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|When the Sleeper Wakes||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
The Struggle In The Council House
|Page 3 of 8||
"White men must be mastered by white men. Besides--"
"The negroes are only an instrument."
"But that is not the question. I am the Master. I mean to be the Master. And I tell you these negroes shall not come."
"I believe in the people."
"Because you are an anachronism. You are a man out of the Past--an accident. You are Owner perhaps of half the property in the world. But you are not Master. You do not know enough to be Master."
He glanced at Lincoln again. "I know now what you think--I can guess something of what you mean to do. Even now it is not too late to warn you. You
dream of human equality--of a socialistic order--you have all those worn-out dreams of the nineteenth century fresh and vivid in your mind, and you would rule this age that you do not understand."
"Listen! " said Graham. "You can hear it--a sound like the sea. Not voices--but a voice. Do you altogether understand?"
"We taught them that," said Ostrog.
" Perhaps. Can you teach them to forget it? But enough of this! These negroes must not come."
There was a pause and Ostrog looked him in the eyes.
"They will," he said.
"I forbid it," said Graham.
"They have started."
"I will not have it."
"No," said Ostrog. "Sorry as I am to follow the method of the Council--. For your own good--you must not side with disorder. And now that you are here--. It was kind of you to come here."
Lincoln laid his hand on Graham's shoulder. Abruptly Graham realized the enormity of his blunder in coming to the Council House. He turned towards the curtains that separated the hall from the antechamber. The clutching hand of Asano intervened. In another moment Lincoln had grasped Graham's cloak.
He turned and struck at Lincoln's face, and incontinently a negro had him by collar and arm. He wrenched himself away, his sleeve tore noisily, and he stumbled back, to be tripped by the other attendant. Then he struck the ground heavily and he was staring at the distant ceiling of the hall.
He shouted, rolled over, struggling fiercely, clutched an attendant's leg and threw him headlong, and struggled to his feet.
Lincoln appeared before him, went down heavily again with a blow under the point of the jaw and lay still. Graham made two strides, stumbled. And then Ostrog's arm was round his neck, he was pulled over backward, fell heavily, and his arms were pinned to the ground. After a few violent efforts he ceased to struggle and lay staring at Ostrog's heaving throat.
"You--are--a prisoner," panted Ostrog, exulting. "You--were rather a fool--to come back."
Graham turned his head about and perceived through the irregular green window in the walls of the hall the men who had been working the building cranes gesticulating excitedly to the people below them. They had seen!
Ostrog followed his eyes and started. He shouted something to Lincoln, but Lincoln did not move. A bullet smashed among the mouldings above the Atlas The two sheets of transparent matter that had been stretched across this gap were rent, the edges of the torn aperture darkened, curved, ran rapidly towards the framework, and in a moment the Council chamber stood open to the air. A chilly gust blew in by the gap, bringing with it a war of voices from the ruinous spaces without, an elvish babblement, "Save the Master!" "What are they doing to the Master?" "The Master is betrayed! "
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|When the Sleeper Wakes
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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