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While this Forecast in Fiction has been running as a Serial, the writer has realised that in some respects it may be open to misconstruction. Patriotism, not pessimism, is its real keynote.

"This England never did, nor never shall,

Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,

But when it first did help to wound itself."

That is the crux. England is being wounded by Englishmen; and the events imagined in this story are only a concrete example of the possibilities foreshadowed by Mr. Balfour (Jan. 24th, 1910) in the following words:—

"If the pressure of public opinion is not effected, then I tell you with all solemnity that there are difficulties and perils before this country which neither we nor our fathers nor our grand-fathers nor our great-grand-fathers have ever yet had to face, and that before many years are out there will be a Nemesis for this manifest and scandalous folly in saving money just at the wrong time, in refusing to carry out a plain duty."

The history of the rise and fall of nations is only the story of Cause and Effect. Given concomitant causes (1)—the unchecked blight of Socialism, (2) the Revolt of Woman on "democratic lines," (3) weakened Maritime Power—and the Effect is only too likely to be that England will "lie at the proud foot of a conqueror." Let it be hoped that the British people will remove the causes and prevent the otherwise probable result.

It must not be supposed that the writer identifies himself with the views expressed by any of his characters on the subject of Woman or Votes for Women. On the contrary, he thinks that women have been treated with small tact and much harshness. But we already have abundant evidence of the dangerous result of giving the franchise to hundreds of thousands of uneducated men; and if, even short of universal suffrage, the vote should be granted to the other sex on what Mr. Asquith calls "democratic lines," it would mean that hundreds of thousands of uneducated women might join hands with the existing forces of enfranchised Socialism. That way madness lies, and the end of the British Empire, "which peril Heaven forfend!"

The story is, in some sort, a sequel to "A Time of Terror," in which the sign of the Spider may be taken as a reminder of the fabled Kraken. The Kraken, in turn, may be taken to symbolise the German Fleet, "a sea monster of valign="right"ast size said to have been seen off the Coast of Norway." Oddly enough, Pliny speaks of such a monster in the Straits of Gibraltar,—which blocked the entrance of ships.

8 oktober
Rectory Print

Fler böcker av Douglas Morey Ford