Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/33
seemed to think it a real side-splitter to judge by the noise they made.
"Nice people," said Bram.
"You bet," spoke Mark emphatically, "and that's why I'll have a word or two with the War Office of this here realm before I quit. I have been thinking, you know. When we got through with the grub at General Versen's and retired to the smoking room, that Kaiser, in the meantime reinforced by a lot of his officers that came in for beer, pretzels and cigars—that Kaiser worked himself up into a fine frenzy about his U-boats. His Germania Shipyards at Kiel (they were really Krupps, but he was the principal stockholder) would turn out better and bigger U-boats, he said, than the French and English could ever hope to build. And when he had enough of them, with all the improvements science and technique could provide—then beware, proud Albion!
"Invasion was the least he threatened unless England helped him exterminate France.
"'It was the easiest thing in the world,' boasted William, 'a hundred U-boats operating against England, Scotland, and Ireland simultaneously could pull off the trick in a day or two.'"
Mark lit a fresh cigar, tilted his feet as high as the chiffonier allowed and developed what he was pleased to call his "strategy."
"You see," he said, "the waters 'round these islands are charted to the last half pint.