"Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la n�tre.... Voila toute la diff�rence."Toward the end of the year 1920 the Government of the United States had practically completedthe programme, adopted during the last months of President Winthrop's administration. Thecountry was apparently tranquil. Everybody knows how the Tariff and Labour questions weresettled. The war with Germany, incident on that country's seizure of the Samoan Islands, had left novisible scars upon the republic, and the temporary ...
"Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la n�tre.... Voila toute la diff�rence."Toward the end of the year 1920 the Government of the United States had practically completedthe programme, adopted during the last months of President Winthrop's administration. Thecountry was apparently tranquil. Everybody knows how the Tariff and Labour questions weresettled. The war with Germany, incident on that country's seizure of the Samoan Islands, had left novisible scars upon the republic, and the temporary occupation of Norfolk by the invading army hadbeen forgotten in the joy over repeated naval victories, and the subsequent ridiculous plight ofGeneral Von Gartenlaube's forces in the State of New Jersey. The Cuban and Hawaiian investmentshad paid one hundred per cent and the territory of Samoa was well worth its cost as a coalingstation. The country was in a superb state of defence. Every coast city had been well supplied withland fortifications; the army under the parental eye of the General Staff, organized according to thePrussian system, had been increased to 300,000 men, with a territorial reserve of a million; and sixmagnificent squadrons of cruisers and battle-ships patrolled the six stations of the navigable seas, leaving a steam reserve amply fitted to control home waters. The gentlemen from the West had atlast been constrained to acknowledge that a college for the training of diplomats was as necessary aslaw schools are for the training of barristers; consequently we were no longer represented abroad byincompetent patriots. The nation was prosperous; Chicago, for a moment paralyzed after a secondgreat fire, had risen from its ruins, white and imperial, and more beautiful than the white city whichhad been built for its plaything in 1893. Everywhere good architecture was replacing bad, and evenin New York, a sudden craving for decency had swept away a great portion of the existing horrors.Streets had been widened, properly paved and lighted, trees had been planted, squares laid out, elevated structures demolished and underground roads built to replace them. The new governmentbuildings and barracks were fine bits of architecture, and the long system of stone quays whichcompletely surrounded the island had been turned into parks which proved a god-send to thepopulation. The subsidizing of the state theatre and state opera brought its own reward. The UnitedStates National Academy of Design was much like European institutions of the same kind. Nobodyenvied the Secretary of Fine Arts, either his cabinet position or his portfolio. The Secretary ofForestry and Game Preservation had a much easier time, thanks to the new system of NationalMounted Police. We had profited well by the latest treaties with France and England; the exclusionof foreign-born Jews as a measure of self-preservation, the settlement of the new independent negrostate of Suanee, the checking of immigration, the new laws concerning naturalization, and thegradual centralization of power in the executive all contributed to national calm and prosperity.When the Government solved the Indian problem and squadrons of Indian cavalry scouts in nativecostume were substituted for the pitiable organizations tacked on to the tail of skeletonizedregiments by a former Secretary of War, the nation drew a long sigh of relief. When, after thecolossal Congress of Religions, bigotry and intolerance were laid in their graves and kindness andcharity began to draw warring sects together, many thought the millennium had arrived, at least inthe new world which after all is a world by itself.But self-preservation is the first law, and the United States had to look on in helpless sorrow asGermany, Italy, Spain and Belgium writhed in the throes of Anarchy, while Russia, watching fromthe Caucasus, stooped and bound them one by one.
This was really the seminal example of what came to be known as supernatural thrillers or esoteric fiction. But its elegant style and understated weirdness has never been done better. Lovecraft is the lovechild of Chambers. Who or what is the King in Yellow will only be answered when he is unmasked by future refugees from the reality studio.
May 17, 2007
Weird & Chilling Classic
For fans of Lovecraft, Machen, Bloch and other masters of weird fiction. A classic.
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