OF THE ARRIVAL OF A CHINESE GOD UPON THE FIELD OF BATTLE; OF HI_UCCESS WITH HIS SUPERIORS AND OF A SIGHT WHICH HE SAW UPON THE ROAD TO PARIS.ALSO OF THAT WHICH THEREBY CAME UNTO HIM, AND OF THE END OF ALL THOSE THING_HOSE EVENT BEGAT A CER
UNMATCHED in history is the Retreat of the British Army from Mons. It wa_aught unprepared; it had to fight three weeks before it was ready; it wa_utnumbered three to one by a triumphant enemy; it was not co-ordinated wit_he French armies, and they failed to support it at critical moments; yet i_ought that aweful dogged fight from house to house, and field to field, through league on league of Northern France. The line was forced to lengthe_onstantly as the retreat continued; it was attenuated by that and by it_osses to beyond any human breaking-point; but luckily for England, he_oldiers are made of such metal that the thinner the wire is drawn the toughe_t becomes.
However, there is a point at which "open order" is like the word "decolletee"
used to describe a smart American woman's dinner dress; and General Cripps wa_eeling it at the moment when his new Intelligence Officer presented himself.
It was about six o'clock at night; Cripps and his staff were bivouacked in th_airie of a small village. They were contemplating a further retreat tha_ight.
"Sit down, Captain Grey," said the chief kindly.  "Join us at dinner — just as soon as we can get these orders out — listen and you'll pick up th_utlines — we'll talk after dinner — on the road."
Cyril took a chair. To his delight, an aide-de-camp, Lord Juventius Mellor, a_xquisite young dandy with a languid lisp, who, in time of peace, had bee_upil and private secretary of Simon Iff, came to greet him.
"Ju, dear boy, help me out. I've got to tell Cripps something, and he'll thin_'m mad. It's bluff, too; but it's true for all that — and it's the one chanc_n the world."
"Are we retreating again?"
"All through the night. There's not a dog's chance to save Paris, and the lin_tretches every hour."
"Don't worry about Paris — it's as safe as Bordeaux. Safer, because th_overnment is at Bordeaux!"
"My poor friend, wouldn't you be better in a home?"
The British Army had no illusions about its situation. It was a thin, dra_ine of heroes, very thin and very drab, but there was no doubt about th_eroism, and no uncertainty about what would happen to it if the German_ossessed a leader with initiative. So far the hostile legions had move_ccording to the rules, with all due scientific precaution. A leader o_emperament and intuition might have rushed that tenuous line. Still, scienc_as as sure as it was as slow — and the whole army knew it. They prepared t_ie as expensively as possible, with simplicity of manhood. They had not ye_eard that Press and Pulpit had made them the laughing-stock of the world b_he invention of the ridiculous story of the "Angels of Mons."  Lor_uventius Mellor was something of a hero-worshipper. From Simon Iff he woul_ave taken any statement with absolute respect, and Grey's remark had bee_omewhat of the Simon Iff brand. It was, therefore, almost as much a_mpertinence as it was an absurdity. Paris was as certain to fall as the su_o set. It was in rotten bad taste to joke about it.
"Look here!" said Cyril, "I'm serious."
"All the worse!" retorted Mellor. "You really would be better in a home."
"You wouldn't talk like that if we were discussing magick."
"Then you are an ass. I am talking magick. If you had only ears to hear!"
"Everything's a magical phenomenon, in the long run. But war's magick, fro_he word jump. Come now therefore and let us reason together, saith the Lord.
I have done a divination by the Tarot, by a method which I cannot explain, fo_hat it pertaineth to a grade so much more exalted than yours that you hav_ever even heard the name of it; and I know the plans of the German Genera_taff in detail." Cyril's tone transformed his asinine utterance int_omething so Sybilline, Oracular, Delphic, Cumaean, that his interlocuto_lmost trembled. Verus incessu patuit Deus — when Cyril thought it necessar_o impress the uninitiate. To the majority of mankind gold looks like dros_nless it be wrapped up in tinsel, and tenfold the proper price marked on i_n plain figures, with the word "Sacrifice." Hence it is that the mos_uccessful merchants omit the gold altogether.
"Oh; I didn't understand."
"You'll observe that I can't explain this to  Cripps,; I shall have t_pin some sort of a yarn."
In point of fact the "yarn" was already spun; Cyril had not been divining b_ny means more occult than his innate sagacity; but Lord Juventius was one o_hose people who bow only before the assumption of authority supported b_ystery and tomfoolery, since their reason is undeveloped. Such people mak_xcellent secondary figures in any campaign; for their confidence in thei_eaders impresses the outsider, who does not know how mentally abject the_re. It is said that no man is a hero to his valet. On the contrary, every ma_s a God to his secretary — if not, he had better get rid of the secretary!
Lord Juventius could not have followed Cyril's very astute calculations — those which he meant to lay before General Cripps; but he would have stake_is life on the accuracy of a Tarot divination so obscure that he was no_llowed even to hear its nature, and which in fact had not been performed.
Indeed, it did not even exist, having been invented on the spur of the momen_y the unscrupulous magician.
"I shall tell him that the military situation is inextricably bound up wit_olitical and dynastic considerations; I shall drop a word about Anschauun_nd Welt-politik; you know!"
Lord Juventius giggled adorably.
"By the way," continued Cyril "have you any influence — personal, I mean — with the old man?"
Lord Juventius bent forward with lowered eyelids, and sank his voice to _onfidential whisper.
"The day we crossed," he murmured.
"Great. But I thought — "
"Prehistoric. It's perfectly Cocker." 
Such conversations lack the merit of intelligibility to the outsider; but the_he outsider is particularly to be kept from understanding. Dialogues of thi_urious sort determine most important events in English society and "haut_olitique."
"Then see to it that I get taken seriously."
"Precetur oculis mellitis!"
When Englishmen return to the use of the dead languages, it is a sign of tha_oral state which is said by the Psalmist to resemble the Holy Oil that flowe_own upon the head of Aaron, even unto the skirts of his garments.
The orderly called the Staff to dinner. Cyril, as the guest of the evening, was on the Commander-in-Chief's right hand.
"You have been very highly recommended to me," said the old Cavalry leader, when the time came to smoke, "and I look to you to distinguish yoursel_ccordingly. You will be under the orders of Colonel Mavor, of course; yo_hould report to him at once."
"May I give you some information direct?" asked Cyril. "The matter hardl_rooks delay, as I see it: you should know it at once, and — to be frank — _hink this my best chance of your ever hearing it."
"A damned funny beginning," growled the general. "Well, get on!" Th_ermission was not very gracious; but an irregularity is a serious thing i_he British Army. General Cripps made bad worse.
"Unofficially, mind, absolutely unofficially," he added, before Cyril coul_egin.
This is the English expedient for listening to anything without hearing it, o_aying anything without meaning it. An official conversation cannot  b_hus sterile; it involves notes, memoranda, dockets, recommendations, reports, the appointment of commissions, interminable deliberations, more reports, questions in Parliament, the introduction of bills, and so on. Nothing is don_n the end, exactly as in the case of an unofficial conversation; so you ca_ake your choice, sir, and be damned to you!
"Unofficially, of course, General!" agreed Cyril. "My object is merely t_isclose the plans of the German General Staff."
"Thank you, Captain Grey," replied the great man, sarcastically;" this wil_ndeed be a service. To save time, begin from Von Kluck's occupation of Paris, about four days hence."
"Impossible, General! Von Kluck will never capture Paris. Why, the man i_ctually of plebeian origin!"
"After dinner — but only then — such observations are in perfectly good taste.
"I am not joking in the least, General. Von Kluck will not be allowed to tr_o capture Paris."
"It is at least curious that he is marching straight upon the city!"
"Only to thin out our line, sir. Do you observe that the Germans have driven _alient to St. Mihiel?"
"I have. What of it? "
"The object, sir, I submit, is to cut off Verdun from the South."
"Why Verdun? Because the Crown Prince is at the head of the army whic_hreatens it. Paris will never be taken but by that modern Caesar!"
"Something in that, I admit. The little beast is certainly unpopular."
"They are bound to make him the national hero, at any cost."
"And where do we come in?" 
"What could be clearer? Their right wing will break through somewhere, or rol_s up. Verdun will be isolated. Der Kronprinz (God bless his noble heart!) will walk through, and goose-step all the way to Paris. It is the only chanc_or the Hohenzollern dynasty."
"It is military madness."
"They think they have enough in hand to risk it. But see, sir, for God's sak_ee the conclusion! If I'm right, Von Kluck is bound to swerve East, righ_cross our front — and we'll smash him!"
"He couldn't risk such a crazy manoeuvre."
"Mark my word, sir, he will."
"And what do you suggest that I should do about it? Unofficially, Captai_rey, quite unofficially!"
"Get ready to lam it in, sir — quite unofficially."
"Well, sir, I congratulate you — on having talked the most amusing nonsens_hat I've heard since my last talk with General Buller! And now perhaps yo_ad better report to Colonel Mavor as Intelligence Officer." The general'_one was contemptuous. "Facts are required in this army."
"Psychological facts are facts, General."
"Nonsense, sir; you are not in a debating society or at a scientific tea- party."
"That last, sir," replied Cyril coldly "is my unavailing regret."
But Lord Juventius Mellor frustrated the effect of this impolitic speech. H_ixed his languid eyes upon the red face of the veteran, and his voice came i_ soft caressing whisper.
"Pardon me; do let us be unofficial for five minutes more!"
"I think it's only fair to let General Foch enjoy the joke. I hear he has bee_epressed lately."
"He might not take it so easily. The French do  not care to be playe_ith when their country is at stake."
"He can only shoot poor Cyril, mon vieux! Just give him two days leave, s_hat he can run over before reporting to Mavor."
"Oh well, I dare say the Intelligence Department can get on without it_hampion guesser for a day or so. Trot along, Grey; but for your own sake _dvise you to think up a fact or two."
Cyril saluted, and took his leave. Juventius came to see him into the car.
"I'll wheedle the old ass," he whispered to his friend, "I'll get him to mak_uch dispositions as he can without disturbing the line too much; so that i_och should see any sense in your scheme, by any chance, we shan't be to_ackward in coming forward."
"Good for you. So long!"
Cyril drove off. It was a terrible and ominous journey to the headquarters o_eneral Foch. The line sagged hideously here and there so that long detour_ere necessary. The roads were encumbered not only with every kind of militar_upply, all in disorder, but with fugitive soldiers and civilians, som_urdened with their household goods, some wounded, a long trail of agon_umbering to the rear. The country was already patrolled by herds o_asterless and savage dogs, reverted, in a month of war, to the type of th_oyote and the dingo. But Cyril shouted in his joy. His confidence rose as h_ent; he had thought out one of General Cripps's "facts" which he felt sur_ould carry conviction to the mind of the French commander.
Arrived at the chateau where the general was quartered, he found no trouble i_aining audience. The Frenchman, splendidly built, his eyes glittering wit_estless intelligence, concentrated all his faculties  instantly on hi_isitor. "You have come from General Cripps?"
"Yes, my General, but on my own responsibility. I have an idea —"
Foch interrupted him.
"But you are in an English uniform!" he could not help saying with bris_allic surprise.
"Cuchullus non facit monachum," retorted Cyril Grey. "I am half Scotch, hal_rish."
"Then pray give yourself the trouble to continue."
"I may premise that I have told my idea to General Cripps. It convinced hi_hat I am an imbecile or a joker."
That was his "fact," his master-argument. It told heavily. The face of Foc_rew instantly keen and eager with all expectation.
"Let me hear it!" The General reached for a memorandum.
Grey laughed. In a few words he repeated his theory of the German plans.
"But it is certain!" cried Foch. "One moment; excuse me; I must telephone."
He left the room. In five minutes he was back.
"Rest easy, Captain Grey," he said, "we shall be ready to catch Von Kluck a_e turns. Now, will you do me the pleasure to take this note back to you_hief? The British must be ready to strike at the same moment. I won't ask yo_o stay; but — I beg of you to come to dine with me after the victory."
It is impossible to give any idea of how the word "victoire" sounds in th_outh of a French soldier. It has in it the ring of a sword thrust home to th_ilt, and the cry of a lover as he seizes his mistress, and the exultation o_ martyr who in the moment of his murder reaches conclusively to God.
Cyril went back to the British Headquarters, and  handed in Genera_och's request, through Colonel Mavor, officially.
The events of the next week are of the very spine of history. The cruel blo_as definitely parried. More still, that first great victory not only save_rance for all time, but showed that the men of Bonaparte had come into thei_wn moral sublimity again. It proved 1870 to have been but a transien_eakness like our own year of shame when Van Tromp swept our ships from th_eas.
General Cripps summoned Cyril Grey to his quarters.
"I'm afraid," said the old man, "that nothing can be done to recognize you_ervices. That your crazy theory should have proved correct is only one mor_xample — we have many such every day — of the operation of the laws o_hance. The weather forecasters themselves cannot guess wrong every time. Bu_ven if your act had merited reward, we should still have been powerless; for, as you remember, our conversation was strictly unofficial.
"Unofficially, however, you get your step and the K.C.B. Favouritism, sir, rank favouritism! Now go across to General Foch, Major — he wishes to presen_ou to two gentlemen named respectively Joffre and Poincar'e. Boot and saddle!
No time to waste," he said hastily, to check any expression of gratitude. Bu_s the two men gripped hands, their eyes were dim — they were thinking o_ngland.
So off went Cyril on the road to Paris, where his rendezvous was fixed.
The victory had changed the aspect of the country in the rear of the armies a_y stage-craft. There were no more fugitives, no more disorder. Still the lon_rains of wounded clogged the roads, here and there, but the infection o_lory had spread like sunlight over a sky swept clear of storm. The supply  trains radiated confidence. Always the young man met new guns, ne_agons, new horses. At every turn of the road were fresh regiments, gail_inging on their way to the front. Cyril was enchanted at the aspect of th_roops. Their elasticity and high spirits were overwhelming. Once he came upo_ regiment of Turcos being transferred to another sector — every man of the_ith a trophy of the great battle. His intense love for all savage men, tru_en unspoilt by civilization, almost mastered him: he wanted to embrace them.
He saw life assurgent, the menace of the enemy thwarted, and his joy floode_is heart so that his throat caught fire, and song leaped to his lips.
And then chill caught him as he came suddenly upon a dreadful sight.
Before him on the road stood a sign-post, the lance of a Spahi, thrust int_he bank of a ditch; nailed to it was a placard on which was coarsely chalke_he one word ESPION. A fatal curiosity drew him to the spot; as he approached, the wild dogs that were fighting around the sinister signal fled in terro_rom their ghastly meal.
A sword had been thrust through the belly of the corpse; the tongue had bee_orn out. One could recognize at a glance the work of Algerian troops — me_ho had lost a third of their effectives through the treacheries of the Germa_pies. But, despite all mutilation, he recognized more than that: h_ecognized the carcass. This carrion had once been Douglas.
Cyril Grey did a strange thing, a thing he had not done for many years: h_roke into a strong sobbing.
"I know now," he murmured, "that Simon Iff is right. The Way of the Tao! _ust follow that harder path, the Path where he who would advance draws back."
He put spurs to his horse; half-an-hour later he saw the sunset glint upo_he Eiffel Tower, and on the wings of one of those gallant birds that circle_bout it to keep watch and ward on Paris.
The next morning he reported himself to the British authorities; and it wa_ord Antony Bowling who presented him to the President and Commander-in-Chief.
At the banquet he found himself an Officer of the Legion of Honour; but hi_rilliancy and buoyancy were gone. He dined in dull decorum. His thought_till turned to the shameful corpse in the ditch by the wayside. He excuse_imself early, and left the Elysee. At the gate stood an automobile. In it sa_isa la Giuffria. She jumped out and caught him by the shoulders. She poure_ut the tale of her madness, and its result, and its cure, her carefu_racking of his movements, her determination to recover him at any cost. H_istened in silence — the silence of incurable sadness. He shook his head.
"Have you no word for me?" she cried impetuously, torn by her agony.
"Have you no gift for me?" he answered.
She understood. "Oh, you are human! you are human!" she cried.
"I do not know what I am," he answered. "Yesterday I saw the end of the game — for one!"
He told her in a few words of the horror on the roadside.
"Go!" he said, "take that girl, Douglas's last victim, for your maid. Go t_merica; find the Child of the Moon. There may, or there may not be, othe_asks for us to do; I know not — time will show."
"I will, I will," she cried, "I will go now, quickly. Kiss me first!"
Once again the tears gathered in the magician's  eyes; he understood, more deeply than he had ever done, the Sorrow of the Universe. He saw ho_tterly incompatible are all our human ideals with the Laws of Life. He too_er slowly and gently in his arms; and he kissed her. But Lisa did no_espond; she understood that this was not the man whom she had loved: this wa_ man that she had never known, one whom she dared not love. A man set apart, an idea to adore! She knew herself unworthy, and she withdrew herself.
"I go," she said, "to seek the Child. Hail and farewell!"
"Hail and farewell!"
The girl mounted unsteadily into her car. Cyril Grey, his head bowed upon hi_reast, plunged into the wooded pleasaunce of the Champs Elysees.
An ineffable weariness came upon him as he walked. He wondered dully if h_ere going to be ill. He came up against the Obelisk in the Place de l_oncorde with a shock of surprise. He had not noticed that he had left th_rees. The Obelisk decided him; its shape smote into his soul the meaning o_he Mysteries of Egyptian Magick. It was as invigorating as a cold plunge. H_trode away towards Montmartre.
The Profess-House of the Order had been converted into a hospital. But wh_hould come to greet him if not Sister Cybele?
Beside her stood the severe figure of Simon Iff. There were two others in th_ackground. Cyril was not surprised to see his old master, the Mahather_hang; but the other? It was Abdul Bey.
"Come forward and shake hands," cried Simon Iff. "I have not been inactive, Cyril," added the old man. "I have had my eye on our young friend for a lon_ime. I put my hand on him at the right moment. I showed him that spying was _og's  game, with a dog's death at the end of it. He has renounced hi_rrors, and he is now a Probationer of our Holy Order."
The young men greeted each other, the Turk stammering out an appeal fo_ardon, the other laughing off his embarrassment.
"But you are ill, Cyril!" cried Sister Cybele. And in truth the boy coul_ardly stand.
"Action and reaction are equal and opposite," explained Simon Iff, cheerily.
"You will sleep, Brother Cyril, and you will then pass seven days i_editation, in one of the high trances. I will see to the extension of you_eave."
"There is a meditation," said Cyril firmly, "given by the Buddha, a meditatio_pon a corpse torn by wild beasts. I will take that."
Simon Iff acquiesced without comprehending. He did not know that Cyril Gre_ad understood that the corpse of Douglas was his own; that the perception o_he identity of himself with all other living things had come to him, an_aised him to a great Adeptship.
But there was one to comprehend the nature of that initiation. As Cyri_alked, leaning on the arm of Sister
Cybele, to the room appointed for his prescribed solitude, he beheld a grea_ight. It shone serenely from the eyes of the Mahathera Phang.