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Title: East of Suez - Ceylon, India, China and Japan
Author: Penfield, Frederic Courtland, 1855-1922
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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EAST OF SUEZ



  PRESENT-DAY EGYPT

  By Frederic Courtland Penfield, Former American Diplomatic
  Agent and Consul-General to Egypt.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Secretariat
  du
  Khédive_

  RAS-EL-TEEN PALACE,
  ALEXANDRIA, 4th November, 1899

  FREDERIC C. PENFIELD, ESQUIRE,
  Manhattan Club, New York.


  My dear Sir:

  I am commanded by H. H. The Khedive to
  acknowledge the receipt of the copy of your
  book "Present-Day Egypt," which you have
  so kindly forwarded for his acceptance.

  I am to say that His Highness has read it
  with much pleasure and interest, as it is the
  only book published on Egypt of to-day by
  an author thoroughly acquainted with the
  subject through long residence and official
  position in the country.

  I have the honor to be, Sir,
  Your obedient servant,
  (Signed) ALFRED B. BREWSTER,
  Private Secretary to H. H. the Khedive.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Revised and Enlarged Edition. Fully illustrated.
  Uniform with "East of Suez." 8vo. 396 pages. $2.50

  The Century Co.,
  Union Square New York



[Illustration: GULF OF MANAR PEARLING BOAT, AND DIVERS RESTING IN
THE WATER]



  EAST OF SUEZ
  CEYLON, INDIA, CHINA AND JAPAN


  By
  Frederic Courtland Penfield
  Author of "Present-Day Egypt," etc.


  Illustrated from Drawings and Photographs


  "East is East, and West is West, and
                  never the twain shall meet,
  Till Earth and Sky stand presently at
                  God's great Judgment Seat."
                                        _Kipling._


  [Illustration]


  NEW YORK
  THE CENTURY CO.
  1907



  Copyright, 1906, 1907, by
  THE CENTURY CO.

  _Published, February, 1907_


  THE DE VINNE PRESS



  TO THE MEMORY OF
  KATHARINE



Introductory


If books of travel were not written the stay-at-home millions would know
little of the strange or interesting sights of this beautiful world of
ours; and it surely is better to have a vicarious knowledge of what is
beyond the vision than dwell in ignorance of the ways and places of men
and women included in the universal human family.

The Great East is a fascinating theme to most readers, and every
traveler, from Marco Polo to the tourist of the present time, taking the
trouble to record what he saw, has placed every fireside reader under
distinct obligation.

So thorough was my mental acquaintance with India through years of
sympathetic study of Kipling that a leisurely survey of Hind simply
confirmed my impressions. Other generous writers had as faithfully
taught what China in reality was, and Mortimer Menpes, Basil Hall
Chamberlain, and Miss Scidmore had as conscientiously depicted to my
understanding the ante-war Japan. Grateful am I, as well, to the legion
of tireless writers attracted to the East by recent strife and conquest,
who have made Fuji more familiar to average readers than any mountain
peak in the United States; who have made the biographies of favorite
geishas known even in our hamlets and mining camps, and whose agreeable
iteration of scenes on Manila's lunetta compel our Malaysian capital to
be known as well as Coney Island and Atlantic City--they have so
graphically portrayed and described interesting features that of them
nothing remains to be told. But to know Eastern lands and peoples
without an intermediary is keenly delightful and compensating.

The travel impulse and longing for first-hand knowledge, native with
most mortals, is yearly finding readier expression. Our grandparents
earned a renown more than local by crossing the Atlantic to view England
and the Continent, while our fathers and mothers exploring distant
Russia and the Nile were accorded marked consideration. The wandering
habit is as progressive as catching, and what sufficed our ancestors
satisfies only in minor degree the longing of the present generation for
roving. Hence the grand tour, the circuit of the earth, is becoming an
ordinary achievement. And while hundreds of Americans are compassing the
earth this year, thousands will place the globe under tribute in seasons
not remote.

For many years to come India and Ceylon will practically be what they
are to-day, and sluggish China will require much rousing before her
national characteristics differ from what they are now; but of Japan it
is different, for, having made up their minds to remodel the empire, the
sons of Nippon are not doing things by halves, and the old is being
supplanted by the new with amazing rapidity.

Possibly it is a misfortune to find oneself incapable of preparing a
volume of travel without inflicting a sermon upon kindly disposed
persons, but a book of journeyings loaded with gentle preachment must at
least be a novelty. Travel books imparting no patriotic lesson may well
be left to authors and readers of older and self-sufficient nations. A
work appealing on common lines to a New World audience would be worse
than banal, and a conscientious American writer is compelled to describe
not alone what he saw, but in clarion notes tell of some things he
failed of seeing for our country, emerging but now from the formative
period, and destined to permanently lead the universe in material
affairs, is entitled to be better known in the East by its manufactures.

Every piece of money expended in travel is but the concrete form of
somebody's toil, or the equivalent of a marketed product: and
consequently it is almost unnecessary to remind that industry and thrift
must precede expenditure, or to assert that toil and travel bear
inseparable relationship. What the American, zigzagging up and down and
across that boundless region spoken of as East of Suez, fails to see is
the product of Uncle Sam's mills, workshops, mines and farms. From the
moment he passes the Suez Canal to his arrival at Hong Kong or Yokohama,
the Stars and Stripes are discovered in no harbor nor upon any sea; and
maybe he sees the emblem of the great republic not once in the transit
of the Pacific. And the products of our marvelous country are met but
seldom, if at all, where the American wanders in the East. He is
rewarded by finding that the Light of Asia is American petroleum, but
that is about the only Western commodity he is sure of encountering in
months of travel.

This state of things is grievously wrong, for it should be as easy for
us to secure trade in the Orient as for any European nation, and
assuredly easier than for Germany. We have had such years of material
prosperity and progress as were never known in the history of any
people, it is true; but every cycle of prosperity has been succeeded by
lean years, and ever will be. When the inevitable over-production and
lessened home consumption come, Eastern markets, though supplied at
moderate profit, will be invaluable. We are building the Panama Canal,
whose corollary _must_ be a mercantile fleet of our own upon the seas,
distributing the products of our soil and manufactories throughout the
world, and Secretary of State Root has made it easy for a better
understanding and augmented trade with the republics to the south of us.
But America's real opportunity is in Asia, where dwell more than half
the people of the earth, for the possibilities of commerce with the rich
East exceed those of South America tenfold. Uncle Sam merits a goodly
share of the trade of both these divisions of the globe.

The people of the United States must cut loose from the idea that has
lost its logic in recent years, that the Pacific Ocean _separates_
America from the lands and islands of Asia, and look upon it as a body
of water _connecting_ us with the bountiful East. The old theory was
good enough for our home-building fathers, but is blighting to a
generation aspiring to Americanize the globe. The genius of our nation
should cause our ploughs and harrows to prepare the valley and delta of
the Nile for tillage; be responsible for the whir of more of our
agricultural machinery in the fields of India; locate our lathes and
planers and drilling machines in Eastern shops, in substitution for
those made in England or Germany; be responsible for American
locomotives drawing American cars in Manchuria and Korea over rails
rolled in Pittsburgh, and induce half the inhabitants of southern Asia
to dress in fabrics woven in the United States, millions of the people
of Cathay to tread the earth in shoes produced in New England, and all
swayed to an appreciation of our flour as a substitute for rice--yes,
make it easy to obtain pure canned foods everywhere in China and Japan,
even to hear the merry click of the typewriter in Delhi, Bangkok and
Pekin.

Do we not already lead in foreign trade? We do, I gratefully admit; but
it is because we sell to less favored peoples our grains and fiber in a
raw state. Confessedly, these are self-sellers, for not a bushel of
wheat or ounce of cotton is sold because of any enterprise on our
part--the buyer must have them, and the initiative of the transaction is
his.

What economists regard as 'trade' in its most advantageous form, is the
selling to foreigners of something combining the natural products and
the handiwork of a nation--this is the trade that America should look
for in the East, and seek it now. It is not wild prophecy that within
five years a considerable number of the sovereign people of the country
controlling its growth will feel that it is carrying international
comity to the point of philanthropy to export cotton to England and
Japan to be there fabricated for the wear of every race of Asia, and
sold in successful competition with American textiles. In the pending
battle for the world's markets Uncle Sam should win trade by every
proper means, and not by methods most easily invoked; and let it ever be
remembered that shortsightedness is plainly distinct from altruism.


  FREDERIC C. PENFIELD.

  AUTHORS CLUB, NEW YORK CITY,
  January 26, 1907.



  CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                            PAGE

     I  THE WORLD'S TURNSTILE AT SUEZ                   3

    II  COLOMBO, CEYLON'S COSMOPOLITAN SEA-PORT        30

   III  THE LURE OF THE PEARL                          50

    IV  UPWARD TO THE SHRINE OF BUDDHA                 92

     V  IN CEYLON'S HILL COUNTRY                      108

    VI  BOMBAY AND ITS PARSEE "JEES" AND "BHOYS"      126

   VII  THE VICARIOUS MAHARAJAH OF JEYPORE.           149

  VIII  THE WORLD'S MOST EXQUISITE BUILDING           168

    IX  BENARES, SACRED CITY OF THE HINDUS            185

     X  INDIA'S MODERN CAPITAL                        205

    XI  ISLAND LINKS IN BRITAIN'S CHAIN OF EMPIRE     226

   XII  CANTON, UNIQUE CITY OF CHINA 244

  XIII  MACAO, THE MONTE CARLO OF THE FAR EAST        267

   XIV  THE KAISER'S PLAY FOR CHINESE TRADE           290

    XV  JAPAN'S COMMERCIAL FUTURE                     315

        INDEX                                         345



  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                            PAGE

  GULF OF MANAR PEARLING BOAT, AND DIVERS RESTING
  IN THE WATER                                      Frontispiece
    From drawing by Corwin K. Linson.

  PORT SAID ENTRANCE TO SUEZ CANAL, SHOWING DE
  LESSEPS'S STATUE                                             8
    From photograph by Georgilada Kip.

  ITALIAN WARSHIP STEAMING THROUGH CANAL                      13

  CARGO STEAMER IN THE CANAL AT KILOMETER 133                 25
    From photograph by Georgilada Kip.

  THE JETTY AT COLOMBO                                        32

  HINDU SILVERSMITHS, COLOMBO                                 38
    From photograph by Skeen & Co.

  A HIGH PRIEST OF BUDDHA 42
    From photograph by Colombo Apothecaries Co., Ltd.

  REPRESENTATION OF BUDDHA'S TOOTH, COLOMBO MUSEUM            46

  MAP OF THE GULF OF MANAR, "THE SEA ABOUNDING IN PEARLS"     53

  COOLIES CARRYING PEARL OYSTERS FROM THE BOATS TO THE
  GOVERNMENT "KOTTU"                                          60
    From drawing by Corwin K. Linson.

  THE LATE RANA OF DHOLPUR IN HIS PEARL REGALIA               67
    From photograph by Johnston & Hoffmann.

  INDIAN PEARL MERCHANTS READY FOR BUSINESS, MARICHCHIKKADDI  74
    From drawing by Corwin K. Linson.

  THE LATE MAHARAJAH OF PATIALA IN HIS PEARL REGALIA          83
    From photograph by Johnston & Hoffmann.

  A LADY OF KANDY                                             94
    From photograph by Skeen & Co.

  TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH, KANDY                                  99
    From photograph by Colombo Apothecaries Co., Ltd.

  CREMATION OF A BUDDHIST PRIEST                             105
    From photograph by Platé & Co.

  TREES IN PERADENIYA GARDEN, KANDY                          111
    From photographs by Frederic C. Penfield.

  TAMIL COOLIE SETTING OUT TEA PLANTS                        115

  TAMIL GIRL PLUCKING TEA                                    119

  A KANDYAN CHIEFTAIN                                        124

  PARSEE TOWER OF SILENCE, BOMBAY                            129

  A BOMBAY RAILWAY STATION                                   136

  A BOMBAY POLICEMAN                                         141

  HIS HIGHNESS THE MAHARAJAH OF JEYPORE                      148

  A MATCHED PAIR OF BULLOCKS, JEYPORE                        153

  STREET SCENE, JEYPORE, SHOWING PALACE OF THE WINDS         157

  COURT DANCERS AND MUSICIANS, JEYPORE                       162

  THE TAJ MAHAL, AGRA                                        169

  ALABASTER SCREEN ENCLOSING ARJAMAND'S TOMB, TAJ MAHAL      175

  INLAID WORK IN MAUSOLEUM OP ITIMAD-UD-DAULAH, AGRA         182

  SCENE ON THE GANGES, BENARES                               188

  BENARES BURNING GHAT, WITH CORPSES BEING PURIFIED IN
  THE GANGES                                                 191

  BENARES HOLY' MEN                                          198

  A BRAHMIN PRIEST                                           203

  A CALCUTTA NAUTCH DANCER                                   207

  GENERAL POST-OFFICE, CALCUTTA                              212

  SHIPPING ON THE HOOGHLY, CALCUTTA                          215

  CALCUTTA COOLIES                                           222

  HONG KONG HARBOR                                           229

  HONG KONG'S MOUNTAINSIDE                                   233

  A FORMER "HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR" OF HONG KONG        240

  TEMPLE OF THE FIVE HUNDRED GENII, CANTON                   247
    From photograph by A-Chan.

  CITY OF BOATS, CANTON, WHERE GENERATIONS ARE BORN
  AND DIE                                                    254

  EXAMINATION BOOTHS, CANTON                                 261
    From photograph by A-Chan.

  PRINCIPAL SECTION OF MACAO                                 270

  FRONTIER GATE BETWEEN CHINA PROPER AND THE
  PORTUGUESE COLONY                                          275

  MONUMENT AND BUST OF CAMOENS, MACAO                        279

  IN A FAN-TAN GAMBLING HOUSE, MACAO                         288

  TYPICAL BUSINESS STREET IN A CHINESE CITY                  293
    From photograph by A-Chan.

  EXHIBITION OF BODIES OF CHINESE MALEFACTORS WHO
  HAVE BEEN STRANGLED                                        300

  SIMPLE PUNISHMENT OF A CHINESE MENDICANT                   305

  CHINESE BUDDHIST PRIESTS                                   311

  BRONZE DAIBUTSU AT KAMAKURA, JAPAN                         319
    From photograph by Frederic C. Penfield.

  A GARDEN VIEW OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY, TOKYO               328
    From photograph by Frederic C. Penfield.

  JAPANESE JUNK, OR CARGO BOAT                               337



EAST OF SUEZ



CHAPTER I

THE WORLD'S TURNSTILE AT SUEZ


When historical novels and "purpose" books dealing with great industries
and commodities cease to sell, the vagrant atoms and shadings of history
ending with the opening of the two world-important canals might be
employed by writers seeking incidents as entrancing as romances and
which are capable of being woven into narrative sufficiently interesting
to compel a host of readers. The person fortunate enough to blaze the
trail in this literary departure will have a superabundance of material
at command, if he know where and how to seek it.

The paramount fact-story of all utilitarian works of importance is
unquestionably that surrounding the great portal connecting Europe with
Asia. As romances are plants of slow growth in lands of the Eastern
hemisphere, compared with the New World, the fascinating tale of Suez
required two or three thousand years for its development, while that of
Panama had its beginning less than four hundred years ago. In both cases
the possession of a canal site demanded by commerce brought loss of
territory and prestige to the government actually owning it. The
Egyptians were shorn of the privilege of governing Egypt through the
reckless pledging of credit to raise funds for the completion of the
waterway connecting Port Saïd and Suez, and the South American republic
of Colombia saw a goodly slice of territory pass forever from her rule,
with the Panama site, when the republic on the isthmus came suddenly
into being.

Vexatious and humiliating as the incidents must have been to the
Egyptians and the Colombians, the world at large, broadly considering
the situations, pretends to see no misfortune in the conversion of
trifling areas to the control of abler administrators, comparing each
action to the condemning of a piece of private property to the use of
the universe. When the canal connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific
shall be completed, no more waterways uniting oceans will be necessary
or possible. But, did a weak people possess a site that might be
utilized by the ebbing and flowing of the globe's shipping, when a canal
had been made, they would obviously hesitate a long time before
voluntarily parading its advantages.

The uniting of the Mediterranean and Red seas was considered long before
the birth of Christ, and many wise men and potentates toyed with the
project in the hoary ages. The Persian king, Necho, was dissuaded
sixteen hundred years before the dawn of Christianity from embarking in
the enterprise, through the warning of his favorite oracle, who insisted
that the completion of the work would bring a foreign invasion,
resulting in the loss of canal and country as well. The great Rameses
was not the only ruler of the country of the Nile who coquetted with the
project. In 1800 the engineers of Napoleon studied the scheme, but their
error in estimating the Red Sea to be thirty feet below the
Mediterranean kept the Corsican from undertaking the cutting of a canal.
Mehemet Ali, whose energies for improving the welfare of his Egyptian
people were almost boundless, never yielded to the blandishment of
engineers scheming to pierce the isthmus; he may have known of the
prognostication of Necho's oracle.

Greater than any royal actor in the Suez enterprise, however, was
Ferdinand de Lesseps, the Frenchman whom history persists in calling an
engineer. By training and occupation he was a diplomatist, probably
knowing no more of engineering than of astronomy or therapeutics.
Possessing limitless ambition, he longed to be conspicuously in the
public gaze, to be great. He excelled as a negotiator, and knew this;
and it came easy to him to organize and direct. In his day the
designation "Captain of Industry" had not been devised. In the project
of canalizing the Suez isthmus--perennial theme of Cairo bazaar and
coffee-house--he recognized his opportunity, and severed his connection
with the French Consulate-General in Egypt to promote the alluring
scheme, under a concession readily procured from Viceroy Saïd. This was
in 1856.

Egypt had no debt whatever when Saïd Pasha signed the document. But when
the work was completed, in 1869, the government of the ancient land of
the Pharaohs was fairly tottering under its avalanche of obligations to
European creditors, for every wile of the plausible De Lesseps had been
employed to get money from simple Saïd, and later from Ismail Pasha, who
succeeded him in the khedivate. For fully a decade the raising of money
for the project was the momentous work of the rulers of Egypt; but more
than half the cash borrowed at usurious rates stuck to the hands of the
money brokers in Europe, let it be known, while the obligation of Saïd
or Ismail was in every instance for the full amount.

Incidentally, a condition of the concession was that Egypt need
subscribe nothing, and as a consideration for the concession it was
solemnly stipulated that for ninety-nine years--the period for which the
concession was given--fifteen per cent, of the gross takings of the
enterprise would be paid to the Egyptian treasury.

[Illustration: PORT SAID ENTRANCE TO SUEZ CANAL, SHOWING DE LESSEP'S
STATUE]

Learning the borrowing habit from his relations with plausible De
Lesseps, the magnificent Ismail borrowed in such a wholesale manner, for
the Egyptian people and himself, that in time both were hopelessly in
default to stony-hearted European creditors. Egyptian bonds were then
quoted in London at about half their face value, and Britons held a
major part of them.

England had originally fought the canal project, opposing it in every
way open to her power and influence at Continental capitals. The belief
in time dawning upon the judgment of Britain that the canal would be
finished and would succeed, her statesmen turned their energies to
checkmating and minimizing the influence of De Lesseps and his dupe
Ismail. The screws were consequently put on the Sultan of Turkey--whose
vassal Ismail was--resulting in that Merry Monarch of the Nile being
deposed and sent into exile, and the national cash-box at Cairo was at
the same time turned over to a commission of European
administrators--and is yet in their keeping.

But the miserable people of Egypt, the burdened fellaheen, resented the
interference of Christian money-lenders, demanding more than their pound
of flesh. The Arabi rebellion resulted, when British regiments and
warships were sent to quell the uprising and restore the authority of
the Khedive. That was nearly a quarter of a century ago; but since the
revolution the soldiers and civil servants of England have remained in
Egypt, and to all intents and purposes the country has become a colony
of England. The defaulted debts of the canal-building period were
responsible for these happenings, be it said.

Verily, the fulfilment of Necho's oracle came with terrible force, and
generations of Nile husbandmen must toil early and late to pay the
interest on the public debt incurred through Ismail's prodigality. This
degraded man in his exile persistently maintained that he believed he
was doing right when borrowing for the canal, for it was to elevate
Egypt to a position of honor and prominence in the list of nations. And
it is the irony of fate, surely, that Ismail's personal holding in the
canal company was sacrificed to the British government for half its
actual value, on the eve of his dethronement, and that every tittle of
interest in the enterprise held by the Egyptian government--including
the right to fifteen per cent, of the receipts--was lost or abrogated.
Owning not a share of stock in the undertaking, and having no merchant
shipping to be benefited, Egypt derives no more advantage from the great
Suez Canal than an imaginary kingdom existing in an Anthony Hope novel.

The canal has prospered beyond the dreams of its author; but this means
no more to the country through which it runs than the success of the
canals of Mars. De Lesseps died in a madhouse and practically a pauper,
while Ismail spent his last years a prisoner in a gilded palace on the
Bosporus, and was permitted to return to his beloved country only after
death. These are but some of the tragic side-lights of the great story
of the Suez Canal.

A few years since there was a movement in France to perpetuate De
Lesseps's name by officially calling the waterway the Canal de Lesseps.
But England withheld its approval, while other interests having a right
to be heard believed that the stigma of culpability over the Panama
swindles was fastened upon De Lesseps too positively to merit the
tribute desired by his relatives and friends. As a modified measure,
however, the canal administration was willing to appropriate a modest
sum to provide a statue of the once honored man to be placed at the
Mediterranean entrance of the canal.

There stands to-day on the jetty at Port Saïd, consequently, a bronze
effigy of the man for a few years known as "_Le grand Français_," visage
directed toward Constantinople (where once he had been potent in
intrigue), the left hand holding a map of the canal, while the right is
raised in graceful invitation to the maritime world to enter. This piece
of sculpture is the only material evidence that such a person as
Ferdinand de Lesseps ever lived. The legacy to his family was that of a
man outliving his importance and fair name.

The name Port Saïd commemorates the viceroy granting the concession,
while Ismail the Splendid has his name affixed to the midway station on
the canal, Ismailia, where tourists scramble aboard the train bound for
Cairo and the Nile. The actual terminus at the Suez end is called Port
Tewfik, after Ismail's son and successor in the khedivate. This
convenient mode of perpetuating the names of mighty actors in the Suez
drama suggests a certain sentimentality, but the present generation
cares as little for the subject as for a moldy play-bill hanging in a
dark corner of a club-house.

As an engineering feat the construction of the canal was nothing
remarkable. Any youth knowing the principles of running lines and
following the course of least resistance might have planned it. In Cairo
and Alexandria it is flippantly said that De Lesseps traced with his
gold-headed walking-stick the course of the canal in the sand, while
hundreds of thousands of unpaid natives scooped the soil out with their
hands. The work was completed with dredges and labor-saving machinery,
as a fact. The enterprise cost practically $100,000,000--a million
dollars a mile; and half this was employed in greasing the wheels at
Constantinople and Paris, Probably the work could to-day be duplicated,
by using machinery similar to that employed on the Chicago Drainage
Canal, for $25,000,000. The task would be a digging proposition, pure
and simple.

A cardinal article of faith of the legal status of the canal is its
absolute internationality. By its constitution no government can employ
it in war time to the exclusion or disadvantage of another nation. By a
convention becoming operative in 1888 the canal is exempt from blockade,
and vessels of all nations, whether armed or not, are forever to be
allowed to pass through it in peace or time of war.

[Illustration: ITALIAN WARSHIP STEAMING THROUGH CANAL]

Critics of Britain's paramount interest in India and her aspirations in
the Far East, nevertheless, pretend to see a decided advantage accruing
from England's control of things Egyptian. They claim that Britain's
position is immensely strengthened by the presence in Cairo and
Alexandria, within a few hours' journey of the canal, of a half-dozen
regiments of redcoats ready for any emergency. Another proof of
England's interest in the great universal artery of travel is the
maintaining of guard-ships at either terminus, which incidentally keep
watchful eyes on the coal-bins of Suez and Port Saïd, A vessel
unofficially sunk in an awkward position in the canal might delay for
weeks the arrival of an unfriendly fleet in Asiatic waters.

The British government and British trade have fattened tremendously from
the canal. Being the short-cut to England's treasure-house in the East,
it is more or less equitable that Britain's flag flies over sixty per
cent, of the canal traffic; and, fully as important, is the tremendous
increase in value of the shares in the company held by the British
government. It was in 1875 that Disraeli secured to his countrymen the
permanent control of the canal through the purchase from embarrassed
Ismail of that potentate's personal holding in the undertaking. This
midnight negotiation, conducted over the cable, was Disraeli's most
material triumph as a statesman. For $20,000,000 he purchased shares
having now a market value of $135,000,000. A few hours after the
consummation of this negotiation a group of French bankers, then in
Cairo, seeking to acquire the shares, were amazed to learn that they had
been outwitted. A well-posted newspaper correspondent at the French
capital had informed Britain's ambassador of the purpose of the
bankers' visit to Egypt--and astute Disraeli did the rest.

This transferred from France to her rival across the channel the right
to direct the policy of De Lesseps's creation. But French
susceptibilities have always been considered in matters connected with
the conduct of the enterprise--it is still "La Compagnie Universelle du
Canal Maritime de Suez," the tariff is based on French currency, the
principal office is in Paris, and the official language of the company
is French.

The world knows the Suez marine highway only in its utilitarian aspect,
and America's interest therein is that attaching to it as an enterprise
forerunning Uncle Sam's route at Panama. Before many years have passed
the two canals will to some extent be rivals. The Suez cutting is
practically ninety-nine miles in length, and at present 121 feet wide,
with a depth accommodating craft drawing twenty-six feet and three
inches. To handle modern battleships and the increasing size of cargo
steamers, both depth and width are to be increased. Having no sharp
curvatures, and excavated at a level from sea to sea, ships proceed by
night assisted by electric lights with the same facility as by day. The
time consumed in transit is from fourteen to eighteen hours. Not for a
decade has a sailing vessel used the canal, and the widest craft ever
traversing the canal was the dry-dock _Dewey_, sent under tow by the
government from the United States to the Philippines. The tariff is now
reduced to $1.70 per ton register, and $2 for every passenger. A ship's
crew pay nothing. The toll for a steamer of average size, like a
Peninsular and Orient liner, is about $10,000. I first passed the canal
in a yacht of the New York Yacht Club, for which the tax was $400, and
the last time I made the transit was in a German-Lloyd mail steamer
which paid $7,000 for tonnage and passengers.

The canal's value to the commerce of the world is sufficiently proved by
the saving of distance effected by it, as compared with the route around
the Cape of Good Hope. By the latter the distance between England and
Bombay is 10,860 miles, by the canal 4,620 miles, and from New York to
the leading ports of India the Cape route is about 11,500 miles, while
by the canal the journey is shortened to 7,900 miles. How rapidly the
traffic attracted by the economy in distance thus effected has
developed, is best illustrated by the following statement, taken
quinquennially from the company's returns:

  Year  Steamers  Net Tonnage  Receipts in Francs

  1871      765      761,467       7,595,385

  1876    1,457    2,069,771      27,631,455

  1881    2,727    4,136,779      47,193,880

  1886    3,100    5,767,655      54,771,075

  1891    4,206    8,699,020      83,421,500

  1896    3,407    8,594,307      79,652,175

  1901    3,699   10,823,840     100,386,397

  1906    3,780   11,750,000     103,700,000

The Suez company pays enormously, and more than half the current
earnings go to the possessors of the several grades of bonds and
shares. Great Britain is the preponderating user of the canal, with
Germany a poor second. Holland, due to proprietorship of Dutch India, is
third in the list, and the nation of De Lesseps is fourth. The United
States stands near the foot of the roll of patrons, being only
represented by an occasional warship, transport going to or coming from
the Philippines, or a touring yacht. It is a pathetic fact that our
country, paramount producer of the world, has not been represented for
nearly a decade by the Stars and Stripes over a commercial craft in the
Suez canal. Cargoes go or come between American ports and those of the
Orient, of course, but they are borne in British bottoms or those having
register in other foreign nations. Fifteen or sixteen years ago England
was represented in Suez statistics by seventy-five per cent. of the
total traffic; but her proportion has decreased until it is now under
sixty per cent. Kaiser William making a systematic fight for new markets
in China and throughout Australasia, the statistics of Germany in canal
traffic are slowly advancing.

At present, with the Suez enterprise in operation thirty-eight years,
the average number of ships using the waterway is approximately ten each
day. This is one vessel every two hours and thirty-five minutes during
the twenty-four hours--meaning an eastbound craft every five hours and
ten minutes, and a westbound every five hours and ten minutes.

The idea of wedding the Atlantic and the Pacific must have been original
with the first observant and intelligent person viewing the two oceans
from the hills of the Central-American isthmus. Presumably he was a
Spanish adventurer, and the time practically four hundred years ago. A
century before the landing on American soil of the Pilgrim Fathers,
explorers were informing Charles V of Spain of the opportunity supplied
by nature to connect the waters of the two oceans. In 1550, one Galvao,
a Portuguese navigator, wrote a book to prove the feasibility of an
artificial connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific; and in 1780
a scientific commission from Spain studied the three Central-American
routes--Panama, San Blas, and Nicaragua. These are simple facts to be
pondered over by busy people who may possibly be in doubt as to whether
the "father" of the isthmian enterprise was De Lesseps, Theodore
Roosevelt, or Admiral Walker.

But it required a knowledge of practical geography to learn that from
Colon to Panama by sea is eight thousand miles, instead of forty-seven
across country--and it took a dauntless American President to demand
that his government construct a national water route across the isthmus
at Panama, and to point the way to that end; and this was done against
potent opposition to any canal, and expressed preference of powerful
statesmen for the unfeasible Nicaraguan project.

It may be profitable for enthusiasts jumping at the conclusion that the
American canal will pay from its opening, to study the returns of the
Suez enterprise, the first full year of whose operation (1870) showed
gross takings of only $1,031,365 from tolls levied upon 486 vessels.
Speaking generally, a shipper sends his cargo by way of Suez only when
3,000 miles at least of ocean steaming may be saved--this is the
approximate economy effected by the great turnstile between West and
East, counting time, fuel, wages and other expenses. It may be accepted
as a concrete fact that the employment of any canal by commerce must
ever depend upon economic considerations.

Already acknowledging our commercial predominance, Europeans are not
blind to the real purpose of the Panama Canal. But it should be borne in
mind that whenever it is an open choice between the canal toll and the
equivalent of time at sea, the Briton will be slow to decide in favor of
contributing to the resources of a nation rising in brief time to
commercial premiership; and Frenchmen, economists by nature, will take a
similar view, as will Germans, and shippers of other nations. Expressed
in the fewest words, the employment of the Panama route will be governed
exclusively by self-interest, computed from the standpoint of material
economy; sentimentality will bring not one ship to Uncle Sam as a
patron--unless it be an American ship.

Suez will always be favored by European shipmasters determining routes
for cargoes in which Panama and Suez present advantages practically
equal; probably the expense of a few hundred miles additional travel
would not cause them to break from the old route, by which there is no
risk of accident or delay from canal-locks. A considerable percentage of
the oversea carrying trade controlled by British bottoms is
geographically independent of canals, and will always be. For example,
the bulk of traffic to and from the west coast of South America--the
rich nitrate trade of Iquique and Valparaiso--will not ordinarily be
altered by the Panama Canal. The economy of distance from the latter
port to England and the Continent by the canal being only about 1,500
miles, this traffic, except under unusual circumstances, will continue
as long as it goes in British vessels to round the extremity of South
America.

Singapore will be the Asiatic port differentiating the attracting power
of the Panama and Suez canals, speaking from the basis of Atlantic and
Gulf ports as points of origin or destination. Cargoes for places west
of the 105th degree of east longitude will logically be sent through the
Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. But the area east of the Singapore
degree of longitude is teeming with opportunity for Panama cargoes. The
isthmian short cut to Oceanica and Asia, comprising the coastal section
of China's vast empire, enterprising Japan, the East Indies, Australia,
New Zealand, and our own Philippine archipelago, is the world's most
potential area. The awakened Orient can use American products to
practically limitless extent. One third of the trade of these lands
would make America great as a world-provider, and could be secured if we
embarked seriously in an effort to obtain it. Students of economics have
never admitted the logic of America's sending cotton to England to be
there converted into fabrics clothing half the people of the East.

Let the reader, content in belief that our manufactures have an
extensive use in the outer world, because America heads the list of
exporting nations, investigate the subject, and his reward will be to
learn that _we export only a trifle more than six per cent. of what we
manufacture_. Let him also study the statistics of our commerce with
South America, natural products and manufactures of every sort--they are
replete with astonishing facts. To discover that our exports to the
southern continent do not equal $2 per capita of South America's
population will surprise the investigator, doubtless; and that the
volume of trade is overwhelmingly with England and Germany will likewise
be disconcerting. South America has 40,000,000 people; but Mexico's
13,500,000 inhabitants buy nearly as much from Uncle Sam as the South
Americans. We now sell Canadians products averaging $30 per capita
annually.

The reason for the startling disparity in the statistics of trade
intercourse with our adjoining neighbors, Canada and Mexico, and oversea
South America, is obviously the lack of transportation facilities under
the American flag; and the adage that "trade follows the flag" has
earned more significance than attaches to a mere figure of speech. We
pay South America yearly, let it be known, about $120,000,000 for
coffee, wool, hides and other raw products; and the major share of this
money is expended in Europe for the necessities and luxuries of life.
This is inequitable, to say the least, and should be remedied. Uncle Sam
must look to the Orient, as well, and seek to make China his best
customer. Every nation in Europe whose foreign trade is worth
considering exploits foreign countries in the thorough manner of a great
commercial house--getting business by the most productive, not the
easiest, methods. In frequent magazine articles I have insisted that the
isthmian canal, "destined to make the United States the trade arbiter of
the world," could never be expected to "pay" directly. The artificial
waterway is to cost a vast deal of money; with the payments to the
French company and to the republic of Panama, added to the sum necessary
to the completion of the work. Uncle Sam's expenditure cannot be less
than $225,000,000! It will probably be more. A private incorporation
embarked in the enterprise would hold that the investment was entitled
to five per cent. interest, say, and in time be funded. The money of the
nation, embarked in a project distinctly commercial, merits a reasonable
rate of income or benefit--four per cent. certainly. To operate the
canal with the expensive up-keep essential to a region of torrential
rains, cannot be less than $4,000,000 annually; if the Chagres River
refuses to be confined in bounds, the cost will be greater. The items
of yearly expense figured here total $13,000,000--a sum to be regarded
as the very minimum of the cost of maintaining and operating the canal.

[Illustration: CARGO STEAMER IN THE CANAL AT KILOMETER 133]

Optimistic students of ocean transportation statistics say the canal
will draw 10,000,000 tons of shipping a year; others, conservative of
opinion, say half this volume. Taking the mean of these estimates, I
hazard the statement that six years after the canal is opened, the
tonnage will be 7,500,000. The Suez Canal was operated more than thirty
years before its business aggregated 10,000,000 tons; and to attract
this volume, several reductions in tolls were necessary. The American
government cannot properly levy a heavier tribute at Panama than is
demanded at Suez, for the fact is, our canal will not be as essential as
that uniting Europe and the East. A like tariff would produce for Uncle
Sam, on the hypothesis of a business of 7,500,000 tons, only $12,750,000
a year; a higher tariff would probably produce less. And here is an
unpalatable truthlet--Panama's earnings from passengers can never be
considerable, compared with that constant ebbing and flowing of humanity
between the home countries of Europe and their dependencies in Asia,
Africa and Australasia. As a highway of travel, Panama can never have a
quarter of the income from passengers as that yearly accruing to the
Suez company. It may be unpopular to here record the opinion that the
_direct_ increment of the American canal cannot for many years yield
what in a commercial enterprise could be called a profit.

The way to compel the canal to pay _indirectly_ is to make it incidental
to the development of a mighty commercial marine, that will carry
American products to present foreign markets, and to new markets, under
the Stars and Stripes. This accomplished, the United States will
indisputably be the trade arbiter of the universe. With operations under
way on the isthmus, is not the time propitious for popular discussion
throughout the nation, and in official Washington, how best to _create_
the commerce that will make the Panama Canal a success from its opening?

We have populated the country, developed resources of field, forest and
mine, and devised matchless ways of translating natural products into
finished articles appealing to all mankind. Now, let us cease sending
these products of soil and workshop to market in British ships; let us
forward them in vessels constructed in American shipyards, thereby
making the transaction independently American. Already have we produced
ocean carriers equal to the best; while American war-ships, native from
keel to topmast truck, are the envy of the world.

Not for a decade has a commercial vessel under the American flag passed
the Suez Canal, I have stated. But the time was when Uncle Sam's ensign
was the emblem oftenest seen in foreign harbors.

In but one department of natural growth is the United States
backward--shipping, in its broad and commercial acceptance. To promote
it should now be the plan of both political parties.

Our canal can never pay until we enter as ship-owners into competition
with Europe's trading nations, and these possess a material interest in
the Suez undertaking, be it remembered. The commercial fleet at present
under the American flag could not pay a tenth of Panama's operating
expenses. When we seriously embark upon the work of creating a great
merchant marine, we are going to rouse spirited opposition. Englishmen,
Germans, and Frenchmen will not like it; and Europeans cannot be
expected to take any interest in the welfare of our national canal, and
all may object to fattening the treasury of a country that is their
trade competitor. These facts, insignificant as they may seem, prove in
reality the need for supplying hundreds of ocean carriers under the same
flag as that flying over the canal zone.

By the time the canal is opened, the United States will have 100,000,000
inhabitants; and agriculture, assisted by ordinary methods and by
irrigation, will have developed to an extent making our commodities
dictators of supply and price. By that time, sea transportation cannot
be regarded as a competitor of transcontinental railway systems that
have done much toward making the country what it is: water
transportation will be found a necessary adjunct to rail facilities,
relieving the roads of a fraction of their through traffic.

To restore the Stars and Stripes to the seas will require years of
earnest effort, much debating in the halls of Congress, a drastic
liberalizing of marine laws, and much prodding of human energies by
editorial writers.

Suez shareholders, when asked by Americans if they fear any rivalry from
Panama, reply: "None at all; unless"--and here is the kernel of the
matter--"your countrypeople find a way of creating a mercantile marine
coincidently with the building of the canal."

With unlimited financial resources to promote the most gigantic of
modern enterprises, with inexhaustible raw and cultivated products, with
labor to produce any conceivable commodity, the humiliating fact
confronted the people of the United States a few months since of seeing
its official delegates to the Pan-American Congress at Rio de Janeiro
set forth in a steamship flying the red flag of Great Britain.

The most remarkable accomplishment in the material history of the world
is that the United States secured her commercial supremacy without
possessing a merchant marine. It is one of the marvels of modern times,
surely.



CHAPTER II

COLOMBO, CEYLON'S COSMOPOLITAN SEAPORT


A modern man of business might believe that Bishop Heber of Calcutta
wove into irresistible verse a tremendous advertisement for Ceylon real
estate, but repelled investors by a sweeping castigation of mankind,
when he wrote:

    What though the spicy breezes
     Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle;
    Though every prospect pleases,
     And only man is vile.

In tens of thousands of Christian churches the praises of Ceylon are
thus sung every Sunday, and will be as long as the inhabitants of
America and Great Britain speak the English language. Some of the
divine's statements, to be acceptable as impartial testimony, require
modification; for the natural charms of the island are not so sweepingly
perfect, and there man is far above the Asian average. Hymnists, it may
be inferred, write with some of the license of poets. No part of
England's great realm, nevertheless, is more beautiful than the crown
colony of Ceylon in the Indian Ocean.

[Illustration: THE JETTY AT COLOMBO]

An Eastbound traveler during the long run from Aden hears much of the
incomparable island of palms, pearls, and elephants; and every waggish
shipmate haunts smoke room and ladies' saloon waiting for the
opportunity to point out the lighthouse on Minecoy Island in the
Maldives as "the Light of Asia." Four hundred miles further and your
good ship approaches Colombo. The great breakwater, whose first stone
was laid by Albert Edward, is penetrated at last, and the polyglot and
universal harbor of call unfolds like a fan.

There's music within; the breezes bring proof of this. Surely, it is
Bishop Heber's trite stanzas repeated in unison by the forgiving
populace--they are sung everywhere, and why not in Ceylon's great
seaport? The ship churns forward to her moorings. It is singing; there
is no mistaking it. But the air! Does it deal with "spicy breezes," and
"pleasing prospects?" No; it is a sort of chant. Listen again. Ah, it is
Lottie Collins's masterpiece, not Bishop Heber's: it is "Ta-ra-ra boom
de-ay." And the chanters are dozens of Britain's loyal subjects, youths
naked and black, lying in wait to induce passengers to shower coins into
the sea in recompense of a display of diving from catamarans constructed
from trunks of palm-trees.

If asked what place in all the world can in a day show the greatest
medley of humanity, I should pronounce in favor of the landing-jetty at
Colombo. Scurrying ashore from ocean steamers in launches, in
jolly-boats pulled by oars fashioned like huge mustard-spoons, or in
outrigger canoes that glide rapidly, are representatives of every nation
of the West, of China, of Japan--in fact, of every division of God's
footstool having place in the list of nations. Being the great port of
call and coaling station linking Occident, Orient and Australasia, a
traveler naturally wants to inspect the place and stretch his legs on
shore, while his ship is stocking with fuel to carry it to Aden,
Singapore or to an antipodean port. Tiffin or dinner on _terra firma_ is
likewise coveted by the traveler with appetite jaded by weeks of
sea-cooking. Ceylon's capital teems consequently with people hungry for
a _table d'hote_ meal, a 'rickshaw ride, and the indiscriminate purchase
of rubbishing cats-eye and sapphire jewelry.

The conglomeration of people on the promenade floor of the jetty,
watching voyagers come and go, would tend to make a student of
anthropology lose his mind. Every variety of man of Ceylon, practically
of every creed and caste of India, even of all Asia, is there, and a
liberal admixture of Europeans as well.

Leaning over the hand-rail all humanity appears equal--for sight-seeing
purposes, certainly. There are gentle Cingalese men with hair twisted
into a knot on the back of the head and large shell comb on the crown,
Tamil coolies and Hindus in profusion, of course. There are fat Parsees
from Bombay, and Buddhist priests and monks in yellow togas, each armed
with palm-leaf fan and umbrella, precisely as Gautama Buddha left his
father's mansion to sow the religion worshiped by nearly a third of the
people of the earth. A group of lascars, on leave from a P. & O. liner,
look depreciatingly on nautical brethren from colder climes. There are
Malays, as well, obsequious Moormen merchants, and haughty Afghans from
beyond the "Roof of the World," as scholars call the Himalayas. Here and
there are broad-chested Arabs from Aden way and the Persian Gulf, taking
chances on the announcement of a pearl "fishery" by the
government--divers, who may secure a gem of price in an hour's work, or
may return home empty-handed. Their neighbors on the platform are
seafarers coming with the embassy from the Sultan of the Maldive
Islands, bringing to the governor of Ceylon the annual tribute
sanctioned by custom, and the renewed assurances of loyalty to Edward
VII. Close by them, and taking a profound interest in a group of
European ladies stepping from a launch below, are three black girls in
the garb of Catholic Sisters of Charity, whose chains and crucifixes are
of unusual size.

With a conscious air of proprietorship of the British Empire, khaki-clad
Tommy Atkins comes down the pier, attended by the inevitable fox
terrier. Following close on his heels is a towering man of ebon
complexion, with three stripes of ashes and the wafer of humility on his
forehead. He is barefooted, and his solitary garment is a piece of
cotton with which he has girded his loins; he is abundantly lacquered
with cocoanut oil, to protect him from contracting a cold from the too
rigorous "spicy breezes" of Lanka's isle. A stranger would say he was a
penitent wayfarer of God, not worth the smallest coin of the East. In
one hand he carries an overfilled valise, and in the other a sunshade of
immaculate white: the initiated recognize him to be a chettie, easily
worth lakhs of rupees, who is presumably embarking for Rangoon, and
there to purchase a cargo of rice.

Hark! There is commotion and much noise at the jetty entrance. Can it be
an alarm of fire, or have the customs officials at the gates apprehended
a flagrant smuggler? Oh, no; it is merely Great Britain arriving on the
scene in the person of a smart-looking tea-planter who has honked down
in his motor-car to see a comrade off on the mail steamer; incidentally,
some of the noise proceeds from a group of sailors on leave from a
battleship who are wrangling with 'rickshaw men as to proper payment for
having been hauled about the city on a sight-seeing tour. And so it goes
in Colombo. Each day presents a picture not to be adequately described
by a less gifted writer than Kipling.

[Illustration: HINDU SILVERSMITHS. COLOMBO]

Colombo is the westermost town of that great division of Asia wherein
subject races--black, brown and yellow--haul the white man in
jinrickshaws. No institution of the East stamps the superiority of the
European more than this menial office of the native. Probably every
American when brought face to face with the matter says manfully that he
will never descend to employing a fellow creature to run between shafts
like an animal, that he (visitor from a land where rights of mankind
are equal and constitutional) may be spared from footweariness under a
tropic sun. It is a noble impulse--but weak man is easily tempted.
Hence, you decide to try the 'rickshaw just once.

The sensation is found to be agreeable, surprisingly so. Your fellow
mortal, you perceive, is dripping with perspiration under the awful heat
of the sun, while beneath the hood of the vehicle you are cool and
comfortable. Then you yield to the savage defects of your moral
make-up--and decide never to walk another yard in the East, not when a
'rickshaw is to be had. The habit comes as easily as drinking, or
anything that your conscience and bringing-up tell you is not quite
right, although enjoyable.

The 'rickshaw in Colombo is a splendid convenience. The runner's rights
are as loyally protected as those of his employer, and he readily covers
six miles an hour at a swinging gait. If his vehicle has rubber tires
and ball-bearings the labor is not severe. The man might have a harder
vocation with smaller pay.

Colombo has hotels that would satisfy in Europe or America--one, the
Grand Oriental, is spoken of as the most comfortable hostelry between
Cairo and San Francisco. To refer to it by its full name stamps the
newcomer and novice at traveling--throughout half the world it is known
familiarly as the "G. O. H." Two miles from Colombo, gloriously situated
on the sea-front, the Galle Face Hotel is fashionable, cool and quiet,
but lacking in the characteristic of being an international
casino--which assuredly the "G. O. H." is. Tiffin or dinner is an
interesting function at a Colombo hotel, for one never knows who or what
his table mates may be. In the East every man who travels is assumed to
be somebody. Hence you suspect your _vis-a-vis_ at dinner to be the
governor of a colony somewhere in the immeasurable Orient, or a new
commander for Saigon, or perhaps a Frankfort banker going to China to
conclude the terms of a new loan. If your neighbor at table is specially
reserved, and gives his orders like one accustomed to being obeyed, you
fancy him to be an accomplished diplomatist, very likely having in his
pocket the draft of a treaty affecting half the people of the Far East.
No one seems ever to suspect his confrères of being mere business men.
And the ladies--well, they may be duchesses or dressmakers no longer
content with traveling "on the Continong"; nobody cares which. If they
are very well gowned, probably they are the latter.

An army of waiters clad in spotless and snowy uniforms with red facings
and shining buttons set before you dishes you never heard of. Some are
satisfying in the extreme; but these waiters, can they be described as
in uniform? True, their garments are alike, but the head-gear is of
infinite variety. According to caste or nationality each proclaims
himself. But look once more; there _is_ uniformity, for all are
barefooted.

[Illustration: A HIGH PRIEST OF BUDDHA]

Wonderful fellows these Easterns. The native hotel band, led by a
wandering European, plays Sousa's marches and "Hiawatha," yes, even
"Tammany," with accuracy; and the cooks prepare dishes with French
names, make _vin blanc_ and _Hollandaise_ sauces worthy of Delmonico or
Ritz, and this without permitting the palate to guide them. If they
tasted food concocted for Christians a million kinds of perdition might
be their punishment. Music may be mechanical, as it is claimed to be,
but not cooking. How do the gastronomic experts of pagan Asia acquire
their skill?

Considering that the Ceylon capital is only four hundred miles north of
the equator, the heat is never extremely oppressive. One's energies
there, nevertheless, are not what they are farther north or at higher
elevations. Kandy, the ancient up-country capital, is cooler, and Nuwara
Eliya, in the mountains, is actually cold at night. When white people do
anything in Colombo--work, attend church, play bridge, or billiards--a
native keeps them moderately comfortable with swinging _punkahs_. Some
hotels and residential bungalows have discarded punkahs for mechanical
fans; but the complaint is that the electricity costs more than the
_punkah-wallah_--the fan-boy of the East. "Ah, yes; but your wallah
frequently falls asleep at his work," you remark to the resident. "True,
and your electricity frequently fails us," is the reply.

Pear-shaped Ceylon, separated from India by only fifty miles of water,
is three fourths the size of Ireland, and its population 3,600,000.
Seventy-five per cent. of the people are Cingalese, and their language
a dialect harking back to Sanskrit. The Cingalese are mostly Buddhists,
with a sprinkling of Roman Catholics, the latter religion having been
left in the land by its one-time Portuguese rulers. The Tamils,
numbering a million, are not native to the island, like the Cingalese,
but have come from southern India as laborers on coffee and tea estates;
they are chiefly Hindus, although thousands have been converted to the
Christian faith. The Mohammedan Moormen, living on the coast,
approximate a quarter of a million in number. Europeans of all
nationalities, not including the British troops, total only 6,500, a
percentage of the island's human family to be computed in fractions.

The Cingalese seen chiefly in the towns wear their long hair arranged
like a woman's, and around their heads a large, semicircular comb of
shell, as has been said. The comb has nothing to do with religion or
caste--contrary to what a visitor is usually told; it merely announces
the wearer to be not of the coolie class, who carry sacks of rice and
cases of merchandise on their heads. Half the people of Ceylon wear no
head-gear, and not two per cent. know what it is to wear shoes.

[Illustration: REPRESENTATION OF BUDDHA'S TOOTH, COLOMBO MUSEUM]

Colombo's population is about 160,000. The capital is a handsome city,
with communities on seafront, on the shores of a sinuous lake, and
ranging inland for miles through cinnamon gardens and groves of
cocoanut-palms. Queen's House, where the governor resides, is a
rambling pile. The general post-office is the best building in the
capital, and the museum and Prince's club, close by, are entitled to
notice. The hard red-soil roads of the city extend for miles into the
palm forests, and are equal to any in the world. Government officials
and European commercial people live in handsome suburban bungalows
smothered amid superb foliage trees and flowering shrubs and vines.

What were called the maritime provinces of Ceylon were ruled by the
Dutch until 1796. But in that year England supplanted Holland, and in
1815 she secured control of the entire island by overthrowing the
Kandyan kingdom, for a long time confining European invasion to the
island's seaboard. Ceylon costs Britain little worry and practically no
expenditure. Strategically the island is valueless, save the benefit
accruing to England in controlling if need be the enormous coal heaps of
Colombo, and the maintenance there of a graving dock capable of handling
the biggest battleship. Four hundred miles of government railways earn a
tremendous profit, and moderate import and export duties on commodities
keep the colonial cash-box well lined.

As in other Asiatic countries, the staple food is rice. Strange to say,
Ceylon produces of this only half what is demanded by the people. Hence,
it is necessary to import eight million bushels from India and Malay
regions, costing approximately $5,000,000. On the other hand, the island
sends to Europe and America annually $21,000,000 worth of tea, besides
considerable quantities of rubber, cocoanut-oil, cacao, and plumbago.
Ceylon's crude rubber commands the highest price, and is a crop growing
by leaps and bounds. It is estimated that eight hundred million
cocoanuts are grown yearly in Ceylon. An item in the list of exports is
elephants. These go to India as beasts of burden and pleasure, and the
government collects two hundred rupees for every elephant sent from the
island.

There is a possibility of two great events any springtime in Ceylon, and
the prospect of either occurring is a theme of endless small talk in the
offices and bungalow homes of everybody connected with "Government." One
is the elephant kraal, planned for the edification of His Excellency the
Governor and a few officials and visitors of distinction, who, from
cages in trees at elevated points insuring safety, look down upon the
driving in of converging herds of elephants. When an earth-strewn
flooring of bamboo gives way and the monarchs of the jungle are cast
into a stockaded pit, the kraal is complete. Then, ordinarily, the
Ceylon treasury undergoes drafts for forage, until an authorized
functionary negotiates the sale of the animals to maharajahs and lesser
worthies up in India.

A kraal occurs every four or five years, or when a British royalty
happens in Ceylon. Each governor is entitled by custom to the semi-royal
honor at least once during his incumbency. The kraal is an enterprise
usually paying for itself, unless there be a glut in the elephant
market. The last kraal failed dismally, nevertheless, but for a very
different reason. The drive had been so successful that the stockade was
full to overflowing with leviathan beasts trumpeting their displeasure
and wrath. While the dicker for their sale in India was proceeding, they
became boisterously unruly, and, breaking down their prison of palm-tree
trunks, scampered away to forest and jungle, without so much as saying
"thank you" for weeks of gorging on rations paid for out of the public
cash-box. And this was the reason why the kraal arranged for last year
was abandoned, after hundreds of natives had been busy for weeks in
"driving in" from every up-country district--to jeopardize good money
was deemed not in keeping with the principles of good finance by certain
material Britons responsible for the insular exchequer.

The popular event, coming as often as twice every three years, is the
pearl-fishery. It interests everybody not living in mountain fastnesses,
and appeals irresistibly to the hearts of the proletariat. Tricking
elephants into captivity may be the sport of grandees, but the chance to
gamble over the contents of the humble oyster of the Eastern seas
invites participation from the meekest plucker of tea-buds on Ceylon's
hill-slopes to the lowliest coolie in Colombo. Verily, the pearl-fishery
is the sensational event of that land sung of by Bishop Heber.



CHAPTER III

THE LURE OF THE PEARL


The bed of the Gulf of Manar, the arm of the Indian Ocean that separates
Ceylon from India, has given the world more pearls than all other
fisheries combined, for it has been prolific as a pearling-ground for
thousands of years. Pearling in the gulf was an occupation hoary with
age before the dawn of Christianity, for history tells us that Mardis,
admiral of Alexander the Great, when returning from a voyage having to
do with the Indian invasion, traversed the strait separating Ceylon from
the continent, and was informed of the importance of the pearl-banks
over which his fleet was passing. The great sailor was specially
interested in the manner of drilling the holes in pearls for stringing,
which was probably the same that it is to-day.

In the exuberant phraseology of the Orient, Ceylon is "the pearl-drop on
India's brow," and the Gulf of Manar is "the sea abounding in pearls"
and "the sea of gain." Ceylon appeals irresistibly to any possessor of
the wandering foot, for it is an island paradise. It is well governed,
of course, for its administration is that of a seasoned colony of
Edward VII's realm, and the guidance of austere, dignified Britain
countenances nothing like gambling in any of its lands--oh, dear, no!
State lotteries are pretty well relegated in these times to Latin
countries, everybody knows.

Yet the world's most gigantic gamble, pregnantly fruitful with chance in
all variations and shadings, is unquestionably the Ceylon pearl-fishery;
compared with it, any state lottery pales to insignificance. From the
taking of the first oyster to the draining of the last vatful of
"matter," every step is attended by fickle fortune; and never is the
interest of the people of Portugal or of Mexico keener over a drawing of
a lottery, the tickets of which may have been sold at the very
thresholds of the cathedrals, than is that of the natives of Ceylon and
southern India over the daily results of a Manar fishery.

Each bivalve is a lottery ticket; it may contain a gem worthy of place
in a monarch's crown, or be a seed pearl with a mercantile value of only
a few rupees. Perhaps one oyster in a hundred contains a pearl, and not
more than one pearl in a hundred, be it known, has a value of
importance. Nature furnishes the sea, pearling-banks, oysters, and all
therein contained; the Ceylon administration conducts the undertaking,
and for its trouble and trifling outlay exacts a "rake-off" of two
thirds of all that may be won from the deep. And mere man, the brown or
black diver, receives for his daring and enterprise one oyster in every
three that he brings from the ocean's depths--and his earnings must be
shared with boat-owner, sailors, attendants, and assistants almost
without number.

For size of "rake-off," there is no game of hazard in the world offering
a parallel. The Ceylon government used to exact three out of every four
oysters brought in, the current tribute of two out of three having
become operative only a few years since.

It should be known that the pearl-bearing oyster of the Indian Ocean is
only remotely related to the edible variety of America and Europe. It is
the _Margaritifera vulgaris_, claimed to belong to the animal kingdom,
and not to the fish family, and is never eaten. The eminent marine
biologist in the service of the Ceylon government, Professor Hornell, F.
L. S., who intimately knows the habits of the pearl-oyster of the East,
advances two interesting if not startling premises. One is that the
pearl is produced as a consequence of the presence of dead bodies of a
diminutive parasitical tapeworm which commonly affects the Ceylon
bivalve. The living tapeworm does not induce pearl formation. The
popular belief has been that the pearl was formed by secretions of nacre
deposited upon a grain of sand or other foreign particle drawn within
the oyster through its contact with the sea's bottom. The other Hornell
assertion is that the oyster goeth and cometh at its pleasure; that it
is mobile and competent to travel miles in a few weeks.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE GULF OF MANAR, "THE SEA ABOUNDING IN PEARLS"]

Scientists have long been aware that the pearl shell-fish possesses
locomotive powers, which it uses when in quest of food or protection,
and to escape impure localities. During the Dutch occupation of Ceylon,
for example, there was a period of several years when the oysters'
boycott of the Manar banks was virtually unanimous.

It is an accepted fact that pearls are excretions of superimposed
concentric _laminæ_ of a peculiarly fine and dense substance, consisting
in major part of carbonate of lime. Linnæus, believing in the
possibility of producing pearls by artifice, suggested the collecting of
mussels, piercing holes in their shells to produce a wound, and bedding
them for five or six years to give pearls time to grow. The Swedish
government succeeded in producing pearls of a sort by this process; but
as they were of trifling value, the experiments were discontinued.

Cunning Chinese and Japanese have sought of late years to assist or
improve on nature's pearl-making methods by inserting tiny shot or
grains of sand between the mantle and the shell, which in time become
coated with nacre. Not long since there was a movement in Japan to
embark in pearl production upon a basis wholly commercial, and its
promoters discussed it as they might a project for supplying a city with
vegetables. One of the claims of those exploiting the venture was that
they could keep pace with fashion's changes by supplying pearls of any
shape, pear, oval, or spherical. This has been accomplished in other
countries, and European and American dealers have had years of
acquaintance with the "assisted" pearl, a showy and inexpensive
counterfeit, but one attaining to no position in the realm of true gems.
The distinction between fine pearls and these intrusive nacre-coated
baubles, alluringly advertised as "synthetic pearls," has been
demonstrated by more than one devotee of science.

There are definite rules for determining when a Ceylon fishery will be
held, for twice a year the banks are systematically examined by the
marine biologist, and estimates made of the number of oysters present on
each bank. Whenever their age and size appear to warrant the step, a
sample catch of twenty thousand oysters is made by divers employed by
the government, and a valuation is formed of the pearls they produce. If
found to average ten or twelve rupees[1] to a thousand oysters, the
government is advised to proclaim a fishery. Advertisements are then
published throughout the East, especially in vernacular papers reaching
the Persian Gulf and the two coasts of southern India, at the instance
of the colonial secretary's office at Colombo. These detail the
valuation of the sample pearls, area of beds to be fished, and the
estimated number of oysters likely to be available upon each. The
advertisements are printed in Cingalese, Tamil, and English. As rapidly
as information can spread, it becomes known from Karachi to Rangoon, and
along the chain of seaports of the Malay states, that a fishery is to
be held. Divers, gem-buyers, speculators, money-lenders, petty
merchants, and persons of devious occupations, make speedy arrangements
for attending. Indian and Ceylon coolies flock by the thousand to the
coast of the Northern province, longing to play even humble rôles in the
great game of chance. The "tindals" and divers provide boats and all
essential gear for the work afloat; while ashore the government supplies
buildings and various forms of labor for dealing with the curious
industry.

    [Footnote 1: The rupee of India and Ceylon is equal to 32 cents
    U. S. A lakh is 100,000.]

It is during the calm period of the northeast monsoon,--February, March
and April,--when the sea is flat and the sky is bright and unflecked,
that the fishery is carried on. The line of banks--they are "paars," in
the languages of Ceylon--cover an extensive submarine plateau off the
island's northwest coast, from ancient Hippuros southward to Negombo.
This is of flat-surface rock, irregularly carpeted with coarse sand, and
dotted with colonies of millions of oysters. Dead coral and other
products of the sea are scattered everywhere on this plateau, and it is
a theory that these surface interruptions prevent overcrowding of the
oysters, and consequently assist in the bivalve's reaching the
pearl-producing stage. It is claimed that a crowded paar contributes to
a stunting of growth, bringing disease and premature death to the
oyster, and consequently no pearls of account.

The estimate of the experts upon which it was decided to announce a
fishery last year was that there were on the Southwest Cheval paar
3,500,000 oysters which might be gathered, on the Mideast Cheval paar
13,750,000 oysters, on the North and South Moderagam 25,750,000, and on
the South Cheval 40,220,000.

The announcement of this total of 83,000,000 bivalves produced an
electrical effect, and an unprecedented attendance, for it was equal to
announcing a lottery with that many tickets, and who knows how few
prizes!

The student seeking to determine the eighth wonder of the world should
not overlook the city of Marichchikkaddi. Stories of towns rising
overnight wherever gold is found, or diamonds discovered, or oil struck,
have become common to the point of triteness. Tales of the uprising of
Klondike and South African cities, once amazing, fade to paltriness in
the opinion of one who has seen the teeming city of Marichchikkaddi. In
a sense it is a capital, yet it is found in no geography; no railway
connects it with the world, yet a dozen languages are spoken in its
streets. Marichchikkaddi's population numbers no young children, no
persons too aged to toil, and the four or five hundred women sojourners
merit the right of being present through serving as water-carriers to
camp and fishing fleet.

[Illustration: COOLIES CARRYING PEARL OYSTERS FROM THE BOATS TO THE
"KOTTU," OR GOVERNMENT STOCKADE]

This place with double-mouthful name, almost defying pronunciation, is
the pearl metropolis of the universe. Probably there is not a stocked
jewel-case that does not contain gems that have been filtered through
this unique city by the sea. For a dozen reasons it is a wonderful town,
and the foremost of these is that it is the only city of size that comes
and goes like the tide's ebbing and flowing.

When a fishery is proclaimed, Marichchikkaddi is only a name--a
sand-drifted waste lying between the jungle of the hinterland and the
ocean. Yet nine months before forty thousand people dwelt here under
shelter of roofs, and here the struggle for gain had been prosecuted
with an earnestness that would have borne golden fruit in any city in
the Western world. There, where lies the skeleton of a jackal
half-buried in sand, an Indian banker had his habitat and office only a
few months before, with a lakh of rupees stacked in a conspicuous place
as glittering earnest of his ability to pay well for anything remarkable
in the way of a pearl. And beyond, where occurs the rift in the sand,
stood the shanty in which venturesome divers whiled away time and money
in trying to pitch rings upon the ends of walking-sticks, as do farmers'
boys at New England county fairs.

With the license permitting the calling of a pile of buildings formed of
stucco a "White City," this metropolis might with propriety be named the
"City of Brown," or, better, the "Cadjan City." For inaccessibility, it
is in a class by itself.

Colombo is facetiously spoken of by Englishmen as the Clapham Junction
of the East, for the reason that one can there change to a steamer
carrying him virtually to any place on the globe.

But it is simpler for a white man to get to Melbourne, or Penang, or New
York, from Colombo, than to obtain passage to Marichchikkaddi, only a
hundred and fifteen miles up the coast. If he can wait long enough,
passage may be found, of course; but otherwise all the official and
editorial persuasion of Colombo--and the subsidized influence of the
head porter of the "G. O. H.," availeth nothing. Now and then he may
hear of a speculative Parsee's dhow that may be going to Manar for a
cargo of shell-cased lottery tickets, or of a native-owned launch that
will carry a limited number of passengers at an unlimited fare. A
fast-sailing outrigger canoe may always be chartered. Another
opportunity is to travel two days by post-cart to a village one never
heard of, transferring there to a bullock hackery that may take him
through jungle roads to the cadjan metropolis--provided he is able to
give instructions in Tamil, or a college-bred coolie can be found who
knows English. Still another way is to take the semi-weekly steamer from
Colombo to Tuticorin, in southern India, then zigzag about the continent
of Asia until he makes Paumben. Then it is a matter of only a few days
when there will be a boat crossing to the pearl-camp. This is the surest
way of getting to Marichchikkaddi; but it is like making the journey
from New York to Boston by way of Bermuda.

Ceylon's substitute for virtually everything elsewhere used in the
construction of buildings is the cadjan: it is at once board, clapboard,
shingle, and lath. Cadjans are plaited from the leaf of the cocoanut- or
date-palm, and are usually five or six feet long and about ten inches
wide; the center rib of the leaf imparts reasonable rigidity and
strength. Half the shelters for man and beast throughout the island are
formed of cadjans, costing nothing but the making, and giving protection
from the sun and a fair amount of security from the elements. The frame
of a house is made of stakes planted in the ground, with rafters and
beams resting in crotches conveniently left by the wood-cutter. This
slender frame is covered with cadjans, arranged systematically, and sewn
together with cocoanut-leaf strands or tender rattans. Not a nail is
used, and cadjan flaps that may be raised or lowered from within the
building take the place of glazed windows. A dwelling of this character,
carpeted with palm-mats, and flanked with verandas, brings a flowing
measure of comfort to the dweller in the tropics; but the gales of the
annual southwest monsoon play havoc with cadjan roofs and walls.

It being known that a fishery will bring together at least forty
thousand souls, a small army of coolies hastens to Marichchikkaddi a few
weeks prior to the announced date for opening the fishery, to prepare
the buildings necessary to house all and sundry, and to erect bungalows
for the British functionaries having the enterprise in charge. Public
buildings almost pretentious in size and design rise from the earth in a
few days, including a residence for the governor of Ceylon, who is
expected to grace the fishery by a visit; one for the government agent
of the province in which the interesting industry is carried on; and
another for the delegate of the Colonial Office. There rise,
mushroom-like, as well, a court-house, treasury, hospital, prison,
telegraph-office and post-office, and a fair example of that blessing of
the East known as a rest-house, each reflecting surprising good taste,
and being adequate to its purpose, and presumably completed at a cost
well within the appropriation. Jerry-builders and grafters have yet to
be discovered in Ceylon.

Marichchikkaddi parades structures dedicated neither to religion nor
dissipation. But the bazaar-like alleys branching from the thoroughfares
of the Cadjan City purvey many things not obtrusively obvious to the
British official. Whatever his faith, the disciple of the pearl may
solitarily prostrate himself beneath a convenient palm-tree, with face
turned toward Mecca, or on the sea-front indulge the devotions stamping
him a Hindu of merit.

In an administrative sense the important building is the
"Kachcherie"--mayor's office and superintendent's headquarters in one;
but the structure of material interest is the "kottu," wherein every
sackful of oysters taken from the boats is counted and apportioned
between the government and the divers. It is a parallelogram enclosure
of two or three acres in area, fenced with bamboo palings, and roofed
here and there to protect the coolies from the sun. For convenience, one
end is as near the sea as prudence will admit; and the other, the
official end, where accountants and armed guards are in command, is not
far from the governmental offices. A system perfected by years of
experience makes thieving within the kottu virtually impossible, and the
clerks who record the count of oysters, and issue them upon official
order, might safely conduct a bankers' clearinghouse. On occasions they
handle without error more than three million oysters in a day.

A quarter of a mile from the official section of the city is the great
human warren and business region, where black men and brown--Hindus,
Mohammedans, Buddhists, and the East's flotsam of religions--dwell and
traffic in peaceful communion. A broad thoroughfare, starting from the
edge of the plateau overlooking the sea and extending inland until the
settlement yields to the open country, is the "Main street"; and here,
for ten or twelve weeks, is one of Asia's busiest marts. This part of
Marichchikkaddi is planned with careful regard for sanitary needs and
hygiene. Streets cross at right angles, and at every corner stands a
lamp-post rudely made from jungle wood, from which suspends a lantern
ingeniously fashioned from an American petroleum tin. Sites on the
principal streets are leased for the period of the fishery to persons
proving their purposes to be legitimate. For a good corner lot perhaps
twenty feet square the government receives as much as a thousand rupees;
and a few hours after the lease is signed up goes a cadjan
structure--and a day later pearls worth a king's ransom may there be
dealt in with an absence of concern astounding to a visitor.

Can these Easterners, squatting on mats like fakirs in open-front
stalls, judge the merits of a pearl? Yes, decidedly. In the twinkling of
an eye one of them estimates the worth of a gem with a precision that
would take a Bond Street dealer hours to determine. The Indian or
Cingalese capitalist who goes with his cash to Marichchikkaddi to buy
pearls is not given to taking chances; usually he has learned by long
experience every "point" that a pearl can possess, knows whether it be
precisely spherical, has a good "skin," and a luster appealing to
connoisseurs. A metal colander or simple scale enables him to know to
the fraction of a grain the weight of a pearl, and experience and the
trader's instinct tell him everything further that may possibly be known
of a gem. It would be as profitless to assume to instruct an Egyptian
desert sheikh upon the merits of a horse as to try to contribute
information to the pearl-dealer of the East.

The calm period of the northeast monsoon is gentleness itself by the
middle of February, and the Gulf of Manar is seldom more than rippled by
its zephyrs. The fishery begins then. For weeks the divers have been
arriving by craft of every conceivable type and rig. They are the
aristocrats of the camp, and as they roam bazaars and streets or
promenade the sea-front they are admired by coolies and peons as
bull-fighters would be in Spain.

[Illustration: THE LATE RANA OF DHOLPUR IN HIS PEARL REGALIA

This Indian prince is said to have owned pearls valued at seven and a
half millions of dollars, the accumulation, perhaps, of his ancestors
during several centuries]

Sturdy fellows they are, lithe of limb and broad of chest. Each brings a
tangle of pots and kettles, bags and bales, but wears nothing throughout
the fishery save a loin-cloth and now and then a turban denoting
nationality or caste. There were forty-five hundred of them in 1905, and
those from the Madras Presidency were the backbone of the enterprise.
Nearly half the divers were registered from Kilakari, and hundreds came
from the tip end of India. The men from Tuticorin were of the Parawa
caste, and those hailing from Paumben were Moormen. The only Ceylon city
contributing divers was Jaffna, whose men were of the fisher caste, said
to be descendants of Arabs who settled sixty years ago at Jaffna. The
divers coming the greatest distance were the negroes and Arabs from Aden
and the Persian Gulf, most of whom landed at Colombo from trading
steamers, and made their way by small boat or bullock hackery to the
Cadjan City. These fellows have few equals as divers, but the
administrative officers of the camp always fear that they will come into
conflict with the police or launch a war in the name of Mohammed against
the Hindus or Cingalese. Consequently, only a limited number are allowed
to take part in the fishery.

An amusing incident was furnished last season by the arrival of a diver
of some renown in India, who had participated profitably in several
fisheries. Accompanied by his "manduck," the fellow had crossed from
Paumben as a deck passenger on a British India steamer. When the vessel
was anchored, the diver summoned a rowboat to take himself and traps
ashore. Wearing nothing but loin-cloth and turban, the man descended the
side-steps an example of physical perfection, and so thoroughly smeared
with cocoanut butter that he shone like a stove-polish advertisement.
The boat grounding on the shelving bottom a hundred feet from shore,
this precious Indian, who was to pass a good share of the ensuing ten
weeks in the water, even at the bottom of the sea, deliberately seated
himself astride the shoulders of his manduck, and was borne to dry land
with the care of one whose religion might forbid contact with water. He
carried beneath one arm throughout the trip from the small boat a
gingham umbrella, and under the other an Indian railway guide.

There are neither wharves nor landing-stages at Marichchikkaddi. Even
His Excellency the Governor must lay aside his dignity in going from his
boat to the shore. The horde of people working about the pearling fleet,
amphibious by nature, have little need for those accommodations and
necessities which the commercial world call "landing facilities."

The world over, gambling and speculation are joined in many ways to
superstition; and the Eastern diver is superstitious to the hour of his
death. At Marichchikkaddi he devotedly resorts to the mystic ceremony of
the shark-charmer, whose exorcism for generations has been an
indispensable preliminary to the opening of a fishery. The
shark-charmer's power is believed to be hereditary. If one of them can
be enlisted on a diver's boat, success is assured to all connected with
the craft. The common form of fortune-tempting nowadays is for a diver
to break a cocoanut on his sinking-weight just before embarking. If it
be a clean and perfect break, success is assured; if irregular and
jagged, only ordinary luck may be anticipated; and if the shell be
broken in without separating into halves, it spells disaster, and the
alarmed fisher probably refuses to go with the boat.

Last year's fleet was the largest ever participating in a Ceylon
fishery, three hundred and twenty boats being enrolled. The largest
boats came from Tuticorin, and carried thirty-four divers each. The
smallest boat had a complement of seven divers. Each diver was
faithfully attended by a manduck, who ran his tackle and watched over
his interests with jealous care both in and out of the water. Besides
the manducks, every boat had numerous sailors, food- and water-servers,
and a riffraff of hangers-on. It was estimated that divers and manducks
aggregated nine thousand souls. A system of apportionment gives every
man in a boat an interest in the take, the divers generally retaining
two thirds of the bivalves granted them by the government rule
controlling the fishery. The Kilakari divers observe a time-honored
custom of giving to their home mosque the proceeds of one plunge each
day.

Nature obligingly assists the workers on the banks by supplying a gentle
off-shore breeze at daybreak, which sends the fleet to the fishing
ground, six or eight miles from the shore. By two o'clock in the
afternoon a gun from a government vessel directs the boats to set sail
for the return. By this hour the breeze is accommodatingly from the sea,
and the fleet runs home with flowing sheets. Navigation, it will be
seen, plays a very subordinate part in Marichchikkaddi's marine
enterprise.

[Illustration: INDIAN PEARL MERCHANTS READY FOR BUSINESS]

With the exception of the divers from the Malabar coast, who plunge head
foremost from a spring-board, the men go into the water in an upright
position, and are hurried in their journey to the bottom by a stone
weighing from forty to fifty pounds. Each diver's attendant has charge
of two ropes slung over a railing above the side of the boat: one
suspends the diving-stone, and the other a wide-mouthed basket of
network. The nude diver, already in the sea, places the basket on the
stone and inserts one foot in a loop attached to the stone. He draws a
long breath, closes his nostrils with the fingers of one hand, raises
his body as high as possible above water, to give force to his descent,
and, loosening the rope supporting the weight, is carried quickly to the
bottom. An Arab diver closes the nostrils with a tortoise-shell clip,
and occasionally a diver is seen whose ears are stopped with
oil-saturated cotton. The manduck hoists the weight from the bottom and
adjusts it for the next descent. Meanwhile, the diver, working face
downward, is filling the basket with oysters with speed. When the basket
is filled or breath exhausted, the diver signals, and is drawn up as
rapidly as possible by the rope attached to the basket, and a specially
agile diver facilitates the ascent by climbing hand over hand on the
line When a man has been in the water half an hour, and made perhaps
seven or eight descents, he clambers aboard the boat for a rest and a
sunbath, and in a few minutes is taking part in the interminable chatter
of the Orient.

A diver coming up with basket filled wears a face of benign contentment;
but when the oysters are few and far between, as they are oftentimes,
and the man has prolonged his stay below to the limit of his air supply,
his head is out of water not many seconds before he is volubly
denouncing the official control forcing him to work on a "paar" where
little but sand exists, and his confrères on the boat hurl savage
invective at any government functionary within earshot.

The powerful Eastern sun illumines the bottom sufficiently for a diver
to plan his operations before going down, and nine days out of ten the
overhead sun renders the sea sufficiently transparent to guide a boat's
crew to promising anchorages. Pearling economists insist that dredging
by machinery or the use of diving-suits can never compete with the
simple and inexpensive method in vogue on the Manar banks. At
Marichchikkaddi one hears frequent discussion of the time a diver may
stay under water, and many improbable accounts of what has been done are
told a visitor. An average Tamil or Moorman stays down not longer than
forty-five seconds, while the broad-chested Arab thinks nothing of
being under water from sixty to eighty seconds.

Depth has much to do with the time, and it is admitted that divers do
not suffer unduly from the trying nature of their calling except when
forced to work in unusually deep water. Seven or eight fathoms--about
the average on the Ceylon banks--produces no injurious effect, but nine
fathoms tell on all but men of sturdy build. Occasionally a declivity
perhaps ten fathoms below the surface has to be fished, and this demands
the service of picked men, divers possessing the highest vitality.
Several divers collapse every season through toiling at unusual depths,
and two or three pay the penalty of death. Most divers, however, live to
as full a span as men pursuing other humble callings.

When a fishery is at its height, the scene on the banks is one of
extreme animation, and a picture full of strangeness to New World eyes.
Each craft is a floating hive of competitive noise and activity, and the
center of a cordon of disappearing and reappearing seal-like heads, with
baskets splashing in the water or being hauled by excited hands. In the
distance floats the majestic barque _Rengasamy Puravey_, an old-timer,
with stately spars, a quarter-deck, and painted port-holes that might
cause a landsman to believe her a war-ship. For half the year the barque
is the home of the government's marine biologist, and his office and
laboratory, wherein scientific investigation and experimentation are in
constant progress, are in houses built on the quarter-deck. Small
steamers, having an official cut, move here and there among the fishing
boats, doing patrol duty and carrying instructions when necessary from
the _Rengasamy Puravey_.

"Would you like to go down in a diving-costume from a boat alongside the
barque?" asks the biologist; "it's perfectly safe, and I have a dress
that will fit you. Frequently I go to the bottom to study the curious
growths there, and last season the colonial secretary did the thing two
or three times."

With a readiness of speech rivaling gunfire in promptness I nipped in
the bud the preparations for carrying out the proffered courtesy,
explaining that I was glad to accept a vicarious description of things
at the ocean's bottom.

The dingy fleet blossoms into a cloud of canvas, with every boat headed
for Marichchikkaddi, the instant the "cease work" gun is fired. The
scene suggests a regatta on a gigantic scale, and from a distance the
leaning lug and lateen sails of the East give the idea of craft
traveling at terrific speed. It is a regatta, a free-for-all,
devil-take-the-hindmost affair. The prizes are choice berths on the
beach as near as possible to the kottu, and the coolies who must carry
the sacks of oysters see to it that the "tindal" and his sailors make no
retarding error.

The camp had been peaceful and somnolent while the boats were out; but
the word that the fleet was coming in had roused every laborer, every
petty dealer, speculator, and harpy to nervous activity. Everybody goes
to the sea-front to witness the beaching of the boats and to watch the
unloading. An hour probably elapses between the coming of the leader of
the fleet and the arrival of the slowest boat. During this period the
important functionary is the beach-master, who shouts his commands to
boats seeking to crowd into positions not rightly theirs. When a boat is
securely drawn upon the strand, there is no waste of time in getting the
cargo started for the government storehouse. Muscular porters,
glistening in their perspiring nudeness, go in single file between boat
and kottu like ants executing a transportation feat. In a very few
minutes the oysters are being counted by nimble-handed coolies.
Important gamblers in oysters, men with sharp eyes and speculative
instincts, have only to note the number of sacks delivered from one or
two boats--and secure a hint from an obliging diver as to whether the
bivalves are "thin" or "thick"--to arrive at a safe hypothesis of what
the day's take has been, and also whether the oysters promise to be
fairly pearliferous. The opinions of two or three of these experts make
a basis for starting the prices at the auction in the evening, and these
"sharps" are seldom wrong in their estimate of what would be a safe
offer for a thousand chances in the great lottery of Asia.

The count in the kottu is soon completed, and each boat's catch is
divided into three piles, when an official selects two for the
government, and the third is so expeditiously removed that a quarter of
an hour later the share of the divers is being huckstered throughout the
camp to small speculators.

Upon each craft throughout the day has been a native watchman of
supposed honesty, in the government's employ, whose duty has been to see
that no oysters were surreptitiously opened on the banks or during the
run home. Suspicion of the extraction of pearls on the part of any
member of the crew leads to the police being informed, and an arrest
follows. A favorite way of hiding pearls is to tie the gems in a rag
attached to the anchor that is thrown overboard when the boat lands.
Another is to fasten a packet to a piece of rigging adroitly run to the
masthead, there to remain until opportunity permits the dishonest
schemer to remove it unobserved.

On their way to their sleeping quarters it is interesting to observe
divers stopping at boutiques and tea saloons for refreshments, paying
their score with oysters, extremely acceptable to the shopkeeper itching
to test his luck. In a small way, oysters pass current in the Cadjan
City as the equivalent of coins. Probably the variations in value lead
to fluctuations in exchange, but these are so keenly understood that the
quotations are apparently adjusted automatically, like exchange between
nations.

The sale is held in the building where the camp magistrate all the
afternoon has been dispensing justice in breaches of Marichchikkaddi's
morals--simple assaults, thieving, and other petty misdemeanors usual
to police courts. Punctually at sunset the auction begins. If the
universe offers a stranger gathering for which commerce is responsible,
it would be difficult to give it location. The gentle government agent
sits on the platform, and in front of the rostrum is the splendidly
appareled chief mudiliyar, to interpret between auctioneer and buyers.
The bidders-to-be number half a hundred, and their eager faces are
directed toward the august official of the government, each probably
praying secretly to his god that undue competition be not inspired to
the extent of excluding bargains. In the throng are chetties. Moor
merchants, and local hawkers, hoping to get a few thousand bivalves at a
price assuring a profit when peddled through the coastwise villages.

"Do these men represent actual capital!" you ask the agent. "They do,
indeed," is the reply, "and collectively they are backed by cash in hand
and satisfactory credits in Ceylon banks of at least a hundred lakhs of
rupees." Forced as you are to accept the statement, you inwardly confess
that they don't look it, for $3,200,000 is a goodly credit anywhere.

In the fading light of day the agent announces that approximately two
million oysters are to be sold, and he invites offers for them by the
thousand--the highest bidder to take as many as he chooses, the
quotation to be effective and apply to others until it is raised by some
one fearing there will not be oysters enough to satisfy the demands of
everybody. It is the principle of supply and demand reduced to
simplicity. The competition to fix the price of the first lot consumes
perhaps a minute. The initial bid was thirty rupees; this was elevated
to thirty-two, and so on until thirty-six was the maximum that could be
induced from the motley assemblage. With his pencil the agent taps the
table, and the mudiliyar says something in Hindustani meaning "sold."
The buyer was an Arab from Bombay, operating for a syndicate of rich
Indians taking a flier in lottery tickets. In a manner almost, lordly he
announces that he will take four hundred thousand oysters. Then a sale
of two thousand follows at an advanced price to a nondescript said to
have come all the way from Mecca; a towering Sikh from the Punjab
secures twenty thousand at a reduced rate, and so on. In ten or twelve
minutes the day's product is disposed of to greedy buyers for the sum of
62,134 good and lawful rupees. A clerk records names of buyers with
expedition, glancing now and then at a document proving their credit,
and in a few minutes issues the requisitions upon the kottu for the
actual oysters that will be honored in the early morning.

The primitive process by which the pearls are extracted from the oysters
is tedious, offensive to the senses, and of a character much too
disagreeable to be associated with the jewel symbolizing purity. A few
million oysters are shipped to southern India, and some go to Jaffna and
Colombo; but the preponderating bulk is dealt with in the private
kottus in the outskirts of the camp belonging to the men who crowd the
auction room. To open fresh from the sea and scrutinize every part of
the oyster would be too slow a method to be applied to the business of
pearl-getting. The native who obtains a few dozen seeks shelter under
the first mustard-tree, and with dull-edged knife, dissects each bivalve
with a thoroughness permitting nothing to escape his eye.

The burning sun, bringing putrefaction and decay to the oyster, is the
operator's agency for securing what pearls his purchase may contain. For
a week or ten days the oysters are stacked in his private kottu, and the
process of disintegration is facilitated by swarms of flies and millions
of maggots. When the tropical sun can do no more, the contents of the
shells--putrid, filthy, and overpoweringly odoriferous--are gathered in
troughs and other receptacles to be put through a process of cleansing
by washing with water frequently drawn away. The residue, carefully
preserved, is picked over when dry by experts, working under the
watchfulness of owner or his deputy--and in this manner the pearls of my
lady's dainty necklace and the engagement ring are wrested from nature.

[Illustration: THE LATE MAHARAJAH OF PATIALA IN HIS PEARL REGALIA]

Sometimes an impatient speculator is seen with his coolies on the beach
carefully washing vatfuls of "matter," perhaps employing a dugout canoe
as a washing trough. Wherever the work is done the stench is almost
overpowering, and the odors defy neutralization. The wonder is that some
dread disease of the Orient does not make a clean sweep of the city's
population. The medical officers claim that the malodorous fumes are not
dangerous, and experience has taught these officials to locate the
compounds, wherein millions of oysters are to decompose, in positions
where the trade winds waft the smells seaward or inland, without greatly
affecting the camp's health. The British official whose olfactory organ
survives a season at the pearl camp deserves from his home government at
least the honor of knighthood.

Interesting as Marichchikkaddi is to the person making a study of the
conduct of unusual industries and the government of Eastern people, the
medical officer looms important as the functionary shouldering a greater
responsibility than any other officer of the camp. To draw forty
thousand people from tropical lands, grouping them on a sand plain only
a few hundred miles above the equator, is an undertaking pregnant with
danger, when considered from the standpoint of hygiene. Strange to say,
Marichchikkaddi's health is always satisfactory; but tons of
disinfectants have to be used. Malarial fever is ever present, but is of
a mild type. The outdoor dispensary does a rushing business, but only
seventy-five cases were sufficiently serious last season to be sent to
hospital, and only ten of these were fatal. The divers are prone to
pneumonia and pleurisy, and these diseases carried off five. The deaths
out of hospital totaled twenty-two.

In the hospital I saw a man with grizzled beard whose escape from death
bordered upon the marvelous. His head had been jammed four days before
between colliding boats, cracking his skull to the extent of letting the
brain protrude. He was rushed to the hospital to die, but had no
intention of passing to another world, the doctors learned. Sitting
upright on his cot-bed, the poor fellow said to me with an earnestness
almost compelling tears: "Help me to get out of this place, please. I
want to be with my boat, for there is no better diver than I am, and I
can earn a hundred rupees a day as easily as any man in
Marichchikkaddi."

As an illustration of the white man's supremacy, in dealing with black
and brown peoples, Marichchikkaddi probably has no equal. Here, in an
isolated spot on the coast of Ceylon, hours from anywhere by sea, and
shut off from the large towns of the island by jungle and forest wherein
elephants, leopards, and other wild animals roam, twelve or fifteen
Britishers rule, with an authority never challenged, more than forty
thousand adventurous Asiatics--men whose vocation is largely based on
their daring, and whose competing religions and castes possess the germ
of fanaticism that might be roused to bloodshed. The white man's control
is supported by the presence of two hundred policemen, it is true, but
these are natives. The keynote of this exposition of a multitude ruled
by a handful of Europeans is the absolute fairness of their control, of
course. Were justice non-existent, it would be inviting disaster for
the white official to apprehend a wrong-doer, place him on trial, and
personally administer with lash or birch the corporal punishment to be
witnessed any morning in front of the camp lockup.

And what might happen if the divers, through their ringleaders, objected
to surrendering to the Ceylon government the demanded "rake-off" of two
thirds the oysters rescued from the sea by their efforts, in the event
of these courageous fellows being assured that all the law in the world
on the subject says that all the sea and all therein contained, beyond
the distance of three nautical miles from shore, belongs to the
universe! But the Manar diver knows naught of the three-mile law,
presumably.

Does the fishery pay? Tremendously, so far as facts upon which to base
an answer are obtainable. The government treasury is sometimes
enormously expanded as a result of the enterprise. In 1905, the most
prosperous of all Manar fisheries, the government sold its fifty million
oysters for two and one half million rupees, and at least $600,000 of
this was profit. Years ago, it is true, there were several fisheries
producing for the treasury nothing but deficits. Nobody ever knows what
reward visits the purchasers of oysters, for it is their habit to spread
the report of non-success and disappointment. But the buyers and
speculators come each year in larger numbers, with augmented credits,
and they pay in competition with their kind a larger price for the
oysters. The conclusion is, therefore, that they find the business
profitable.

Even rumors of luck and profit would bring more speculators and rising
prices at the auction sales, manifestly. Reports of fortunate strikes at
Marichchikkaddi may more frequently be heard in India than in Ceylon,
let it be said; and it is the gilded grandees of Hind--princes,
maharajahs and rajahs--rather than the queens of Western society, who
become possessors of the trove of Manar.

No Colombo merchant or magnate, or man or woman of the official set, is
superior to tempting fortune by buying a few thousand oysters freshly
landed from Marichchikkaddi. And the interminable question of caste,
banning many things to Cingalese and Tamil, inhibits not the right to
gamble upon the contents of a sackful of bivalves. If the fishery be
successful, all Ceylon teems with stories of lucky finds, and
habitations ranging from the roadside hut to the aristocratic bungalow
in the Cinnamon Gardens are pointed to as having been gained by a
productive deal in oysters. A favorite tale is that of the poor
horse-tender, who, buying a few cents' worth of oysters, found the
record pearl of the year; another is of the 'rickshawman suspected of
having money in the bank as a result of a lucky find on the seafront of
Colombo of three or four oysters dropped from a discharging boat--in a
shaded alley between buildings he forced the bivalves to disgorge a
pearl worth hundreds of pounds sterling. Most stories of this character
are as untrue as the reports of soubrettes and telephone boys winning
fortunes in Wall Street.

Did I try my luck? Of course I did. Who could resist the temptation? I
purchased two great sackfuls of oysters, a thousand in number, which
were brought off to the government tug _Active_ by salaaming peons from
the government agent's office. At five o'clock the tug was ready to
start Colomboward the instant the "despatches" I was to deliver came on
board. At last the precious package, with a parade of red tape and
impressive wax seals, was handed over the side. It may have contained
something as priceless as a last year's directory; I never knew. It was
my deep-seated suspicion, however, that the packet was somebody's excuse
for letting the public treasury expend a few hundred rupees in carrying
one in private life back to Colombo to catch his steamer for China the
next evening.

Confident was I that the bags on the stern grating that had been freshly
soused with seawater as the _Active_ steamed away from Marichchikkaddi
contained a wealth of pearls. In the cool of the early morning I would
subsidize the eight native sailors, getting them to open the shelled
treasures, while I garnered the pearls. With this thought uppermost, I
turned in on a cushionless bench to snatch a few hours' sleep. But
slumber was out of the question; my brain was planning what might be
done with the pearls I was soon to possess. Yes, there surely would be
plenty for a pearl-studded tiara for the loved one awaiting me; and any
superfluity might be made into ropes and collars for admiring relatives
at home. Cousin Jessie had always coveted a necklace of pearls with a
diamond clasp. The dainty baubles were in those sacks; there was no
question about that. Yes, my luck at pearl-getting would compensate for
missing Sir Thomas Lipton's dinner in Colombo. Sleep always comes in
time, and at last I was dreaming of the cargo of priceless gems with me
on the boat.

How extremely uncomfortable the bench was! What was that! I was not
asleep, but very wide-awake--and such pains! In an instant I was rolling
on the deck and shrieking from the terribleness of my suffering. Could
it be cholera, the plague, or simply appendicitis with which I was
stricken? The sailors held me down, but not a soul on board knew a word
of English. I was positive that my end had come, and the thought of
expiring away from friends and with a pocketful of prepaid
around-the-world tickets was not agreeable. In an hour the pain was
excruciating, and it continued for ten long hours with varying severity.
Morning came, and the Indian skipper was plying his furnace with
lubricating oil and turpentine--with anything that would help him get me
to Colombo and medical skill. At last, eighteen hours out from
Marichchikkaddi, the _Active_ was in the harbor and I was being carried
to the Grand Oriental Hotel.

"What about the two bags of oysters, the captain wishes to know!" the
hotel interpreter asked.

"Oh, give them to the men," was the answer; "I have ceased to care for
pearl-studded tiaras and collars. I'm glad to get away alive from the
decaying millions of oysters at the fishery. Even God's free air there
is poisoned by them. What I want most is a doctor."



CHAPTER IV

UPWARD TO THE SHRINE OF BUDDHA


From Colombo it is but seventy-five miles to Ceylon's ancient capital,
and the journey thither is picturesque almost beyond description. For
fifty miles the railway leads through the rich vegetation of the
lowlands, with groves of cocoanut palms seemingly as boundless as the
sea. In a suburb of Colombo the sacred Kelani River is crossed, at a
point not remote from the Buddhist temple claimed to be contemporary
with Gautama himself. The valley of the Kelani is vivid with rice-fields
of green. The line then pushes its way through a bewildering medley of
tropical vegetation--there are miles of cashew and breadfruit trees, of
frangipani and jaks, and more than once a stately talipot-palm is
discerned in full blossom--for half a century the tree has stored its
vitality for this one effort; and the burst of splendor spent, its
career on earth is ended. For twenty-five miles the train zigzags up
hills, running now and then on the edge of a shelf from whence the
traveler looks down hundreds of feet sheer upon foam-crested rapids. The
journey from Colombo to Kandy affords one of the memorable experiences
of Ceylon.

[Illustration: A LADY OF KANDY]

England has held the interior region of the island, controlled for
centuries by the Kandyan kings, for but ninety odd years, and it is
curious to observe wings of palaces at Kandy, where a semi-barbaric rule
long held sway, employed now as British administrative offices. Little
antiquity is discernible in the old hill capital, due to former rival
interests of the Portuguese and Dutch. When one nation had control of
the picturesque town, it was customary to efface or demolish everything
that the other had done.

Kandy is the city of Buddha's tooth, and as such is the object of
unbounded reverence with more than four hundred million inhabitants of
the earth. Oudh, where Gautama Buddha died, lacks the sacred importance
of Kandy; and the sepulcher at Jerusalem means no more to Christians,
nor Mecca and Medina to followers of Mahomet.

Kandy was but a mountain village when the holy molar was brought here in
the sixteenth century for safe-keeping. The small temple wherein it was
deposited was beautified and enlarged, and finally the priesthood made
the place their principal seat, and the Kandyan kings later made the
city their stronghold and capital of the country.

Thousands of pilgrims come yearly to offer to the Temple of the Tooth
their gifts of gold and silver ornaments, coins, jewels, vestments for
the priests, even fruits and flowers--and these devotees have traveled
from every hamlet of Ceylon and from every land where Buddha has
believers--from Nepaul, the Malay Peninsula, China, Japan, even from
Siberia and Swedish Lapland. The kings of Burmah and Siam, in compliance
with the wish of their subjects, send annual contributions toward the
support of the temple enshrining the tooth; and Buddhist priests in
far-away Japan correspond with the hierarchy of the temple of Kandy. No
other tooth has the drawing power of this one, certainly.

Strange to say. Buddhism has been cast out from India, where it
originated, by the Hindu faith, which it was meant to reform. In India's
enormous population scarce seven millions to-day worship at Buddha's
shrine. Christianity, as well, is a stranger to the land where it was
born. It appears the irony of fate that these great religions, glorious
in principle, have abiding places without number, save in the countries
where they originated. But such is the fact.

Few scholars can study the tenets of Buddhism without the conviction
that it is a religion of striking merit--that is, as form and dogma are
described by writers and commentators; but as practised by races not far
removed from pagan illiteracy, with whom idolatry and superstition are
inherent, it may no longer be the perfection of doctrine that was
espoused by Prince Gautama.

Sir Edwin Arnold, who thoroughly knew most Eastern religions, admired
enthusiastically the precepts of Buddha, and no one can read his
writings without experiencing some regard for the Buddhism of
literature. In "The Light of Asia" the five commandments of the great
religion of the Orient are thus poetically recited:

    Kill not--for Pity's sake--and lest ye slay
    The meanest thing upon its upward way.

    Give freely and receive, but take from none
    By greed, or force or fraud, what is his own.

    Bear not false witness, slander not, nor lie;
    Truth is the speech of inward purity.

    Shun drugs and drinks which work the wit abuse;
    Clear minds, clean bodies, need no Soma juice.

    Touch not thy neighbor's wife, neither commit
    Sins of the flesh unlawful and unfit.

Whether present-day Buddhism is the exact religion taught by the
princely priest, and gracefully described by the English poet, matters
little--its fountainhead is Kandy, and temple and dependencies of the
sacred bone form the Vatican of the faith. This miraculous tooth,
alleged to be the left eye-tooth of Gautama Buddha, and taken from the
ashes of his funeral pyre twenty-five hundred years ago, has played a
mighty part in Eastern intrigue, and wars between nations have been
fought over it. For centuries it was the priceless marriage dower going
with certain favored princesses of royal blood. It was brought from
India to Ceylon in the fourth century after Christ. The Malabars
secured it by conquest more than once, the Portuguese had it for a time
at Goa, and for safety it was brought to Kandy in the sixteenth century,
and it has there since been cared for with scrupulous fidelity.

A relic supported by so much history should at least be genuine--the
history may be all right, but the tooth is a shambling hoax, at best a
crude proxy for the molar of Gautama. Intelligent priests of Buddhism
must know this, but the millions of common people finding solace in the
faith have never heard the truth--and wouldn't believe it if they did.
No more amazing display of faith over a reputed sacred relic is known
than is associated with this bogus tooth of Kandy.

Reference to any library of unimpeachable works on the world's religions
proves conclusively that the actual tooth was burned by the Catholic
archbishop of Goa in 1560, in the presence of the viceroy of India and
his suite--this is authentic history. Six years after the event at Goa a
spurious tooth had to be provided to effect an international marriage
long under contract, and the molar of a wild boar or of an ape was used.
This tooth eventually was brought to the town nestling in the hills of
Ceylon, and surrounding it grew the capital of the proud kingdom of the
Kandyans. In the year of Waterloo, the British overthrew the reigning
sovereign, and the bogus tooth and its temple have since had the
protection of English rule.

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH, KANDY]

The dimensions of the tooth are fatal to its pretended genuineness,
for it is a discolored ivory two inches in length and one in diameter.
No human mouth ever gave shelter to such a tooth. To view it would be a
test of credulity too trying even for fanaticism to stand. The hoax,
consequently, is concealed from sight. On important occasions it is
displayed--at a distance. When the Duke and Duchess of York visited
Kandy the high priests of the temple exhibited the tooth; and on
occasions it is supposed to be carried in processions through the
streets on the back of an elephant--but deception and trickery in
connection with the tooth come easy.

The enshrined humbug reposes on a massive silver table, encrusted with
gems and festooned with jeweled chains. The chamber in which it is kept
in the temple is stiflingly hot, with atmosphere heavy from the perfume
of flowers. Within six or eight bell-shaped metal covers the tooth is
held by a standard as if emerging from the petals of a lotus flower of
gold. Visitors to the museum at Colombo may see a replica of the relic
and its setting: it is a tawdry, unimpressive object.

Glance where you will in Kandy, drive in any direction, penetrate any
avenue or footpath, and priestly disciples of Buddha, of every age from
the novice to the patriarch of exalted rank, accost the vision. Pilgrims
appear to be constantly arriving. They are present from Jaffna in the
north, from Galle in the south, from Nuara Eliya in the mountains, from
everywhere--some come on foot, some by curious carts drawn by buffaloes
or bullocks, some by railroad train. All are unshod, and the head of
each is bare and shaven. Each wears the robe of eternal yellow, with an
arm and shoulder bare, and the sunshade and palm fan have been the
adjuncts of the brotherhood since Gautama left his royal parents' house
to teach the word of Buddha.

Celibacy is the rule of the priesthood. Nothing can be less obtrusive
than the demeanor of the brethren. Visitors to their temples are
welcomed, and courteous replies are always made to inquiries.

Cremation is general in the priesthood, but apparently optional with
others of the faith. When a dignitary of the priesthood passes away his
confrères assemble from far and near at the funeral pyre to do him
honor. The incineration usually takes place in a palm grove. The corpse
is surrounded with dried wood, made additionally inflammable with oils.
The rites of the pyre include nothing of a sensational character; the
assemblage chants for a time, then a priest of high rank applies the
torch, and in an hour nothing remains but a mound of embers and ashes. A
cremation may be readily witnessed at Kandy or Colombo, or other place
possessing a considerable population.

The peoples of low caste of the East are too numerous to be catalogued.
India teems with them, of course, and the paradise island of Ceylon has
a considerable percentage of human beings denied by their betters of
almost every privilege save breathing the free air of heaven. The
lowlands and coastal regions have been so commercialized that human
pariahs are there almost overlooked--but they are at every turning of
the road in every hamlet, everywhere. Kandy, once royal city, knows the
abhorred low caste to-day as it did five hundred years ago, for in plain
view of the capital in the hills there are settlements of men and women
still excluded from communion with the world by reason of a royal curse
pronounced centuries ago--and it is a condition worse than death itself.

Representatives of the Rodiya caste may be seen any day by pedestrians
in the city's outskirts. There are not many of them,
fortunately--perhaps a thousand all told. Tradition has it that hundreds
of years ago a vengeful monarch condemned their race to never-ending
degradation for having supplied the royal table with human flesh instead
of venison. Custom forces these poor mortals to ford or swim a stream,
instead of using a ferry; and forbids their drawing water at public
wells. They must not live in houses like other people, but in hovels
constructed usually by leaning a hurdle against a rock, and their men
and women must never clothe their bodies above the waist. Until recent
years courts of justice have been closed to them, and if overtaken on
their travels by darkness they must find shelter in caves or abandoned
hovels. They recognize their degradation by falling on their knees when
addressing even toilers on the highway, and shout a warning on the
approach of a traveler, that he may halt long enough for them to get off
the road to secure his passing without possibility of defilement.

These groveling worms of the earth are nominally Buddhists, but are
forbidden to enter a temple. Hence they pray "standing afar off." Demon
worship is accredited to them. Their headman can officiate only when he
has obtained the sanction of the common jailor of the district. Even to
ask alms they must not enter a fenced property, and it is said at Kandy
that water over which their shadows have fallen is held to be so defiled
that other natives will not use it until purified by the sun's rays. And
thus it is; their race is penalized in every manner, and the ban goes
unchallenged by the miserable beings.

Their denial by mankind of ordinary fellowship has driven them to filthy
and beastly habits. They devour the flesh of monkeys and tortoises, even
carrion, it is claimed; and of late years they haunt feasts and
ceremonials hoping to obtain fragments of food thrown from the tables of
their betters. Now and then they are paid something for watching fields,
and for burying carcasses of dead cattle. It is not known that they are
thieves, but they are shunned as if they were. In emergencies, when
there is a scarcity of labor, they are induced to work on tea estates,
or at road mending; but the habits of vagabondage are too rooted to
allow their remaining long in useful employment.

[Illustration: CREMATION OF A BUDDHIST PRIEST]

Superior in every way to their men, the Rodiya women are the most
beautiful in all Ceylon. Their scantiness of raiment, it is pleaded
in their behalf, is due in no sense to immodesty. Rodiya girls wander
the country as dancers and jugglers, and their erect figures, elastic
step, and regalness of carriage, would be envied by the proudest woman
promenading Vanity Fair; some of them have faces so perfect in a classic
way that a sculptor or painter might make himself famous by reproducing
them.

Believe not that these miserable people represent the lowest grade of
degradation in Lanka's isle, for there are two outcast races so far
beneath them in the social scale as to be avoided by Rodiyas as if they
reeked with a pestilential disease. These castes are hopelessly beyond
the pale.

British rule in Asia recognizes no caste distinctions, but it has been a
humane work of the wives of several English governors of Ceylon to seek
to improve the position of the women of the Rodiya caste, especially of
the young girls. Some benefit is claimed as a result of the efforts of
the English women--but the majesty and power of Great Britain are puny
institutions compared with the force of caste among native races. To
keep down the Rodiya population a certain Kandyan king, it is stated on
good authority, used to have a goodly number of them shot each year.



CHAPTER V

IN CEYLON'S HILL COUNTRY


When good Kandyans discourse in flowery vein, they say Kandy is only
forty miles from heaven. Visitors who have fallen under the charm of the
place are more likely to wonder at their moderation than question their
ability to measure celestial distances. If Gautama Buddha's "eternal
rest" were to be had on earth, Kandy would surely be the reward of
Nirvana promised those who have acquired merit.

The beauty of Kandy is based upon naturalness; it is not grand like
Taormina in Sicily, nor produced by nature and art in combination like
Monte Carlo. Everything connected with the spot is fascinating, even the
jungle that by day harbors the jackals which sometimes make night
hideous to sojourners. Everybody appears happy; even elephants hauling
timber in the suburbs toil cheerfully.

This inland province that formed the kingdom of Kandy preserved its
integrity throughout the Portuguese and Dutch invasions of the island;
and the English were in possession of the coast section full nineteen
years before the Kandyan monarchy succumbed to their power.

This beautiful city was a different place under the native kings. They
loved grandeur, apparently, but it was the grandeur of selfish
surroundings and luxury. The lake now the center of the city was
constructed by the last king, it is true; but its shore witnessed
atrocities never surpassed in savage excess. Near the spot where stands
a monastery of yellow robed monks of Buddha, the last king assembled his
people in 1814 to witness the punishment of the innocent wife and
children of a fleeing official accused of treason. By the blow of a
sword the head of each child was severed from its body in the mother's
presence, even that of the babe wrenched from her breast. The heads were
placed in a mortar, and the woman forced under threat of disgraceful
torture to pound them with a huge pestle.

When news of this reached the coast the English determined to intervene
in the interests of humanity. While the horror was yet fresh in the
public mind, a party of native merchants of Colombo came to Kandy to
trade. The fiendish king ordered them seized and horribly mutilated.
When, a few weeks later, the survivors returned to the sea-coast
deprived of ears, noses and hands--with the severed members tied to
their necks--the English decided to act immediately. Three months later
Kandy was in their possession, and the king an exile in southern India.

From that time, with the exception of a few years when the hereditary
Kandyan chiefs were troublesome through finding their privileges
circumscribed, the progress of Ceylon as a whole has been remarkable.
Perhaps the finest example of benefits coming with England's colonial
rule is this "Eden of the Eastern Wave." Slavery and forced labor on
public works have been abolished, fine roads constructed everywhere, and
adequate educational facilities placed within easy reach.

A visitor perceives no squalor, few beggars, and apparently no genuine
poverty. All these advantages have been secured practically without
taxing the natives in any manner. Uniform contentment, consequently, is
everywhere visible. The naked babies, looking like india-rubber dolls,
have apparently never learned to cry.

Oddly enough, the English made Kandy the Saint Helena of Arabi Pasha's
exile, until the broken and aged man was permitted a few years since to
return to his beloved Egypt.

[Illustration: TREES IN PERADENIYA GARDEN, KANDY]

Itself beautiful with poinsettia, bougainvillea, crotons, hibiscus and
palms, a botanical garden in Kandy would seem to have no proper place.
But the city possesses one that is almost unique among tropical gardens.
It is in the suburb of Peradeniya, four miles out, and it is embraced on
three sides by Ceylon's principal stream, the Mahavaliganga. For eighty
years the Ceylon government has treated the Peradeniya garden and its
associated experimental stations as an investment--and it has paid well,
for through its agency the cultivation of cinchona, cacao, rubber and
other economic crops has been introduced to the people. Throughout
Asia the Peradeniya garden is famous. Whether the claim that it is the
finest in the world be correct would require an expert to determine. The
botanical garden at Demerara may be as good, if not larger and better.

A layman visiting Peradeniya returns to Kandy in a state of
bewilderment. He has seen so many attractive and strange manifestations
of nature that lucid description is beyond his power. He is aware,
nevertheless, that he has viewed nearly every tree, shrub, plant and
vine known to tropical and subtropical climes; shrubs that produce every
spice, perfume and flavoring he ever heard of, or that contribute to
medicine, as well.

At Peradeniya the palm family has nearly a hundred representatives,
including the areca, palmyra, talipot, royal, fan, traveler's, date and
cocoanut. The forty or more varieties of crotons include the curious
corkscrew of the West Indies, and range extravagantly in colors and
markings. Huge Assam rubber-trees have exposed roots suggesting a tangle
of octopi. A tree noticeable for its perfect foliage is the breadfruit;
and there are sensitive plants that shrink from intimate attention, and
water-plants whose roots need not come into contact with the earth.

Here and there are kola trees, cardamom bushes, aloe plants from which
sisal is drawn, camphor and cinnamon shrubs, and probably every species
of the parasitical family, depending like many human beings upon
stronger relatives or neighbors for support. The orchid enclosure would
arouse any collector's covetousness. There are foliage plants producing
leaves counterfeiting elephant ears, and others that look like full
spread peacock tails. A small leaf which the official guide of the
gardens is obviously partial to is deep green when held to the light,
purple when slightly turned, and deep red if looked at from another
angle. The visitor moves swiftly into the sunlight when told that he is
standing in the shade of the deadly upas.

A traveler approaching the island of Ceylon hears constantly of the
wonders of Peradeniya; and some statements in praise of the garden are
taken usually with reserve, especially that asserting there are trees
there which develop so rapidly that the spectator can actually see them
grow. This seems incredible, but there is ample basis for the statement.
After a rain the fronds of the giant bamboo frequently grow a foot in
the course of a day. At the office of the director of the garden are
records of many measurements proving that fronds have lengthened a half
inch in an hour. A tree growing a half inch in sixty minutes is a Ceylon
fact. The first time I went to Peradeniya, thousands of flying-foxes,
suspended bat-like from the giant bamboos a hundred feet from the earth,
were sleeping away the day, while soaring above the trees were hundreds
of these queer objects, scolding like disturbed crows.

[Illustration: TAMIL COOLIE SETTING OUT TEA PLANTS]

Peradeniya's visitors come from every land in the world, some traveling
great distances to see the wonders of the garden. One has not to be
arboriculturist or botanist to appreciate the establishment; it is
always entertaining, sometimes amusing, and appeals variously to the
tastes of visitors. For example, the Mexican goes involuntarily to the
aloe from which his beloved pulque is made, the Egyptian to the
date-palm, the Connecticut man to the nutmeg grove, and the New Yorker
to the tree under which handfuls of cloves may be scooped up without
charge, whereas at home they are acquired one at a time at considerable
expense.

Explore the highways and byways of Kandy keenly as one may, nothing is
in evidence explaining its manifest prosperity--the place has no
distinctive product or business. It is the seat of management, however,
of the island's greatest industry--tea raising.

In Ceylon tea is "king." This being the fact, no visitor to the town
where the Planters' Association has its administrative machinery can
close his ears to tea talk. Elsewhere people talk over their tea-cups;
in Kandy, they talk tea over every other kind of cup. Kandy's big hotel
bristles with planters in overspreading sun hats, as do club and
friendly bungalow verandas. Some are "down" for a day (and a night) from
up-country estates, while others are "up" from smallish properties at
levels below Kandy. Nearly all have to purchase supplies and draw a few
sacks of rupees from the bank with which to pay off their coolies. But
some have come to discuss market conditions and prospects with their
agents. A few, not yet wholly emancipated from the social side of life
in which they were reared, have journeyed to Kandy to rub shoulders for
a few days with civilization.

The orbit of each and every one of these transplanted Britons is tea,
and this in its primal form. They can have no concern with Steel common.
Amalgamated copper or Erie 4's, and to them the jargon of stock
exchanges would be as meaningless as Sanskrit platitudes. Their
speculative medium is tea--tea in bulk, and pretty large bulk at that.

The daily cable from London summarizing the tea market interests each of
these men as vitally as the tale of the ticker interests the American
taking a flier in stocks. The story is told in two or three lines, and
by a presentation of numerals appearing exceedingly unimportant to the
sojourner whose operations in tea never exceeded the purchase of a pound
package.

[Illustration: TAMIL GIRL PLUCKING TEA]

Yes, the figures tell the story--a tale of occasional success, but often
of failure and woe. A bracketed set of fractions explains the range of
prices for broken pekoes, another set deals with common pekoes, another
with orange pekoes, and still another with common souchongs. Then follow
such words as "steady," "generally firm," and "somewhat lower"--each a
phrase with potential significance. The crux of the communication, like
that of a school-girl's letter, comes last. If it reads "general market
closed 1-8th penny up," the planter has visions of happiness and
affluence, and forthwith orders a "peg." But if the postscript says
"1-8th down," the young planter foresees nothing but disaster, and may
consider levanting with the bags of rupees by the next steamer from
Colombo. A planter is always a bull on prices, while the important buyer
in Europe is chronically bearish.

The yearly tea product of Ceylon is aggregating 155,000,000 pounds, and
of this Uncle Sam purchases 12,000,000 pounds, while 98,000,000 go to
Great Britain. The value of the annual output varies little from
$21,000,000--and from this Ceylon supports itself so comfortably that
the tea-plant seems to merit adoption as the emblem of the colony.

The rise of the industry affords one of the most remarkable instances of
rapid development of an agricultural pursuit. Coffee used to be the
dominating crop in the island, until "coffee blight" ruined the
industry. Tea was then experimented with. In 1875 barely a thousand
acres were under tea; now the acreage is 385,000. A journey from Kandy
to Nuwara Eliya, in the mountains, is through an interminable
tea-garden, and on every hand is proof of substantial investment of
capital. The choicest crops are raised between five and six thousand
feet above sea-level, and lands in this zone are worth as much as $500
an acre. The scientific cultivation of tea paid its pioneers handsomely,
but the current opinion is that overproduction is killing prices, and
that a new crop must be sought--probably rubber.

Ceylon's important tea estates are the property of companies, whose
shares are dealt in on the London and Colombo stock exchanges. Small
plantations are owned by individuals, usually the persons conducting
them. One or two thousand Europeans, mainly Englishmen and Scotchmen,
are employed on the important estates as managers, assistants and
accountants. Hosts of young Britons work a year or two without
compensation for the experience. They are called "creepers," and some of
them eventually obtain salaried offices, or embark in the industry on
their own account. The laboring force on an estate is provided chiefly
by Tamil coolies from southern India, and numbers from one to two
thousand. Both men and women contrive to lay by a competence at a wage
rate of from eight to fifteen cents a day.

If let alone, the tea-plant would grow to be a tree eighteen or twenty
feet high, but by generous top pruning it is kept down to three feet,
thus becoming a squat bush possessing a biggish leafing area. Every
eight or twelve days the shoots and young leaves are plucked--when
treated these become the tea of commerce. Tea-plants are alike, speaking
generally, grades being effected by the discrimination of picker and
sorter. Fresh buds and tender young leaves make the pekoes, older ones
the souchongs. Tea gathered exclusively from buds and tips is called
"flowery;" if the first young leaf be included, it is "orange pekoe."
In order of quality the Ceylon grades are: orange pekoe, pekoe,
pekoe-souchong, souchong, congou, and dust.

[Illustration: A KANDYAN CHIEFTAIN]

Tea-plants are perennial, and are set about four feet apart on
hillsides. At three years of age they become productive. Familiar sights
in the hills are the coolies with baskets of slips setting out plants
wherever unemployed spaces may be found, and groups of Tamil girls
plucking buds and young leaves from mature bushes. These girls are happy
countenanced, some slender and graceful in carriage and movement, and
none express objection to being snapshotted by travelers. The girls'
baskets are emptied and contents systematically sorted at convenient
places in the field, or at the factory. Essential to every important
estate is the factory, for there the leaves are withered, broken by
rolling, fermented, fired, and finally sifted into grades preparatory to
packing in lead-lined boxes ready to be despatched to the markets of the
universe.

It is reassuring to witness the system and scrupulous cleanliness of
every step employed in producing Ceylon tea. Anybody who has spent a day
on an up-country estate is fairly certain to be friendly to Ceylon tea
the rest of his life, for modern machinery does much of the work which
in China and Japan is performed by hands none too clean and amid
surroundings none too healthful.



CHAPTER VI

BOMBAY AND ITS PARSEE "JEES" AND "BHOYS"


The Parsee is the only sect holding religious tenets strange enough to
stamp them as "peculiar people" who amount to much in the material
affairs of life. Every country possesses groups of people having
religious beliefs and practices which attract to them a curious
interest; but Bombay's Parsee colony is the only illustration of a
brotherhood following strange lives who shine resplendently in the
financial and social worlds.

Everything in Bombay is dominated by the Parsee element, and every
public hospital and other charitable institution, public statue, or
drinking fountain, is the benefaction of a Parsee. The mansions and
finest villas are Parsee homes, the leaders of club life are Parsees,
and almost every bank and influential commercial house bears a Parsee
name on its door. Bombay's population is not far from nine hundred
thousand, of which the Parsees number only sixty thousand--but this
minority impresses its importance on the majority and gives a character
of unique interest to the city.

These dominating people are Indians only by adoption. Twelve hundred
years ago the Mohammedan conquerors of Persia persecuted the disciples
of Zoroaster to an extent that many of the strongest men and women of
the faith fled to India for safety, and the Parsees of to-day are the
descendants of these refugees. For generations they have made education
a feature, have always helped each other, and been extremely clannish,
although preserving toward people of other religions a respectful
attitude. Their creed, claimed to have descended from the Hebrew prophet
Daniel, is expressed in three precepts of two words each: Good thoughts,
good words, good deeds. Orthodox Parsees wear a white girdle of three
coils as reminder of these principles; but present-day Parsee men have
discarded all evidences of their creed save the designating vizorless
cap, and dress in garments of European pattern, and their women are
garbed in robes of delicately-shaded and clinging silks, and wear
embroidered mantillas on their heads.

Most Parsees are superbly educated, variously accomplished, and speak
English fluently. Their equipages are the smartest in Bombay, and every
walk of life is led by them. The great fortunes of this part of India
are theirs, and Parsee names are identified with everything contributing
to Bombay's importance. These names are strikingly peculiar, are usually
of from four to six syllables, the last being usually "jee" or "bhoy."
The Jeejeebhoy family is intensely Parsee, of course, and important
enough to possess an English baronetcy. The city's principal hospital
was the gift of Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. Other families of renown in the
financial world are the Readymoneys, Jehangirs and Sassoons.

Turn where you may the eye meets something donated to the public by
generous Parsees. These people have long been loyal supporters of
British rule in India, and frequently able to neutralize Hindu or
Mohammedan opposition to a public measure. Baronetcies and knighthoods
have consequently been showered upon them from London. Incidentally, a
good deal of the money with which hospitals and libraries were given by
great Parsees of a former generation came as reward for running a
successful "corner" in Indian cotton at the time of America's civil war.
Lancashire mills could get no staple from the Southern states, and
astute Bombay capitalists, securing control of the native crop, held the
same until the price advanced from ten or twelve cents to a dollar a
pound. The fruits of this _coup_., some of them at least, dotted Bombay
with noble buildings and statues.

Some Parsees drive public street vehicles, work on tramways and
railways, and pursue humbler vocations, it is true; but most Parsees
dwell in princely homes and go to their offices and clubs in splendidly
appointed broughams and victorias. Success in life even in Parseedom is
based upon the principle of survival of the fittest--or astutest.

[Illustration: PARSEE TOWER OF SILENCE, BOMBAY]

The Parsees stoutly deny that they are fire worshippers. The sacred
flame perpetually burning in their houses of worship, brought by
their ancestors from Persia, is but a symbol, they insist. God,
according to their faith, is the emblem of glory, refulgence, and
spiritual life; therefore they face the holy flame when praying as the
most fitting symbol of the Deity. In the open air they prostrate
themselves when praying to the setting sun. Parsee temples are plain to
severity, with walls bare and floors uncovered and empty; but there is
always the recess wherein burns the sacred fire of incense and
sandalwood.

The method of dealing with the Parsee dead is startlingly original, and
said to be in strict keeping with the teaching of Zoroaster. According
to Parsee tenets fire is too highly venerated to be polluted by burning
the dead, while water is equally respected, and Mother Earth as well.
Hence the Parsees offer their dead to the elements and the birds of the
air, and the bones of rich and poor, high and low, even of the
malefactor and suicide, are consigned to eternity in crumbled state in a
common pit.

The Towers of Silence occupy the finest site on Malabar Hill,
overlooking beautiful Bombay, and high above the Arabian Sea--it is
Nature's beauty spot, embowered in graceful shrubbery and palms, with
fragrant flowers everywhere. The governor of Bombay Presidency resides
at Malabar Point, further along, and the homes of men high in
officialdom or commerce occupy every available site in the neighborhood.
The Towers, five in number, are of whitewashed stone and cement, 275
feet in circumference, and perhaps twenty-five feet high. An iron door
admits the corpse of the Parsee, and once within the strange building it
is proffered to the birds of the air--gloating vultures, coarse and
repugnant in every aspect.

Four carriers of the dead are seen approaching the beautiful garden with
a bier on their shoulders. Two bearded men, the only living persons
permitted to enter a Tower, come next. Then follow from fifty to a
hundred mourners and friends in pure white robes, walking two and two,
each couple holding a handkerchief between them in token of a united
grief. The apex of the hill reached, the mourners turn into the house of
prayer, wherein the eternal fire is burning, or take position beneath
spreading palms for solitary meditation. The bearers deliver the corpse
to the bearded functionaries at the entrance to the Tower, and these
carry it within. The floor of the Tower is of iron grating with three
circles whereon the corpses are placed. The inner circle is for
children, the next for women, and the outer for men.

The bearded men are lost to view for a minute or two only, and their
concluding office within is to remove the shroud, leaving the body
wholly bare. The iron door clangs as they emerge, there is a mighty whir
of wings, and in a twinkling the corpse is in possession of hundreds of
greedy, competing vultures. In twenty minutes not a vestige of flesh
remains on the bones, and the loathsome birds resume their watch from
the edge of the Tower for the next comer. Their experienced gaze
perceives a funeral procession a mile away in the direction of the city,
and a signal cry is so readily understood by vultures resting on trees
in the neighborhood that a unanimous attendance is assured long before
the corpse passes the portal of the grounds.

The human skeletons are left within the Tower to disintegrate by action
of sun and wind, heat and cold. In time the bearded men, gloved and with
tongs, remove them to a vast well in the middle of the enclosure, where
with lapse of time they turn to dust.

Corpses being considered unclean by Parsee standards, carriers of the
dead, as well as those who enter the Towers, are assigned to a class by
themselves, and forbidden to mix with others of their strange religion.
There is a superstition that an awful curse would be visited upon an
unauthorized person whose gaze fell upon a body or skeleton inside a
Tower of Silence. The habiliments of those whose duty takes them within
are always destroyed before they leave the grounds.

Whatever may be claimed in defense of the Parsee method of dealing with
their dead, from a sanitary standpoint, the custom possesses an aspect
gruesome in the extreme. The Hindus' system of burning on the river bank
is even less repulsive.

If any city in the East is sport-mad it is Bombay. Men work there
mornings and engage in something of a sportive character afternoons. The
school-boy, even, slings his books from a hockey stick, and the
departmental clerk sets out for an afternoon's sociability accompanied
by his faithful tennis racquet. Nowhere can better polo be seen than on
the Marine Lines Maidan; as for cricket, there probably are more players
in Bombay, British and native, than in any town of its population in
England--and Bombay's cricket is of the best. More than once have crack
teams out from England been heartlessly beaten by local Parsee players.
Golf is considered too slow. The next best thing to being a member of
the nobility is for a Briton to belong to the Royal Bombay Yacht Club,
for it gives him the _cachet_ to everything Asiatic. The club-house on
the Apollo Bunder possesses the best situation on the water front, and
from its verandas fashionables watch matches that are sailed with
consummate skill. During winter months foot-ball appeals strongly to the
soldier class, while motor-car races and trials appear to be daily
events.

[Illustration: A BOMBAY RAILWAY STATION]

It is the horse that is king, however, in Bombay's pastimes. The Hunt
Club sends the smart set to the suburbs now and then, and tent-pegging
and pig-sticking draw biggish audiences from the military class whenever
contests are announced. But the paramount sport of the masses is
horse-racing, pure and simple. The course is on the plains a few miles
out of town, close to a suburb given over to cotton-mills, where nearly
as many spindles fly as at Fall River. All Bombay seems to be at the
races, irrespective of religious or social distinctions--everyone
present loves the horse and appears possessed of a goodly supply of
rupees with which to back his selections.

The Jockey Club has its own lawn and private enclosure on the stand, and
there is a box for the governor and anybody coming from Government
House. The grand-stand bears a minor importance to the betting ring, for
the latter holds a surging, throbbing medley of humanity--society folk
from India's innermost official set, sleek Parsees wearing gold rimmed
eye-glasses, rajahs from all parts, wealthy merchants and bankers,
fez-wearing Mohammedans from the world of Islam, men from the Persian
Gulf in astrachan head-gear, Pathans from beyond the Himalayas, Sikhs
from the Punjab--as can be gathered in great India, the museum of the
human race.

Three score book-makers howl their bargains in raucous tones, and a
whirlwind of rupee paper passes to the strong boxes. The crowd is
backing the favorites. Even the Arab horse dealers from the Bhendi
bazaar, manly fellows in the garb of desert sheikhs, whose pockets bulge
with rolls of notes, comprehend the book-makers' jargon of English that
might be incomprehensible to an Oxford don. A prince who is heir to the
rulership of one of the greatest states in India has no scruples against
inviting an expression of opinion as to so-and-so's bay filly of a
native sportsman with beard dyed red with henna, in keeping with the
fashion of his kind. Escorted ladies of position, and unescorted women
in pairs from Grant Road, are present before the betting booths. Fair
Parsee ladies, wearing clinging robes of delicate shades, wait patiently
while their swains place their money on the impending event.

A bell rings loudly--the horses are at the post. The mob rushes from the
betting ring to the lawn; only few take the trouble to climb to their
seats. It is a quick race. The crowd of standees in the inner field see
it best, and down this mighty nondescript body is echoed the cry "Kedge
Anchor!" Sure enough, "Kedge Anchor," an unknown from Australia, ridden
by a jockey of obscure past, wins the great race. Three favorites are
ingloriously beaten. Up go the numbers. All is over in less than two
minutes--and the crowd goes pell-mell back to the book-makers'
enclosure, hoping for better luck over the next race on the card. If
rupees were dollars, the financial aspect of a Bombay racing day would
be important.

Kipling wrote true when he called Bombay "India's Queen City." It lacks
the depressing influences of Calcutta, as well as the odors. Indeed, it
is one of the handsomest cities of the whole British Empire, and has
more notable buildings than Manchester or Edinburgh. True, its stately
piles blend the Gothic and Indian schools of architecture, but otherwise
there is nothing Eastern about Bombay--save its people. A man awakening
from long slumber on a ship anchored off the Apollo Bunder would
willingly swear he beheld a European town. Eight tenths of India's
visitors arrive and depart from Bombay.

The opening of the Suez Canal made certain the importance of Bombay as
a trade center. It is now the largest cotton port in the world next to
New Orleans, and if plague and smallpox might be controlled for five
years it would have a population of a million. Bombay is a comparatively
modern city, as cities count in immemorial India. England secured Bombay
in 1661, not by conquest, but as a portion of the marriage dowry of
Catharine of Braganza of Portugal, when she became the queen of Charles
II.

The world's most artistic railway station--not the largest, nor
costliest--is in Bombay, and the best marble statue in existence of
Queen Victoria was presented to the Bombay municipality by His Highness
the Gaekwar of Baroda. Another notable gift is the bronze statue of
Edward VII, donated by Sir Albert Sassoon, son of a public-spirited
banker from Baghdad, who took up his residence in Bombay. A newcomer
among the city's office buildings is "Roosevelt House," advantageously
situated near the Apollo Bunder.

The eyes of the person recently arrived from Europe or America behold
many strange and amusing sights in the streets of Bombay, and for days
your local guide and the obliging porter at the hotel is kept busy the
livelong day answering questions. The native policeman is a human
institution who explains himself. It is averred that he is loyal and
efficient, but with his calfless legs bared to the knee and feet shod in
sandals, he looks a queer cousin of Fifth Avenue's "Finest" and of the
"Bobby" of London. A person unaccustomed to the habits of subject races
gets the idea that the Bombay constable's first duty is the touching of
his cap to white men, all and sundry; but it is said to his credit that
in a street brawl or a water front quarrel among drunken lascars he
fights like a wildcat. He is extremely proud of his truncheon, for it is
a badge of office tremendously respected in the city's labyrinths where
India's heterogeneous peoples dwell a dozen or more in a room. During
the wet monsoon the policeman of Bombay carries an umbrella supplied by
the municipality, which heightens his comical aspect--but it keeps him
dry.

[Illustration: BOMBAY POLICEMAN]

The markings and badges of caste observed in Bombay streets lead you to
a constant interrogation of your sources of information. At the outset
you determine to obtain an understanding of the institution of Indian
caste, but a fortnight after your arrival in Bombay you conclude that
the task is too great for anybody having other things to do, and give it
up in despair. A few facts connected with this supreme and dominating
characteristic take root in your memory, however, and you have learned
that the customs and rites of caste could not be strengthened even by
legal enactments, or by the massed strength of all the armies on earth.
The word is derived from the Latin word _castus_, implying purity of
blood, and whose essential principle is marriage. India's population
groups forty-seven nationalities, divided into 2,378 recognized castes
and tribes. Accident of birth determines irrevocably a native's
social and domestic relationship, prescribing even what he may eat
and drink throughout life, how he must dress, and whom he may marry.
There are four fundamental divisions of caste--the priestly or Brahmin
(which has close upon fifteen million devotees), the warrior, the
trading, and the laboring; and these have interminable subdivisions.
Below the laboring caste there is a substratum which is termed pariah or
outcast, and these degraded specimens of humanity are not better than
animated machines performing the functions of public scavengers.

Throughout India caste is hereditary. The son of a priest becomes a
priest, a warrior's son becomes a soldier, and a carpenter's boy a
carpenter, and so on. For a father to start a son in any calling but his
own, or a vocation that is similar, would be "against his caste." Caste
is social as well as religious, and includes the occupation as well as
the creed. For a Hindu to rise from his inherited caste is next to
impossible, and this tends to make the Hindus an ambitionless race. The
infusion of new blood is likewise not tolerated, and in India "caste"
and "custom" are perfect synonyms--and each a national curse.

A major part of the people of India are agriculturists, men and women
who are dependent upon what they can wrest from the soil for their
existence. Their plough, an heirloom from remote antiquity, merely
scratches the earth. The use of superior implements would result in
superior tillage and augmented crops; but it would be as simple to
induce the peasant to change his religion as to get him to forsake the
plough used by his ancestors. The implements of daily life mostly belong
to the barbarous ages. Attempt to introduce any other and you are
rebuked by the reply: "It is not the custom; my father used this
article, and therefore it is my duty to use it. Would you have me set
myself up for a wiser person than my revered parent?" The toiling
masses, consequently, are poor--and seem destined to remain poor until
the close of the chapter.

I heard of a contractor engaged in building a railway who objected to
the physical toil and slowness of having a bank of earth removed by
baskets on the heads of coolies. So he invested in a number of
wheelbarrows and explained their use to the natives, and went back to
his Bombay office flattering himself that he was a reformer. The next
week when he visited the scene of operations he found the barrows in
use, but the coolies were filling them with dirt and carrying them up
the bank on their heads as they had always carried their baskets. The
coolie of Hind is not to be beguiled by any demonstration intended to
lighten his task, for he is crusted with conservatism and prejudice.

In Bombay I engaged a man-servant to accompany me on a trip to the
Punjab. It being a winter of unusual severity, and the journey involving
much night travel, the agent from whom I hired the servant advised me
that it would be a beneficial as well as a humane act were I to give the
man ten rupees with which to procure an "outfit" suitable for one going
to the north. "It's sometimes done, but not often enough to make it a
custom," explained the agent; "but it would be the right thing--and
because voluntary, the poor fellow should serve you all the better for
your generosity. Give him but ten rupees, and see that he spends it all
for heavy undergarments and serviceable shoes."

Experiencing some haziness as to how any tittle of reputation for
generosity was going to be reared on an expenditure aggregating just
$3.20 in American money, I communicated my determination to the man who
perforce was to be my constant companion for a month, and who had it in
his power to make me love or hate the country. As was to be expected, I
was many kinds of a sahib for my munificent benefaction, and Torab Jan
salaamed almost to the floor when promising to return from the bazaars
in good time to strap my mattress and pack my trunk in readiness to go
to the station directly dinner was over.

Hours later, but in time to throw my clothes and books into trunk and
bags, Torab stalked into the apartment, and close upon his heels was
another native carrying a not overlarge parcel. Torab was frank in
stating that he had purchased precisely what he needed, and proffered a
snip of paper covered with characters in Hindustani to prove he had
expended precisely ten rupees, which made it necessary to have another
benefaction--two annas this time.

"What are the two annas for, and who is this man?" I asked.

"He's the coolie bearing my parcel from the bazaar, master," was the
response; "you must know that my caste makes it impossible for me to
carry parcels."

"See here, you drooling idiot; what do you think I have hired you for?
Why, you've got to carry parcels, lots of them, and big ones at that;
and you'll have to carry that bed there and my trunk half over India,
likely as not. Don't talk to me about caste."

"Pray, master, don't be angry with me. I know I'm to carry _your_
things--that's what I'm for. I forgot to explain that my caste forbids
only the carrying of my own parcels," the poor fellow whined.

And so it was. In places where there were no carriages Torab seemed to
delight in loading himself dawn with my paraphernalia, but his
belongings had always to be carried religiously by a native of a breed
earning its living by acting as human drays.



[Illustration: HIS HIGHNESS THE MAHARAJAH OF JEYPORE]

CHAPTER VII

THE VICARIOUS MAHARAJAH OF JEYPORE


Thousands of travelers make the pilgrimage to India, a land hoary with
age, and when weary of overwrought temples and tombs, when arid plains
and malodorous towns lose their power to interest, they journey north to
Rajputana to revel in Jeypore, the unique--at least, lovers of Kipling
do. And the effect on jaded senses is like a cooling draught after a
parching thirst. Kipling called Jeypore "A pink city, to see and puzzle
over," It surely is pink, all of it that is not sky-blue, and for
various reasons it is more satisfying than any other town in India.

For a land where time is calculated by century units, Jeypore is almost
as recent as a "boom" city on an American prairie. As a fact, its first
building was reared only a hundred and seventy-eight years ago; and this
modernity explains thoroughfares of remarkable breadth that cross each
other at right angles. Generations the senior of Jeypore, New York is no
better exponent of the checker-board idea. Jeypore is but the setting of
a scene harking back to medieval days, however, and is the capital of an
independent state greater in area than Belgium, and from its palace and
judicial chambers nearly three million souls are governed. Nowhere in
India, outside the great Rajputana province, is it possible to view a
picture of happy and contented life, and in the city of Jeypore this is
seen in its perfection.

This ornate capital on the plains, hemmed in by fortress-crowned hills,
is a veritable stronghold of feudal barons and armed retainers, of
hermits and monasteries, and is dotted with palaces and public buildings
pertaining to the Maharajah's rule. Many of the structures are new
enough to suggest what Americans love to call "modern conveniences." The
principal streets are broader than Broadway, as well paved, and
illuminated by gas systematically enough installed to indicate the
presence behind the scenes of European engineers. Strange to say,
Jeypore is an Indian city wherein the lordly Briton in khaki is never
seen: if the English functionary be here, his master is none other than
the Maharajah. Through its streets surge a people almost childish in
their happiness, some in ekkas drawn by matched pairs of bullocks,
others mounted high on the backs of trotting camels, while bands of
chattering Rajputs on foot are omnipresent--every grouping reminds of
something witnessed on the stage, and the _tout ensemble_ might be the
great scene of a realistic opera intended to glorify the people and the
institutions of India.

Feminine adornment is carried in Jeypore to its extreme. The bright-hued
skirts of the women are flare-fashioned and "fuller," in dressmakers'
parlance, than anything dared by Fay Templeton. But the Jeypore beauty's
real passion is for gold and silver jewelry, and she carries this to a
degree unrivaled by the women of any other section of India. It is not
trifling with fact to say that the average Rajput woman wears from eight
to ten pounds in silver on ankles and toes, and bracelets enough to
sheath arms from wrist to elbow. Every feminine Jeypore nose bears some
metal ornamentation--gold studs through the nostrils, and generally a
hoop of gold depending a full inch below the point of the chin. Their
ears are deformed by the wealth of metal hanging from lobe or strung on
the upper rim of that organ. It can be said of Jeypore's fair sex that
they are bimetallists in the strictest sense. The argument of the
savings-bank has probably never been brought to their attention, for
when one of them has a little money ahead she purchases a silver
ornament for her person; and if a windfall come to her by legacy or
otherwise, she buys something of gold, most likely a necklace of
barbaric design. When one of these women goes to the market-place or the
public well, she wears everything of value she possesses, and for the
best of reasons her home is never pilfered.

Rajput men and women look a visitor in the face, and by their smiling
countenances seem to welcome you to their country. They lack the
broken-spirited look and sullen servility of Indian peoples overlorded
by Thomas Atkins. In Jeypore there are grandees and warriors, painted
dogs, hunting leopards, bedecked horses, and hulking elephants in every
street picture--and these pictures change with the facility of groupings
of the kaleidoscope.

The open-air shops of the metal workers and enamelers, and of the dyers,
whose favorite colors are magenta and yellow, are interesting. There, on
the left, is the imposing façade of the Palace of the Winds, extolled by
Sir Edwin Arnold as "a vision of daring and dainty loveliness," but
which in reality is scarcely more than a mask of stucco erected to make
a show from the street. The Maharajah's palace and grounds cover a
seventh of the area of this finest of modern Hindu cities. A stone's
throw from the palace portal is a temple wherein Jeypore women beseech
the image of Siva to bless them with children: and elsewhere are a Gate
of Rubies, and a Temple of the Sun. At scores of wayside shops tiny
idols of the Hindu hierarchy, and silver bracelets and gewgaws, are sold
to people almost infantile in their cheerfulness. Wedding processions
pass and repass with a frequency proving an active matrimonial market,
each led by joyous singers and drum-beaters.

[Illustration: A MATCHED PAIR OF BULLOCKS, JEYPORE]

An entrancing place is this seat of His Highness of Jeypore, and
compensating for the tedious railway journey from Delhi landing one at
the city's gates in the inky darkness of 4:30 in the morning. At his
hotel a visitor learns that a formal request must be made for permission
to inspect the Maharajah's palace and stables, and to go to the
abandoned capital of the state, Ambir, five miles away. You make
application through a deputy, usually the man-servant traveling with
you, and an hour later comes formal notification that His Highness
welcomes you to his capital, and that a state carriage will be sent for
your use, as well as a state elephant to carry you up the hills to
Ambir. This outburst of hospitality comes with a surprise and force that
almost sweeps one off his feet, and you have instant misgivings for
having troubled the august potentate at such an unreasonable morning
hour. Then your brain almost reels as you recall books that had dwelt
upon the limitless hospitality of Eastern princes, and you hope that His
Highness will not insist upon your dining with him--with your evening
dress and high hat awaiting you at a Bombay hotel a command to the
palace would, to say the least, be awkward.

But you are spared this inconvenience, probably because the Maharajah is
as familiar with deputed affairs as you are. Two gaudy chaprassis who
have brought the desired permits are His Highness's deputies, and from
them you learn that their master has been for a fortnight at Calcutta,
but is expected to return in a day or two. They come into your room and
assure you in fair English that they are detailed for your use as long
as you honor Jeypore with your benevolent presence. They wear curious
swords high under the left arm, and beautifully inlaid shields are
belted to their right arms--these trappings are badges of office, but
you wonder if they would sell them to be taken to America to become
conspicuous adornments of somebody's cosy corner.

A person with a fondness for simplicity, or possessing scruples against
kingly institutions, may escape the state carriage by despatching a firm
and prompt declination of the honor. But the chaprassis remain; and the
elephant, already trudging to the base of the Ambir hills to await your
coming, cannot be countermanded or headed off. In this charming manner
the great Maharajah entertains daily the handful of strangers within his
gates--it is India's remaining relic of the hospitality of long ago. A
distinction inordinately prized by native princes is the number of guns
prescribed by the Indian government as their salutes. The Gaekwar of
Baroda and two other feudatory rulers are entitled to twenty-one guns,
while the hereditary right of the Maharajah of Jeypore is only
seventeen. But the present Maharajah, as a reward for his enlightened
administration, is made happy by having four additional guns--and no
king or emperor can have higher acclaim from the cannon's mouth.

[Illustration: STREET SCENE, JEYPORE, SHOWING PALACE OF THE WINDS]

One cannot tarry a day in Jeypore without hearing redundant testimony
that His Highness Sir Sewai Madho Singh is a fine man, devoted to his
people and unswervingly loyal to his religion. His visitors are often
lords and ladies of England, who find his hospitality as interesting as
it is boundless. To the tips of his fingers he is a Hindu devotee with
all that the term can mean. When he attended the coronation of Edward
VII, in London, the preparations for his sea-voyage were unprecedented
in orthodoxy. An ocean liner was specially chartered for him and his
suite; in all one hundred and twenty-five people formed the escort. Six
special kitchens were fitted up on the ship, including one to prepare
food exclusively for His Highness. There was, as well, a special temple,
paved with marble, for the family idol, before which the Maharajah
prostrated himself many times daily. Drinking water from the sacred
Ganges, and every article of food--enough to sustain the entire party
for six months--were carried from India. So rigidly was the orthodoxy
observed that even the sand for cleaning cooking utensils was placed on
board at Bombay; and washermen, carpenters, blacksmiths, and others
accompanied the party, that there be no necessity for purchasing
anything in England, or having work done by persons not of the Hindu
faith. That the august traveler's caste be untainted, extra tanks of
water from Benares were subsequently sent to England by frequent
steamers.

The Maharajah maintains a military force of nearly 4,000 cavalry and
16,000 infantrymen. Besides these soldiers, his retainers number
thousands, and their right to wear a sword is a coveted distinction
throughout Jeypore state.

The palace stables contain three hundred horses, but the equipages and
trappings are more interesting than the animals. There are some superb
Arab steeds, however. A visitor noting the army of grooms wonders that
the management is not better systematized; but a word from your
traveling companion, who knows the ways of maharajahs, is to the effect
that an Indian nabob is forced by custom to support thousands whether
there be work for them or not. His Highness's stables and
carriage-houses somehow suggest a circus in winter quarters. The fact is
that Jeypore's ruler takes little interest in horseflesh and
carriagemakers' creations. His preference is for elephants--animals
befitting a dynasty descended from the sun and moon.

"Will the sahibs visit the elephant stable!" The sahibs communicate
their desire to do so. Mahouts with pikestaffs lead the way, and a
myriad of hangers-on swarm in the train of the visitors. The
accoutrements seen en route to the stable are interesting, surely,
especially the howdahs. Some of these are of silver. One was used by the
Prince of Wales; another was fashioned for the Maharajah's use at the
Delhi durbar, and a gorgeous one is reserved for the viceroy whenever
that mighty personage pays a state visit to Jeypore. A half-dozen
howdahs are specially fitted for the Maharajah's favorite sport,
tiger-hunting. Some of the howdah cloths represent a fortune in gold and
silver bullion, while a few are saved from tawdriness by the skill of
the embroiderer in silk.

[Illustration: COURT DANCERS AND MUSICIANS, JEYPORE]

The elephants are now trumpeting impatiently for inspection. Their
compound is a series of roofless walled enclosures, and a visitor notes
with grateful appreciation the strength of the chains anchoring the
beasts to mother earth. A leviathan is straining at his tether in a mad
effort to reach a vagabond who is tantalizing him with a pike, and your
guide--one of the official messengers with sword and shield--says: "He
no like Hindu people; last week he kill two." Beasts as docile as
kittens take nuts from your hand, and evince disappointment when more
are not forthcoming. Five magnificent tuskers, that promptly obey their
keeper's command, are used by His Highness for tiger-hunting; and a bevy
of complaisant elephants, quartered in a single stable, have grown old
in carrying tourists up the Ambir hills, it is explained.

From the elephant stables the chaprassis scurry the visitors through
fragrant gardens and under bizarre arches to the crocodile department,
where a score of saurians are pastured in an enclosure that is half
swamp and half lake and is acres in extent. Visitors are placed at the
top of a staircase of masonry descending to the water, while two
wild-eyed Hindus seek to rouse the crocodiles from their siesta on a
grassy islet a hundred yards away by a series of shrieks that would
disgust self-respecting animals and reptiles. In a leisurely manner the
crocodiles seem to recognize the signal to mean that a new lot of
tourists desire to see them fed. It requires a good quarter of an hour
for the Indians to lure them to the foot of the staircase, and from the
first it is plain that the crocodiles view with indifference your visit
to Jeypore. The lower step is finally fringed with opened mouths which
in a moment engulf a mass of slaughter-house refuse almost thrust down
their throats by the wild-eyed showmen, whom you reward with a shower of
rupees which they believe marks your appreciation of their efforts.

As you are whisked through the palace yard, on the way to the carriage,
you espy through an open door a splendid room fitted with paraphernalia
not associated with medieval pastimes. It is the Maharajah's
billiard-room, sumptuously furnished, and filled with tables of the
latest English make.

Probably because they are proud of the fact that a former ruler of
Jeypore was a generous patron of science, the chaprassis pilot you to
the park given over to the apparatus of the celebrated Hindu astronomer
and mathematician, Jai Singh. It contains dials, azimuth masonry,
altitude pillars, astrolabe, and a double mural quadrant of enormous
size and height, on which the gradations have been marked. In a way this
exhibit of obsolete paraphernalia refutes the idea that Jeypore's
maharajahs have lived solely for the gratification of the senses by
amusements. A few minutes later you are at the public tiger-cages, where
a dozen bona fide "man-eaters" are lazily stretched in shaded corners of
their prison cages. Thirty odd years ago the present King of England
killed his first tiger near Jeypore, and the animal ever since has
played an important part in the city's pleasures. One inmate of the
cages has an authenticated record of ten Indians killed, before His
Highness's retainers lured him into ambush and made him a prisoner. "Two
days from now," explains one of the men carrying sword and shield, "that
tiger there,"--indicating a sullen beast,--"is to fight a wild elephant
for the Maharajah's entertainment. Would the sahibs care to witness the
combat?" The visitors promptly regret that they have unbreakable
engagements in another part of India. Cheetahs are then led forth for
admiration. Zoos and menageries know them as leopards--in India they are
cheetahs, and are trained to course deer and antelope. A huntsman
releases a cheetah, whose gaze has been directed to a fleeing deer on
the plain, and in a few minutes the deer is a captive.

So much for the diversions of Jeypore's autocrat.

A distinct touch of beauty is imparted to his capital by the peacocks of
imperial strut and plumage. They are everywhere--on the crenelated city
wall, in the hurly-burly of the streets and bazaars, even on the steps
leading to temples and mosques. The peacock is sacred to Jeypore; it
crowns in miniature the street lamps, and is sculptured in hundreds of
places. Chattering parrots by the roadside may arrest attention, but are
forgotten in a moment--a strutting peacock is beautiful enough to place
the parrot family in eclipse. When blue-rock pigeons descend by
thousands in the market-place to profit by an over-turned sack of grain,
visitors marvel at their irridescent necks and breasts--but a beauteous
peacock appearing on the scene attracts an admiration amounting to
monopoly.

But the appointment with the state elephant--what of that?

Surely, Ambir must be seen. There it was that all the ancient splendor
originated and dwelt for centuries, and until a practical maharajah
decided that a mountain retreat was ill-suited to the needs of a
capital. The possessor of this astute mind moved himself and his
machinery of government to the plain below--and all his people followed.
This explains why Ambir is now deserted, and why a court steeped in
medievalism has a setting bristling with newness.

Every adjunct of a fortified residence is there in the hills. Miles of
battlemented masonry, pierced every few feet for bowmen, surrounds the
straggling mass of buildings. Terraces are set upon the mountainside
like a gigantic staircase, and fringed with railings of stone so
artistically wrought as to suggest the grill-work of the matchless Taj
Mahal. Great gray monkeys descend from the mountain slope to feed from
the hands of your guides; and they are not of the moth-eaten variety
seen in captivity, but are freeborn denizens of the forest, whose coats
glisten and whose curly tails are of unusual length.

Some of the apartments in the old palace rival anything to be seen at
Lucknow, Agra or Delhi. A gem of a temple, adjoining a public audience
hall of marvelous richness in finish, is dedicated to the awful goddess
Kali, and each morning a goat is sacrificed to this deity, ever craving
blood, by Hindu priests attached to the Maharajah's court. This is a
revolting blot on a series of majestic buildings that unite to make one
of India's greatest sights.

"How blessed would it be," you meditate, "if the betel-chewing priest
might be sacrificed in place of the innocent and helpless animal." But
no, human sacrifices are no longer permitted in India; England stopped
them years ago.

Oh, yes; the state elephant. Well, it was extremely useful, for it
rescued four stalwart native servants, laden with tiffin basket and a
dozen bottles of mineral water, from toiling up the hills on foot.
Perched on his back like nabobs, they probably indulged in remarks
disparaging of their masters, electing to walk, and mused maybe upon the
theory that now and then man meets his deserts.



CHAPTER VIII

THE WORLD'S MOST EXQUISITE BUILDING


A Mogul ruler who did things was Shah Jahan, and he came of a race not
content with ordinary achievements. His grandfather, Akbar, was probably
the greatest personage ever born in India. He it was "whose saddle was
his throne, the canopy of which was the vaulted dome of heaven." Akbar
made Eastern history, made it fast, blazoning it with proud records of
conquest and empire extension. Akbar was the grandest man who ever ruled
Central India, and it was he who developed the Mogul Empire to the
loftiest importance it attained.

Shah Jahan embellished the empire with noble structures, and his impulse
for building amounted to mania. Time annulled Akbar's achievements, but
those of his grandson stand to-day, and the structures of his era are
beautiful enough to attract admirers from every corner of the earth. A
famous critic once said that Shah Jahan built like a giant and finished
like a jeweler. His works have made Agra, of all cities in India, the
place of unrivaled interest.

[Illustration: THE TAJ MAHAL, AGRA]

Agra's Taj Mahal is the most exquisite building ever erected by the
hands of man, and is a romance as deftly wrought in marble as any writer
ever fashioned in words. It marks a great man's love for a
woman--Arjamand Banu Begum, his wife. Shah Jahan was a Mohammedan despot
who led a magnificent life, and had other wives; but in his eyes the
peer of her sex was Arjamand. When she died in giving birth to a child,
he declared he would rear to her memory a mausoleum so perfect that it
would make men marvel for all time. And this he accomplished. More
poetry and prose have been written about the Taj, with more allusions to
it as a symbol of love, than of any other creation marking human
affection--and the secret probably lies in the fact that all the world
loves a lover.

Arjamand had many titles of rank and endearment, but poets like Sir
Edwin Arnold preferred to speak of her as Mumtaz-i-Mahal, meaning the
"Exalted of the Palace," when extolling the charms of this splendid
niece of Nur-Mahal, who likewise had been famed for beauty and charity.

Shah Jahan ruled from 1628 to 1658, and had been on the throne only two
years when death took from him his adored Arjamand. Then came the
resolve to erect to her memory a monument that might measure his love
and grief. Since Akbar's time, the best architects, artists, and skilled
workmen of India, Persia, and Arabia had been attracted to Agra and
neighboring Delhi. All were summoned to Shah Jahan's court, and the
resources of his empire placed at their disposal. The Taj,
consequently, was not the creation of a single master mind, but the
consummation of a great art epoch. Its construction was commenced four
years after Arjamand's demise.

The bereft emperor had appointed a council of great architects of India
to guide the work. Drawings of celebrated structures of the world,
especially those in Moslem lands, were studied. More than one European
was attracted to the Mogul court, and it is believed that Geronimo
Verroneo, who had journeyed from Italy, laid several plans before Shah
Jahan. There are records at Agra showing that certain suggestions of the
Italian were adopted, but it is common belief that the general design
was the recommendation of a Turkish or Persian architect named Ustad
Isa.

In keeping with an old Tartar custom, a garden was chosen as the site of
the tomb--a garden planted with flowers and fragrant shrubs, emblems of
life, and solemn cypresses, emblems of death and eternity. In Mogul days
such a garden was maintained as a pleasure ground during the owner's
lifetime, and used for his interment when dead.

    "And she who loved her garden, lieth now
    Lapped in a garden.
                       And all this for Love!"

The laborers came from many parts of the world--the chief masons from
Northern India and Bagdad, the dome builders from Asiatic Turkey, and
the mosaic artists from Persia and probably Italy. Every section of
India and Central Asia was drawn upon for materials. The marble,
spotless in purity, was brought from Jeypore, 300 miles away, on the
backs of elephants and camels or by bullock carts. The red sandstone was
contributed by Fathpu Sikrij, the jasper by the Punjab, the crystal and
jade by China. The turquoises came from Tibet and the Red Sea, the
sapphires and lapis lazuli from Ceylon, coral and cornelian from Arabia,
onyx and amethysts from Persia, and the diamonds from Bundelkund.

It engaged the unceasing labor of 20,000 men for seventeen years to
complete the Taj; and like that other great tomb, the Cheops Pyramid in
Egypt, it was reared chiefly by forced labor, unpaid and uncared for,
and thereby produced great suffering and mortality. This is the chief
blemish attaching to the project that gave to art the mausoleum
overlooking the Jumna.

According to native accounts the cost of the Taj was lakhs of rupees
having to-day a value of $20,000,000; and local tradition affirms that
not half this sum was ever paid by the emperor--this is a blot upon the
sincerity and strict uprightness of the magnificent grandson of Akbar.

The Taj garden is perhaps a half mile square, and is surrounded by a
strikingly beautiful wall of masonry. It is an orderly wilderness of
rich vegetations, to be found only in Asia, and the deep greens and rich
browns of the avenues of foliage unquestionably accentuate the whiteness
of the Temple of Death. As the garden helps the tomb, so the tomb gives
expression to the garden.

The great gateway of red sandstone, whose roof is adorned by Moorish
arches and pavilions, is in itself one of India's most perfect
buildings. From its summit a perfect view of the Taj is had, with the
Jumna flowing sluggishly beneath its marble platform; and from there the
grounds are spread before the visitor in a perfect panorama. The paved
avenues, all leading to the magnificent pile, miles of marble acqueducts
filled with ornamental fish, playing fountains--all breathe the
superlative of art, every fluttering leaf whispers of the East.

Not by its size is Arjamand's tomb commanding, for its dimensions are
very moderate. Imagine a plinth of flawless marble, 313 feet square, and
rising eighteen feet from the ground--that is the foundation of the
wondrous structure. The Taj is 186 feet square, with dome rising to an
extreme height of 220 feet; that is all. At each corner of the plinth
stands a tapering minaret rearing its crown 137 feet;

    "--four tall court ladies
    tending their princess."

[Illustration: ALABASTER SCREEN ENCLOSING ARJAMAND'S TOMB, TAJ MAHAL]

No building carries the idea of personality further than the Taj, a
feminine personality, as it should be, for it contains no suggestion of
the rugged grandeur of a tomb for a great man. The Taj is the antithesis
of Akbar's mausoleum, of the Parthenon, of Napoleon's resting-place,
of Grant's robust mausoleum on the Hudson. A sepulcher fashioned after
ordinary architectural canons can only be conventional: the Taj is
different from all other buildings in the world; it is symbolical of
womanly grace and purity--is the jewel, the ideal itself; is India's
noble tribute to the grace of Indian womanhood, a tribute perhaps to the
Venus de Milo of the East.

The grace of the Taj, as do the achievements of every form of perfect
art, rests in its simplicity. A spectator marvels that so much beauty
can come from so little apparent effort. Yet nothing is wanting, there
is nothing in excess; we cannot alter a single stone and claim that the
result would be better. And Oriental designers, working for an Eastern
despot, might easily have struck a jarring note and rendered the Taj
garish--the wonder is that they did not. The Taj consequently is the
objective of most travelers making the pilgrimage to India.

It is easier to tell what the Taj is than to speculate upon the ideals
and motives of its builders, and it should be a brave writer who
attempts to describe it. Kipling, who saw the structure first from the
window of a train nearing Agra, called it "an opal tinted cloud on the
horizon"; and after studying the building at close range he wrote, "Let
those who scoff at overmuch enthusiasm look at the Taj and thenceforward
be dumb; ... each must view it for himself with his own eyes, working
out his own interpretation of the sight." Another great English writer
has said, "Words are worthless in describing a building which is
absolutely faultless." And it taxed the talents of Sir Edwin Arnold,
critic and poet, to frame in language an adequate picture of Arjamand's
death couch.

If a man possesses the sentiment of form and proportion, the Taj will
satisfy him. The stately portal seems to harmonize with the grandeur of
an Eastern queen; and the aerial dome, higher than its breadth, rests
upon its base as if possessing no weight, yet is of solid marble. Heroic
in treatment are the quotations from the Koran framing every doorway and
aperture, wrought in inlay or sculptured in relief--and these modify the
pearly monotony of the marble.

One enters reverently the burial-place of Shah Jahan's queen, whose
cenotaph is of the whitest marble, placed in the precise center of the
building, and surrounded by an octagonal screen of alabaster that is
pierced and interwoven like lace. Every foot of the walls, every column
and panel, is elaborately embellished with flowers, leaves, scrolls, and
sentences, and these are inlaid in jasper, bloodstone, jade, onyx, and
precious stones. Arjamand's tomb blossoms with never-fading Persian
flowers and Arabic sentences extolling her character, and is as
marvelous in workmanship as if produced by Florentine inlayers of the
present time. The sarcophagus was originally inclosed by a fence of
gold, studded with gems; but this was early replaced by the screen of
marble, local history asserts.

The supposition is that one Austin de Bordeaux, a French goldsmith, who
had been summoned to Agra by Shah Jahan to construct the celebrated
Peacock throne, had much to do with the treatment of the Taj's interior.
The building originally possessed two wonderful silver doors, of his
designing, but these were looted by Jat invaders in 1764 and melted
down. It is said that eight years were consumed by the artists intrusted
with the making and beautifying of Arjamand's cenotaph; and further,
that the Koran's every line and every word is reproduced by inlay or
relief carving on the interior and exterior of the Taj.

To the left of Arjamand's tomb is that of her lord and lover, its
location proving that it was placed there obviously from necessity and
as an afterthought. It is a span larger than his consort's stone, and
occupies nearly all the space allowed by the position of the grilled
inclosure--but is a sentimentally fitting intruder upon the general
design.

It is a curious bit of history that Shah Jahan, conscious of triumph as
the author of the Taj, long contemplated constructing a similar shrine
on the opposite bank of the Jumna, wherein his own body was to be
placed. It was to be constructed of dark-colored marble, but otherwise
to be a counterpart of Arjamand's tomb. The foundations were placed, and
the arangements for supplying labor and materials well advanced, when a
son of Jahan--Aurangzeb--who had long plotted for the Mogul throne,
secured control of the military forces, and overthrew his father's
rule.

Aurangzeb promptly adopted Delhi as his capital, leaving his parent to
languish as a political prisoner in the palace within the fort of Agra.
In a suite of very small rooms, and attended by a devoted daughter, the
great Shah Jahan there dreamed away the last seven years of his
life--but these apartments overlooked the Taj Mahal, two miles away, let
it be known. The heartbroken Jahan outlived his splendid wife by
thirty-seven years.

In this manner destiny willed that two great personages forever lie side
by side in death; and consequently the Taj is enriched as a temple of
sentiment; but--they do not sleep within the marble caskets the traveler
beholds. There is a vault deep underneath the floor, and there, in
positions agreeing with the monuments above, are the royal remains
enclosed in unornamented masonry.

In Jahan's plan for a somber reproduction of the Taj, a monumental
bridge was to span the Jumna and link the shrines of emperor and
empress. Instead of this fair dream, there is now only a flat,
sandcovered shore, upon which lazy tortoises range themselves under the
warming sun, and long-legged water fowl indulge in peaceful meditation
and slumber.

[Illustration: INLAID WORK IN MAUSOLEUM OF ITIMAD-UD-DAULAH, AGRA]

The curious acoustics of the Taj are observable to the visitor going
often to Arjamand's shrine. A harsh voice is echoed harshly back and
ceases quickly; but a woman's tones raised gently in song are echoed
many times, diversified and amplified in strange combinations of melody.
Such a voice reverberates from every side, seemingly ascends, and its
force finally dies away to silence like the notes of a flying wood-dove
in a forest.

This gem of Agra is worshiped as fervently by Hindus as by those of the
Moslem faith, and Indian artists in a few years almost destroy their
eyesight trying to portray in miniature upon ivory the architectural
perfection and delicacy of this marvel of the world.

When invading hordes have swept Central India, or alien garrisons been
quartered in Agra fort, the Taj has always suffered mutilation. The
Mahrattas looted it of everything movable and systematically wrenched
precious stones from their places in the design ornamenting the fabric
of the interior. After the Mutiny came the red-coated soldier, who
relieved the tedium of garrison duty by appropriating any attractive
piece of inlay overlooked by the Mahrattas--these pretty bits made
interesting souvenirs of India for sending home to the British Isles.

For twenty years the British government has been repairing this
desecration, under guidance of its viceroys. The great chamber of the
Taj now seems perfect in its embellishment--but there are no diamonds,
no rubies, and no emeralds, as of old. Bits of colored glass fill their
places.

But the Taj's exterior is to-day as perfect as it could have been two
centuries ago; and the dignity and sovereign chastity of its marble
surfaces--spoiled by no misplaced ornamentation, and unsullied by
vandal--make of this poetic shrine an offering to love surpassed in
beauty by nothing in all the world fashioned or reared by man.

Nowheres on God's footstool has any queen such a monument, and it is
even more beautiful in the silver dress of moonlight than in the golden
robes of the midday sun. By day or night alike it makes an impression on
the mind that time can never obliterate. Shah Jahan erected the Jami
Masjid mosque at Delhi, and the costly Muti Masjid mosque in Agra Fort,
as well as the splendid Khas Mahal, the Diwan-i-ain, and the
Diwan-i-khas, likewise in the fort--but more satisfying art is
represented in the Taj than in all the other structures of his reign.



CHAPTER IX

BENARES, SACRED CITY OF THE HINDUS


Unique among Indian cities is Benares, and for the Hindu the sacred
capital on the Ganges has a significance similar to that of Mecca for
the Mohammedan, and a greater attracting power than Jerusalem has for
the Christian. Benares is the home and shrine of the complex religion
that binds the Hindu nations, and is the very soul and heart of
Hinduism.

No other place where men congregate can compete with deified Benares in
the matter of divine merit that may be conferred on the pilgrim entering
its gates and threading its narrow and filth-smeared streets. There two
hundred thousand people live and fatten upon the half million devotees
coming annually to the idolatrous fountainhead. The sacred city attracts
this tide of pious humanity from all the tribes and nations of
many-peopled India: they journey to Benares brimming with love and
trustfulness, and after a season spent in her temples, at her shrines,
and by her sacred stream, she sends them forth overflowing with merit
and zeal, to carry her fame to the outposts of the faith, even to
Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and to the nomadic tribes peopling Tibet
and other lands beyond the mighty Himalayas.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE GANGES, BENARES]

Somebody with a gift for nebulous mathematics has stated that more than
two hundred thousand gods of the Hindu religion are represented at
Benares. Whether the count be valid matters little, for the city is
pre-eminent as the special domain of the fundamental god of India's
slavish religion, Siva, whose ensign--a gilt trident and perforated
disk--flashes from the pinnacles of hundreds of temples and palaces.
This uncanny city on the Ganges is naturally the Brahmins' paradise, for
these devotees constitute a governing force in the city's control, and
from this fountainhead spread their influence throughout the land of
Hind. These insinuating men of religion line the river bank, and infest
the temples, sitting like spiders waiting for their prey. Their
emissaries are everywhere in India, promoting pilgrimages, or hovering
about the entrances to the city to make certain of the arrival of the
unwary enthusiast with well lined purse. Rich and poor, high caste and
low, all come to the sacred city. Some travel in state by lordly
elephant or camel caravan, others by railway; but none follow a surer
avenue to eternal grace than those who plod on foot over the Great Trunk
highway, sweeping diagonally across India, after the manner of Kipling's
holy man from Thibet whose footsteps were watched over by _Kim_. The
"business" of Benares being the bestowal of holiness, the manufacture of
brass goods appealing to tourists is incidental in importance and
revenue. No other city of its population can have a more insignificant
trade measureable by statistics.

For three miles the religious section of Benares runs along the brow of
the plateau overlooking the chocolate-hued stream, and every foot of
this distance is curious and interesting. Falling below the disgusting
temple resorted to by pilgrims from Nepal, the Hindu region beyond
India's frontier and "the snows," is the ghat (a ghat is a large stone
stairway descending to the river), where the good Hindu gives his dead
to the flames, and the muddy inlet from the Ganges where this occurs is
dedicated to Vishnu, "the sleeper on the waters," a name singularly
appropriate to a place where the ashes of the dead are consigned to the
bosom of "Mother Ganga."

A visitor observes a number of platform-like structures of masonry that
are decorated with roughly carved figures of men and women standing hand
in hand. Upon these, until British rule put a stop to the custom,
thousands of fanatical wives underwent suttee and were burned alive with
their dead husbands. It is but seldom that a cremation is not in
progress at the burning ghat. From the deck of a native boat moored not
forty feet away I saw in a single hour eight corpses in varying stages
of consumption by fire. The traveler hardened to gruesome spectacles by
much journeying in Africa and Asia experiences but little of the
sickening sensation through witnessing a primitive incineration at
Benares that is caused by a visit to the Parsee towers at Bombay. The
Benares operation is sanitary and practical, and something may be said
on the side of sentimental appropriateness in having a corpse borne to
the riverside by one's relatives and friends, and there consumed by the
burning of a pyre constructed by the hands of these. The dramatic
entities become apparent to every thoughtful spectator, probably.

A clatter of brass cymbals reaches the ear, and a cortege appears at the
top of the ghat, while desultory cries of "_Rama, nama, satya
hai_"--"the name of Rama is true"--are heard. The corpse, fastened upon
a simple bier of bamboo sticks and carried on the shoulders of four
relatives, is swathed in white if a male, or in red if a female. The
bearers hasten almost frantically down the decline and clumsily drop
their burden in the water, feet foremost, and make certain that the
current will have undisturbed play upon the corpse without sweeping it
away. The mourners repair to the place where dry wood is sold and enter
upon spirited bargaining for fuel sufficient to consume their relative,
whose body is being laved and cleansed of spiritual imperfections not a
few rods away by the sacred Ganges. Only six or eight logs are required.
The dealer demands three rupees for them--and the grief-stricken Hindus
offer one. A bargain is finally struck at two rupees, with a stick of
sandal-wood for the head of the pyre thrown in.

[Illustration: BENARES BURNING GHAT, WITH CORPSES BEING PURIFIED IN THE
GANGES]

The logs are quickly conveyed to the burning-ground, a satisfactory
site for the sad office is expeditiously chosen, and the mourners with
their own hands construct the pile. Now sanctified by Mother Ganga, the
corpse is fetched from the strand and placed on the structure, feet ever
directed toward the precious river. The pyre is soon ready for the
torch, and here occurs a curious incident, one that illustrates the
monopolistic importance of a man wearing only a loin-cloth, who has been
taking an indifferent interest in the proceedings from an elevation
close by. He is a Dom, of a caste so degraded that should he
inadvertently touch a corpse it would be contaminated beyond remedy. But
immemorial custom requires that the fire be obtained from him, and he
may demand payment therefor in keeping with his estimate of the worldly
position of the applicants. Ordinarily a rupee is sufficient, although
for a grandee's cremation a fee of a thousand rupees has sometimes been
demanded and paid.

The dicker with the Dom being concluded, the chief mourner lights a
handful of dried reeds at his fire, hurries to the waiting pyre, walks
seven times around it, and with the blazing reeds held in the right hand
lights the mass at head and foot. The mourners then withdraw to a shaded
spot beside a suttee structure, and silently watch the conflagration. In
an hour all is over, and the ashes then are strewn far out on the
surface of the Ganges and are borne from sight by the current.

From ten to fifteen corpses are disposed of at the burning-ghat daily,
and several cremations are usually simultaneously in process. Now and
then there is some demonstration of grief, but not often. I saw two men
wade to a body in the river, when they pulled away the covering from the
face and bathed it with handfuls of water scooped from beloved Ganga,
and their every movement denoted affection. Again, I witnessed a
tottering and sobbing old man place with every expression of tenderness
a garland of yellow and white flowers about the neck of a corpse swathed
in red, and imagined it the last office of love to an idolized daughter.
I also observed the bare corpse of a man who an hour before had died of
plague brought to the ghat by two public scavengers, and committed to
the flames of a few logs much too short, until the slender legs had been
doubled beneath the body. No sandal-wood perfumed this pauper's pyre,
and no interment in potter's field was ever more perfunctory than his
burning.

Social distinctions are as marked at the Benares burning-ghat as in the
modern American cemetery. An hour spent on the Ganges bank supplies
sufficient food to the mind for weeks of serious reflection.

One of the greatest spectacles of India is that of pilgrims bathing in
the Ganges. From several ghats devoted to sacred ablutions numerous
wooden piers extend into the worshiped stream, and these teem with
pilgrims from every section of Hindustan, in every variety of costume,
every stage of dress and undress, there to purge themselves of unclean
thoughts and wicked deeds, and to wash away bodily impurities.
Preaching canopies, shrines for rich and powerful rajahs, and stone
recesses for those demanding solitary meditation, make of the river
front a place literally teeming with humanity. Devotees are everywhere.
Here a pundit is reading the holy law to a half hundred approving
Hindus; there a stately chieftain from remote Kashmir ceaselessly
mutters prayers beneath a huge spreading umbrella of thatched straw,
hired from a Brahmin for an hour; and ten feet away a holy ascetic,
naked in the scorching sun, smears his skin with the gray ashes of
penitence.

Below this grotesque medley is the multitude of men, women and children,
breast deep in the sanctifying Ganges. Thousands have come on foot from
far-away villages of this boundless land of paganism; and from all goes
up a continuous murmur of prayer and adoration, like a moaning wind
emerging from a distant forest. Eye and ear alike are flooded with an
indescribable rush of sensations, and the heart is oppressed with the
august meanings which lie behind the awe-inspiring sight. All the
Hindu-cults are here--the Ganges welds them in her holy embrace. But
conspicuous above all others is the Brahmin priest, attracting annas and
rupees in devious ways from enthusiasts dazed by the realization that
they have bathed in Mother Ganga--some want a certificate of purity,
others want seals placed on vessels of water to be carried to loved ones
suffering from infirmities. The Brahmin gives certificate, places seals,
and performs other acts enabling him to garner a harvest of silver and
gold.

Now and again a moribund believer, whose friends seek for him something
that may be construed as a last blessing, is hurried to the river's
edge. It is a sacrament that cannot be delayed many minutes--and the
Brahmin fortunate enough to be appealed to charges at emergency rates.
When business slackens this harpy composes his nearly-naked body on a
plank overlapping the river, and executes with studied deliberation a
program of purification marvelous in detail. Receptacles of brass and
silver are brought him, and for an hour or longer he rubs his handsome
frame with unguents and perfumes, slowly stripes forehead, biceps and
breast with the ash-marks of sanctity, and places a wafer of his caste
on his forehead. Later he climbs the ghat to his favorite temple,
probably content with the emoluments thrust upon him at the water side,
or may be he goes to the bazaar to learn the latest gossip of religious
and political India. It is in no sense a losing game to be a member of
the Brahministic ring controlling things in Benares, for the flow of
coin from the two hundred million Hindus is ceaseless.

[Illustration: BENARES HOLY MEN]

A curious sight in Benares is the Monkey Temple, a pretentious and not
inartistic structure of carved red sandstone dedicated to Kali, the
goddess wife of Siva. The image of Kali within the temple is a black
fury of hideous countenance, whose red tongue droops to the waist. She
is dripping with blood, and crowned with snakes, while hanging from
her neck is a garland of human skulls. Kali wants blood, and if not
propitiated daily therewith something horrible is expected to happen.
Every Indian town has a temple to this monster; and everywhere
throughout what Kipling calls "the great, gray, formless India,"
sacrifices are made each morning to this ogress with insatiable appetite
for blood.

The entrance to the Monkey Temple is slime-covered and the air heavy
with sickening odors. Through a stone doorway the goddess may be seen
enshrined, grinning demoniacally. Twenty horrible men, harmonizing in
appearance to a reader's conception of thugs, gather in the court, to
give each batch of visitors the performance that most have come to
witness. The frontal region of their heads is shaven smooth, and each
loathsome Indian drools betel-nut saliva that looks like blood. A goat
is led into the enclosure and tied to a stone post, and the evil-looking
men form a circle about the helpless animal. One of them holds the rear
legs of the beast clear of the ground. A chant issues from the
betel-stained mouths, and a human fiend forces through the circle,
brandishing a straight-bladed sword, heavy and keen-edged, that has just
been blessed before the altar of Kali. He is the official executioner.

This functionary makes a sign of readiness, swings the blade at arm's
length for a moment--and lands a blow on the underside of the animal's
throat that severs the head from the body. The gushing blood is directed
to the Siva emblem close by, the head is borne triumphantly to the feet
of Kali, and each thug-looking man smears his face with blood taken from
the Siva symbol, and then dances madly around the carcass. Assuming that
the spectacle has favorably impressed the visitor, the high executioner
begs a donation with which to purchase a goat for a second sacrifice.
You decline, probably feeling that you would subscribe bountifully if a
priest might be substituted for the helpless beast.

On important days in the Hindu calendar many goats and sheep are
sacrificed, and sometimes buffaloes as well. In time of pestilence or
famine it is not unusual to find a child's head deposited in the early
morn at Kali's feet, it is claimed.

The inner court of the Monkey Temple, like the ceremony of the
slaughter, is open to the heavens, and is surrounded by a cloister lined
with cell-like niches for solitary meditation and introspection. On the
terrace, on every protruding bit of architecture, on every window
ledge--wherever foothold may be gained--are monkeys, loathsomely fat,
and made more disgusting from years of pampering than are the human
freaks on the pavement. Great tamarind trees overhanging the temple are
alive with monkeys. They drop to the ground, run between your legs, and
dash before you at every turning. You are entreated to pay for basins of
parched corn thrown to the revolting creatures by your priestly guide,
and do so, but are glad when the monkeys show their appreciation from a
distance. From three to four hundred of these mangy animals belong to
the temple, and are held to be sacred. At Benares everything specially
nasty or repulsive is protected by the cloak of sanctity.

You are glad to get back to your carriage, so thankful that you throw a
couple of rupees to the mob of appealing "priests," in your heart
possibly wishing that the money might be invested in soap and scrubbing
brushes--and in poison for the monkeys. Urging the coachman to drive
speedily for the open space and pure air of Benares cantonments, you
wonder as you proceed what place in religion can reasonably be occupied
by the revolting customs and beings to be witnessed at the Monkey
Temple, and it is with no regret that you learn from eminent authority
that in less than a hundred years every temple and shrine perched on the
brink of the plateau crowning the Ganges will be undermined and its
descent not arrested until the structure reaches the river's bed. Those
responsible for locating Benares on the outer periphery of a great bend
in the Ganges proved themselves to possess no engineering foresight. But
India's controlling religion can receive no setback by the destruction
of a few score tawdry buildings consecrated to its gods, for they will
be replaced by better shrines and temples, rising from places beyond
even the iconoclasm of the sacred Ganges.

Investigation reveals sufficient merit in the religio-philosophies of
Mohammedanism and Buddhism to explain their adoption by teeming
millions. Each faith offers admirable precepts and teachings, and
prolonged study of them produces a feeling of respect for all true
believers. But a season of travel in India, entered upon with the desire
to dispassionately study the Hindu religion in the land of its
overweening strength, produces only bewilderment and mental nausea. The
more determined one may be to lay bare the gems of this faith and its
administration by the Brahmins, the keener will be his disappointment,
for not a redeeming feature will he find, and he may quit India smarting
with regret over wasted time. To such an investigator Hinduism must
forever be remembered as paganism steeped in idolatry. More, its
gruesome sacrifices will provoke only disgust, perhaps equaled by that
called forth by the unspeakably coarse temple carvings and ornamentation
of the cars of juggernaut. I have been acquainted with Indian gentlemen
proud to be known as Hindus, and have been amazed to hear them avow
devotion to the hideous idolatry that absorbs a great part of the time
of two hundred million people in India alone. If the strong arm of
England were not raised over the great empire of the East the suttee
rite and child sacrifice would unquestionably prevail to-day. To a
westerner Hinduism seems the greatest abomination of the earth.

[Illustration: A BRAHMIN PRIEST]



CHAPTER X

INDIA'S MODERN CAPITAL


Kipling, who has gracefully lured roamers to India by saying, "It is
good for every man to see some little of the great Indian Empire and the
strange folk who move about it," obligingly prepares those entering by
the gateway of Calcutta for an olfactory affront. The stenches of
Calcutta are numerous and pervading, surely; but the tourist who has
crawled up the Bay of Bengal in a caravel of the Peninsular & Oriental
Company cheerfully accepts them. The "P. & O." line is one of Britain's
venerated institutions; consequently English people would as soon commit
a felony as criticize this antiquated concern. In these times ten-knot
passenger steamers are hard to find outside the Calcutta service of the
"P. & O." Company and in marine junk yards.

As a great commercial port, Calcutta is unfortunately located. It is on
the Hooghly river, one of the outlets of the sacred Ganges, and ninety
miles from its mouth. The Hooghly is a tortuous stream of mud that can
be navigated by large vessels only by daylight and with favoring
conditions of tide, for its channel is seldom two days alike. This
demands expert piloting, and explains why Hooghly pilots are selected
with great caution. A Hooghly pilot is the very maximum of a nautical
swell, and one's boarding of a ship attended by man-servant and a mass
of belongings partakes somewhat of the character of a function.

This Calcutta pilot is a fine fellow--well-bred, educated, and entitled
to the splendid compensation and social position which he enjoys. Since
the days of the East India Company, the forerunner of British rule in
India, the pilots of the Hooghly have been esteemed as personages and
they have taken rank but slightly lower than officers of the navy, and
much ahead of ordinary commercial people and mariners. When off duty in
Calcutta the pilot goes to his club and drives on the Maidan with other
Anglo-Indians of quality, and never is seen about hotel bars and cafés
like the ruck of seafaring men having a spare day on shore.

[Illustration: A CALCUTTA NAUTCH DANCER]

The Hooghly is charted practically every twenty-four hours, and on his
way upstream the pilot gets his information pertaining to depths and
bars by signals from stations on shore. The river presents nothing of
interest to the traveler until a point twenty miles from Calcutta is
reached; thereafter it is a stream of many attractions. Fortifications
with visible native troops and an occasional red-coated English soldier
occur frequently; then come scores of enormous cotton and jute mills,
attended by strange-looking stern-wheel steamboats, most of them with
huge cargo barges on either side. At last Calcutta is in sight. Tall
factory chimneys and domed public buildings pronounce it a city of size
and importance. The last two miles of the journey are made through a
flotilla of shipping, a bewildering medley of sailing vessels and
steamers, flying the flags of all the maritime nations of the earth--all
but the Stars and Stripes of Uncle Sam.

Bombay, on the other side of India, and immediately on the sea, would
make a better capital than Calcutta. But the malodorous city of the
Hooghly will probably ever be the seat of Britain's rule.

While the names of Warren Hastings and Clive dominate the printed page
dealing with modern India, Calcutta fairly throbs with recollections of
Job Charnock, the audacious Englishman who raised the red flag of
Britain just two hundred and seventeen years ago over a collection of
mud hovels and straw huts on the site of what to-day is the capital of
the Indian Empire.

Charnock, perhaps the founder of England's rule in the East, was the
agent of the old East Indian Company. Having been granted permission by
the Mogul rulers to establish a post on the Hooghly convenient for
trading purposes, he chose a spot having the advantage of a generous
shade tree. The spot and neighborhood now is Calcutta, the chief city of
India, with over a million inhabitants. A Hindu village in the vicinity
of the place where Charnock established his trading post was called
Khali-ghat--these words, corrupted by use, have come to mean
"Calcutta." The quaint pioneer obviously had no realization of the part
he was playing in empire-making, and Great Britain has never made
adequate acknowledgment of the gratitude clearly this man's due.
Calcutta residents delight to recount Charnock's exploits, and they take
visitors to St. John's churchyard to view the substantial monument
beneath which rest his bones. The inscription states that he died
January 10, 1693.

A single story proves Charnock's independence of character. He went with
his ordinary guard of soldiers to witness the burning of the body of a
Hindu grandee, whose wife was reputed more than passing fair. It was
known that the rite of the suttee was to be performed--the widow was to
sacrifice herself upon the blazing pyre of the deceased, in keeping with
Hindu custom. Charnock was so impressed by the young widow's charms that
he ordered his soldiers to rescue her and by force take her to his home.
They were speedily married, had several children and lived happily for
many years. Instead of converting her to Christianity, she made him a
proselyte to paganism, and the only shred of Christianity thereafter
remarkable in him was the burying of her decently when she was removed
by death; but Charnock is said to have observed in true pagan manner
each anniversary of her demise, even to making animal sacrifices before
the image of the goddess Khali.

[Illustration: GENERAL POST-OFFICE, CALCUTTA]

Calcutta has improved greatly since Kipling wrote of it as the "City of
Dreadful Night"; but it is yet a place of striking contrasts, of
official splendor and native squalor, of garish palaces abutting in rear
allies upon filthy hovels. The good is extremely good--that is for the
British official; the bad is worse than awful--and that is for the
native.

Viewed superficially, Calcutta looks like a prosperous city in Europe,
perhaps in England; but rear streets and suburbs are as filthy and
congested as any town in vast India. What the average tourist beholds is
spick and span in a modern sense; and what he doesn't see is intensely
Asiatic, with all that the word can mean. Being a city of extremes, the
visitor may be brought to his front windows by the warning cries of the
footmen of a sojourning maharajah driving in state to a function, while
through the rear windows float the plaintive notes of the muezzin
calling the faithful to prayers from the minaret of a Mohammedan mosque
close by.

The Indian metropolis presents an array of fine homes, bungalows and
stucco villas, put up when the rupee was worth two shillings and a
penny, wherein unhappiness may now dwell, because the rupee has
depreciated to a shilling and fourpence. The parade of fashion on the
Maidan late in the afternoon presents every variety of equipage and
livery known to the East, The horse-flesh of Calcutta is uniformly fine.
Better animals than are daily grouped around the band stand, or along
the rail of the race-course, cannot be found short of Europe. The
viceroy is often seen driving a mail phaeton, preceded by two native
lancers and followed by four others. The automobile has many devotees in
Calcutta, and bicycle-riding natives are everywhere. The babu is
exceedingly fond of wheeling on the Maidan whenever he can escape from
his account books. Nearly every carriage on the Maidan in the afternoon
has two men on the box and two footmen behind, all gorgeously
dressed--servants are cheap in India. At sundown nowadays half the
pianos in Chowringee--where Calcutta's officials and prosperous
commercial people reside--seem to be playing airs from American light
operas, and not infrequently a regimental band compliments the United
States by playing "Hiawatha" or one of Sousa's compositions.

It is compensating to a person burdened with the habit of wondering
where words come from, to discover that Dum-dum is a suburb of Calcutta,
and is important as a military post and as the seat of an ammunition
factory and arsenal.

[Illustration: SHIPPING ON THE HOOGHLY, CALCUTTA]

The sights of Calcutta are unimportant. The general post-office occupies
the site of the native prison whose horrors of the Black Hole stain
chapters of Indian history; and a description of the burning of human
bodies on the bank of the Hooghly, and of the animal sacrifices at the
old Hindu temple at Khali-ghat, would be disagreeably gruesome. The
gaudy Jain temple interests for a few minutes, and the exterior of Fort
William impresses the casual spectator. The zoölogical garden is
conventional, and the feature of the botanical garden is probably the
largest banyan tree in the world. Calcutta hotels, deplorably poor, have
been fitly described as of two kinds--bad and adjectively bad. All that
interests the visitor within the modern capital of ancient India is the
movement of official and social life, and the parade of races forming
the population of the marvelous, mysterious country.

There, across the esplanade, with imposing gates and approaches, is
Government House, winter seat of the Viceroy of India--whose most
distinguished incumbent in recent years was His Excellency the Right
Honorable the Baron Curzon of Kedleston, P. C., G. M. S. I., G. M. I.
E., etc., etc. Few traveling Americans had the time to speak of him in a
manner honoring all these designations. Visitors from Chicago used to
refer to him, it was claimed, with naïve simplicity as "Mary Leiter's
husband," and let it go at that. A person of extraordinary ability was
this husband of an American queen, and it is generally believed that he
may some day be prime minister of England. The viceroyship is the
highest appointive office in the world. Its compensation is the
equivalent of $80,000 per annum, but the allowances for entertaining
European functionaries, an army of native servants, and a stableful of
horses and elephants for State ceremonials, swells the amount two or
threefold. Both at Government House in Calcutta and at the summer home
in Simla the viceroy is surrounded by a court equalled in splendor by
few royalties in Europe. Compared with the increment and disbursements
of India's viceroy, those of the President of the United States appear
insignificant. But oriental show and parade are expensive, so expensive
in fact, that a viceroy is forced to make liberal drafts upon his
private purse.

India may have had as capable rulers in the past as Lord Curzon, but
rarely one more tactful or courageous, and never one having the
assistance of a vicereine possessing the charm and lovable qualities of
the late Lady Curzon. Her splendid work in behalf of the natives,
especially the women, endeared her to all Indians. The Delhi durbar in
1903 honored Edward VII in a degree unsurpassed, but was a greater
personal triumph for Viceroy Curzon and his accomplished consort from
Chicago. His administration had many perplexing situations to deal with
and one of them forced his resignation. The constant nightmare of a
viceroy of India is famine, and twice Lord Curzon had to deal with
this--one visitation alone cost the Indian Government fifty million
pounds sterling. His understanding of frontier technicalities, and the
ways and wiles of native rulers--none too loyal to British rule,
assisted mightily in the successful administration of his high office.
Under the Curzons' régime Government House balls and garden parties were
counted the most brilliant occurring in the East.

A mighty personage in present-day Calcutta is General Viscount
Kitchener, commander-in-chief of the Indian army. In Egypt he reformed
the nature of the Nile peasant to the extent of making good fighters of
the sons of the cravens of Tel-el-Kebir; good enough, when led by
British officers, to annihilate the army of the Khalifa; and in South
Africa Kitchener wound up with success a war that had been horribly
bungled by others. Military critics had long been aware that the army of
India was antiquated, honeycombed with dry-rot, and largely ruled by
favorites sitting in high places at Whitehall. Consequently, Kitchener
was sent to India with instructions conferring almost plenary power to
reorganize the forces, British as well as native. He prefers work to
participating in the social game.

In England there is a growing desire that finds expression frequently in
the newspapers for Kitchener's translation from Calcutta to the War
Office in London, from whence the British army as a whole might profit
by the trenchant efforts of the Irish soldier who has seldom blundered.
As commander in India Lord Kitchener is paid a lakh of rupees a
year--$32,000, and heads an army of 242,000 men--77,000 British and
165,000 native troops.

The lieutenant-governor of Bengal, always spoken of as the "L. G."
resides in Calcutta and works in close relationship with the viceroy.
This British functionary administers the affairs of a territory but one
twentieth the area of the United States, but which possesses 75,000,000
people.

And what is this India, governed by Great Britain through its delegated
officials? It is a country greater than all Europe, omitting Russia, and
fully half as large as the United States. Its population numbers
300,000,000, and is the most heterogeneous of any land in the
world--were there homogeneity, or anything approaching it, a mere
handful of Britons could not hope to control a fifth part of the people
of the earth. India is made up of a multiplicity of races and tribes,
professing every religion of paganism; and these are separated by
thousands upon thousands of castes each going its own distinct and
peculiar way. Great Britain's control of these teeming millions is
unique in the history of oversea rule. India is almost exclusively
agricultural, and in sections of Bengal averages 900 people to the
square mile. At the beginning of 1906 the government had brought
14,000,000 acres of waste land under cultivation by irrigation upon an
expenditure of $135,000,000. India now has 215 cotton mills, which
employ a capital of $70,000,000, and last year's jute product of Bengal
alone was valued at $70,000,000. The Indian Empire is ponderous and
complex from any point of view. Possessing but half the area of the
United States, it represents one seventh of the British Empire, and more
than seven times the combined population of Great Britain and Ireland.
It should not be assumed that the whole of India is under British rule,
for practically a third of the country is still governed by independent
native princes. With almost four times the population of the United
States, India supports less than 29,000 miles of railway, as against
215,000 miles in the great republic--and this difference makes the
contrast between Asiatic conservatism and New World progress.

[Illustration: CALCUTTA COOLIES]

The person demanding physical statistics gets enough pabulum in a day's
search to keep the machinery of the mind going for months, and must be
amazed when learning that there are seven hundred and twenty-one
distinct languages and dialects spoken in India; that the population has
trebled with the British occupation; that for every insane person in
India there are thirteen in Europe,--the words "placid East" purveying
the explanation. Taking the country by and large it is claimed that only
one male in ten and only one female out of a hundred and forty-four, can
read and write; and it is said by British residents in the land that the
native knows no such thing as scholarship--he learns everything by rote,
even to the extent of perfect recitation, without comprehending the
meaning of the wards he is uttering. It is the nature of illiterate
Hindus to resort to the extremest extravagance in nearly every
statement, and it is not uncommon for report to have it that an
Englishman has spoken abusively of a hundred thousand good Hindus, when
that individual has merely intimated to a native servant that he would
like his morning meal served with more punctuality. The illiterate
Hindu, it is interesting to know, believes that the human soul passes
through eight million reincarnations. When this child of the East deals
with numbers his tongue runs into meaningless extravagance, and there
appears to be no communion between his intellect and speech.

While marriage is universal in India, if not obligatory, the custom
forbidding the remarriage of widows works an injustice to the sex
amounting to national disgrace. A Hindu maiden who at twelve or thirteen
is unmarried brings social obloquy on her family and entails
retrospective damnation on three generations of ancestors. A Hindu man
must marry and beget children to make certain of his funeral rites, lest
his spirit wander uneasily in the waste places of the earth or be
precipitated into the temporary hell called _Put_. The last available
census discloses the astonishing fact that there are twenty-six million
widows in India, meaning that out of every hundred women at least
fourteen have been bereft of their husbands, and consequently are no
better than human derelicts upon the earth. It is a teaching of the
abominable Hindu faith that the bridegroom cometh but once. A pundit of
the belief will argue that the practical reason for prohibiting
remarriage is to prevent the crowding of the marriage market--and this
is the only "reason" that can be extracted from one claiming to speak
with knowledge on the unfortunate subject. The enlightened Gaekwar of
Baroda, devoting influence and fortune to the moral uplifting of the
people of his land, pronounces the custom forbidding the remarriage of
widows to be a national curse exceeded only by that compassed by the
word "caste."

A statistical paper on India issued recently by the British Government
shows that there were killed in that country last year by snakes and
wild beasts 24,034 persons--21,880 by snake bites, 796 by tigers, 399 by
leopards, and the rest by other animals. The number of cattle destroyed
by snakes and wild beasts was 98,582.

The other side of the account shows that 65,146 snakes and 16,121 wild
animals were killed, for which rewards aggregating $37,000 were paid.



CHAPTER XI

ISLAND LINKS IN BRITAIN'S CHAIN OF EMPIRE


If one be a sufferer from anglophobia, a tour of the globe by
conventional paths may produce rather more irritation than is good for
man--to such a traveler the British Empire is a chronic nightmare, for
the red flag is everywhere. Every harbor seems choked with English
shipping, if not guarded by a British warship; and Tommy Atkins is the
first man met ashore. If your prejudice against Great Britain be
unjustly conceived, you will probably revise your judgment before the
earth is half circled; at least you must confess that Britain is great
from the standpoint of area.

A globe-trotter who has had "Britannia Rules the Wave" ringing in his
ears from Gibraltar to Ceylon, connects again with the "thin red line"
the moment his ship emerges from the Bay of Bengal. Penang then is the
link in the interminable chain of colonies upon which the sun never
sets. "Well, this is but an island, and a small one at that;
consequently I won't let it worry me," soliloquizes the anglophobe.

Penang is doubly remarkable. Firstly, the tourist is there made to
understand that he has finished with that great division of the earth
known as "the East," and is at the portal of the Far East, the realm
wherein the Chinaman, Malay and Japanese teem in uncounted millions.
Besides, Penang is the premier tin port of the universe. Seven tenths of
this metal used by the world starts for market from Penang and its
neighboring ports in the Malacca Straits.

"Rule Britannia" is played next at Singapore, likewise an island, and,
as is Penang, a place almost wholly given over to Chinese and their
shops. Few coastal towns in China possess a greater percentage of
Celestials than England's city at the tip end of the Malay peninsula and
abutting on the equator. Sir Stamford Raffles placed Englishmen--and
Chinamen--under everlasting obligation when he brought Singapore into
being. Raffles possessed the empire-building instinct, surely, and
earned the honor of interment in Westminster Abbey.

Singapore harbor commands one of the greatest natural turnstiles of
commerce. Shipping has no other option than to use it. While Englishmen
have administered the port and city since Raffles's time, thousands of
Chinamen have there waxed extremely fat. The 'rickshaw coolie of
Singapore, even, is physically perfect, and consequently in agreeable
contrast to the Indian of calfless legs, and his Cingalese colleague of
weak lungs. The Chinese 'rickshawman whisks a visitor about Singapore
with the stride of a race-horse. For a city only a degree north of the
equator, Singapore offers creature comforts in sufficient number to make
human existence there extremely attractive.

[Illustration: HONG KONG HARBOR]

Nabobs and well-conditioned humanity of Polynesia esteem Singapore much
as Europeans and Americans regard Paris--an estimable place of consort,
and scores of these men there lead a life not based on the simple ideas
of Charles Wagner. Island sultans are usually as numerous in Singapore
as princes in Cairo; and European adepts in equatorial government find
frequent need of repairing to the gay metropolis of the Straits. An
interesting potentate frequently seen is Rajah Brooke, a cultivated
Englishman who is philanthropic despot over a slice of Borneo twice the
area of England and Wales. Sarawak, his country, has been called the
best governed tropical land in the world. Another English celebrity
affecting Singapore is Governor Gueritz, administrator of the North
Borneo Company, destined, maybe, to become as profitable as the East
India Company of old. The Sultan of Sulu (not the hero of George Ade's
comic opera) enjoys a sojourn in Singapore. He is young, wears the garb
of a Mohammedan who has been to Mecca, and is not displeased by the
stare of tourists. The Sultan of Johore, in the hands of money-lenders
through unfortunate turf ventures, spends as much time in the city as in
his Malay sultanate. A prince of the Siamese king's ministry, in
Singapore to bestow orders for bridges and river steamers, goes nightly
to witness a feeble production of "The Girl from Kays," and whistles
"Sammy" as he promenades hotel verandas.

Down at the quays great steamships are fed with coal by Chinese coolies
who toil silently and expeditiously. A Chinese swell is on the pier
superintending the lading of queer-looking cases containing birds'
nests, consigned to epicures in Hong Kong and Canton. The Chinaman's
greatest dainty is soup made from glutinous birds' nests found in Borneo
caves. A single case of moderate dimensions contains nests to the value
of twelve hundred Mexican dollars--at least, it is insured for that
amount.

Great Britain's next station in the Far East is Hong Kong, likewise an
island, and one that might claim the long distance championship as a
rain-center. Next to hills, the characterizing feature of Hong Kong is
moisture--represented either by rain or humidity. The Briton professes
that the climate of this crown colony is good; but for months at a
stretch his clothing has to be hung daily in the open air to keep it
from becoming water-logged, and everything of leather has to be denuded
each morning of green mold. At the hotels one's apparel is kept in a
drying-room, and issued costume at a time for use.

The globe-trotter reaching Hong Kong in March risks irreparable injury
to his temper, unless he prefers dripping clouds and wet feet to warmth
and sunshine. Out of a fortnight there may be a day when the elements
will be accommodating enough to allow the glories of the harbor to be
seen from the Peak, and two pleasant days in the fortnight would be
remarkable. Official figures show that the average March has but
twenty-nine and a fraction hours of sunshine. Complain of the rains and
the patriotic resident will probably remark: "Rains! These are not
rains--they only begin in June." Your book of local information
corroborates the resident's statement, for you may read that March
ordinarily has a rainfall of but three and a half inches, while June
shows twenty, and August twenty-eight. On the 25th of August in 1905 the
downpour registered eleven and one-quarter inches--this almost turned
Hong Kong into an eastern Venice. November, December, January and
February are the pleasant months, statistically, in Hong Kong.

[Illustration: HONG KONG'S MOUNTAINSIDE]

The Briton has displayed his sturdiness of character by forcing a home
in Hong Kong, for nature fashioned the north shore of this island to be
an abiding-place for birds and animals. Adventurers from the British
Isles have won a plateau from the sea by piling and filling in, and by
executing engineering feats that have converted a precipitous mountain
side to blossom with villa sites and roads and foot-paths leading to
them. A railway scaling the mountain height at a topsy-turvy angle did
the rest. Hong Kong is a splendid example of what determined men
possessed of the colonizing spirit may accomplish. The founders of
Venice did no more in the lagoons of the Adriatic. A man responsible for
much of Hong Kong's filling in and excavation is Sir Paul Chator, a
British subject of Armenian birth, gifted to an unusual degree with
foresight. He has done more for the colony than any other person--and
Hong Kong has made him a millionaire.

The legal name of the city is Victoria, but this fact apparently is
known only to the postmaster and at Government House. Were a visitor to
speak of Victoria, the dweller would believe that something back in
England, or in Australia, was meant. When China ceded the rocky isle of
Hong Kong to Great Britain in 1842 it was the haunt of fisherfolk and
pirates prosecuting their callings in the estuary of the Canton River.
The acquisition of Hong Kong was due to the refusal of the Chinese to
allow British traders to live peaceably at Canton. Driven out of the
city, they took temporary refuge in the Portuguese settlement of Macao;
but, being pursued by Chinese hostility, the official trade
superintendent transferred the English depot to Hong Kong, which was
forthwith occupied by a British expeditionary force, and, at the end of
the Opium War, finally ceded to Great Britain by the treaty of Nankin.
The name "Hong Kong" is variously interpreted, but the generally
accepted meaning is "Fragrant Streams."

Just as Singapore guards the south entrance into the China Sea, so does
Hong Kong, fifteen hundred miles away, guard the north. On the south the
entrance is through the Straits of Malacca, on the north through the
Straits of Formosa. Had Great Britain, according to the usual custom of
war, retained possession of Manila, which she had conquered in 1762,
instead of giving it back to Spain at the end of the Seven Years' War,
her hold of the China Sea would have been as firm to-day as is her hold
of the Mediterranean. As the situation now stands, the acquisition of
the Philippine Islands gives Uncle Sam a fortified naval base on the
flank of the British line of communications between Singapore and Hong
Kong. Based on Manila, and given the possession of sufficient naval
force, an American admiral can strike right or left, compelling his
opponents to fight where it best suits his own purposes. England and
America are fortunate in being on terms of complete international amity,
but none the less has the conquest of the Philippines by the United
States profoundly modified the strategical conditions as they existed in
the Pacific when the islands belonged to a weak naval power like Spain.

Hong Kong's population and traffic double every ten years, and no harbor
has a greater tonnage. Were Hong Kong a port of origin, instead of a
port of call, its commercial importance would be greater than that of
London. A few years ago the British Government induced China to lease a
slice of the mainland of goodly dimensions, to accommodate Hong Kong's
swelling trade. There, a mile and a half across the harbor, to-day stand
miles of modern docks and warehouses, and shipyards and engine-building
works, that would do credit to Tyne or Clyde. This addition to Hong Kong
is called Kowloon, and it has residential districts that range well into
the hinterland.

Hong Kong's streets are among the most interesting in the great East,
for they strike the key of true cosmopolitanism. Along them 'rickshaws
pass in endless procession, electric cars roar, and sedan-chairs swing.
The chair borne by four bearers provides the acme of transportation in
fine weather. Eighty per cent, of Hong Kong's people are Chinese, and to
this multitude the human contributions of Europe and America form
necessarily a thin relief. Extremely picturesque are the compradore and
taipan in costumes of the richest of silks, more so than is the poor
coolie in dirty short trousers and jacket, pigtail coiled for
convenience about the head, whose face is none too familiar with soap
and water. In and out of the ever-moving multitude glide the tall,
bright-eyed sons of India, the Sikhs, who are everywhere in the East.
Soldiers in regimentals; jack tars of many nations; policemen, white,
yellow, and black, are included in the picture. Here is the somber
Britisher with confident stride and air of proprietorship, there the
unromantic German slowly but surely capturing Oriental trade. Frenchmen
and Scandinavians rub shoulders along the Queen's Road with the matter
of fact American and the dark man from Italy; whilst now and then a
peculiar gait or unusual costume distinguishes a South American or a son
of the Philippines. Here, in short, within this congested square mile of
the European quarter are daily to be picked representatives of the
world's nations. A study of the crowd is an education in itself.

The splendid buildings speak of commercial prosperity--banks, shops,
offices and clubs. Nearly every structure is the seat of prosperous
commercial ventures in Hong Kong and China proper; and tiers of
water-front warehouses locally called "godowns," are filled with
foodstuffs and manufactures that in time will be distributed through
every town of importance in the Flowery Kingdom. Hong Kong boasts that
her docks can accommodate the largest ships afloat (a fact until the
_Minnesota_ and _Dakota_, loaded with American flour, vainly sought
wharfage), and that she possesses the largest sugar refinery in the
world. But these circumstances are subordinate to the British
government's real interest in Hong Kong--to make it the base of naval
power in Asia, with dockyards and repair-shops equal to any demand, and
with coal-bins stacked with the prerequisite to sea-power.

[Illustration: A FORMER "HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR" OF HONG KONG]

The horse is included in no grouping in Hong Kong, where coolie takes
its place as bearer of burdens and hauler of vehicles. The sights of the
place are so strange and interesting that a traveler is sometimes there
for days before the fact dawns upon his vision that it is a city
innocent of horse-flesh. True, there are the runners and polo ponies at
Happy Valley race-course. Wherever the Briton plants his abiding-place,
there the horse and dog are brought--but in Hong Kong the former
requires a deal of attention, for it is only used in making a Briton's
holiday. The race-course is set in an intervale, and has cemeteries
overlooking grand-stand and entrances. A transplanted sportsman whose
every effort to name a winning steed at a Happy Valley meeting has
failed signally, finds superabundance of food for introspection as he
runs the gauntlet of cemetery portals on the way back to the city, and
very likely indulges in mental speculation as to the purpose in giving
the name of Happy Valley to a race-track whose betting ring is
overshadowed by burial grounds.

The "chit" as a moral pitfall is more potent in Hong Kong than in India
or other Eastern lands possessing a sprinkling of Europeans. A
newcomer's ears hear little but "chit." Every sentence uttered by
friends, every proposal of obsequious native merchant, is freighted with
the little word. You decide at last to cast off your ignorance and be of
the elect--to know what chit means and if possible become a chitter.
Very disappointed are you when told that chit is simply Asian for
memorandum, in popular phrase, an "I. O. U.," hurriedly penciled and
given in lieu of cash.

Its purpose? Merely to pander to the European's convenience; to
differentiate the white man from brown or yellow, by placing him on the
unassailable pedestal of a person of honor.

"This chit idea is great," says the newcomer. "I don't load my pockets
down with money any more. When I buy a cigar or drink I give a chit, and
that's all there is to it. These Eastern people are away ahead of us in
more ways than one." And he hourly signs innocent memoranda, because of
the convenience. At hotel and club a chit brings what he wants, it sends
a basket of flowers to a charming woman, produces suits of clothing that
he doesn't need, even pays 'rickshaw and chair coolies.

But alas; pay-day comes at the end of the month! And scheme as he may,
the newcomer cannot solve the fiscal problem of making a hundred dollars
settle three hundred dollars of debts. He then comprehends that the
insidious chit is loaded; is pregnant with the disgrace germ, if he
cannot raise the wherewithal to redeem the sheafs of them reposing in a
dozen tills--so many notes going to protest with every tick of the
clock. "I'll write home for funds," he decides; "but how am I to live
while awaiting the remittance?" By giving more chits, only. He does this
with a bold front for another month or so, and is doubly insolvent when
the remittance finally comes to hand. Then he gives still more chits,
and awaits another money supply.

Hong Kong is filled with unfortunate "remittance men," good fellows at
heart, whose downfall dates from their introduction to the chit. A
visitor can read no announcement more pathetic than that conspicuously
displayed in the waiting-rooms of the Kowloon ferry, saying "Positively
no chits received"--and this ruthless pronouncement in connection with a
trip costing but the equivalent of three American cents!

There is commendable practicability in the method employed by large
hotels in the East for placing patrons in a position to connect with
dishes on the bill of fare appealing to their appetites. In Hong Kong
hotels, where young Chinamen knowing practically no English are employed
as waiters, and where elaborate lists of dishes are the order, the plan
is indispensable. It is this: Every dish is indicated on the margin of
the card by a number, and instead of saying to the waiter, "Bring me
some roast beef, mashed potatoes and a cup of tea," you give the numbers
of these several articles, or point to them,--and they are fetched. It
is easy enough to get a second helping, but if you desire your meat
rare, or well done, or your eggs fried on both sides, then you have good
cause for cursing the confounding of tongues at the Tower of Babel. A
Hong Kong hotel is not a place for a person predisposed to irritability.

For keen realization of the Far East, Hong Kong, with its streets of
Chinese shops, and water front massed with sampans, affords a full and
most satisfying opportunity.



CHAPTER XII

CANTON, UNIQUE CITY OF CHINA


It is a steamboat journey of but ninety miles up the estuary of the
Pearl River from Hong Kong to wonderful Canton, and a traveler in Asia
who fails to see the city that is the commercial capital of China misses
something that he may think and talk of the remainder of his life.
Historians profess to trace the origin of Canton to a period antedating
the Christian era, when, it is somewhere recorded, the thirty-fourth
sovereign of the Chan dynasty, by name Nan Wong, who ruled for nearly
sixty years, was on the Chinese throne. In those days the city bore the
name of Nan-Woo-Ching, meaning "The Martial City of the South," and was
encircled by a stockade formed of bamboos and river mud, tradition has
it. Tradition additionally tells us that in the shadowy past Canton used
to be known as the "City of the Rams," inasmuch as once upon a time five
genii, each mounted on a ram carrying ears of grain in the mouth, rode
into the market-place and said to the wondering people, "May famine and
dearth never visit your city." This benevolent sentiment uttered, the
genii are said to have instantly vanished, leaving their steeds in the
market-place, and forthwith these were turned into stone. There is
to-day a Temple of the Five Genii, where five clumsily sculptured rams
are pointed out as the identical animals that once were flesh and blood.

Passing over twenty centuries we find the metropolis of the present
time, with its two million people, the most satisfying, fascinating, and
puzzling city in the Orient, if not in the whole world. Canton with its
agglomeration of a primitive existence, is surely distinct and different
from any other city. Its dazzling color effect, its pile of massive
gilding in grotesque ornamentation, its wonderful sign-boards in
bewildering hieroglyphics, and its host of odd-looking humanity--all is
at variance with anything the traveler has before seen. To successfully
view Canton requires some urbanity, a wealth of patience, and a stomach
not readily overthrown by gruesome and unusual sights. And, further, the
visitor must never forget that his vision is looking back from one to
two thousand years, and that the hordes of human beings congesting the
labyrinth of streets not seven feet wide, speak of a great nation as it
was, which to-day is the oldest living nation on earth. You, of the
fast-marching West, are viewing at its fountainhead a race for which the
word "conservative" was most likely first called into use. It was the
great Li Hung Chang who stingingly rebuked some patronizing Englishmen
who were urging the astute old statesman to advocate certain social
reforms in China, by saying: "Why, we Chinese look upon England merely
as an interesting experiment in civilization, wondering where you'll be
five hundred years hence."

The only impress that Europe and Christianity have visibly made upon
Canton is the French cathedral of the twin spires that you see near the
place where your steamer lands. In all Canton there is not a wheeled
vehicle, street-car, hotel, or mouthful of food appealing to the
convenience or appetite of the visitor from the West; and apart from
your own coterie of sight-seers, you may for days be about the streets
of the vast city without seeing a person wearing the habiliments of
Europe. That section of Canton known as Shameen, in reality an island
suburb, is set apart under concessions to the United States and certain
European powers, and the consuls, missionaries and foreign merchants
there dwell surrounded by many of the comforts of home.

[Illustration: TEMPLE OF THE FIVE HUNDRED GENII, CANTON]

Few venture upon leaving Hong Kong for Canton until satisfying reports
are received assuring that no immediate outbreak is apprehended of the
known Cantonese hatred for foreigners, nor until a vast amount of
letter-writing and telegraphing for guide and chair-bearers has been
gone through with, and the steamboat company has placed the craft of
their line at your command, to be used as hotels, restaurants, and
otherwise as bases of supplies. Confident that you would be met at the
landing by the guide of whom you had reassuring reports, and with whom
you believed you had been in correspondence, a gorgeously-clad,
good-looking fellow greets you at your state-room door on the boat
before your ablutions have been completed, and tells you politely but
firmly that he is to be your guide. His card says he is "Ah Cum John,"
which is not that of the guide you had expected to meet you, and you
meekly remonstrate, until the potentate tells you through the
half-opened door that you will see Canton under his auspices or not at
all. "Why?" "Because I am proprietor of all the sedan-chairs worth
riding in, and employ every good coolie; and, besides, Ah Cum, my
father, showed Canton to Rudyard Kipling twenty-five years ago. I'm the
third son of Ah Cum, and my family does all the guiding that is done in
Canton--nobody else speaks any English."

Whatever your degree of objection to monopolies, a single reason
enumerated by the autocrat seeking to enter your employ is sufficient to
swing you into a feeble acquiescence, for, to tell the truth, you are
not impressed favorably by the mob of jostling, shoving yellow humanity
on shore, naked to the waist, who seem to be accentuating with menacing
gestures their demands upon your patronage. You wonder how long a white
man can be on shore without having his throat cut, and reason that if Ah
Cum John can bully a sovereign-born American into accepting him as
guide, when you had wanted somebody else, why is he not the very man to
control the passions of a fanatical Chinese mob? His administrative
ability impresses by the manner in which he directs affairs from the
instant his control is confessed by your party of seven native
Americans, and after breakfast this born leader sets forth at the head
of the timid pleiad longing to explore the great human warren of
China--the thugs of the river bank are now your bearers and devoted
subjects, four to a chair, and countless assistants and relatives trail
at the end of the procession.

The cavalcade attracts good-natured attention from shopkeepers drawn to
the fronts of their stalls by the yelping of forty lusty Mongol throats,
commanding all and sundry wayfarers to allow honorable visitors to pass.
So narrow are the filth-smeared streets that a sight-seer might help
himself at will from shops on either side of the way. Hundreds of messes
stewing over braziers in the thoroughfare have to be moved, and now and
then the bearers of a native dignitary slide into a conveniently wide
place that the procession of "foreign devils" may not be inconvenienced.
But a mandarin, in his palanquin and preceded by an orderly mounted on a
short-legged pony, and guarded front and rear by forty wicked-looking
soldiers armed with carbines, has precedence so instantly accorded him
that the clients of Ah Cum's third son are almost precipitated sideways
into a row of shops. The mighty official passes without so much as
casting a glance of compliment at the women of the party, thereby making
it evident that Canton mandarins have a code of deportment peculiarly
their own.

The products of every section of Asia are said Canton, Unique City of
China to be heaped high in the warehouses of this great mart of Southern
China; but the tourist sees naught of these. What he views from his
sedan-chair is thousands of shops but little larger than catacomb cells,
wherein everything from straw sandals for street coolies to jade
bracelets for the richly endowed is offered for sale. Preserved from
theft and fire in Canton's godowns and pawnshops are stored enough
fabrics of silk, art-embroideries, and carvings in ivory and teakwood,
to cause a person of average taste to lose his mind, could they be
paraded for his benefit; and a collector would find it difficult to
preserve solvency, were the treasures of the shabby-looking warehouses
proffered for sale. Unusually repugnant are the stalls where food is
vended, for their wares are prepared in a manner making it easy for the
visitor to forget that he ever possessed an appetite. A hundred times as
you are borne through Canton's streets your chair escapes by only a few
feet or inches rows of cooked ducks and pigs that seem to have been
finally varnished to make them appeal to the native epicure. Here and
there you observe strange hunks of meat held together by a wisp of straw
that your guide tells you with immobile countenance are rat hams, and in
sundry shops your ready eye thereafter detects tiny dried carcasses that
can only be rats. Let it be said in fairness to the sights of Canton
that the display of vegetables is attractive enough to turn your
thoughts to the dietary benefits of vegetarianism.

You early perceive that Ah Cum John is many kinds of a "boss" by the way
he takes command of the shops at which he deigns to halt his caravan.
All are charmed with the jewelry fabricated by the workers in
kingfishers' feathers, and make liberal selections. But you are not
permitted to pay the merchant with whom you have made a bargain, for
John says, "You pay him nothing, you pay me to-night for
everything"--and the purchases are carried away in his sumptuous
palanquin. Pictures executed on rice-paper are next acquired on the same
terms; then a cargo of daggers and swords with handles and scabbards
covered with shark skin is secured after a brief dicker. When you buy a
carved ivory ball representing years of labor by a genius, or a dozen
bolts of Chee-fu silk, the price of which may be several hundred Mexican
dollars, John insists that you are entitled to a _cumsha_ of value. The
merchant makes obeisance and proffers you a paper-cutter or a box of
candied ginger. John resents this parsimony and says "Not good enough."
He goes then behind the counter and pulls down a mandarin coat weighted
with embroidery, or maybe an intricately carved puff-box, saying "The
merchant gives you this with his compliments." Everything is dumped in
the gorgeous palanquin, and your spoliation dash through commercial
Canton is resumed.

[Illustration: CITY OF BOATS, CANTON, WHERE GENERATIONS ARE BORN AND
DIE]

Between purchases, you are taken to see innumerable temples and other
objects of interest, as they fall in your path. The Temple of the Five
Hundred Genii is made amusing by the scion of the house of Ah Cum
explaining that a figure sculptured with hat of European pattern is
"Joss Pau Low." As a reader you are aware that it is the effigy of Marco
Polo, the intrepid Italian traveler supposed to have been the first
European to have penetrated ancient China. The water-clock, elsewhere,
is found to be out of order and not running, and you assume that the
water of the Pearl River is too muddy for delicate mechanisms. The
execution ground is found to be merely a quadrilateral of vacant land,
employed by native potters when not required by the State when a group
of criminals is to be officially put to death.

The guide is regretful that your visit is a few days too late for you to
see five men beheaded in as many minutes. Employing a chair-coolie as a
lay figure, John manages to give a satisfactory description of the
_modus operandi_ of a decapitation, and you let it go at that. A
stalwart native is then introduced as the official headsman, and this
functionary promptly tries to sell the heavy-bladed sword with which he
says he struck off five heads earlier in the week. Probably three
hundred malefactors are annually put to death on this spot, and it is
said that the public executioner has been known to sell twice that
number of swords in a year. Now and again a loaferish policeman is seen,
nearly always leaning against a building or finding support from the
angle of a deep-set door. Most of the police wear sandals and straw
hats, and carry long batons and revolvers; but there is no sameness of
apparel or armament among these guardians of the peace, attested by
their wearing only a portion of their uniform at a time. The Cantonese
believe their police are equipped and dressed in strict accord with the
"finest" of a great city in America.

On the way to that section of the city where Cantonese of high and low
degree are laid away after death, we encounter a returning funeral party
that made a curious procession, and one stretching to inordinate length.
In front was a ragamuffin corps of drummers and men extracting
ear-racking noises from metal instruments that looked like flageolets,
but were not. Twenty or thirty bedraggled Buddhist priests in pairs
trotted behind, proving by their individual gaits that in China there is
no union of religion and music. Interspersed in the marching medley were
a dozen or more gaudily painted platforms with pole handles, carried by
coolies in the way that chairs are borne. Each platform displayed a
layout of varnished pigs with immovably staring eyes, plates of uncooked
strips of fish, and decorative objects suggesting place in a well-to-do
Chinese home. Every fifty yards or so a mustached official of uncertain
rank was mounted on a Tartary pony, and at the end of the column a
coolie loped along bearing across his naked shoulders the deceased's
Yankee-made bicycle. No student of foreign conditions could ask more
striking evidence that China was at last "waking up," was heeding the
influences of Western civilization, surely. The funeral party suggested
perfunctory pomp and display, and gave not a suggestion of
bereavement--and that it was, for every person in the cortege was hired
for the occasion. Half the food had been left at the tomb for the
departed in his spirit form; the remainder was to be devoured by the
mercenary mourners when the procession broke up at the door of the home
from which the corpse had been carried.

Ah Cum John's clients lunch in the renowned Five-Story Pagoda, rising
from the city wall to an elevation that spreads Canton at its feet; but
by the time one reaches the building he is satiated with views and wants
nothing but food. The Chicago "air-tights" and bottled beers and
table-waters fetched from the steamer are relished to the full by
appetites not always satisfied by the culinary achievements of a
Delmonico.

Travelers insist that Canton is more essentially Chinese in an
educational sense than any other city in China. Public speech in Hong
Kong reflects the control of Britain, and in Shanghai popular opinion is
held to be tainted with German or British opinion. At Pekin the game of
diplomacy is played too consummately to allow an expressed utterance to
have any national significance, for the capital is looked upon as a city
eddying with cross currents and rival influences. Consequently, the
pulse of the great Flowery Kingdom, with its more than four hundred
million people, can best be taken at Canton, for the native press and
native scholars there say frankly what they believe.

Cantonese opinion is potential because the capital city of the great
Kwang-tung province is recognized as the center of national learning,
where scholarship is prized above riches. No Canton youth who aims at
the first social order thinks of setting himself to make money; to enter
the service of the government is his object, and to achieve this he
studies literature. There is practically no barrier in China to becoming
a "literate," and the classification means all that the word "gentleman"
can in Europe. For this and other reasons thousands of men in Canton
wear horn-rimmed spectacles, look wise, and discuss mundane affairs in a
manner brooking no contention. The literary bureaucracy of Canton wields
a mighty influence in the affairs of the nation, it is insisted. A
member of this class may not be able to do the simplest sum in
arithmetic without the assistance of his counting-machine, but he may be
able to write an essay on the meanings of ideographs, reproduce a
trimetrical classic, or quote the philosophic works of Confucius and the
Book of Mencius until you grow faint from listening.

Once every three years Canton teems with men, young and old, who have
gathered to compete for academic degrees. Any one save the son of a
barber, an actor, or the keeper of a brothel, may enter the list,
provided he possesses the certificate of a high school. A certain part
of the city not demanded by business or residential purposes is
designated as the Examination Hall, where 10,616 cells or compartments
are built of brick and wood. These cubicles, six by eight feet square,
are arranged in rows, like cattle-pens at an American agricultural
fair. Placed side by side they would extend eight miles. These cells
have no furnishing whatever, save a plank to serve as desk and bed. The
night before the examination is to begin the student is searched, and
with writing materials and provisions sufficient for three days, is shut
in his cell. This is repeated three times, making the examination extend
to nine days. From sunrise to sunset no candidate is permitted to rise
from his seat, and if one be taken ill and carried out, he cannot return
for that contest. It is said that a few of the old men succumb to the
strain at each examination.

The theses or essays of but eighty-three of the competitors can be
accepted, and the fortunate ones are rewarded by the Bachelor of Arts
degree. In time these compete near Pekin for a "Doctor" degree--and if
abundantly rich, the successful scholar may bribe his way to official
employment, say persons intimately knowing the customs of China. Those
who pass the final degree become members of what is termed the Hon Lum
College, and this furnishes China with her councilors, district rulers,
and examiners of scholarships in all the provinces--at least in theory.
The fortunate man standing at the head of the list in the great
examination near Pekin receives the title of Chong Yuen, and is termed
"the greatest scholar in the world." The entire empire reveres him, and,
taking into consideration the number of the examinations he has stood,
he should be respected, if not for erudition, for his tenacity of
purpose and the possession of a marvelous constitution. But it is
asserted that this "greatest scholar" is invariably a millionaire and a
Manchu.

[Illustration: EXAMINATION BOOTHS, CANTON]

Even the "literate" failing to secure appointment to public office has
certain valued exemptions and prerogatives. When he fulminates against
the Pekin government or against the acts of an overbearing viceroy, his
words are attentively listened to and carry weight. Besides, the
horn-rimmed spectacles give him a local standing envied by every man who
toils or has to do with business. In Canton and other cities of China,
standing before many of the larger and pretentious houses, are
ornamental "literary poles," and these are always in pairs and generally
show respectable decay. When newly erected they are painted in colors
according to the rank of the family--white for a private citizen, red
for a civil functionary, and blue for the army. A mast having a single
row of brackets a few feet from the top means the degree of Ku Yan,
equivalent to our M. A., and called in China the degree of Promoted Men;
the degree of Entered Scholar, nearly equivalent to our LL.D., called
Tsun Sze, is represented by two rows of brackets; and the highest degree
attainable, Hon Lum, is announced by three rows of brackets, locally
termed the "Forest of Pencils." The projecting brackets make admirable
perches for pigeons and other domesticated birds. As the family and not
the individual is the basis of the custom, the masts are always erected
in front of the ancestral home, although the distinguished scholar
may live miles away. The poles are never repaired or replaced unless
some other member of the family acquires academic honors. China has no
custom more poetic than the indicating of an abode from which a scholar
has emerged.

While it is easy to admit the erudition of the Chinese in their own
language, the tourist swung through Canton's streets perceives from his
sedan-chair many signs displayed to catch the eye of the foreigner that
prove the English schoolmaster to be absent. To read such announcements
as "Chinese and Japanese Curious," "Blackwood Furnitures," "Meals at All
Day and Night," and "Steam Laundry & Co." provoke a titter in a city
where you believe yourself to be an unwelcome visitor. It is obvious
that the scholars of China are not reduced to the straits of becoming
sign-painters.

The greatest of all Canton sights is undeniably that of life on the
boats along the river front, penetrating every creek, and extending
along the paddy fields above and below the great city. There has never
been a census of this "floating population," but it is estimated that
more than three hundred thousand Cantonese have no other homes but the
junks, sampans, "flower boats" and "snake boats," upon which they are
literally born, reared, married, and die. Lining both sides of the
river, extending into Shameen Creek, the sampans are everywhere. They
ferry people across the stream or convey them wherever they wish to go
in the neighborhood, carry light cargoes of fuel, food, or merchandise,
deliver packages, and do a thousand and one services of the "odd-job"
order. A sampan nearly always houses an entire family, and is rowed by
the father and mother. Beneath the round covering amidships the woman
conducts the domestic affairs of the family with a cleverness that is
remarkable, and for cleanliness it may be said that the Canton sampan is
equal to any abiding-place on shore. The cooking is done forwards over a
"fire-box," flowering plants frequently are placed in the boat's stern,
and within the cabin incense sticks may nearly always be seen burning
before the family idol. A mother ties very young children to the deck by
a long cord, while older children romp at large with a bamboo float
fastened about their bodies, which serves at once for clothing and
life-preserver. It is a common sight to see sampans propelled up and
down stream by women, each rower having an infant strapped to her back.
The good behavior of the babies of the sampan flotilla is always
appreciated by visiting mothers whose nurse-maids at home have
difficulty in keeping their young from crying their lungs out.

The "flower boats," moored a mile or two below the business part of
Canton's foreshore, are the antithesis of the sampans, for they cater to
a pleasure-loving class, to men and women possessing wobbly morals, who
love good dinners and suppers and a game of fan-tan without too much
publicity, with singing and dancing as adjuncts. In build these craft
are like the house-boats of the Thames, and the custom of tricking them
out with flowering plants suggests the scene at Henley during regatta
week. Practically all the vice that a traveler learns of during a visit
to Canton is confined to the flower boats, and their floral appellation
comes from the reputed attractiveness of the sirens dwelling upon them.
The boats are moored side by side in long rows, with planks leading from
one to another. Prices on the boats are always high, and the native
voluptuary pays extravagantly and the foreigner ruinously whenever he
devotes an evening to the floral fleet. By night the boats are gorgeous
with their mirrors and myriad lamps alight, and blackwood tables and
stools inlaid with mother-of-pearl; but by the light of day they look
tawdry to the point of shabbiness.

To a person interested in marine construction, especially one hailing
from a land where steam has supplanted sail-power, and where gasolene
and other inexpensive motors have made rowing almost obsolete, the Pearl
River "hot-foot" boats, so called by Europeans, are intensely
interesting. These craft connect Whampoa and other out-lying towns with
Canton, run in and out of rivers, and carry passengers, freight, and
sometimes the mails. They are of fairly good lines, but are propelled by
huge stern-wheels, and the motive power is contributed by from ten to
twenty barebacked and perspiring coolies running up a treadmill that
occupies as much room amidships as boiler and engine might. When the
taskmaster urges the coolies to do their best, one of these "hot-foot"
boats chugs along in calm water at a five-knot gait, but ordinarily
three knots an hour is the normal speed.

On the left bank of the river and close to Canton is a large leper
village, where all native craft approaching the city have to pay a
"Leper toll." If this is done as soon as the vessel reaches the suburb
the head leper gives a pass which franks the ship through; without this,
any of the numerous lepers are able to demand a fee, which has to be
paid, otherwise the junk would be surrounded by these people and all
work brought to a standstill.



CHAPTER XIII

MACAO, THE MONTE CARLO OF THE FAR EAST


A prettier marine journey than from Canton to Macao, is not possible in
the Orient, and it is of only eighty miles and accomplished by daylight
with convenient hours of departure and arrival.

As on all passenger-carrying craft plying the great estuary having Hong
Kong and Macao for its base and Canton its apex, you find the native
passengers on your boat confined below the deck whereon the state-rooms
and dining saloon of European travelers are located, and you perceive
racks of Mausers and cutlasses at convenient points of this upper deck.
To American eyes it is novel to see every stairway closed by a grated
iron door, and a man armed with a carbine on your side of each of these
barriers. You perceive on the main deck three or four hundred Chinamen
of the coolie class, some playing card games, others Smoking metal pipes
with diminutive bowls, but most of them slumbering in a variety of
grotesque attitudes. None of these Mongols who observe your curiosity
seems to hold any feeling of resentment for the effective separation of
the races, which places him, the native of the land, in a position that
might be called equivocal.

The English skipper and his Scotch engineer, who take the seats of honor
when tiffin is served, respond willingly to your appeal for an
explanation of the doors of bar-iron and the display of weapons--every
first-class passenger always asks the question, and on every trip the
British seafarers tell the story of Chinese piracy as practised up to
comparatively recent times in the great estuary having a dozen or more
names.

And an interesting tale it is, for it recounts deeds of the sea quite as
audacious and high-handed as anything performed on land by Jesse James
and his stage-coach bandits. Up to fifteen or eighteen years ago the
estuary bristled with Chinese pirates, and wherever native fishermen and
sailors foregathered, at Hong Kong, Canton or Macao, schemes for
holding-up and sacking steamers carrying bullion and valuable
merchandise were hatched with a frequency that gave a phase to local
commerce that was anything but comforting, and more than one brave
Yankee or British sailor went to his death fighting yellow thugs against
overwhelming odds. The public decapitation of a handful of these
murderers appeared to place no check on the outlawry.

[Illustration: PRINCIPAL SECTION OF MACAO]

Once a Canton-bound steamer, carrying the mails and a considerable
amount of specie, had her progress obstructed by two junks that wilfully
forced her into shoal water. In the confusion that followed the
grounding, a score of coolies, who up to that moment had been regarded
as honest deck passengers, rushed to the pilot-house and engine-room and
murdered every white man on board. Practically everything of value was
then transferred to the junks, now conveniently alongside, and the spoil
was landed at such points in the estuary that made official detection
well-nigh impossible. This is but a sample of the stories you may hear
while yellow-faced Chinamen are serving your food, and it must be
confessed that it affords a sense of confidence to know that the grates
of the stairways are actually locked, and that the rifles of the guards
are loaded with ball ammunition. As he sips his black coffee at the
termination of luncheon, the captain assures you that until within a few
years a skipper was suspicious alike of every native deck passenger and
every fishing junk indicating a disposition to claim more than its share
of the channel; "but the old days in China," he concludes, "have
disappeared forever, and piracy as an occupation has passed with them."

Getting back to the forepart of the ship, the views on land and sea are
engrossingly interesting. On the shores of the mainland and on an
occasional island are ancient forts which revive memories of interesting
experiences of the white man's invasion of the Celestial kingdom, and
the foreground of rice-fields is backed by interminable groves of
mulberry-trees explaining China's preeminence as a silk producer.
Numerous villages are passed, and from them the traveler obtains a fair
idea of the rustic life of China. Now and again a pagoda is visible,
crowning an elevation, and recalling childhood's school-book
illustrations. You jump at the convenient conclusion that these
structures of from six to ten stories had to do with the religion of the
country, which surmise is erroneous, for the towers were reared to guard
the geomantic properties of their respective neighborhoods, and in
reality are relics of a bygone age of superstition.

The pioneer European settlement of the Far East--Macao--is at last in
sight, and it presents immediately a visual contrast to Canton, by
reason of its picturesque situation. There is something about the
promontory that takes you back to Southern Europe, to the summer sea and
the shores of the Mediterranean, perhaps to a brightly situated fishing
port of the littoral of the Riviera. As the vessel rounds the cape and
comes to anchor in the pretty crescent formed by the Praia Grande,
flanked by terraced houses colored with minor tints of blue and yellow,
you know instantly that this stranded Eastern rainbow is Monte
Carlo--no, the Oriental equivalent of the beauty-spot of Latin Europe.

Macao is a little place large with history, in fact is an atom of Europe
almost lost to public gaze by the vastness of Asia, and as much a part
of the kingdom of Portugal as Lisbon itself. As the most enterprising
maritime and trading nation of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese
were the first to sail the Eastern seas, the first to open up
commercial relations between Europe and the great empire of China, and
holding the monopoly of all Oriental trade until the end of the
eighteenth century. Owing to the prospect of increased gain, following
on this European invasion, the waters of the Pearl River estuary soon
became infested with pirates, which the Portuguese magnanimously
assisted the Chinese government to subdue, and, in return, it is
recorded, received in 1557 the cession of the rocky peninsula on which
the Portuguese colony now stands. More than once Portugal had to
maintain her rights by recourse to arms, but the colony has remained
Portuguese without interruption for more than three hundred and fifty
years, and is a hoary patriarch beside infantile British Hong Kong and
German Tsing-tau. The oldest lighthouse on the coast of China is that of
Guia, standing sentinel on the highest point of the Portuguese colony.

The colony has a population of perhaps eighty thousand persons, and
practically all these are Chinese. There are, of course, a few score of
civil and judicial functionaries springing from the mother-country; and,
as in all places where Europeans have long lived in friendly association
with Orientals, the Eurasian class is strikingly numerous. In no court
on the Tagus are the laws of Portugal construed with more tenacity and
precision than in Macao's chambers of justice; and the flag of Portugal
floats over the homes of hundreds of loyal subjects who know only in a
hazy manner where Portugal really is--they are rich Chinese and others
evading the Chinese tax collector, or escaping burdensome laws, and for
many years these crafty Mongols have made a sort of political Gretna
Green of Macao. Certain influential Chinamen carrying on business in
Canton or other southern communities live in almost regal splendor in
Macao, and when the minions of the Chinese government attempt to hale
them before a tribunal of law, or compel them to share the expense of
carrying on the administration of a province, they exclaim in Chinese,
"Oh, no; I'm a subject of the King of Portugal"--and prove it. The great
sugar planter of the Hawaiian Islands, Ah Fong, whose Eurasian daughters
were beautiful and accomplished enough to find splendid American and
European husbands, was a subject of the Portuguese crown, strange to
say. His domicile on the Praia Grande is one of Macao's proudest
mansions.

[Illustration: FRONTIER GATE BETWEEN CHINA PROPER AND THE PORTUGUESE
COLONY]

The colony of Macao is scarcely more important than one of Anthony
Hope's imaginary kingdoms, but for the fact that it is on the map, for
the area of Portugal's foothold is not more than two or three miles in
length, and a half-mile to a mile in width; it is merely the rocky
promontory of the tip end of the island of Heung Shan. A wall of masonry
with artistic gateway separates the dominion of Portugal from the great
Chinese empire--on one side of the portal the law of the Emperor of
China is absolute, and on the other the rule of the monarch of Portugal
is sacred. In various ways the place and its people remind strongly
of a comic-opera setting--but the officer there serving his far-away
sovereign discourses with serious countenance of Goa, and Delagoa Bay
and Macao as important colonial possessions. Until Hong Kong under the
British began to rise as a port and base of commercial distribution,
Macao had a considerable trade; but with the decline of business the
harbor has silted up until now an oversea ship could not find anchorage.
A few industries, like cement making and silk winding, are carried on in
the outskirts of the colony, and a suspiciously large amount of prepared
opium is shipped, although the closest observer can detect not a poppy
under cultivation anywhere on the rocky promontory.

The old Protestant cemetery contains many graves of good men and true,
such as naval officers and seamen, who have died on Eastern seas, and
whose comrades preferred to leave them interred in Christian soil rather
than intrust their cherished remains to cemeteries in pagan lands. The
headstones of Macao's God's-acre bear name after name once carried with
pride on the rolls of the American, British or French naval and
merchantman services, and diplomatic and consular titles are recorded on
more than one headstone. It is interesting to scale the steps to inspect
closely the façade of the Jesuit church of San Paulo, erected some three
hundred years ago. Nothing remains but the towering façade, as erect as
if reared yesterday, and bearing silent testimony to the courage of the
pioneers in the Far East of the Catholic faith. A 'rickshaw journey
through every important street, from the center where are the hotel and
government buildings to the remotest patches of farming land near the
"frontier," consumes scarcely two hours. In the public park you come not
infrequently upon statues with tablets informing all observers of the
importance and majesty of the home country welded to the peninsula of
Europe, once famed for the intrepidity of its navigators and
adventurers. If Macao move the visitor to voice an opinion, it is that
under certain conditions which you might name the place could be a
veritable paradise, but that benevolent Portugal is there conducting an
earthly Nirvana for all and sundry of China's affluent sons mustering
the ingenuity and influence to gain shelter beneath the flag of dear old
Portugal.

Macao's claim to renown rests chiefly upon the fact that Portugal's
greatest bard, Camoens, there wrote in part or its entirety the immortal
"Lusiad," which in epic form details the prowess of the sons of ancient
Lusitania in Eastern discovery and oversea feats of daring, and in which
work the voyages and discoveries of Vasco da Gama are recorded with the
fidelity of a history prepared by a sympathetic admirer. As scholars
know, the "Lusiad" was first published in 1572, is in ten cantos and
1102 stanzas, and is translated into most modern languages. Important
American and English libraries possess it by at least four translators,
each being more or less a standard.

[Illustration: BUST OF CAMOENS, MACAO]

The life of the great poet is underlaid with romance and sadness. Born
at Lisbon about 1524, he was given an education fitting him for a
courtier's life, and it was an unfortunate affection for a high-born
donna in attendance upon the queen that caused him to be banished from
the land of his birth. After a roystering career as a soldier in Africa,
he sought shelter at Goa, in India. There he wrote a volume severely
castigating the home government for its official abuses in the East, and
this led to his being treated by his countrymen as a traitor and
outcast. Now in a Goa prison, now at liberty, he at last went to Macao,
and it was there that by his pen he redeemed to some extent his good
name, to the extent certainly of being permitted to return to Lisbon,
and there he died about 1580, poor and neglected. It is insisted that
Camoens's influence and efforts preserved the Portuguese language from
destruction during the Spanish occupation of the neighboring country,
and it is a fact that before 1770 no less than thirty-eight editions of
the "Lusiad" were published in Portugal.

To commemorate the eight or ten years he passed in Macao, a public
garden is named for him, and there, in a grotto of impressive grandeur,
is a bust of the man singing the praises of his natal country as no
other writer in verse or prose has ever succeeded in doing. The bronze
effigy rests on a plinth upon which is engraved in three languages these
lines from the pen of a pilgrim to the Eastern shrine once hallowed by
the presence of the bard of a nation:

    Gem of the Orient earth and open sea
    Macao! that in thy lap and on thy breast
    Hast gathered beauties all the loveliest
    O'er which the sun smiles in his majesty.

    The very clouds that top the mountain crest
    Seem to repose there lingering lovingly.
    How full of grace the green Cathyan tree
    Bends to the breeze and how thy sands are prest
    With gentlest waves which ever and anon
    Break their awakened furies on thy shore.

       *       *       *       *       *       *

    Were these the scenes that poet looked upon,
    Whose lyre though known to fame knew misery more?

       *       *       *       *       *       *

    They have their glories and earth's diadems
    Have nought so bright as genius' gilded gems.

The lines were written by Sir John Bowring, English scholar and
traveler, who visited Macao in the latter half of the last century, and
the expense of the memorial and its grounds was borne by a patriotic
Portuguese, Lorenço Marques, whose name has been preserved by being
given to the seaport on Delagoa Bay in Portuguese East Africa.

For a place whose commerce is notoriously in eclipse, you are curious to
learn whence springs the golden shower giving the appearance of
prosperity to Macao, for the general air of the colony suggests an easy
affluence. To keep the governor's palace and the judiciary buildings
covered with paint costs something, you know, while the paved streets
and bridges and viaducts give support to the surmise of an exchequer not
permanently depleted. Portugal, nowadays almost robbing Peter to pay
Paul, is in no condition to succor an impecunious colony situated in
another hemisphere, you are aware, and you appeal for elucidation of the
fiscal problem. "Very easy, dear sir," your cicerone promptly rejoins,
"this is the Monte Carlo of the Far East. Gambling is here a
business--all the business there is, and the concessions for the fan-tan
and lottery monopolies pay for everything, practically making taxation
unnecessary."

The statement would cause something of a shock to a guileless stranger,
especially to one who had believed he had perceived a natural likeness
between the little principality on the Mediterranean and this beauty
spot of the Orient. But China is rather too far to the eastward of Suez
for simon-pure guile, and the globe-trotter decides to thoroughly
explore local conditions by way of adding to his worldly knowledge. If
you go to the post-office to mail a letter, you recognize perforce how
backward a colony of Portugal may be in supplying the trifling
requirements of life, for you stand minutes in a nondescript line before
your stamp is sheared from a sheet by a functionary having a capacity
for activity possibly rivaled by an Alpine glacier--then you wait at the
communal mucilage pot to secure in turn the required adhesive substance.
A good correspondent in Macao would pass half his time at the
post-office, you conclude.

But there is nothing backward, nothing harking back to the middle ages,
in the plan by which the public cash-box is filled, you learn after
plodding investigation. The merits of direct and indirect taxation, even
of the Henry George program for raising the public wind, have never been
seriously considered by Portugal's administrators in the East, nor has
municipal ownership of utilities been discussed, you discover. The
official bigwigs who administer Macao know that it is as necessary for
the Chinaman to gamble as to have food--and the colony accordingly
legalizes fan-tan and semi-daily lotteries, supplies the requisite
machinery for carrying on the games, and reaps a _benefice_ for its
enterprise that runs the community without further ado. That is all
there is to Macao's fiscal policy. Hong Kong, only forty miles across
the estuary, bristles with commercial prosperity. The British government
permits Hong Kongers to bet on horse-races, buy and sell stocks, and
promote devious companies, but forbids fan-tan and lotteries. There is,
consequently, a daily flow of men, women, and dollars between Hong Kong
and Macao. Besides, no traveler not actively engaged in uplifting his
fellow-man, feels that he has seen the Orient unless he passes a few
hours or days in endeavoring to lure fortune at the gambling tables.

The colonial lottery is no more dignified or important than a policy
game in an American town, and seems to be but the Western idea clouded
by its adaptation to Asiatic uses, tourists affirm.

Macao licenses twenty fan-tan places, and these run all day and all
night, and are graded in their patrons from tourists and natives of
fortune and position down to joints admitting 'rickshaw coolies,
sailors, and harbor riffraff. The gilded establishment claiming
attention from travelers is conducted by a couple of Chinese worthies,
by name Ung Hang and Hung Vo, according to the business card
deferentially handed you at your hotel, and the signs in front of it and
the legends painted on great lanterns proclaim it as a first-chop _Casa
de Jogo_, and a gambling-house that is "No. 1" in all respects. The
gamesters whose garments proclaim them to be middle-class Chinamen pack
themselves like sardines into the room where the table is situated, for
they obviously believe in watching their interests at close hand. The
floor above, by reason of the rail-protected opening in the center, is
little more than a spacious gallery; but it is there that the big
gamblers congregate, natives in costly fabrics, and whose rotund bodies
tell of lives not spent in toil. They loll on blackwood divans and smoke
opium and send their bank-notes and commands to the gambling table by
servants, until yielding to the exalted dreams induced by the poppy
fumes. They are polite fellows, every man of them, and make it apparent
that they would like to do something for the entertainment of each man
and woman tourist in the room.

In this strange establishment globe-trotting novices sit around the
railed opening and make their bets on the game below through an
interpreter attendant. This obliging man lowers your coins to the
croupier in a basket, and draws up any "bet" you may have had the luck
to win. And what a medley of coins you are paid in! There are coins of
China and Japan obsolete years ago in those countries, money of the
Philippine Islands, even nickles and dimes whose worth has been stamped
by Uncle Sam. It is said that half the pocket-pieces of Asia find their
way onto the gambling boards of Macao, and that a thrifty croupier seeks
to pay them out to the tourist who will remove them from local
circulation. The linguistic representative of the management endeavors
to play the bountiful host to most visitors. He takes one through the
building, permits you to peep within a chamber filled with oleaginous
Chinamen in brocade petticoats, sleeping off the effects of the opium
pipe, explains painted fans and other attempts at decoration on the
walls, and indicates a retiring room where you may rest or even pass the
night, all without charge.

[Illustration: IN A FAN-TAN GAMBLING HOUSE, MACAO]

Then he orders refreshments brought, and with the manner of a veteran
courtier proffers a tray heaped with oranges, an egg-shell cup filled
with tea that is almost without color, and dried watermelon seeds that
you might munch after the manner of the neck-or-nothing gamblers on the
lower floor. When you politely decline these, the courtly one most
likely says, "You no likee tea and seeds--then have whiskysoda." Chinese
courtezans, with feet bound to a smallness making locomotion difficult
and obviously painful, wearing what in the Western World would be called
"trousers," and invariably bedecked with earrings or bracelets of
exquisite jade, edge their way to the gambling table, and put their
money down in handfuls as long as it lasts. To spend an evening in the
liberally-conducted establishment of Messrs. Ung Hang and Hung Vo is
enlightening in various ways.

Because fan-tan is the passion of Asiatics, the popular idea is that it
must be the wickedest of all games, if not the most complicated. Fan-tan
as a fact is simplicity itself, being no more than the counting off into
units of four several quarts of little metal discs called "cash," until
there remain one, two, three or four discs. The result determines what
bets, laid about a four-sided space on the table, win--a single
remaining "cash" makes the 1-side win, two the 2-side, and so on. Each
hazard is a one-to-three wager, and the bank pays on this basis after
deducting the recognized percentage supporting the establishment.
Spinning a top with four numbered sides would accomplish in a minute the
same result as the tedious counting of a heap of discs, varying with
every "deal" according to the whim or superstition of the players, who
may add to or take from the pile prior to the beginning of the count. It
is fortunate for the millions of the conservative Far East that their
principal gambling game is not a quick one, like roulette, for the
player of fan-tan gets "action" only about once in every ten minutes. At
roulette and most other games favored by white men a gambler knows his
fate in a minute.



CHAPTER XIV

THE KAISER'S PLAY FOR CHINESE TRADE


Having no voice in the controversy leading to the war, Germany should
have remained neutral throughout the bitter Russo-Japanese conflict.
Germany was neutral so far as official proprieties went; but in sympathy
and numberless unofficial acts she aided and abetted Russia to a degree
unsurpassed by the Bear's plighted ally, France. It is a fact
incontrovertible that from the commencement of hostilities the German
Emperor was as pro-Russian as any wearer of the Czar's uniform, and most
German bankers and ship-owners found it easy to take the cue from Berlin
and view situations of international procedure in a manner permitting
them to reap golden benefits. Teuton bankers took the lead in financing
the Russian cause, and whenever Russia was forced to purchase ships to
augment her fleet, these were always found in Germany. When the Czar
despatched his squadrons to the Far East, they were coaled practically
throughout the long journey from German colliers. And in other helpful
ways Germany officiated as the handmaiden of Russia.

The Kaiser's favoritism was infectious throughout his empire, and had
the contending armies and fleets in the Far East been equally matched,
with the outcome hanging in the balance, the influence of William II
could have swayed the continent of Europe in Russia's favor, and a great
moral advantage would thereby have accrued to Russia that would have
been difficult to overcome. Why? Because the Kaiser is the strongest,
most influential, and cleverest potentate in Europe. Splendid exemplar
of the war-lord idea, he is really the peer of diplomatists, a ruler
whose utterances are to-day weighed and discussed as are those of none
other. Understanding the value of words, and a coiner of subtle phrases,
an epigram from the Kaiser contrasting the destiny and rights of the
"white man" and the "yellow man" would probably have isolated the
British as Japan's only sympathizers in the Old World, had it been made
at an opportune time.

But the psychological moment never came--there was a hitch somewhere in
Asia, and Kuropatkin's genius was expended in masterly retreats; all the
triumphs on land and sea were those of the little men under the sun
flag. Finally came a mighty engagement, and William hastened to decorate
the Russian loser and the Japanese victor. But the point was strained;
the public perceived this. As a result, the incident fell flatter than
the anticlimax of a melodrama played to empty seats.

The Kaiser's chagrin was great. But it need not have been, for the march
of events in the East was proving him simply to be mortal--he had
failed to pick the winner, and was gradually becoming aware of it. A
plunger in a sporting event perceives an error of judgment in a few
minutes, usually. With the War-Lord of Germany it required the lapse of
months to convince him of the sad fact that Japan would win in the great
struggle.

Why War-Lord, as an appellation for the august William? Adept in the art
of warfare he surely is; but have not the Fatherland's victories under
his rule been those of peace, and those only? Has Germany been involved
in strife possessing the dignity of war since he came to the throne? Has
she not, on the other hand, made headway in trade and sea transportation
under his guidance that has no parallel in the history of a European
state? Yes, emphatically. And are not the words "Made in Germany" so
painfully familiar throughout two thirds of the globe, especially in
Great Britain and her possessions, that they strike terror to Britons
who study with apprehension the statistics of England's waning trade?
This is true, also. And Suez Canal returns prove that the users of the
waterway under Britain's red flag are yearly less numerous, while the
number of German ships is steadily growing.

[Illustration: TYPICAL BUSINESS STREET IN A CHINESE CITY]

Then why not Trade-Lord, for this is what the German Emperor is? It is
the better appellation, and more truthfully descriptive. It surely is
creditable to the German people that their national progress is due to
habits of industry and thrift, rather than to military display: the
artisan, not the drill-master, is making Germany great.

And could Trade-Lord William be honestly called "astute" if he
overlooked the fact, obvious as a mountain, that one of the stakes in
the Russo-Japanese conflict would be the privilege amounting almost to
right, to commercially exploit the most populous country on God's
footstool--China? More than one fourth of the people of the earth are
Chinese, and their country at the present time is more primitive, in the
scarcity of railways, telegraphs, public utilities, and every provision
conducing to comfort and common-sense living, than any other land
pretending to civilization. It is a fact that outside of Shanghai,
Canton, Pekin and Tientsin, the people do not want many of the products
of the outer world; but it is a truism that much profit accrues from
teaching Asiatics to "want" modern products.

The German Emperor foresaw that China could not much longer resist the
invasion of outside enterprise and trade; and to his mind there could
have been no suspicion of doubt that the victor in the awful contest
could and would dictate trade terms and privileges everywhere in the
Celestial Empire. If Japan won, the Japanese would surely exploit
commercially their great neighbor, whose written language is nearly
identical with their own--this would be but natural to the Mikado's
people, teeming with aptitude as manufacturers and traders, and
recognizing the necessity for recouping outlay in the war.

If Russia were successful, her reward would be the validating of her
hold upon Manchuria, the bundling of the Japs out of Korea, and the
attainment to a position of controlling influence in China's political
affairs. The supplying of articles of general manufacture and commerce
to the 400,000,000 people of China could have been no part of Russia's
aspiration, for the reason that Russia is not a manufacturing country
and has but little to sell. Her enormous tea bill to China is paid
yearly in money, even. A nation seeking in time to control the whole of
Asia couldn't bother with commercial matters, certainly not. Yet, one of
the fruits of victory in the war would have been the splendid
opportunity to exploit trade everywhere in China--a privilege of
priceless value.

What country was to benefit through this, with Russia's moral support
and permission, had the Czar's legions been successful?

France? Hardly; for the French were bound by hard and fast alliance, and
it had never been the policy at St. Petersburg to give anything material
to France. Uncle Sam, whose people had financed half the war loans of
Japan, could scarcely hope to extend his business in China with Russia's
cooperation; nor could Japan's ally and moral supporter, John Bull.

Who, then, could stand in a likelier position to become legatee of this
valued privilege than the Trade-Lord of Germany? The Emperor William had
been Russia's "best friend" from the inception of the war, and was
admittedly an adept in promoting trade, for his people had attained in
a few years to an envied position in the commerce of the world. A
quarter of the trade of "awakened" China would make Germany a vast
workshop, a hive of industry. And this was precisely what the astute
Hohenzollern saw through the smoke of battle in far-away Manchuria. He
saw a prosperous Germany if the Slav crushed the yellow man. To say he
did not would be a libel upon a giant intellect.

Any one disposed to review practically certain incidents in the recent
history of Germany may develop a dozen reasons why the Emperor should
seek to make his country all important through trade conquest. Let it be
remembered that the Kaiser chafes at barriers of every kind, and that
there is a boundlessness in his nature at times trying to his patience.
He looks at the map of the German Empire and painfully admits that the
present frontiers and area are practically those bequeathed by the great
William. To a divine-right monarch this is exasperating. The loftiest
ambition of a sovereign is to have the national area expand under his
rule.

William's medieval temperament shudders at the crowded condition of the
earth in this twentieth century, when all frontiers appear immovable.
Had he lived in the days of the Crusaders his valiant sword would
probably have brought all Palestine under German control; and had he
been a free agent when Bonapartism collapsed he most likely would have
carried the German standard to the Mediterranean, perhaps to Stamboul.
The ironical fact is that the German Emperor has had rebuffs and
disappointments in his efforts to expand his realm. The Monroe Doctrine,
excluding his empire from even a coaling station in this hemisphere, is
to the Kaiser a perpetual nightmare. Sturdy sons of the Fatherland
control the trade of more than one republic in South and Central
America, but nowhere is it possible to unfurl the standard of Germany
over "colony" or "sphere of influence." To forcibly back up his
subjects' pecuniary rights in the American hemisphere, even, the
approval of the government at Washington has first to be obtained. In
his heart the Kaiser loathes the doctrine of Monroe; that is obvious.

It is twenty years since Germany began to build up a colonial empire in
Africa, and the net result is that, after spending some hundred million
dollars, she has acquired over a hundred million square miles of
territory, with a sparsely scattered German population of between five
and six thousand souls. A third of the adult white population is
represented by officials and soldiers. Militarism is rampant everywhere,
with the result that the white settler shuns German colonies as he would
the plague. The keen-witted Kaiser long ago saw that empire-building in
the Dark Continent could produce nothing but expense during his
lifetime.

[Illustration: EXHIBITION OF BODIES OF CHINESE MALEFACTORS WHO HAVE BEEN
STRANGLED]

"To perdition with the Monroe Doctrine, and with African tribes blind to
the excellence of German-made wares," the Kaiser might have said ten
years ago: "I'll have sweet revenge upon all and sundry by capturing
trade everywhere--I'll make Germany the workshop of the universe. Keep
your territory, if you like; I'll get the trade! Bah, Monroe Doctrine!
Bah, grinning Senegambians!"

The resolute Trade-Lord then turned his face to the bountiful Orient,
pregnant with resource beyond the dreams of avarice, teeming with
hundreds of millions of people. The East had made England dominant in
the world's affairs. Keeping his soldiers at home, the Kaiser hurled a
legion of trade-getters into the Far East, planting commercial outposts
in Ceylon, sending a flying column of bagmen and negotiators to India
and the Straits Settlements, and distributing a numerical division of
business agents throughout China. The Empire of the Celestials was made
the focal point of a great propaganda, openly espoused by the Emperor.

It was readily demonstrated that Great Britain had no permanent control
of commerce in the East, not even in her own possessions. The Teuton,
for a time content with trifling profit, underbid all rivals--and orders
and contracts poured into Germany. Belgian products competed only in
price; and American manufacturers seemed too busy in providing goods for
home use to seriously try for business in Asia--they booked orders
coming practically unsought, that was about all. The Chino-Japanese
conflict of a dozen years ago, although disastrous to China's army,
stimulated the absorbing power of the Chinese for goods of western
manufacture, and Germany sold her wares right and left.

Important steamship lines were then subsidized by the German government
to maintain regular services between Germany and the Far East, carrying
goods and passengers at reasonable charges: and it was known that in his
personal capacity the Emperor had become a large shareholder in one of
them. Germany was prospering, and the Trade-Lord and his lieutenants
were happy. All recognized the possibilities of Oriental business. China
was preparing to throw off the conservatism and lethargy of centuries,
and trade was the key-note of everything pertaining to Germany's
relations with the Pekin government. German diplomatists on service in
China were instructed to employ every good office to induce German
business, and the Kaiser himself selected and instructed consular
officials going to the Flowery Kingdom. Able commercial attaches, with
capacity for describing trade conditions, were maintained there, and
required to be as industrious as beavers. For trade-promoting capacity
German consuls in China have no equal--and they all know that the
Kaiser's interest in Chinese trade amounts to mania.

The assassination in the streets of Pekin, in 1900, of Minister von
Kettler, Germany's envoy, and the subsequent sending of an imperial
prince of China to Berlin to express the regrets of the Chinese
government, strengthened materially the Kaiser's hold upon Chinese
affairs. Reiteration from Washington of the "open door" in China struck
no terror to the Kaiser, justified in believing he could hold his
position against all comers. As proof of this belief he might point to
German steamers in Hong Kong and Shanghai literally vomiting forth each
week thousands of tons of goods "Made in Germany," penetrating every
section of China even to the upper waters of the Yang-tse. A few years
ago nearly all this trade was exclusively British.

The question of Chinese exclusion and the threatened boycott of American
goods by China was the occasion of anxiety in this country--but none in
Germany. It is well appreciated that the spread of the sentiment in the
East that the United States is unjust to Chinamen of the better class
might undo the splendid work of Secretary Hay in cultivating the
friendship of the Celestial Empire by standing fast for China's
administrative entity and insisting on the "open door" policy.

Knowing that the "awakening" of China would be one of the results of the
war, the Master Mind in Berlin had not long to consider where the
interest of Germany lay, for he well knew that if they conquered, the
Japs might in a few years supply the kindred Chinese with practically
every article needed from abroad.

If Russia won, then "Best Friend" William of Germany, one of the most
irresistible forces in the world, would have a freer hand in China than
ever--and this would mean a prosperous Germany for years to come.

By directing the sympathies of the German people to the Russian side,
the Kaiser played a trump card in statecraft, certainly. As a soldier,
William II must have known the fighting ability and prowess of the
little men of Japan, for German officers had for years been the
instructors of the Mikado's army--but the public attitude of the head of
a government must ever be that which best serves the State. Whatever the
chagrin at Berlin over Russia's defeat, a battle royal will be needed
for Japan to overcome Germany's lead in Chinese trade; but in time Japan
will have this, provided she is well advised and has the tact to play
fair with Uncle Sam and his commercial rights.

What of the German colony in China--Kiau-chau, on the east coast of the
Shan-tung peninsula, whose forts frown upon the Yellow Sea? Is there
anything like it, strategically and trade wise, in the East? When the
Kaiser's glance falls upon the map of Kiau-chau, and he recalls the ease
with which he segregated from Pekin's rule a goodly piece of old China,
he may be irreverently moved to the extent of again snapping his fingers
at the Monroe Doctrine, and at millions of simple Africans who refuse to
eat German foods and wear not a stitch of German fabrics. Kiau-chau
represents the cleverest feat of colony-building the world has seen
since the great powers declared a closure to land-grabbing in the East.

[Illustration: SIMPLE PUNISHMENT OF A CHINESE MENDICANT]

When some German missionaries were murdered a few years since in China,
the Kaiser, ever an opportunist, was justly angry, and Pekin shuddered
at the possibility of national castigation. "Could the Mighty One at
Berlin condone the offense if China gave Germany a harbor to be used as
coaling station and naval headquarters?" "Possibly; but how can China
bestow territory, in view of the American government's certainty to
insist that there be no parceling of China, none whatever!"

"Easily managed," was the reply. "It need not be a transfer of
territory, but a 'lease,' say for ninety-nine years. This would save
China's 'face,' and not disturb the powers."

Hence a "lease" was prepared for all the territory bounded in a
semi-circle drawn fifteen miles from Kiau-chau bay--a goodly piece in
all conscience. Then came _pourparlers_ for greater German authority,
and more territory. As a consequence, in a supplementary document signed
at Pekin, it was additionally agreed that "in a further zone thirty
miles from all points of the leased territory the Chinese government
shall no longer for a space of ninety-nine years be entitled to take any
step without previous authorization from the German government."

This amounted in substance to saying farewell on China's part to a slice
of domain in all more than twice the size of the state of Rhode Island.
The "sphere of influence," so-called, measures 2,750 square miles.
Germany was given as well the equivalent of sovereignty over the harbor
of Kiau-chau, no end of mining and railway rights, and other privileges.
The lease dates from March 6th, 1898. England was to give Wei-haiwei
back to China should Russia retire or be driven from Port Arthur, but
has not done so. In all probability Germany, as well as Great Britain,
is located on the Yellow Sea under a tenure that will be found to be
permanent.

Kiau-chau harbor is one of the most spacious and best protected on the
coast of China. The small native town of Tsing-tau, admirably situated
on the harbor, was adopted by Germany as the seat of government, and all
the appurtenances of a military and naval station have there been
erected. A look of permanency characterizes every structure. The house
of the naval governor is even pretentious. The capital is laid out with
generous regard to broad streets, designated on name-plates as
"strasses." A bank and hotels await the coming of business. The harbor
has been dredged, and two miles of the best wharves in Asia constructed
of masonry. Warehouses, barracks, hospitals, administrative buildings
and coal sheds are there, all in German style, and intended to last
hundreds of years.

Tsing-tau as a seat of deputed government may not have found its way
into school-books--but the inquisitive traveler in Northeast China
readily learns of its existence. Perhaps it is meant to be complimentary
to China to retain the name Tsing-tau--but that is all about the place
that is Chinese, save the coolies executing the white man's behest.
There are 3,000 Europeans, almost exclusively Germans, in William II's
capital on Kiau-chau Bay. Soldiers and officials predominate, of course,
but merchant and industrial experts are in the pioneer band in
conspicuous number.

And what of the "hinterland," compassed by the 45-mile semicircle,
dotted with thirty odd native towns, the whole having a population of
1,200,000? This patch of China is surely in process of being awakened:
there are numerous schools wherein European missionaries are teaching
the German language, and enterprise greets the eye everywhere.
Locomotives "Made in Germany" screech warnings to Chinese yokels to
clear the way for trains heavy with merchandise of German origin--and
this is but an incident in the great scheme of Germanizing the Chinese
Empire. Incidentally, it is provided by the agreement between the Pekin
and Berlin governments that a native land-owner in the leased section
can sell only to the German authorities. This ruling conveys a meaning
perfectly clear.

Less than a hundred miles up-country are the enormous coal fields of
Weihsien and Poshan, by agreement worked with German capital, and
connected with the harbor by railways built with German money and so
devoted to Teutonic interests that the name of the company is spread on
the cars in the language of the dear old Fatherland. The whole is a
magnificent piece of propagandism, surely.

And what is back of it? What is the purpose of the appropriation of
14,000,000 marks for Kiau-chau in last year's official budget of the
German government? Trade, little else; and Trade spelled best with a
large T. Kiau-chau is a free port, like Hamburg. Why not make it the
Hamburg of the East? is the question asked wherever German merchants
foregather and affairs of the nation are discussed. From the standpoint
of German trade, an Eastern Hamburg is alluring and laudatory--but few
American manufactures, let it be plainly stated, will penetrate China
through a gateway so controlled.

America's seeming indifference to Chinese trade, let it plainly be
stated, is the only solace that commercial Europe is finding in our
wonderful national growth. The subject is almost never referred to in
the columns of British journals, nor in those of Germany, France, or
Belgium. But manufacturers and exporters of these countries need no spur
from their newspapers--without the accompaniment of beating drums all
are seeking to make the Chinese their permanent customers. And,
buttressed by undeniable advantages, Japan takes up the quest and means
to spread her goods, largely fabricated from Uncle Sam's raw products,
wherever the tenant of the earth be a Mongol.

[Illustration: CHINESE BUDDHIST PRIESTS]

Could a human being be more complaisant, more materially philanthropic,
than the United States manufacturer or other producer? He surely cannot
be blind to the undebatable fact that America cannot always wax
opulent on home trade alone; he must know that in time we are certain to
reach a period of overproduction, when it will aid the nation to have
alien peoples for customers of our mills and workshops. Every land in
Asia east of Singapore can be commercially exploited by the United
States more easily, and with greater success, than by any other people,
if the task be gone about systematically and practically.

The Chinese envoy of a few years ago to Washington, Minister Wu, said
many wise things, and no epigram fell from his lips containing a
profounder sermon for the American people than when he remarked that two
inches added to the length of the skirts of every Chinese would double
the market value of every pound of cotton.

Small as it was, our commerce in China was severely lessened last year,
not alone by the boycott, but through the enterprise shown by other
nations having a share in Celestial trade. The cotton cloth exports of
the United States to China and Manchuria for the nine months ending
September 30 fell off by over ten million dollars as compared with the
same period of 1905. The respective amounts were $15,416,152 and
$25,566,286. The Chinese buyers gave preference to the British, taking
$34,245,129 worth of cotton fabrics from the United Kingdom for the
first nine months of 1906, a decrease of $3,770,584 from last year. The
British loss on bleached and gray goods was about half that of America's
total loss, but the English exporters made up a large part of the
shortage by much larger sales of printed and dyed goods. But while
America remained almost stationary last year in selling cotton
manufactures to the world, Great Britain made a tremendous stride. Her
cotton fabric exports for the first nine months of 1906 were valued at a
little more than two hundred and seventy-six million dollars, an
increase of about twenty million dollars over the same period of 1905,
and of nearly fifty million dollars over the first nine months of 1904.
This was accomplished almost wholly by marketing wares wrought from
fiber grown in our Southern States, let it be remembered.

And what would happen to British trade, let us inquire, were America to
cease exporting raw cotton, to permit our staple to emerge from our land
in a manufactured state, only?

The mere suggestion of the thing is sufficient to cause a cold shudder
to play down the spinal column of John Bull. But the American people
will never play the game of commerce in that way.



CHAPTER XV

JAPAN'S COMMERCIAL FUTURE


A nation has risen in the Far East that is earning high place among
enlightened governments, and in all probability the new-comer may
already be entitled to permanently rank with the first-class powers of
the earth. Japan is day by day a growing surprise to the world.

That the diminutive Island Empire should have been able to humble the
Muscovite pride was no greater marvel than that she should in a brief
half-century advance from the position of a weak and unknown country to
the station of a highly civilized nation. The government of the Mikado
is to-day the best exponent of Asiatic progressiveness. And of a people
with a capacity to perform in two generations such amazing things who
shall dare say what to them is impossible?

Europe has never been in joyful mood over the rise in Japanese prestige,
and she was more than reluctant to recognize the New Japan as the
dominant force in the East. That a yellow people should claim fellowship
with European countries guided by houses of lofty lineage was never
believed to be possible. Continental Europe was unprepared to admit
that Japan's triumph proved anything beyond a genius in the art of war
that was nothing short of a menace to the rest of mankind, and that luck
and geographical position helped the Mikado's legions in all ways. The
great Hohenzollern spoke of the Japanese as the "scourge of God"; in
France the "yellow peril"--a phrase really made in Germany--was
seriously debated; while Russia many times sought sympathy from the
Christian world on the ground that she was fighting the white man's
battle against paganism. Solitary in her preference for the Japanese,
expressed in the form of an astute and fortunate alliance, England
gloried when her Oriental ally revealed the weakness of the vaunted
power of the north that had dared to cast covetous eyes at India. All
these nations hold Asiatic possessions, each has aspired to have a say
in Chinese affairs, and each confesses to having a panacea for the
innumerable ills of the Celestial Empire--each is hungry, likewise, to
extend her trade with the awakening Orient.

Japan intruded, and deranged the plans of all and sundry for rousing
China to a realization of her greatness; and in all human probability
Japan will do for herself what several European powers wanted to do for
Asia. Japan can always justify her claim that she was driven to war to
preserve her national existence, by pointing to her rapidly-increasing
population, existing in an archipelago incapable of producing food for
even two thirds of her people, since every possibility of obtaining a
foothold on the adjacent continent had been cut off by self-imposed
Russian rule. There was no room for expansion, that was clear.

When Japan shattered the strength of Russia she gained many coveted
advantages. One of these was the opportunity to commercialize
neighboring Korea, a goodly section of Manchuria, and practically the
whole of China--enough to recoup the war's outlay; and once entered
upon, why not perfect and extend the enterprise wherever she might,
thereby providing occupation for her increasing millions of people?

For a long time to come Japan will remain conspicuously in the public
eye, but her achievements and victories hereafter are to be those of
peace. Her scheme for national betterment, already well under way, is as
thoughtfully prepared as was her war program. The Mikado's people
emerged from the Russian conflict with energies enormously aroused, and
a few months later every condition was favorable to a realization of the
dream of empire giving to Japan an importance amounting almost to
sovereignty over a vast section of the Far East. The new treaty with
Great Britain, which Germans claimed to be anything but altruistic, is
having a steadying influence on the policy of the Tokyo government.

With the conversion of Japan from war to peace, the process of fiscal
recuperation and industrial development has been observed by students of
Eastern affairs with the keenest interest. The debt of the nation at the
close of the war in 1905 was approximately $870,000,000, which sum,
apportioned among Nippon's 47,000,000 inhabitants, was $18.71 per
capita. The amount properly chargeable to the campaign was $600,000,000,
or thereabouts. A characteristic of the war commanding widespread
attention was that the Japanese side was conducted from start to finish
on the soundest financial principles, with her credit abroad scarcely
lessened by successive bond issues. It was the criticism of students of
finance that Japan conducted her campaign throughout on a gold basis, as
if exploiting a vast commercial program, without subjecting herself to
usurious commissions, and without resorting to the issuance of fiat or
negligible currency. The financing of the Asiatic side of the great
Russo-Japanese conflict was certainly as businesslike as anything ever
done by a European power compelled to raise funds by foreign bond sales.

[Illustration: BRONZE DAIBUTSU AT KAMAKURA, JAPAN]

When a candid history of the war is penned, the writer must perforce
acknowledge the "luck" attaching to Japan when Russia expelled the Jews,
and when thousands of that faith were ruthlessly slaughtered at
Kishineff. Whether the purse-strings of the world are controlled by
Hebrew bankers may be a moot question, but it was a fact distinctly
clear that Japan could place her bonds in any money-lending country in
the world, while Russia could scarcely raise a rouble upon her foreign
credit. Even Germany, the sentimental ally of Russia, almost begged for
the privilege of lending to Japan. There was no disputing that the great
Hebraic banking houses of London, New York and Frankfort found it an
easy task to supply the Mikado's country with every needed sinew of war,
and the massacres of Kishineff may have been avenged in a measure at
Port Arthur and Mukden.

The ambitious and sturdy people of Japan are indisposed to regard the
war debt as an excessive burden, and it is their determination to treat
their bonded obligations as a spur to active industry. It must be
confessed that Japan's debt is but a trifle less than that of the United
States, and is carried at double the interest rates of the American
debt; and further, that Japan's total area is smaller than that of our
state of California. The portentous aspect of the national obligation of
Japan is that it must absorb in interest charges fully a third of the
empire's income for many years of peace and prosperity to come.

A large part of the debt incurred before the war was for public works,
most of which are productive. Funds realized from early loans, both
foreign and domestic, as well as a portion of the income from the
indemnity earned by the war with China, were invested in commercial
enterprises owned or fostered by the empire, and the government receives
a considerable benefit from the public railways, tobacco monopoly,
woolen mills, and a few other industrial ventures. The railways are
extremely profitable, and the large sums spent in the creation of
post-offices, telephone and telegraph lines, port facilities, etc., have
proved wise investments.

Observers of national statistics have long known that a country without
heavy indebtedness amounts to little in a worldly and industrial sense.
Abundantly solvent, France has a debt averaging $151.70 per person, and
the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Ireland), a pro rata debt of
$91.80. Portugal owes $143.82 per subject, Holland $90.74, and Belgium
$75.63. The heaviest governmental obligation is that of Australia,
averaging $263.90 per inhabitant; and the lightest responsibility among
important nations is that of the United States, gradually lessening, now
standing at but $10.93. Our Cuban neighbors, owing $21.88 per capita,
make little complaint of fiscal burden. Whether a debt be burdensome or
otherwise depends as much upon the character of the people as upon
natural resources. Decaying Portugal could not by industry liberate
herself from pecuniary thraldom in a century, while the Japanese
probably could liquidate every obligation in fifteen years, were they
pressed to do so.

No country can present a better foundation for industrial and commercial
development at this time than Japan, and the signing at Portsmouth of
the peace agreement marked the beginning of an era of national growth
that may challenge the admiration of the world as did the feats of arms
of Oyama and Togo. The war cemented classes in Japan almost to a
condition of homogeneity--practically every subject of the Mikado
believed in the necessity for the conflict, and made sacrifices to
contribute to the cost thereof. Distinctions of class are now seldom
thought of, and it contributes mightily to the material improvement of
a nation to have a single language. The descendants of the samurai class
acknowledge now the need for trade on a grand scale, and they are only
too ready to embark in manufacturing and trading enterprises. There are
scarcely ten great fortunes in the realm, and the number of subjects
removed from activity by even moderate affluence is remarkably small.
Likewise, the number of persons reckoned in the non-producing class,
through dissipation or infirmity, is insignificant. And, more potent
than all these reasons uniting to assist in the expansion of Japanese
industry and thrift, is the intense patriotism of the people, stimulated
by glorious success in two wars against foreign nations of overwhelming
populations, as well as the recognition from high and low that Japan's
golden opportunity has arrived. Almost to a man the Japanese want to
employ their sinews and intellect in elevating the Land of the Rising
Sun to an honored place among progressive nations.

The Japanese exchequer is at present a long way from depletion, by
reason of the $150,000,000 loan secured in America, England and Germany.
Probably two thirds of this remained unexpended. Many Tokyo bankers
believed the loan unnecessary, inasmuch as there were funds in hand
sufficient to finance the war well into 1906, had peace not been agreed
upon. But the flotation was deemed wise, not alone because of prevailing
ease in the money market, but for the effect that an oversubscribed loan
in America and Europe would have upon the Czar's government. The
portion of the loan remaining unused for war was employed for giving
effect to Japan's industrial propaganda, and presumably has been spent
for the endless machinery demanded by the factories and shipyards that
are transforming Japan into a vast workshop, for structural metal, and
for steel rails, cars and locomotives for railways in Manchuria and
Korea; and generally for the hundred and one purposes playing a part in
the development of lands hitherto out of step in the march of
enterprise, and where strife has until recently stifled the usual
manifestations of man's desire to improve his surroundings. The Japanese
government in 1906 purchased six railways, which were profit earners,
paying for them $125,000,000 in five per cent. bonds that may be
redeemed in five years. There is no likelihood of a reduction in Japan's
debt for a long time, but its weight upon the people may be reduced by
conversions. As the national credit strengthens, the interest on
borrowings may be correspondingly decreased. Consequently, there may be
frequent funding operations and new issues, until seven and six per
cent. bonds have given place to obligations bearing five per cent.
interest or less. To provide funds for early railway building,
considerable capital was borrowed at as high a rate as ten per cent.
When these obligations expire all necessary money can be found in the
country at less than half the original rate. Japan is fortunate in
having many sound financiers to invite to her official councils, and it
is helpful to the country that Tokyo and Yokohama bankers are competent
and progressive. These men pronounce Japan's present financial position
sound, and claim that the country can easily carry the existing debt.

In natural resources Japan is not well to do, it must be frankly said.
Examine the country in as friendly a spirit as one may, little is
developed to support any statement that the country may become
prosperous from the products of her own soil. In truth Japan is nearly
as unproductive as Greece and Norway, for only sixteen per cent. of her
soil is arable. The mountain ranges and peaks and terraced hills that
make the country scenically attractive to the tourist come near to
prohibiting agriculture. The lowlands, separating seacoast from the
foothills, and the valleys generally, are given over to rice culture,
and these contribute largely towards sustaining the people. Where
valleys are narrow, and on hillside patches, cultivation is carried on
wholly by hand. In recent years phosphates and artificial fertilizers
have been encouraged by the government, and with the educational work
now in hand science may give an increase of crops from the circumscribed
tillable area. The country's forests cannot be sacrificed, and grazing
lands for flocks and herds scarcely exist.

A recent magazine writer, holding a doleful view of Japan's agricultural
condition, wholly overlooked the silk and tea crops in his search for
native products, an error obviously fallen into through the fact that
these are not raised on what governmental reports call "tillable
ground,"--meaning that they are produced outside the sixteen per cent.
arable area. Silk is Japan's important salable crop, two thirds of which
is exported in its raw state. In the past few years the silk exports
have averaged $55,000,000. Japan grows the tea consumed in the country,
and sends annually $6,500,000 worth to market.

If the rice crop might be exported it would realize $200,000,000 each
year. But no food may be sent abroad, for it is a sad fact that Japan is
capable of feeding only two thirds of her own people. It is necessary to
import foodstuffs to the extent of about $47,000,000 a year. The
Japanese benefit by the compensating supply of fish secured from the
seas washing the shores of the Island Empire. When it is realized that
Japan's rapidly-growing population cannot be sustained by her soil and
fisheries, the real reason for battling against Russia's aggression on
the mainland is understood, for ten years hence, Japan's crowding
millions, confined to her own islands, would experience the pangs of
hunger. The Mikado and his councilors foresaw this.

[Illustration: A GARDEN VIEW OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY, TOKYO]

"Having deposits of coal and iron, why may not Japan be developed into
the Eastern equivalent of England?" ask stay-at-home admirers of the
Japanese, who believe that to them nothing is impossible. The Mikado's
territory has coal, iron and copper, it is true; but in no instance is
the mineral present to an extent making it a national asset of
importance. Bituminous coal of good quality is mined at several points
which is used by Japanese commercial and naval vessels; but elsewhere in
the East it has to compete with Chinese and Indian coals. It is said in
Nagasaki that her coal will last another two centuries, but were it
mined on the scale of American and British coal it would be exhausted in
a generation. The greatest efforts have been made to produce iron ore in
paying quantities. In several instances public assistance has been lent
to the industry, but seldom has a ton of ore been raised that has not
cost twice its market value. Japan is determined to become a producer of
iron, and to this end a long lease had been secured on an important
mineral tract in China, whose ore blends advantageously with Mexican and
Californian hematite, while it is asserted that the government has
secured in Manchuria a seam of coal fifty feet in thickness, covered by
a few feet of soil, that is contiguous to transportation, and which
cannot be exhausted in hundreds of years. A valuable acquisition in
conquered Saghalien--not noted by the newspapers--is beds of coal and
iron of vast area. These may enable Japan, in her determination to
become a manufacturing nation, to be eventually independent of other
countries for basic supplies. But success in this direction is
problematical, to say the least.

For two thousand years Japan has mined copper in a limited way, but the
production of the metal is carried on at present without much profit.
When the Chinese government requires a vast quantity of copper the
order is sent to the United States. Japan cannot be considered as a
producer of minerals of sufficient importance to aspire to a profitable
career through them, for the yearly aggregate value of all minerals,
including gold from the Formosa mines, is not more than $20,000,000.

The inevitable query in the reader's mind is, How is the Jap, knowing it
is now or never with him--and cognizant that he is poor in all save
ambition and enterprise--going to create for his beloved Nippon a
position of prominence and security in the fast-rushing, selfish world?
Every intelligent Japanese is aware of the slenderness of his country's
resources, and yet every son of the Chrysanthemum Realm throbs with
desire to see Japan a first-class and self-supporting power, honored and
respected throughout the universe.

The Japanese possess some quality of golden value, otherwise cautious
capitalists in America and Europe would never have lent them
$360,000,000. What is it?

Japan's asset of importance is the awakened energy of her people--this
was the soundest security back of the bond issues. It won the war over
Russia, and persons familiar with the Japanese character believe it is
now going to win commercially and industrially. Better proof of this is
not wanted than the fact that Japanese bonds stood as firm as the rock
of Gibraltar on the world's exchanges when it became known that Russia
was to pay no indemnity. The information provoked street riots in Tokyo,
but Japanese securities moved only fractionally in New York and London.

Two countries have long been keenly observed by enlightened Japanese.
They study America as a model industrial land, and get manufacturing
ideas from us; but they look to Great Britain for everything having to
do with empire, with aggrandizement, and with diplomacy. To them England
is a glittering object lesson of a nation existing in overcrowded
islands extending its rule to other lands and other continents,
producing endless articles needed by mankind, and carrying these to the
ends of the earth in their own ships. These Japanese have perceived that
the interchange of commodities between most countries of the globe is
preponderatingly in the hands of the British--in fact, that the
enterprise of British merchant or British ship-owner has placed
practically the universe under tribute.

May not insular Japan become in time the Asiatic equivalent of Great
Britain? Japan is advantageously located, and by common consent is now
dominant in the Far East. Years ago England ceased to be an agricultural
country, and the products of British workshops now buy food from other
nations and allow for the keeping of a money balance at home. Nature has
decreed that Japan can never be an agricultural land. Why, then, may she
not do what England has done? England has her India, pregnant with the
earth's bounty, and her Australia, yet awaiting completer development
Kingdom become the handmaiden of Japan, without disturbing dynastic
affairs, and primitive Korea be a fair equivalent of the Antipodean
continent? It is known to be Japan's plan to permanently colonize Korea
and Manchuria, teeming in agricultural and mineral riches, with her
surplus population.

"Prestige and opportunity make this attainable," insist the ambitious
sons of Japan; "and while it is probably too late to expand the
political boundaries of our empire, we surely may make Nippon the seat
of a mighty commercial control, including in its sphere all of China
proper, Manchuria and Korea--welding them into 'commercial colonies' of
Japan." This is precisely what the modern Japanese wants his country to
do, and this Japanization of the Far East is an alluring project,
certainly.

"But are not these 'open-door' countries, stipulated and guaranteed by
the powers--meaning that your people can enjoy no special trade
advantage in them?" the American asks the man of Japan.

"Emphatically are they open to the trade and enterprise of all comers:
but there are four potential advantages that accrue to the benefit of
the Japanese at this time--geographical position, necessity for
recouping the cost of the war, an identical written language, and
superabundance of capable and inexpensive labor. With these advantages
and practical kinship we fear no rivalry in the creation of business
among the Mongol races," adds the man speaking for the New Japan.

It calls for little prescience to picture a mighty Japanese tonnage on
the seas in the near future. Next to industrial development, the
controlling article of faith of the awakened Japan is the creation of an
ocean commerce great enough to make the Japanese the carriers of the
Orient. There can be nothing visionary in this, for bountiful Asia is
almost without facilities for conveying her products to the world's
markets. Indeed, were present-day Japan eliminated from consideration,
it would be precise to say that Asia possessed no oversea transportation
facilities.

The merchant steamship is intended to play an important rôle in Japan's
elevation. Shipping is to be fostered by the nation until it becomes a
great industry, and it is the aim of the Mikado's government to provide
for constructing ships for the public defence up to 20,000 tons burden,
and making the country independent of foreign yards through being able
to produce advantageously commercial vessels for any requirement. Japan
is blind neither to the costliness of American-built ships nor to the
remoteness of European yards. The war with Russia was not half over when
it was apparent that Japan would not longer be dependent upon the outer
world for vessels of war or of commerce. In the closing weeks of 1906
there was completed and launched in Japan the biggest battleship in the
world, the _Satsuma_, constructed exclusively by native labor. She is of
about the dimensions of the _Dreadnaught_, of the British navy, but
claimed to be her superior as a fighting force. The launching of the
_Satsuma_, witnessed by the Emperor, was regarded as a great national
event.

In the war with China, twelve or thirteen years ago, Japan had
insufficient vessels to transport her troops. The astute statesmen at
Tokyo, recognizing the error of basing the transportation requirements
of an insular nation upon ships controlled by foreigners, speedily
drafted laws looking to the creation of a native marine which might be
claimed in war time for governmental purposes. The bestowal of liberal
bounties transformed Japan in a few short years from owning craft of the
junk class to a proprietorship of modern iron-built vessels of both home
construction and foreign purchase. In the late campaign there was no
comparison in the seamanship of the agile son of Nippon and that of the
hulking peasant of interior Russia. The Jap was proven time and again to
be the equal of any mariner. Native adaptability and willingness to
conform to strict discipline, unite in making the Japanese a seaman
whose qualities will be telling in times of peace.

Of late years hundreds of clever young Japanese have served
apprenticeships in important shipyards in America, England, Germany and
France, with the result that there are to-day scores of naval architects
and constructors in Japan the equals of any in the world. Whether as
designers, yard managers or directors of construction, the Japs, with
their special schooling, have nothing to learn now from foreign
countries. The genius of some of these men played a part in Togo's
great victory.

Japanese men of affairs pretend to see little difficulty in the way of
their nation controlling the building of ships for use throughout the
East. Local yards are already constructing river gunboats and torpedo
craft for the Chinese government, and it is reasonable to believe that a
year or two hence their hold upon the business will amount practically
to a monopoly. British firms with yards at Singapore, Hong Kong and
Shanghai are not rejoiced at the prospect of Japanese rivalry. It is
possible that, the Japanese may become shipbuilders for our own
Philippine archipelago.

Already the shipyards of Nippon are ringing with the sound of Japan's
upbuilding; and the plant of the Mitsubishi company, at Nagasaki--among
the largest in the world,--has been enlarged to accommodate increasing
demands. The enormous _Minnesota_, of the Great Northern Steamship
Company, was not so long ago repaired at Nagasaki in a dry-dock having
eighty feet in length to spare.

Japanese steamship lines already extend to Europe, Australia, Bombay,
Eastern Siberia, China, Korea and Saghalien, and to San Francisco and
Puget Sound ports. A company has been formed to develop a service
between Panama, the Philippines and Japanese ports, in anticipation of
the completion of the Panama Canal: and, further perceiving the
opportunity rapping at her door, Japan is preparing to place a line on
the ocean that will bring the wool, hides and grain of the River Plate
region to Japanese markets at the minimum of expense. The undisguised
purpose of this South-American venture is to get cheap wheat from
Argentina. Rice eating in Japan is giving way to bread made from wheat,
or from a mixture of wheat and rice and other cereals. It is further
known that Japan is casting covetous eyes on the trade of Brazil, and
the line to the Plate may be extended to Brazilian ports.

In 1894 Japan had only 657,269 tons of merchant shipping; she has now
upwards of a million tons, represented by 5,200 registered vessels.
Almost half the steamers entering Japanese ports fly the flag of the
Rising Sun, and Japan's tonnage at this time is greater than that of
Russia, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Denmark or Holland. In the matter of
oversea tonnage, Japan is far ahead of the United States. One fleet of
Japanese mail steamers, the Nippon Yusen Kaisha, whose president, Rempei
Kondo, is one of Japan's most progressive men, is numerically and in
tonnage larger than any ocean line under the Stars and Stripes. It has
seventy ships, aggregating 236,000 tons. A dozen of its vessels, making
the service between Yokohama and London, are fourteen-knot ships.

[Illustration: JAPANESE JUNK, OR CARGO BOAT]

These facts should be considered by every American complacently
believing that the traffic of the countries and islands washed by the
Pacific is open to American enterprise whenever we bid for it. When
Eastern trade develops in magnitude, it may be found that the
Japanese have laid permanent hold upon its carriage and interchange.
John Bull, be it remembered, drove the American merchantman from the
Atlantic; and likewise Japan may capture the carrying business of the
Pacific. It must be obvious that the nation controlling the
transportation of the Far East will seek to control its trade: and it is
sounding no false alarm to cite facts and conditions showing that the
awakening lands of Eastern Asia have more in store for energetic Japan
than for the United States, now fattening inordinately on home
trade--when overproduction comes, as it surely will, it then may be
found difficult to supplant another people in the occupation of
conveying American commodities to Eastern markets. There are persons in
the Orient, none too friendly to America, who expect to see the
commercial flag of Japan paramount on the Pacific eight or ten years
hence.

If it be conceded that Japan will absorb the bulk of the shipping of the
Pacific as it develops, valid reasons for fearing Japan as the trade
competitor of the United States do not exist. Unquestionably Japan is to
exploit the industry of her people; but the same poverty of resources
making this imperative insures for Uncle Sam a valuable partnership in
the program. Japan is bristling with workshops and mills in which a
hundred forms of handiwork will be developed--and in a majority of these
the adaptive labor of the empire will fabricate, from materials drawn
from America, scores of forms of merchandise, which the Japanese
propaganda will distribute throughout China, Manchuria, Korea and
Japan--the "Great Japan," British publicists are calling it. Methods,
materials, machinery, tools--all will be American.

Having made no systematic appeal for the trade of the Far East in its
broadest sense, America enjoys but small share of it. In the past few
years our exports to Japan, however, have grown rapidly--chiefly in raw
cotton and other unmanufactured materials. With Japanese selling agents
canvassing lands inhabited by a half billion people, the products of
America are to have enhanced consumption. This trade in Mongol
countries, although vicarious, may run to large dimensions.

The leading item of Japan's industrial promotion program is to become
manufacturer of a goodly portion of the textiles worn in her vast
"sphere of commerce." The Japanese have seen that the British Isles,
growing not a pound of cotton, spin and weave the staple for half the
people of the earth, and wish to profit by the example of their
prosperous ally. To this end, cotton mills have sprung into being
throughout Japan, in which American-grown fiber is transformed by the
cheapest competent labor in the world into fabrics sold to China's and
Japan's millions. It is certain that the controlling manufacture of
Japan will be cotton, and the production of woolen cloths may come next.
It is interesting to know that Japan increased the value of her exports
of cotton manufactures to China from $251,363 in 1894 to $16,126,054 in
1904.

"Why not fabricate her own raw silk, and send it to market ready for
wear?" asks the foreigner reluctant to believe that Japan can hope to
compete with Lancashire in the spinning of cotton. The answer is
simple--it is because America is the principal purchaser of the raw
article. Were it brought across the Pacific in manufactured form, the
duty on it would be almost prohibitive; in its unwrought state it enters
the country free.

Great progress must be made before Japanese business may be considered a
"menace" to any nation enjoying Eastern trade, for the yearly value of
Japan's manufactures is now only about $150,000,000, an average of about
$3 per capita of the population. America has single cities that produce
more. The combined capital of all organized industrial, mining,
shipping, banking and agricultural undertakings in Japan is
$475,000,000, or less than half the capital of the United States Steel
Corporation. The Mikado's empire is bound to Great Britain by a
political alliance of unusual force, but industrial Japan must of
necessity be linked to the United States by commercial ties even
stronger. Distance between Europe and Japan, and excessive Suez Canal
tolls, give unassailable advantage to the United States as purveyor of
unwrought materials to the budding New England of the Far East.

The custom of speaking of our friends of the Island Empire as "the
little Japanese," is a fault that should be promptly mended. Japan is
small, it is true, but the people are numerous to the point of
wonderment. Consequently, it can do no harm to memorize these facts:
That Japan has an area actually 27,000 square miles greater than the
British Isles, and 5,000,000 more inhabitants; in other words, the
population of Japan is 47,000,000, while that of Great Britain and
Ireland is but 42,000,000. That Japan's population exceeds that of
France by 8,000,000, of Italy by 14,000,000, and of Austro-Hungary by
nearly 2,000,000. That outside of Asia there are but three countries in
all the world with greater populations than Japan--Russia, the United
States, and Germany. There was reason for calling the Jap the "Yankee of
the East," or the "Englishman of the Orient," for otherwise the phrases
could not have been forced into popular use.

It is the judgment of many who have studied the Japanese at close range
that they are endowed with attributes of mind and body which make them
equal, man for man, with the people of America and Great Britain.
Asiatic though they are, it will be unwise to permit the brain to become
clogged with the idea that they are "Asiatics" in the popular acceptance
of the word. The Japan of the present is the antithesis of "Asiatic,"
and the Japan of the near future promises to be a country best measured
by Western standards.

The Japanese are athirst for knowledge, and impatient for the time to
arrive when the world will estimate them at their intellectual value,
and forget to speak of them as the little "yellow" men of the East. This
is manifested to a visitor many times every day. Their greatest craving
is to know English, not merely well enough to carry on trade
advantageously, but to read understandingly books that deal with the
moderate sciences, and other works generally benefiting. Yokohama and
Tokyo possess a score of establishments where practically every
important volume of instruction, whether it be English or American, is
reproduced in inexpensive form, and widely sold. For many years English
has been taught in Japan's schools, but thousands of boys and men in
cities and towns are each year acquiring the language by study in odd
hours.

Examine the dog-eared pamphlet in the hands of the lad assisting in the
shop where you are purchasing something, and you are almost certain to
find it an elementary English book. Merchants know English well, as a
rule; but with many of them the desire for knowledge is not satisfied
with the acquisition of English--they desire to know other languages. In
Yokohama I know a merchant of importance whose English is so good that
one is drawn to inquire where he learned it. The answer will be that he
studied odd hours at home and when not serving customers. And the
visitor may further be informed by this man that he is also studying
German and French. A teacher of German goes to his house at six o'clock
each morning and for two hours drills him in the language. Then, in the
evening, after a long day spent at business, a French teacher instructs
him in the graceful language of France. And this merchant is but a type
of thousands of Japanese who are daily garnering knowledge.

It is a pleasing incident for the visitor from America to read of a
meeting in the Japanese capital of the local Yale Alumni
Association--quite as pleasing as to see base-ball played in every
vacant field convenient to a large town. Returning schoolboys have
carried the game home to their companions, and in the voyage across the
Pacific it has lost none of its fine points. For thirty years and longer
the Japs have been learning English with the industry of beavers. And
ambition has been responsible for this, the dogged determination to be
somebody, and the patriotic wish to see Japan stand with the progressive
nations of the earth. The power to keep such a people down does not
exist. Preparation is a subject never absent from the thoughts of the
Japanese. It was preparation that gave them victory after victory over
the creatures of the Czar. Now they are fairly launched upon a brilliant
career in trade and commerce. But Japan can merely fabricate our raw
materials, thereby occupying a field in Asia that up to now Uncle Sam
has made no determined effort to secure.



INDEX


Agra, Indian city of unrivaled interest, 168;
  its Taj Mahal, 168-184

Ambir, old capital of Jeypore state, 166

America, interest in Suez canal as forerunner of Panama, 16;
  flag not represented by commercial vessel at Suez in generation, 18;
  President Roosevelt's insistence for Panama canal, 19;
  value of Oriental trade, 21, 22;
  cotton of wrought in England, 22;
  trifling exports of manufactured articles, 22;
  diminutive trade with South America, 22;
  desirability of trade extension in East, 23;
  government's tariff at Panama, 24;
  how to make Panama canal pay indirectly, 27;
  demand for creation of merchant marine, 27;
  to have 100,000,000 inhabitants when canal is completed, 28;
  commercial supremacy without merchant marine, 29;
  government's insistence on "open door" in China, 303;
  seeming indifference to Chinese trade, 310;
  waning cotton exports to China, 313, 314

Arabi, rebellion of, resulting in control of Egypt by Great Britain, 9;
  Kandy, place of his exile, 110

Arjamand, consort of Shah Jahan, for whom Taj Mahal was erected, 171

Benares, headquarters of Hindu religion, 185-202;
  burning ghat and cremations, 189-194;
  Monkey Temple, 196-200

Bombay, headquarters of Parsees, 126;
  a city gone sport-mad, 133, 134;
  race meeting at, 137, 138
  important cotton port, 139
  superb railway station, 139

Buddhism, Kandy the Mecca of the faith, 95;
  tenets of faith, 96, 97;
  reputed tooth of Buddha, 97, 98, 101;
  pilgrims to Kandy, 101, 102;
  cremation, 102

Calcutta, 205-219;
  Hooghly pilots, 206;
  Job Charnock, founder of, 209, 210;
  under Lord Curzon's viceroyship, 217, 218

Canals, no more inter-ocean canals possible, 4

Canton, unique and important commercial city, 244-266;
  strenuous and monopolistic guide, 249;
  street scenes and experiences, 250, 251;
  executions, 255;
  funeral procession, 256, 257;
  educational center, 257;
  educational examinations, 258, 259;
  "literary poles," 260, 263;
  boat-life on river front, 263, 264;
  leper village and boat toll, 266

Caste, Rodiya people of Ceylon, 103, 104, 107;
  British rule recognizes no distinctions of, 107;
  as seen in Bombay, 140;
  hereditary throughout India, 143;
  man servant who could not carry his own packages, 144, 145, 146

Ceylon, where "only man is vile," 30
  Cingalese, 34, 44;
  area, population, and races, 44;
  England's conquest of, 47;
  railways, 47;
  exports, 48;
  elephant kraal, 48, 49;
  an island paradise, 50;
  the cadjan, 62, 63;
  tea as "king crop," 117;
  when coffee was chief crop, 121;
  details of tea cultivation, 122, 125

China, Singapore and Hong Kong as places of residence for
      Chinese, 227, 237;
  cession of Hong Kong to British, 235;
  Canton, unique city, 244-266;
  Macao, Monte Carlo of East, 267-289;
  love of fan-tan by Chinese, 284;
  Germany's play for trade prestige, 290-310;
  land of meager commodities, 295;
  what her "awakened" trade would mean, 297;
  Germany's colony of Kiau-chau, 304-309;
  America and Chinese trade, 310-314;
  plans for rousing country, 316

Colombia, loss of Isthmian territory, through Panama canal scheme, 4

Colombo, approach to harbor, 33;
  landing jetty, 33;
  port of call between Occident, Orient and Australasia, 34;
  medley of races, 35;
  westernmost limit of 'rickshaws, 36;
  hotels, 39, 40;
  population, 44;
  Clapham Junction of East, 61;
  route to Kandy, 92

Cotton, Bombay as port, 139;
  Great Britain and America as manufacturers, 313-314;
  expansion of fabrication in Japan, 340

Curzon, former viceroy of India, 217, 218;
  Splendor of rule at Calcutta, 217

De Lessep's craving for greatness, 5;
  obtains concession for constructing Suez canal, 6;
  raising money for canal scheme, 6;
  death of, in madhouse, 10;
  monument at Port Said, 11

Egypt, loss of self-rule through Suez canal construction, 4;
  date of Suez canal concession, 6;
  no debt when concession given, 6;
  to subscribe nothing for construction of Suez canal, 6;
  Arabi rebellion, resulting in British control of Egypt, 9;
  deriving no advantage through canal, 10

France, how bankers of, lost controlling Suez shares, 15, 16;
  susceptibilities of, how preserved in Suez management, 16;
  ally of Russia, 296

Germany, second in list of Suez patrons, 18;
  Kaiser's fight for new markets, 18;
  friendship for Russia in war, 290-297;
  Kaiser's play for Chinese trade, 290-310;
  Emperor as Trade Lord, 292, 295;
  Kaiser's disapproval of Monroe Doctrine, 298;
  plans for capturing Oriental business, 301;
  subsidized steamship service with East, 302;
  "leased" colony of Kiau-chau, 304

Great Britain, benefits accruing from Suez canal, 15;
  how control was secured, 15;
  preponderance of flag over Suez traffic, 18;
  control of interior of Ceylon, 95;
  rule in, Asia recognizing no caste distinctions, 107;
  restoration of Taj Mahal by government of, 183;
  Job Charnock, founder of Calcutta, and pioneer
        empire-builder, 209, 210;
  great work in India. 220;
  Penang, 227;
  Singapore, universal sea-port brought to Empire by Sir Stamford
        Raffles, 227;
  Hong Kong, important port and naval base, 231-238;
  no permanent control of Eastern business, 301;
  tenure of Wei-hai-wei, 308

Hinduism, orthodoxy of Maharajah of Jeypore, 156, 159;
  animal sacrifices to goddess Kali, 167, 199-202;
  Benares, head of religion, 185-202;
  scenes on banks of sacred Ganges. 193-196;
  cremation of dead, 190-194;
  incomprehensibleness of merits of, 201, 202;
  habits of speech of illiterate, 223;
  curse of widowhood in India, 224

Hong Kong, island link in Britain's chain, 231;
  rains, 231, 232;
  city wrested from mountain side, 232;
  cession from China, 235;
  guarding northern entrance to China Sea, 235, 236;
  population and traffic, 236;
  Happy Valley race-course, 238, 241;
  benefits and pitfalls of the chit, 241, 242;
  convenience of bills of fare, 243

India, Bombay and its Parsees, 126-133;
  scenes at Bombay race meeting, 137, 138;
  caste, 140, 143;
  people not readily convinced of advantage of modern
        implements, 143, 144;
  Jeypore, 149-167;
  Ambir, old capital of Jeypore, 166;
  Agra and Taj Mahal, 168-184;
  Benares, fountainhead of Hindu religion, 185-202;
  Calcutta, capital of British India, 205-219;
  viceroyship of Lord Curzon, 217, 218;
  Viscount Kitchener, head of army, 218, 219;
  facts and figures of, 220, 223, 225;
  the "L. G." of Bengal, 219

Ismail, Khedive, lured into assisting Suez scheme, 6;
  prodigality of, 10;
  personal holding of Suez securities, 10

Jahan, Shah, builder of Taj Mahal, 168, 171;
  interment beside wife's grave, 179

Japan, commercial future, 315-344;
  best exponent of Asiatic progress, 315;
  "scourge of God" and "yellow peril" of German origin, 316;
  advantages secured by defeating Russia, 317;
  process of industrial development, 317;
  national debt, 318, 321, 324;
  homogeneity of people, 322;
  resources, 325-330;
  desire to emulate England, 331;
  why country can exploit near-by lands advantageously, 332;
  mighty tonnage on Pacific, 333, 334;
  shipbuilding, 334, 335;
  no real "menace" to American trade, 341;
  athirst for knowledge, 342-344

Jeypore, capital of Maharajah of, 149-165;
  fondness of women for jewelry, 151;
  benevolent ruler of, 156, 159;
  astronomical apparatus of Jai Singh, 164

Kandy, ancient capital of Ceylon, 43;
  journey from Colombo, 92;
  city of Buddha's tooth, 95;
  Buddhist pilgrims to, 95, 96;
  natural beauty of, 108;
  atrocities of a king of, 109;
  British rule of, 110;
  Peradeniya tropical garden, 110, 113, 114, 117;
  executive seat of Ceylon's tea industry, 117, 118, 121

Kitchener, Viscount, commander-in-chief of Indian army, 218, 219

Macao, journey to Portuguese colony from Canton, 267;
  pioneer European settlement in East, 272;
  Eastern Monte Carlo, 272, 283-289;
  political refuge, 274;
  Camoens, 278-282

Manar, pearling-ground of Gulf of, 50;
  advertisements announcing a fishery, 56, 57;
  period of, 66;
  scene on banks during a fishery, 76, 77;
  profit of fishery, 87

Marichchikkaddi, pearl metropolis of, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65;
  how reached from Colombo, 62;
  population, 63;
  fishing fleet, 71, 72;
  scenes in camp and at kottu, 77, 78;
  where oysters pass current as money, 79;
  selling the oysters at auction, 79, 80, 81;
  health of camp, 85;
  illustration of white man's rule, 86, 87

Merchant Marine, necessity for creation of, 27;
  American commercial supremacy without help of, 29

Panama Canal, antiquity of project, 4;
  President Roosevelt's insistence for, 19;
  use of, by South American shipping, 21;
  drawing traffic from east of Singapore, 21;
  vast Eastern area to be served by, 21;
  destined to make America trade-arbiter of world, 23;
  prediction of cost of construction and maintenance, 23;
  question of annual tonnage, 24

Parsees, their home in Bombay, 126;
  followers of Zoroaster, 127;
  Towers of Silence and method of disposing of dead, 131, 132, 133

Pearls, Swedish, Chinese and Japanese methods of inducing pearl
      formation, 55;
  Indian and Cingalese expert dealers, 66;
  Indian grandees chief buyers of, 88

Pearl-fishing, scene of, in Gulf of Manar, 50;
  description of, 51, 56, 57;
  Professor Hornell's theories, 52;
  divers, 66, 69;
  the shark-charmer, 70, 71, 72;
  time of divers under water, 75, 76
  scene on Manar banks, 76, 77
  devices for stealing pearls, 79
  process by which pearls are extracted from oysters, 81, 82

Penang, leading tin port of world, 227

Raffles, Sir Stamford, pioneer of Singapore, 227

Russia, friendship of Germany during war, 290-304;
  benefit to have accompanied victory over Japan, 296

Saïd, viceroy, date of giving Suez concession, 6

Singapore, a turnstile of commerce, 227;
  universal character of, 228

South America, use of Panama by carrying trade of, 21;
  trifling imports from United States, 22;
  importance of exports to United States, 23

Suez Canal, antiquity of project, 3, 4;
  Persian oracle's warning against, 5;
  personages who had considered, 5;
  to pay Egyptian treasury part of proceeds, 6, 15;
  Ismail's interest in scheme, 10;
  perpetuation of names of Egyptian rulers, 11;
  simplicity of construction and cost of, 12;
  international character of, 12;
  Disraeli's purchase of control for Great Britain, 15;
  physical statistics of, 16;
  tariff of, 16, 17;
  value to world's commerce, 17;
  statistics of tonnage and income, 17;
  average daily use of, 18;
  European shippers' choice of canals, 20;
  shareholders in no fear of Panama competition, 29

Taj Mahal, tomb of Arjamand, wife of Shah Jahan, and world's
      most exquisite building, 168-184;
  cost of, 173;
  burial-place of Shah Jahan, 179;
  restorations by British government, 183

Tea, cultivation in Ceylon, 122, 125

Widowhood, curse of Indian, 224



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

In the original text, contractions had a space at the word break, e.g.
"would n't, does n't, I 'm". In this ebook, such spaces have been
removed.

Pg. 70, added missing period (a stove-polish advertisement.)

Pg. 315, inserted missing period. (growing surprise to the world.)

Index entry "America, interest in Panama....", stated page number was
"14" which is a blank page. Page number changed to "16" where content
appears to match.

Index entry "China, America and Chinese trade", stated page numbers were
"312-314" but "312" is a blank page. Page number "312" changed to "310"
where content appears to match.

Index entry "France, Ally of Russia", stated page numbers were "2, 96".
Changed to "296" where content appears to match.

Index entry "Hong Kong, Happy Valley racecourse", stated page numbers
were "238" and "239", but "239" is a blank page. Page number "239"
changed to "241" where content appears to match.

Index entry "Japan, homogeneity of people", stated page is "323" but
content begins on "322". Page number changed to "322".

Index entry "Kandy, Peradeniya tropical garden", last of the page
numbers was "115" which is an unrelated illustration. The age number
"315" changed to "117" where content appears to match.

Index entry "Kandy, executive seat of Ceylon's tea industry", last of
the page numbers is "127" which has no relevant content. Page number
"127" changed to "121" where content appears to match.

Index entry "Suez canal, Disraeli's purchase of control for Great
Britain", stated page number was "13" which is an unrelated
illustration. Page number "13" changed to "15" where content appears to
match.

Index entry "Suez canal, physical statistics of", stated page number is
"14" which is a blank page. Page number "14" changed to "16" where
content appears to match.

Index entry "Suez canal, tariff of", first of stated page numbers is
"14" which is a blank page. age number "14" changed to "16" where
content appears to match.





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