THE SECRET OF THE LEAGUE
The Story of a Social War
By ERNEST BRAMAH
She began to unbuckle the frozen straps of his gear.
CHAPTER I. Irene
CHAPTER II. The Period, and the Coming of Wings
CHAPTER III. The Million to One Chance
CHAPTER IV. The Compact
CHAPTER V. The Downtrodden
CHAPTER VI. Miss Lisle tells a Long Pointless Story
CHAPTER VII. "Schedule B"
CHAPTER VIII. Tantroy earns his Wage
CHAPTER IX. Secret History
CHAPTER X. The Order of St. Martin of Tours
CHAPTER XI. Man between Two Masters
CHAPTER XII. By Telescribe
CHAPTER XIII. The Effect of the Bomb
CHAPTER XIV. The Last Chance and the Counsel of Expedience
CHAPTER XV. The Great Fiasco
CHAPTER XVI. The Dark Winter
CHAPTER XVII. The Incident of the 13th of January
CHAPTER XVIII. The Music and the Dance
CHAPTER XIX. The "Finis" Message
CHAPTER XX. Stobalt of Salaveira
CHAPTER XXI. The Bargain of Famine
CHAPTER XXII. "Poor England"
THE SECRET OF THE LEAGUE.
"I suppose I am old-fashioned"—there was a murmur of polite dissent from all the ladies present, except the one addressed—"Oh, I take it as a compliment nowadays, I assure you; but when I was a girl a young lady would have no more thought of flying than of"—she paused almost on a note of pained surprise at finding the familiar comparison of a lifetime cut off—"well, of standing on her head."
"No," replied the young lady in point, with the unfeeling candour that marked the youthful spirit of the age, "because it wasn't invented. But you went bicycling, and your mothers were very shocked at first."
"I hardly think that you can say that, Miss Lisle," remarked another of the matrons, "because I can remember that more than twenty years ago one used to see quite elderly ladies bicycling."
"After the others had lived all the ridicule down," retorted Miss Lisle scornfully. "Oh yes; I quite expect that in a few more years you will see quite elderly ladies flying."
The little party of matrons seated on the Hastings promenade regarded each other surreptitiously, and one or two smiled slightly, while one or two shuddered slightly. "Flying is very different, dear," said Mrs Lisle reprovingly. "I often think of what your dear grandfather used to say. He said"—impressively—"that if the Almighty had intended that we should fly, He would have sent us into the world with wings upon our backs."
There was a murmur of approval from all—all except Miss Lisle, that is.
"But do you ever think of what Geoffrey replied to dear grandpapa when he heard him say that once, mother?" said the unimpressed daughter. "He said: 'And don't you think, sir, that if the Almighty had intended us to use railways, He would have sent us into the world with wheels upon our feet?'"
"I do not see any connection at all between the two things," replied her mother distantly. "And such a remark seems to me to be simply irreverent. Birds are born with wings, and insects, and so on, but nothing, as far as I am aware, is born with wheels. Your grandfather used to travel by the South Eastern regularly every day, or how could he have reached his office? and he never saw anything wrong in using trains, I am sure. In fact, when you think of it you will see that what Geoffrey said, instead of being any argument, was supremely silly."
"Perhaps he intended it to be," replied Miss Lisle with suspicious meekness. "You