Imatges de pÓgina

You dismiss him coldly, waving him with a lantern and a little crew who south, and hoping that you are never to were to travel with their 'big Massa' see him again. You do not know how until they met the steamer from the often and often he is to accost you again south. For it is a great thing, said the in memory, his wet body gilded by the doctor, to feel water under the keel. light of the lantern and his bill of lading That is a wonderful feeling. And it is incredibly dry.

wonderful, when you have lived so long In the morning that steamer is gone! by the light of a lantern, to find a star And before the shocking emptiness of in your ceiling. For there it is in the the sea your friends say, 'Oh, do let's ceiling of your cabin — a star. And sit down!' And they tell sad stories of there, beneath the light of that star, is the defections of steamers: of how Mr. an apple. Because you look as he had Menkel, in a canoe, with bag and bag- hoped you would look when you see the gage, tried to hold up a steamer with a star shining like this upon the apple, the gesture, like a traffic policeman — and steward tells you that, yes, he likes to failed; of how the Gaults waited weeks have an apple aboard his steamer. He and weeks for a steamer that did not lets you know at once that he is proud come, because she had blown up in the of his steamer, and ashamed where there Congo River, as you may see for your- is cause. He will speak to you often of self between Boma and Matadi; of how these things. many a steamer has passed by on pretext of quarantine; of how, off Quillu, I see myself stretched at ease on the when the surf is high, the steamer will deck of My Steamer, sunk in an exnot so much as call. Until, what with cess of languor and of calm. It is a tales of the coldness of steamers and night as bright as silver and as clear as their misadventures, you cannot think glass. We are moored to a great tree how you are to get home at all. beside a bank of the Congo River; a

Yes, you wonder that. Many a man million little voices speak to me from has wondered that. Betrayed by some the sedges on the margin, and the stewsteamer, he has thought of his little ard speaks to me. He has brought me cabin, with its million roaches — that my coffee, and he tells me of the shame he must live there forever; and that he he feels. He is ashamed of his knives is never to escape the sound of the reit- and forks, of his linen and the bugs in erant surf and its endless pacings. Long his beds; he is ashamed of his captain, after, he will sigh when he thinks of who is tipsy, and he groans there in the that season, rainy or dry; he will re- moonlight: 'This is no place for you, member dark thoughts that came upon miss, no place at all!' him then, and his sleepless nights. A But oh, what does he, all ashamed trader who cut the vein in his wrist with there on his execrable boat, know of the the scissors off his counter told the mis- ineffable calm that is the atmosphere sion doctor that he knew he was never of My Steamer, where I am as safe from to go home. He would never live to get his knives and forks and the weevils home, he said. And he could no longer in his oatmeal as a silly silver lamb at endure that shanty of his, with its store the heart of a glass ball! Not the clamor of cotton print and salt fish and matches of the winches, or the thunder of the and tobacco. So he cut his wrist. And great mahogany logs as they come then he sent, as you see, for the doctor. aboard, or the clangor of iron rails as And the doctor, a long time wise in the they go over the side, can break that inthings of exile, sent him off in a canoe, sulation. Only the rattle of the anchor

chain and the signal to the engine-room not so very neutral, — with her marcan do this; and if we lie off every set- red romantic beauty, and her bright tlement on the West Coast and go up lacquers in her cabins, and her noble every stream in the delta of the Niger, deck, where it is always one o'clock of for every time the anchor is weighed the afternoon, and we are drawing away I will tremble, and will tremble in my from the Canaries. The afternoon heart whenever the ship trembles with clouds are gathering on the Pillars of that shudder of getting under weigh, Hercules; gray gulls are flying; a young which is the initial throe of the ecstasy priest hangs his little golden bird on of going home.

the port side, under the awning, and at When last I went to Africa, it was once and forever that little bird casts a in war-time, and I took five steamers. tendril of song out to sea. There is the Five steamers I took, and for these five Burutu; and still I see her come into steamers I waited in five several ports, the harbor of Dakar at dusk, her lights for five æons of time; until at last I said fore and aft the color of primroses, and that, if ever in opening a book I came her signals flat in the wind from Timupon a traveler waiting on a dock, open buctoo. Still I see her pick her way in sea-beach, or river-bank, for a galley, the dark down the West Coast, or, in caracul, frigate, clipper, or steamer, I the safety of a river, paint the forest would then close the book. I would walls with her light. In my heart I save never read, I said, of Jason and the her forever from that betrayal in the Argo, or of Hero and Leander, or even English Channel, where she was lost, of Europa and the Bull. All adventures and her crew. And still I remember taking account of transportation by that last little steamer of all, whose water would be for me forever anath- name I have forgotten, who had no ema. And I would forever forget my cabins, but suffered her passengers on voyage of the five steamers. But often her bridge, where they idly slept while and often, in a kind of little flock, the she hurried all night under the stars odd assorted lot of them comes back to upon the errands of exiles. For them mind; I see them in my heart and I love she turned the furrow and cast her anthem.

chor in their service wherever there was There is the Montevideo, and she is a lamp at night, or a zinc roof to shine a lady. There is the Delphin, so little, in the sun. She was for them, in those so rolling, and so dirty, carrying her irregular war-times, a kind of miracle cargo of flies from the clean, pale alleys - a sweet chariot swinging low and of Cadiz to the sea-based mountains coming for to carry them home. She of the Canaries. There is the Cataluna, was Their Steamer.



Is my heart ordered, clean, and sweet,
For my loved Master's hasting feet?

Is my heart warm, that, when He stands Chilled, He may stoop and warm his hands?

And quiet that He may be blest -
Tired from all turmoil — and have rest?

And lighted, that He may forget
The rough road, and the storm and wet?

Garnished with fragrant flowers, that might Recall dear joys across black night?

And is there bread? and wine? lest He
Should thirst — or should be hungry?

Hark! Who is there? Oh, enter in!
Enters a man bowed down with sin.

Behind him, bent, is one who stands,
A broken heart within her hands;

And back of them (oh, shut the wild
Night out!) a shrinking starved child.

A step! O Master do not wake
Thy friends who sleep here for thy sake!

Disturb them not, O Mighty Guest!
They sleep! They have such need of rest!

The Master smiles, then He and I
Go softly; speak but whisperingly.





THERE are strange things in this of the sea'

of the sea' - it sounds like the portrait story, but, so far as I understand them, of a beauty, and she was never that. I tell the truth. If you measure the Also, incidentally, it gives none of her East with a Western foot-rule, you will charm. I never heard anyone get any say, 'Impossible.' I should have said further than that she was ‘oddly atit myself.

tractive' let us leave it at that. She Of myself I will say as little as I can, was certainly attractive to me. for this story is of Vanna Loring. I am She was the governess of little Winian incident only, though I did not know fred Meryon, whose father held the authat at first.

gust position of General Commanding My name is Stephen Clifden, and I the Frontier Forces, and her mother the was eight-and-thirty; plenty of money, more commanding position of the reignsound in wind and limb. I had been by ing beauty of Northern India, generally way of being a writer before the war, speaking. the hobby of a rich man; but if I picked But Vanna - I gleaned her story by up anything in the welter in France, it bits when I came across her with the was that real work is the only salvation child in the gardens. I was beginning this mad world has to offer; so I meant to piece it together now. to begin at the beginning, and learn my Her love of the strange and beautitrade like a journeyman laborer. ful she had inherited from a young

I had come to the right place. A very Italian mother, daughter of a political wonderful city is Peshawar - the Key refugee; her childhood had been spent of India, and a city of Romance, which in a remote little village in the West of stands at every corner, and cries aloud England; half reluctantly she told me in the market-place. But there was how she had brought herself up after society here, and I was swept into it - her mother's death and her father's there was chatter, and it galled me. second marriage. Little was said of

I was beginning to feel that I had that, but I gathered that it had been a missed my mark, and must go farther grief to her, a factor in her flight to the afield, perhaps up into Central Asia, East. when I met Vanna Loring. If I say that 'So when I came to three-andher hair was soft and dark; that she had twenty,' she said slowly, 'I felt I must the deepest hazel eyes I have ever seen, break away from our narrow life. I and a sensitive, tender mouth; that she had a call to India stronger than anymoved with a flowing grace like ‘a wave thing on earth. You would not under

your chain.'

stand, but that was so, and I had spent was coming home. You would laugh if every spare moment in teaching my- I told you I knew Peshawar long before self India - its history, legends, re- I came here. Knew it - walked here, ligions, everything! And I was not want- lived. Before there were English in Ined at home, and I had grown afraid.' dia at all.' She broke off. You won't 'What were you afraid of?'

understand. ‘Of growing old and missing what ‘Oh, I have had that feeling, too,' was waiting for me out here. But I I said patronizingly. “If one has read could not get away like other people. very much about a place No money, you see. So I thought I “That was not quite what I meant. would come out and teach here. Dare Never mind. The people, the place I? Would they let me? I knew I was that is the real thing to me. All this is fighting life and chances and risks if I the dream.' did it; but it was death if I stayed there. The sweep of her hand took in not And then — Do you really care to only Winifred and myself, but the genhear?'

eral's stately residence, which to blas‘Of course. Tell me how you broke pheme in Peshawar is rank infidelity.

‘By George, I would give thousands 'I spare you the family quarrels. I to feel that! I can't get out of Europe can never go back. But I was spurred here. I want to write, Miss Loring,' I

-spurred to take some wild leap; and found myself saying. 'I'd done a bit, I took it. So six years ago I came out. and then the war came and blew my First I went to a doctor and his wife life to pieces. Now I want to get inside at Cawnpore. They had a wonderful the skin of the East, and I can't do it. knowledge of the Indian peoples, and I see it from outside, with a pane of there I learned Hindustani and much glass between. No life in it. If you else. Then he died. But an aunt had feel as you say, for God's sake be my left me two hundred pounds, and I interpreter!' could wait a little and choose; and so I 'Interpret?' she said, looking at me came here.'

with clear hazel eyes; ‘how could I? It interested me. The courage that You were in the native city yesterday. pale elastic type of woman has!

What did you miss?' 'Have you ever regretted it? Would 'Everything! I saw masses of color, they take you back if you failed?' light, movement. Brilliantly pictur

‘Never, to both questions,' she said, esque people. Children like Asiatic ansmiling. 'Life is glorious. I've drunk of gels. Magnificently scowling ruffians a cup I never thought to taste; and if in sheepskin coats. In fact, a movie I died to-morrow I should know I had staged for my benefit. I was afraid they done right. I rejoice in every moment would ring down the curtain before I I live even when Winifred and I had had enough. It had no meaning. wrestling with arithmetic.'

When I got back to my diggings I tried 'I should n't have thought life was to put down what I had just seen, and very easy with Lady Meryon.'

I swear there's more inspiration in the ‘Oh, she is kind enough in an indif- guide-book.' ferent sort of way. I am not the perse- 'Did you go alone?' cuted Jane Eyre sort of governess at all. "Yes, I certainly would not go sightBut that is all on the surface and does seeing with the Meryon crowd. Tell me not matter. It is India I care for the what you felt when you saw it first.' people, the sun, the infinite beauty. It 'I went with Sir John's uncle. He


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