Haggard

…I am overworked and under-rested.

But here, have some excellence from H. Rider Haggard’s Ayesha: The Return of She. I love this man. He’s offensive, he’s hilarious, but he tells such great stories.

“And how wilt thou persuade the kings of the earth to place their crowns upon thy head?” I asked, astonished.

“By causing their peoples to offer them to us,” she answered suavely. “Oh! Holly, Holly, how narrow is thy mind, how strained the quality of thine imagination! Set its poor gates ajar, I pray, and bethink thee. When we appear among men, scattering gold to satisfy their want, clad in terrifying power, in dazzling beauty and in immortality of days, will they not cry, ‘Be ye our monarchs and rule over us!’”

“Perhaps,” I answered dubiously, “but where wilt thou appear?”

She took a map of the eastern hemisphere which I had drawn and, placing her finger upon Pekin, said—”There is the place that shall be our home for some few centuries, say three, or five, or seven, should it take so long to shape this people to my liking and our purposes. I have chosen these Chinese because thou tellest me that their numbers are uncountable, that they are brave, subtle, and patient, and though now powerless because ill-ruled and untaught, able with their multitudes to flood the little western nations. Therefore among them we will begin our reign and for some few ages be at rest while they learn wisdom from us, and thou, my Holly, makest their armies unconquerable and givest their land good government, wealth, peace, and a new religion.”

What the new religion was to be I did not ask. It seemed unnecessary, since I was convinced that in practice it would prove a form of Ayesha-worship, Indeed, my mind was so occupied with conjectures, some of them quaint and absurd enough, as to what would happen at the first appearance of Ayesha in China that I forgot this subsidiary development of our future rule.

“And if the ‘little western nations’ will not wait to be flooded?” suggested Leo with irritation, for her contemptuous tone angered him, one of a prominent western nation. “If they combine, for instance, and attack thee first?”

“Ah!” she said, with a flash of her eyes. “I have thought of it, and for my part hope that it will chance, since then thou canst not blame me if I put out my strength. Oh! then the East, that has slept so long, shall awake—shall awake, and upon battlefield after battlefield such as history cannot tell of, thou shalt see my flaming standards sweep on to victory. One by one thou shalt watch the nations fall and perish, until at length I build thy throne upon the hecatombs of their countless dead and crown thee emperor of a world regenerate in blood and fire.”

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