This volume is the authorised translation of Der Weltkrieg deutsche Traume (F. W. Vobach and Co., Leipsic). The translator offers no comment on the day-dream which he reproduces in the English language for English readers. The meaning and the moral should be obvious and valuable.
London, September, 1904.
THE COUNCIL OF STATE
It was a brilliant assemblage of high dignitaries and military officers that had gathered in the Imperial Winter Palace at St. Petersburg. Of the influential personages, who, by reason of their official position or their personal relations to the ruling house, were summoned to advise and determine the destiny of the Tsar’s Empire, scarcely one was absent. But it was no festal occasion that had called them here; for all faces wore an expression of deep seriousness, amounting in certain cases to one of grave anxiety. The conversation, carried on in undertones, was of matters of the gravest import.
The broad folding-doors facing the lifesize portrait of the reigning Tsar were thrown wide open, and amid the breathless silence of all assembled, the grey-headed President of the Imperial Council, Grand Duke Michael, entered the hall. Two other members of the Imperial house, the Grand Dukes Vladimir Alexandrovitch and Alexis Alexandrovitch, brothers of the late Tsar, accompanied him.
The princes graciously acknowledged the deep obeisances of all present. At a sign from the Grand Duke Michael, the whole company took their places at the long conference table, covered with green cloth, which stood in the centre of the pillared hall. Deep, respectful silence still continued, until, at a sign from the President, State Secretary Witte, the chief of the ministerial council, turned to the Grand Dukes and began thus:—
“Your Imperial Highnesses and Gentlemen! Your Imperial Highness has summoned us to an urgent meeting, and has commissioned me to lay before you the reasons for, and the purpose of, our deliberations. We are all aware that His Majesty the Emperor, our gracious Lord and Master, has declared the preservation of the peace of the world to be the highest aim of his policy. The Christian idea that mankind should be ’one fold under one shepherd’ has, in the person of our illustrious ruler, found its first and principal representative here on earth. The league of universal peace is solely due to His Majesty, and if we are called upon to present to our gracious Lord and Master our humble proposals for combating the danger which immediately menaces our country, all our deliberations should be inspired by that spirit which animates the Christian law of brotherly love.”