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Journal BlackHat's Journal: Double faces, dark defense/Talk too loud, but talk no sense

Today's journal entry has been illustrated in LEGO bricks. (850k jpg)

I have also repeated it here in the quote section for anyone who wants just the words. There are some additions in the photocomic that are not included in the quote, so you may wish to read both.

(Scene and Persons as usual. The Conversation has already begun.)

First Well-informed Man (concluding a tirade).

---- so what I want to know is this: are we or are we not to submit to the Yankees? It's all very well talking about Chicago Exhibitions and all that, but if they're going to capture our ships and prevent us killing seals, why, the sooner we tell 'em to go to blue blazes the better. And as for its being a mare clausum----

Inquirer (interrupting).

Who was she? What's she got to do with it?

First W. I. M. (laughing vigorously).

Ha! ha! that's a good 'un.

Inquirer (nettled).

Oh, laugh away, laugh away. That's you all over.

First W. I. M.

My dear chap, I'm very sorry, but I really couldn't help it. There's no woman in the business at all. Mare clausum merely means the place where they catch the seals, you know; mare, Latin for sea.


Oh! I should have known that directly, if you'd only pronounced it properly. But what does clausum mean?

First W. I. M.

Well, of course, that means--well, a clause, don't you know. It's in the treaty.

Average Man (looking up from his paper).

It used to be the Latin for "closed," but I suppose it's altered now.

First W. I. M. (incredulously).

It can't mean that, anyhow. Who ever heard of a closed sea, I should like to know?

Second W. I. M. (hazarding a suggestion).

It might mean a harbour, you know, or something of that sort.

Average Man.

I daresay it might mean that, but it doesn't happen to be a harbour (relapses into paper).

Second W. I. M.

Oh, well, I only made the suggestion.

[A pause]


But what are they arbitrating about in Paris? It says (reading from newspaper) "When Mr. Carter, the United States Counsel, had concluded his speech, he was complimented by the President, the Baron de Courcel, who told him he had spoken on behalf of humanity." I thought old Carnot was President of the French Republic.

First W. I. M.

So he is.


But this paper says Baron de Courcel is President.

Second W. I. M.

Oh, I suppose that's one of Carnot's titles, All these blessed foreigners are Barons, or something of that sort.


Ah, I suppose that must be it. But what have the French got to do with the Behring Sea? I thought it was all between us and the Yankees.

First W. I. M.

So it is--but the French are arbitrating. That's how they come into the business. I can't say, personally, I like these arbitrations. We're always arbitrating now, and giving everything away. If we think we're right, why can't we say so, and stick to it, and let the French, and the Yankees, and the Russians, and all the rest of 'em, take it from us, if they can?

Second W. I. M.

Take what from us?

First W. I. M.

Why, whatever it happens to be, the Behring Sea, or anything else. We're so deuced afraid of everybody now, we never show fight; it's perfectly sickening. But of course you can't expect anything else from old Gladstone.

Second W. I. M.

That's right--shove it all on to old Gladstone. But you're wrong this time. It was Jo Chamberlain, one of your own blessed Unionists, that you're so proud of, who arranged this arbitration.

First W. I. M.

I know that, my dear boy; but Chamberlain was a Radical then; so where are you now?

[A pause]

Inquirer (who has continued his reading, suddenly, with a puzzled air).

I say, you know, this is too much of a good thing, bringing the Russians into the business. It says--(reads)--"documents were submitted, on behalf of the United States, to prove that Russia had never abandoned her sovereign rights in the manner suggested by Great Britain." How, on earth, does Russia manage to crop up everywhere? And where is this confounded Behring Sea?

Second W. I. M. (vaguely).

It's somewhere in America, or Newfoundland, or thereabouts.


But how about Russia?

Second W. I. M.

Oh, Russia shoves her oar in whenever we get into a difficulty of any kind anywhere.

Inquirer (persisting).

Yes--but how can she have any "sovereign rights" in America?

Second W. I. M. (haughtily, but evasively).

My dear fellow, if you had followed the thing properly, you wouldn't ask the question. There's no time now to explain it all to you, as it's very complicated, and goes back a long way. But you may take it from me that Russia has got certain rights, and that she means to make things as disagreeable for us as she can.

[A pause]


It's rather a rum start, isn't it? sending out Sir Charles Russell and Sir Richard Webster. They're on opposite sides of politics.

First W. I. M.

That's just why they send 'em. Russell has got to put the Liberal view, and Webster the Conservative.


Of course, of course; I never thought of that. By the way, have you ever seen a seal?

First W. I. M.

They've got one at the Zoo. Catches fish, and kisses the keeper, and all that sort of game.


What, that big beast that looks as if it was made of india-rubber, with long whiskers and a sort of fish-tail?

First W. I. M.

That's it.

Inquirer (with profound disgust).

Well, I am blessed! Is that all they're jawing about?

--Punch, 1893

Many years ago in this journal:
47867 : "But let us be clear: Britain, our international partners, and the Afghan people themselves are united and determined that this shall not happen. Together we shall ensure a future for Afghanistan that the Afghan people deserve." The Afghan people will be given the opportunity to contribute to the drafting of the first post-Taliban constitution in December. It will enable them to choose a system of government that reflects their values and aspirations.

Fumetti : A photograph of Dr. David Kelly with an overlayed speech bubble saying; "Clank, howl, and all that jazz."

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Double faces, dark defense/Talk too loud, but talk no sense

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