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Tales of All Countries--1st Series, 1861 \ 1830 0 0

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'I must confess to having entertained my suspicions of Miss Spenlow, in reference to David Copperfield, for some time. I observed Miss Spenlow and David Copperfield, when they first met; and the impression made upon me then was not agreeable. The depravity of the human heart is such -' In my memory of those days the sun is always shining and the willows dip into water as limpid clear as the sky. Swans ride in the shadows of the poplars, and swallows dip and skim as the Thames slips down from Queens Eyot, past Boveney Lock and Coocoo Weir, where we used to bathe, and on down the long stretch through Brocas meadows toward Windsor Bridge. It surely must have rained, there must have been noisy holiday-makers crowding our river, there must have been clouds in our private skies, but if there were I can't remember them. The weeks slipped by like the river, sparkling, luminous, full of enchantment. "Passport details. American citizen. 27. Born San Francisco. Blonde. Blue eyes. Height 5 ft 6 in. Profession: single woman. Been over here a dozen times in the last three years. May have been more often under a different name. Always stays at the Trafalgar Palace. The hotel detective says she doesn't seem to go out much. Few visitors. Never stays more than two weeks. Never gives any trouble. That's all. Don't forget that when you meet her you'll have to have a good story yourself. Why you're doing the job and so on."

In November, 1861, occurred an incident which for a time threatened a very grave international complication, a complication that would, if unwisely handled, have determined the fate of the Republic. Early in the year, the Confederate government had sent certain representatives across the Atlantic to do what might be practicable to enlist the sympathies of European governments, or of individuals in these governments, to make a market for the Confederate cotton bonds, to arrange for the purchase of supplies for the army and navy, and to secure the circulation of documents presenting the case of the South. Mr. Yancey of Mississippi was the best-known of this first group of emissaries. With him was associated Judge Mann of Virginia and it was Mann who in November, 1861, was in charge of the London office of the Confederacy. In this month, Mr. Davis appointed as successor to Mann, Mr. Mason of Virginia, to whom was given a more formal authorisation of action. At the same time, Judge Slidell of Louisiana was appointed as the representative to France. Mason and Slidell made their way to Jamaica and sailed from Jamaica to Liverpool in the British mail steamer Trent. Captain Charles Wilkes, in the United States frigate San Jacinto, had been watching the West Indies waters with reference to blockade runners and to Wilkes came knowledge of the voyage of the two emissaries. Wilkes took the responsibility of stopping the Trent when she was a hundred miles or more out of Kingston and of taking from her as prisoners the two commissioners. The commissioners were brought to Boston and were there kept under arrest awaiting the decision from Washington as to their status. This stopping on the high seas of a British steamer brought out a great flood of indignation in Great Britain. It gave to Palmerston and Russell, who were at that time in charge of the government, the opportunity for which they had been looking to place on the side of the Confederacy the weight of the influence of Great Britain. It strengthened the hopes of Louis Napoleon for carrying out, in conjunction with Great Britain, a scheme that he had formulated under which France was to secure a western empire in Mexico, leaving England to do what she might find convenient in the adjustment of the affairs of the so-called United States.

Bond felt the car surge forward. Ernie Cureo was half lying along the front seat, driving with one hand and with his eyes watching the road ahead from just above the dash.

How can this be? It cannot! Yet I have seen it happen. I have watched those two divergent futures. I have lived through them. In any world, as on our planet, it needs must happen, when the will for the light and the will for the darkness are so delicately balanced in the ordinary half-lucid spirits of the world that neither can for long prevail over the other. Out of their age-long stress and fluctuating battle must spring at last a thing seemingly impossible, seemingly irrational, something wore stupendously miraculous than any orthodox miracle. For how can time itself be divided into two streams? And if our planet has two futures, which of them has place in the future of the solar system, and what of the other? Or does man’s vacillation create not only two future Earths but two future universes of stars and galaxies?

This fight for freedom in Kansas gave a further basis for Lincoln's statement "that a house divided against itself cannot stand; this government cannot endure half slave and half free." It was with this statement as his starting-point that Lincoln entered into his famous Senatorial campaign with Douglas. Douglas had already represented Illinois in the Senate for two terms and had, therefore, the advantage of possession and of a substantial control of the machinery of the State. He had the repute at the time of being the leading political debater in the country. He was shrewd, forcible, courageous, and, in the matter of convictions, unprincipled. He knew admirably how to cater to the prejudices of the masses. His career thus far had been one of unbroken success. His Senatorial fight was, in his hope and expectation, to be but a step towards the Presidency. The Democratic party, with an absolute control south of Mason and Dixon's Line and with a very substantial support in the Northern States, was in a position, if unbroken, to control with practical certainty the Presidential election of 1860. Douglas seemed to be the natural leader of the party. It was necessary for him, however, while retaining the support of the Democrats of the North, to make clear to those of the South that his influence would work for the maintenance and for the extension of slavery.