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"Ice perfect, Paterson was in splendid form."

"And yourself?" ask Norah. "Oh, middling, middling!" said Sir Andrew, "not so well, but that I once came in for his frankest criticism—he said I was an idiot!"

"Tohk! tohk!" said Aunt Amelia, shocked, "if you will mix up with vulgar people!"

He laughed. "Vulgar! Dear aunt, there's nothing vulgar about Paterson-a delightful man, who is good enough to overlook my disadvantages in social intercourse as a landlord, and is even capable of most gentlemanly consideration. He leaves the best pools for us, keeps off the river when the fish turn red, and more than once you've had to thank him for a replenished larder."

"With Mr Beswick's pheasants," remarked Norah.

"Mr Beswick understands; I have made that right with him. I learned more woodcraft as a lad from Paterson than from all the gamekeepers. Our poacher's a survival of the antique world, and a sportsman; I never grudge him a dinner from the river or the wood; it's all he mulets me in. And he's a pretty curler."

"But he needn't be impertinent," said Miss Amelia. "You make far too free with him and his class."

"It wasn't a bit impertinent; the shot he criticised was stupid. I admire his frankness. The truth is always wholesome; I agree to-night with Emerson; -you remember, Norah, the man who omitted all commonplace and compliment in his

conversation spoke to the conscience of every person he encountered and that with great insight and beauty? He was mad, it is true, or at any rate they thought him so, but to stand in true relations with men in an age of polite dissimulation is worth a fit of lunacy. You always prefer to know the truth, don't you, Norah?" He looked at her quizzingly.

"Indeed, and I do nothing of the kind!" she answered promptly. "There's a great deal to be said for what we call politeness, even when it's dissimulation. The truths that hurt are the truths we know ourselves already."

"It's a point we must discuss on the return of Reginald," said the baronet agreeably. "A poet could illuminate the subject. I had the most interesting exposition of the thing to-night, when I met a lady who talked to me about myself with the frankness of a child. A most exhilarating experience!"

"It must have been if she told you all," said Norah, wondering. "Could she possibly be more frank than I?”

"She was," replied Sir Andrew cheerfully. "In you, even at your most outspoken moments, there is some reserve -I've lately noticed it,"-here Norah flushed uneasily. "My latest friend was as frank as Paterson, quite artless: downright, literal, explicit. She spoke to me of myself as if I as if I were a post



"You meet such dreadful

people," said Miss Amelia helplessly.

"Was she a lady?" asked his cousin.

He reflected for a moment, staring at the tablecloth. "Upon my word," said he, "I never thought of that. In any case I couldn't have told, for it was in the dark, and I couldn't see her jewellery," and Miss Amelia stared with open mouth at his criterion of judgment.

But Norah, who knew him better, smiled. "Do we know the daring creature?" she inquired.

He fixed his eyes on her, and chuckled slyly, then looked around the room inquiringly. "You ought to," he answered. "It was your visitor; I drove her from Duntryne."

"What is he saying, Norah?" asked Miss Amelia anxiously. "I wish you wouldn't mumble."

"You drove our visitor here?" said Norah with uplifted eyebrows.

"I had the honour," said Sir Andrew. "Where is she?"

"And she discussed yourself with you! What charming equanimity!"

"It's only fair to add that she was quite unconscious who I was," said the baronet; "I fear I owe her a most abject apology. Where is she? Who is she?"

"I fancy she's having supper with the housekeeper," said Norah quietly. "Aunty, your marvellous nephew's dinnerjacket wasn't meant for us; he expected to be dining with Miss Skene's companion."

(To be continued.)


NEARLY six years have now elapsed since, at the bidding of Lord Esher's Committee of Three, the Commander-in-Chief and the principal heads of branches in the War Office were dismissed from their posts to make way for an Army Council, the military members of which were chosen out from amongst their fellows chiefly on the grounds of their being understood to be uncontaminated by previous intimate relations with the system which had been so ruthlessly swept


at a

The organisation which was then torn up by the roots had been adjudged to have broken down in its conduct of a great war-of a war for which, mainly owing to the blighting control exercised by the Treasury, no adequate preparation had been made at the time when hostilities were becoming inevitable. The nation which had clamoured for a development of its fighting resources juncture when military events in South Africa were casting a shadow over the land, had learnt with some concern that a military policy aiming in that direction is not unlikely to swell the Army Estimates. A Royal Commission, invested with plenary powers and sitting solemnly in judgment, had disclosed certain grave imperfections in the administration of His Majesty's forces by the controlling authorities at Headquarters. Glib-tongued supporters of the Government of

the day had vied with each other in their endeavours to make merry over the War Minister's efforts to give the country what in its hour of tribulation it had insistently asked for. So that, when Mr Chamberlain's bold plunge into the waters of fiscal reform brought about a rearrangement of the Cabinet, it was not unnatural that the opportunity should be seized to transfer the portfolio of the Secretary of State for War into other hands, nor was it surprising that the new head of a great office which was in a measure in disgrace should have commenced his reign by effecting a drastic revolution in its organisation.

Whatever can be said against the Army Council system as a method of governing the national military forces, there can be no question but that some of the radical changes introduced into the War Office on the advice of the Esher Committee, contemporaneously with the setting up of that Council, were changes for the better. Long before the South African War, educated soldiers had begun to realise that the creation of a General Staff, designed more or less on the ordinary Continental model, had become an urgent necessity, and were already deploring the tendency of the staff of the day to devote so much attention to petty questions of administrative detail that its functions in connection

with the preparing of the the War Office Reconstitution troops for armed conflict had Committee as to the need for almost fallen into abeyance. instituting a General Staff, by It had transpired from the no means represented a new evidence given before the Elgin departure on the part of a Commission, that the objects consultative body appointed to for which an Intelligence De- make recommendations with repartment exists had been but gard to the amelioration of the imperfectly appreciated in the military machine. Some fifhighest places at the War teen years earlier, the HartingOffice at the stage when the ton Commission had pronounced nation's highly strained rela- itself decisively in favour of the tions with the Boer republics creation of a post analogous were nearing the breaking in many respects to that of point, and that, when a conflict a Chief of the General Staff, had become unavoidable, no having a department under organisation had been available him to deal especially with in Pall Mall capable of using operations problems. It is, to good purpose the very valu- moreover, interesting to note able information which the the fact that the Commission Intelligence Department had was unanimous on this point, managed to collect. It was with the single exception of said, and it was said truly, Sir H. Campbell - Bannerman, that the central administration and to recall the singular exof the military forces of the pression of views to which that Crown was fashioned as though statesman (who later on was the Army was intended for to be at the head of the peace instead of being intended Army) gave vent in his minute for war. So that the creation of dissent. of the General Staff by Mr Arnold Forster, which followed in due course upon the establishment of the Army Council system, although it did not of necessity form part of that system, in many respects constituted a step of far greater importance, in furtherance of military efficiency, than the substitution of a board consisting partly of soldiers and partly of civilians for the organisation under which the military side of the War Office looked up to an acknowledged soldier-chief, subordinate to the Secretary of State.

At the same time, it should be remembered that the enunciation of sound doctrines by

"It is true," he wrote, "that in Continental countries there exists such a department as is here described. But those countries differ fundamentally from Great Britain in of its government, as well as in the the constitution of their army and purposes for which it is maintained. They are constantly, and necessarily, concerned in watching the military conditions of their neighbours, in strength, and in planning possible detecting points of weakness and of operations in possible wars against them. But in this country there is in truth no reason for 'general military policy' in the larger and more

ambitious sense of the term."

That a War Office, deliberately placed for a period under the control of a man of affairs holding opinions so amazing, should have in some respects

failed a few years later in the to be preparation for war prosecution of military operations on a vast scale and under conditions of abnormal difficulty, is not perhaps much to be wondered at. The Hartington Commission had furthermore anticipated the Esher Committee in another of its pronouncements. For the Commission had declared that a system of decentralised responsibility was incompatible with the continuance of the office of Commander-in-Chief; and the writer, who was at that time employed in the War Office as a junior officer, has a vivid recollection of the consternation aroused within its portals by the appearance of the Commission's Report.

Nor was it only in respect to the question of the General Staff that the revolution in the details of War Office organisation, which synchronised with the establishment of the Army Council system, marked a step in advance. The entrusting of the actual supply of everything which an army requires, other than personnel, alike in peace and in war, whether it be remounts or transport or foodstuffs or war material, to one single department-that presided over by the Quartermaster-General-was an ad

mirable provision. It has worked extremely well in peace time, and there is every reason to anticipate that it will materially facilitate the labours of the administrative services in the field when next our troops embark upon active operations. It is true that in their desire to draw a hard and fast line between what they considered

and what they regarded as "administration," the Esher Committee made themselves responsible for certain anomalies-such, for instance, as the placing of the question of peace organisation mainly in the hands of the AdjutantGeneral's department instead of in those of the General Staff, But, upon the whole, the allocation of duties within the imposing structure in Whitehall at the present time is not ill conceived, and it is undoubtedly an improvement over that which held good at the beginning of 1904. It is important that this should be realised, because it is the case that many of the achievements of the War Office during the past six years, such as they are, can be traced rather to the fact that the functions of its varied subdivisions have been well thought out, than to the fact that its government is vested in a Council.

It must not be supposed that the new machinery worked smoothly from the start, nor must it be assumed that friotion does not even now from time to time develop itself at the bearings. the bearings. The instituting of the General Staff, the establishment of which on a firm basis three years ago is to be attributed rather to the determination of Mr Arnold Forster to carry out a most necessary reform and to the tact of his successor in cajoling the disinclined, than to special efforts on the part of the military members of the Army Council, past or present, was seriously retarded by prejudice within

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