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to a great extent displace the gun country:"2 and he appears to think in naval warfare." 1

that the assurance that they will The opinions of these officers be “equal or superior to any ship deserve all due consideration, and of the French navy” is sufficient if they are sound, we are clearly reason for building them. Is it wasting money in building expen- not natural that this determinasive ironclads, at least of anything tion not to be outdone in worthlike the present types. I do not less (?) vessels by a foreign Power think that they are generally ac- is looked upon in many quarters cepted; but they are founded on such damning with faint tactical considerations, and if they praise" as is intended to condemn are to be combated successfully, them? That this was not meant they must be met by similar argu- we may feel sure from Lord Ripon's ments founded on views of naval plain statement in the House of warfare. The argument most often Lords that their construction was heard in answer is now simply a to be continued, and Mr Hibbert's conservative one — much as fol- resistance to Mr Shaw Lefevre's lows: “Very likely you are right motion ; but when the premisses of about the future; but as long as the opponents of the big ships are other countries are building big thus practically admitted, it is difships we must not be behindhand; ficult to deny their conclusions. so we are laying down or complet- If it can “safely" be foreseen that ing such-and-such vessels"--which the Nile and Trafalgar will be sounds much like saying, “We the last of the ironclads, it may have no shipbuilding policy of our safely be said that they ought not own, and it is not a subject which to be built. Even so high an auwe care to study. We are content thority as Admiral Sir Cooper Key, to follow other countries, and to while he strongly supported the continue in our old groove until a building of the Nile and Trarevolution in naval warfare is upon falgar, says, when they are comus, when we shall of course accept pleted we can be “content to the altered conditions, and act ac- turn our attention to the construccordingly." This is little more tion of fast unarmoured cruisers; than blind conservatism and re- and adds, “these will, in my sistance to change; yet it would opinion, form the fleets of the seem as if some such views had future." From a subsequent letbeen forced upon Mr Hibbert, who ter of Sir Cooper Key's, it appears in moving the Navy Estimates this that this opinion was rather hypoyear, after describing the new iron- thetical than actual; but it is cerclads Nile and Trafalgar, laid tain that those who believe that down last year, estimated to cost the ironclad is doomed will quote, over £914,000 each-a price which as they have already quoted, Sir Mr Hibbert is “almost afraid to Cooper as a convert to their mention”-adds: “I may safe- opinions. ly say that these two large iron- From the above opinions of high clads will probably be the last authorities, the position of the ironclads of this type that will building of the Nile and Trafalgar ever be built in this or any other has been almost brought to an

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1 "Times' report of debate in House of Commons, March 16, 1886.
s • Times,' March 19, 1886.

impasse from which there is no boats, which was intended to intereasy escape dialectically; but still cept Admiral Lafont's ironclad they are building, and are now squadron on its passage through well advanced, and I may point the Balearic Isles, failed to do so, out that at various periods, as no- many mishaps occurring to the tably both before and after the In- torpedo-boats, and that they could flexible was built, we have held not even keep pace with the ironour hands in doubt as to the pro- clads, although they were only per type of a fighting ship—this steaming 11.5 knots; while in an period of doubt and hesitation attack on a squadron at anchor at having been followed by a scare Ajaccio, only ten days after leaving as to our weakness, and perhaps Toulon with twenty torpedo-boats, hasty following of foreign types. Admiral Brown de Colstoun could

It is certain that we cannot only muster five fit for service, the afford to stand still and wait for attack naturally ending in failure. something to turn up. We must It is worthy of remark that these have the courage of our opinions; experiments took place in fine and if, as I believe, big ships will weather in the Mediterranean, always continue to be necessary, under circumstances specially faI trust that the knowledge and vourable for torpedo-boats. ability of the able men in charge I have quoted fairly and fully of the constructive department of the views of those who are disthe Admiralty will be allowed fair tinctly of opinion that the days of scope to give us the best types ironclads are numbered ; but I do which may approve themselves to not think that they can be supported their minds at the present or at by a large view of the requirements any future time. That the tacti- of a great naval Power. That this cal views of naval officers should is the view held by the majority of have full weight in such designs those best entitled to judge, I also I began this article by saying, and believe. Foreign opinion I have this view has been pressed strongly before referred to; and I believe by Sir Edward Reed and other that there, too, it is decided that authorities.

the big gun and the big ship must The elaborate manoeuvres of the maintain its position. I have French squadron in the Mediter- broken a lance in favour of the ranean, carried out by the orders of big armed ship or ironclad, while Admiral Aube in May and June I have not entered into the vexed last, intended to test the value of questions of how much armour torpedo-boats, although too long should be carried, or how it should to refer to fully, are well worth be distributed; nor do I mean to alluding to. The reports of the contend that all battle-ships should admirals in command have not be of enormous size and cost. The been published, though doubtless majority should, on the contrary, our Admiralty have confidential in- be, I hold, of moderate size, formation on the subject. It is ships like the Nile and Trafalgar certain that the French officers and being the 3-deckers of the feet, men are by no means as enthusi- the others representing the 74's. astic advocates of torpedo-boats It has not been necessary here and torpedo tactics as they were to point to the additional means

of defence, through quick-firing The French papers say that a and machine guns, nets, and other flotilla of twelve first-class torpedo- devices, which have strengthened

a year since.

the power of big ships against tor- sums up the argument in favour pedo-boats.

of big ships in the following terms. The latter are, I hold, simply He speaks of shipbuilding “ fads," destructive weapons intended to and “doubts whether the torpedo attack an enemy under favourable can do much harm to a well-bulkcircumstances—their advocates al- headed ship," and adds:ways assuming that they will make at least as much use of their heels

“Not only in Parliament, but in as of their powers of offence; and I technical congresses, discussions go hold strongly that no naval Power on as to whether it is better to build can rest on similar Parthian tactics. one unamoured vessel or half-a-dozen

The pecuniary argument I have torpedo-vessels. The side in favour already referred to as inapplicable; since the larger vessel costs in pounds

of the small fry is especially 'taking' but the argument that, because an what the others cost in shillings, or ironclad may be destroyed by a even in pence. torpedo boat, therefore any num- · But, somehow or other, these genber of torpedo boats can take the tlemen seem always to forget that the place of the former, is almost ludi- torpedo-boat is worth nothing except crous. Yet this is apparently the against a ship. It cannot carry troops view of even so experienced an offi- past batteries, it cannot fight forts, cer as Admiral Arthur, though it time; and if it costs less, its lifetime

nor can it keep the sea for a long has been left to a French writer to is out of all proportion less than that push it to its logical conclusions.

of the ship." To me it appears equivalent to arguing that a Cæsar or a Nelson I do not myself shrink from could be replaced by the dagger or endorsing this opinion, by saying the bullet which sufficed to put an that I believe that the big ships, end to their existence, and to be earrying big guns, will continue to utterly untenable.

represent maritime power, when Our American friends are the the small “ torpilleur autonome,” only people who, as lookers-on at which is supposed to have sounded the naval war-game now played by the knell of their existence, shall the maritime Powers of Europe, have grown into the substantial are qualified to act as impartial torpedo-cruiser, differing mainly critics; and I conclude accordingly from our present cruisers in relywith an extract from Commander ing more upon her speed and her Bainbridge Hoff's lecture, to which torpedoes than upon her gunI have before referred, and which power.



you not ?"


The business which Bob had “ A French girl?" insisted that I should lose no time “ A French girl.” in settling was effectually disposed "Well, I never !” of in a very few minutes; for, “ So it is; and, Bob, when the hearing from him on arrival at day comes, you will be my best the

Office, the day after man, will the events recorded in the last “ Best inan,” said Bob, “ often chapter, that a vacancy had sud- means greatest fool. I am not denly occurred at some place in sure I care to be the latter." China, and that he had considered • Never mind what you are, or it a wonderful piece of luck for will be, or may be,” I said; “be me, inasmuch as if I had volun- what I want you to be, and I can teered to go to that out-of-the-way say this much, no man will have country, it might advance my pro- ever had a chance of seeing his motion in the service, and at any friend married to so lovely a girl.” rate ensure my going through a “I never knew French girls disagreeable nécessity before I was were lovely," provokingly remarked

” too old to bear it with equanimity, Bob. -I thanked him for his very friend- “ Be my best man, and you will ly consideration, but stubbornly re- be able to judge for yourself,” I fused to be removed from Paris, said. which was to me a paradise, on “So you give up China,” conany consideration — least of all, tinued Bob, while docketing some through any effort of mine.

silly despatch, and preparing it Bob laughed, and exclaimed, for those Office pigeon-holes, “Out with it, old fellow! What's which contain more wisdom and the attraction?"

trash combined than any other " Wait and you will see.”' official department in the country. " Is she then coming over ?" “I do." “ It might be the other way.” “ For the purpose of marrying a

“ If you mean,” said Bob, “that French girl?” I am going to cross the Channel

6. Yes." to see your latest admiration, you “By the way, when is the marare greatly mistaken. I should riage to take place?” have something to do were I to " That is not fixed." travel to and fro each time you " There is a hitch, is there ?" had fallen in love."


like to call it so." “But it is serious this time,” “Well,” said Bob, somewhat I said, with just a slight accent of sententiously, “a hitch is a hitch pain in my voice, which struck in England, whatever it may be in Bob.

France." " You do not mean it,” he said. I was irritated and annoyed that "I do."

he should not have jumped at the • But surely you are not think- prospect of being my best man, ing of marrying?"

thinking all the while of the enor“I am."

mous favour I was conferring on


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my friend in asking him to stand while putting on his hat rather at my side when the girl I loved snappishly replied, “Of course I put her hand into mine, and he will, if you wish it,” and asking would have a right to look upon me whether I was not going his himself as having contributed to way, without waiting for a reply, our joy, our happiness, our union. walked out.

Bob either did not see it in this I followed him, and having gone light, or was slow to perceive any together as far as Pall Mall, we particular advantage in acceding parted. to my wishes. He therefore lit I felt as if I had done wonders a cigarette, and, having done so, towards the advancement of my turned the conversation by asking marriage with Diane. I had seme how long I would remain in cured myself against promotion, town.

and therefore displacement, and I “Let us do a theatre together," had a best man ready to give me he said, “ and dine at the St. James's away to a girl who could not be Club, where just at present there mine just yet because of a terrible is a very decent cook."

hitch, as Bob called it-viz., be“ My dear Bob,” I said, “I want, cause she herself was being given no dinner, I will not go to the away by her father to another man. play, and I require an answer to The idea, horrible as it was, filled my question.

me with no concern whatever. I “ But there is a hitch," he said ; had such faith in Diane's love and time enough when that is ar- loyalty, such implicit confidence ranged to give you

in the strength of

our mutual By the way, what is the nature understanding, that my refusing of the hitch?"

promotion, so as not to be away " I cannot tell you."

from where she lived, appeared to Say you will not tell.”

me only natural ; while, if there “I had rather not."

was a little self-sacrifice in .it, I “Does the lady care for some was the better pleased for being one else?"

permitted to lay it at the shrine "No,"

of my divinity. On the other one else care for hand, I derived immense consolaher?"

tion from Bob's acceptance; and “Everybody must care for her it seemed to me as if it were a who knows her.” This seemed to good omen that I should have me the most dexterous inanner of secured so important an element avoiding the question.

in the marriage ceremony on my “ Is it about settlements ?" first day away from that Paris "No."

which held all I cared for in “Then I give it up,” said Bob; life. “and now I am off to Hyde Park Nothing of any consequence ocfor a whiff of air. This place is curred for some days; but when stuffy to a degree, and I shall die at the end of a week I was beginif I remain here another minute." ning to wonder why Madame de

“ Bob,” I said, “ be serious: Chantalis had not written, I found promise me what I ask. It will three letters at the Club, all in give me a little comfort, and I different handwritings, easily reneed it.''

cognisable, however, and all three The kind-hearted Bob noted the bearing the Paris post-mark. earnest tone of my request, and The first I opened was the one

" Or some

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