Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/146

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When writing my forecast "The Invasion of England," in 1905, I received the greatest advice and kind assistance from the late Lord Roberts, who spent many hours with me, and who personally revised and elaborated the German plan of campaign which I had supposed. Without his assistance the book would never have been written. I am aware of the strong views he held on the subject, and how indefatigable he was in endeavouring to bring the grave peril of invasion home to an apathetic nation. Poor "Bobs"! The public laughed at him and said, "Yes, of course. He is getting so old!"

Old! When I came home from the last Balkan War I brought him some souvenirs from the battlefields of Macedonia, and he sent me a telegram to meet him at 8 a.m. at a quiet West End hotel—where he was in the habit of staying. I arrived at that hour and he grasped my hand, welcomed me back from many months of a winter campaign with the Servian headquarters staff, and, erect and smiling, said: "Now, let's talk. I've already done my correspondence and had my breakfast. I was up at half-past five,"—when I had been snoring!

Roberts was a soldier of the old school. He knew our national weakness, and he knew our stubborn stone-wall resistance. After the outbreak of war he told me that he would deplore racing, football, and cricket—our national sports—while we were at death-grips with Germany, because, as he put it, if we race and play games, the people will not take this world-war seriously. Then he turned in his chair in my room, and, looking me straight in the face, said: "What did I tell you, Le Queux, when you were forecasting 'The Invasion'—that