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When the Sleeper Wakes H. G. [Herbert George] Wells


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"Very little," said Graham.

"It is like this." Ostrog walked a pace or two into the room and turned. "You are absolute owner," he said, "of more than half the world. As a result of that you are practically King. Your powers are limited in many intricate ways, but you are the figure head, the popular symbol of government. This White Council, the Council of Trustees as it is called "

"I have heard the vague outline of these things."

"I wondered."

"I came upon a garrulous old man."

"I see . . . Our masses--the word comes from your days--you know of course, that we still have masses--regard you as our actual ruler. Just as a great number of people in your days regarded the Crown as the ruler. They are discontented--the masses all over the earth--with the rule of your Trustees. For the most part it is the old discontent, the old quarrel of the common man with his commonness--the misery of work and discipline and unfitness. But your Trustees have ruled ill. In certain matters, in the administration of the Labour Companies, for example, they have been unwise. They have given endless opportunities. Already we of the popular party were agitating for reforms--when your waking came. Came! If it had been contrived it could not have come more opportunity." He smiled. "The public mind, making no allowance for your years of quiescence, had already hit on the thought of waking you and appealing to you, and--Flash!"

He indicated the outbreak by a gesture, and Graham moved his head to show that he understood.

"The Council muddled--quarreled. They always do. They could not decide what to do with you. You know how they imprisoned you?"

"I see. I see. And now--we win?"

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"We win. Indeed we win. Tonight, in five swift hours. Suddenly we struck everywhere. The windvane people, the Labour Company and its millions, burst the bonds. We got the pull of the aeropiles."

He paused. "Yes," said Graham, guessing that aeropile meant flying machine.

"That was, of course, essential. Or they could have got away. All the city rose, every third man almost was in it! All the blue, all the public services, save only just a few aeronauts and about half the red police. You were rescued, and their own police of the Ways--not half of them could be massed at the Council House--have been broken up, disarmed or killed. All London is ours--now. Only the Council House remains.

"Half of those who remain to them of the red police were lost in that foolish attempt to recapture you. They lost their heads when they lost you. They flung all they had at the theatre. We cut them off from the Council House there. Truly tonight has been a night of victory. Everywhere your star has blazed. A day ago--the White Council ruled as it has ruled for a gross of years, for a century and a half of years, and then, with only a little whispering, a covert arming here and there, suddenly--So!"

"I am very ignorant," said Graham. "I suppose--. I do not clearly understand the conditions of this fighting. If you could explain. Where is the Council? Where is the fight? "

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When the Sleeper Wakes
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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