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as I shall always be the first to proclaim in the face of everyone, have hitherto always been d’un Parfait gentlemanne. As that famous Frenchman said—his name escapes me at this moment —if I could not belong to my own nation, I should have no objection to belonging to yours.
2ND VOIcE. Very gratifying, I am sure. Still, as between allies .
1sT VOIcE. You speak of allies. Are you aware, monsieur, of the story which is at this moment circulating—I do not pretend it is a true story, but I can truly affirm that it is circulating—in all the . . . how do you express it? . . . all the loges of all the concierges of my country ?
2ND VOIcE. The concierges . . . I don’t quite follow, my dear General.
18'!‘ VOIcE. The purport of which story is that more than once—more than once, you understand me well, my dear friend—more than once, if it had not been for our loyalty to you, we might have made an advantageous . . .
2ND VOIcE. Oh, my dear sir, is that all? Those Bourse rumours set going by enemy agents in the States!
18'!‘ VOIcE. Bourse rumours or not, I do not pretend to judge. I only tell you what is being said in the loges of the concierges. I have it on the best authority that those vulgar persons say in their trivial language that they have had enough of getting their face . . . how do you express it?
. smashed—se faire casser la figure—to defend other people’s ports.
3RD VoIcE (low). Oh, just let them gas . . . you know, it’s a way they have.
18'!‘ VOICE, And this brings me to the essential. Your Government must not delay any longer putting its signature to that little agreement which we made with the Great White Bear, by which, in return for Caesarea, he gives us the other bank of the River Hydaspes—in fact, our natural boundaries as defined in the year 4. of the Republic—bien entendu including the mines of antimony and the lake of asphalt.
2ND VOIcE. He gives you! . . . Your boundaries of the year 4! . . . Why, my dear General, the Great White Bear is nearly a thousand miles off!
IsT VoIcE. Correct, from the geographical point of view, perhaps. But geography is only the basis of politics. And now you have been told what those concierges are saying to each other in their familiar phraséologie.
The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows an Embassy, with a dishevelled man walking up and down, surrounded by well-groomed diplomatists.
IsT VoIcE (very distressed). But I must stop, and I’m going to stop!
SEvERAL VoICEs (encouragingly). Tut, tut! Just hold on a little, and you shall be given Caesarea presently.
IsT VOIcn (angry). Hang Caesarea! My country would not have it if you could give it, and you can’t. I tell you my country can’t go on another month. We’ve no more munitions. And the people are starving by the thousand ; they’re mutinying and rioting on every side. There! don’t you hear them yelling for peace ?
A fearful wolf-like sound from outside.‘ “ Peace and
A DIPLOMATIC VOIcn (encouragingly). Fiddlesticks! All that is got up by enemy agents. Just you hold on till you get Caesarea.
Louder roar .' “ Peace and Bread! ”
SATAN (interrupting). Bother take the thing! A wrong disc! He fiddles with the gramophone, which slows of)‘.
THE MUsE. Oh, how truly thrilling! Why, it sounds like the French Revolution! Oh, dear Satan, do, please, let them go on with that!
SATAN. Sorry to disoblige you, Clio. But it’s a wrongly placed disc which doesn’t belong to the set of the Heads of the Nations, with which you must, if you please, allow me to proceed at present.
THE MUsE. What a pity! It was so truly exciting!
SATAN. Only have patience! I promise you plenty more of this kind of stuff very soon in a separate performance—and a remarkably interesting one that will be, though different from the Ballet of the Nations. For the moment, we must return to the diplomatists and journalists.
While SATAN is adjusting the gramophone, the bloodcurdling yell, “Peace and Bread! Peace and Bread 1 ” is repeated, and dies off in the gramophone’s wheezing.
SATAN. There! Now we’ve got back to the Heads of the Nations series all right. I must explain, however, that there were some unoflicial peace feelers which have unluckily got mislaid; also a very funny person talking of peace without victory, which made everyone angry all round until he said it was to be peace with victory and joined in, and that it would all come to the same in the end. But what is happening at present is that these people of the Great White Bear, whom you heard yelling just now, are actually making a separate peace. There!
The cinema shows the inside of a saloon railway carriage in a station, and a snowstorm against the windows. The saloon is filled with Generals with fine fur coats over their uniforms, and bearded men in sheepskin caftans and peasants’ boots and fur caps.
IsT VoICE. No annexations and no indemnities, comrades!
18'!‘ Vo1cE. Not so fast, please! You are occupying Aurora Borealis. How’s that ?
2ND VoIcE. Oh, that isn’t annexation. That’s self-determination.
1sT VoIcE. All very fine! But what do you mean by commandeering my corn ?
2ND VOIcu. Oh, that surely can’t be called an indemnity.
1sT VoIcE. Oh, it can’t, can’t it ? Well, then, my friends, when you hear that we’ve stirred up a revolution in your country, please to remember that this isn’t a Treaty of Peace!
It’s the beginning of the International Socialist Republic! Hurrah!
A General jumps up and hits the table with his sword, crying .' “ That shall teach your people subordination! ”
1sT SPEAKER (waving a folded newspaper). This shall teach your Empire rebellion!
The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows a council chamber full of statesmen.
IsT VOIcE. Don’t you think, my lords and gentlemen, that the time might be nearly approaching when it would . . . it might, possibly be just as well to be beginning just to cast an eye on any possible . . I do not, mark, say probable . . avenues --—ahem!—leading to an eventual peace ?
2ND Vo1cE. Avenues to peace! Almost the most dangerous things in the world! Let alone peace itself, which is, of course, the most dangerous thing of all!
3RD Vo1cE. The name of peace must not be mentioned till they have restored Brobdingnag!
4TH VOIcE. The name of peace must never be mentioned till they have given us back Lilliput!
5TH VoIcE. The name of peace must not be mentioned till I have reannexed the seaboard of Bohemia, the flagstafis of the sea-kings, the kingdoms of . . .
The gramophone wheezes. The cinema shows a Court of
A VoIcE. The name of peace must never be mentioned by any decent man or woman! Are any of you aware, I wonder, that at this present moment this country harbours in its bosom 47,000 aliens from Sodom and Gomorrah, all busily plotting peace ? Does that seem too monstrous for belief ? Well, their names and addresses are all registered in a printed book.
This young lady, whom I have called as a witness, has actually seen the book!
FEMALE WITNEss. I have. It was shown me by two gentlemen friends, since deceased, at a lunch-party at Greenwich. It was bound in American cloth.
JUDICIAL VOIcE. Was it, indeed? And did you see the contents of the book ?
1sT VOIcE. The contents, my lord, comprised the name of everyone here present who dares to ask pacifist questions.
The gramophone wheezes. The cinema changes back to a council chamber full of statesmen of various nationalities. As the dialogue proceeds it changes to other council
chambers in other parts of the world, which flicker in and out without interruption.
IsT VoIcE. But they appear to be talking of a possible restoration of Brobdingnag.