But this cue was all that he required. A clever scheme! Pax had formed layers of molecular thickness of two different metals in alternation by the to-and-fro swing of his charging current. When the battery discharged the metals went into solution, each plate becoming alternately positive and negative.
He perceived at last the nature of the pax romana, that peace, compounded of power, which welded the continents together, made the seas into serviceable highways and held all men secure within the barriers of law and justice. Was it possible that a nation which had given birth to a force like this could also bring forth in due season a love of beauty, a thirst for truth?
He also apparently inclined to the belief that spiritual and moral agencies, if not wholly impotent to bring about the requisite changes in the politico-social world, could not effect the transformation for a long while to come, and that in the interval it behooved the governments to fall back upon the old system of so-called equilibrium, which, after Germany's collapse, meant an informal kind of Anglo-Saxon overlordship of the world and a pax Britannica in Europe.
He was also somewhat assisted, and, at times, not a little retarded, by his ardent admirer Peter Pax, who joined him enthusiastically in his studies, but, being of a discursive and enterprising spirit, was prone to tempt him off the beaten paths of learning into the thickets of speculative philosophy. One evening Pax was poring over a problem in Euclid with his friend in Pegaway Hall.
Just as the Assessor had run up to the Jurist, and when the combatants were already making threatening gestures at each other, he suddenly seized them both by the collar from behind, and twice knocking their two heads violently together like Easter eggs, he spread out his arms like a signpost, and tossed them at the same moment into opposite corners of the room; for a moment he stood still with outstretched arms, and cried, “Pax, pax, pax vobiscum; peace be with you!”
You'd scarce know 'im, Phil, workin' like a coal-heaver, in a suit of dirty fustian, about the wharves tryin' to keep out of sight. I've come across 'im once or twice, but pretended not to recognise 'im. Now, Phil," added little Pax, with deep earnestness in his face, as he laid his hand impressively on his friend's arm, "we must save these two men somehow you and I."
Ever since Pax was taken into partnership by Mr Enoch Blurt the business has prospered, as you are aware, and our active little friend has added all kinds of branches to it such as the preparation and sale of entomological, and ichthyological, and other -ological specimens, and the mechanical parts of toy-engines; and that lad Jiggs has turned out such a splendid expounder of all these things, that the shop has become a sort of terrestrial heaven for boys.
A longer delay would scarce leave daylight for my return, so I rose, thanked the father for his hospitality and his tale, was benignantly answered by a "pax vobiscum," which I made kindly welcome, because it seemed uttered with a true benevolence; but I liked less the mystic phrase accompanying it.
He had sojourned with Indian "students" in India, England, Germany, Geneva, America and Japan, and had belonged to the most secret of societies. He had himself been a well-paid agent of Germany in both Asia and Africa; and he had been instrumental in supplying thousands of rifles to Border raiders, Persian bandits, and other potential troublers of the pax Britannica.
"Pax tea-cup! pax O biscuit!" began the flippant boy. "Dear brethren, I entreat you to join with me in smoking the calumet of peace in the shape of this humble weed." As he bowed, the box fell from his head into his hands, and, removing the lid, he offered it round. It appeared to contain a double layer of cigars; but the Brincliffe scholars knew these cigars well, and where they came from.