"Hartmann the Anarchist : or, The Doom of a Great City "
English Illustrated Magazine 1892-3
illustrated by Fred T. Jane
A sensational tale of the evil Mastermind of Nihilism destroying London
and everything else he could get his grimy hands on. A typical 'nineties
tale of urban anxiety and the feeling of politics out of hand. The author
(a Socialist - of a sort) gets to fly on the ATTILA, Hartmann's aerial
destroyer made of a specially hardened metal. Hartmann - a member of the
professional classes gone bad because of the influence of a malign political
theorist, aims to destroy the fabric of a rotten exploitative society by stirring up the mobs beneath and watching from above.
Eventually he destroys himself and his ship when he learns his sweet old
mother has been trampled by a mob. She had long been worried, the author
explains, about the direction of his career.
Just in case the reader gets the wrong idea, the story is fronted by with
an amateur cartoon by a member of the aristocracy.
The main illustrator Fred T.Jane was a middle rank commercial illustrator
with a penchant for the pictorial possibilities of space craft hovering
menacingly overe the threatened or beleagured city. In 1893 he illustrated
George Griffith's He was also active as one of the illustrators of Conan
Sherlock Holmes stories, and was the founder of Jane's Fighting Ships
still extant as the Bible of Nautical Watchers. His name lives on in the
publishing firm of Macdonald and Janes.
- THE NARRATIVE
The author in the company of Burnett implicted in bomb making is involved
in a fracas in the park. He is knocked unconscious and wakes to find himself
with Hartmann, Burnett and the evil German Schwarz on board Hartmann's
ship ATTILA, "Behold the craft that shall wreck civilisation and
turn tyrannies into nothingness." (p.654).
Hartmann himself shows Stanley the narrator round the ship,
pausing to lift a trap door through which the bombs were to be thrown when
the time came...
The ATTILA...weighted by sand, inflated by hydrogen... ATTILA two miles
high just before it coolly views a dismasted steamer going down in rough
Attila makes its descent on London, arriving over Brighton where the streets
fill with its admiring citizenry. The attack on London starts... the political
agitator Burnett is hit in the throat by a bullet..." His fate was
deserved.." tipping incendiary materials over the handrail on the
THEN WE SEE the destruction of the Houses of Parliament..the author makes
by parachute "What if the parachute were to be seen by anyone ? I
should be torn to pieces or worse."
The mob seeing the descent of the ATTILA sense mechanical failure----
in fact the machine lands only to shoot the demonstrators.
How is Hartmann to be stopped ? well he hears of his old mum trampled
under foot by louts and in a fit of rage shoots some of his crew and destroys
"You will know how order was once more completely re-established,
how the wreckage of that fell twenty-four hours [sic] was slowly replaced
by modern buildings,, how gradually the Empire recovered from the shock
and how dominant henceforth became the great problems of LABOUR."