Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/141

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135
THE PERIL OF DELUDING THE PUBLIC

was under discussion, and our many chats brought us on very friendly terms. Well, about the last week of the Emperor's visit, the Earl of Lonsdale arranged a drive for the Emperor and the house-party for the purpose of letting them see the English Lake District. The route lay via Patterdale, Windermere, Thirlmere, then on to Keswick, from there by train to Penrith, and again drive the three or four miles back to Lowther Castle.

"It must be remembered that, the Emperor's visit being a private one, military displays would be out of place, but on the day of the above-mentioned drive a telegram was received from the officer in command of the Penrith Volunteers asking if permission could be granted for the volunteers to mount a guard of honour at the station on the arrival of the Emperor's train at Penrith. Now, as I was going up home to the 'Forge' I met my father coming to Keswick, and as he seemed out of wind, I undertook to take his message, which was the reply to the above 'wire.' The text of the answer only contained two words, which were to the point: 'Certainly not,' and signed by the commanding officer at headquarters. When I got within half a mile of Keswick I was overtaken by my foreign acquaintance, who was on a bicycle, and on his asking me why I was hurrying, I told him I had a rather urgent 'wire' to send. He kindly undertook to have it despatched, as he was passing the Post Office, and I unsuspectingly consented. On the arrival of the royal train at Penrith you may judge the surprise and disgust of the officers, some of whom had in private travelled in the royal train, to see the volunteers lining the station approach! Inquiries were made—the post office authorities produced the telegram, as handed in, with the word 'not' carefully erased, making the message mean the opposite. I never from that day saw my foreign friend again, but many times have wondered was it one of the Kaiser's wishes to see if his agents could