I know your devotion. But give me a fresh example of it. Keep my kingdom at peace with the world.
That I cannot do.
You cannot? You will not.
I could not face my conscience, or make my peace with God, if I weakened now and allowed the golden opportunity to pass by. For your Majesty’s sake as well as for our country’s.
Your Majesty has forgotten that your throne was built by war and rests on force. Force only, military prestige only, can uphold you. The rebels of labor have crept close to your throne now. Ten more years of peace, and you are cast out overnight, to wander over Europe, a homeless absurdity, a king without a chair to sit on.
[With flashing eyes.
We shall see!
May I ask your Majesty in all humility and devotion to give me back that slip of paper?
You have thought of our national honor, our prestige, our commercial growth, our dynastic life. Have you given no thought at all to the men you send to death to purchase these?
A man has no higher privilege than to die for his country. I beg your Majesty—the paper?
[Tearing the paper once across.
And the women?
We’ll find them new husbands, your Majesty. The paper, if you please.
[Tearing the paper into shreds.
I forbid this war!
[With controlled anger.
My God, your Majesty! You are letting a sentiment master you. There are worse things than war. There are possibilities in peace infinitely worse than any war, or there would be no war. War may kill a million bodies, but a wicked peace can snuff out unnumbered souls!
I will take my chances with peace.
It is for you we are fighting, your Majesty, but not for you only, not for your glory only and the permanence of your House, but for the permanence of the monarchical principle, which we know is better and higher than the principle of democracy, since it is the earthly symbol of God’s singleness of rule, and comes direct from God.