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I looked at the beautiful day again. ... and helped myself to another cup. "You'd better go without us," said George to Muriel. "We haven't finished breakfast yet. Tell you what, though we're going a good walk, so we might call for you, and all come back together through the woods."

"That's an idea," I said heartily. After breakfast we went into the library.

I began to fill a pipe.

"That's rather a jolly book," said George, picking one off the table. "You might have a look at it some time."

"I've heard about it," I said, looking at the title, "I know it's good"; and I began to dip into it.

"What a perfect day," said George at the window, yawning and stretching himself; "I must just write a letter, though."

I turned back to the first page. It was really a very jolly book. . . .

"Hallo," said George, "they're back from church. We shall have to do our walk this afternoon, old man. the book?"


"Heavens," I cried, "it's one o'clock. I had no idea."

"Well, come and have some lunch. What a wonderful day! About this afternoon would you like to go up through the woods, or shall we get down to the sea?"

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"I hope it will be fine to-morrow," said George, as he gave me my candle that night. "You've hardly seen the country yet. We might have the car out-unless you'd rather walk?" "Walking would be better for us, I suppose?"

"By Jove, yes; you Londoners want exercise. I'll tell you what. We'll go out in the car and take lunch with us, and then the ladies can drive back, and you and I will walk. How's that?"

"Ripping," I said.

Monday was another glorious day, from four o'clock onwards. I was down all right at ten, and so was George's sister.

"What are you men thinking of doing to-day?" she asked, when I had got going on the fish.

"George said something about all going out in the car."

"That will be jolly. It's very pretty round here, isn't it?"

"I haven't seen it yet," I said. "I've hardly been outside the house."

"George must take you round before we start."

When this was repeated to George half-an-hour later he was enthusiastic.

"Don't mind a bit," I said cheerfully, "Come on," he said, as soon as he had and went to lunch. . . .

"What do you generally do on a Sunday after lunch?" said George as we lit our cigars.

finished his breakfast; and I followed him out.

"This," he said, as we stepped from the library on to the lawn, "is where

we generally play croquet. A jolly game, I always think."

"Oh, rather."

"Do you play much? Well, then, don't you agree with me that it's a mistake for the man who goes first not to have a shot at the hoop?"

"It's rather risky," I began, "be


"Well, now, I don't think so. I'd back myself to do it any time. Look here, we might just have a game and then I'd show you what I mean. Would you like to?"

"Rather; I'm always ready for croquet." . . .

"We must have another," said George, an hour and a-half later. "You didn't get any of the luck." ... "And a conqueror," he added half an hour afterwards. "The balls just went right for you that time."

"What a perfect day," said Mrs. George at lunch. "How's the croquet?"

"We're just playing the conqueror," said George. "Jove, it's hot. never known such a day."

We finished the third game (which George won), and came in for a drink. "It's all eye," said George. "Same as at billiards. If you can smack 'em at one you can smack 'em at the other."

"Well, I can't smack 'em at billiards," I sighed.

"Nonsense! Really? I wonder what I could give you? Do you care for a game? Come on, then."



The meeting of the Tsar and the Kaiser off Björkö seems by common consent unlikely to make any change in the political situation in Europe. The attack on the Woodburn might, indeed, cause serious trouble with Great Britain but for the Anglo-Russian underLIVING AGE. VOL. XLIV. 2300

Muriel came into the billiard-room about four.

"Billiards-on a day like this!" she exclaimed.

"It's clouding over a bit now," said George, as he chalked his cue "That takes me out, I think."

"Why don't you play a sociable game for four?" said Muriel.

"Bridge?" said George. "Well, get Polly then. And we'll have tea in here."

"Do you play Bridge much?" Muriel asked me.

"I love it," I said truthfully.

"So do I," she said, and she went off for Polly . . .

At about seven o'clock, "No trumps," said George. "Ah, I thought so," he added. "It's begun to rain."

We all looked out of the window. "What a pity!" we all said.

"Spoilt your week-end rather," said George.

"Oh, no, I've had a perfectly ripping time," I protested.

"Still if it had kept fine- You know, in the country one does want



"Must you go early to-morrow?" said Muriel.

"I'm afraid so."

"Well, you must come again, that's all," said Mrs. George kindly.

"And come when it's fine," said George, "and get a little country air and exercise. Do you all the good in the world."

A. A. M.

standing, coupled with our experience of Russian nervousness on the Doggerbank in 1904. Putting aside this deplorable incident, it is hard to see that the meeting can have much immediate significance. No doubt both Sovereigns were attended by an imposing

retinue of Ministers; and even were these absent, more business can be done at interviews between chiefs of States, each of whom is his own Foreign Minister, than when one is the official head of a Republic or a constitutional king. Nicholas II., again, is known to be peculiarly susceptible to the influence of the latest adviser, and it may be remembered that at previous meetings with the Kaiser—notably, that of Björkö in 1905—he received and acted upon the advice of Wilhelm II. Still, we see no reason to doubt the German semi-official explanations, echoed as they are in Vienna and supported in the Russian Press. It is only natural that the Tsar should wish to see a sovereign with whom he is closely connected by ties of blood and by common interests, and whom he cannot very well visit on land. The meeting was of his seeking, and the Russian Liberal Press has hastened to point out that even if the Tsar were induced to give way to German and Austrian aspirations in the Near East, he could not afford to run counter to the universal feelings of the Slav race. The interview may so far improve the situation as to modify the unpleasant impressions left by the recent diplomatic triumph of Germany and Austria-Hungary over Slav aspirations in Southern Europe. It is easy, of course, to raise apprehensions as to the stability of the Russian understanding with Great Britain and France. But no ruler of Russia can now afford to disregard the feeling of the Russian people, or, at least, of that part of it which is politically active, and that section is decidedly in favor of the Western Powers. Moreover, even were the interview to weaken the triple understanding, it would be effectively counteracted by the coming visit of the Tsar in August to the French President at Havre and to Edward VII, at Cowes. But a better reason for rejecting such apprehen

sions is afforded by the state of Europe.

What points are likely in the near future to concern the Powers jointly, and how far are they likely to lead to divergence? The Morocco question is, happily, for the present, put outside the danger-zone. The Congo question is a cloud on the horizon, which has been made a little more menacing by the suggestion of the King of the Belgians at the close of the Antwerp festivities that Belgian capitalists may be induced to provide their country with a mercantile marine out of the profits of fresh concessions to be granted them in the Congo colony. But this at present is hardly practical politics, and the King's eulogies of the potentialities of the colony are not likey to be confirmed for some years to come. Besides, though Belgium might conceivably find supporters in a crisis which, after all, will probably be averted, the fate of the Congo natives is not likely to concern Europe as a whole. The Baltic Agreement of last April has so completely removed the Swedish suspicions of Russian aggression in the Aland Islands that the Tsar is sure of a cordial reception at Stockholm, and the Rigsdag has almost unanimously refused to allow the Socialists to raise a debate which might offend the Imperial guest. The succession to the throne of the Netherlands is, happily, safe for the present, and the Dutch elections have assured the continuance of a stable, though, unfortunately, reactionary, Ministry for a time long enough to allow of an amendment to the Constitution, which will prevent the anticipated dangers from recurring in the same form. No doubt the Near East is still full of dangers, but on these both Germany and Russia are drawn different ways at once. It has been their interest in the past to support a decaying régime. It was the interest of Russia, at any rate, to look on at its decay. Now that an unexpected revolution has opened

a new era, it is obviously to her advantage to stand well with the new rulers, and not to promote a crisis which would set up new and unpredictable difficulties, or provoke a strong Mohammedan reaction against all Western influences. The Cretan question, no doubt, is menacing, owing to the promise of the protecting Powers last autumn to withdraw their troops, and to the impatience of the Greek Cretans to effect the union of the island with Greece. Were this done, the members of the Turkish mission now in Paris have intimated that Turkey would immediately attack the Greek kingdom; and that would reopen the whole Near Eastern question at once. For this the Powers are unprepared; none of them could definitely support either of the belligerents, and they are still less able at present to face the European war which might be the eventual result. Were Greece to get Crete, she would go on to press her claims in Epirus, Servia would demand fresh compensation at the expense of Turkey, and the Turkish Government, already engaged in disciplining the Albanians, would have to fight two or more of the Balkan States in Macedonia, while sympathy would be divided in every country in Europe. It seems probable, therefore, that some solution will be devised for the Cretan problem which will involve the maintenance of the nominal Turkish suzerainty for the present, and "save the face" of the reformed Turkish Government. There remains the problem of Persia, which inspires some English Liberals with justifiable apprehensions, and in which Germany seems inclined to take a purely financial share. Of course, it is difficult, as it always has been, for the Russian Government to control its agents, or for the agents to give up their old theories as to the expansion of Russia towards the Indian Ocean and India. But British friendship during the next few

years will be worth a good deal more to Russia than the virtual annexation of a region whose economic future she already controls. It is to Great Britain, the ally of Japan and the friend of China, that she must look to smooth difficulties arising in her economic expansion in the Far East. She has every reason to wish to stand well with Great Britain; and the worst possible way to promote her domestic reforms and the peace of Europe and Asia is to play into the hands of her reactionaries, and estrange her moderate reformers by protesting in Parliament or in public meetings against the expected visit of the Tsar.

In the immediate future we see no urgent reason for alarm. The prospect a few years hence is less reassuring. At present all the great Powers, except ourselves, are either struggling with serious financial difficulties, or approaching them; and while Mr. Lloyd George's Budget would in a few years give us a more than adequate revenue, we do not yet know how much of it will pass into law. The new German proposals will hardly solve the German problem; France has to meet further heavy expenditure out of a national income which is slackening in its rate of increase; Austria is declared by the reporter of the Budget Committee of the Reichsrath to be in presence of a heavy deficit, and her debt charge is nearly £15 10s per head; Italy is spending her present and prospective surpluses in securing her North-Eastern frontier, and anticipating the efforts of her present ally and ancient enemy to secure preponderance in the Adriatic. The "silent warfare" of which Lord Rosebery spoke at the Press Conference is all the more exhausting in that it is not intended to end in actual warfare. Its aim is, in the first place, to avert attack; in the next-at any rate, in the case of some of its promoters-to obtain commercial advantages and diplo

matic support from other Governments by the menace of war. From any taint of this last intention Great Britain is happily free. Too little attention has been paid either abroad or at home to Sir Edward Grey's admirable summary of our foreign policy at the Conference to keep what we have got, to consolidate and develop it, to quarrel with others as little as possible, and to uphold for the world at large those ideals which we value for ourselves. But on the exhausting conflict between the nations in preparation for warfare -which anticipates and annihilates any

The Economist.

prospective economic advantage that war might bring-Sir Edward Grey endorsed Lord Rosebery's words. Happily there are counteracting influences in the peaceful intercourse of the various peoples, and in such formal exchanges of public hospitality as the visits of English Labor members and Ministers to Germany, and of German municipal authorities and members of the Russian Legislature to England. Moreover, even in military empires, the people, after all, ultimately count for more than their emperors.


One of the patent signs of Repub. lican mediocrity in France is the steady indifference of the City Fathers to the amenities of Paris. History and tradition are cast to the winds before what is euphemistically termed "Progress." There is nothing sadder than the daily destruction of the beautiful and historic, which has been going on since Baron Haussmann took in hand, with an Early Victorian savagery, the rectangular "improvement" of Lutetia. (There is something ironical in the evocation of the old Roman name.) Everything has been done to minimize the ancient glory of the city of brilliant courts and kings. The pick of the demolisher shows a fiendish activity whenever it encounters some relic of past times. With a ruthless haud the Ediles have ruled straight paths through a tangled mass of streets where lie hidden, under gabled roofs and twisted chimneys, under gilded cornices and fantastic carven faces, the history and sentiment of five hundred years. The broad course of the new Boulevard Raspail, which pushes brusquely its modern way across the most interesting part of the

Pays Latin, has shown a Juggernautic faculty for pressing under foot old associations and archæological documents. The most grievous example of municipal zeal in clearing is the "Abbaye aux Bois," a large rambling old house, full of beautiful oak carving, around which clustered memories of saintly women and memories, too, of the beautiful Madame Récamier, who was here a "pensionnaire" and received the homage of adoring wits and gallants. Pitiable is the story of the destruction of the Latin Quarter. Fire could not have worked more havoc of old-time buildings and hôtels.

If one crosses the Seine one's feeling of sadness at the vandalism of the modern Parisian increases. In that glorious area of the Cité contained between two arms of the river, where formerly were seventeen churches, today there remain only the "symphony in stone" of Notre Dame and the superb Sainte Chapelle, serving as the official temple to the Palais de Justice. In its queer and crooked streets history and romance lie asleep. In this quarter and the adjacent one of the Marais the visitor who is at once a

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