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      I could not speak, I shook my head, and for evidence in rebuttal I showed in my eyes two fountains of standing tears.

      But what is this; are we calling the roll after we have broken ranks? Our rocket has scaled the sky, poised, curved, burst, spread out all its stars, and dropped its stick. All is done unless we desire to watch the fading sparks slowly sink and melt into darkness. The General, the Major, his brother, their sister, my mother, Quinn, Kendall, Sergeant Jim, the Sessionses, the Walls--do not inquire too closely; some have vanished already, and soon all will be gone; then--another rocket; it is the only way, and why is it not a good one? Harry and Ccile--yes, they still shine, in "dear old New Orleans." Camille kept me on the tenter-hooks while she "turned away her eyes" for years; but one evening when we were reading an ancient book together out dropped those same old sweet-pea blossoms; whereupon I took her hand and--I have it yet. There, we have counted the last spark--stop, no! two lights beam out again; Edgard and Charlotte, our neighbors and dearest friends through all our life; they glow with nobility and loveliness yet, as they did in those young days when his sword led our dying fortunes, and she, in her gypsy wagon, followed them, binding the torn wound, and bathing the aching bruise and fevered head. Oh, Ned Ferry, my long-loved partner, as dear a leader still as ever you were in the days of bloody death, life's choicest gifts be yours, and be hers whose sons and daughters are yours, and the eldest and tallest of whom is the one you and she have named Richard.Frank thought it was pretty nearly time to be thinking about the purchases he was to make for Mary. So he looked up the paper she gave him before his departure, and sat down to examine it. The list was not by any means a short one, and on consulting with the Doctor he learned that it would make a heavy inroad upon his stock of cash if he bought everything that was mentioned. He was rather disconcerted at the situation, but the good Doctor came to his relief.

      Your brother tells me you are as devoted to books as he, said Keeling.You will do the typewriting in that small room off this. You have a machine of your own?

      The night was still and sultry. At one of the many camp-fires on the edge of the road I saw the Arkansas colonel sitting cross-legged on the ground, in trousers, socks and undershirt, playing poker."The next day," said the Doctor, "I went on from Nara to Kioto, which was another thirty miles, in about the same time and with a similar halt for dinner. I had the same men as on the day before, and they raced merrily along without the least sign of fatigue, although there was a pouring rain all day that made the roads very heavy. Frequently there were steep little hills to ascend where the road passed over the water-courses or canals. You will find, as you travel in Japan, that the canals are above the general level of the country, in order to afford the proper fall for irrigation. Where the road crosses one of these canals, there is a sharp rise on one side, and an equally sharp descent on the other. You can manage the descent, but the rise is difficult. In the present instance the rain had softened the road, and made the pulling very hard indeed; and, to add to the trouble, I had injured my foot and was unable to walk, so that I could not lighten the burden of the men by getting out of the carriage at the bad places.

      "Say, stranger, how far does this thing fly before it lights?""I have heard a curious story of how the foreigners have secured more privileges than are allowed to the native merchants. Every district has the right to tax goods passing through it. At each district there is a[Pg 336] barrier, commanded by a petty official, with a military guard, and here each native boat must stop and pay the transit tax. For long distances these taxes amount to a large sum, and frequently are a great deal more than the goods cost originally. These taxes are known as 'squeezes,' and the barriers where they are paid are called 'squeeze stations.' But the foreigners have secured a treaty with China, or, rather, there is a clause in one of the treaties, which exempts them from the payment of the transit 'squeezes;' they only pay the customs duties, and the local tax at the place of destination. Transit passes are issued by which goods belonging to foreigners, though carried in native boats, are exempt from squeezing, but these passes can only be obtained by foreigners.

      I am infinitely distressed, he began. But Alice, with her temper rising to heights uncontemplated, interrupted him.

      This also was dreadfully indelicate, but it is not to be wondered at that Mrs Keeling cast a glance into the looking glass, where her reflection looked out like a Naiad amid the water-lilies, even while she reproved her husband for the broadness of his suggestion.



      "How do you know which way to turn?" Frank asked; "it seems to me you are just as likely to run to the centre of the storm as to the circumference."The ridge on which he walked declined downwards into a hollow full of sunshine flecked with shadow. A few big oak-trees stood there, still leafless, and the narrow path, with mossy banks on each side, led through a copse of hazel which had been felled the year before. The ground was covered with the fern-like leaves of wood anemones{234} and thickly tufted with the dark green spears, where in May the bluebells would seem like patches of fallen sky. It was sheltered here, and a brimstone butterfly flitted through the patches of sunlight. At the bottom of the hollow a runnel of water from some spring crossed the path, and babbled into a cup fringed with creeping ivy, and young crinkled primrose leaves. Then the path rose swiftly upwards again on the side of the next rolling billow of down, and coming towards him from it was the figure, tall and swiftly moving, of a girl. For a moment he resented the fact of any human presence here: the next he heard his heart creaking in his throat, for he saw who it was.


      With weariness hardly can move;There were not many passengers, perhaps a dozen in all, and they were mostly merchants and other residents of Shanghai on their way to Europe or to some of the southerly ports of Asia. Two of the passengers were accompanied by their Chinese servants, and the boys were greatly amused to hear the efforts of the latter to speak English. They had already heard the same kind of thing during their movements in China, but had not paid much attention to it in consequence of their occupation with other matters. Now, however, they had some leisure for investigation, and Fred suggested that they had better take a glance at the Chinese language.