As it was the energetic Great Russian empire-builders and not the half-dreamy, half-astute, sympathetic descendants of the Free Cossacks that I wanted to study, I soon abandoned my idea of settling in the Holy City on the Dnieper, and chose Moscow as my point of observation; and here, during several years, I spent regularly some of the winter months.
He was a practised speaker that is to say, he held his audience's attention. Taking a wider range, he spoke of England, or rather of Great Britain, and of her continental foes. Portraits of empire-builders hung on the wall, and he pointed to them. He quoted imperial poets.
"At a home they would feed her up, give her open air exercise, and get her strong. Then they would train her to become the accomplished wife of one of our empire-builders in er er in Canada, or British Columbia, or Rhodesia. And when she reached the marriageable age, they would export her and marry her to him.
But Sir Reginald Bassett you know old Sir Reggie? came and inspected us the other day, and we had a talk. He is one of the keenest empire-builders that I ever met." An odd thrill sounded in Monck's voice. "He asked me if presently when the vacancy occurred I would be his secretary, his political adviser, as he put it. Stella, it would be a mighty big step up.
And when we pass to the soldiers and the rulers, the patriots and the empire-builders of the eighteenth century, we find, as I have said, that they were, If possible, more romantic than the romancers, more poetical than the poets. Chatham, who showed the world all his strength, showed the House of Commons all his weakness.
As one over the age limit, or because he did not consider me an empire-controlling force, on this great occasion, I was permitted to be present. But except that the number of incipient empire-builders was very great, that they were very happy, and that save the host himself none of them took his idea seriously, I would not call it an evening of historical interest.
She believed that some of her official friends, the Empire-builders, were kept straight in this way: "The bands that mothers and sisters weave by prayer and precept are the strongest in the world." There was nothing she asked her friends more often at home to do than to pray for the Mission and the workers.
It was thus with many of the far-off Empire-builders. They heard so late, so unpreparedly, so suddenly; and in the first shock, an exile which had been a calmly accepted condition, became almost a menace, seemed swiftly to develop a force.
They are as truly empire-builders as the men and, though the parts they play are less conspicuous, perhaps, they are as truly deserving of honors and rewards. There is no servant problem in Borneo. Cooks jostle one another to cook for you.
In a moment the scene would change, and we should be hailed as patriotic, far-sighted Empire-builders, loyal and noble-hearted citizens worthy of the Motherland, and sagacious statesmen versed in the science of government. See, now, upon what insecure and doubtful foundations human praise and human censure stand.