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fortunately not hit by any of the larger stones which were hurled at them, and reached the boat in safety. Had they failed to make good their escape, even if they had not been subjected to personal violence the consequences to men not exactly in the bloom of youth of passing a boisterous and rainy night exposed to an Atlantic storm might have had fatal consequences. As the fleet got out into the Atlantic the weather became clear and there was a bright moon. The manoeuvres that night were performed with lights out, but their interest was somewhat lessened by the clearness of the night. The majestic appearance, however, and ordered lines of the fleet made an impression which will not easily be effaced. The next morning we were far out in the Atlantic, and I then gained my first acquaintance with the working of the fleet at sea. It is always the custom of Lord Charles Beresford to entrust the charge of the fleet for manoeuvres in the forenoon to one of the admirals or captains under his command. On this occasion it was in the hands of Rear-Admiral Sir Percy Scott. I mention this fact as showing how unfounded were the insinuations that the personal relations between the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet and his subordinate in any way interfered, as far as Lord Charles Beresford was concerned, with the efficient training of the fleet. In the afternoon the Commander-in-Chief himself took control of the fleet, but each vessel was under the command of a lieutenant. The captain and the navigating officer in each case stood by him, but were forbidden to offer any help or assist him in the management of the ship, except in case of danger. The consequence of this method is that every captain has occasionally to command the whole fleet, and lieutenants acquire a sense of responsibility and learn how to manage a ship. Thus the fleet under Lord Charles Beresford has become what naval officers of high position have desired so long, a great school of strategy and tactics. A very interesting experience was also afforded by seeing what deadly work a fleet of destroyers could accomplish in a very short time among battleships. Fifteen destroyers, under Captain Cowan of the Sapphire, had been sent out some 500 miles in the Atlantic with instructions to find the battleships which were to be within a certain large area. One evening the whole fleet of the destroyers appeared on the horizon just out of range. They gradually closed in, and gathered round the battleships after dark. When they first
appeared the Commander-in-Chief had sent half the squadron away. About nine o'clock the destroyers closed in. The showing of a certain number of lights indicated the discharge of a torpedo. The destroyers had succeeded in coming so near the battleships that the torpedoes could not have missed, and in a very short time every man-o’-war in the division, with the single exception of the flagship, was put out of action. No doubt if it had been real war the Commander-in-Chief might have been able to resist the destroyers if he had called to his assistance the cruiser squadron, but the object lesson all the same was most interesting, as showing the helplessness of great battleships when exposed to an attack by destroyers resolutely driven home. The wide range of a battleship's gun is plainly of no great advantage in the dark or in a grey mist, those favourable opportunities of attack which an intelligent enemy will always seize. Wireless telegraphy was a matter to me of astonishment and interest. I was standing one day on the bridge next the Commander-in-Chief, and heard him give an order to the Vice-Admiral who was some three hundred miles away in the Atlantic, to be at a certain point at ten o'clock the next day. In an incredibly short space of time an answer came. The next morning to the very minute the Vice-Admiral and his ships were at the rendezvous. I had also one night a striking object lesson showing how a great fleet is controlled by night. The Commander-in-Chief had told me confidentially to be on the bridge shortly after midnight. I took the hint. The majestic fleet lay hidden in darkness. I might have been standing, for all evidence to the contrary, on board some lonely sentinel keeping watch in a desert sea. Suddenly Lord Charles Beresford appeared on the bridge. The order was given and the lights flashed] forth as if in response to a magic touch from the flagship. I saw the brilliant outline of that majestic fleet as it were “a city on the inconstant billows dancing.” Never shall I forget that swift and silent answer to the unspoken word of command, which proved how even in the darkness and dead vast and middle of the night every unit of the fleet was pulsating to a Common Centre. The scenery I had the privilege of contemplating was splendid beyond words. I doubt whether anyone who has not approached it from the sea can appreciate the beauties of the coast of Scotland. One evening the fleet steamed out from Invergordon in single line, miles of course in length, moving due east during WOL. XXV.-NO. 148, N.S. 31
a glorious sunset. It was a sight never to be forgotten, and would have been a splendid subject to inspire the genius of Turner. But I think that the most beautiful and striking spectacle of all was presented to my eyes as we were coming through the Pentland Firth into the North Sea. A black, inky cloud hung over Scotland. To the north the sky was cold and clear, while in the west the after-glow of the sunset made the firmament on the horizon appear like beaten gold. The fleet was in single line, and as one stood on the bridge of the Admiral's flagship the rearmost ships seemed to be emerging from that sea of gold, whilst in front, almost over the bow of the King Edward, was a most perfect double rainbow. Thus it seemed that we were entering the North Sea under a triumphal arch. Lord Charles Beresford, however, had his thoughts far from the beauties of this gorgeous scene. He was intent on the march of the fleet through that dangerous passage, for when at last the flagship had safely turned Duncansby Head he came to me on the bridge, and made the very confidential remark, ‘Now I don’t care two straws for any human being. A day or two afterwards we reached Queensferry. The place was to me interesting as the scene of the opening chapter in the ‘Antiquary,’ and I tried to find the site of the ‘laigh shop' where Mrs. Macleuchar ruled. My visit to the fleet terminated at Queensferry. I had enjoyed some weeks of quite novel experiences and had passed one of the most pleasant episodes of my life, having been treated by all the officers on board the King Edward, from the Chief of the Staff and the Flag-Captain to the youngest midshipman, with a kindness and consideration I shall never forget.
UNLESS one happens to be familiar with the neighbourhood, ‘Digby Buildings, Clock Street, Bloomsbury,” is an address difficult to find. In itself the word Bloomsbury is misleading, for, naturally, one would penetrate the numerous squares and streets of the district patronised by students and Americans seeing London ‘on the cheap.’ But Clock Street is not to be found in this semifashionable part; it is off Upper Wardle Street, and Upper Wardle Street leads to Tottenham Court Road. However, once in Upper Wardle Street it is not easy to pass Clock Street by unnoticed, for the County Council has painted the name in large white letters on the corner of Digby Buildings themselves, and when the street is found the Buildings are found also. There are in Clock Street a few old-fashioned houses, now let out in tenements, with wide steps leading to Adams-fronted doors, which steps accommodate the small fry of the Buildings. There are two or three blank-walled printing establishments; there is a small pickle factory, the fumes of whose vinegar flavour Clock Street by night and day; there is a catsmeat vendor—wholesale; a news-shop, whose sole ambition is to announce murders, executions, and general disasters in as attractive a manner as possible; an oilshop with a window full of bar soap and tinned salmon; and Digby Buildings, a yellow-bricked block, with a curling stone staircase opening to the street. Half way up the Building, at the end of a stone passage, a door, with “Miss S. Short” written with an amateur's attempt at printing, attracted the attention. Underneath the name was written “Typist,” and beneath that a small denizen of the Building had scratched the word “Stumpy.” Though there had evidently been some attempt to efface the epithet by scrubbing, success had not attended the effort; the letters were deeply scratched into the putty-coloured paint, and when the afternoon sun fell on the door ‘Stumpy” showed as boldly as the lady's name above it. It was not yet half-past seven and only the semblance of morning was coming through the fog-laden atmosphere. The paraffin lamp
in Sarah Short's room was not burning brightly; she had only filled it, not trimmed it, when she arose before six to work at the typewriter standing at the foot of the bed. Now she was bending over it, not for warmth, but to make sure that the words in the letter she had just read were really written, not a figment of her active brain.
She turned up the lamp and read again:
Miss Ellaline De Vere,
DEAR MADAM, We beg to inform you that the competition for ‘The best design for an evening gown,’ offered by us in ‘The Princess' of January 10, has been won by you. We have pleasure in telling you that, although the competition brought us in hundreds of designs, Madame Sylvestre, of Bond Street, to whom they were submitted, has pronounced in favour of the one you sent in. As you are aware, the prize is the winning design to be made to measure by Madame Sylvestre at a cost of not less than £25 and not exceeding £35. Madame Sylvestre will be pleased to see you at your earliest convenience. Enclosed order, signed by the editor, must be presented.—Yours truly, THE EDITor (pro).
Miss Short sat down on the edge of her bed and tittered; she could not laugh outright, the situation was too full of irony. “To cost not less than twenty-five pounds and not exceeding thirtyfive. Oh, my l’ she exclaimed aloud, and then, as there seemed nothing else to say, she repeated ‘Oh, my l’ But she fell to thinking. ‘If I could but have the money I could buy myself a good second-hand Remington, instead of paying five shillings a week for the hire of that old thing, and then have enough to get myself a new walking-out costume. But an evening gown Why was the competition for an evening dress : * The flush of victory, which for a moment had painted her cheeks, faded away, and the tears of disappointment trickled from her cheeks into the cup of unmixed cocoa she was holding.
At that moment Sarah Short, had she been asked to describe her costume, would have pronounced herself en déshabillé. Her skirt was hitched round her waist and held together by one hook and eye; over her stays and bodice she had pinned a shawl which, like the boy's almond-drop, ‘was pink once,’ but from many washings had taken a nondescript tone. The room was comfortles and untidy: a mixture of MSS. and meals lay on the table; bed. clothes hung half on and half off the bed; the ashes were piled high in an unlit fireplace. Providence had not been kind to the girl: she was short by stature as well as name—so short, indeed, that, when seated on the office stool she used when working the typewriter, she needed an upturned soap-box to rest her feet upon.