The Ralston Independent. (Ralston, Okla.), Vol. 10, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, December 4, 1914 Page: 3 of 8
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(Copyright, 1914. by Charles Scnbner's Sons]
At their home on the front'er,.b*t1w'®^
the Browns and Grays Marta Q^lWd and
her mother, entertaining Colonel W ester-
ling of the Grays, see Captain Lanst^°"'
•taft Intelligence officer of the Browns,
injured by a fall In his aeroplane Ten
years later. Westerllng, nominal vice but
real chief of staff, reinforces South La
Tir, meditates on war. and BPecu'*teA °_n
the comparative ages of himself and Mar-
ta. who Is visiting in the Gray capital.
Westerllng calls on Marta. She tells him
of her teaching children the follies of war
and martial patriotism, begs him to pre-
vent war while he Is chief of staff, and
predicts that If he makes war against tne
Browns he will not win. On the march
with the 63d of the Browns Private Stran-
«ky, anarchist, decries war and played-
out patriotism and Is placed under arrest
Colonel Lanstron everbearing. begs nim
ofT. Lanstron calls on Marta at her home.
He talks with Teller, the eardner Marta
tells Lanstron that she believes Feller to
be a spy. Lanstron confesses it is true.
"Oh, it's you, Lanny—Colonel Lan-
atron!" he exclaimed thickly. "I saw
k that some one had come in here and
naturally I was alarmed, as nobody
but myself ever enters. And Miss Gal-
land!" He removed his hat deferential-
ly and bowed; his stoop returned and
the lines of his face drooped. "I was
eo stupid; It did not occur to me that
you might be showing the tower to
"We are sorry to have given you a
fright!" said Marta very gently.
"Eh? Eh!" queried Feller, again
deaf. "Fright? Oh, no, no fright, it
might have been some boys from the
He was about to withdraw, in keep-
ing with his circumspect adherence
to his part, which he played with a
alncerity that half-convinced even hlm-
aelf at times that he was really deaf,
when the tire flickered back suddenly
to his eyes and he glanced from Lan-
stron to the stairway in desperate In-
"Wait, Feller! Three of us share
the secret now. These are Miss Gal-
land's premises. I thought best that
she should know everything," said Lan-
"Everything!" exclaimed Fgller.
"Everything—" the word caught in his
throat. "You mean m^ story, too?" He
was neither young nor old now. "She
knows who 1 am?" he asked.
"His story!" exclaimed Marta, with
a puzzled look to Lanstron before she
turned to Feller with a look of warm
aympathy. "Why, there is no story!
You came with excellent recommenda-
tions. You are our very efficient gar
dener. That is all we need to know
Isn't that the way you wish It, Mr
"Yes, Just that!" he said softly, rals
jng his eyes to her. "Thauk you, Miss
He was going after another "Thank
you!" and a bow; going with the slow
\ step and stoop of his part, when Lan-
strpn, with a masculine roughness of
Impulse which may be Bubllme gentle-
ness, Bwung him around and seized his
hands in a firm caress.
"Forgive me, Gustavo!" he begged.
"Forgive the most brutal cf all In-
juries—that which wounds a friend's
"Why, there Is nothing I could ever
have to forgive you, Lanny," he said,
returning Lanstron's pressure while
for an instant his quickening muscles
gave htm a soldierly erectness. Then
hla attitude changed to one of doubt
and inquiry. "And you found out that
I was not deaf when you had that fall
on the terrace?" he asked, turning to
Marta. "That is how you happened to
get the whole story? Tell me, hon-
"You saw so much more of me than
the others, Miss Galland," he said with
a charming bow, "and you are so quick
to observe. 1 am sorry"—he paused
with head down for an Instant—"very
sorry to have deceived you."
"But you are still a deaf gardener
to me," said Marta, finding consolation
In pleasing him.
"Eh? Eli?" He put his hand to his
ear as he resumed his stoop. "Yes,
yes," he added, as a deaf man will
when understanding of a remark which
be failed at tirst to catch comes to him
In an echo. "Yes, the gardener has no
past," he declared In the gentle old
gardener's voice, "when all the flow-
ers die every year and he thinks only
of next year's blossomB—of the fu-
Now the air of the room seemed to
be stifling him. that of the roofless
world of the garden calling him. The
bent figure disappeared around a turn
In the path and they listened without
moving until the sound of his slow,
dragging footfalls had died away.
"When he Is serving those of his
owa social station I can see how it
would be easier for him not to have
me know," said Marta. "Sensitive,
proud and intense—" and a look of
horror appeared in her eyes. "As he
came across the room his face was
transformed. 1 imagine it was like
that of a man giving no quarter in a
Feller had won the day for himself
where a friend's pleas might have
failed. This was as it should be, Lan-
"The right view—the view that you
were bound to take!" he eaid.
"And yet, I don't know your plans
for him, Lanny. There is another thing
to consider," Bhe replied, with an ab-
rupt change of tone. "But first let us
leave Feller's quarters. We are In-
"A man playing deaf; a secret tele
phone Installed on our premises with-
out our consent—this is all I know bo
far," said Marta, seated opposite
LanBtron at one end of the circular
seat In the arbor of Mercury.
"Of course, with our 8,000,000
against their 6,000,000, the Grays will
take the offensive," he said. "For us,
the defensive. La Tir is in an angle.
It does not belong In the permanent
tactical line of our defenses. Never-
theless, there will be hard fighting
here. The Browns wil! fall back step
by step, and we mean, with relatively
small coyBt to ourselves, to make the
Grays pay a heavy price for each step
—just as heavy as we can."
"You need not use euphonious
terms," she Bald without lifting her
lashes or any movement except a
quick, nervous gesture of her free
hand. "What you mean is that you
will kill as many as possible of the
Grays, Isn't Is? And If you could kill
five for every man you lost, that would
be splendid, wouldn't it?"
"I don't think of it aB splendid. There
Is nothing splendid about war, he ob-
jected; "not to me, Marta."
"And after you have made them pay
five to one or ten to one in human
lives for tbe tangent, what then? Go
on! I wwt to look at war face to face,
free of the will-o'-the-wisp glamour that
draws on soldiers."
We fall back to our first line of de-
dense, fighting all the time. The Grays
occupy La Tir, which will be out of the
reach of our guns. Your house will
no longer be In danger, and we happen
to know that Westerling means to
make it hie headquarters."
"Our house Westerllng's headquar
ters!" Bhe repeated. With a start that
brought her up erect, alert, challeng-
ing, her lashes flickering, Bhe recalled
that Westerllng had said at parting
that he should see her, If war came.
This corroborated Lanstron's Informa-
tion. One side wanted a spy In the
garden; the other a general In the
house. Was she expected to make a
choice? He had ceased to be Lanny.
He personified war. Westerling per-
sonified war. "I suppose you have
spies under his very nose—In his very
staff offices?" she asked.
"And probably be has In ours," said
Lanstron, "though we do our best to
"What a pretty example of trust
among civilized nations!" she ex-
claimed. "You say that Westerling,
who commands the killing on his Bide,
will be in no danger. And, Lanny, are
you a person of such distinction In the
business of killing that you. also will
be out of danger?"
She did not see, as her eyes poured
her hot Indignation Into his, that hie
maimed hand was twitching or how
he bit his lips and flushed before he re-
"Each one goes where he la sent,
link by link, down from the chief of
staff. Only In this way can you have
that solidarity, that harmonious effi-
ciency which means victory."
"An autocracy, a tyranny over the
lives of all the adult males in countries
that boast of the ballot and self-gov-
erning institutions!" she put in.
"But I hope," he went on, with the
quickening pulse and eager smile that
used to greet a call from Feller to "set
things going" In their cadet days, "that
I may take out a squadron of dirigibles.
After all this spy business, that would
be to my taste."
"And If you caught a regiment In
close formation with a shower of
bombs, that would be positively heav-
enly, wouldn't it?" She bent nearer
to him, her eyes flaming demand and
"No! War—necessary, horrible, hell-
ish!" he replied. Something in her
seemed to draw out the brutal truth
she had asked for In place of euphoni-
"When I became ohlef of Intelligence
I found that an underground wire had
been laid to the castle from the Eighth
division headquarters, which will be
our general staff headquarters in time
of war. The purpose was the same as
now, but abandoned as chimerical. All
that' was necessary was to install the
instrument, which Feller did. 1, too,
saw the plan as chimerical, yet It was
a chance—the one out of a thousand.
If It should happen to succeed we
| should play with our cards concealed
| and theirs on the table.
The rest of Feller's part you have
guessed already." he concluded. "You
can see how a deaf, Inoffensive old
gardener would hardly seem to know
a Gray Boldier from a Brown; how it
might no more occur to Westerllng to
send him away than the family dog or
cat; how he might retain his quarters
in the tower; how he could judge the
atmosphere of thfe staff, whether elated
or depressed, pick up scraps of conver-
sation, and, as a trained officer, know
the value of what he heard and report
It over the phone to Bartow's head-
"But what about the aeroplanes?"
she asked. "I thought you were to de-
pend on them for scouting."
"We shall use them, but they are
the least tried of all the new re-
sources," he said. "A Gray aeroplane
may cut a Brown aeroplane down be-
fore It returns with the news we want.
At most, when the aviator may descend
low enough for accurate observation
he can see only what Is actually being
done. Feller would know Westerling'*
plans before they were even in the
first steps of execution. This" play-
ing the thought happily—"this would
be the Ideal arrangement, while our
planes and dirigibles were kept over
our lines to strike down theirs. And,
Marta, that is all," he concluded.
"If there is war, the moment that
Feller'B ruse is discovered he will be
shot as a spy?" she asked.
"I warned him of that,' said Lan-
stron. "He is a soldier, with a sol-
dier's fatalism. He sees no more dan-
der in this than In commanding a bat-
tery in a crisis."
"Suppose that the Grays win? Sup-
pose that La Tir Is permanently
"They shall not win! They must
not!" Lanstron exclaimed, his tone as
rigid aa Westerliug's toward her sec-
"Yet if they should win and WeBter
ling finds that I have been party to
this treachery, aa I shall be now that
I am In the secret, think of the poal
tlon of my mother and myself!" she
continued. "Has that occurred to you,
a friend, in making our property, our
garden, our neutrality, which la our
only defense, a factor in one of your
plana without our permission?
Her eyes, blue-black in appeal and
reproach, revealed the depths of a
wound aa they had on the terrace steps
before luncheon, when he had been
apprised of a feeling for him by seeing
it dead under his blow. The logic of
the chief of intelligence withered. He
understood how a friendship to her
was, Indeed, more aacred than patriotic
passion. He realized the shame of
what he had done now that he was
free of professional Influences.
"You are right, Marta!" he replied.
"It was beastly of me—there la no ex-
He looked around to see an orderly
from the nearest military wlreleas eta-
"1 was told It was urgent, air," said
the orderly, in excuBe for his intrusion,
aa he passed a telegram to Lanstron.
Immediately Lanstron felt the touch
of the paper his features aeemed to
take on a mask that concealed hie
thought aa he read:
"Take night expresa. Come direct
from station to me. Partow."
Thia meant that he would be ex-
pected at Partow'b office at eight the
next morning. He wrote hia answer;
the orderly saluted and departed at a
rapid pace; and then, aa a matter of
habit of the same kind that makes
Bome men wipe their pens when lay-
ing them down, he struck a match and
set fire to one corner of the paper,
whldh burned to his fingers' ends be-
fore he tossed the charrad remains
away. Marta imagined what he would
be like with the havoc of war raging
around him—all self-possession and
mastery; but actually he was trying to
reassure himself that he ought not to
feel petulant over a holiday cut short.
"I shall have to go at once," he said.
"Marta, If there were to be war very
soon—within a week or two weeks—
what would be your attitude about Fel-
"To carry out hla plan, you mean?"
There was a perceptible pause on
"Let him «tay," she answered. "I
shall have time to decide even after
"But instantly war begins you must
go!" he declared urgently.
"You forget a precedent," she re-
minded him. "The Galland women
have never deserted the Galland
"I know the precedent But this
time the house will be In the thick of
"U has been in the thick of the fight-
ing before," she said, with a gesture of
"Marta, you will promise not to re-
main ?" he urged.
"iBn't that my affair?" she asked.
"Aren't you willing to leave even that
to me after all you have been telling
how you are to make a redoubt of our
lawn, Inviting the shells of the enemy
into our drawing-room?"
What could he say? Only call up
from the depths the two passions of
his life in an outburst, with all the
force of his nature In play.
"I love this soil, my country;s boII,
ours by right—and I love you! I would
be true to both!"
"Love! What mockery to mention
that now!" she cried chokingly. "Its
"I—I—" He was making an effort
to keep his nerves under control.
This time the stiffening elbow failed.
With a lurching abruptness he swung
his right hand around and seized the
wrist of that trembling, Injured hand
that would not be still. She could not
fall to noloe the movement, and the
sight was a magic that struck anger
out of her.
"Lanny, I am hurting you!" she cried
"A little," he said, will finally domi-
nant over its servant, and he was
smiling as when, half stunned and in
agony—and ashamed of the fact—he
had risen from the debris of cloth and
twisted braces. "It's alLright," he con-
She threw back her arms, her head
raised, with a certain abandon as If
she would bare her heart.
"Lanny, there have been moments
when 1 would have liked to fly to
your arms. There have been moments
when 1 have had the call that comes to
every woman In answer to a desire.
Yet 1 was not ready. When I really
go it must be In a flame, In answer to
But if the flame were about to burst
forth she smothered it In the spark.
"And all this has upset me," she
went on incoherently. "We've both
been cruel without meaning to be, and
we're In the shadow of a nightmare;
and next time you come perhaps all
the war talk will be over and—oh,
this la enough for today!"
She turned quickly in veritable flight
and hurried toward the houae.
"If It ever comes," she called, "I'll
let you know! I'll fly to you In a
chariot of fire bearing my flame—I am
that bold, that brazen, that reckless!
For 1 am not an old maid, yet. They've
moved the age limit up to thirty. But
you can't drill love Into me aa you
drill discipline Into armies—no, no
more than I can argue peace into
For a while, motionless, Lanstron
watched the point where she had dis-
Making a War.
Hedworth Westerllng would have
eaid twenty to one If he had been asked
the odds against war when he
parting from Marta Galland In the
hotel reception room. Before he
reached home he would have changed
them to ten to one. A scare bulletin
about the Bodlapoo affair compelling
attention aB his car halted to let the
traffic of a cross street pass, he bought
a newspaper thrust In at the car win-
dow that contained the answer of the
government of the Browns to a dis-
patch of the Graya about the dispute
that had arisen in the distant African
jungle. This he had already read two
days previously, by courteay of the
premier. It was moderate In tone, as
became a power that had 3,000,000 sol-
diers against Its opponent's 5,000,000;
nevertheless, It firmly pointed out that
the territory of the Browns had been
overtly invaded, on the pretext of se-
curing a deserter who had escaped
across the line, by Gray colonial
troopa who had raiaed the Gray flag In
place of the Brown flag and remained
defiantly in occupation of the outpost
they had taken.
Aa yet, the Browns had not attempt-
ed to repel the aggressor by armB for
fear of complications, but were relying
on the Gray government to order a
withdrawal of the Gray force and the
repudiation of a commander who had
been guilty of so grave an International
affront. The surprising and Illuminat-
ing thing to Westerllng was the In-
spired statement to the press from the
Gray foreign office, adroitly appealing
to Gray chauvinism and justifying the
"intrepidity" of the Gray commander
in response to Bo-called "pln-prlcklng"
At the door of his apartment, Fran-
cols, his valet and factotum, gave Wes-
terllng a letter.
"Important, sir," said Francois.
Weaterllng knew by a glance that It
waa, for It waa addressed and marked
"Personal" In the premier's own hand-
writing. A conference for ten that
evening was requested In a manner
that left no doubt of Its urgency.
Curiosity made him a little ahead of
time, but he found the premier await-
ing him in Ala study, free from Inter-
ruption or eavesdropping.
In the shadow of the table lamp the
old premier looked his years. From
youth he had been In politics, ever a
bold figure and a daring player, but
now beginning to feel the pressure of
younger men's elbows. Fonder even
of power, which had becomo a habit,
than in his twenties, he saw it slipping
from his grasp at an age when the
downfall of his government meant thai
he should never hold the reins again
He had been called an ambitious dera
agogue and a makeshift opportunist b/
his enemies, but the crowd liked Iifna
for his ready strategy, his genius lot
appealing phrases, and for the gam-
bler's virtue which hitherto had made
him a good loser.
"You Baw our communique tonl;hl
that went with the publication of tfce
Browns' dispatch?" he remarked.
"Yes, and I am glad that 1 had bean
careful to send a spirited command®!
to that region," Westerling replied.
"So you guess my Intention, I see."
The premier Bmiled. He picked up a
long, thin Ivory paper-knife and eoftl)
patted the palm of his hand with '.t.
"Certainly!" Westerllng replied in
his ready, confident manner.
"We hear a great deal about thj pra
clslon and power of modern arms ai
favoring the defensive," said tha pre-
mler. "I have read somewhere lhat II
will enable the Browns to hold ua back,
despite our advantage of numbers
Also, that they can completely man
every part of their frontier and thai
their ability to move their reserve!
rapidly, thanks to modern facilities,
makes a powerful flanking attack la
surprise out of the question."
"Some half-truths in that," an-
Westerling. "One axiom, that must
hold good through all time, Is that vhe
aggressive which keeps at it alwayi
wins. We take the aggressive. In the
space where Napoleon deployed a dl
vision, we deploy a battalion today.
The precision and power of modern
arms require this. With such immense
forces and preBent-day tactics, the lint
of battle will practically cover the
length of the frontier. Along their
range the Browns have a series ol
fortresses commanding natural open-
ings for our attack. These are almost
Impregnable. But there are pregnabU
polntB between them. Here, our
method will be the same that the Japa-
nese followed and that they learned
from European armies. We shall con-
centrate In masses and throw in wave
after wave of attack until we have
gained the positions we desire. Once
we have a tenable foothold on the
crest of the range the Brown army
must fall back and the rest will be a
matter of skillful pursuit."
The premier, as he listened, rolled
the paper knife over and over, regard-
ing its pollBhed Bides, which were ilka
Westerllng's manner of facile state-
ment of a program certain of fulfill'
"How long will It take to mobilized
"Less than a week after the rail-
roads are put entirely at our aerrlce,
with three preceding days of scattered
movements," answered Weaterllng.
"Deliberate mobilizations are all right
for a diplomatic threat that creates a
furore In the newspapers and a de-
pression in the stock market, but
which is not to be carried out. When
you mean war, all speed and the war
fever at white heat."
"You would have made a good poli-
tician, Westerllng," the premier re-
marked. with a twitching uplift of the
brows and a knowing gleam. In hla
shrewd old eyes.
"Thank you," replied Westerllng, "a
man who Is able to lead In anything
must be something of a politician."
"Very true, indeed. Perhapa I had
that partly In mind in making you
vice-chief of staff," responded the pre-
"Then It all goes back to the publlo
—to that enormous body of human-
ity out there!" He swung the paper
knife around with outstretched arm
toward the walls of the room. "To
public opinion—as does everything
else In thia age—to the people—our
masterB, your and mine! For no man
can stand against them when they say
no or yes."
"You know the keys to play on,
though," remarked Westerling with a
complimentary smile. "No one knowa
quite so well."
"And you are sure—sure we can
win?" the premier aBked with a long,
tense look at Westerllng. who was
steady under the scrutiny.
"Absolutely!" he answered. "Five
millions against three! It's mathe-
matics, or our courage and aklll are
not equal to theirs. Absolutely! We
have the power, why not use It? We
do not live In a dream age!"
From a sudden, unwitting exertion
of hla strength the knife which had
been the recipient of his emotions
snapped in two. Rather carefully the
premier laid the pieces on the table
before he rose and turned to Wester-
ling, his decision made.
"If the people respond with the war
fever, then it la war," he said. "I
take you at your word that you will
A condition!" Westerllng an-
nounced. "From the moment war be-
gins tho army is master of all Intelli-
gence, all communication, all re-
sources. Everything we require goea
into the crucible!"
ITO BK CONTINUED.)
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The Ralston Independent. (Ralston, Okla.), Vol. 10, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, December 4, 1914, newspaper, December 4, 1914; Ralston, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc163043/m1/3/: accessed November 23, 2017), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.