AND 16 OTHER STORIES - online book

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

The Great Revolution in Pitcairn                 351
given great offices, and consequently would not consent to serve in the ranks; wherefore his standing army was at a standstill. The Marquis of Ararat, minister of the navy, made a similar complaint. He said he was will­ing to steer the whale-boat himself, but he must have somebody to man her.
The emperor did the best he could in the circum­stances : he took all the boys above the age of ten years away from their mothers, and pressed them into the army, thus constructing a corps of seventeen privates, officered by one lieutenant-general and two major-gen­erals. This pleased the minister of war, but procured the enmity of all the mothers in the land; for they said their precious ones must now find bloody graves in the fields of war, and he would be answerable for it. Some of the more heartbroken and unappeasable among them lay constantly in wait for the emperor and threw yams at him, unmindful of the bodyguard.
On account of the extreme scarcity of material, it was found necessary to require the Duke of Bethany, postmaster-general, to pull stroke-oar in the navy, and thus sit in the rear of a noble of lower degree, namely, Viscount Canaan, lord justice of the common pleas. This turned the Duke of Bethany into a tolerably open malcontent and a secret conspirator — a thing which the emperor foresaw, but could not help.
Things went from bad to worse. The emperor raised
Nancy Peters to the peerage on one day, and married
her the next, notwithstanding, for reasons of state, the
cabinet had strenuously advised him to marry Emme-
line, eldest daughter of the Archbishop of Bethlehem.
This caused trouble in a powerful quarter — the church.
The new empress secured the support and friendship of
two-thirds of the thirty-six grown women in the nation
by absorbing them into her court as maids of honor;
but this made deadly enemies of the remaining twelve. 23