King Edward VII had been dead for close to two years. It was unusually warm for the first days of April in the Ruhr valley when Stead met the countess Pujol-Murat and academic Antonin Gadal on the sandy bank of the Lister in the shadow of the almost completed Lister Dam. They were just south of the ancient Hanseatic city of Attendorn. A light breeze whispered through the brown reed grass behind them as they watched boisterous children frolic barefoot on the edge of the chilly water. Gruff shouts in German could be heard in the distance as foreman barked orders to their furiously scurrying work crews putting the finishing touches on the top of the dam. No one was paying any mind to the famous Englishman and the two French aristocrats making themselves right at home on German soil. The countess spoke first in heavily accented English, “the Orient de France now has complete control over our government. They’ve placed Alexander Izvolsky in Paris with unlimited funds, no doubt coming from Alfred Milner through Edward Grey. God help France! It is now ruled by a Russian grifter who takes his orders from British devils. They have bought off Frances’s press which has mercilessly hounded Joseph Caillaux from office and replaced him with Izvolsky’s puppet prime minister Raymond Poincaré, a man whose hatred for Germany is as boundless as his quest to avenge Germanys annexation of Alsace-Lorraine. By next year he will be the president and war will be inevitable.” Gadal who spoke perfect English elaborated, “it was Caillaux who maneuvered us out of war last summer along with the Kaiser’s cooperation in validating the treaty of Fez in November. We came very close. No sooner was Théophile Delcassé brought back into the French cabinet as minister of Marine in spring than we were invading Morocco in the summer. He was nostalgically reliving 1905 when he nearly embroiled all of Europe in war over Morocco. He was Edwards lackey then and now that Edward is dead, he is Greys lackey. As is Izvolsky when all is said and done about Russia acquiring the Bosporus. What we have done to Morocco shames French honor, but we have not done it without British instigation.   Only five years ago our battleships killed or maimed every man, woman and child in Casablanca. Thousands, over the murder of just three Frenchmen. (23) It was an act of piracy, until then, contemplatable only by you British. Even the Spanish crown refrained from indiscriminately killing civilians during their conquest of the Americas and that was four hundred years ago when Europe was still savage.” “That we are a race of pirates that has acquired the trappings of gentry will get no argument from me,” Stead said with resignation. He pulled a December issue of the Review of Reviews, Britain’s most prestigious publication, from his pocket and handed it to Gadal who read it aloud for the countess, “We all but went to war with Germany. We have escaped […]
To access this post, you must have paid subscription/membership Annual Subscription Choices or Monthly Subscription Choices.