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war, at most, two years to run and capitalized our profits with the rest of the Street.
The demand for ships of wood and iron, for copper, steel, dyes, and machinery was beyond anything hitherto known or imagined. To own a steamboat or a foundry was to be a millionaire. One of our clients had a steel-rolling mill out in Ohio and another in New Jersey. He wanted to get hold of half a dozen more and have a merger. Nothing loath, I undertook the job. For five months I slaved day and night, sleeping most of the time on trains, paying no attention to what I ate, my mind concentrated upon a single object-to float the Phoenicia Steel Company. The papers were just ready to be signed when the leak” nearly wrecked the whole enterprise. For two days it looked as though my merger would never merge, as though my eggs would never scramble; and then, the excitement having subsided, the respective treasurers affixed their signatures to the necessary documents, shook hands with one another, and it was done.
That afternoon I sat limp in a leather armchair in Frank Brewer's office and heard my doom from the stern lips of New York's leading nerve specialist.
“Stanton,” he exclaimed impatiently, “you've just missed a complete breakdown! Twenty-four hours more and I'd have had to order you to a sanatorium. You've got to quit right here and now, give up your
business entirely and go away for a year. No; don't
I did as I was told, including the champagne.
“It's all fixed !” said Morris gently. “I've told Helen she must get ready to leave New York on Saturday.”
“But—" I protested dizzily. “There's Margery.”
“Ought to be glad to get her out of New York !” snapped Brewer. “No eighteen-year-old girl has any business here!”
"And she says she's crazy to go to Japan!” added Lord with a grin.
“And, by the way," continued my brother-in-law, “Tom Blanchard happened to be in the office when Brewer telephoned this afternoon, and he said he wasn't going back to his place in Hawaii again this year, and that he'd be glad to have you go there and stay—all of you-as long as you want. It's a sugarplantation, you know-smiling, brown-skinned na
tives, hammocks, hula-hula girls, and all that sort of thing !"
“Yes," I nodded. "'On the Beach at Waikiki'-I know! You fellows seem to have mapped out my whole future life for me. Well, if you've squared it with Helen and got her to agree to separate her subdébutante daughter from the follies of 1916, I'll go you—to Japan or Java or Jerusalem, for as long as you say, and a day longer !"
And so I went.
My wife, Helen, my daughter, Margery, and I sailed on the Canadian Pacific Steamship Empress of China on December 19, 1916, for the Far East, where our travels, our impressions, and our adventures have nothing whatever to do with the purposes of this narrative.
On the steamer the Canadians and English aboard would have nothing to do with us. Even in the usually friendly atmosphere of the smoking-room I was left to myself, except for a couple of compatriots who agreed with me that American stock with the Allies had gone down badly. Indeed, certain passengers, especially the Canadians, took pains to air their uncomplimentary views of the people of the United States in tones obviously intended to be overheard. Altogether, I was glad when we got to Yokohama, and so far as Japan was concerned, I observed personally none of the popular hostility to things American I had been led to believe existed there from my reading of newspapers and magazines in the United States.
After two delightful weeks we took ship from Nagasaki for Manila, where I chartered a government revenue steamer and cruised for six weeks more in the archipelago, visiting some islands where the natives had never before seen an American or even a white man, though owing allegiance to the United States. It was the trip of my life, and, in addition to the small arsenal of head-axes and war-knives lying at the other end of the table upon which I am writing, I carried away with me the emblem of the Sacred Turtle tattooed upon my tummy-which proves, to those who know, that I am blood brother of José Aguinaldo Péjaros and a subchieftain of a tribe with an unpronounceable name, whose members for ugliness leave nothing to be desired.
During this period we received no mail and saw no newspapers, these last, before we left, having been pronounced anathema by Brewer.
“Whatever you do, don't look at a paper for three months !” he had ordered; and I had humbly promised to obey. Indeed, it was no burden to carry out his injunction. I could not have done otherwise there were no papers to read. In Manila, of course, we had been in touch for about forty-eight hours with our native land, long enough to bring our war news roughly up to date and to glance over President Wilson's Message of January 22d. As for our going into the war, the idea seemed to me at that time utterly preposterous. I hadn't believed that anything could drive us in, or that, even if we went in, anything would come of it. In Japan, Manila, and Honolulu it seemed to be assumed that there was no real intention on the part of our government to do more than make enough of a demonstration to save the national face.
I confess that, so far as I was concerned, there wasn't any national face left. To my mind, the President had been stalling from the outset. The “Peace Without Victory” speech, which we got, as I have said, at Manila, finished it for me. It was all very noble, very magnanimous, very benign, and very highfalutin, I thought. We were just fixing things up so as to be on the right side of everybody after the war was over. Mr. Wilson had said: “Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory, upon which terms of peace would rest-not permanently, but only as upon quicksand.” Fine, I said, if we were dealing with a government