>eoples sat round the Conference Table as 
a group of free nations, and it was pleasant 
to find so many involuntary tributes to our 
success in government. Whenever there 
was any doubt about the proper mandatory 
for a part of the world they generally came 
first to us." 

:< I should have thought," said Lady 
Sevenoaks, lt that the whole creed of 
Imperialism had been a little blown upon. 
Mr. Wyper said the other day that the 
attitude of the British Imperialist was 
indistinguishable from that of the Pan- 
Germans, except that he had less logic and 
courage." 

But, to her astonishment, Mr. Lenchard 
refused to be drawn. He actually laughed. 

:< I think that view has a good deal of 

truth in it. The whole world was bitten 

by Prussianism and none of our records 

are quite clean. We all thought too much 

101 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

of the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. 
But, yes on the whole we were saner, even 
in our worst extravagances. Only our 
fools talked the racial nonsense of the 
Boche. The great Imperialists were in- 
clined to be very humble in the face of 
their problems, and, remember, we had 
always a good deal of the sound old Whig- 
gish notion of liberty in our heroics. But 
we wanted purifying, and, please God, 
we've got it." 

Mr. Wyper, one of whose possessions 
was an uncommonly thick skin, was pre- 
pared to dispute this proposition. But 
Mr. Lenchard declined. 

" Good Lord, I'm not going to discuss 
politics at this time of night. I'm fairly 
dropping with sleep. We'll talk about it 
to-morrow, if you like . . . Colonel La- 
mont, I hear General Morier is coming 
here?" 

" He turns up about eleven to-night. 
Malone wires that he's crossing in a yacht 

102 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

rhich the new Member for the county has 

sorrowed from one of his millionaire 

iends." - 
!< I saw a little of Morier in Paris, and 

ie makes a man feel about four feet high 
beside him. We've produced great sol- 
diers, as great as anybody except Foch, but 
we can't produce just the Morier type. He 
doesn't belong to the modern world at all. 
He fought the war in the spirit in which St. 
Louis went to the Crusades or a medieval 
knight rode out to rescue a princess. It 
was funny to see him trying to puzzle his 
way through the kind of problem we had 
to face, wondering all the time why a war 

r hich had been fought for chivalry should 

jnd in bargaining. And the odd thing 
that he finished by being the toughest 

Bargainer of the lot. A great idealist often 
ids it hard to understand other idealisms 

than his own, and ends by being rather 
specially terre-d-terre. I dare say Mr. 

fonas would call hirr>an old reactionary. " 
103 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" No, I wouldn't," said that gentleman. 
" I call him an 'ero. An *ero doesn't 
belong to any particular world, ancient or 
modern. But we all take off our 'ats to 
1m." 

" He is so wonderful," sighed Mrs. 
Aspenden. " I hear that he went to Mass 
every morning during all his battles." 

" Bless my soul," said Colonel Lamont, 
" I forgot all about that. This island was 
converted so thoroughly at the Reformation 
that there isn't a 'priest within twenty 
miles ... I wonder if Macmillan would 
be any good. He was rather nice about 
the Pope last Sunday. The Lith is getting 
pretty low, and if only this rain doesn't 
bring it up there may be a chance of 
inveigling him from the sea trout." 



104 




VI 



Mr. Lenchard discusses the faults and virtues of 
British Imperialism. General Morier is in doubt 
about the League of Nations. A Practical Politician 
combats Idealism, and shows himself not immune 
from it. 

IT was Lady Sevenoaks's habit to wake 
early and to pass the time in writing notes. 
At that hour of the morning her mind was 
active and her desire to express it over- 
powering. In London she would scatter 
her billets among her friends by special 
messenger, but here in the Hebrides she 
confined herself to inditing letters for the 
post. Her first thought on waking was 
of General Morier. She had a weakness 
for great men, especially for the romanti- 
cally great ; she remembered that during 
the war she had once sat next to him at 

105 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

lunch at the French Embassy, and she 
desired to recall herself to his memory. 
Accordingly she wrote and dispatched by 
her maid an agreeable letter written in her 
best French. 

But while Lady Sevenoaks's French was 
of a crystal clar^y, not so her handwriting. 
A footman presented the missive to General 
Morier while he was still heavy with sleep. 
The attempt to decipher it woke him up 
most effectively, and he continued his 
labour while he^ shaved. He grasped the 
friendly tenor of the document, but for 
the life of him he could not read the sig- 
nature. 

When he descended to breakfast he 
found the party awaiting him with a 
curiosity scarcely masked by good breeding. 
Indeed, he was a figure which would have 
commanded attention in any company, 
even if his famous record had been un- 
known. Tall and spare and bearing him- 
self with that erect grace which his 
106 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

countrymen alone can command, he seemed 
the incarnation of the spirit of chivalrous 
war. A long curving scar on his brown 
cheek told of that wound in the first 
Argonne campaign which had laid him 
aside for months, and a maimed hand spoke 
of the grave days of Verdun when corps 
commander and fantassin alike faced im- 
minent death. His deep-set grey eyes 
were at once shy and masterful, and in 
every line of his worn face were gentleness 
and self-control. He spoke almost perfect 
English, and Colonel Lamont, who had 
welcomed him in halting French, relapsed 
with a sigh of relief into his native tongue. 
Lady Sevenoaks greeted him with the 
warmth of a privileged friend, Mrs. Aspen- 
den with the reverence with which she 
would have received a Prince of the 
Church, and Mrs. Lavender with some- 
thing approaching that curtsey which she 
would have refused to any crowned head 
on the globe ; the young men stood to 
107 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

attention as if on parade ; and Mr. Jonas, 
in his hero-worship, forbore to make any 
remark till he had finished his porridge. 

After the meal the General took his 
hostess aside. !< Have you perhaps a 
Madame Snooks staying in the house ? " 
he asked. '* I desire to be presented to 
her." 

Mrs. Lamont hastily repeated the names 
of the women. The General reflected and 
found enlightenment. " I beg your par- 
don/' he said, laughing, " I am getting old 
and stupid. Snooks ! But, of cou-rse, no. 
It is my blunder." And he hastened to 
compliment Lady Sevenoaks on her morn- 
ing freshness and on the distinguished 
public services of her husband. 

It was a day of steady rain. " Confound 
it," said Colonel Lamont. " This will fill 
up the Lith, and there will be no hope of 
getting Macmillan away from it." In the 
house there was a large and pleasant room, 
half library, half smoking-room, which was 
108 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the usual rendezvous on wet days. Many 
fine heads of deer adorned the walls, and 
the bookshelves contained the assortment 
of literature common in Scottish country 
houses old threervolume editions of Sir 
Walter Scott's novels, the proceedings of 
antiquarian and agricultural societies, and 
odd works of eighteenth-century divinity. 
Colonel Lamont had elsewhere in the 
house a well-appointed library, and this 
room was the backwater into which drifted 
the less regarded volumes. 

Here during the morning most of the 
men found themselves assembled, with 
eyes turning from the wet window-panes 
to the glowing peat fire. Mr. Lenchard 
and General Morier stood talking on the 
hearth-rug ; Mr. Maldwin was deep in a 
volume ofjorrocks, with his legs swung over 
the arm of his chair ; Sir William Jacob 
and Mr. Wyper were writing letters ; and 
Christopher Normand was dozing over a 
three-days-old Times. 
109 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Wyper finished his correspondence 
and joined the two by the fire. 

" I am afraid Lady Sevenoaks rather 
traduced me last night, " he told Mr. 
Lenchard. " Morally, of course, I never 
classed Imperialists with Pan-Germans. 
If you had clearly envisaged your aims 
which you never did you might be liable 
to the charge. But what difference, except 
in degree, was there between your ' self- 
sufficing Empire ' and the Germany which 
Biilow and Ballin dreamed of ? You too 
wanted to set yourselves outside and above 
the comradeship of nations. " 

Mr. Lenchard regarded with some dis- 
favour the restless being before him. 

" Nobody ever preached a self-sufficing 
Empire. It was a fiction of our opponents. 
What we advocated was the development 
of a closer union between the parts of that 
Empire. Only a fool, if he has to live in 
the world, seeks to cut himself off from the 
world." 

no 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Will you tell me what is this Imperial- 
m ? " General Morier asked. " For many 
I have had little leisure to study, and 
know it only as a name." 
Mr. Lenchard turned with a smile to the 
General. 

" You ask me a good deal," he said. 
" But I will try to tell you what I mean by 
it. Like every big thing, people interpreted 
it in different ways." 

He lit his pipe, pulled up an armchair, 
and stretched his long legs to the fire. 

" First, I believed in the big social unit. 
In our complicated world you cannot limit 
ny question territorially, and the big 
uestions need a big space for settlement, 
erefore, like Germany, I believed in 
eat nations administering great tracts of 
nd. No. It wasn't grandeur, General, 
t was common sense. I wanted to create 
new patriotism for the big unit, which 
ould not supersede the smaller patriot- 
ms but would safeguard them. I believe 
in 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

that to be a right deduction from history. 
Take the case of Scotland. If Scotland had 
remained a little separate kingdom, like 
Holland, she would have lost her Scottish- 
ness. The struggle for life would have 
rubbed away her idioms of language and 
literature, thought and manners and tra- 
dition. But, being part of the British 
Empire, she can cherish all her idiosyn- 
crasies, and at the same time feel a genuine 
devotion to the bigger unit which she has 
done so much to create." 

The Frenchman nodded. " That is 
truth/* he said. 

" Well, then, I wanted the Empire for 
three reasons . One was its economic value . 
These islands were over-industrialised, and 
to give our people a wholesome life we 
needed more space. A second was its 
moral value. The duties of Empire 
brought fresh air into our politics, and 
gave our young men a richer field of ser- 
vice. Thirdly, I wanted it as a safeguard 

112 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

peace. The hope of peace, to-day as in 
e Middle Ages, lies in a community of 
w, interests, and culture over the biggest 
ssible area. We could not restore right 
y the unity of Christendom, but the 
ritish Empire was the first instalment/' 
" That is clear/ 1 said General Morier, 
and Mr. Wyper, whose mouth was opened 
to questions, forbore, for the Frenchman 
went on : " There is nothing in what you 
say that France would not subscribe to. I 
see in it none of that universalism which 
I dread." 

* What effect has the war had on your 
views, Philip ? >! Christopher Normand 
asked. 

" It has not changed them. In a sense 
it has justified them. But, thank God, it 
has also superseded them." 

General Morier looked anxious. 
" Are you then a convert to univer- 
salism ? >! 

" I hope not," said Mr. Lenchard, " for 
113 i 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

I never heard a more beastly word. But 
am a convert to the closer interconnectioi 
of all peoples. We are in for democra< 
everywhere, and we have got to safeguan 
the world against its defects. Its bigge* 
danger is that the people become absorb* 
in their domestic problems, and, while th< 
State extends its area of control ov< 
national life, there is a perpetual risk of 
country intensifying its self-consciousn< 
to the point of truqulent independence 
We have lost the old cosmopolitan sociel 
which kept the upper classes of Europe ii 
touch with each other, and we are in dangc 
of leaving foreign relations to a small bod] 
of disregarded experts. That is simpb 
foolishness, for however nice you make yoi 
house and garden it won't be a desirable 
dwelling unless you see that the amenitii 
of the neighbourhood are preserved 
Well, the war has shown us, I think, tJ 
we can't live apart from the rest of thi 
world. Most people now see that foreij 
114 



Till: ISLAND OF SHEEP 

a Hairs arc as much a part of their politics 
an increase in the income (ax. Hut 
less we ^ci the right kind of machinery 
shall always tend to sink back to the old 
sorption in home questions. We have 
orientate the parish pump with a wider 
rid. I used to think that the Empire was 
ough for the purpose, but now 1 see that 
we want nothing short of humanity at 
large/' 

Mr. Wyper expressed his approval. 
* Your definition of Imperialism/' he said, 
" was pure Prussianism. It was exaetly 
what the parson here was defending last 
Sunday, when he warned us not to despise 
Germany's ideals. I could parallel every 
one of your points out of Delbriick. Hut 
I welcome a belated convert to the League 
Nations. There, at any rate, we are in 
eemcnt." 

I don't think we should agree long/' 
id Mr. Lenchard. 4| You want to blur all 
tionality into a soft pulpy thing. I 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

want to make it harder and craggier than 
ever. Before we can have a League of 
Nations we must have the nations, and 
that's what you fellows forget/' 

Mr. Wyper would fain have retorted, 
but at that moment Mr. Jonas and Mr. 
Burford entered the room. They had been 
for a walk in the rain, and the wet glistened 
on their faces. Mr. Lenchard, at the 
request of the General, continued : 

11 I believe in a League of Nations on the 
same grounds as I believed in Imperialism. 
The least important is that it is the only 
guarantee of peace. I will give you a 
reason which should appeal to Jonas. We 
in Britain have to face a complete recon- 
struction of industrial life. Thank Heaven 
we mean business this time and won't be 
allowed to trifle with it. But, if industry 
is a world-wide thing, how are we going to 
give our people a better life if elsewhere in 
the globe we have to compete with the 
cheap products of the dark ages ? Believe 
116 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

me, a country which develops its industrial 
life on purely nationalist lines will end in 
disaster. It will either fail and starve, or 
will go to war like Germany. I am not 
Socialist, but I have always admitted the 
>od sense of the Internationale. The 
Socialists saw the world-wide ramifications 
of the things that interested them, and they 
made an honest attempt to provide ade- 
quate machinery ... I won't bother you 
with other reasons, except to say this. The 
moral and imaginative value which some 
of us found in Imperialism is to be found 
in a far fuller measure in the conception 
of a working union of all civilised 
peoples." 

General Morier sadly shook his head. 
" I do not deny the splendour of the con- 
ception, but I fear that it is too splendid 
for an imperfect world. It will weaken 
the homely intimacies of race and country, 
which have about them the glamour of 
ages. How can you get that long- descended 
117 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

reverence with which to invest your brand 
new League ? " 

"I think," said Mr. Lenchard, " th 
the difficulties are enormous, but th 
most of them will vanish if they are fac 
by a resolute good will. As for the sane 
tion, we must make it. We must creat 
an international mood, and make men 
loyal to mankind as they are to their ow 
lands. It can be done and it will be done 
The larger patriotism does not destroy th 
smaller, for men are loyal to the Britis 
Empire as well as to England or Canada 
and a Frenchman loves France as much 
his Normandy village. But it needs," 
concluded, fixing his eye on Mr. Wype 
" the devil of a lot of wisdom, and th 
thing will be wrecked at the start if it 
left to feeble intellectuals who profess f< 
the world a devotion which they refuse t 
their own country." 

" That's a bit 'ard," said Mr. Jona 
grinning. ;< I am 'eart and soul for th< 
118 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

League, but I'm puzzled to know how it's 
>ing to work. I don't like the folk that 
ill themselves jurists." 

No more do I," said Christopher 
formand from the depths of his armchair. 
They usually come from Guatemala or 
eru They start by talking about Solon 
and Lycurgus and they end by being 
squared. " 

" What I mean to say," Mr. Jonas con- 
tinued, " is that I'm afraid of the League 
becoming too much of a State and giving 
us a double dose of politics. Lord knows 
we have enough to satisfy us at present ! " 
" I don't agree^" said Mr. Lenchard. 
" We want more of the State and not less, 
id you, as a good Socialist, Jonas, should 
rree with me. You made an excellent 
sech the other day in which you told 
>ur people that their first loyalty was owed 
the State and not to their Union or their 
slass. We want to uphold the State as 
against all sectional organisations. I don't 
119 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

want to see men brigaded by classes and 
interests. I want to see every man a citizen 
first and a Trade Unionist or an employer 
second. And I want a World State to 
supersede any Internationale, for it will 
deal with the whole complex of political 
life and not with a fraction. " 

Mr. Lenchard had squared his shoulders 
and was embarking on a fuller exposition, 
when the sound of the luncheon-gong fell 
on the ears of the party. Luncheon on a 
wet day in a Highland lodge is apt to be a 
dreary meal, but on this occasion the 
presence of General Morier lent it an agree- 
able excitement. There also appeared Mr. 
Merry weather Malone, who had arrived 
the night before and had stayed in bed 
during the morning to cure a cold. He 
was a large man of some forty odd years, 
who combined a plump body with a lean 
countenance. His greeting of his fellow 
guests was marked by the ceremonious 
dignity common among American gentle- 
120 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

I men ; his greeting of Mrs. Lavender was 
touched with a romantic regret for lost 
opportunities. Speaking through a heavy 
catarrh, he announced that he believed 
that he had staved off the pneumonia which 
had seemed a sure thing when he awoke, 
and was now ready for a little nourish- 
ment. 

General Morier continued the conversa- 
tion of the smoking-room. 

" You English are too idealist," he said. 
' You strive after the impossible and have 
a passion for uniting incompatibles. We 
of France take our stand on the solid ground 
of European tradition. We revere the 
wisdom of our forefathers. We believe in 
the perfectibility of mankind but not yet 
awhile. We do not think that even this 
great war has changed human nature, and 
we would not have it changed. We love 
the fallible thing which is France more 
deeply than any cloudy cosmopolitan 
fatherland. You cannot break with the 

121 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

past, my friends, and you dare not forget 
history/' 

Mr. Jonas signified his assent. !< I am 
always preaching more 'ist'ry," he said. 

" I wonder if you realise what a difficult 
patch Britain has to hoe," said Mr. Nor- 
mand. :t France is European, America is 
American. We're European on one side 
and American on another, and a great many 
things besides. We're a far more compli- 
cated piece to fit into the international 
jig-saw puzzle." 

" Our difficulties are our strength," Mr. 
Lenchard cried. " Because we're no one 
thing in particular we're everything. We're 
the eternal hyphen in a new era." 

"Perhaps," said the General, with a 
smile at Mr. Lenchard's enthusiasm. 
" Nevertheless you seek two incompatibles, 
a world politically united, and a spiritual 
unity which will alone make the other 
possible. That was your argument this 
morning. Well, 1 say they are incom- 

122 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

patibles, and I look to history for the proof. 
In the Roman Empire you had political 
union, but you had a thousand clashing 
faiths. Then came Christianity. In the 
Middle Ages you had spiritual unity, but 
a world all split into warring races. You 
may have one or the other, but not both, 
and it is both you seek. You are too 
idealist." 

" Perhaps we are," said Mr. Lenchard. 
" Nevertheless we must attempt the im- 
possible, for there is no other way. And 
after all, General, mankind has advanced 
chiefly by attempting and achieving the 
incredible. In four years Britain created 
out of nothing one of the most successful 
armies in the world. You yourself at 
Verdun defied every law of probability." 

General Morier bowed. :< I am a lover 
of daring, my friend. Perhaps it is not on 
that ground I oppose you. The trouble 
is that I do not like your new world. I 
think of France, now these many centuries 
123 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

old and yet eternally young. I rejoice to 
see her head held high among the nations. 
I would have her strong through wise 
alliances, and modest in her strength, for 
being old she is well-bred, and does not 
need to boast like a. parvenu. We and you 
together, and the Americans, are security 
enough for peace, for though we are 
unlike, yet our qualities supplement each 
other and the sum is political wisdom. I 
do not like to think of my country shorn of 
her strength for defence, which is the 
pride of every man and every people, and 
surrendering her honour to an international 
debating society." 

" Why not ? " asked Mr. Wyper. " We 
have abolished duelling and leave our 
disputes for the law to settle." 

" The parallel is not exact. Duelling, 
it is true, is infrequent, and so I hope will 
be war. But every true man is still able 
and willing, if need be, to defend his 
honour, his wife, his family, with his own 
124 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

hand. You would take from my nation 
the power to do likewise. " 

Mr. Wyper admitted that he would. 

" Then I do not like it. You would 
destroy the old way, but you will not change 
humanity, and the day will come when your 
League will break and you will have to 
face the ancient mischief with untrained 
arms and a broken tradition. We French 
love real things and do not walk with our 
heads in the air. We believe that God has 
a holy city prepared for us, but not this 
side the grave. So in the meantime we 
cling to our little terrestrial towns." And 
he quoted : 

" Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour les cit6s 

charnelles, 
Car elles sont le corps de la cit6 de Dieu." 

The beauty of his voice and the gentle- 
ness of his manner had a curious effect on 
the others. It made Mrs. Lavender want to 
cry, and Mrs. Aspenden's face assumed that 
air of devotion which it wore during the 

125 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

ministrations of Father Mabbett. Mr. 
Burford was also greatly impressed, and, 
removing his spectacles, blinked earnestly 
at the speaker. 

It was at this moment that a visitor 
appeared on the scene. Mr. Archibald 
Strathbungo, the new Member for the 
county, was a young man already celebrated 
in the half- world of politics. He had 
been private secretary to an eminent states- 
man, and had made for himself a high 
reputation as an adroit tactician. No man 
could more subtly influence the Press or 
had a keener nose for electoral possibilities, 
and to him was generally attributed the 
unique success of the Coalition at the polls. 
He was slight and boyish of figure, with 
close-cropped black hair, large restless 
eyes, and the jaw of an Old Bailey lawyer. 
Whence he sprung no one knew, but his 
speech had the racy idiom of the environs 
of Glasgow. To an immense circle of 
acquaintances he was known as " Bunggie." 
126 






THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

He introduced himself to his host, who 

I presented him to the company. With some, 
such 3.3 Mrs.- Lavender and Mr. Jonas, he 
was already acquainted. Lady Sevenoaks 
regarded him with a stare of abhorrence, 
seeing in him a shameless enemy. A place 
was laid for him, and he fell with zest to 
luncheon. 

" How's the cold, Mr. Malone ? " he 
asked. ' You wouldn't take my advice 
and try a rummer of hot whisky. Man, 
teetotaler or no, it's a mistake to despise 
the best medicine God ever made." 

Mr. Malone inquired as to the health of 
the owner of the yacht in which he had 
travelled the previous day. 

He's fine. He's got a new maggot in 
ds head about making Persian rugs on 
Highland looms with native dyes. I like 
old Linkumdoddie," he added, turning 
>rightly to Colonel Lament. " If it weren't 
for his yawt I'd never get about these 
islands. I've a kind of pull with him, for 
12.7 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



I spoke a word in the right quarter about 
his peerage and I think he knows it." 

r< Linkumdoddie," murmured Lady 
Penelope Wyper, " I'm sure there's no 
such name in the peerage." 

" You'll find it in the Profiteerage," Mr. 
Normand whispered. 

Mr. Strathbungo had broken utterly the 
spell cast by General Morier. An air of 
rollicking candour sat on him, and one 
might have suspected him of innocence but 
for his alert eyes. It was not long before 
Mr. Wyper had roused him to argument 
by a complaint of certain electioneering 
methods. 

' Ugh, away," said the gentleman. 
" There's some of you folk too high- 
minded for this world as long as you're on 
the losing side. When you see a chance of 
winning there's nothing you won't do. 
Just look at the Liberals. They were 
always declaring that the party system was 
the root of the Constitution, until they saw 
128 






THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

that the Tories were likely to beat them at 
the game, and then they had no words bad 
enough for party spirit. Fm a plain man, 
and I believe in parties, same as I believe 
in nations. You've got to fight and win, 
and then you do the best you can for the 
country." 

" I presume you do not believe in any 
Hague Convention about the methods of 
party warfare, Mr. Strathbungo," said 
Lady Sevenoaks acidly. 

" I don't. There's just one convention 
to keep in mind, and that's human nature. 
The man that understands human nature 



wins." 



" And you would defend an appeal to the 
people on the programme of 'anging* the 
Kaiser and making Germany pay for 
everything, when you know both are im- 
possible ? " asked Mr. Jonas. 

" I don't know they're impossible, and I 
defend them right enough. They were my 
own idea. We would have lost the election 

129 K 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

if we had gone on talking about brotherhood 
and the * spirit of the trenches ' and all that 
hot air. What you object to were the only 
things the voters cared a rush about. You 
Labour chaps did the same thing, only 
you weren't clever enough. You started 
yowling about Conscription, when you 
knew there wasn't a man on our side who 
didn't loathe the very name of it." 

Mrs. Lament's mild spirit was stirred. 
:< It all sounds very wicked," she said. 

" Oh, I don't think so," said Mr. 
Strathbungo genially. :< It's the rules of 
the game. The people want to fight and 
it's your business to show them sport. 
You've got to fight on the issues they 
prefer." 

' Such is Democracy," said General 
Morier softly. 

Mr. Normand leaned over to him. 
" We English are too idealist," he whis- 
pered, and the Frenchman smiled. 

Mr. Strathbungo caught an echo of the 
130 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

hrase. ' That's an awful word/' he 
id. :< I'm not very particular, but I 
ouldn't like to be an idealist. It's a poor, 
ilk-blooded, blue-spectacled sort of busi- 



ess." 



Colonel Lamont was ill at ease. He had 
ever met the new Member before, and 
disapproved of him strongly ; but his 
sense of hospitality held him in an em- 
barrassed silence. Not so Lady 'Guid- 
willie. With her grimmest smile she 
addressed Mr. Strathbungo. 

" You had a meeting at Waucht in 
December/' she said. " I wasn't present, 
but if I had been I would have moved a 
vote of no confidence. You talked some 
precious nonsense about the land." 

Coffee having been served, Mr. Strath- 
ungo was smoking a cigar set in an 
ber mouthpiece which stuck in a 
rner of his wide, loose mouth. 

Let's hear what the nonsense was," he 
aid pleasantly. 

I3T K 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" You told them that the land in th< 
Highlands could be made to support five 
times the present population, if they got 
rid of the landlords. I'll give you leave to 
try at Waucht. I pay twenty-five shillings 
in the pound for rates, and there aren't 
twenty acres on the estate you could get a 
plough through." 

Mr. Strathbungo suddenly became a 
different person. He laid down his cigar 
and his whimsical face grew solemn. Also 
the veneer of English accent disappeared 
and he spoke in the unabashed drawl of 
his native city. 

" I wasn't referring to Waucht/' he 
said. " There's not much could live at 
Waucht, except deer. And I wasn't speak- 
ing of landlords like your folk. You're the 
old kind, who think first of their people and 
would starve rather than let them starve. 
But I stick to every word I said about the 
Highlands at large. They're stuffed with 
Englishmen and Americans and Jews that 
132 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

come only for their amusement and don't 
care a docken about the place. Oh, they 
spend money. I know it. But they spend 
it to make people slaves, and I would rather 
have the Highlander poor and free. I'm 
one myself, and my blood boils when I see 
big trencher-fed gillies crawling before a 
London shopkeeper." 

" Democracy ! democracy ! " said Mr. 
Normand. 

" Democracy be bldwed ! The High- 
lands were never democratic never in 
that way. But they used to be free. Tell 
me, Colonel, did ever men fight better than 
the Highland battalions ? They've earned 
the right to the use of their native land. 
Are you willing to have that land only a 
playground and a resort for honeymoon 
couples, and its chief export picture post- 
cards ? You ask Macmillan, the minister. 
He'll tell you of the old days when there 
were droves of black cattle on ground that 
now has nothing but deer. You can't 

133 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

restore those days, but you can bring in 
modern inventions. You can make the 
finest fishing industry in Britain if you take 
trouble about canning factories and trans- 
port. You can start the old cottage in- 
dustries again. You can introduce sheep 
where they should be instead of deer, and 
cattle where they should be instead of 
sheep, and the plough where it should be 
instead of pasture. But the first thing 
you've got to do is to emancipate the land 
from the idle rich." 

Lady Guidwillie regarded the speaker 
almost with affection. " There's some 
sense in your head, Mr. Strathbungo. I 
rather wish I had been at your meeting. 
I might have seconded the vote of con- 
fidence. " 

" Of course you would," he cried. 

* The real gentry like you should be on my 

side. Do you think I came to this part of 

the world for fun ? I have dreamed of the 

job ever since I could stand on two legs, 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and now the war has given me a chance. 
I am not going to rest as long as there's an 
acre of Highland ground lying idle that 
can be used to support human life. What's 
left over can go to sport. I like a day with 
the gun myself. 

Mr. Jonas, who had been vastly enter- 
tained, shook his head. 

" You can't do it, Bunggie. Your old 
Coalition depends on the idle rich." 

The young man forgot his manners. 
" Then I'll see the Coalition in Tophet," 
he said, with a ferocity that produced a 
sudden silence. 

General Morier leaned towards Mr. 
Normand. " I was right," he said. " You 
English all of you are too idealist." 



VII 

The visit to the Sea Skerries and Lord Linkum- 
doddie's yacht. Mr. Merryweather Malone enlarges 
on the gulf between British and American minds and 
the embarrassments of his own land. He differs 
from General Morier and comforts him with texts. 

DURING the night a wind rose which 
blew away the rain, and on Thursday 
morning the island woke to blue skies and 
a world washed clean. The little hill 
streams were still in spate, but the strong 
sun dried the ground, so that after break- 
fast it was possible for Mr. Strathbungo to 
smoke his first cigar seated on a bank of 
heather above the lawn, where he was 
volubly appreciating the prospect. He, 
General Morier, and Mr. Malone had to 
leave that afternoon, and it was arranged 
that the morning should be spent on the 

136 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

little isles known as the Sea Skerries, where 
they could be picked up for luncheon by 
Lord Linkumdoddie's yacht, in which the 
three departing guests were to continue 
their journey. 

There must be an attraction between 
opposites, for General Morier showed a 
curious liking for Mr. Strathbungo's 
society. He had played billiards with him 
the evening before and been soundly 
beaten, and he now took his seat beside 
him on the heather. 

' You have told me many things," he 
said, " but you have not spoken about the 
League of Nations. We were discussing 
it yesterday when you arrived. You are 
a British politician what you call a prac- 
ical man. What do you say to it ? " 

Mr. Strathbungo winked solemnly at 
its questioner. 

* It's all right/ 1 he said. " Personally 
I'm not much heeding about it. It's not 
the kind of business that interests me. But 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

it's a grand thing to keep some folks quiet. 
You see, General, most folk are not men of 
the world like you and me. They like hot 
air and fine sentiment, and the great thing 
is to give them a subject where they can 
safely indulge their taste. They can blow 
off all the steam they want about the League 
of Nations without doing much harm." 

* But for the scheme itself you do not 
care how is it you say ? a docken ? >! 

" Well, I wouldn't just say that. I'm 
quite ready to be enthusiastic about the 
parliament of man and the federation of the 
world, and all the rest of it. But I don't 
regard it as very practical politics." 

" And yet it is in the forefront of the 
Peace deliberations." 

" It had to be. We had to satisfy 
America and it turns put we only satisfied 
Wilson .... Well, they can fight it out 
as they like for me. If the thing goes 
phut, I'm not caring. If it succeeds, good 
and well. Anyhow, it's a fine safety-valve 

138 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and makes a lot of wind-bags happy. Fm 
all for keeping a subject like that as a 
standing diversion for what you call 
idealists/' 

As they walked down to the shore, 
General Morier found himself in company 
with Christopher Normand and Mr. 
Burford. 

* I like the young Strathbungo," he 
said. ' He is a good and merry fellow. 
But I think he is a relic of the old life before 
the war, for he has not been touched by it. 
I wonder how he contrived it. Have you 
many like him ? " 

"Heaps/* said Mr. Normand. " All 
the professional politicians. They are by 
no means dead, and nothing changes them. 
If there was a universal convulsion and we 
were all suddenly back in the Palaeolithic 
age they would be organising caucuses 
next morning among the cave-men." 

Mr. Burford took a more hopeful view. 
u You won't find many. Only a few middle- 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

aged folk who have no children. I go 
about among the towns and villages of 
England and I hardly come across a man 
who hasn't had his world knocked end- 
ways by the war. They can't remember 
the life they lived five years ago. For good 
or for bad, mankind's got a jog out of its 
rut." 

" I don't know. What about America ? " 
" Ah, America," said General Morier. 
" A great and most curious country." 
His air was such as might have been worn 
by a medieval geographer puzzling over a 
modern atlas. 

The short journey to the Skerries was 
performed in heavy salmon-cobles rowed 
by sturdy fishermen. It was indeed a 
marvellous day, the sunlight dancing on 
the ripples, the big hills of the mainland 
showing blue and distant, oyster-catchers 
and terns piping on the shingle, and every 
corner of shore a nook of greenery. When 
the Skerries were reached, some of the 
140 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

party set off to visit the ruins of a monas- 
ery famous in Church history. General 

orier, who had been ingeminating 
erica as Lord Falkland ingeminated 

eace, stayed behind with Mr. Malone, and 
he two, along with Mrs. Lavender, Mr. 
Burford, and Penrose Mac Andrew, seated 
themselves on the top of a little cliff which 
was crowned with a thatch of young 
heather. 

" I'm sorry to leave," said Mr. Malone. 
"I'm always mighty sorry to leave any 
part of this little country. I'm a lover of 
England, Martha, though I don't forsake 
my native land like you. I wish America 
were planted right here, for then there 
would be a better chance of our getting to 
like each other." 

Mr. Burford inquired concerning Ameri- 
can opinion regarding Britain. 

" It's better," said Mr. Malone. " You 
can't fight in the same trenches against the 
same Hun without feeling a kind of sym- 
141 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

pathy. But there's plenty of room for 
improvement. The trouble is we have 
too much in common. We can't help 
feeling we are near relations, and that riles 
us. If there wasn't so much Englishness 
in the United States, we'd think England a 
fine museum-piece and revere her." 

c< No," he said, in reply to a question by 
Mr. Burford. " It isn't Irish and German 
propaganda or lying history books or dam- 
fool Englishmen on their travels. The 
main cause is right deep down in our 
nature. We speak pretty well the same 
language, but we haven't the same way of 
looking at things. We haven't the same 
sense of humour, and that's a difference 
that would divorce husband and wife. 
You pitch the case too low,, and we think it 
funny to put it sky-high. One day last 
summer I was in a bit of the line which the 
British were holding next door to the 
Americans. There was a horrid great 
shelling all morning. Our boys said they 
142 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

reckoned that Hell and Vesuvius had been 
having a match at ninepins. An English 
sergeant I spoke to admitted when he was 
pressed when he was pressed, remember 
that the Kaiser might have been a bit 
'asty that morning. When we think poorly 
of a man, we say he's so low down he'd 
want an aeroplane to get up to hell. You'd 
mention he was an outsider and trouble no 
more about him . . . Then there's what 
you call your Oxford manner. We've got 
that, too, but only in Boston, but with you 
it's in the bone. You're so darned genteel 
and superior. And the fellows among you 
that are always explaining England to 
America by abusing the Oxford manner 
have got it worst of all. An American 
don't like to say anything against his 
country, even when he knows she's in the 
wrong. When he hears an Englishman 
criticising England he puts it down as 
another example of his blamed super- 
ciliousness . . . You see, we're a_ young 

143 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

nation and very sentimental, and don' 
mind showing it. You're an old peopl< 
and a critical, and you'd rather die ths 
admit your feelings. Why, our business 
that we think so much of, is a form oi 
sentiment. It's the big ideas that get us 
and we roll them round our tongue and 
plan to astonish the world. Sometimes 
we get there and sometimes we don't. 
You pride yourself on being unbusiness- 
like, but you often get there sooner." 

" Seems to me you've acquired the 
Oxford manner yourself, Merryweather," 
said Mrs. Lavender. 

Mr. Malone laughed. " We've all got 
a bit of it, ever since Abel. It was that 
that made Cain mad. But I'm not going 
to blame my country's foibles, though I 
see them right enough. I prefer them to 
other people's sense. This old world's 
getting too logical, and you can't be happy 
that way. Very soon America will be the 
only place left for a white man, for she 

144 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

don't give a cent for logic . . . Just look 
it our labour troubles. We quarrel a bit, 
>ut we are never near the eternal rock- 
>ottom you've struck in Europe." 
Mr. Burford was much interested. 
c That's quite true, but you can't keep 
it always that way. Up to now you've led 
the sheltered life, very little concerned with 
your neighbours and plenty to go on with 
at home. You've been able to provide so 
niuch jam or the near prospect of jam that 
you've kept the children quiet. But the 
children are growing up, remember. What 
are you going to do when your fluid classes 
solidify and you bump up against the old 
questions that perplex the rest of the 
world ? You'll be pretty raw to the job, 
Mr. Malone. I've seen a lot of America, 
id in ordinary political education you're 
ie most backward land on the globe. 
r our Labour leaders still talk the language 
the 'seventies and 'eighties. But that's 
tanging every day, and you've got to get 

145 L 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

busy about your education. You aren't a 
peculiar people any more, and you can't 
shut yourself off from the rest of the 
world." 

" We are going to have a darned good 
try," said Mr. Malone. " I don't say 
there's not truth in your view I think 
there's a lot of truth. I've said the same 
thing myself, and that's why hitherto I 
have been such a conspicuous failure in 
public life. But it's going to be a large- 
size job to shift America from her dug-out. 
She is the only decent conservative left, 
and she hates real change like hell. She 
was very willing to fight, but now she wants 
to get back to the farm straight away and 
hammer her sword into a ploughshare." 

" But you're a business people," said 
Mr. Burford, " and you must want to see 
the job through." 

" We never finish anything," said Mr. 
Malone, " not in politics. Look at Mexico. 
Look at the progress of our Reform move- 
146 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 




ment. Our little old Constitution was 
xpressly framed to prevent us doing any- 

ing drastic. We're all for compromise 
nd half way houses. We're mighty Eng- 
ish, far more English than you ... I tell 
ou, Mr. Wilson has got a tougher pro- 
osition to put through than anything 
George Washington handled . . . There's 
just a chance of his falling down over it 
and America establishing a Republic." 

:< If you're right, Merry weather," said 
Mrs. Lavender, " I'm going to hustle 
William back to the States right now and 
take a hand in the fight. What side are 
you on anyway ? " 

" I'm a good Republican," said Mr. 
Malone, " but I'm for Wilson. I'm not 
going to put it too high, Martha, for we'd 

e you back with us, but I think he's 

ing to win out if he handles the thing in 
he right way. There's just one winning 
icket for him." 

Mr. Malone bit the end off his cigar and 

147 L 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

borrowed a match from Penrose Mac- 
Andrew. 

" You've maybe observed, Penrose/ 5 he 
said, " that we Americans are a profoundly 
religious people. " 

General Morier looked startled, and Mrs. 
Lavender denied the charge. c Utterly 
pagan," she said. 

" No," said Mr. Malone, " you're wrong, 
Martha. You're getting short in the 
memory. We have fits of paganism, but 
we're nqver happy in them. We know 
we're backsliders and pretty soon we repent 
. . . We're very religious, but it's our own 
special kind. We are not interested in 
your European brand of church. Our 
type is the field preaching, and we always 
get back to it. Getting converted is our 
national pastime. What put us into the 
war ? I reckon the village prayer meeting, 
first and foremost, and please God it's 
going to put us into peace. All our 
religions that count are revivalisms, whether 
148 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

it's Billy Sunday or Mamie B. Eddy that 
professes to have the goods. Revivalism is 
the key to the heart of America, and if Mr. 
Wilson's a good enough revivalist he'll 
win out. He's got to make us feel that 
if we don't do what he tells us we're way 
down on the level of the Impenitent Thief." 

Mr. Malone's exposition was interrupted 
by the arrival of the other sightseers. 
Lord Linkumdoddie's yacht was moored a 
little way out in the channel, and as the 
hour of luncheon had arrived the party 
embarked again in the boats and were 
rowed towards it. It was well that no one 
of Mr. Malone's hearers thought fit to 
repeat his views, for Mrs. Aspenden, whose 
soul had been elevated by the sight of 
Culdee relics, was in no mood for what 
she would have regarded as profanity. 

Lord Linkumdoddie was a man of 
sixty, on whose slim shoulders was set 
an enormous and beautifully : shaped head. 
He had a trick of smiling secretly to himself 
149 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

as if amused by the world, and he spoke 
little. His vast fortune had no heir, and 
he was in the habit of dispensing benefac- 
tions so colossal that the popular mind was 
dulled by their sheer magnitude. He was 
reputed a hard man of business and in- 
tolerant of fools. His position left him 
ample leisure, for he held the view that 
the better organised a business the less it 
required the attention of its head. Travel, 
the collection of old English furniture, and 
the care of a weak digestion were his chief 
absorptions. He was also an active and 
devout member of the Baptist communion. 

The 5oo-ton yacht showed few marks of 
its war service in the brilliance of its 
brass-work and the scrupulous whiteness 
of its decks. The large party packed the 
dining cabin, but through the open port- 
holes came the cool sea airs. 

Mrs. Lavender gave Christopher Nor- 
mand a summary of Mf. Malone's recent 
conversation, to which Lord Linkum- 

150 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

doddie listened with interest. America, 
the owner of the yacht declared, held 
not for the first time the key of the 
situation. 

" I like her for her slowness," he said. 
" No great country changes in a hurry. 
After all her attitude is the same as ours 
was a generation ago. We strove to keep 
out of Continental entanglements, and 
proclaimed that all our interests lay beyond 
Europe. A Conservative dislikes changes, 
but when he alters he does it wholesale. 
Look at the Tory party to-day. Look at 
Britain in 1914 . . . I am not a Con- 
servative, so I have always preferred 
change. " 

" Even industrial revolution ? " asked 
Mr. Normand. 

" Industrial revolution most of all. I 
have never worked to make money, and I 
would far rather build up a sound industry 
than big profits. Up to now our whole 
industrial fabric has been preposterous. 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and I am glad it's falling to bits. If they 
take all my money, I can make more. 
Thank God, I'm not dependent on my 
bank balance. " 

Lady Guidwillie, who had the mis- 
fortune to depend upon inherited capital, 
protested. 

" You're the most dangerous man in the 
country," she told Lord Linkumdoddie. 
* You're an adventurer, and don't mind 
losing your stakes, for you know you can 
win them back. But what of us poor 
people who are not so fortunate ? " 

Her host smiled reassuringly. " I don't 
think you need worry, Lady Guidwillie. 
There will be no downfall of capital in the 
ordinary sense. But there will be a rooting 
up of vested interests in men's lives, and I 
for one am glad of it." 

Mr. Jonas had his mouth open to speak, 
when the attention of everyone was caught 
by the loud voice of Mr. Malone. 

" America is too antiquarian," he was 

152 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

saying. " That's the trouble. She senti- 
mentalises too much about the past, for 
you see she hasn't had very much of it and 
she cherishes what she's got. I say that 
the world's bound to cut loose from its 
antiques, especially as most of them are 
shams and come from Wardour Street. 
We are all on a pilgrimage, and it won't do 
to load ourselves up with every relic picked 
up by the road and be always stopping to 
moon over them. !*& keep the old maps 
as aj^istorical record and discard the relics, 
for the one's got some meaning for the 
present day and the other's just junk. 
Above all, it's no good cherishing old 
grievances." 

" Like Ireland," suggested Christopher 
Normand. 

" Like Ireland," said Mr. Malone. 
" There's an awful warning for you. I'm 
)f Irish stock myself, and for our sins we've 
;ot a good many like me in the States, 
'hat poor little island is living in a bogus 

153 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

past and trying to screw some pride out of 
it, while she's forgetting to do anything to 
be proud of right now. The ordinary 
Irishman is ashamed of himself and h< 
hasn't the honesty to admit it. No man's 
any good unless he has something t< 
swagger about, and Ireland hasn't anything 
except a moth-eaten ragbag of wrongs, 
That's her confounded antiquarian habit 
of mind. And the worst of it is that this 
sentimental grieving isn't sincere. Apart 
from a few poets, it's only the stock-in- 
trade of vulgar careerists. It's enough to 
make a man sick to hear an Irish ward- 
politician talking about Dark Rosaleen 
. .- . If America is too much of a stand- 
patter, there's a horrid risk of her getting 
like Ireland. She hasn't grievances, but 
she's got dislikes and false sentiments, and 
that's just about as bad." 

General Morier did not agree. 

" I think you are too hard," he said. 
" These things that you despise are very 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

near the heart of every honest man. The 
prejudices of a nation are as vital as its 
principles, and I do not desire to see a 
completely rational bourgeois world. Would 
you apply your maxim to Europe also ? " 

" To be sure I would/* said Mr. Malone. 
" Britain's forgot a lot, but she's a deal 
more forgetting to do. Italy has a fine 
assortment of useless lumber to jettison." 

" And France ? " 

" Yes, France most of all. Look here, 
General. I know your country. I want 
to cry when I think of some of the things 
you've done. But you've got to forget 
about your sufferings. You're too big to 
be a Martyr State. The other day you 
were mad with Mr. Wilson because he 
didn't Tun off straight away and look at 
your battlefields and devastated areas. 
That was maybe a blunder of tact on the 
President's part, but it's a worse blunder 
if you make too much of your wounds. It 
won't do for France to be a sort of Byron 

155 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

among peoples, making a pageant of her 
bleeding heart. " 

" These things are the war," was the 
answer. " Would you have us forget 
that ? " 

" Yes," said Mr. Malone stoutly. " It 
would be better to forget it than to be 
always remembering it. The nations have 
got a terrific job before them, and they 
won't ever make good if they're always 
thinking about the war. The war hasn't 
solved any problem except the one which 
side was the stronger ; and that doesn't 
help us much except by clearing the ground. 
Therefore, I say we can't be always dwelling 
on it, and referring things back to it." 

Mr. Burford had taken off his spectacles, 
and now quoted, as if to himself : " For- 
getting those things which are behind, and 
reaching forth unto those things which are 
before, I press toward the mark for the 
prize." 

Mr. Malone warmly approved. ' I am 

156 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

with Paul there," he said. " He spoke 
horse-sense on *most subjects. And, 
General, for your consolation, -I'll give you 
another text : ' Instead of thy fathers thou 
shalt have children, whom thou mayest 
make princes in all lands.' " 

As the rest of the party were rowed 
shoreward Mrs. Lavender was observed to 
be deep in meditation. On Christopher 
Normand offering her a penny for her 
thoughts, she explained that she had been 
reflecting upon the case of Mr. Malone. 

;< I never saw such a change in a human 
being/' she said. :< It looks to me as if 
Merry weather had got religion. " 

" Perhaps it is part of his training as 
Presidential candidate," said Mr. Normand, 
and was rebuked for his flippancy. 



157 



VIII 

The Minister of the Parish comes to dinner. He 
warns Mr. Jonas of the brittleness of all Democracies, 
and in turn is presented with the just demands of 
the British People. Mr. Burford pleads for an 
Aristocracy. 

THAT evening before dinner Mrs. 
Lamont felt happy, and she communi- 
cated her mood to her husband through 
the open door of his dressing-room. 

" I really think," she said, " that this 
little party has been a success. Everybody 
was in a bad humour at the start, but now 
everybody has begun to like each other. 
I can't help feeling, Arthur, that if such 
very different people can come to an 
understanding, the country must be able 
to settle its worst troubles. Don't you 
think so, dear ? " 

158 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Colonel Lamont, busied with his tie, 
id his mind on other things. " Mac- 
Lilian's an infernal ruffian. I asked him 
dine to-night and he has never answered. 
's most annoying, Kathie, with Jonas 
leaving to-morrow. I was most anxious 
that the two should meet. There are 
times when a passion for fishing becomes a 
positive vice." 

" And, Arthur," continued Mrs. Lamont, 
:< I can't think what has come over Phyllis. 
She's a new creature. She has recovered 
all her interest in life. I think it is Mr. 
Burford, for they are always together. I 
wonder if I should do anything about it. 
She has no mother and I feel it is my duty 
to look after her." 

" It would be a dashed good thing," said 
Colonel Lamont, as he brushed his thinning 
hair, " if they took a fancy to each other. 
[e's a most capital good chap. I feel 
ippier for merely looking at him. I only 
ish he'd talk more . . . Confound Mac- 

159 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



millan. That's another fellow I wanted 
him to meet." 

But at dinner the erring minister ap- 
peared. He had been away, he said, 
when Colonel Lamont sent his note, and 
had only received it an hour ago. He was 
not apologetic ; rather it seemed that 
apology was due to one who, with the Lith 
in perfect order, had been deprived of an 
evening's fishing. As he sat at table 
opposite Lady Sevenoaks and between his 
hostess and Mrs. Lavender, his figure was 
like some stubborn furze bush which had 
strayed into a parterre. He was more like 
a deep-sea skipper than ever, as his great 
grey eyes took in the scene before him. 
So massive was his air that even the 
substantial figure of Sir William Jacob 
seemed weedy by comparison, and so 
rugged his face that the homely counte- 
nance of Mr. Jonas seemed almost refined. 

" Macmillan," said his host, " youVe 
missed a lot of interesting people by your 
1 60 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

confounded obstinacy. You should have 
been dining here every night. We out- 
landish folk don't often get a chance of 
improving our minds. You were a fool to 
miss Morier. And Malone. We've had 
some uncommonly good talk/' 

The minister asked what they had talked 
about, and Lady Sevenoaks replied. 

* Everything on earth, and we came to 
all kinds of contradictory conclusions. We 
were told that we must preserve the his- 
toric state, and at the same time that we 
must forget most of its history. Mr. 
Normand doesn't much believe in self- 
government for the nation, but he would 
like to see it in industry. We are to be 
more fervent nationalists than ever, but to 
give up most of our national rights to an 
iternational League. The strikers who 
tnt to hold up the country are not 
>lsheviks, but Cobden and his poor old 
tiddle-class friends were the worst kind. 
r e must scrap all medieval rubbish, and 
161 M 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 






we mustn't scrap it, because it's the most 
valuable stuff we've got. (That was your 
own contribution in your sermon, I think.) 
The working man is the only real Conserva- 
tive, and the only real Radical. We 
mustn't speak about classes, for there is 
only one class that counts and that's the 
working class, and it's not a class, Mr. 
Jonas says. We all agreed in abominating 
political parties, but Mr. Strathbungo 
convinced us that they were much more 
important than political ideals, with the 
exception of the confiscation of Highland 
land, which he thought more important 
than the Coalition ... I think that's a 
fair summary." 

" Lamont," said Mr. Macmillan, " I am 
sorry I stuck to the Lith. I ought to have 
been here. You seem to have talked 
uncommon good sense." 

' Glad to hear you say so," said the 
host. " Lady Sevenoaks makes it sound 
rather foolish." 

162 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP . 

" Not a bit. YouVe pulled all the 
contradictions into the light of day. That's 
what we want. Politics are a collection of 
views, most of them contradictory and 
nearly all of them true. Statesmanship 
means admitting the contradictions and 
paying due respect to the half-truths and 
trying to harmonise them. The fool seizes 
on a half-truth and exaggerates it, and 
pretends it is the whole truth and the only 
truth. The first step in wisdom is to keep 
your balance and not take sides. You 
seem to have followed that rule." 

" What are your politics ? " Mr. Wyper 
asked. 

" None," was the answer. " I voted for 
Strathbungo because I liked his candour. 
I'll vote against him as soon as he starts 
talking nonsense about free fishing. That 
subject defines my politics. I want every- 
body to have a chance of fishing that likes 
it, but I want the fish to be there to be 
caught. In the same way I want every 

163 M 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

man in these islands to have a better life, 
more comfort and more leisure, but I also 
want the wealth to be there which can give 
him these things/* 

Mr. Jonas seemed struck by an illustra- 
tion which his recent experience on the 
Lith had enabled him to appreciate. He 
also knew a man when he saw him, and 
Mr. Macmillan's steady eyes and sagacious 
brow were very impressive. 

" We've all been talking too much," he 
said. " I'd like to 'ear a fresh voice. 
What's your view of the situation ? >: 

The minister laughed. :< I'm not a 
leader-writer to be able to give you that. 
I'm a minister of the Gospel, and I'm 
concerned with bigger things than the 
whirligigs of politics. But up here I've 
time to read and think, and I've studied 
history, so I've certain views. You're a 
Labour leader and a very powerful man, 
Mr. Jonas. You're accustomed to be 
spoken about respectfully in the papers 
164 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and in Parliament. Well, I'm not respect- 
ful by nature. You remember the story 
>f the Scots girl who complained of a shy 
lover that he was * senselessly ceevil.' 
r ou won't get any senseless civility from 



me." 



!< Go ahead," said Mr. Jonas. " Jimmie 
and I never mind plain speaking." 

" Well," said the minister, " I don't like 
the threats that your fellows use. Miners 
and railwaymen and transport workers, 
when they have a grievance, get up on 
their hind legs and warn the country that 
they have the power and mean to use it. 
That's folly. In the first place they 
haven't the power. They're only a fraction 
of the nation, and if they fight in an unjust 
cause the nation will beat them. It may 
take years, but they'll be beaten in the end. 
The workers have never won, and never 
will win, unless they're in the right. Why 
this stupid bluster ? Bluster means smug- 
ness, remember. What madness possessed 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

you in the Coal Commission to entrust 
your case to advertising journalists ? You 
didn't come out of it extra well. The 
ordinary Briton rather prefers a stupid 
coal-master to those glib gentlemen. And 
he enormously prefers Lord Durham . . . 
Secondly, a settlement by force, even if it 
succeeded, would be no real settlement. 
It's sheer Prussianism to think it would, 
and the sooner your fellows learn the lesson 
of the war the better." 

Mr. Jonas nodded. " I'm with you 
there. But it's ill 'olding angry and 
ignorant men. I grant you that the threat 
business is wrong." 

" The next thing I have to say is that it's 
time you stopped gloating over the triumph 
of Democracy. You talk as if it were a 
thing inherent in nature, with all the forces 
of nature working on its side. You're in 
error. It's a fine thing, but it's the most 
brittle thing on earth, and it can only be 
maintained by constant watchfulness and 
166 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

sacrifice. Cast your mind back in history 
d consider how short has been the reign 
f Democracy compared with that of any 
ther form of government. It began a long 
.e ago, but it's never had more than the 
riefest run, Man, do you remember how 
mebody in Herodotus spoke of it like a 
over as being lovely in the very sound of 
its name, and twenty-five years later you 
had a popular Athenian statesman popu- 
lar, I say declaring it was hardly worth 
discussion since it was * acknowledged 
insanity/ You will say that that was long 
ago, and that the world is safer for it now. 
It isn't. Democracy had a better chance 
of life in the little State. In our dense 
modern world we can only exist by the 
help of law and order, and you get order 
more easily I don't say better, but more 
easily from the autocrat." 

Mr. Jonas again assented. "I'm not 
enying that. I'm a student of 'ist'ry 
yself." 

167 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

" Thirdly and lastly, "said Mr. Macmillan, 
" go canny with liberty. It's by no means 
the same thing as Democracy, but in this 
country we want both. We must treat it 
reverently, for it also is a delicate plant. I 
think/ 1 he added, looking round the com- 
pany, " that liberty is like the car of the 
goddess Nerthus, which once a year was 
brought from its island home to travel 
among the German tribes. Wherever it 
went, it left increase and happiness and 
peace, but no man was allowed to lay hand 
upon it ... Liberty is too precious a 
thing for fools to paw." 

The minister's remarks had revived 
Mrs. Lament's fears, now for some days 
dormant. 

" Are you afraid of the future then, Mr. 
Macmillan ? " she asked. 

He laughed. " I don't think I'm afraid 
of anything except a prosecution for heresy 
in the Courts of my Church." 

Mrs. Aspenden sighed, as if she thought 
168 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

that a consummation to be devoutly wished 
for. Mr. Macmillan was not her idea of a 
priest. 

''' But Bolshevism ? " quavered Mrs. 
Lamont. 

" Oh, Bolshevism ! I regard the mild 
British variety as an inoculation against 
the dangerous foreign kind. We wouldn't 
be human if we didn't have a dose of it." 

Mr. Jonas was looking curiously at the 
speaker, and their eyes met. Something in 
each pleased the other, and they smiled 
with that, sudden understanding that is 
occasionally arrived at between men who 
have but newly met. 

" I apologise, Lamont/' said Mr. Mac- 
millan. ;< I've been talking as if I were in 
the pulpit. I didn't come here to talk, 
but to listen. I want instruction, since I 
have been foolish enough to go fishing all 
the week . . . Mr. Jonas, tell a lone 
country minister what you and your friends 
have come forth for to seek." 
169 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Mr. Jonas/ nothing loth, leaned his 
elbows on the table, as was his habit, and 
looked round the company. " I'm glad 
to 'ave the chance," he said, 4< more 
especially as we've been playing round so 
many subjects without settling anything. 
I'm. not one that thinks any reform is a 
simple job, but it's my business to study 
the people and I can tell you what they 
mean to 'ave in some form or other." 

" Mean to have ? " queried Mr. Mac- " 
millan. 

" Yes, mean to 'ave. That isn't a 
threat, because we know we've right on our 
side and can convince any honest man 
... I'll put it this way. We've 'ad a 
great war, and it's been a war of the rank 
and file. We 'aven't 'ad any Napoleon 
playing skittles with the enemy because of 
his peculiar genius. We've 'ad good 
Generals, but the folk that did the job 
were just the ordinary British soldiers 
out of every class and calling. The 
170 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

war's been a glorification of the average 
man." 

" I agree," said Mr. Macmillan, " pro- 
vided you admit he isn't only the working 
man." 

" True enough, but the workers 'ave the 
biggest numbers and therefore they 'ave a 
big claim to be 'card. They want to know 
what the war has been fought for. They've 
been defending England, but England's 
got to be worth their while to defend. 
They've cleaned up Prussianism abroad, 
and they aren't coming back to it at 'ome. 
They want a bigger share of England 
more leisure, more chances, better wages 
and a better life.'"' 

1 You are aware," said Sir William 
Jacob, " that, according to a recent cal- 
culation, 75 per cent, of the total product 
of our wealth is distributed among the 
workers." 

" I am aware, and it doesn't alter the 
argument. I am not wanting a levelling 
171 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

down of incomes all round, for I know very 
well that it would only give each man a 
shilling or two more. What we are asking 
for is a better system. You're not getting 
the best value out of men as things stand 
now. We want far more production, but 
you won't 'ave it by merely begging the 
men to work 'arder. We want a new deal. 
There would be no limitation of output, 
no stupid Union restrictions, if every man 
had a direct interest in the thiag and knew 
he wasn't slaving to fill idle men's pockets." 

" I don't believe in profit-sharing," said 
Lady Sevenoaks. " My father tried it 
and it led to endless bickering arid sus- 
picion." 

" No more do I," said Mr. Jonas ; " not 
the ordinary kind. The working man 
wants to know 'ow the profits are arrived 
at and to 'ave a say himself in the distribu- 
tion. To dote out a few 'alf pence extra 
and ask him to be grateful for them is just 
Prussianism. To tell him to trust his 
172 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

* employer who knows the business better 
than J irn is also Prussianism. He is not 
going to 'ave any of it, and I'll tell you why. 
Because the war 'as made him conscious 
for the first time that he is a free man." 

;< I'll put it this way," he continued. 
' There are just the three things in industry 
capital, management and labour. Capital 
is necessary, but not in the same way as 
the others. It's like the lubricating oil in 
a machine. We need it and we must buy 
it at a fair price. I am for giving capital 
an honest return and a safe return. Beyond 
that I'd divide the profits between labour 
and management . . . Now, mark this. 
Labour has an uncommon good notion of 
the real expert and it isn't likely to stint 
him. It knows- that good management is 
life and death to it and it will pay a big 
price for it. But it wants to know at the 
same time that the money isn't being wasted 
in order to let some fat old Jew keep ten 
motor cars . . . Now, if you cut down the 

173 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

lifeless material thing, capital, to its fair 
price and give the sporting chance of profits 
to the living things, management and labour, 
and let labour also have a say in its manage- 
ment, you'll do two things. You'll lay 
suspicion, which is always 'alf the trouble, 
and you'll give the working man an 
incentive to put his back into his job, for 
he'll know that he is earning profits only 
for himself and his nominees." 

Christopher Normand approved. " But 
how are you going to work nationalisation 
into a scheme like that ? " he asked. " The 
other day I saw in the papers that you 
were clamouring to nationalise the mines 
and the railways, and, I believe, shipping 
also. You say the working man wants the 
best management and is prepared to pay 
high for it, because he knows his own 
comfort depends on it. But he won't be 
able to do that if his industry is nationalised. 
His managers will be Civil Service officials, 
not the best men bought in the open market. 
174 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

And he won't have direct self-government 
in his work, for he'll have to share his 
direction of it with every Tom, Dick and 
Harry who has a vote." 

Mr. Jonas smiled ruefully. " Rome 
wasn't built in a day, Mr. Normand. I'm 
not much in love with nationalisation. 
There was a time when I was young and 
callow and wanted every blessed thing 
made a department of the State. Now 
I've lost my confidence in any Civil Ser- 
vice. We can improve on the present one, 
but we'll never get the brains and the 
ginger into it that a private show can 
command. But nationalisation might be 
a good first step. The trouble in the other 
way is to know 'ow to begin. You want 
to get the smaller shops grouped together 
before you can start, and that would take a 
bit of doing. If the State took over a big 
industry, that would 'appen automatically, 
and you'd also get the question of the 
future of its capital settled right away. 

175 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

Then a little later, when we've found our 
balance, we'll take the next step " 

Mr. Macmillan had been listening in- 
tently with a somewhat grave face. " You 
talk of machinery, Mr. Jonas, and I 
daresay you talk good sense. Heaven 
knows I don't quarrel with the things you 
aim at. We can't pick up again the ragged 
mantle of 1914. But is it not possible 
that you think too much of machinery ? 
I am a minister of Christ and I have another 
question to ask. The workers want more 
leisure, but what will they do with it ? 
They want a share in the government of 
their own work, but have you made sure 
that they have the qualities for govern- 
ment ? You say truly that the war was 
won by the ordinary man, but it was won 
by his spirit. If he is going to win the 
peace you dare not forget that spirit. The 
finest machinery on earth will not save his 
soul." 

There was a slight hush, for the gravity 
176 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

of the minister's voice had brought some 
subtle change into the atmosphere. Then 
Mr. Burford spoke. 

' The only hope for Democracy is to 
make it an aristocracy, " 

* That is one of the most sensible 
remarks I've ever heard," said Mr. Mac- 
mil Ian, as the party, on Colonel Lament's 
advice, moved out of doors into the sweet- 
scented night. 



177 N 



IX 



In which Mr. Burford sees visions, and the Rev. 
Mr. Macmillan propounds a parable. 

THE lawns, which dropped into slopes 
of heather and then into the meadows of 
the valley, lay golden under a moon three- 
quarters full. The stream was outlined in 
long curves of light, and the sea beyond 
was like a sheet of crisped metal. The' 
mainland hills were only clouds, but in the 
near and middle distances every object 
stood out sharp in a monotone of chryso- 
prase. Wafts of rich scents hawthorn 
and young grass and bog-myrtle and pine 
drifted up from below, and ever and 
again a light wind would bring the delicate 
saltness of the sea. Somewhere far off a 
178 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

long a minister in city slums, I am a little 
of a scholar, and I have served for years 
with my fellows under the shadow of 
death. I claim therefore to know some- 
thing of the human heart. Believe me, 
man will never live by bread alone. If we 
are to make this earth of ours a better 
habitation we must first purify our spirit/' 
Looking round at the magical landscape, 
he quoted some lines of Coleridge : 

" Would we aught behold of higher worth 
Than the inanimate cold world allowed 
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, 
Ah ! from the soul itself must issue forth 
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud 
Enveloping the earth." 

Mr. Burford spoke rather slowly at 
first, like one without dogma and feeling 
vaguely towards truth. His soft pleasant 
burr intensified his air of hesitation. 

;< I think we are at the crossroads/' he 

said. ' I agree with all that Dan says 

about what the people want. But I think 

they are asking too little. They must 

180 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

have more, and if they do not get the one 
thing more they have got nothing. I ask 
for the workers something far bigger than 
ordinary wages and power. I want them 
to have the wages of the spirit and power 
over their own souls. " 

1 This is the way I look at it," he went 
on. " Every industry is asking for a fresh 
deal and each has a certain amount of right 
on its side. The miners have their claims, 
and the railway men, and so forth, and they 
make it a point of honour to carry them 
intact. That would be well enough if the 
whole country were miners or railwaymen, 
and if a careful Heaven had provided a 
safe market for the results of their work. 
But presently other industries will get 
anxious and follow their example, and each 
will be able to make out a good case for 
itself if it stood alone. But the sum of 
these good cases is a bad case. Coal 
becomes too dear and freights too high for 
other industries to work at a profit ; the 

l8l N* 2 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

cost of living soars up, so that the men who 
have got what they ask find that it doesn't 
give them what they expected, and they 
ask more. Then the whole economic 
fabric cracks, for the different parts of it 
have forgotten their interdependence, and 
the result is ruin." 

" It needn't be that, Jimmie," said Mr. 
Jonas, " if they'll 'ave cqinmonsense." 

" Yes, commonsense. A sense of com- 
munity. And that means that each man 
has to let live as well as live, and think 
of others than himself and his fellow- 
unionists. He must take the big view 
as a citizen. How are you going to 
get that, Dan ? . . . Let me put it in 
another way. Supposing this competition 
in demands didn't knock the bottom out of 
our wealth, it would still be an accursed 
thing. What are they demanding ? You 
say, the means to a better life. But what 
kind of a better life is a man to have if he 
thinks only of making tight bargains ? He 
182 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

learns to have no pride in his craft, and no 
care for it except its cash value. He has 
more leisure, but he is a poorer creature 
than he was before, and he has nothing 
to fill his leisure with. He has more money, 
but no better things to spend it on. Why, 
man, if you improve his material condition 
without giving him something to work 
towards, his latter end will be worse than 
the beginning. You are sending him with 
a shove down the road to savagery . . . 
At any cost you must give him the larger 
view, if he is to make anything of the 
victory he wins." 

Mr. Burford had lost his shyness and 
his voice held the little group in the moon- 
light. 

" Look at the war," he said. " There 
the workers of Britain took the larger view. 
They didn't believe the lie that patriotism 
mattered nothing to them, and that they 
would be as well off under the Kaiser. 
They didn't fight for themselves only, but 

183 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

for the little nations that were being 
butchered. And when they fought for 
themselves it was for the greatness in them. 
They had a bad enough time in the real 
England, but they were willing to fight for 
an ideal England that the dullest rever- 
enced. They knew, though they never 
said it, that any pride of manhood that was 
left to them, any liberty, any hope, could 
be preserved only by sacrifice. And they 
made the sacrifice . . . What we have to 
learn is that the war is not over and never 
will be over, and that no victory can be 
maintained except by sacrifice. Every 
man and woman in this land must learn 



it." 



" I think I see," said Phyllis softly. 
" We must give ourselves to peace as 
wholeheartedly as we gave ourselves to 
war. In the war the unhappy, restless 
people were the profiteers and embusques 
and pacifists, not the First and Second 
Hundred Thousand. Now our pessimists 
184 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

are those who accept change but won't 
face up to paying the price. " 

:< I hope that some of us do," said Lady 
Guidwillie. " I am old and I haven't 
much left to care for, but they can have it 
all if it's going to prevent the war being 
fought in vain. I think that is true of my 
class." 

The word annoyed Mr. Wyper, and he 
asked, " What class ? " He was told 
" Old-fashioned women who have no boys 
left," in a tone so gentle that he regretted 
having spoken. 

" Nearly all my pals have been killed," 
said Mr. Maldwin. :< It's a pretty empty 
world nowadays, and there's nothing for 
fellows like me to do except to make the 
best of what remains. That's what we've 
been spared from the Boche bullets for. 
I'd be glad to chuck everything I have into 
the common stock if it would help the 
cause my pals died for. But we are 
puzzled, Mr. Burford. We want to help, 

185 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

and here come the Labour men with a big 
stick shouting that they are masters and 
are going to have what they jolly well ask. 
That's bad business, just when we ought 
to get together and hammer out a 
decent plan." 

cc Ah, you misunderstand them," said 
Mr. Burford. " They're only puzzled like 
you. The ordinary man is a left-handed 
chap and he's apt to have left-handed 
leaders. The man who roars about his 
rights doesn't mean that he wants to trample 
on everybody else's. He only roars loud 
to get a hearing. Don't you believe that 
the idealism we saw in the war is dead in 
peace. I know the working-man better 
than his Union officials better than you, 
Dan. He's a bigger chap than the men 
that claim to speak for him. He's sane 
and he's just, and, if you give him half a 
chance, he has imagination. Why, the 
Englishman has far more poetry in him 
than the Celt, only he hasn't got it at the 
186 






THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

end of his tongue. You must dig deep 
down to find it. And he's got more 
humour than any race on earth, and that 
will be his salvation." 

' Humour ! yes," said Mr. Normand ; 
and he quoted as if to himself the words of 
Burke : " The ancient and inbred integrity, 
honesty, good-nature and good-humour of 
the people of England." 

( He hasn't had many chances," Mr. 
Burford went on. " And now he wants 
to have every chance that's going. He 
wants to come into his heritage all of it. 
We have to keep him up to that, and, like 
in the fairy tale, to see that he doesn't get 
the jewels without the eye-salve. Thank 
God, at the bottom of his heart he wants 
the best things. You folk, to whom books 
have been a commonplace ever since you 
can remember and who have had your 
education provided for you like regular 
meals, don't know the hunger in poor men 
for these despised privileges. There's only 

187 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

one key to all our problems to-day, and 
that is to give the workers the same trea- 
sures of knowledge that hitherto have 
belonged only to the few. Then you will 
make our democracy safe for the world, 
for you will have made it an aristo- 
cracy." 

Mr. Macmillan nodded. " Right,'' he 
said ; " but don't let us forget what Dr. 
Johnson said about education in Scotland. 
He said it was like the ration of food in a 
beleaguered city everybody had a little, 
but nobody had enough to make a square 
meal/' 

' It's a square meal we're going to give," 
said Mr. Burford. " He won't be content 
with less. Bless him for his exorbitant 
demands. We have to train him to take 
the long view and to have the means of 
making out of better economic conditions 
a better life. We have to train him to 
govern himself and his industry, and to 
produce leaders that can lead and ministers 
188 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

that can administer. In a year or two most 
likely there will be a Labour Government 
in power, and we have to make certain 
that it will be a wise Government. I think 
all that can be done, because the worker 
is going to meet you halfway. Aye, and 
more than halfway. You see, at bottom 
he is very humble. You remember Bun- 
yan, ' I have known many labouring men 
that have got good estates in this Valley 
of Humiliation ' . . . You don't know the 
rare material there is in this old country. 
I have been up and down among ordinary 
folk for years, and I can tell what is in 
their hearts. There was a time when they 
cried for nothing but education in eco- 
nomics, because they were still feeling their 
way to the first stage in a new life. But 
they are past that now. They don't want 
only to breed Labour leaders with a 
smattering of political economy, for they 
have begun to put that science in its proper 
place in the scheme of things. And they 
189 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

don't want only technical education to help 
them to a better paid job. They leave that 
cry to the Chambers of Commerce and the 
employers. They want nothing less than 
the whole treasure-house of knowledge, 
everything that makes what we call an 
educated man." 

' I tell you/* and the speaker's voice 
warmed, " I tell you that I have known 
poor men who spent their evenings with 
Plato and their scanty holidays with the 
great poets. There's a thirst abroad, a 
divine thirst, and the quenching of it is 
the finest task before us. Give the worker 
all the technical training he wants, but 
don't deny him the humanities, for without 
them he can never be a citizen . . . Think 
of what you can make of him. Not culture 
in the trashy sense, but the wise mind and 
the keen spirit. He lives close to reality, 
so you needn't fear that he will become a 
pedant. You will make your academies 
better places, for you will let the winds of 
190 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

the world blow through them when you 
open them to the Many instead of the 
Few, and you will make a great nation, for 
the Many will be also the Best." 

" You will get," said Mr. Normand, 
" what Falkland described, ' a College 
situate in a purer air. J 3 

" I'm not dreaming," said Mr. Burford. 
"I'm an optimist because I know my 
countrymen and believe in them most 
mightily. It's because they ask such a lot 
that there's good hope. We are always 
telling each other what is the lesson of the 
war. As I see it, it is the folly of arrogance. 
We've beaten it in our enemies, and now 
we've got to conquer it every kind of it 
in ourselves. We want humility in every 
soul, and humility can only come from 
understanding. A man will not talk folly 
if he has a sense of the wisdom of the past, 
and he will not push his own claims too 
far if he realises that he is part of the great 
commonwealth of mankind. Knowledge 
191 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

makes humility, and without humility 
there can be no true humanity. " 

Mr. Burford ceased, and for a little 
silence reigned. His words seemed in 
harmony with the dusky, scented world 
and the shining spaces of the sky. Past 
seemed in that moment to mingle with 
present, the memories of the war with the 
traditions of immemorial ages, and behind 
all moved the kindly forces of earth which 
daily re-create the life of man. Then Mr. 
Macmillan spoke. 

" I have got the answer I hoped for. It 
is a great and noble prospect, but it wants 
much girding of the loins. " 

He got up from his chair and looked over 
the glen. " For your comfort I will tell 
you a story a story that belongs to this 
place and the folk that once lived here. 
Among the old Gods of the North the 
most beautiful was Balder, the Life-giver, 
who brought morning after night and spring 
after winter and quickened joy in youth and 
192 



THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

hope in the old. But the day came when 
he was pierced by the dart of his brother 
Darkness, and went down to the House of 
Hel far below the earth. The whole world 
sorrowed for his loss. It tried to bring 
him back by its tears, and every living 
and lifeless thing in earth and heaven, 
from the High Gods to the stones and 
trees, wept for Balder. But he did not 
come back. Yet, said the tale, some day 
he would return. Some day twilight would 
fall on Walhalla, and the proud Gods 
would be destroyed in their last great fight. 
They were fine Gods in Walhalla, but they 
were proud and violent Gods with the 
passions of their kind. Then would come 
the Deluge, and from chaos a new earth 
would arise, washed clean of pride. And 
Balder, the Life-giver, would come again 
from the House of Death to reign over a 
regenerate world ... I wonder if that 
may be our case. We have long been 
trying to bring Balder back by our tears, 




THE ISLAND OF SHEEP 

but they were only tears of sentiment, and 
arrogance still ruled our hearts. Now we 
have passed through our Ragnarok and the 
old pride has fallen. Perhaps the day is 
near when Balder will wake from his 
sleep." 

He broke off suddenly. " Lament," he 
cried, " there's a monstrous great fish 
rising in the Cow Pool. Let's go and look 
at him. Where's Burford ? " 

Mrs. Lamont answered. " I think he 
has gone for a walk with Phyllis in the 
garden." 



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